our new hybrid conference center

Last fall we toldhow our meeting rooms were re-equipped to make it more convenient to work in conditions when some people switched to remote work. And then we decided to create a new and beautiful conference room for ourselves: we equipped it with multimedia and engineering systems to create a space divided into isolated rooms, with a flexible control and broadcasting system. It is now very convenient to hold conferences, seminars and training sessions. I’ll tell you about what renovators of industrial buildings of the 20th century have to face, and how to make everything beautiful.

From valve factory to office complex

First, a little history to give you an idea of ​​what we had to work with. Our office is located next to the design factory “Flacon”. For about 100 years, small factories were located on the territory: first, a reinforcing plant founded under the tsar-priest, and then an experimental plant NIIKHIMMASH. The buildings were erected at different times, when there was a need for the next workshop or production and scientific building.

Since then, everything has changed: the complex of buildings with all their features, typical for the industrial architecture of their time, was mastered by different companies, mainly for offices.

We have lived in this complex for a long time. Since 2021, despite remote work, we have been undergoing a large-scale renovation of the office — we are creating a comfortable and modern space for employees and guests. And I am pleased that we have finally made for ourselves the same classy room that we have been making for customers for many years.

From a standard room to a powerful conference center

The last time the spacious room in which we decided to make a conference center was renovated ten years ago. Beauty, and even more so about the features of hybrid formats of work, were not thought at all then. From multimedia devices were only projectors.

You can talk for a long time about how we renovated the hall, but it will be interesting for two and a half builders who accidentally found an article in a search engine. Therefore, I will limit myself to theses, and then I will tell you in more detail about the most interesting, from my point of view, stages.

It all started with the formation of the concept for the modernization of the conference center. After that, together with the designer and architect, we designed all the systems of the room. This allowed us to avoid many mistakes during the renovation of the conference room and the installation of equipment.

The repair went like this:

  • They laid a ventilation route and installed a three-dimensional climate system.

  • Made a raised floor with hatches-sockets. All cables and wires were laid out under the raised floor and behind the false ceiling.

  • Replaced conventional fluorescent fixtures with custom-designed LED fixtures.

  • Sliding partitions were installed to divide the hall into separate rooms.

  • Installed ACS.

  • The hall was stuffed with all kinds of multimedia devices.

And now – selected from the collected works.

Opportunity with a ventilation duct and a new 3D climate system

The building in which our office is located was built at a time when ventilation shafts were not included in the structure. Therefore, every time you have to be creative in solving the problem of ventilation. An additional obstacle in the way of creative people is the ban on the placement of suspended equipment on the facade of the building – ugly. You can only in the courtyard of the complex.

To solve this problem, we laid a ventilation route behind the false ceiling and led it outside through the office opposite the future conference center. In words, it sounds very simple – “brought through.” In fact, it took a lot of effort and nerves. We did not hang out the ventilation units themselves (Mitsubishi Lossnay) outside the window, but placed them side by side, in the corridor. And three at once, because we need to keep the air fresh, even if there are 100 people in the audience. The units are equipped with recuperators that heat the outdoor air during the cold season using the heat of the air removed from the premises.

But what if the room is not full? In this case, we spread three subsystems of air ducts around the hall so as not to waste all the ventilation units. This will allow us to save energy, and there will be less noise (it is already low, but still). To prevent the air ducts from rattling and buzzing, the ducts and equipment were hung on vibration-damping fasteners and covered with soundproofing material.

The ventilation turned out to be excellent – efficient and inconspicuous. To maintain a comfortable temperature at any time of the year and at any load, we replaced the old air conditioners with inverter ones with an air purification system and a built-in deodorizing filter. They are controlled by the 3D I-SEE climate system, which, based on sensors, creates a three-dimensional temperature map of the room, determines the location of people in it and sets the slope and intensity of air flows from air conditioners.

From tangled wires to floor sockets

Our sockets used to be installed in the classical way – along the walls, and people had to adapt to this: reach out to the far corners with power supplies and even extension cords. Everything was in the wires – no one liked it, but it was not possible to solve the problem simply and elegantly. Photos from the events turned out bad.

Therefore, during the repair, we did not even think about it – we abandoned the wall box in favor of floor sockets. But we didn’t do it in a simple way (having drilled the channels for the wires and the sockets themselves), because after some time it may turn out that there are not enough sockets, or it may be necessary to transfer the existing ones. Do not break the same floor every time!? In addition, I wanted to completely get rid of boxes and wires in the room, hiding them somewhere.

We decided that the raised floor would ideally solve the problem with sockets and hidden wiring. And in order to make it flush with the corridor, not to stumble over the step and not to fence the micro-ramp, I had to remove the screed around the entire perimeter of the room with the help of perforators – the work is noisy and dirty. Of course, at first we tried to cover the doorway with a film, but there was still a lot of dust. As a result, a separate cleaner was hired for the duration of the repair, who washed the corridor three times a day and swept the “construction site”.

