University of Hertfordshire Reach for the Stars

With a history going back to 1941, the University of Hertfordshire has been delivering higher education for over 65 years. Originally established to train aircraft apprentices, it later developed into Hatfield Technical College before achieving university status in 1992. The business focused establishment now welcomes around 25,000 students to its UK based programmes situated in the de Havilland, Bayfordbury and College Lane campuses.

AV Refresh

 Bayfordbury, a satellite campus of the university, is a self contained small teaching building looking after science based subjects. As the university’s teaching observatory for astronomy and astrophysics, it offers students a hands on experience with some of the latest technology in the field and is one of the best equipped teaching observatories in the country. 

As it had been a number of years since the site had undergone an AV upgrade and as the university had started to move more teaching to the campus, as well as host external conferences and events, including open days, it was decided that a AV refresh was needed across the site. After an initial consultation between the university and its AV consultant Hewshott, StriveAV were chosen to install audio visual systems in 8 spaces at the Bayfordbury campus, including a live observatory. 

‘‘We had quite a tight timescale for the delivery of all three of the projects and they’ve all come in on schedule with not that many variations, which is good considering the speed at which we had to deploy the projects. Feedback from users has been positive and we haven’t had any issues with the
technology we’ve put in, and while we’d have liked everything
built offsite, we had absolutely no choice and it was done really well.”

Adam Harvey, Solution Architect, University of Hertfordshire


As the university had carried out research into the needs of users now and in the future and created a design based on this, there were few changes needed when StriveAV came on board. As Harvey explains: “We had done a lot of the groundwork for the project, but it’s always good for the integrator to have a sense check to make sure we have the right design. 

Happily, there were no installation implications with what we’d suggested so site visits were done with the site manager and the installation team to pick up any local issues. There were a few things we had to change but nothing significant.” One major issue which StriveAV helped to overcome was the need for on-site rack builds due to access issues at the site. Harvey adds: “We like to have our racks and lecterns fully built and tested offsite so they’re tested as fully working, wrapped up and delivered. Unfortunately, due to access issues in the building, we had to deliver everything in boxes and build on site. On site rack builds are never ideal but the StriveAV team and Hewshott worked very well together allowing us to minimise what could potentially have been a lot of complications with that building. It was very, very well managed between the two of them.” Timescale was also a challenge. Although the upgrade was carried out over the summer when the teaching schedule is limited, the rooms are frequently used for external events. For example, the biggest conference room included in the refurb had multiple events in over the summer so installations had to be dovetailed in between one finishing and the next one starting. In one case a conference ended the day with the old kit, StriveAV came in and completed the install ready for the next day with user training carried out in the morning. d cabling solution supporting the LAN, EPOC, CCTV, WiFi and video displays throughout the centre. 


As the university works to a largely standardised kit list, they once again opted for Top – Tec lecterns, NEC projectors and displays, Crestron control and Polycom videoconferencing. 

One unique element of this installation , however, was the decision to invest in 86in Clevertouch Pro touchscreens. These are being used in the science laboratories to help with the teaching as well as in the Bayfordbury Observatory control room, which houses the space telescopes, where it is being used during open days and sessions to highlight the work of the scientists. 

“Having quite a powerful interactive display in that environment, they’re absolutely overjoyed with it.” according to Adam Harvey, Solution Architect – AV & DM at the University of Hertfordshire. “They were running a projector and screen before but they’re now able to demonstrate their work and the images from the telescopes in a much better way – and it’s interactive so it’s helping them showcase their work much better than a projector and a screen would. ” In the control room, the Clevertouch display is joined by large – format NEC displays on the wall, allowing incoming streams from the telescopes to be shown on the wall while visitors can interact with the images on the Clevertouch Pro. Following the successful completion of this project, StriveAV have been invited back to complete two subs quent installations; a control and switching upgrade at the Law Courts Building at de Havilland campus and the delivery and installation of Top – Tec Synergy Desks and Focus Pods and a concept study room at the university’s Learning Resources Centre. 

In total, 130 D7 interactive displays with custom protective screen frames, were deployed across the three campuses, fixed to Top-Tec Nova trolleys. The trolleys create mobile AV stations which can be used for pop-up huddle spaces, moved between classrooms, or to curate multipurpose zones in open plan spaces. The mobile solutions are made even more user-friendly with the DTEN D7 plug-and-play capability, which negates the requirement for technical support during set-up and empowers educators to confidently engage with AV as a tool in their lessons.  

To ensure as little as disruption as possible to the students, the project was completed in phases. Overall, the full install across the three campuses was completed in 12 months.



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