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Media City UK, Uni Of Salford


Manchester, UK




The University of Salford is home to 20,000 students, 2,500 staff and 11 schools and is one of Salford’s biggest employers. It is set in one of the UK’s fastest growing regions; the main campus is in the midst of a £650m regeneration scheme and its new digital learning, teaching and research space at MediaCityUK on Salford Quays has set new standards of innovation for both creative and education sectors. 

Joining the BBC, ITV, numerous creative businesses and around 5000 who work at MediaCityUK, The University of Salford’s new learning space is an ambitious project that’s already changing the face of the media sector. The University’s facility will be open for everyone to use, in addition to the campus’ 1500 creative students; more than 30,000 members of the public are expected to attend an extensive calendar of events.

The project brief:

The project to equip the more than 40 areas of University’s prestigious digital learning space with the AV industry’s next generation technologies was awarded by main contractor, Overbury plc.

Set in the midst of six national BBC department buildings, the University’s new MediaCityUK facility occupies four floors (circa 100,000 sq.ft.) of this iconic 12-storey building. ITV News will take up residence on the top floor in a move that adds great kudos to the University’s decision to build world class news and digital media teaching facilities onsite; groundbreaking newsroom workshops, video processing and editing suits and media technology labs were key to this commitment.

proAV’s delivery of pioneering technologies features an array of advanced integrated media content and user-driven control systems that are flexible, intuitive and designed to facilitate specialist teaching, presentation and collaborative group work in dedicated classrooms, lecture theatres and specialist digital media, video processing and exhibition spaces.

Key technologies include an extensive Digital Management System (DMS), which supports the broadcasting of multiple feeds from a range of data sources to selected displays across the site. In addition, an elaborate digital signage system, IPTV, forward-thinking wireless connectivity, HD displays and projection equipment, webcams, a sophisticated audio system and presentation displays, including presenter preview PCs, dry wipe boards and glassboards were installed throughout. The extensive LCD digital signage and display system supports all current inputs/outputs, including HDMI/Ethernet, VGA and DVI with interfacing for timetabling and room booking systems.

The audio solution for most teaching spaces provides a 7.1 Dolby True HD/True DTS and Dolby Pro Logic surround sound system; smaller spaces utilise both 5.1 and active systems relative to the environment.

A combination of the latest products has been used for all switching of video, laptop and visualisers. The world’s most advanced control interface is used by the University; the system is employed as the standard for interfacing of all AV elements. AV equipment in the larger rooms is controlled via touch panel or the flush wall mounted panel in the smaller areas. The control system has delivered user-friendly, seamless programming and management of every aspect of the AV solution across the site, including lighting and fire alarm interfacing. Additional network control over the client’s LAN is provided by specialist room software and E-control. The control system incorporates a highly effective power distribution and energy efficiency management system with motion detection and auto shut down/start up of specified equipment.

AV hardware is secured with a range of industry-leading protective features, including cages and ceiling locks for projection equipment, lockable lecterns and VESA bar padlocks for displays and monitors.

The University of Salford’s brief was to create ‘a brave new world’ where talented people from different media disciplines drive interdisciplinary relationships between schools and programme areas and collaborate organically. The layout and interactivity between spaces was designed to achieve this and to deliver a new way of teaching our future digital creatives. Four floors of networked rooms feature a digital media and performance lab, HD TV studios, post-production suites, meeting and teaching rooms and ‘The Egg’; a living lab research facility, set in a vast open-plan are on the ground floor. This digital exhibition space is surrounded by ‘circulation areas’ with interactive digital tables and a coffee bar and used by the students and visiting public to showcase the students’ digital artworks and stunning interactive content via the control system.

The University’s presence alongside key parts of the BBC means MediaCityUK will be one of the places where the future of the media industry will be shaped.

Mark Thompson, BBC Director General

The industry’s most dynamic audio visual systems were incorporated into this remarkable project, with facilities installed and upgraded across teaching and meeting areas. Key technologies include the following:

  • Digital signage system incorporating LCD displays and DigitalMedia
  • IPTV distribution system
  • HD LCD projection to all key presentation and teaching areas
  • Multiple LCD displays, including mobile units
  • Multiple interactive whiteboard and projection systems, including teaching playback with webcams, headsets and keyboards
  • Multiple glass boards and VES dry whiteboards
  • Extensive DigitalMedia system (DMS)facilities
  • Professional audio, featuring presentation audio architecture
  • Lecture theatre systems featuring HD LCD protection, screen, HD surround sound system, microphones, speakers, PTZ remote cameras, visualiser and switchers
  • Controls via touchpanel and control unit with additional networked control via LAN RoomView software
  • Room management systems
  • Bespoke lecterns

In summary:

The University of Salford is committed to maintaining its world class standards of research and innovation; the campus at MediaCityUK will support studies with global partners from the media industry and the academic community. The new facility has been designed to enable the University to hold large scale conferences and seminars with these partners as well as a number of public events that have been scheduled. Indeed, the flexible space here at MediaCityUK offers superb opportunities for private conferencing, product launches, exhibitions, film screenings, workshops and business receptions.

The University is an exclusive creative hub that will serve its students, the digital media industry and local public and business communities with a future proofed technological space that will undoubtedly inspire, this brave new world. The University of Salford’s MediaCityUK campus project was delivered on time, within budget and according to the University’s exacting specification.