Erasmus University Rotterdam, established in 1913, has seven faculties and focusses on four areas – health, wealth, governance and culture. Erasmus MC is the largest and one of the foremost academic medical centres and trauma centres in The Netherlands, while its economics and business school, Erasmus School of Economics and Rotterdam School of Management, are well known in Europe and beyond.

In 2017, Erasmus University Rotterdam was ranked among the top 10 business schools in Europe by the Financial Times and, back in 2015, Times Higher Education ranked the university as 20th in Europe and 72nd in the world, with its social sciences as 40th, and clinical health as 35th in the world – highlighting its standing in education.

The Forum at Erasmus University is based in the Van der Goot building. Located on the third floor, the venue is perfectly suited for conferences, lectures, presentations and business meetings for up to 190 people. As The Forum is used extensively, the Media Support Center at Erasmus University, which is responsible for advising on investment in new audiovisual equipment, recently recommended an overhaul of the facility, including the installation of a new conference system.

Peter Hullegein, Co-ordinator / Planner at Erasmus University’s Media Support Center, takes up the story: “First and foremost, the system had to be user-friendly. The conference room is available both for commercial clients and for the university – it had to be easy to use for different type of users, some of whom have no, or very little, audiovisual experience.

So, we needed a several things – a system that was simple to install with good sound quality, network remote control and solid components. Plus, we needed to cater for up to 119 delegate units in the room, so that was the challenge.”

The team at the university worked with its audiovisual consultants, Kinly/MK2, based in Breda, The Netherlands, on the project at The Forum.

“It was they who advised we should demo the Audio-Technica ATUC-50 system,” added Peter. “We had a list of must-haves for the system and it looked to be a good fit for us. Once we’d seen it in operation, it confirmed fairly quickly that it fitted all the requirements and functionality of the room really well.”

There were 119 delegate units needed for the project, all of which had to be installed simply and quickly.

“We already had Cat 5 infrastructure that we could expand. Our preference was to have a system with built-in redundancy and, in conjunction with Kinly/MK2, it was a straightforward process to incorporate Audio-Technica’s ATUC-50 control and delegate units into the infrastructure to deliver the reliability and flexibility that the room needed,” explained Peter.

There are three of Audio-Technica’s ATUC-50CU central control units used – with one acting as the master unit. There are three rings in total that are connected to each other in the audiovisual rack – and they are connected to the Audio-Technica control units. There is one system that controls all the 119 delegate units – making it simple for visiting delegates to operate. However, there is also the option to control the system remotely from the Media Support Center’s helpdesk in a different building, ensuring that each event goes smoothly with non-disruptive support when needed.

Audio-Technica’s ATUC-50 was deemed ideal for the project at The Forum, as Peter explained further: “It’s a combination of a variety of factors. The build quality, the friendly-user interface, the fact that it’s straightforward to have a large number of delegate units in use, and the actual sound quality of the system were all key in the decision to invest in the system.

“The simple set-up with the Cat5 infrastructure and, of course, network control were really important to us, too – both aspects of the ATUC-50 that stood out for us.”

Aside from the new Audio-Technica system, the project saw a variety of audiovisual equipment upgraded, including an investment in an Allen & Heath SQ-5 digital mixing system, Panasonic laser projector, Sennheiser digital wireless microphoness and a Westlab Audio amplification and loudspeaker setup.

“We had to bring in the installation in the summer when the university was closed, so there was no downtime during the autumn term. The main challenge was really to have all the equipment installed on time for the new college year,” said Peter. “Happily, the installation and integration with existing infrastructure was as smooth as possible and there were no significant issues with having everything up-and-running on time.

Overall, the project at The Forum was a huge success, with the university receiving great feedback.

Peter said: “I can say everything works well, we are happy with everything that was installed, and we’ve had good support from both Audio-Technica and Kinly/MK2 throughout and post-installation. The feedback from users as far as the ATUC-50 discussion system is concerned has been really positive as well – it’s not intimidating for inexperienced users, which has been very important and very pleasing to us.”