The horizon room: The future of education

The Horizon Room at the Executive Education HEC Lausanne incorporates a sophisticated and simple user experience that is futureproofed for the uncertainty of post-pandemic learning. Reece Webb finds out how this tech-savvy room is ready for whatever the future can throw at it.

The Horizon Room is a state-of the-art teaching facility built with hybrid working at its heart, blending seamless video-conferencing technologies with a hassle-free design that enables camera tracking, elegant visuals and crystal-clear audio to be harnessed by lecturers at the touch of a button.

Designed to offer executive education programmes to students all around the world, the Executive Education HEC Lausanne in Lausanne, Switzerland, required a new teaching space that could accommodate the needs of remote and in-person students without overcomplicated hardware and software.

Thomas Rouaud, head of marketing and sales, Executive Education HEC Lausanne, explained: “We are increasing the education projects that we are offering, with the programmes geared more towards international students. Two years ago, we identified a need to offer online courses all over the world; this is why we invested in the project.

“The university decided it was a good idea. We organised a private tender to complete the project very quickly. The project had confirmation in September, the tender went out in October and the project started in November, finishing in December with final touches in January. It was a very important project made in a very short time, this is why we went to Projection Nouvelle as we were sure they’d be able to do it in one month, and they did.”

Projection Nouvelle were brought on board to deliver the project quickly and professionally, filling the key requirements for the room whether 2022 offers a return to full, in-person learning or continued remote working.

"To create a simple, automatic interface for both platforms was a very big challenge. We created a personalised user experience and tools for the faculty." - Sergio Galatà, Projection Nouvelle

Rouaud: “I think that the education sector is very risk averse. Because of the Covid-19 pandemic, they don’t know if it’s going to be fully online next year or if it will be in-person, so the sector is looking at doing hybrid. I believe that people like to come and have education directly on campus. This is why we have an ambidextrous solution that can do anything. The lecturers push one button and everything is ready.”

The faculty required a solution that was incredibly easy for lecturers alone to operate the equipment without an engineer or specialist to launch the course, allowing for independent operation without complexity.

The system also required a cost-effective solution with an acceptable year-on-year upkeep while also replicating the class atmosphere to allow the lecturers to speak with remote students as if they are physically in the room.

At the centre of the room is a Leyard TVF 1.8 videowall, supported by an Analog Way Next 1604-4K video processor and an AMX control system to manage video signals throughout the space. Alexandre Rouvelet, technical director, Projection Nouvelle, clarified: “The system control is AMX. We designed a very simple layout so that the lecturers don’t have to think about the technical side of the project.”

High quality cameras and effective camera tracking for speakers in the room also plays a central role for students working remotely, allowing them to engage with the lecturer moving around the room.

Rouvelet explained: “We used Aver PTC310H PTZ cameras after testing its automatic tracking and discovering it has a very good AI system, it’s the best available right now. For audio, we chose Shure MXA9110 microphones. If you test the connection with this room, the sound is very good.”

Projection Nouvelle also developed a complete, custom-made interface to allow for BYOD connection to the system via a laptop. A USB cable is provided to connect to a BenQ DTK-2451 touchscreen monitor with built-in whiteboard, enabling real-time annotation and presentation in the room to all in-person and remote students directly from the lecturer’s laptop.

Rouaud added: “This interface is very interesting because the lecturers can connect easily but there are also lots of options on this interface to choose the angle of the cameras, whether to activate camera tracking and more. It’s very important for us because we have a lot of mathematical skills that we need to present via the interactive whiteboard.

The horizon room: The future of education

“There is the videowall and there is one BenQ screen and two Sony screens behind the lecturers. The central screen is the whiteboard and the two screens on the side are a copy of the whiteboard to make sure everyone in the room can see what the lecturer is showing perfectly. With the interface, there is also a ‘discussion’ option, which will bring the person who is talking online on to the two monitors to reproduce a face-to-face discussion between online students and everyone in the room.”

All signals for both video and audio were handled over IP to allow the room to be futureproofed, opening up the potential to connect the Horizon Room with additional facilities throughout the faculty in the future.

For remote students in particular, ensuring that the system could run as a software-agnostic system was a top priority for Projection Nouvelle, providing the capability for students to join the session via videoconferencing platforms such as Microsoft Teams or Zoom without hindrance proved to be as simple to use as it was complicated to deliver on a short time frame.

Sergio Galatà, commercial director, Projection Nouvelle, explained: “The delivery time was quite tight. The biggest challenge was delivering the hardware because of Covid and the blockage in the Suez Canal.

Adapting and simplifying the user experience was very important for Teams and Zoom software as they are both very different software offerings.

To create a simple, automatic interface for both platforms was a very big challenge. We created a personalised user experience and tools for the faculty.

Rouaud added: “The graphics card was also a challenge, we first looked at a graphics card specifically for the videowall. The graphics card wasn’t working perfectly with Zoom and Projection Nouvelle finally found a new solution. We can resize the windows from the computer directly on the pre-set screen created on the computer from the graphics card, creating a layout to help the lecturers to choose what they want to show and what screen they want to show it on.”

Projection Nouvelle completed the project on time, with the prospect of additional rooms in the future which are interconnected throughout the campus.

Rouvelet closed: “This is only the first Horizon Room at the University. It was a very good experience with the faculty, to create and realise a big project with synergy from the client. It’s a big installation and to simplify the system with one or two buttons was a great challenge. Now lecturers are using the room totally independently with minimal training and online support.

Kit list


AMX SVSI 1000series video distribution

Analog Way Next1604-4K video processor

Aver PTC310H PTZ camera

BenQ CP8601k touch screen monitor

Leyard TVF 1.8 videowall

Sony FW-85BZ35F Bravia display

Wacom DTK-2451 touchscreen monitor


Biamp Tesira Forté DAN CI audio DSP

Shure MXA910 Dante microphones

Soundtube IPD-SM500i active Dante speakers


AMX NX-2200 control unit, MT-1002 touchscreen

Cisco SG350X-48MP switch

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