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Boy Scouts Regional Council Center Beefs Up AV Infrastructure

Boy Scouts of America Northern Lights Council headquarters in Fargo, ND
The Jon L. Wanzek Center for Scouting (Image credit: Key Digital)

In the eight years since the Boy Scouts of America Northern Lights Council moved in to its 15,000-square-foot headquarters in Fargo, ND, the AV infrastructure had gone from state-of-the-art to out-of-date.

The massive training center in the Jon L. Wanzek Center for Scouting was plagued by a dated AV system that was beginning to fail, and when it did work, it wasn’t able to support the resolution and high data throughputs of today’s technology standards. Similarly, the Wanzek Center’s Shelly Ellig Training Center, which acts as a hub for leadership training for the Scouts’ youth and adults, lacked the ability to accommodate a variety of AV connection types from laptops and other digital devices.

Integrator Site on Sound of Fargo, ND, leveraged its long-running relationship with video and control system manufacturer Key Digital to deliver an AV ecosystem based on Key Digital hardware and software.

“I was approached by the director of support services to design a solution to solve the myriad issues in the Ellig Training Center,” recalled Paul Hagen of Site on Sound. “During my initial visit to the Scout office, we discussed three main points of concern: reliability, ease of use and cost. They needed the audio split into two separate zones for dual room use, and they needed to update the video delivery system for newer devices that customers may bring. The Ellig rooms A and B are rented to the public, who come in with Apple products but no access to HDMI and VGA. Of the Ellig center’s two projectors, only one had HDMI access, but that HDMI balun was failing.”

Conference room in the Jon L. Wanzek Center for Scouting's Shelly Ellig Training Center

Key Digital’s KD-BYOD4K multiplatform Wireless Presentation Gateway in use at the Jon L. Wanzek Center for Scouting’s, Shelly Ellig Training Center. (Image credit: Key Digital)

The Northern Lights Council was incorporated in 1974 following a merger of four Boy Scouts Councils in North Dakota and northwestern Minnesota. Hagen noted that, as a nonprofit organization, the Northern Lights Council had a limited budget to accommodate this technology refresh project.

He added, “I designed a system that contained two HDMI wall plate inputs, two projector outputs, audio de-embedding to a two-zone amplifier, and the ability to matrix the system. And because Key Digital offers such a cost-effective solution set for these products, I was also able to suggest the addition of the new wireless KD-BYOD4K [BYOD presentation gateway with PoE] to complete the integration. Once the Scouts understood the benefits of adding the KD-BYOD4K to the matrix as a third input option, they were sold on its necessity and we were off and running. As the install got near completion it became clear to me that adding the BYOD device was the right decision. They really liked that technology option because the school district, various community nonprofits, and many of their other rental customers are iOS users who use iPads and such to run their meetings and may present using AirPlay.”

To solve the existing issues in the training center, Site on Sound installed the following Key Digital equipment:

  • Two KD-X2x1WDTx HDBaseT wall-plate transmitter and presentation switchers
  • Two KD-X40MRx black box HDBaseT receivers for point-to-point extension with the wall plates
  • Two KD-X222PO HDBaseT extender sets featuring Power over HDBaseT and professional diagnostics tools for the projector outputs
  • One KD-BYOD4K multiplatform wireless presentation gateway
  • KD-Pro3 and KD-Pro6 4K/18G HDMI cables
  • One KD-MS4x4G 4K/18G HDMI matrix switcher with independent audio switching and de-embedding to a JBL CSMA 2120 AMP commercial series mixer/amplifier with eight mixer-channel inputs and two output channels
  • The room also received new Libert Plenum Shielded Cat 6 cabling.

Equipment rack in Boy Scouts of America Northern Lights Council headquarters

An equipment rack featuring the KD-BYOD4K multi-platform Wireless Presentation Gateway (top) and a KD-MS4x4G 4K/18G HDMI matrix switcher (bottom) at the Jon L. Wanzek Center for Scouting (Image credit: Key Digital)

Installing the KD-BYOD4K BYOD presentation gateway was perhaps the biggest factor in improving the user experience in the Ellig Training Center. With Key Digital’s BYOD presentation gateway, any end user on the network can instantly and easily share content from their laptops, tablets, and smartphones without the hassle of wires.

KD-BYOD4K offers full and multi-presenter modes, 4K/UHD output resolution, annotation and whiteboard, extended monitor support, content preview, mouse forwarding, moderator management and more. Its small size suits it for installation behind displays, at the projector, or in an AV equipment rack.

After running into issues caused by the building’s guest wireless system preventing standard plug-and-play operation on the KD-BYOD4K, the device’s versatility helped Hagen get the installation back on track. All he had to do was change the connectivity to Wi-Fi direct.

“As mentioned, one of our biggest challenges was budget. I had to make this work within set cost parameters, so we were unable to update the projectors at this time. When we did the initial boot-up, no video displayed on the projectors. That ended up being a simple fix, as I logged into the 4K matrix switch and adjusted the handshaking to 1080p resolution,” Hagen explained.

Now when the Northern Lights Council needs to set up the room for a rental, they set the matrix in the locked AV room to the proper output in advance, and all the room’s moderator needs to do start presenting is connect to the wall plate or cast wirelessly.

The Boy Scouts of America Northern Lights say they are very happy with their operational training center and excited about the versatility of the BYOD options.

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