Class of 2024: Michigan Technological University

Michigan Technological University
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Michigan Technological University

(Image credit: Q-SYS)

AV/IT TEAM: David Chard, director of Media Technology Services

GOALS:  Located in the rugged wilderness of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, Michigan Technological University (MTU) is a globally recognized institution that overlooks the Keweenaw Waterway. But it’s not just the picturesque landscape that sets this University apart; it’s the cutting-edge technology that permeates every aspect of campus life. 

The university recently undertook a multi-year project to renovate classrooms to enhance the teaching and learning experience. Among the key elements required for this project was an advanced, yet user-friendly audio, video, and control system. After thoroughly evaluating a proof of concept, the University opted for the Q-SYS Platform.

Michigan Technological University

(Image credit: Q-SYS)

CHALLENGES: Spearheading the classroom renovations was the on-campus Media Technology Services department which supports AV systems across the entire university. With a team of only six, their main challenge was dealing with disparate systems that lacked user-friendly controls and required ongoing attention from engineers. 

“In these new classrooms, we needed a single software solution that was easy to use but also had the flexibility and scalability to expand,” explained David Chard, director of Media Technology Services.


Q-SYS NV-32-H in Core Mode, Q-SYS NC Series PTZ Conference Camera, NM-T1 Tabletop Beamforming Microphone, Q-SYS Reflect Enterprise Manager, Shure MXA920 microphone

FINAL INSTALL/USER BENEFITS: The initial phase of the multi-year project involved renovating five chemical science classrooms. Each classroom utilizes the Q-SYS NV-32-H running in Core Mode, allowing for seamless integration of various audio and video components within the room. A Q-SYS NC Series PTZ Conference Camera is installed in the back of the room to capture the instructor. In addition to video capture, audio was a crucial aspect of these classrooms. To ensure effective audio capture, an NM-T1 Tabletop Beamforming Microphone was positioned on the lectern. This microphone utilizes advanced beamforming technology, allowing it to focus on the speaker’s voice while minimizing background noise. This ensured clear and intelligible audio for the instructor’s lectures.

“Our previous system’s PTZ Cameras were slow and laggy during video adjustments and previews, causing significant challenges. However, since adding the Q-SYS cameras, things have completely changed for us,” stated Chard. “The responsiveness of the Q-SYS cameras has eliminated the frustration we used to face. Additionally, we’ve added the ACPR (Automatic Camera Preset Recall) plugin which is compatible with the Shure MXA920 microphone installed on the ceiling, allowing us to trigger predefined camera positions for optimal viewing. Implementing ACPR was relatively straightforward as our Shure beamforming ceiling microphone already had well-established lobes for aiming each preset. These features are a significant win for us, and we are excited about the future in our classrooms.”

Implementing Q-SYS Reflect Enterprise Manager has been a game-changer for MTU. One major advantage was the ability to update the firmware on their Q-SYS Core via Enterprise Manager. Despite initial hesitations due to past issues with other systems, MTU was able to successfully update the Core’s firmware, guaranteeing a smooth operation for their University Welcome event.

Moreover, with Enterprise Manager, the team can remotely access and resolve issues within their Q-SYS system, minimizing the impact of downtime and reducing the necessity for on-site assistance. This capability has significantly improved their system management and provides added convenience for their IT team.

Having established a strong partnership, the MTU team is set to transition roughly 100 rooms, lecture halls and labs across campus to Q-SYS as part of their multi-year project. Chard expressed his enthusiasm about Q-SYS. “We are a smaller university located four hours away from the nearest integrator, so we handle everything ourselves. We design our classrooms, select and evaluate hardware, program it, and wire it. We are a one hundred percent in-house shop, acting as the integrator and providing support. This is why it’s crucial for us to have a solution like Q-SYS, and the program management and technical support Q-SYS Reflect Enterprise Manager provides are invaluable. Since using Enterprise Manager, we have already been able to identify and address errors and warnings that we would have otherwise missed. Q-SYS has helped us achieve many of our goals.”

Contributing Writer

Macy O'Hearn has been a contributing writer to AV Technology since 2019 where her focus is working on the Technology Manager's Guides. In addition, O'Hearn has contributed articles to SCN, and is the editor for the 2022, 2023, and 2024 Digital Signage magazine.