Case Study: University of Phayao, Thailand

University Main Image
View of the main lecture theatre at University of Phayao, Thailand from the back of the hall.

What happens when an integrator has the capability to design and deliver AV and IT systems? Hurrairah bin Sohail finds out by examining the University of Phayao installation.

Located in the Phayao province of Thailand, near the city of Chiang Rai, the University of Phayao was established in 2010 and offers a range of degrees across multiple disciplines. Befitting a modern centre of learning and education, the university invested in technology to help it fulfil its function and duty to students.

Lannacom was engaged in the capacity of AV and IT integrator by the University of Phayao for a design and build project. The integrator was given a wide remit to help the university achieve its aims and objectives.

Teerachet Nantsupawat, CEO of Lannacom, talks about the special circumstances which framed the design phase of the project: “We have worked in the education sector and have experience with delivering various systems for universities, but this project was different. A unique aspect of the University of Phayao is that it is not next to any of the major Thai cities and the university is always actively looking to attract students to enrol. They wanted the AV and IT systems to play a part in attracting students. So, the pressure on technology to deliver with two projectors mounted side was greater than usual.” by side and showing the content The vice president of planning in a way that could be easily seen for the University of Phayao adds: from anywhere in the space.”

“It was a priority for the University Audio over in the main lecture of Phayao to be a leader in terms theatre is provided by Renkus- of the IT technology deployed. Heinz column speakers. Smaller What happens when an integrator has the capability to design and deliver AV and IT systems? Hurrairah bin Sohail finds out by examining the University of Phayao installation.

We invested a significant part of the budget to ensure this outcome. Aspects of IT such as WiFi coverage and high-speed internet were at the top of our list. Access and connectivity were important. We also invested heavily in AV systems.”

The results of Lannacom’s and the university’s efforts are most visible in the main lecture theatre, which seats 1,200 people, and four smaller lecture theatres, which can seat 600 people each.

Visuals in the main lecture theatre are delivered by a couple of Panasonic 17,000 lumens brightness projectors casting visuals on two Draper motorised screens. The smaller lecture theatres also make use of projection technology.

Nantsupawat details: “The main lecture theatre is quite wide. Therefore, viewing angles had to be considered when we were choosing the display technology. For this reason, we chose to go column speakers can be found in the smaller lecture theatres.

A number of QSC K10 portable speakers are provided along with Audio-Technica wireless and wired handheld microphones.

Nantsupawat says: “Once again the wide space of the lecture theatre posed problems when it came to audio. We had to make sure that every seat had good SPL and decibel levels. To do this we chose columns speakers with good dispersion and the end results are great. Audio is able to reach the back without the need of any reinforcement, so we didn’t use any ceiling speakers.” Lecturers are provided with a range of wired connectivity options in the form of wall plates that support HDMI and VGA. Wireless connectivity is provided with the help of Kramer Via.

The provision of wireless connectivity showcases how the AV and IT expertise of Lannacom dovetail. Nantsupawat details: “Wireless communication between the teacher and the students was something that had to be implemented. We chose Kramer Via and at the same time paid special consideration to the wireless network to ensure optimal performance.”

He continues: “We have at least 16 access points for wireless connectivity. This is to ensure that when students connect to the wireless network with their mobile devices they can communicate. This is a big space and connectivity problems could have been an issue. Our IT background helped eliminate this problem before it even arose. We split traffic from the users and the lecturers across access points so that the burden can be shared.”

Another aspect where it is evident Lannacom’s IT skills helped was deploying an efficient recording and VOD system for the University of Phayao. Nantsupawat says: “The Extron SMP-351 is used for recording lectures from the theatres. But the streaming component of the system lies in the IT domain.

“We designed and delivered the entire content streaming and video on demand system for the client,” adds Nantsupawat.

Lannacom’s AV prowess is showcased by how the signals are transmitted and how the AV systems are controlled.

An Extron Crosspoint matrix switch sits at the heart of the video system in the control room of the main lecture theatre. The four smaller lecture theatres feature an Atlona switcher each. These Atlona switchers allow for the rooms to be used in a standalone manner when needed or required.

The four Atlona switchers are linked to the Extron Crosspoint via fibre. This means that the University of Phayao has the option to use them in any desired configuration. Video can be streamed from any theatre with any room serving as the location of broadcast content.

Audio routing is handled by a QSC Core 500i DSP in the main lecture theatre while the smaller lecture theatres feature a QSC Core 250i DSP each. Interestingly, control over the AV systems is provided by the same processors.

Nantsupawat says: “We chose the QSC DSPs for their audio quality. But the control features of the Q-Sys platform were something that we were trying out for one of the first time. The underlying concept of control for the QSC processors is different. Our IT team had to learn the QSC system from scratch and had to get to grips with a new language and its syntax. But once we learned these skills it was smooth sailing.”

AV and IT acting in concert will become more important in the education vertical as time progresses in Thailand according to vice president of planning for the University of Phayao.

In conclusion, he says: “The student demographics in Thailand are changing when it comes to education. There is a greater focus on retraining in the country and we are seeing older people enrol in universities. Students that are also professionals who are working do not always have the time to come to classes on campus. In this scenario technology becomes essential. Universities need to be able to record educational content from the classroom and provide it to students on demand via online platforms. This can only be made possible with both AV and IT systems together.”