We want to clarify a point regarding upgrades -
Buying an upgrade gives you access to a more recent version of our software but not the right to deploy both versions in active service. If you need an extra licence we will sell you one at a fair price. We try to place as few technical restrictions as possible on your use of our software. Our job is to make your life easier and we work hard at it improving our products. We want to be fair both to you our customers but also to ourselves so we can continue to provide a great service.
As a company we remain faithful to our belief in the fundamental good nature of human beings and broadly speaking our experience confirms this 100%. But there are exceptions so we have now changed our Terms & Conditions and in future when a licence is upgraded and the new licence is activated we will revoke prior serial numbers.
We hope that this will not be the cause of difficulties to existing customers the vast majority of whom play fair. We will always make the best endeavour to assist. I feel it is a shame when the many good people in this world have to suffer from the actions of a very few who are trying to take advantage of our trust.
Upgrading an analog video teleconference system to a modern digital fiber-based installation might seem fairly straightforward, but when the client is the US Department of Defense and the location is the Pentagon itself, and the role of the system nothing less than the backup should the Pentagon ever be disabled or go offline, things are very different indeed.
[...] “The project was further complicated by having a very short window of time in which to take the legacy system offline. Since this is an auxiliary site and there are various global events in which our DoD may have involvement or interest in, the reality is that the room may have been needed at any given time were something of interest to occur. The pressure was extensive to say the least.”
The project itself involved an analog to digital upgrade (both HdBase-T and Multi-mode Fiber) of the video infrastructure with a large-scale video distribution system. The DoD demanded a mission-critical system that could flawlessly distribute content locally (26 operators) and to 46 overflow offices.
Since this was an upgrade and expansion to an existing system, the primary objective was to upgrade the current system to a digital solution with the additional capability to push content to 46 overflow offices. Integrating a soft codec solution into the system while implementing a simple and user-friendly control interface were also essential objectives.
During the design process, Chris and I had various sessions collaborating with the client in order to survey the facility and discuss objectives and limitations. Because of funding and the nature of how that funding is released we ended up with a fairly mercurial project that kept growing in budget and in scope. Initially we were simply doing a VTC room with voice lift and a video wall, and support for a handful of PC to be displayed on said video wall.
Fast forward several months and the requirements had grown: we had soft-VTC integration with an SX80, USB pc audio, and a large amount of fiber outputs that would feed remote offices for passive viewing of DoD briefings and closed circuit cams to be integrated.”
Using Vectorworks fitted with the connectCAD plugin as our primary design tools, we proceeded to develop a system design, bill of materials and quote. In a project like this where goals and scope change as the project evolves, software flexibility played an important role. Once the design process was complete, system drawings, riser drawings, pathway drawings, pull lists and a number of other documents were passed to the customer for review and approval by their personnel. Vectorworks with connectCAD facilitated the entire design and installation process. The impact of a sound design increased the time and monetary savings exponentially as the project rolled out.
System design documentation was updated continuously throughout the building process as a contingency effort to maintain sufficient records in case the system had to be put in use and to expedite the sign off process.
Due to the condensed nature of the project it was critical that we reuse what was already in place to save time and manage cost.
In the last few days we have implemented secure connections at connectcad.com. This step makes sure that all information you send to us on our website is encrypted while it travels across the Internet and is becoming mandatory for all sites. Very soon we will also be rolling out SSL for our support and blog websites.
To support this we have released an upgrade (1.6) to connectCAD 2017 that corrects the activation URL adding https:// instead of http: If you are on 1.5 and below you can either upgrade or simply coreect the URL in your browser to https:// and the activation form will work.
Your security is important to us. Even though we do not keep or handle any sensitive information like credit cards numbers we still want you to be confident when using our store that every measure has been taken.
If you have any doubts or questions concerning our website security don't hesitate to get in touch.
Extracts from story printed in November-December'16 issue of InAvate Apac magazine
St. Mary's Cathedral is the cathedral church of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Sydney and the seal of the Archbishop of Sydney. Founded in 1821 the church has been serving its congregation in Australia for close to a century. It recently upgraded its audio and video systems and the project was handled by integrator Envision AV.
Michael Jones, director of the company starts with the reasoning behind the upgrade: “The AV equipment at St. Mary's was quite old and dated. They had Barco LCD monitors and a Creative Audio steerable array system, which is a local Australian brand. Both were around 10 years old.”
The upgrade took place in phases and Jones explains: "We have been doing patchwork at St. Mary's for a long time until they had the budget to actually invest and upgrade. We decided to revamp the whole system and started off with the control system which was failing. From these we did an audio back-end upgrade and finally moved on to video.”
All the design work was handled in-house by Envision AV. Jones says: “We used connectCAD to design the entire project. The software is simple and easy to use and the process is quite painless.”
While designing the new system was not a challenge, coming to grips with the legacy system was difficult. Jones explains: “One of the main issues we had was trying to reverse engineer the old system. There wasn’t a lot of documentation available. They had some from the original instalment and then some from when upgrades happened but a lot of the documentation had been lost. But I can say for the new system the documentation with connectCAD should ensure that this problem is not faced in the future. There was also the fact the infrastructure was copper and we had to change all of that for AVB.”
Envision AV also came to the conclusion that AVB signal transmission was the right choice for the job due to the functionality it offered. Blake Hainsworth [from Envision AV] details: “We had a significant channel count that required a lot of audio patching. There are inputs and outputs everywhere and the overall channel count is very high so that meant that it was not practical to use CobraNet.”
AVB also helped Envision AV solve a particular audio challenge at St. Mary’s Cathedral/ Hainsworth says: “We have the cathedral and we have the crypt underneath it. So what the church wanted to do was to have the option of bringing the crypt in when needed. We thought one of the best ways to make this possible was with AVB. So with an AVB mixer live events could be sent down to the crypt as well, although at the moment it is not really a consideration we have made provisions for it being allowed in the future.”
Interestingly a mixing console, a staple of many houses of worship projects, is absent at St. Mary’s Cathedral. Jones explains the omission: “We have made allowances for installing a mixer if the church wants. The choice of AVB means that we can just slot one anywhere and anytime. It also means that when the situation calls for it external contractors can bring in a desk and have it be on the network. But the space [where the desk was previously installed] is quite small and you do not want to put a mixer in there. The brief from St. Mary’s Cathedral to us was to basically design a system capable of doing lots without having people with AV knowledge being present to operate it.”
Envision AV is based in Sydney Australia and has been providing integrated audio visual systems to businesses, government departments and educational institutions since 2007.