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Blavatnik School of Government

Blavatnik School of Government, one of the youngest departments at the University of Oxford, opened a brand new building last year after an extensive architectural and design refit.

The Background

In order to support its own unique approach to learning for its Masters and Doctorate students, the school was keen to specify AV solutions that would enhance classroom interaction, open discussions and collaboration. With live streaming, digital signage and TV distribution on the wish-list Blavatnik selected MediaStar to help it deliver high-quality content throughout the premises.

Blavatnik School of Government (BSG) is a global institution whose aim is to improve the quality of government and public-policy making worldwide. It offers a wide academic portfolio and as well as specialising in teaching and research it also enables networking amongst policy leaders and scholars.

The school was opened in 2012 thanks to a donation from an American philanthropist, Len Blavatnik, however, the students finally came together in their newly designed and dedicated building in the Radcliffe Observatory Quarter last year.  

The state-of-the-art premises feature large lecture theatres, flexible seminar rooms, research offices, meeting rooms, a café and communal areas.

The Challenge

BSG employs a tested approach to learning, exploring the different experiences of each student and connecting them together with expert academics and practitioners. The new building was specifically designed to promote open discussion and interaction, but an additional requirement was for the AV system to enable the recording and streaming of lectures beyond the confines of the classroom.

The AV specification, including MediaStar's solutions, was devised and commissioned by consultant Hewshott International and implemented by specialist integrator Snelling Business Systems. This was based on MediaStar's ability to deliver a reliable and scalable IPTV distribution and streaming system to meet the school’s requirements.

Steve Royans, Business Development Director at Snelling Business Systems, said: “The client specifically required us to ensure live streaming and content distribution infrastructure is fit for purpose, in a building expected to host live events with eminent personalities from across the world and at an ‘Oxford’ institution. More importantly, it had to be reliable and scalable as and when required with future physical modifications to the building”.
“Keeping these in mind, we approached MediaStar for an integrated suite of software and hardware products to create a comprehensive and fully managed IPTV, streaming and signage system.  Utilising an installed TCP-IP infrastructure it allows for the delivery of almost unlimited channels of video media and information from one part of the building to any other; to an unlimited number of displays, TVs, tablets and phones within network reach”.
“With comprehensive management and administration software, the scheduling, content acquisition and storage of media are made easy with assured, repeatable and accurate delivery across any organisation. I am pleased to say, MediaStar exceeded our expectations and fully met our client’s expectations”.

Daniel Lee, Managing Director at Hewshott International agreed: “MediaStar was selected for this project as it comfortably met the requirements of the school and our experience of their systems has always been good.  Delivered by Snelling with a minimum of fuss, the system was quickly up and running with all requirements met as expected.”

The Solution

MediaStar's solution was deployed to allow live streaming of lectures and seminars across the newly installed screens throughout BSG. Four blade encoders were housed in the chassis to support local media sources and two mobile encoders provide BSG with the flexibility to stream content onto displays in any room in the building.

The MediaStar solution also provides BSG with the option to deliver live TV channels across all screens and to create digital signage and tickers for internal use. This ability to acquire, store, schedule and stream media content is managed centrally through the fully integrated MediaStar Media Manager software that sits at the core of the system.

The Outcome

MediaStar is now being used to stream media sources from the two main lecture theatres and the four flexible seminar rooms, supporting broadcast-quality content as befits a modern, cutting-edge educational establishment.

Internal messaging is transmitted across the 27 screens in the building via MediaStar from the meeting rooms right through to the communal areas where informal gatherings take place.

Alex Moss UK and Eire Sales Manager at MediaStar Systems, said: “A new building of this calibre requires the very best quality of AV equipment, and we were delighted to be selected as a supplier for IPTV and digital signage.  We are also pleased that it helps the faculty and the students to share vital information regardless of where in the building they are located.”