Lost In Translation

WASHINGTON, DC-The International Finance Corporation recently did a complete overhaul of its conference system. Local contractor Phoenixx Systems contributed to the install, providing a wireless conference system for the center. The consultant group Polysonics out of Remington, VA designed the system.

The conference center was completely gutted for the install, and based on the importance of the IFC, the job had to be completed quickly. Brian Gross, owner of Phoenixx Systems, explained, "We had a window of about 11 days per room. So it required a great deal of planning, coordination, and night work to get the rooms gutted of their old AV gear, installing the new gear, and getting it up and running. We had a very tight window because executives needed access to the boardroom and couldn't be without it for too long."

Besides lack of time, the install brought several challenges to the team. For one, most of the rooms had a great deal of glass and boardroom tables. Adding to the acoustic problems, the HVAC system in the rooms was extra loud. Polysonics addressed this through electro-mechanics to quite the low rumbling. To filter out the rest of the noise the beyerdynamic MCWD-50 wireless conferencing system was chosen for its great signal to noise ratio. Since the system used close micing, the team needed the ability to filter out the low noise of the HVAC. However, as Gross recalled, "We were more worried about the frequencies being able to transmit without outside sources interfering and the beyerdynamic frequency window proved to be extremely stable."

Washington DC is an environment of extreme RF signal use. The White House is only two blocks away from the IFC, as well as the airport and the secret service. Frequency stability was a key aspect in choosing the MCWD-50. Another key feature of the MCWD-50 was the clarity of the audio. Gross explained, "The IFC is part of world bank, so everyone's speaking all sorts of dialects that need to be miced and heard well to get all the subtleties."

The IFC is a very high-profile building, so the facility wanted the system to be as unobtrusive as possible. Gross said, "They wanted to be able to hear everything locally and it had to look good without having cables all over." The facility also requested a long battery life, plug and play ability, and simple execution, all of which the MCWD-50 provided. "They just pull the units out of the charging rack and put them put on the table and that's pretty much it. And they sound absolutely brilliant."

The installation at the IFC highlights a new trend in our industry. Gross elaborates, "I think this installation shows that our industry has gotten to the point where aesthetics are so important to the end product and manufacturers like beyerdynamic are able to respond. This client was more concerned with how it looked because they just expected it to work. The thought that it wouldn't never even crossed their minds. It speaks to the adaptability of the products that are available to integrators now to meet those requests without having to say, 'The system works real great, but, sorry about those wires.'"

Gross also spoke on the importance of working closely with the consultant in similar installs. "Relying on the strength and support of the consultant is important. Polysonics did a fabulous job working with the client and us as we encountered the variances that come up in every job. They were a very active partner in ensuring that the client was pleased and that the original design adapted for the day and the hour that it actually was installed. I really was reminded of how important working with the consultant and how they play a grand role in the installer/client/consultant/ partnership. It reminded me that a good partnership makes for a great installation."