Founded in 1950 by famed retinal surgeon Charles L. Schepens, M.D., Schepens Eye Research Institute, Massachusetts Eye and Ear is one of the largest eye research institutes in the nation and an affiliate of Harvard Medical School. When the MEEI decided to upgrade their Starr Center to a a state-of-the-art video conferencing and collaboration space it turned to PSNI Affiliate HB Communications.
Leo Hill, Director of the Starr Center, described the goals of the project simply: “We wanted to modernize technology to provide a high-definition experience, as well as simplify the controls in the number of pieces of equipment that were involved.”
A User Friendly, Turn-Key Experience
The center is often rented by outside firms, so Hill wanted to provide end users a “user-friendly, turn-key” experience to meet their audio visual conferencing needs. Before the renovation, users were required to rent their own equipment and bring it to the Starr Center, often causing technological issues and additional costs on the back end. Providing a simple interface for users would eliminate those extra costs and create a more positive user experience.
The project presented some unique challenges that forced the HB team to “get creative”. Housed in what was once a movie theater, the Starr Center has very high ceilings and stadium seating for 250 people, and was already fitted with a curved projection screen that would not be replaced. Each seat needed to have the same ability to hear presenters and be heard during video or audio calls.
To manage both the high ceilings and the large audience, HB Communications provided an audio analysis of the space to determine the correct audio system components required. It was determined that Crestron’s operating system would be the best fit for the space and the scope of the project. HB built custom brackets to mount the necessary speakers, and installed microphones throughout the auditorium to create the ideal acoustic environment. An LCD projector installed in the space required special calibration to accommodate the size and curvature of the existing screen.
Hill is happy with the result. He consistently gets positive feedback from end users, presenters and audiences alike. They are impressed by both the ease of use of the space, and the superior collaboration experience the audio and video quality allows.
“The HB team was great,” said Hill. “They had a clear vision for the project, and were creative and positive throughout the entire process.”