AV/IT Team: Hybrid Learning Experience Simplified by Audio System Integration

TU Delft AV/IT team
(Image credit: TU Delft)

AVIT Team Buitenhuis Delft University of Technology

(Image credit: Future)

How to get the IT department into AV? At the Delft University of Technology (TU Delft) in the Netherlands, the need to streamline operations led to an innovative audio solution.

Nureva, innovator of advanced audio conferencing solutions, announces an integration between Nureva audio systems and Extron scaling presentation switchers with integrated IPCP Pro control processors. The integration was inspired by a request from IT staff at TU Delft, a large technical university in the Netherlands, that wanted to streamline operation of its Nureva audio systems through its Extron TouchLink Pro touchpanels. Built by developers at Extron and Nureva and supported by TU Delft, the integration between Extron control processors and Nureva devices was made possible in part by the Nureva Developer Toolkit, which provides cloud-based APIs to enable system control integrations. The integration allows users to mute and unmute the audio and adjust volume, treble and bass from the Extron touchpanels. Users can also enable or disable the Nureva Active Zone Control feature, adjust the microphone pickup zone and set the active zone for full or partial coverage. This provides a reliable, convenient and integrated experience through a single user interface within the Extron Control system. The Nureva-certified control system driver supports all Nureva audio systems and is part of the robust portfolio of integrations available from Extron.

On the Cutting Edge

Many spaces at the school were equipped with Extron IP Link Pro series room control panels.

Many spaces at the school were equipped with Extron IP Link Pro series room control panels. (Image credit: TU Delft)

TU Delft is one of Europe’s oldest technical universities. Instructors and students study and innovate on the cutting edge of highly complex disciplines like building architecture, industrial design, civil engineering and aerospace.

However, when choosing classroom audio technology, a major emphasis was placed on technology that is easy to use. Marco Buitenhuis, an AV/IT specialist at TU Delft, said his team chose Nureva audio for eight learning spaces. “We were looking for something that was easy to install, easy to use and easy to maintain—the other suppliers we looked at just didn’t offer that,” he added.

The installation of the three Nureva HDL300 and five Dual HDL300 systems went as well as Buitenhuis hoped. And while TU Delft chose to have their AV integrator, PCI Systems, to install the systems, installing Nureva can also be a simple DIY project that takes about 30 minutes per microphone and speaker bar.

The TU Delft AV/IT team was mindful about the user experience for instructors. In particular, they wanted to avoid any of the hassles associated with handheld, lapel or headset mics. “The teachers are happy that they don’t have to wear a headset. They can just talk and walk throughout the room and be heard clearly by the students in the remote classroom,” Buitenhuis said. Pauline Le, product owner of audiovisuals in the TU Delft AV/IT department, added, “Nureva audio is hands-free, so basically anybody in the room can be heard, which is a very big plus in interactive hybrid education.”

And then there are batteries. Freedom from having to find, charge or replace batteries comes up as an important benefit with many education technology pros we talk with. “One of the most important reasons that we chose Nureva was that we do not want to charge batteries or worry about forgetting where they are,” Buitenhuis said. 

Consistent Experience

Another way the TU Delft AV/IT team could keep things simple for instructors was to let them control the Nureva systems in their classrooms with the tools they were already using. In this case, many spaces at the school were equipped with Extron IP Link Pro series room control panels. “When the Nureva systems were introduced, we wanted to have a consistent experience for the teachers. We wanted them to be able to mute and unmute or change the volume through the Extron panel, because that’s the way they are used to doing it,” Buitenhuis said. 

Nureva Developer Toolkit

(Image credit: Nureva)

The solution was an integration between Extron control processors and Nureva devices. It was made possible in part by the Nureva Developer Toolkit, which provides cloud-based APIs to enable control integrations such as the one TU Delft desired.

Through consultations with the Extron development team, and supported by TU Delft, Nureva implemented a new authentication method better suited to hardware communications. This allowed Extron to add a Nureva-certified control system driver to its robust portfolio.

The result was a reliable, convenient and integrated experience through a single user interface that teachers are already familiar with. And this new control system driver is supported for both HDL systems as well as available for any Extron and Nureva customer to use.

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Easy Maintenance

The TU Delft team appreciated that Nureva audio is virtually maintenance free and that their rooms are always ready. This is largely due to the continuous autocalibration feature in Nureva audio that automatically optimizes the audio for any space.

This was particularly important in some of the Nureva-equipped spaces that are designated as “project” rooms. These are spaces for about 50 students where chairs and tables may be set up in traditional rows but often need to be reconfigured into small groupings where students can work together.

Rearranging furniture and changing the way students are grouped can be a big challenge for traditional audio systems, possibly requiring a technician to adjust the audio every time a room is changed. But Nureva audio automatically adapts. “We don’t have to change anything,” said Buitenhuis.

Quality Audio

The quality of the audio was important, too. Nureva delivered on this criterion. Buitenhuis noted, “The feedback from teachers and students has been positive. And we appreciate the ability of Nureva audio to pick up talkers no matter where they move in the space. It’s a significant improvement over other systems we tried.” 

The TU Delft team uses Nureva’s management platform, Nureva Console, to install updates with just a click. It also lets IT check the status of their devices and make adjustments from anywhere. “Once Nureva audio is installed and configured, there’s really no need to reconfigure or adjust it again,” Buitenhuis concluded. 

The staff of AV Technology serves the community of decision-makers comprising AV/IT technology managers and directors, instructional technologists, and anyone making or influencing AV/IT technology decisions within their respective facilities and institutions.