Sharp NEC Display Solutions client installation; higher education
Standardised AV systems for a more sustainable, connected, and flexible campus
Located in Belfast city centre, Ulster University’s expanded Belfast Campus offers an exciting, technology rich environment for learning. The 75,000m2 addition to the campus is one of the largest higher education capital builds in Europe and is set to transform higher education in the city.
Through a £6m digital transformation project, the University embraced the opportunity to provide an enhanced digital experience for staff and students. Across 300+ learning, working and social spaces, Sharp/NEC’s integration partner, Pure Audio Visual Ltd, designed and installed a series of standardised AV systems to align with the University’s vision of a more sustainable, connected, and flexible campus.
The University plays a vital role in the economic development of local communities across Northern Ireland. The campus expansion was one of only a few building projects that remained operational throughout the pandemic indicating its pivotal importance in boosting growth and prosperity.
Aidan Crowe, head of group sales at Pure AV reflects on the challenges faced during this period:
"The success of projects, such as Ulster University’s expanded Belfast campus, hinge on partnerships and relationships. Especially with delivery through challenges as the COVID-19 Pandemic, Brexit, and the Northern Ireland Protocol. Pure AV had to ensure our supply chain and technology partners were committed to the same drive, customer focus, and flexibility."
Pure AV standardised on visual equipment from Sharp/NEC for the entire project. Already in use across other Ulster University campuses, the client was confident and familiar with the brand, and it was critical for Pure AV to partner with a trusted supplier. Aidan Crowe continued:
"Working with Sharp/NEC exemplified this ethos. A high-end project, cutting-edge technology, a focused roadmap, and strong managed distribution channel and account management meant Pure AV, and the University’s confidence in the Sharp/NEC brand only grew stronger"
Across all spaces, each audio-visual system has been designed to bring an easy to use, consistent experience for all users. By standardising the technology, Ulster University has a solution that requires minimal system training, is scalable and can be replicated across all spaces.
"We worked very closely with the Digital Services department at Ulster University who provided very detailed technical specifications to utilise emerging teaching technologies," says Aidan Crowe.
Norman Blair, head of IT delivery at Ulster University, was instrumental in the design and deployment of the program bringing extensive knowledge and expertise to the partnership.
Over 200 standard teaching rooms are equipped with either 55-inch V Series passive or interactive Large Format Displays, or P Series Laser Projectors, depending on room parameters and teaching requirements. The P Series is popular for classrooms, with no fan noise the projector is virtually silent in operation. 30+ specialist teaching spaces, including an academy kitchen and mock courtroom also feature 55- and 65-inch Large Format Displays and Projection.
Group and collaborative working
For collaborative learning, a number of dedicated Active Learning Suites provide students with a space to learn, share ideas and discuss course content.
Collaboration furniture with integrated 55-inch Large Format Displays has been incorporated into the spaces, to allow students to gather in groups, and eliminate the need for fixed displays on the wall. Students are able to share content from their own devices to a choice of single, or multiple in-room NEC Displays.
High quality large group teaching
In two lecture theatres, ceiling mounted NEC PA Series 7,000 ANSI lumen laser projectors present teaching material in large scale for audiences of 250 and 350 students. With long-lasting laser light source, plus completely sealed optical engine, the projectors require neither lamp nor filter, resulting in zero maintenance, low operating costs and consistently brilliant colour brightness.
Wireless content sharing allows students and staff to share content from personal devices to be seen via the projected image. A TOP-TEC lectern with integrated visualiser and Extron control panel allows the presenter to control the technology from a central point.
Digital signage throughout the campus gives the University a powerful way to convey key messages to students, staff, visitors, and other delegates. Powered by the NowSignage platform and displayed on bespoke totems with integrated 55- and 65-inch NEC M Series Large Format Displays, the University can quickly and efficiently deploy customised content to different areas of campus, ensuring everyone gets the right message at the right time.
Sure to impress prospective students and visitors, a 135-inch dvLED media wall welcomes visitors in the reception foyer, clearly visible as you enter the building. The NEC LED E Series delivers all the visual impact of high bright, deep contrast fine pitch LED, yet appealing to lower budget applications making it popular for educational establishments looking for a long-life sustainable solution that portrays their future-facing aspirations.
Ulster University’s expanded Belfast campus will make a lasting impact on the communities of neighbouring North Belfast, with the University actively involved in projects as a community partner and providing an accessible pathway into higher education. Beyond the learning environment, the modern, user-friendly audio-visual systems allow the University to host conferences and events, not only to internal stakeholders, but for external users - bringing high-quality experiences to the city that wouldn’t have been possible without the new technology. The University even welcomed President Joe Biden as he made his key Northern Ireland address from the new Belfast campus in April 2023.
"Pure AV, in collaboration with their integration partner, Sharp/NEC, played a pivotal role in enabling Ulster University’s efforts to design, implement, and utilise state-of-the-art audio and visual technology within our expanded Belfast Campus," confirms Mark Taglietti, Chief Digital and Information Officer at Ulster University.
"This initiative has significantly improved the experience of both students and staff while fostering digital collaboration and enabling a sustainable, connected, and flexible campus"
At the start of the 2022/23 academic year, the new Belfast campus welcomed over 15,000 additional staff and students to the city, offering a progressive student experience benefitting from innovative learning spaces at the forefront of higher education practice.