Integrated Control Systems

Integrated control systems make any audiovisual system simple and reliable to operate. They take guesswork away, ensure anybody can use the system and make presentations more professional.

There are many types of control system on the market and they vary enormously in price, quality and functionality.

Professional integrated control systems are by far the most popular solution for most meeting room/boardroom applications because they allow full control of the entire audiovisual system.

These fully integrated control systems can be used to not only control the entire audiovisual system, but also the room environment. It is sometimes the case that lighting levels should be changed (depending upon the media being used), therefore, the control system can automatically re-set lighting levels to their correct settings as the user selects from one source to another. An example of this functionality is where videoconferencing is used (for optimum performance, videoconference systems should be used in rooms with a brightness level of 500 Lux and a lighting colour temperature of 3200 ° Kelvin). Therefore, as the user selects ‘VC’ on the touch screen, so the lighting levels change in order that they are optimised for this use, and as the presentation changes to perhaps a power point show or video, so the levels are automatically changed again.

Various control system interfaces are available:

Wireless Touch Screen Control
Wireless touch screen control panels are by far the most popular solution for most meeting room / boardroom applications because they allow full control of the entire audiovisual system from any location in the room. Therefore, formal presentations can be conducted from a lectern or podium whilst less formal, or videoconference sessions, can be controlled easily from the table.

Wired Touch Screen Control
Where there is no requirement for wireless operation, or security is of concern, then many wired solutions are available, It is often the case that wired touch screens are fitted into lecterns or walls. Wired touch screens can also provide the user with ‘feedback’ where return strings are available from the controlled equipment. This is a very useful function where intuitive use is needed, such as VC or audioconference dialing (wireless panels can also provide the same feedback if they use a bi-directional wireless system).

Small Wall Mounted Touch Screen Control
Essentially, these small touch screens offer broadly the same functionality as the larger wired panels but due to their size they offer limited control (due to minimized ‘button’ sizes) and smaller memory. However, they are an excellent choice for small to medium specification meeting rooms.

Button Control Panels
There are two types of button control panels. One links to a control processor and can therefore offer considerable flexibility, and others have a control processor in-built.
Button panels are the lowest cost option but are less intuitive to use than colour LCD screens due to the ‘fixed’ nature of the buttons inhibiting retrospective equipment changes.

Ethernet Control
There are many forms of Ethernet control available. Some projectors have in-built Ethernet control ports, allowing a user to switch off the projector at a particular time at night (thus saving valuable lamp life). However, for most larger scale installations it is generally preferred to have just  one simple user interface that allows the system administrator (or indeed any authorised personnel) to view the status of all equipment and turn equipment on and off either manually or at pre-scheduled times. There are sound economic reasons for adopting Ethernet control solutions, not to mention the environmental benefits.