California A/V Consulting Firm Saves Thousands on Huge Hospital Project Thanks to Global Caché
Global Caché device gives patients in each of 168 rooms the ability to control LG TVs from a custom-programmed iPad.
Devising solutions to overcome complicated, head-scratching challenges is a skillset that senior design engineer Gil Lopez and the 100-or-so-man crew at Oakland, Calif.-based TEECOM have mastered over the past 20 years as consultants to companies interested in adopting large-scale A/V, telecom, security and networking systems. The company has developed and implemented slick presentation systems for boardrooms, communications networks for global corporations, and robust security systems for campuses and other institutions. The team has tackled a wide variety of complex projects over the years, but a recent job for an area hospital had TEECOM digging for new answers for an A/V setup that would provide each occupant of the hospital’s 168 rooms the ability to easily control an LG TV and Apple TV settop box from a hospital-issued iPad.
A/V Control from a Hospital Bed
The planned A/V setup was part of a major expansion of the hospital that’s still in the works. TEECOM had handled the hospital’s A/V, telecom and networking needs previously for about three years, but this particular installation would be completely different from anything TEECOM had encountered. “The iPad as a control device for individual TVs in each patient’s room was a very specific challenge that required a very specific solution,” Lopez says. As the hospital executives explained to Lopez, each of the 168 rooms would be outfitted with a 43-inch LG TV, an Apple TV and three different remotes: one for the TV, one for the Apple TV, and a third “pillow remote,” a standard device that patients use to summon a nurse and control the room TV.
Global Caché Ties iPad to A/V System
Rather than burden their patients with multiple remotes that would need to be constantly replaced, the hospital instead intended to provide each patient control of the A/V equipment, utilizing the hospital-provided iPad that was part of the Patient Education and Charting system. “The hospital figured that the remotes would need to be replaced very frequently, as the alcohol cleaning and disinfecting solutions would quickly wear away the labeling and damage the remotes’ controls,” Lopez explains. The iPad would preclude this problem, and give patients a tool to also surf the Internet via the hospital’s Wi-Fi during their stay.
TEECOM needed to find a way to consolidate the controls of the TV and Apple TV into the iPad—and do so in a way that was efficient and economical. “The typical solution would be to add a control system to each room,” says Lopez. “To a tune of over $1,000 per room, this was out of the question.”
Global Caché Solution Saves Thousands of Dollars
Having employed Global Caché products on other large commercial projects, Lopez knew there was a much more affordable way to meet the needs of the hospital and its patients. “We used the Global Caché Flex Wi-Fi device which grabs information from Wi-Fi and converts it to an infrared signal the TV can understand,” he explains. “We combined this product with an infrared interface and Simple Control software on the iPad and tested the entire configuration at our in-house R&D lab.” The setup worked, and Lopez presented it to the hospital stakeholders, who approved it and gave TEECOM the green light to deploy the system.
In addition to saving the hospital thousands of dollars on hardware, software and programming that would have been required of a traditional control system, the Global Caché-based systems can be deployed in a fraction of the time and with less manpower, Lopez says. “We just need to clip the 1-by-3-inch box onto the back of each TV and plug it into the USB port of the TV for power. It’s a simple installation that works with what’s already in the room.”
As the construction of the hospital nears completion this quarter, TEECOM has a solution ready to deploy that’s been tested, approved, slides comfortably under budget for the hospital, and offers patients a slick, convenient, simple means of operating a full-fledged in-room A/V system.
Lisa Montgomery has been a member of the CE Pro and Electronic House editorial teams for nearly 20 years; most of that time as the Editor of Electronic House. With a knack for explaining complex high-tech topics in terms that average consumers can understand, her style of writing resonates with people who are interested in addition electronic systems to their homes, but are unsure of the steps involved and the solutions available. From basic lighting control systems to full-blown automation systems, Lisa understands the home electronics market well, and is able to point consumers in the right direction on their quest for a smarter, more convenient, efficient and enjoyable home. Over the years, she has developed close relationships with key manufacturers and seasoned custom electronics professionals, giving her a keen sense of what home technologies are hot now and what is on the horizon. She shares this wisdom regularly through feature stories, product roundups, case studies technology spotlights and comprehensive guides and books. Have a suggestion or a topic you want to read more about? Email Lisa at [email protected]
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