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Crestron powers MedtoMarket training facility

Founded by practising physicians, MedtoMarket is a medical training and co-working organisation established to help medical innovators ‘bridge the gap from concept to market’. With a focus on harnessing the latest technologies to assist research and training, MedtoMarket opened its first facility – located in south central Austin, Texas – in June 2019.

As well as its permanent team, MedtoMarket regularly pays host to visiting medical professionals, guests and academics. Given all this, it’s not surprising that high-quality video display and distribution was a key requirement for the development of the Austin premises from day one, not least to ensure that medical procedures could be relayed in high-resolution and lowest possible latency.

Dr Aaron Ali, CEO and co-founder of MedtoMarket, says that the facility’s AV infrastructure has been a priority “since we started to put the design together about two years ago. We knew that AV would be a key component in terms of making this project successful. It had to be a high quality and robust system, and one that allowed us to satisfy our main principles, which are physical training, medical device innovation and the disruption of traditional innovation [in hospitals and universities].

“Bringing all the elements together in the best way possible is something that I have thought about pretty much every minute of the last two years.”

Audio-visual design consultancy AV Helpdesk was brought into the process at a formative stage, with a team led by Collin Hogan and Steve Grace advising on the best solutions to take the project forward. Ali recalls: “We started to talk to them about how the facility should be set up and how the equipment should be incorporated into the goals that we had defined for the facility. They then started to look at the various options in terms of brands and so on.”

Several specific items topped the MedtoMarket shopping list, including support for 4K HDR (aka High Dynamic Range, “for the highest quality visuals”); distribution with very low latency so procedures as well as other video contributions can be seen in real-time; ease of configuration and operation; and flexibility of future expansion, allowing extra rooms and external facilities to be added to the infrastructure with minimal upheaval.

An awareness of the current product range, as well as positive previous experiences, soon led MedtoMarket and AV Helpdesk to a Crestron-based solution. As Grace observes, a big factor was that the “Crestron support is second to none. It is possible to obtain demo equipment and mock things up, and they have always facilitated us in that way. And when we have encountered any technical issues, they have always put us in contact with the project engineer. So, yes, the dialogue with Crestron has always been great.”

Enterprise-wide 4K distribution

Crestron’s DigitalMedia AV distribution system is integral to the MedtoMarket installation. Specific products used include the DM-NVX-351, which is an AV over IP encoder/decoder that transports 4K60 4:4:4 video over standard Gigabit Ethernet with no perceptible latency or loss of quality. Developed with enterprise and campus-wide distribution applications in mind, the DM-NVX-351 supports HDR10 and HDCP 2.2 with built-in scaling and video wall processing, surround sound to stereo down-mixing, USB and KVM routing, and optional fiber connectivity.

The video distribution network is enabled by Crestron’s NVX digital video distribution technology, which is capable of switching thousands of 4K video sources and displays at 60 frames per second with full 4:4:4 colour sampling, HDR, and low latency over long distances. At the present time, the video distribution network covers a total of 11 rooms, including auditoriums, meeting rooms and an operating theatre; however, the facility has been designed in such a way as to enable straightforward expansion in the future.

MedtoMarket has also multiple Crestron Mercury CCS-UC-1 tabletop console devices for various meeting rooms and collaborative spaces. Control comes from Crestron CP3N 3-Series rack-mountable processors, whose features include isolated control subnets to provide Gigabit Ethernet LAN dedicated for Crestron devices. The AM-200 Media Presentation System has been specified to provide secure wired and wireless presentation in multiple spaces across the facility, while Crestron DM Lite Transmitter (HD-TXC-101-C-E) and DM Lite Receiver (HD-RX-101-C-E) products are also well-represented.

Crestron’s AirMedia technology allows anyone to wirelessly share content on meeting room screens, while TSW touchscreens provide ease of control for in-house personnel and visiting clients. According to Ali, the touchscreens have “made it so easy to drag and drop different video content into different rooms. They are great to use.”

Equipment installed to cater to the facility’s audio requirements includes Crestron’s SAROS IC4T-B-T-EACH, a 2-way in-ceiling speaker incorporating a 4in woofer and 3/4in dome tweeter.

With the bulk of the installation taking place earlier in 2019, the Austin facility opened its doors in June.

An ‘all-encompassing’ installation

Several months on from the work taking place, Ali remarks that he is “incredibly happy with the way that the project has turned out. From the support we have received from Crestron to the installers themselves, the process was even smoother than I had hoped it would be.” Now firmly “embedded in the facility”, the Crestron technology will “allow us to innovate at the pace of academia, which is one of the main objectives” of MedtoMarket, he adds.

The installation has already given the facility significant flexibility in terms of video content. Ali cites an instance where the “three visual capacities of the main auditorium – two 85in TVs and a laser projector – can be used to relay three different visuals. For example, you can have a presentation on one screen, a live video feed from an operation on another, and then a video conference contribution on the remaining screen.” Meanwhile, in the operating room, it is possible to have different feeds on all nine of the installed screens.

Among all the stakeholders involved in the project, there is a sense that the completed MedtoMarket building provides a firm insight into how medical research and innovation facilities will look in the future. The focus on high-quality video and audio in the medical sector is “increasing all the time, and so we observe that this is a very exciting market at the moment,” says Grace.

Providing the Crestron perspective, head of public relations Ron Epstein says that the project is “an amazing example of the capabilities of the technology we provide, and the imagination and drive of people who are looking to use it. [The facility has] a tremendous business concept and will make a real difference in terms of the knowledge of people. The capabilities of the facility are remarkable and it has been wonderful to play a part in this project.”