Massachusetts Maritime Academy

Massachusetts Maritime Academy 

Emergency Operations Training Center Doubles as Academic Program and Working EOC

For more than 100 years, the Massachusetts Maritime Academy (MMA) has been preparing students for careers on land and sea. Their new Clean Harbors Emergency Operation Training Center (EOC) serves as an education center, a fully functional EOC and an event space to host events like Pan-Mass with more than 5,000 annual participants. MMA’s goal for the EOC was to create a multi-functional space capable of monitoring and managing any type of weather-related issue or natural disaster situation where multiple agencies are involved—a space that required the ability to share multiple sources of critical data to any display around the room, including a 2×4 video wall that sits front and center.  

The project consists of four spaces: the EOC, a master control room, the JIC (Joint Information Center conference room) and the ICP (Incident Command Post). There are also six huddle-type tables around the room enabling different agencies to easily interact. Due to an air conditioning unit installed over the main rack and a drain system to divert any potential water leaking into the rack, Diversified ran most of the cabling under the raised floor. The control room’s touch panel access can be controlled by as few as one or two people. Critical information can be shared with the surrounding screens and the video wall for heightened awareness and enhanced incident management. For class use, this provides information for robust discussion, exercises and real-world events. There is a single 55” interactive display mounted on a mobile motorized cart that an instructor can teach and demonstrate from as well as a lectern. A single Shure MXA-910 ceiling mic array within the EOC captures the entire rooms’ audio for either distance learning or a conference call. A Crestron NVX system was installed for its ability to have technology added to it as needed.  

With the ability to map nearly anything including hurricanes, evacuation times, traffic, drone footage, news releases and more, the EOC was designed to continually evolve with changing technology and is optimized for distance learning with the incorporation of cameras, microphones and video.

Pepperdine University

Pepperdine University

Distance Learning Technology Prepares Pepperdine University for Socially Distanced Semester

In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s no secret that the entire education industry is shifting its approach to the engagement and education of students. In the middle of the Spring 2020 semester, campuses were shut down and students and faculty alike had to adapt to a fully remote model and a new mindset for learning. No matter the platform used for these virtual experiences, challenges were abundant, and the variable of human connection was beginning to feel lost in the shuffle. Pepperdine University, a private research university with five locations across Southern California, knew they had to do something to prepare for distance learning in the Fall semester and sought to update their technology systems to accommodate this new normal. Most importantly, they sought to create environments that were easy to use, consistent across all campuses and flexible to accommodate for synchronous and asynchronous learning. Additionally, they knew that it would take a lot of research and ingenuity to get it right. So, as early as April, the University’s on-site AV team dug in to figure out what the classroom of the future would look like and what it would require.

“We have a very talented AV team, and we pride ourselves in staying one step ahead with frequent improvements to classroom technology,” says Jared Mukai, PhD and Manager of AV Technologies and Special Projects at Pepperdine. “Still, this unprecedented reality left us faced with the need to rethink the ‘old school’ way of facilitating meaningful classroom discussion. We had to adapt, and we had to do it quickly.”

Many universities like Pepperdine are implementing more permanent remote or hybrid learning solutions across their classrooms and seeking ways to provide the on-campus experience from a distance. As a result, the equipment needed to create such environments is in high demand and short supply. Anticipating this demand, Mukai’s team worked diligently to figure out what they would need to build hybrid distance learning classrooms and purchased that equipment as quickly as possible. By the end of June, the University had successfully procured cameras, microphones and computers for their new distance learning classrooms and was ready to install and deploy them.

In a typical year, Pepperdine practices a room refresh cycle at a rate of 20 percent, meaning about 40 classrooms receive new technology solutions. This year, however, the team was challenged with multiplying that refresh by five-fold and overhauling every single classroom across all locations in the span of just six weeks.

Having worked before with Diversified, a global technology solutions provider headquartered in Kenilworth, NJ, Mukai and his team engaged them once again to help bring their efforts to fruition and provide installation of the new equipment as well as integration services for new portable rack-based systems into existing classroom environments.

“With a project much larger than we’re used to and such a short timeline, the team at Diversified made us feel comfortable that it could not only be done but that it would also be done right,” comments Mukai.

The installation covered 166 rooms—74 undergraduate and 92 graduate classrooms. Each undergraduate room was equipped with a Panasonic 22x PTZ Camera, Shure QLXD Wireless Microphone System and P300 Digital Signal Processor as well as a PC that was pre-configured by Pepperdine to include Zoom and Panopto video conferencing solutions.

The graduate classrooms were equipped with the same hardware with the addition of new freestanding mobile equipment racks that accommodate the new equipment for distance learning. Each rack was fabricated in Diversified’s Anaheim facility and then delivered to the University and wired to connect with the equipment in the existing wall rack. Additionally, in the graduate rooms where a PC did not exist, Diversified provided AV system programming to add a PC input button for functionality with Extron TLP, MLC, or similar controllers.

“Our goal for the fall semester is to provide a simple, flexible, turn-key solution to connect our students to one another and to their professors,” adds Mukai. “We will continue to look for ways to improve the teaching and learning experience for those students who are unable to attend classes in-person.”