In the raised floor, we made 26 hatches with electrical outlets and 66 Ethernet ports in order to be able to quickly transfer outlets and add new ones (just change the floor tiles and run the wires). All electrics were connected to an Eaton 93PS uninterruptible power supply with a power of 20 kW (this is with a margin of 2.5 times). And a multifunctional telemechanics device was installed in the input shield of the hall – a Satec PM135EH power meter with an Ethernet (TCP / IP) communication module that controls the input voltage, current and power consumption in the room and the server room serving it.

Of course, we hid the wires not only under the raised floor, but also behind the false ceiling – we ran power for the lamps and cables for Wi-Fi routers, multimedia and surveillance cameras there. And for all this electronics, another 19 Ethernet ports were brought out under the ceiling.

Something on the designer…

We did not hang standard lamps – we wanted to make an unusual and beautiful interior. Therefore, an interior designer was invited and the main lighting system was assembled from custom-made LED lamps in the form of our logo (pick). Do not forget about emergency lighting, which can work after a power outage for another hour. And for beauty, some areas were illuminated with wall lamps and LED strip. Here’s what happened:

Access control and management system

As a company involved in both information and physical security, we have a fad on this topic. The conference center was equipped with an access system based on Sigur equipment. Doors with closers, so that no one accidentally leaves them ajar, are locked with electromagnetic locks with remote control. To enter, you need to attach a corporate pass, and to exit, press the button next to the door.

From a single space to a transformable one

We do not always need to gather 100 people at once, so we made the room easily transformable for different tasks and formats: with the help of two mobile partitions, it can be divided into three isolated functional zones.

Partitions move easily – everyone can handle this task. In order not to interfere with colleagues in neighboring areas, we made three separate entrances, ventilation and air conditioning subsystems, as well as multimedia. That is, if desired, the hall can be divided into three identical classes and do not need anything. Soundproofing is also good, although, of course, we do not recommend shouting out loud to colleagues.

Seamless LED display as in our best IT projects

We made multimedia in good faith: our specialists in this field did this, who made similar projects for customers.

The “central figure” of the system was a seamless LED display based on COB technology (chip on board, a chip on a board is when an LED is mounted without a housing directly on the board and filled with a protective polymer). Compared to conventional LED displays, COB has greater brightness, contrast and viewing angle, consumes less power and generates less heat. We chose a model with a diagonal of 137 inches and a resolution of 1920×1080 pixels (pixel pitch 1.5 mm) – we consider this an excellent option for a room of this size.

To make it more convenient for speakers to display presentations on the screen, we installed Apple TV for wireless broadcasting from apple gadgets, for Windows devices there is the Miracast protocol, for wired adherents – HDMI. The picture from the large screen can be duplicated on three additional displays installed in each of the three functional areas. In addition, each zone is equipped with a Zoom Poly Studio X50 mobile video conferencing kit and a Samsung Flip WM65R whiteboard (an interactive display that can be displayed over the wire or over the air, including Miracast technology and a Barco ClickShare button). And for a full mince, we added three Smart Kapp 42 electronic whiteboards.

It’s usually the same with whiteboards: you draw some brilliant flowchart with a marker, or you sketch out ideas during a brainstorming session with the team, and then what? That’s right, you take pictures on your phone or old-school redraw in a notebook. And someone will definitely forget to do it. And Smart Kapp 42 (in the photo on the right, white) can save everything drawn as a file, edit it and send it by e-mail or save it to a USB flash drive.

In our hall, we had not always heard the speaker before, so during the repair we decided to eliminate this problem by placing ceiling speakers around the area. And in order to avoid the “well effect”, soundproof and sound-absorbing coatings were used in the decoration of the room. If someone in the comments has a question on how to do this, we will be happy to share our experience. The result was excellent, already tried.

You need to speak through the speakers somehow – here, wireless microphone systems with hand-held, lavalier and table microphones, as well as a microphone array above the listeners, are at the service of the speakers.

Microphones and multimedia control tablet.
Microphones and multimedia control tablet.

We called the new premises a “conference center” for a reason, and even a hybrid one. We have two Panasonic AW-HE42 camcorders:

  • one is for capturing a speaker using special motion tracking software;

  • the second is to capture the audience.

Colleagues after several events said that real video bridges can be held here (although now this word is not in vogue, everyone says video conferences).

IP-switching of video signals is handled by the Crestron NVX system, which transmits an excellent picture over a conventional gigabit Ethernet channel.

All devices are connected to a single Crestron control platform, and the interface was developed specifically for us. You can walk around the room with a control tablet and configure the equipment for a specific task, change the sources of audio and video signals, control video conferencing, recording and cameras.

IT + design = beautiful

Add to everything described radio-controlled curtains and wide wooden window sills on which you can sit, and even with pillows. Working with an interior designer definitely gave all of our innovative ideas a beautiful finish. As a result, we got exactly what everyone wanted: a modern, comfortable and friendly space in which you want to share knowledge, spend time usefully and become better.

The same hatches with sockets are clearly visible.
The same hatches with sockets are clearly visible.

Anna

Jet Infosystems Project Manager

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