19 January 2021
St James’s University Hospital, or “Jimmy’s” as it is affectionately known, has international recognition as Europe’s largest teaching hospital, specialising in high-tech patient care, teaching and research. Like all hospitals in 2020, Jimmy’s has endured a turbulent year and changes have had to be made to keep up with the times, and continue functioning as ‘normally’ as possible.
In a bid to continue functioning, the Trust decided where possible, to hold MDT meetings with medical staff working from home and communicate with them via Microsoft Teams. This decision however presented a major problem to the hospital, as most of the MDT rooms were not capable of integrating into Microsoft Teams, as previously CISCO was their chosen method of conferencing. St James’s enlisted the help of local A/V integrator, AV 2000, who have worked with them over the years to install AV within their meeting and MDT rooms, to provide a solution to overcome the problem they were having.
“AV 2000 have worked for years with Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, installing AV within meeting rooms and MDT suites,” said Andrew Cripwell, Director at AV2000. He continued to say “COVID-19 brought about a situation where the meeting rooms and MDT suites could not be filled to capacity due to social distancing measures, and the Trust decided where possible to hold remote meetings with the medical staff.”
St James’s required a room where they could carry out MDT meetings, and have a high-quality camera and microphone system to work alongside their presentation equipment, allowing remote participants to see and hear everything going on, as well as be heard within the room. The equipment in the room needed to be simple to use, high-quality and reliable. The solution which AV 2000 put forward to meet St James’s needs, was the Angekis Saber Plus camera and ClockAudio C 303W-RF, tri-element suspended microphone array.
“We have been impressed with the quality and design of the Saber Plus camera, having used them for university installations in the past. The camera could also be controlled by RS-232, which was essential to the install” said Andrew Cripwell. The Saber Plus, because of its plug-and-play USB 3.0 output, provided an easy-to-use solution that would seamlessly connect to Microsoft Teams. The Full-HD resolution of the Saber Plus also ticked a box for AV 2000, with St James’s looking for a camera that could capture high-quality images in their meetings. The camera needed to feature an RS-232 connection, as it was going to be connected to an Extron control system, providing the room users with touchscreen control of the cameras PTZ.
In order to provide crisp, clear audio into the remote meetings, AV 2000 opted with the ClockAudio C 303W-RF suspended microphones. “We like and have used the ClockAudio brand in the past and have been impressed with the pickup pattern of the C 303-RF microphones in particular,” stated Cripwell. Four of the tri-element array microphones were used in the MDT suite to allow for audio coverage in all areas of the room. The microphones were also able to provide a ‘clutter-free’, off the table solution which in the current climate, meant the room could be adjusted to meet social distancing measures, without interrupting the quality of audio.
When asked about the benefits that the Saber Plus and C 303W-RF brought to AV 2000, Andrew quoted, “Both the camera and microphones are competitively priced compared to other similar brands. The fact these were also stocked in the UK meant we could order them last minute, rather than having them sat in our stock.”