Great Western Ambulance Service gets AV upgrade

posted on Thursday, 28th June 2012 by David Slater

Installs  Crestron 

When integrators and CI pros gather to talk about projects, the chatter is usually about residential or corporate work. Rarely do jobs come along which involve the emergency services. But that's exactly what came Smartcomm's way here. The team was given the opportunity to kit out the briefing and training rooms of the Great Western Ambulance Service HART facility in Filton, Bristol.

The GWAS Hazardous Area Response Team is one of several serving in England, covering the South West region. They're a highly training specialist group providing ambulance response to major incidents. These could be anything from motorway accidents to incidents involving chemicals or explosives; it's demanding, essential work in every sense.

Smartcomm's task consisted of upgrading the unit's most used spaces: the Briefing and Training areas. The refit needed to reflect the nature of the work at hand, offering easy access and reliable operation.

The Briefing room is where the HART team gather to assess new emergencies, or review of events when the Paramedics' shifts change. It's in constant use. Smartcomm installed two wall-mounted LG 47-inch LCD TVs and a Panasonic 50-inch plasma, with a 50-inch Panasonic Smartboard providing the focal point. Each display was assigned a specific job. One LCD was used in conjunction with a Polycom video conferencing system; it takes a feed from Eagle Eye HDX-7000 camera. The second LG LCD was configured to take a feed direct from the response team in the field, both from their ambulances or on their uniforms; allowing incidents to be examined up close at the HART base.

The third display was installed simply as a TV display, used to keep the team up to date on breaking news. Discreet plates were installed within the Briefing room table to provide easy HDMI and VGA connection for laptops or other devices.

The interactive Smartboard was already resident, and was passed on to the Smartcomm team to incorporate in the project. 

The Training room at GWAS is used by HART teams from across the UK. It's a large space that can be converted into three smaller rooms using simple partitions. Consequrently, Smartcomm specified the AV equipment with these independent spaces in mind. A 65-inch LG plasma was chosen to be the prime display in the central training room, big enough to address the entire room when the partitions are removed. A rack allows easy hook-up of disc players, laptops and a resident PC.

A pair of 47-inch LCDs act as repeater screens to the larger display, but they can also work independently for rooms two and three. These smaller screens have been fitted onto Axia High Level trollies, so that they can be moved quickly from room to room. Providing all-room audio are JBL Control 24CT ceiling speakers. Smartcomm specified a Crestron TPS-6X wireless touchpanel to control all the screens in both rooms; it's also used for the video conferencing system and related sources (DVD players, laptops etc).

The overall cost of the project came in at £72,000 and took five weeks to complete, including building work. The system designer for this unusual project was Mark Allen.

A bit about Smartcomm...

Smartcomm is a UK based specialist Audio Visual, Communications & Controls Integration Company which has continually been at the forefront of the industry. We have years of experience in designing and installing solutions that seamlessly integrate the latest technologies into a wide range of environments, including corporate, retail, hotel, leisure and residential developments, to fulfil every possible requirement.


3 Barnes Wallis Court

Wellington Road

Cresses Business Park


HP12 3PS

Tel: 01494 471912


David Slater

David Slater started his writing career with SVI writing a popular column, he has also guested on publications like Home Cinema Choice and
Living North

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