Client: Academy School District 20
Project: Upgrade the audio and visual capabilities in a large multipurpose room to simplify use,
enable Microsoft Teams, and support remote participation and presentation.
Project participants: Audio-Technica, Lambda Audio Visual, The Farm AV, Academy School District 20
A busy Colorado school district
Academy School District 20 is one of the largest school districts in Colorado. It contains 40 schools and serves 26,000 students. Shelley Kooser, CIO for the district, wanted to improve the meeting technology in a large multipurpose space at the district office. The client reached out to Lambda Audio Visual to improve the meeting experience for both remote and in-person users.
Academy School District 20
A need for better audio and hybrid options
Meetings in the multipurpose room suffered from poor audio quality, could not accommodate remote presenters, and required the support of two technical team members who had other job responsibilities. They wanted to improve the audio, simplify the user experience, and ensure the room system worked with Microsoft Teams, their primary collaboration platform.
Lambda Audio Visual is a long-term provider for the district’s audio visual needs, so the district CIO asked them to provide technology that worked correctly, delivered better audio and video, and was easier to use with better control systems.
Audio-Technica Engineered Sound® (ES) Wireless
The client liked the results of a previous project for a boardroom that incorporated Microsoft Teams. The new project’s multipurpose room holds around 180 people, and the space is mainly used for teacher in-service trainings, district events, and parent events.
The client wanted Lambda Audio Visual to bring the new multipurpose room up to par with the boardroom. They started by asking the client about their goals for the space. These included flexible use, Microsoft Teams integration, routable video, full audio coverage in the ceiling speakers, and microphones throughout the room. The integrator determined the space needed a completely new system, and they proposed the Audio-Technica Engineered Sound® (ES) Wireless.
Ryan Durbin, Owner of Lambda Audio Visual, said his company trusts Audio-Technica products and appreciates their affordability. “We love Audio-Technica, and they've been a really good partner for us. So we try to go to them first…. We just know that the equipment works really well,” he added.
District 20 is a valued and high-profile client for Lambda Audio Visual. Durbin added, “This is their biggest multipurpose room in the district building, and they really trust us to deliver every single time on these solutions. So we went with something that we just knew would work.”
Engineered Sound® Wireless System
A DECT wireless system
Even though the ES Wireless solution was new to Lambda Audio Visual at the time, they thought it would be a great fit for the project. The client wanted flexible microphone capabilities, and the ES Wireless allows them to easily use a combination of desktop, handheld, and lavalier microphones. The room can accommodate moving presenters, remote presenters, audience Q&A, and other types of collaboration.
The technologies also helped alleviate concerns about interference and radio noise due to security radios in the building, as well as the nearby Air Force Academy and churches that use wireless technology.
The Audio-Technica solution features automatic frequency coordination and up to 96 simultaneous channels so the client doesn’t need to hassle with scanning frequencies. They also don’t have to worry about issues like dropouts caused by range issues.
The ES Wireless installation process was extremely smooth. Integration time was significantly lowered due to the ease of installing the receiver. The project required only one cable from the receiver to the antenna. If the client needs more microphones in the future, it’s easy to add another receiver in the ceiling without the need for RF and power cables.
The receivers are the “coolest part” of the system, according to Durbin. “We're working in a drop ceiling environment. We use processors that have Dante integration. And so we can throw this thing up in the ceiling in the middle of the room and we know it's not going to be interfered with by anything else with all of its DECT frequency technology. And so we can put it up there, we can run one cable to it and mount it on a tile bridge and it works so easily.”
“I was impressed how easily it fired up,” said Durbin. “And I was impressed how easily we could change options like push-to-talk, push-to-mute, set [indicator] colors, things like that. It was really one of those pleasant surprises where we just didn't have much to worry about with that system.”
Important features that influenced their technology choice for this project include:
- Dante integration
- Wireless capabilities
- The receiver’s low profile
- Battery life and charging integration
It’s easy for users or support teams to forget to charge systems during breaks, but that’s not an issue with the ES Wireless. The best-in-class battery life offers all-day operation on a full charge (up to 22 hours for the boundary mic and up to 35 hours for the handheld mic). Users can plug the receiver’s built-in quick-charge battery into a standard USB-C cable and keep using it while it’s plugged in.
Better collaboration and sound
Users now get more use out of the room and have better collaboration experiences–while needing less support. Microsoft Teams is also automatically integrated with the system for more flexible meeting options.
Academy School District 20 Multipurpose Room
The room’s new solution:
● Is more cost-effective
● Requires less staff
● Is easy to use
● Needs only one cable from the network switch
● Is wireless so users can put them away at the end of the day
● Has more than enough battery life
|● Is easily rechargeable
● Provides a remote presenter option
● Providers better audio
● Requires a smaller rack
● Enables Microsoft Teams Live for public events
● Is “set it and forget it” for frequency space
Training users on the product was also simpler and faster than with other solutions. The mics are easy to turn on and off, mute, and charge. Anyone who wants to talk can just pick up a mic and press the button. Bright lights indicate whether it’s muted or not, and users don't have to worry about range.
The first meeting with the new system went smoothly. Users were happy with how easy it is to use the equipment, and Kooser said the audio in the room had never been as good. In fact, the client was so satisfied that they asked for the same microphones in their atrium.
If users frequently run into technical problems in your meeting rooms, check out Audio-Technica's ES Wireless.