Case Study: Metropolitan Electricity Authority, Thailand

Hurrairah bin Sohail discovers how Mahajak deployed AV systems for a government installation where ensuring complete control across a range of rooms and spaces was a prime requisite.

Watthanawipat Building, the headquarters of Metropolitan Electricity Authority’s [MEA] premises in Bangkok, Thailand, spans three buildings which feature a range of spaces from an auditorium, meeting rooms, seminar rooms and conferencing suites. It fell to Mahajak to deploy and commission AV systems for these spaces as the integrator for the project.

The wide scope of works meant that the AV portion of the project commenced in 2018 and was completed in the middle of 2019. Yodpol Kaewsuttha, sales manager project at Mahajak, gives some idea regarding Mahajak’s involvement with the project: “Mahajak served as the system integrator for this project and our job was to make sure that the audio, video, control and lighting requirements of the client were met completely.”

Starting with the façade of the building, Mahajak has supplied an outdoor LED display. Measuring 13m wide and approximately 2m high, ESD Lumen 16mm pixel pitch LED tiles have been paired with RGBlink videowall processors to create the display.

Kaewsuttha says: “The outdoor LED has quite a high resolution. Text and pictures can be seen clearly at least 30m away from the installation point. The screen can show animations, slide, shows, videos, graphics, moving characters all with true colour. The structure for the LED display was done by the main contractor and from there it was easy for us to finish the installation.”

The largest space inside the Watthanawipat Building, MEA’s premises, is an auditorium that can seat 216 people. AV systems have been chosen according to the premium stature of the space. Kaewsuttha goes into detail: “This auditorium is the heart of Watthanawipat Building, MEA. The audio system is used for a variety of functions. Line array loudspeakers provide equal levels of loudness and clear sound to both the front and rear seats and support multi-functional operations.”

JBL Vertec series line array speakers and a JBL subwoofer are installed together with JBL AC series and JBL ASB series speakers. Additional JBL PRX series units are installed to function as stage monitor. Crown amplifiers and BSS Blu DSP complete the audio system. Shure QLXD series microphones are used for audio input.

A Panasonic 11,000 lumens and two Panasonic 5,000 lumens projectors provide visuals onto motorised Draper projection screens. Video is transmitted over IP with AMX SVSI encoders and decoders in tandem with Cisco switchers.

The video system required a rejig and Kaewsuttha details: “Because the conversations and discussions about the AV system design for the MEA project began more than three years ago, the initial idea was to use HDBaseT for video transmission. However, as we got closer to starting the work for AV systems, video over IP became much more mature. So, we recommended the AMX SVSI solution to the client and told them how it will decrease the burden of maintenance and also make them 4K ready and they decided to go for it.”

Stage lighting for the auditorium comprises appropriate fittings such as Martin Moving Head, Martin Mac Quantum Profile, Par LED, Fresnel and Profile. The audio, video and lighting systems in the auditorium serve as a template for the design of the AV systems across the Watthanawipat Building and its spaces. SVSI provides video transmission over IP and BSS Blu-Link is employed for audio transport. The endpoints for audio and video change to reflect the needs of the spaces.

MEA meeting space

Three seminar rooms that can be used individually or in combined mode illustrate the point. JBL CBT series speakers provide audio in case of split room usage. A JBL VRX series line array system, with left and right hangs, and a JBL STX series subwoofer can be called upon when the spaces are merged and used as one whole.

Regarding further audio provisions, Kaewsuttha says: “The system is completed with the Shure QLXD, a wireless microphone system with antenna distribution to increase efficiency for transceivers during the meetings or events. As this room serves as a multi-functional room, Soundcraft Si Performer series is used for the seminar rooms as well.”

A Panasonic 11,000 lumens projector provides visuals on a 300-in Draper projection screen, Two Panasonic 7,000 lumens projectors together with two 230-in motorised Draper projection screens along with four portable LED TVs are also available.

Smaller meetings rooms required conference microphone systems so Mahajak chose the Bosch CCS series discussion system. Panasonic 3,500 lumens projectors with a 106-in Draper projection screens handle visuals. Retractable motorised screens, 24-in in size, are also provided. In the larger MOC room, Bosch DCN series conference systems are used. Kaewsuttha says: “We needed to provide a digital system that could deliver voting during meetings and we chose the Bosch DCN as the most suitable product for the job.”

Interestingly, the MOC room also features a 3x3 narrow bezel videowall comprising Samsung 46-in panels as its main display. Sony CCTV cameras and system are also deployed to record the meetings.

Poly hardware is used to provide videoconferencing. Kaewsuttha says: “While we are seeing a trend towards soft codecs, especially in the corporate sector, hardware-based videoconferencing is still relevant. The MEA has been using Poly videoconferencing and it was something that they wanted to continue with to ensure compatibility with the existing systems.”

A core requirement for the Watthanawipat Building, MEA project was to ensure that the end user had a central monitoring and control system. The selection of AMX SVSI to provide video over IP transmission and BSS Blu-Link for transporting audio meant that AV signals could be centralised. AMX NX series processors, AMX MKP series eight button panels and Apple iPads are provided across the three buildings and spaces to help provide control for the AV systems.

Kaewsuttha says: “The control programming for this project was very extensive. First of all, the size and scale of the project meant that there were a lot of spaces where control was required. From the motorised projection screens, motorised displays, lighting, audio options to the video across the different spaces, Mahajak had to ensure that the end user could control all these AV systems without any complications.”

Kaewsuttha believes that Mahajak hit the mark: “We have central monitoring in a control room from where all the AV systems can be controlled. The Cisco switch is situated there, and all the relevant software is run on virtual machines. End users always need manpower to take care of AV systems, but with centralised control the AV systems are easy to maintain and Mahajak is there to provide support when needed.”

MEA also wanted a comprehensive central monitoring and control system to manage and monitor the different spaces. AMX RMS was used to provide this. Kaewsuttha says: “The central monitoring and control system was the most challenging part of the project. This was one of the first times we were using AMX RMS. Since this is a remarkable government building, we had to be mindful of security and completely understand their requirements to ensure that the final system was according to their specifications.”

To conclude, Kaewsuttha says: “Mahajak has a long history and expertise when it comes to hardware and software deployment. Nowadays, we are focusing on human resource development to increase IT knowledge and this applies for all our jobs.”

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