“As schools prepare themselves for educating in socially-distanced world, we are seeing higher education institutions evolve to a distance or hybrid learning model,” adds Marc Nutter, account executive at Diversified. “As they say, ‘Necessity is the mother of invention.’ Diversified and its partners are pivoting to solve today’s problems by leveraging new and existing technologies.”

Mukai concludes, “We are doing the best we can with what we know today but, what we know could change tomorrow. The technology solutions provided are giving us the flexibility to adapt as things evolve and deliver the best learning experiences possible for our student body.”


AV Network

Radford University

Radford University

Lecture Capture and Playback bring Behavioral Sciences to the Next Level

When Radford University needed a modern clinical observation and recording system for its new College of Humanities and Behavioral Sciences (CHBS) building, they turned to the team at Diversified. Intended to enhance the education process, the system needed to provide controlled access video as an instructional and research tool, allowing live observation or review of recordings as well as the ability to mark and add descriptions to specific points in videos as feedback to students. This would require integrated IP cameras, storage and control servers, talkback/bug-in-ear features and control software through a secure IP network, all while complying with HIPAA requirements.

Diversified designed and built a solution to include video capture cameras, video server recorders, control interface equipment and microphones across more than 20 rooms. The microphones are connected to the cameras in each room and synchronized for live view and recorded playback. Additionally, the team provided a toggle switch with an LED indicator wall plate in each space with dual purpose: a switch to start/stop recording and a “Kill Switch” to keep audio/video feeds from being seen by anyone connected to the server. System management software, equipped with user-based permissions and functionalities, is also included on the workstations within each observation room. Each user is granted access to only the features, functions and portions of the system to which they should have access, including live and recorded video viewing and editing.

Radford University’s CHBS is now home to an innovative application of secured video, collaborative interaction and data capture for the advancement of academic, clinical and research applications of its students.


Northwestern University

Northwestern, Kellogg School of Management

Enhancing Collaboration and Distance Learning for Management Students

The Kellogg School of Management Global Hub has over 100 AV-equipped rooms. Many are interconnected via a central Evertz MMA-10GE IP video system with a 360 x 360 EXE router as a backbone, including: 16 distance learning centers (large and small lecture halls), 6 seminar rooms, a divisible conference room, the Dean’s Boardroom, two large format public signage displays, AV operations NOC, a broadcast studio, and auditorium.

These interconnected spaces share a pool of resources which can be dynamically allocated via custom programmed resource scheduling and management system, based on an interconnection of Evertz VistaLink Pro, Microsoft Exchange, Cisco TMS, Series 25, and Crestron Fusion. The program ties together these existing software architectures and is run by the Kellogg team in the AV operations NOC, located inside the Global Hub.

The two flagship rooms are the Telepresence Learning Centers (TLC) – designed to emulate a Cisco Immersive Telepresence room. Each TLC utilizes 3 bonded Cisco SX80 codecs, edge-blended front and rear projection screens, a series of Panasonic cameras, and tabletop boundary mics so students feel as though they’re actually in the same room during Distance Learning sessions. All other TLC’s utilize the same core equipment with access to a single codec for Distance Learning. Audio transport throughout the building is handled by Dante enabled BSS DSPs.

Some of the other feature spaces include one large format (40’ wide) Leyard LED display and one 2×2 Panasonic LCD flat panel video wall matrix for digital signage; a broadcast studio with full cyc wall, production switcher, CG, broadcast cameras; and a multi-purpose auditorium that can be reconfigured depending on the size of the audience.

In addition to the Evertz system rooms, there are also 90 group study rooms, conference rooms, and design rooms. Each of these spaces has a huddle room configuration equipped with a 65” Panasonic flat panel display and Extron cable cubby / auto switcher for connectivity.


Modesto Junior College

Modesto Junior College

Offering Students New Methods of Learning Through Simulation and Video Recording

At Glacier Hall, the new Allied Health building for Modesto Junior College, the Medical Simulation Center is at the core of nursing education, offering students the chance to try new techniques on simulators rather than live patients. The Center includes four simulated hospital rooms, an observation room and a debriefing room.

In addition to patient simulators, the patient rooms each include three pan-tilt-zoom (PTZ) cameras and a ceiling-mounted microphone to record the exercises; a microphone and speaker so that the instructor, acting as the patient, can speak to the nurse; an LED monitor to display vital signs; and an intercom system that allows instructors and students to interact.

“It’s important to understand that, as interesting as the simulation exercises may be, it’s the debriefing where the real learning takes place,” explains Scotty Gonser, instructional support specialist for the district’s Allied Health department. Because the debriefings are so critical, they are recorded on video, along with the corresponding exercises. Students can review the instructor’s advice and their own reactions later, reinforcing learning.

Similarly, support staff records the lectures students attend, whether in person or via video. “The cohorts receive almost all classroom instruction via teleconferencing,” Gonser explains. “It saves them 113 miles of round-trip travel, making it possible for many to attend who otherwise couldn’t. And of course, all students have the benefit of reviewing recorded material.”

Gonser says the support he received from Diversified was a major factor in the success of the project. “The day before we had our grand opening, I had an issue with a microphone. I called the project manager and he had a technician waiting for me outside the building at 5 a.m.”

Based on these experiences, when the district opened a new Science Community Center at Modesto Junior College, which includes labs, lecture halls and a science museum, they trusted Diversified to deliver once again.