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UPenn School of Nursing

University of Pennsylvania’s School of Nursing is ranked the best school for nursing in the world four years in a row by QS World University Ranking
The Client

About UPenn School of Nursing

The University of Pennsylvania’s School of Nursing is ranked the best school for nursing in the world four years in a row by QS World University Rankings. One of the largest educators of pre-licensure students in Pennsylvania, The University of Pennsylvania is educating the next generation of nurses and nursing scientists.

Claire M. Fagin Hall, home to the School of Nursing, has medical-simulation technology that gives students an incredibly realistic patient experience. With state-of-the-art equipment and highly accredited staff, students are offered world class learning experiences. 

We have seen the future, and it is working


The Challenge
The project’s extensive layout includes 27 student observation bays, divided into three classrooms, all simulating healthcare facilities, four high-definition observation rooms and a homecare suite.
The previous healthcare-simulation systems were analog audio and video links between the head end and student spaces housed in various full-height equipment racks. The university wanted to significantly reduce the technology footprint and reclaim space to be converted into a staff office so the plan for HDBaseT topology evolved into an IP-based systems, allowing for these equipment racks to be demolished.

Most often, large IP-based systems are loaded onto separate AV-dedicated networks installed by the integrator. The University wanted to leverage their existing Juniper networks, creating a challenge by dramatically increasing traffic on the same network used by students and faculty for internet access and email service. Additionally, documenting the switches on the network for the internal IT team to manage was vitally important; this process ensures that security patches, preventative maintenance and software updates are done regularly, keeping the network operational and secure. 
UPenn Control Booth - ©Rick Wright
Life on the Line - ©Rick Wright
Home Livin - ©Rick Wright
The Result

Working closely with the School of Nursing’s IT staff, Solutionz was able to leverage the buildings current Juniper-based network for all AV traffic. Using two VLANS, one for Dante and NVX and the other for cameras and controls, over 300 ports were added, via additional switches, to accommodate the large number of components. 

The new IP-based solution features QSC and Shure audio-over-IP devices using Dante, B-Line Systems video-capture encoders, Axis Communications IP pan-tilt-zoom (PTZ) cameras and a Crestron NVX video-over-IP system. 

Each observation bay has a 48” Sharp NEC LED display that is connected by a Crestron NVX AVoIP platform, the new integration’s networked signal transport and control. A B-line software-based recorder archives lessons and demonstrations for students to access later. 

A total of 140 microphones are used throughout the teaching facility. Two microphones per bay, an Audix M40W6S suspended overhead and an Audix GS1W at the front of the display, ensure that sound is picked up regardless of the direction the speaker is standing. Additionally, instructors have the option to wear Shure MXW wireless mics that allow participants, via a return channel, to plug into headphone jacks and hear input from the control room located between the main teaching bays. A 10-inch Crestron master panel allows selection of individual instruction stations. 

JBL 6.5 speakers are used for public-address purposes. SoundTube high-directivity speakers are installed in some of the bays and other bays have Dakota Audio
FA-602 narrow-dispersion speaker, repurposed from the original design. Able to be open and closed from the control room, this speaker configuration allows participants inside the bay to hear without the sound spilling out to other areas.

96 Axis Communications M5525-E IP cameras are distributed via H.264 streams throughout the teaching bays. Two cameras per bay includes one mounted on the ceiling for an overhead view and one on the wall for close-up views. Signals sent to the B-Line encoders enable real-time viewing on the control rooms Crestron panel as well as recording for future use.

The new IP-based solution not only saves money and space by utilizing Penn State’s pre-existing IT assets, but also allows educators and observers to be located outside of Fagin Hall, making the system dynamic for hybrid learning well into the future

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