Name: Jonathan Owen
Job Title: Service Owner – Learning Spaces and Collaborative Environments
Department: IT Services
Can you tell us a little bit about your role?
I manage the Learning Spaces and Collaborative Environments Service in IT Services, which is responsible for managing the audio visual equipment across campus. My team provides a range of technical services to the University which include; Lecture Capture, Video Conferencing and Digital Signage. I work closely with the Estates Department on all major building and refurbishment projects, to advise on audio visual equipment and learning space design. I also represent IT Services on the Refurb Group, who have oversight of the refurbishment of teaching spaces.
How have you been involved in the Oculus Building project?
I have been lucky to be part of the Oculus project team since the very beginning and have worked closely with the Estates Department, Architect and Space Management Team, to ensure that the technology compliments the building and supports a wide range of uses, whilst remaining extremely reliable.
What do you like best about the building?
I really like the Glulam ceiling and the use of glass throughout the building, which helps highlight the green space we have on campus. From a technical point of view, I’m really excited about the use of edge blended projection in the large lecture theaters, which allows lecturers to easily configure a huge digital canvas, to display a multitude of content. Another nice feature is the room information screens throughout the building, which connects to a large 16k resolution video wall that acts as a teaching activity dashboard, whilst also having the ability to be used to display digital art work and promote activity within the building.
What challenges have you faced in your work on the building?
My biggest challenge has been trying to provide AV and IT technology that compliments the overall design of the building, rather than working against it. The design of the AV systems in the Oculus building are far more advanced than anything else on campus, whilst remaining extremely easy to use and this has taken a considerable amount of effort by my team. In the 500 seat lecture theatre, we've used digital steerable array speakers to provide excellent audio quality from just 2 speakers, which allows the stunning Glulam ceiling to remain free of speakers and achieve maximum impact.
Now that it’s open, what’s the next thing you’re working on?
Although the building is now finished and ready for use, we still have some work to do. I’m going to be working closely with IATL and the Space Management team to monitor the use of the Oculus building throughout term 1, so that we can begin to offer practical advice to users on how to use the teaching spaces effectively.
I'm also heavily involved in the refurbishment of our existing teaching spaces on campus, through my role on the Refurb Group. My team have started providing technical support and services to a number of additional departments this year, in order to try and help raise the quality of audio visual equipment and services campus wide. We now deliver a range of centrally supported services that departments can take advantage of, which means we're busier than ever!