Technology at Work
Video, Audio, Internet Integrated in Board RoomA long-standing relationship with the village and park district of Mt. Prospect, Ill., has resulted in continuing business for systems integrator Swiderski Electronics Inc., Itasca, Ill.
The latest project that Swiderski has done for the village, a suburb northwest of Chicago, is a state-of-the-art sound, video broadcast and Internet system for the village hallâ€™s boardroom. Previous systems have included security and audio/visual systems for an athletic facility run by the villageâ€™s park district.
â€œThe majority of our work is design/build, and weâ€™re an application integration company,â€ explained Joe Swiderski, president/CEO. â€œIn this case, we started talking with the Mt. Prospect Park District about what was involved in designing and developing the entire complex. It started as design only and then moved to design/build.â€
That job, which was completed in 2002, led to the companyâ€™s work on the audio, video and Internet system at the village hall in 2004.
â€œWeâ€™ve done this for Highland Park, Lincolnshire and Barrington, Ill., and others at various levels of sophistication to present quality imaging to communities,â€ reported Paul Swiderski, president and director of engineering. â€œThis is a trend through all the villages, and the technology is readily available.
â€œMt. Prospect is leading the pack with the level of complexity,â€ Joe said, referring to the sophisticated, award-winning live local cable broadcasts that originate in the village hallâ€™s control room.
During board meetings, audio/visual presentations can be front-projected with two Sony, 5,200-lumen projectors on 10-foot-by-10-foot screens on each end of an approximately 26-foot-long dais, at which board members and village officials are seated.
â€œEveryone at the dais has his own flat-panel display so board and committee members can see what is going on,â€ Joe Swiderski pointed out. The 15-inch LCD monitors at each seat on the dais and at the lectern have built-in speakers and show what is on each front-projected screen, which can be operated independently. Connections for laptop computers and Internet access also are provided at each seat.
â€œThey have an LCD monitor at their position that they can pull up whatever is being presented so they can see detail,â€ he described. â€œThey can select the LCD left or right screen if specific information is on one versus the other.â€
The boardâ€™s proceedings are broadcast and/or recorded through four broadcast-quality, 3-CCD ceiling-mounted Panasonic cameras with Fujinon lenses and pan-tilt-zoom capability operated from the control room.
â€œThey have a system that is on a preset basis on the chamber council, but allows for manual control override and zeroes in on an individual as they stand up to speak,â€ Paul explained. â€œThe audio system was integrated with the aesthetics of the room.â€
Besides speakers on the walls and on each side of the projection screens, speakers also were hung inside fixtures that resemble electric lights.
â€œThe dispersion on that is quite wide,â€ Paul noted. â€œThey were required to give the audience multidirectional coverage.â€
The 14 LCD monitors are swivel-mounted. Pushbuttons can be used to mute the microphone or switch video sources. A gooseneck microphone is included.
The lectern also has a gooseneck microphone, laptop connectivity, a pull-out drawer with document camera and another one for wheelchair access with a second, attachable microphone.
â€œDevelopers come in with DVDs or videotapes or PowerPoint and make a complete presentation to the board,â€ Joe explained. â€œThe chamber is also used for committee meetings as well as the zoning board.
â€œThe automated audio system picks up as soon as someone starts talking,â€ he continued. â€œThe president has a button he can basically mute.
â€œThe other thing the system has is scan converters that allow us to output on screen a high-resolution graphic image that can be incorporated into the field to the TV system to the community,â€ Joe noted. â€œThey cut between the presenter and what is being shown both on-screen as well as the person presenting it.
In the control room, the projection systems, volume levels of speakers and microphones and video sources can be controlled by a single touch panel. Lighting also can be adjusted from the room along with a camera control system, preview monitors, an audio mixer and a cable distribution system to broadcast live or record council meetings.
Swiderski Electronics also specializes in security system installation. At the Mt. Prospect Park District facility, which was converted from an industrial building, four outdoor and four indoor Panasonic CCTV cameras are displayed and recorded. Access is controlled by a card swipe system from GE Security, InfoGraphics.
â€œThey used to have problems with keys,â€ Paul related. â€œThe people would change and they would be losing the keys. The new system provides a picture ID with a swipe on the back. Now they have full control of the facility on a scheduled basis. The card wonâ€™t work if you arenâ€™t scheduled.â€
The facility has a full-size in-line skating rink, a weight room, basketball court, party and meeting rooms, a preschool center and a board room for park district council meetings.
The skating rink has an extensive sound system that is used for other events that are staged on the rinkâ€™s surface. Proceedings of the council are broadcast live on the local cable company as the village board meetings are.