ADECIA Making the Grade at University of Arizona

Author: Gina Cunsolo

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The Systems & Industrial Engineering department at the University of Arizona was the first systems engineering academic department founded in the United States. Students who enroll in this major are often passionate about creating solutions for humans and machines to work together efficiently. Naturally, a successful systems engineering education requires intuitive, high-quality AV classroom technology; as all lectures are recorded and saved for students to review and study on their own time.
 
In early 2022, the Systems & Industrial Engineering department decided one of their classrooms was due for a technological upgrade. The group mandated Zachary Chapman, Senior Systems Administrator, to redo this room’s AV technology, particularly the microphone and speaker system. The room is a multi-purpose classroom used mainly for recording lectures, and at times, for video conferencing. The department assured Zac that they had the budget to support any solution. Their main requirement? Ease of use.
 

Searching for the Perfect Microphone and Speaker Solution

 
As Zac began to research audio recording and conferencing solutions, ceiling microphones surfaced as a forerunner for their use case and soon became his main focus. When a local vendor recommended ADECIA, Zac found the solution promising; and quickly began to consider its effectiveness in other spaces as well, including a classroom for the university’s Mining and Geological Engineering Department.
 
What stood out to him about the solution? ADECIA’s uniquely simple installation.
 

ADECIA'S Simple Installation


ADECIA-University-of-AZ-back-of-room-1.jpg“A big reason why we went with Yamaha was the set up. It was extremely easy to do,” said Zac. When looking at solutions made by other manufacturers, Zac realized that he would need to buy all separate components and figure out how to configure these separate devices to work together. Conversely, ADECIA came as a packaged deal, with only one PoE network cable. “It felt a lot like plug-and-play,” he said.
 
Zac worked closely with the facilities management team to install and test the ADECIA Ceiling Solution, first in the mining department’s classroom, then in the systems engineering classroom. Both solutions were installed with an AVer 530 Camera, a Kramer Room Manager, and a Barco ClickShare. Instructors appreciate ADECIA’s software-agnosticity, as their recording process requires a lecture recording software called Panopto. The instructor is able to immediately start class on either a room laptop or their own device, without having to configure the recording software each time.
 

ADECIA'S Impressive Sound Coverage and Quality


Amazingly, each classroom only required one RM-CG Ceiling Microphone to provide successful audio coverage. The systems engineering classroom seats 30-40 people, while the mining department’s classroom seats up to 50 people. The team installed the ceiling microphones towards the front of the classroom, in the general vicinity of where the professor normally stands and speaks.
 
Though the teacher’s voice is the main voice required for audio pick up, students also ask questions and contribute to the conversation during classes; and in some cases, remote students join the class virtually. However, the room’s previous audio solution did not adequately support students’ voices. One webcam atop a TV struggled to pick up sound from anywhere other than someone standing directly in front of it. Thanks to ADECIA, despite the room’s large size, students asking questions from anywhere in the room are now successfully picked up by the ceiling microphone. “This was a huge value add for us,” said Zac.
 
Another benefit to switching to a Yamaha ceiling microphone was the hands-free element, an increased priority during and post-Covid-19 Pandemic. Not having to worry about sanitizing lapel microphones or hand-held microphones contributed to the solution’s ease of use.
 

ADECIA Decreases IT Troubleshooting Issues

 
ADECIA-University-of-AZ-ceiling-mic-3.jpgFurthermore, unlike other types of microphones, the ADECIA ceiling microphone doesn’t require users to charge batteries or alter anything manually before speaking and recording. Zac recalls past situations where microphones died half-way through lecture recordings, often requiring professors to re-record lectures all over again. “With ADECIA, there are far fewer troubleshooting calls to the IT department,” says Zac. “That’s a success, in my opinion.”
 
Overall, feedback from staff, teachers, and students has been consistently positive. “Everyone on the far end can easily hear the in-room participants clearly, even if they walk around the room,” said Zac. “The microphone picks them up clearly, without picking up background noise from the room’s air conditioning unit.”
 
Not to be outdone, Yamaha’s line array speakers have also proven successful at replacing the room’s previous amplifiers. “The speakers provide sound to encompass the whole room…it just sounds fantastic.”
 
The University of Arizona is also currently installing ADECIA in a conference room, and actively considering additional ways to improve audio quality and pick-up in various use cases across campus.