University of Bolton
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Over the course of 2017, the University of Bolton has worked to expand its campus and enhance its student experience. As part of this, the University added two new state-of-the-art buildings: the National Centre for Motorsport Engineering (NCME) and the Institute of Management.
In the construction of the £10m new buildings, the University’s core aim was to attract new students as well as retain existing ones. It needed to make sure it was giving students the best possible learning experiences. As such, it had to consider technologies that could enable new and attractive styles of learning, such as collaborative and blended learning. The audio visual solutions needed had to be befitting of the building to be installed in. With sponsorship from F1 and Bentley and the University being the number 1 Gaming University in the UK, the AV had to have the WOW factor.
The Project and Brief
Ian Moth, Audio Visual Manager for the University of Bolton commissioned the audio visual project with the focal point of the build and project being a purpose built national centre for motorsport and engineering with an open forecourt displaying super cars on Dean Road. Large areas of glazing would showcase the motorsport activities taking place within the building.
The facility would be a 2 story building hosting 13 teaching spaces. The University of Bolton needed to make sure it was incorporating the latest trends in education. One of these innovations is the replacement of traditional ‘one-way’ lectures with more interactive teaching methods that encourage deeper student engagement and understanding. The University needed solutions that could support active, collaborative learning on a wide variety of devices.
In short, the University of Bolton wanted a unique solution which could make its student experiences and approach to learning stand out against the rest.
The Solution and Installation
Universal AV were selected as preferred AV integrator after working closely with the university and varying manufacturers to show a variety of products, so the university could see which product would best suit their specific needs.
The University of Bolton needed technology which was impressive to see in action, but also easy to use by students and lecturers alike. The University worked closely with Universal AV to stress test solutions and found that Sony was the ideal provider for the University when looking at integrating the latest technology into its new buildings, thanks to an impressive range of education solutions designed to encourage collaboration including the Vision Exchange active learning technology.
National Centre for Performance Engineering (Cape)
Universal AV provided a variety of equipment for the different spaces, with 14 x 85” Sony LFD’s for the teaching spaces. The screens were selected due to their 4K capabilities and built in android 6. This was important as the University are striving to work with Android technology wherever possible as opposed to PC’s in classrooms.
Airtame Solutions were installed on each of the screens to provide wireless connection, this can be controlled over the cloud which again was imperative for the University as it would enable them to link Dean Road with their Farnworth site 2 miles away.
Display note was selected as the mirroring solution with 350 licenses – providing all students with access.
Digital signage was being installed on 3 floors, with 6 x65” Sony Screens with built in android, which would be run by ONELAN digital signage solution which the university already uses as standard.
The solution for Bolton Central was very similar to that provided for the CAPE building. 15 Screens were installed throughout classroom spaces, and 5 Digital Signage Screens were put in the open spaces within the Cafe.
The building also hosted an executive board room, with a TeamMate height adjustable trolley and a Crestron Mercury conferencing solution. A lecture theatre was fit with a Sony Ultra Short Throw Projector due to ceiling restrictions and a collaboration room with 10x teammate tables and 10 x 43” Sony Bravia Screens were used with Sony vision exchange solution.
Universal AV worked closely with project teams from Bolton and Sony to a carefully scripted timetable to ensure the new building could be opened on time for the academic year, and wow students and dignitaries alike at its grand opening. The solution chosen and installed provided the University with system that exceeded all requirements and expectations.
The University installed Vision Exchange as part of the project due to it being scalable, flexible and easy to configure. Vision Exchange allows students at the University of Bolton to work collaboratively, mirroring their own smart phones, tablets or laptops to a group screen. The lecturer can manage the session by monitoring each group’s content and sharing on the main screen for further discussion. This was integrated with Sony’s UbiCast offering, an easy-to-use lecture capture solution that lets educators create and share rich media video for online learning, covering every workflow of producing and delivering pro-quality video content, from recording and editing to publishing, managing and user analytics.
“Sony was chosen because of its high quality and great legacy within the AV market. Reaction since the installation has been phenomenal. The teachers and educators have been extremely impressed by the high-quality images, especially when it came to viewing true 4K content on the 4K BRAVIA professional displays” says Ian Moth, IT Desktop Support Team Leader at University of Bolton. “The new tech has brought a lot of positivity to the staff, especially at a time when the public sector is under many pressures.”
Compared to its competitors, Sony was able to rise to the task at a lower price-point, meaning that it was most cost-effective. In addition, the University felt that Sony had a close working relationship with their integrator Universal AV. This made Bolton confident that their partnership could deliver the right solutions which address their challenges.
“The education sector is hugely important to Sony Professional. We want to bring products and solutions to the market which enhance students’ experiences and transform spaces into state of the art learning environments. We are very happy to work with a forward-thinking institution such as University of Bolton which puts the student experience at the centre of everything it does,” says Jason Huggins, channel account manager at Sony Professional Solutions Europe.