University of Salford MediaCityUk

August 7, 2019 Jenn Petersen

A space where science and creativity collide to deliver the big digital ideas of the future.

Manchester, England

Imagine a cutting-edge collaborative space for developing and showcasing innovative, creative, interactive audiovisual projects that will shape careers and take media technologies to new levels. That was the opportunity the University of Salford saw when they took space at the MediaCityUK complex on Salford Quays in Manchester. MediaCityUK is host to the BBC Britain’s national broadcaster and many independent creative and media businesses — an ideal learning environment for the media professionals of the future. The University aims to create a multidisciplinary, collaborative space where students can work with professionals from leading media businesses like BT, Adobe and the BBC on innovative, real-life projects.

The centerpiece of the University’s building is an elliptical space known as the Egg. It includes a large display wall, presentation space and a set of interactive tables. The Egg acts as a store window for the building and gives students the opportunity to showcase their work. The entire building features leading-edge technologies throughout with production suites, studios and digital infrastructure specified by industry experts. The university offers more than 30 undergraduate and postgraduate courses and students are able to work with the latest technologies on projects briefed and managed by media professionals. As well as learning, students, graduates and University staff work on innovative research projects with industry partners using the unique collaborative spaces within the building.

Audiovisual technology plays a key role in the current and future development of the University’s plans. It’s key to the collaborative environment and multidisciplinary approach of the University’s ambitious education and research programs. It aims to forge strong partnerships between academic and industry specialists and blur the boundaries between old and new media — a reflection of the way technology is moving. The vision is to create aninnovation-led academic ecosystem that is transdisciplinary and nurtures the development of talent for the creative, media and technology economies.

CHALLENGE

The University of Salford is focused on leading edge technologies and digital futures — the audiovisual deployment in the Egg had to reflect that vision. It also had to be flexible. The University wanted to use this unique space for a number of different purposes - as an area for collaboration, a presentation space and an area for educating and entertaining students and visitors. It’s a configurable space that had to change with requirements. The video wall, for example, had to operate in a variety of configurations, sometimes showing a single high- resolution image or as many as 120 separate images. It also had to support interactive applications.

The presentation area also had to be configurable to accommodate different size meetings and content formats, while the interactive tables had to be adaptable to both educational and entertainment applications. Similarly, the audio system had to be easy to relocate or augment for presentations or experiential projects. The aim was to develop and deliver a flexible, high-quality audiovisual environment that would transform, scale and grow with the University’s changing needs.

The Egg is a showcase for the University’s innovative learning and research in digital media.

SOLUTION

Electrosonic engineered a flexible solution to meet the University’s requirement for a multi- purpose space. Ten interactive stations offer games, access to web pages with University news and opportunities to trial innovative programs using multitouch infrared sensors. The free-standing video wall is configurable for different arrays and project layouts, giving students more creative freedom. The flexible audio installation is easily relocated, eliminating the need for duplicate systems.

KEY TAKEAWAYS

The University of Salford is currently the only university with a presence in the unique environment of MediaCityUK. It gives students, staff and researchers an unparalleled opportunity to collaborate with leading digital organizations in a creative space. The audiovisual deployment gives students access to the latest leading edge systems future- proofed for emerging technologies. It delivers the University’s vision for collaboration and innovation in the digital economy.

"The Egg is in many ways a shop window for the entire building to show off student and academic work and research. It highlights the cutting edge technology we will be working with." - Jon Corner, Director of MediaCityUk

Download a full version of this project profile here.

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