The San Antonio Water System (SAWS) is a public utility owned by the City of San Antonio. Since the formation of SAWS in 1992, San Antonio has been recognized nationally for its novel conservation efforts and proactive water management planning.
The Tech Decision
Due to the nature of the SAWS board meetings and the legal requirements involved, the A/V system performance and reliability is essential. The A/V Systems have been installed and operational in all areas for almost a year, with no problems.
This project was based on an RFP (Request for Proposal), in which the bidding integrators were given a basic Scope of Services required for the project and instructed to “design” the best solution as possible within the SAWS specified budget. There was also a pre-bid meeting in which they were able to look at the existing analog systems in each area. Other than that, the design and equipment selection was up to the integrator.
DDS-AV designed, installed and programmed a solution that provided the SAWS Board a very powerful, yet easy to use system.
Fortunately, DDS-AV has had the opportunity to develop a very good relationship with SAWS over the past 10 years by providing quality system installations for several SAWS projects. There has been a level of trust developed over time. Even though this Boardroom Digital Upgrade project was formally bid, the way the bid was structured, it allowed SAWS to select the firm that provided the “best value”, which they deemed to be DDS-AV. SAWS was impressed with the proposed system design and felt it best met their requirements.
DDS-AV coordinated closely with the SAWS team before, during and after the project via scheduled project meetings to go over progress and next steps. Once the installation was completed, scheduling SAWS Personnel Training sessions was essential. DDS-AV performed several in-depth hands-on training sessions for SAWS personnel. Once they became familiar with the system, they were able to use it very naturally, which was a huge factor for them.
The connection between SAWS and DDS-AV remains strong to this day. There is a five year SLA in place that allows the ability to maintain and care for the system via scheduled Preventative Maintenance Visits.
This project involved replacing old analog systems in several spaces with new digital equipment and then providing the ability for all areas to interact with each other.
The A/V Systems in the Boardroom, Executive Conference Room, Control Room and Cafeteria are all interconnected via a Crestron DM 16×16 Matrix Switcher. Content can be originated and distributed to and from any room.
The new Boardroom System includes a MediaVision Voting/Conferencing System, with built-in microphones and speakers. Each board member also received a new 22″ HD monitor.
There are five Vaddio Roboshot 30 cameras strategically installed in the Boardroom for image magnification and recording/streaming. Also, there are two 70-inch NEC monitors installed behind the dias for the public to view. A Biamp Tesira DSP Mixer was installed to provide both sound reinforcement and an audio feed for the required recording/streaming system. There is a Crestron Control System with two touchscreens included for integrated control of the equipment in the Boardroom.
The Executive Conference Room system included a ceiling mounted Barco HD projector along with a DaLite motorized HD screen and HDMI connections at the table. Two Crestron Touchscreens are also installed for control convenience.
The cafeteria system upgrade included a new audio system, a new Creston touchscreen, and a feed from the Boardroom for overflow participation.
The majority of the equipment for all spaces is housed in the Control Room, which is located between the Boardoom and Executive Conference Room. The Control Room also includes the equipment needed to meet the production requirements as identified in the bid specs. The requirements included the ability to record/archive/stream all Board meetings, as well as the ability to overlay graphics on video sources, so we installed a Newtek Tricaster Production Switcher. This switcher performs in both live production and post-production modes as needed.
The project involved Digital A/V System upgrades to the existing analog A/V systems in the 4th floor Boardroom, an adjacent Executive Conference Room, and a Cafeteria on the 1st floor. The room systems are designed to operate in independent and/or combined modes.
Board meeting content is required to be sent to the Executive Conference Room and the Cafeteria on the 1st floor for overflow participation. A production system is also installed to help fulfill SAWS legal requirements to record/archive their meetings and make them available for public viewing via the internet. They also stream their board meetings live on the SAWS website. Finally, there was a five-year Service/Maintenance Program required for this project.
One unique feature of the system is the small-form factor ETC lighting instruments installed to properly illuminate the Dias and Board Members. The inherent room lighting was bad and not suited for video cameras. The ETC instruments were installed very inconspicuously in the ornate ceiling – they were not noticeable, yet they provided excellent lighting coverage as needed.
This project required some creative thoughts and ideas to get all involved systems installed and operational in the required timeline. The main goal was to provide SAWS with a powerful, yet easy to use system. The user interface had to be very intuitive. By integrating a Crestron Control System and a Taiden MediaVision Voting / Conferencing System, we were able to deliver a Voting System Interface that was extremely reliable and easy to use.
The system design had to allow intuitive operation by both the Board Members and the SAWS staff that run the Board meetings from the Control Room. There are several systems in operation at the same time performing different tasks – all transparent to the SAWS Board.
The client was very pleased at the outcome of the project. Even though there were challenges to overcome in order to meet the required deadline, DDSAV got it done. SAWS was able to conduct their first Board Meeting with the new systems as scheduled.
The new system was far superior to the older system they were accustomed to. The old voting system did not work properly, they were not able to record or stream meetings at all, and the control system touchscreens were non-functional for the most part.
The new Crestron Touchscreen graphics truly blew them away. Not only were the touchscreens very intuitive, but by incorporating water themed back grounds, they were beautiful as well. At the end of the project, SAWS was completely satisfied. DDS-AV had met and/or exceeded the expectations of SAWS. They were able to easily conduct Board Meetings properly and legally, which they had not been able to do with the previous system, so they were thrilled.