The AudiaFLEX digital audio platform and Nexia CS digital processors, which were integrated by CompView, are being used to bring powerful audio to the complex’s interior and exterior via audio routing, switching and digital signal processing.
The sound starts at UO’s two large football fields and mini field, which are encircled with community-sized speakers. The speakers enable the team and coaches to communicate with each other and make announcements and broadcasts.
“UO wanted to make sure what they implemented, everything from the training room the theaters, the general areas, the coaches’ offices, it was something that would be vital and usable for the coaches to direct their staff and their players, and to make sure it was the most cutting edge installation.”– Eric Boyd, Systems Integration Manager for CompView
“It was the right solution for the practice field, being able to communicate,” says Eric Boyd, Systems Integration Manager for CompView. “The coaches can talk across the loudspeaker to the field, the [people working video] can send audio-feeds down that tube as well as hear back from the coaches, and back.”
Aside from coach-to-player communications, the new audio system is also used to train the team how to handle real time noise, such as cheers from the crowd.
“They have the sound system set up so that they’re broadcasting onto the field simulated crowd noise at the level they can experience inside a stadium,” says Steve Kawaski, Sales Development Director for Western North America at Biamp Systems. “As they’re running scrimmages and whatnot, the team is subject to the intensity of the live experience. They can learn what it’s like to try and communicate with each other when they’re on the field in an actual game day circumstances.”
Boyd also says the audio platform is flexible and expandable, which enables it to reach short distances, such as room to room within the complex, and long distances, like the far-away football fields.
He says that Cobranet helped connect the dots between audio and video from the fields to the complex.
“Across the field, there are multiple input locations for them to plug and play and it’s all over the network using Cobranet and Biamp,” he says.
Eric Day, Assistant Video Coordinator of Intercollegiate Athletics at the University of Oregon says that before AudiaFLEX and Nexia, the university worked with technology that was over 20 years old, including VHS devices and mismatched systems.
Day says the old technology wasn’t cutting it, and the university needed a solution that would make the football coaches’ jobs easier.
“Our goal with this building was to create the best football operations facility in every aspect,” he says. “It had to look amazing, but it also had to function efficiently. This is where technology comes into play. For our A/V systems, we wanted a reliable system that gave a coach multiple avenues to teach the game of football in an effective manner. Every piece of equipment we selected was picked with this in mind.”
Day also says that the complex has always run off of multiple varying systems in the past, even though similar equipment is used in each of its rooms.
He says that the newer, more similar technologies seen throughout the complex create a more uniform system for coaches to work off of.
“If they can use one room, they can use them all,” he says. “That wasn’t necessarily the case in the past as each room had its own system. All systems, including Biamp, have been in place from this building since day one. We didn’t have many audio capabilities in our old building. Having audio available in all parts of the building has enhanced the coaching experience.”
Day says that even though AudiaFLEX and Nexia CS allow the complex to function at a high level of efficiency, the ongoing challenge for the university is keep up with the evolving technology.
“Technology is an ever-changing beast,” he says. “Our biggest challenge is staying on the forefront of technological advances. The day you purchase and install the latest and greatest is the day that something new is released. You always have to stay on top of it.”
Advice For Your Digital Audio Platform
For colleges looking to install their own digital audio platform, Day recommends establishing what your college’s needs are. He says some colleges may not need as elaborate of a platform as the University of Oregon needed.
“Do what’s best for your specific situation,” he says. “It’s great to see what others have done, but what may work for one, doesn’t necessarily mean it works for all.”
Use the right guys
Kawasaki says the key to a successful install is making sure your institution partners with the most skilled integrators.
“It requires a pretty significantly skilled integrator to make that all come together,” he says. “When it comes to choosing an integrator, make sure they have a demonstrated track record. The main thing is to have people on staff who really know how your system works and have enough experience with it that when they’re getting enough last minute changes in this room and that room, you have someone on staff who can say, “yeah, I know how we’re going to do that,” and can visualize it while sitting in those design review meetings.”
Use old bones
Boyd says that colleges looking to install a similar audio system should make use of an existing infrastructure.
“That can really work to their advantage,” he says. “They can have a larger system and they can share and collaborate sources more readily.”
Day says that flexibility with your college’s technology needs is a good tool to have, especially since technology is always changing.
“Technology will change,” he says. “Be ready to change with it.”
Use your technology for good
Day says that colleges should keep in mind that technology should be used to help its missions and goals. If a project is hindering a college from moving forward and achieving its needs, stress will skyrocket.
“Remember technology should make life easier and not harder,” he says. “Technology that can’t be utilized and put to good use is pointless.”