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PTC Group Selects Harman HiQnet™ Protocol As Backbone For Microsoft School Of The Future’s Advanced Audio System [ Winter NAMM 2007 ]

United States
Harman HiQnet™ System installed by Philadelphia Sound features components from AKG, BSS Audio, Crown International, and JBL Professional.

Versatility of BSS Audio Blu-10 enables seamless transition from audio lecture mode and audio performance mode in addition to control of room features including mechanized seating.

ANAHEIM, CALIFORNIA, January 18, 2007 —Production Technology Consultants Group, Inc (PTC Group), of Collegeville, Pennsylvania, and Philadelphia Sound (contractor), of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, recently completed the theatrical sound system for unique hybrid theater/Large Group Instruction (LGI) arenas at the remarkable Microsoft School Of The Future in West Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The PTC Group was sub-contracted by Metropolitan Acoustics to complete the design and perform construction administration for the audio systems installed at the school.

The theatrical audio system installed is a state-of-the-art Harman HiQnet™ integrated networked audio system that features components from Harman companies AKG, BSS Audio, Crown International, and JBL Professional.

The School of the Future, which opened its doors in September 2006, results from a unique collaboration between the School District of Philadelphia, Microsoft Corp. and the community of West Philadelphia. The school delivers a new approach to curriculum and school design while infusing technology into the daily lives of educators and learners. The school is a state-of-the-art working example of this public-private partnership, featuring a progressive and research-based curriculum, integrated technology, and environmentally advanced architecture. The $50 million school is completely wireless, equipped with science labs, Internet access, full-service cyber-libraries and the multimedia theater that can be divided into several LGI arenas.

The theater features a central cluster of JBL VERTEC® line array modules, JBL PD Series loudspeakers for the left/right positions, a combination of Crown I-Tech and CTS amplifiers, and AKG WMS 4000 wireless microphone systems. The veritable star of the system, however, is a BSS Audio LONDON system that controls the audio-zoning and mechanized walls and seating required to seamlessly transition the 800(+/-) person multimedia theatre into 3-Large Group Instruction arenas.

Commenting on the advanced application of the Harman HiQnet system, Nathan Powell, President, PTC Group, Inc. said today, “It’s quite dramatic if you consider the efficiency with which the room transition occurs. Because the school is located in an urban area where real estate is at a premium, this degree of performance and control enables the school to maximize its use of space and ultimately provide better quality education. If the audio is not intelligible, the children are missing out!”

The Harman HiQnet network and communications protocol enables highly versatile system control of the audio systems. With the adjustable walls, room profiles are pre-programmed and teachers, having signed into the system with a password, may select from a variety of usage types and content types and the system is optimized accordingly. When the system is required for performance mode, a professional engineer from Philadelphia Sound can log into the system and provide an appropriately sophisticated array of system choices.

“It’s as simple as a teacher logging in, electing to perform a lecture presentation, turning on the wireless AKG belt pack and, immediately the microphone and the system are optimized for the lecture to begin,” Powell continued. “There is no time wasted with setup, testing and the typical array of problems. Neither is there a requirement that the teacher have a Ph.D. in microelectronics, which is important because great teachers shouldn’t have to be great technologists!”

Reinforcing this view, Rick Kreifeldt, Vice President of the Harman Pro Group System Development & Integration Group (SDIG), noted, “This remarkable school is a compelling demonstration of how advanced technology— not just audio but IT, architectural design and countless other disciplines — can be applied to simplify and enhance communications between teacher and student. This was also the inspiration behind our development of HiQnet: to harness the power of advanced audio, communications and control technologies and make them transparent and powerful to those who use it.”

For more information about the Microsoft School of the Future, please visit: www.microsoft.com/education/schooloffuture.mspx. For information about the services of Production Technology Consultants, Inc., please visit: www.PTCGroup.org

About Harman HiQnet:

Harman HiQnet™ is the world’s first connectivity and control protocol that integrates all product categories in the signal chain for professional audio systems of all types, size, and applications. Harman HiQnet no longer requires the user to manage multiple disparate operating systems or be responsible for programming individual signal processors, speaker controllers, wireless microphone systems, and mixing consoles. HiQnet was developed by the Harman Pro Group System Development and Integration Group (SDIG), a team of dedicated systems specialists based in Salt Lake City, Utah.
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