Rec center video wall enhances student experience at UC Riverside

A cutting-edge student recreation facility at the University of California, Riverside has a digital signage centerpiece to create a modern customer experience for today’s always-plugged-in college students.

The university renovated and expanded its student rec center, creating a 155,000-square-foot, LEED Gold-certified and American Institute of Architects award-winning facility on the campus in Riverside, California.

But the university needed to find a way to showcase school events, share news, stream sports games, and more in a visually appealing, high-tech format, in line with the aesthetic of the brand new, state-of-the-art center, according to project participant Peerless-AV.

So in addition to the 237,000-gallon swimming pool and 32-foot rock-climbing wall and bouldering area, the rec center now features a 28-by-17-foot video wall showing national and school sporting events, relevant information and signage, and up to 16 CATV channels.

UC Riverside worked with High-Tech Electric in Clovis, California, to install the video wall, which incorporated elements from Barco displays to Gefen fiber optic video extenders to Peerless-AV Video wall mounts, all from Almo Professional A/V.

High-Tech Electric’s solution was a seven-by-seven display, 28.5-foot video wall, consisting of 49 Barco 55-inch LCD displays; aligned and hung using Peerless-AV thin video wall mounts with quick release; driven by Barco remote power supplies and 16 Gefen DisplayPort over fiber optic extenders for 4K; with solutions from Commscope and Cisco for connectivity and networking the 18 HD Sources to 30-plus custom configuredlayouts; from 16 Contemporary Research HD Tuners; one Panasonic Blu-ray player; and one UCR Dell PC for digital signage.

DigitalSignageToday.com and Peerless-AV hosted a webinar case study on the project, with expert commentary from James Gulke, director of operations for High-Tech Electric; Brian McClimans, vice president of global business development for Peerless-AV; and Brian Rhatigan, director of business development for Almo Pro A/V. In the webinar, the trio looked at common challenges involved in video wall installations, from designing for proper ventilation and airflow and for sufficient structural support, to the testing, certification and documentation needed for commissioning and sign-off, to planning for post-installation services with access to displays and maintenance needs.

“Anybody who has been in this space, or really any space, has seen a large increase [in the number] of video walls in almost every application, from retail to banks to control centers … to the education sector,” McClimans said in the webinar.

The webinar then covered the installation of the UC Riverside video wall itself, with a detailed look at what went in to the deployment, such as working on a video wall with a bottom starting at 13 feet above the floor and reaching a peak height of 40 feet, and installing new dedicated EMT conduits from behind the video wall to AV Cabinets for remote low-voltage power, data and AV transport. (Download the free, on-demand version of the webinar, “Creating a State-of-the-Art Video Wall: A case study from UC Riverside,” here.)

Today, the video wall serves more than 21,000 students at the rec center every day — and all in 13K resolution.

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