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Coffee-scented audio and video

Almacenes La Cita shares with the readers of AVI LATINOAMÉRICA a success story in the installation of an A/V system at the Medellín headquarters of the National Federation of Coffee Growers.

By: Héctor Gómez Pérez

If mention is made of Colombia, immediately we must refer to what is considered the national product par excellence: coffee. It is not gratuitous that the Colombian grain is listed as the best quality in the world, and that its international symbol: Juan Valdez, always next to his mule "Conchita", is an image of wide international recognition.

The case study that AVI LATINOAMÉRICA shares with all its readers was carried out in Medellín, the second most important city in Colombia, and precisely in the headquarters of an entity that has a close relationship with coffee in that country: the National Federation of Coffee Growers.

This entity was born in 1927 and since then its raison d'être has been aimed at representing grain producers at the national and international levels, it has also ensured their well-being and the improvement of their quality of life and that of their families.

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New A/V system

We invited Juan Alberto Tamayo, project manager of Almacenes La Cita to explain the details of this installation that took place between May and June of this year. According to Tamayo, the manufacturers involved were TOA, Electro Voice, Bosch, Cue, Altinex and Polycom.

"We chose these brands because of the excellent support they have and because of the different developments we have made in Colombia," Tamayo said.

For the project in question, five different systems were installed, but all monitored from a central computer located in the reception from where all the management of the audiovisual systems is administered.

  • Boardroom: For the audio system, an M9000 series TOA digital mixer with two amplified channels, each of 120w in-line of 70v, was used. This is responsible for receiving all the audio signals and amplifying them or sending them to the video conference.

In the same way, a Bosch brand meeting system was installed, which in addition to serving at the meeting table for debates and discussions, helps to collect microphone signals.

To avoid displacement of the participants to project the images of the laptops, VGA signal collection points were installed on the board table. With an Altinex VGA matrix, these signals are routed to the 100" projection screen or a 40" Plasma monitor. This system thus allows you to have two different projections at the same time.

The control of the room is carried out through a CUE brand controller connected through an Ethernet point, an aspect that differentiates it from other brands, and that allows the monitoring to be carried out through a network of this type of the end customer.

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"For the quick execution of some sequences, a CUE keypad with a stainless steel finish was installed," Tamayo added.

  • Meeting room: It has a system similar to the previous one, with the difference that it does not have a discussion system, which was changed to wireless EV table microphones and does not have VGA signal routing. The videoconferencing system is from the Polycom brand.

  • Auditorium: Basically the system is similar to that installed in the two previous enclosures, in which the change is represented by the connection equipment such as microphones. A conventional 10-channel Peavey mixer was also annexed.

Tamayo explained that "unlike the previous two systems, this one was placed four ZX1i EV speakers and for amplification two SB2A basses were also used from EV. We saw the need to locate bass because musical presentations are made in the venue and the bass is very helpful in this type of event."

He also pointed out that these basses apart from being self-amplified have another amplifier to connect speakers with their cuts.

About the operation of the system, the guest made an important precision that is worth highlighting. "For the three spaces, a similar design was made in terms of control and basic equipment. This in order that the person who operates them feels comfortable and does not find differences between one and the other. This saves a lot of time in training and fine-tuning the system," Tamayo said.

  • Distributed audio: As the customer wanted an ambient music system, the installation group did not resort to the alternative of putting an amplifier and distributing speakers. For this solution, a matrix similar to that used in the spaces described above was used and a four-channel intelligent amplifier was used, each channel of 500 watts of power configurable in line 70/100v, 8, 4 or 2 ohm. A CUE brand controller was used for the control of the system.

On the operation of the distributed audio system, Juan Alberto Tamayo said that "the person in charge of the reception turns on his computer and executes the supervision program. With just one button it turns on the system and it automatically enters ambient music mode. If the person wants to give a message, select on the screen which floors or areas they want to transmit it to and speak into a microphone. Simpler could not have been realized."

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  • TV room: It is a Premium TV room with 42'' plasma screen, Marantz DVD with Marantz stereo amplifier. The latter by decision of the client.

Why such a solution?

The Medellín headquarters of the National Federation of Coffee Growers has a high demand for meetings, so they have allocated a floor of the building for this purpose. Hence the importance of having spaces that have all the technical facilities in audio and video. The distributed audio is designed for three floors and an estimated total of 120 users.

Tamayo pointed out that there are three aspects that have been decisive in the new installation of A / V of the National Federation of Coffee Growers:

  • Use: It is a system that is used permanently and will not be left saved by the complexity of its handling.
  • Time: The person in charge of managing the system previously took 5 to 10 minutes to fine-tune the equipment. Currently this procedure is done by pressing a button.
  • Prestige: Apparently from Juan Alberto Tamayo, this is a system that gives prestige to this union entity and that with only a few days of installation has made users feel comfortable and satisfied in meetings.

"The systems used previously were basically manual and each space had three, four or five remote controls, and they were not practical in connections. The sound in the meeting rooms was amplified with a home theater system," said the guest and added that "for me the biggest advantage is the saving of time in the execution and tuning of the system, in addition the operator does not need to be a technician in audiovisual systems and should only have the basic concepts of computers."

Final results

The guest stressed that as in any installation there were a couple of inconveniences, but that they did not have any severity. On the satisfaction of the final customer, he said that "so far the system is beginning to be used, but the person in charge is happy since it does not take long to start the systems of any room."

As advice for companies and people who are starting to install audio and video systems, Juan Alberto Tamayo said that "it is important, but very important, to listen to the client to meet their needs and not feel, at the time of delivery of the project, that they squandered their money."

Currently, the National Federation of Coffee Growers at its headquarters in Medellín has an optimal audio and video system that guarantees satisfaction to its users. It goes without saying the importance of this type of resource for a union that makes important decisions aimed at ensuring the development of coffee families, which until the end of 2008 had opened 170 Juan Valdez Cafes throughout Colombia and abroad and implements strategies for this country to maintain the global participation of 17 million bags.

Richard Santa, RAVT
Author: Richard Santa, RAVT
Periodista de la Universidad de Antioquia (2010), con experiencia en temas sobre tecnología y economía. Editor de las revistas TVyVideo+Radio y AVI Latinoamérica. Coordinador académico de TecnoTelevisión&Radio.

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