St. John’s University Media Arts & Design Lab + Technology Commons are interactive environments designed to help students develop the skills they need to enter their respective fields with a considerable advantage. IVCi partnered with St. John’s to understand their needs for these spaces and provide unique solutions to fit them.
The Tech Decision
This project began with collaboration between Eric Alvarado, St. John’s University Director of Academic Technology, and Brian Hayes & Heather Sallese from IVCi.
IVCi has had a loyal, successful, long standing relationship with St. John’s, and when St. John’s began planning for the build, working with IVCi was an instinctive choice.
IVCi and St. John’s have the type of partnership where upcoming projects are discussed well before its executed; feedback is received from the end user, and IVCi helps the customer find the correct path to take for the project.
Because of IVCi’s partnership with St. John’s, this project was treated more as the next step in creating and building a valuable addition to St. John’s University’s collegiate campus and student body, as opposed to a brand-new media arts technology project.
The IVCi Solution
The Media Arts & Design Lab installation took place over the course of 12 weeks from start to finish.
Because of IVCi’s long standing relationship with St. John’s University, implementation was fairly seamless, however there were a few challenges.
Working with outside general contractors and IVCi’s sub-contractor to coordinate the install proved to be a bit challenging, as there are many parts to coordinate among all parties involved in the process.
Another challenge involved equipment delivery; midway through the project, the customer wanted to add two additional ceiling mounted projectors for the front wall.
This created an issue with getting equipment in time to meet the completion deadline, however it was resolved and the project was completed on time.
It was IVCi’s first time working with the new Crestron NVX networking switching system in an installation. To resolve that challenge, IVCi brought in a Crestron engineer that came to the site and worked with IVCi to make sure the system worked correctly.
The Technology Commons installation took place over the course of 5 weeks and had similar challenges to the Media Arts & Design Lab install. Coordinating with the general contractor and making sure equipment was delivered on time were small challenges, but nothing that could not be resolved easily.
Both the Media Arts technology & Design Lab and the Technology Commons came with their challenges, but all were resolved and the spaces were not just completed on time, but at the same time as one another, and students were able to use both spaces upon completion without any problems.
Each space has multiple control options. The standard interface has presets, and the advance feature set has full matrix routing from any source to any display in the Crestron NVX system.
The value of the system increases as additional spaces are added. The lectern is also set up in the middle of the spaces among the students, creating an immersive experience.
The spaces can also be controlled from multiple locations: a control interface in the rack location, online control access, and a primary control point on the ADA teaching lectern. The lectern has multiple technology connections as well.
The system is designed to support multiple end-user workstations with the ability for content to be presented and also shown as signage to the campus.
Student efforts are displayed on the exterior, controlled by a scheduling timer.
The burden of system management and maintenance was a concern for St. John’s.
IVCi ensured all technology could be easily managed both locally and remotely, essentially negating the need for lamp and filter changes, reporting network connectivity back to a central management system and showing equipment status’ seamlessly.
The Media Arts & Design Lab is a well-lit and modern space utilizing the latest in software, end user workstations, and a core system that supports images up to 4K (Ultra High Definition) at 60HZ 4:4:4.
The Crestron NVX has the lowest AVoIP lag in the marketplace with no subsampling, limited expansion by the network switch, web-based control and asset management, a single part number for the transceiver, onboard scaling and USB 2.0 support.
This system is entirely unique, as other college campus nationwide have yet to acquire this type of technology for this purpose.
This space ties into the Technology Commons, which is also harnessing the AVoIP Crestron NVX network, allowing both spaces to be opened up for collaboration and sharing content from one space to the next, creating a full matrix routing system.
The technology used in the Technology Commons involves multiple student workstations which are connected via AVoIP. This in addition to local sources, dedicated room PCs, and a combination of LED display and projector technology.
The NVX core system also allows for phone matrix routing of audio and video signals.
Multiple displays within the space are designed not only for the students working in the lab, but for the faculty and students that pass by. Rear firing projectors on exterior glass projection film, high-bright displays for southern facing windows, and multiple high bright LED displays allow the student’s work to come alive, featuring audio that can be shared both internally and externally.
This allows student work to be shown to the rest of the campus as people pass by, which helps students develop and build their skills, as well as get immediate feedback.
The collaborative benefits of this system allow the student’s imagination to present itself on the surfaces surrounding them just as its intended.
“Our reaction to the completed project has been outstanding,” says Salvatore Frucci, audio technician at St. John’s University.
“The university’s community was overwhelmed with the functionality of both these rooms. Early on in the design of this space we originally had a Standard Crestron DM matrix spec’d out.
“As we were researching NVX we started to feel that these spaces would benefit with the flexibility of the NVX system. Having the NVX backbone in place will allow us to stream in/out the content from either room and send it anywhere on our University Network.
“This will allow us to view a Gaming PC in the tech commons in a larger space or a video wall in a lobby in another building. As E-sports develops we have flexibility to host events or reconfigure the AV in these spaces very easily.
“Also having the large format screens in the Tech commons has been very beneficial to the E-sports teams in their ‘training’ for tournaments. They can easily grab the image from any one of the 12 gaming stations and view it on the larger displays. This helps the coaches and trainers critique the players and help develop the teams.”
Overall, the customer has been highly satisfied with the project, and it has led to a lot of success with the student body.
The Media Arts & Design Lab and the Technology Commons are frequently used spaces for the students to create, enjoy their free time, collaborate with one another, and build the skills that they will be able to take with them to their future careers.
IVCi and St. John’s University will continue to work together to create new projects for the campus and build successful implementations.