When it came time to finding a audio conferencing solution, it needed to be extremely adaptable and future proof
As one of London’s premier conference venues and home to the Royal Society of Medicine (RSM), 1 Wimpole Street is steeped in excellence. Opened in 1912 by King George V and Queen Mary, the RSM uses the facility to provide postgraduate medical education and host forums for the exchange of information and ideas on the science, practice, and organization of medicine. Today, the building also serves as host to a range of corporate and individual events, from meetings and stylish receptions to press events and conferences. To stay on the forefront of the conferencing venue market, 1 Wimpole Street keeps abreast of the latest AV trends and continues to invest in cutting-edge technology to meet the needs of every event and enable success for all their clients.
Consisting of two buildings with three lecture theaters and 24 meeting spaces, the organization’s services are supported by a dedicated and experienced eight-person AV technology team. This team is responsible for overseeing the audio and video requirements of every event hosted at the venue including the lectures and meetings sponsored by the RSM. The organization takes pride in customizing the layouts of the meeting spaces to best satisfy the needs of each event. To do so, the tech team transitions each room up to three times a day, usually setting up a different microphone layout each time.
“My team spends 60 percent of their time supporting academic meetings and 40 percent supporting corporate events, the revenue of which supports the RSM’s work. It’s important to integrate solutions that will not only ensure our success as a conferencing venue, but meet the requirements of our RSM meetings as well,” said Kevin McLoughlin, audio visual manager at 1 Wimpole Street.
Because the needs of each event are unique and can require a completely new setup, the challenge was finding an audio solution flexible enough to serve the needs of academic lectures as well as the wide range of corporate events. For example, some corporate events might include a musical stage performance and offer space for attendees to dance. This requires furniture in the space to be moved, special lighting to be put in place, and AV equipment to be set up to support these activities. Or perhaps an event is broadcasting a live video stream, requiring a different kind of AV setup that properly captures the meaningful sounds in the room. An academic event for the RSM, on the other hand, might only need microphones on the stage or at a lectern to support the didactic delivery of information.
Furthermore the RSM lecture content also has another life online, supporting RSM’s e-learning curriculum. Both live and on-demand events earn attendees points toward their medical license requirements, so the solution had to ensure effective delivery through a high-quality audio experience.
“When it came time to finding a conferencing solution, it needed to be extremely flexible,” said McLoughlin. “We needed to be able to remove the mics quickly and to efficiently transition the room for whatever the requirements were for the next event taking place in that room. With this in mind, we didn’t want to hassle with cabled mics. If the furniture was going in or out, or there would be different number of people at the stage desk, this would allow us adapt to that quite easily. Before, when we were using cable mics, my team had to take the time to disconnect and derig those between events. It was a tedious and time consuming problem we had for quite a while.”
“The organization also uses dozens of radio mics, which present daily frequency and intermodulation interference problems that were always having to be solved. We experienced rogue cameramen using frequencies that clashed with ours, and since we are in a high-density RF area with a lot of nearby buildings using similar UHF devices, frequency management was always an issue.”
Solutions and Results
When searching for a solution that would support the flexibility the organization needed and resolve the frequency management issues, the AV manager remembered the praise many of his colleagues had given to Revolabs’ microphone solutions and to the company’s installation support and customer service. Further, he was already familiar with Revolabs from the company’s strong presence in AV user group meetings, where the company often presented its products and took feedback from the group.
“I knew that feedback changed the roadmap and development of their products accordingly,” said McLoughlin. “It was that kind of involvement with the end user that really impressed me and made me confident in the kind of support I would get from Revolabs as a manufacturer.”
Because the organization was in the process of transitioning to a digital system based around a Biamp® Tesira® audio video bridging (AVB) network, it was critical that the organization found solutions that could support the open technology standard.
With AVB, 1 Wimpole Street can leverage its Ethernet infrastructure to seamlessly and reliably deploy any AVB-enabled audio and video devices over the network without adding more cabling, programming, and management complexities to the workload. In short, it would allow the organization to quickly install any future technology with ease. With the Tesira backbone in place, the organization’s first priority was finding a microphone solution utilizing the new standard. The Revolabs Executive Elite were among a very short list of wireless microphone systems supporting the standard, making the solution an obvious choice for the room.
The installation was well supported by Revolabs, whose extensive knowledge of AVB was invaluable to the AV team and helped accelerate the deployment and shorten the learning curve. Now 1 Wimpole Street has an AVB network running across the building that connects to many of the facility’s DSP systems. The Revolabs microphones connect directly to the organization’s AVB switches, allowing the team to effortlessly deploy the microphones and scale the number in use at a moment’s notice.
“The feedback we’ve received from our users has been great. The ease of use and elimination of cables has improved our lecturers’ experience at the stage desk,” said McLoughlin. “For our technicians, the Revolabs wireless mics have allowed them to be more efficient transitioning the auditorium as well as seamlessly adapting to any changes that might need to happen mid-event. For example, if we have two or three extra speakers who join the panel abruptly, we just add those microphones to the stage desk without much involvement or loss of valuable session time.”
With the success and positive feedback from the Revolabs solutions, the organization is eager to deploy the same solution across all its auditoria at 1 Wimpole Street. Because of the flexibility, ease of use, and its ability to operate with AVB standards, the organization knew it would be a great asset in its other rooms.
“Revolabs pinpointed exactly where we wanted to go with our wireless mic solutions,” said McLoughlin. “We sell our venue to external clients 40 percent of the time, so it’s very important that we’re continuing to provide our corporate clients with cutting-edge technology. Having leading AV solutions like Revolabs’ wireless microphones is very attractive to those clients and certainly helps build our revenue as a conferencing venue.”
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