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The Uk Ministry Of Defence


Shrivenham, Wiltshire, UK




Headquartered in Shrivenham, south-western Oxfordshire, on the former site of the Royal Military College of Science, the Ministry of Defence’s (MOD) Defence Academy of the United Kingdom provides postgraduate education and majority of command, staff, leadership, defence management, business skills and technology training for members of the UK Armed Forces and the Civil Service as well as a number of government departments and overseas service personnel. Together with the Joint Force Development and Defence Academy headquarters, the rest of the estate is made up of; the Joint Services Command and Staff College, Technology School, Business Skills College, Shrivenham Leadership Centre, Defence Centre for Languages and Culture, Development Concepts and Doctrine Centre and the Defence Awarding Organisation.

The project brief:

proAV was commissioned and instructed directly by Serco to design an install a raft of integrated audio visual projects across the MOD Defence Academy site over an 18-month period.

The brief was to refresh AV technologies within a number of lecture theatres at the Defence Academy site in line with a client determined programme. Facilities covered by this brief included a 130-seat lecture theatre to support the delivery of training, conferences and formal presentations, a classroom refresh for office use and training environments across five teaching rooms and a meeting room.

A 250-seat lecture theatre for conferencing, training and events with control room for AV technicians was also included in the AV upgrade along with three JSCSC lecture theatres that support video conferences, formal presentations and training delivery with a dedicated control room for AV technicians.

In terms of challenges, this was a new-build project that required considered coordination with the Serco contracted builders throughout the process.

The technologies that feature in our client’s operational space include the following:

  • HD laser projection systems
  • Dual camera video conferencing
  • Digital Signal Processor (DSP)
  • Crestron DigitalMedia signal distribution matrix and switching
  • Professional and amplified audio systems, induction loop and amplifiers
  • Custom design lecterns with HD touchpanels
  • 65” interactive displays
  • IPTV distribution
  • PTZ IP monitoring cameras
  • Control room featuring audio mixing desk, Crestron touch panel and preview monitors

Project innovations and challenges

In terms of challenges, this was a new-build project that required considered coordination with the Serco contracted builders throughout the process. With regard to the three lecture theatres that formed the JSCSC project refresh, proAV was the principal contractor and had to coordinate all other trades independently, including electricians, decorators and manufacturers of bespoke furniture for AV equipment (ie. lecterns, etc.), which added an additional level of project management and coordination.

A number of innovative technologies were deployed within these projects, including the Crestron DigitalMedia infrastructure and the latest HD touch panels. This solution is now standardised throughout all theatres for its high-definition signal distribution over an existing infrastructure, removing any distance limitations and allowing for the routing of signals wherever new wires cannot be run. DigitalMedia intelligently manages all signals and devices, matching each source’s output to the capabilities of the selected display(s).

Beyerdynamic Revoluto microphones were installed at each seat position within the Churchill Lecture Theatre; they were chosen for their superior quality and wide range of signal pick up. Any member of the seated audience had to have the capability to indicate their desire to participate via a push button with LED indicator light with the presenter having the ability to select the next in line from the lectern position. Within the same lecture theatre, the latest Panasonic laser projection system (RZ970) was selected due to its high-bright imaging and low maintenance servicing requirements due to the absence of traditional lamps.

Support services

We have worked closely with Serco onsite teams (since 2006) to deliver AV support into the MOD Shrivenham estate, which covers services including SLA combinations of 4 and 8 hours onsite responses subject to location, 3rd party repairs and management, loan equipment, monthly account management meetings, MI reporting via CRM.

Now complete, the Defence Academy at Shrivenham is delivering numerous benefits, including: