Kramer‘s range of future-proof AVoIP solutions have been chosen to revolutionise the teaching and learning experiences for students inside all 25 classrooms at the new €24m Akvarelli school in Finland.
Located in Forssa, a small Finnish municipality with a population of around 16,500, Akvarelli is a new, multi-purpose learning centre supporting over 600 students aged 3-16, from preschool to secondary education, plus a range of other extracurricular leisure activities.
Replacing a tired and outdated existing site, construction on the new centre began in 2018, with all aspects of the design centred heavily around creating more stimulating learning spaces and experiences.
The Akvarelli AV/IT team required a best-in-class solution to meet the challenges of education and teaching both today and in the future. Key requirements include usability, consistency across all 25 classrooms and flexibility for teachers. Key requirements for the project included creating flexible learning spaces, giving educators the flexibility to move around the classroom as they teach, providing teachers with a stress-free, unified experience so they can focus on teaching rather than operating technology and ensuring seamless and consistent user experiences in all classrooms with AV equipment.
To deliver on its ambitions, the Akvarelli team turned to Advania – a Nordic AV/IT system integration specialist – with Kramer’s range of AvoIP solutions, together with the company’s local support, becoming the choice to ensure the ambitious and highly complex project’s success.
At first, Forssa was looking at a solution with a standard HDMI connection to accommodate the many projectors and smartboards the former school building already had. However, with a bigger school in the Akvarelli centre, additional smart boards would have been required, and after interviewing the teachers, it became clear the benefits of these dated tools were not being utilised. As a result, an AVoIP solution was chosen as the new direction.
Niko Sutinen, IT Manager for the Forssa Municipality comments: “We wanted to create flexible classrooms in which teachers would be able to move around, while also delivering a stress-free environment for teachers; to have the same setup and solution in every classroom with the same functions, so their time is spent teaching, not working complicated technology.”
After extensive testing, trials and demonstrations – including teachers – in the existing school building, the final solutions included Kramer’s scalable and flexible KC-Brainware-25 hardware platform for controlling almost any device over ethernet (on the network) in all 25 classrooms.
Kramer BRAINware is a user−friendly, software application that enables users to execute all actions straight from a computer, such as scalers, video displays, audio amplifiers, Blu−ray players, sensors, screens, shades, door locks and lights.
In addition, 100 Kramer KDS-6 devices – one of Kramer’s most advanced AvoIP streaming solutions carrying 4K@60Hz video and audio – have been used in the project, with one KDS-EN6 encoder and two KDS-DEC6 decoders installed in each of the 25 classrooms.
To ensure maximum usability, and remove all complexity of the technology, 25 Kramer KT-107 wall and desk mountable touch panels have been installed in each classroom.
Supporting wired PoE and advanced WiFi connectivity, the 7” multi-touch 1280×800 resolution panels provide tutors seamless one-touch near-zero latency (10 milliseconds) access to all connected devices available in the room.
With Kramer’s cloud-based K-Touch Control software, tutors can even securely mirror the control panel’s interface directly on an existing iOS or Android auxiliary device, such as a smartphone or tablet, adding even greater flexibility and freedom in how and where they choose to present during a class.
The set-up – including panels and all technology – is mirrored and consistent in every classroom, so tutors are always competent when using the technology, helping to eliminate possible confusion or delays.
Such is its versatility, Kramer’s AV solution is used for multiple purposes beyond classroom lessons at Akvarelli, with the school’s administrators using the displays for each morning’s 10-minute ‘opening ceremony’ to make announcements and share messages. For security purposes, the system can also send out warnings via a silent alarm, which can be immediately pinpointed to an exact location.
“It is a huge step to change solutions for the teachers, so it needs to be done right,” says Niko. “Now, with AvoIP, the teachers can present everywhere in the classroom and are not dependent on any connection. You can open up the classrooms. Be a few steps ahead of other schools. And ultimately help Akvarelli become a stimulating learning environment that meets the challenges of education – today and in the future.”
Working closely together, Kramer and Advania were able to overcome several obstacles to ensure the project’s success, including completion in half the originally allocated time, as a result of delays to the building’s construction. A hurdle that wouldn’t have been cleared without the availability of Kramer’s Finnish-speaking team on the ground, which proved invaluable.
More schools in Forssa are now evaluating the solution for possible wider future rollouts.
Janne Kankonnen, key account manager at Kramer Finland, at Kramer, concludes: “We’re incredibly proud to have played such an important role in supporting current and future generations of students at this incredible new multi-purpose education centre. When it comes to teaching and learning, it has to be right.
“Failures in technology have the potential to derail a student’s ability to learn – even harming their future potential prospects – while causing unnecessary stress and complications to the tutor. That’s simply not acceptable. With our flexible solutions, together with our unwavering commitment to supporting our partners with teams on the ground, clients can always trust Kramer to deliver on their ambitions, no matter how simple or complex they may be.”
“We are delighted to have helped provide Akravelli with the latest education technology with a seamless, smooth transition and look forward to further, similar projects in the region.”