Consortium of College and University Media Centers


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From RGB to IP
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About this session:

For over 10 years, Harvard Business School has used a centralized routing system to deliver audio and video signals to and from classrooms across campus. The capability of a fully matrixed system connecting the teaching spaces has been critical in providing faculty with new and innovative way to deliver content using HBS’s case based method. The routing infrastructure began as an analog RGB system that eventually evolved to a SDI based system which allowed for higher resolutions of video. The current system is approaching its lifecycle, showing signs of failure and will eventually no longer be supported by the manufacturer. With so much dependency on the ability to send and receive signals across campus, the HBS Media Services team set out to find a solution to replace the aging system without losing existing functionality.

The team was faced with an initial decision of replacing the current infrastructure with a similar SDI router or rethink the entire system. While investigating different options as an alternative solution that would meet our needs, we became interested in further exploring the idea of transmitting AV signals over IP. On one hand, maintaining an SDI based system would be much easier to implement and at a lower cost but the added benefits of an IP based system made it an attractive option.

As an emerging technology, IP over AV systems are still relatively rare in the Higher Education settings giving us very little references to go on. Not only are there a limited number of manufactures creating systems that would meet our needs but, we discovered that relatively few integrators in the country were familiar with implementation these systems in a manner that we required for our campus. Other challenges included justifying the high cost of replacing our existing infrastructure to accommodate for an IP based system and planning this transition without any down time to our current routing ability.

After an exhaustive search, an Evertz AV based system was selected as the solution. A qualified integrator was also selected after the project went out to bid and the planning for implementation began in Fall of 2015. After securing funding, a phased approach stretching over four years was decided upon. Phase one of the installation is scheduled for June of 2016 and will be complete by August 2016.

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About the presenter:

Justin Fowler, Harvard Business School

Justin Fowler is an Audiovisual Design Engineer for the Harvard Business School’s Media Services Department in Boston, Massachusetts. Justin acts as a technical liaison for HBS, working closely with HBS key stakeholders and AV contractors to engineer and design complex campus-wide AV systems. He is involved in new builds and upgrades from the initial walkthrough and scoping process all the way through to project completion and operational transition. He also acts as third tier support for system troubleshooting. Before working at HBS Justin started his Higher Ed career at St. Joseph’s University in Philadelphia where he also played a similar role. During his time at SJU he earned a Master’s Degree in Instructional Technology. Prior to his career in Higher Ed Justin worked for numerous commercial integrators installing AV systems in corporate, educational, and house of worship environments. Justin spends his spare time enjoying his family, homebrewing, and playing music.