Portuguese Presidency of the Republic

The Presidency of the Republic operates from the National Palace of Belém.

With more than 500 years of history, the National Palace of Belém has been the official residence of the President of the Portuguese Republic since the latter’s establishment. Its first owner was Manuel I of Portugal, son of the counts of Vimioso, who had initially built a smaller palace in the 16th century, which is where the current protocol rooms are located. See https://www.museu.presidencia.pt/pt/conhecer/palacio-nacional-de-belem/ 

The Challenge: 

Up to now, the rooms used for the meetings of the Presidency of the Republic did not have simultaneous interpreting available, which made it difficult for officials from the various countries to immediately understand the items on the agenda. Therefore, there was an urgent need for the implementation of a Simultaneous Interpreting System that would facilitate communication in real time. Faced with this requirement, the challenge took on a new dimension, i.e., to find a videoconferencing solution that could cover the various rooms from a single location where the interpreters would be positioned. 

It was clear that the best brands on the market would be chosen to fit out the building, due to their reliability and market leadership in their field, examples of which include Televic, Wyrestorm, Vaddio, Unitech, Sharp/Nec, Napofix, Xilica, Arthur Holm and Extron. 

The initial need for simultaneous translation would prove to be the trigger for an audiovisual project featuring cutting-edge technology integrated into bespoke furniture, in a perfect blend of technological innovation with multiple functionalities and fully in tune with the space and its architecture.

Highlights: 

  • Multimedia conference microphone system 
  • Simultaneous interpreting system 
  • Multi-platform video conferencing with automatic PTZ camera position 
  • IP video linking different rooms 
  • DSP audio management, with AEC via DANTE 
  • Bespoke conference table with motorized system integration 
  • Centralized control and automation system with simple and intuitive touch screen 

 

Project Summary: 

Design, concept, installation and implementation of audiovisual solutions for the Belém Palace meeting rooms. After the client's primary need had been identified and with the end result being an intuitive and comprehensive AV solution, the client also decided to update a number of the installed systems to make a fully integrated audiovisual project possible.

Image Recording and Simultaneous Interpreting

 

The sound recording system was updated using microphones with multimedia capabilities (Televic uniCOS). Participants now also have access to a monitor, i.e., their own multimedia system with various functions: identification, speech, camera signal, access to documents, voting, simultaneous interpreting, etc.

 

A significant improvement in videoconferencing capacity has also been achieved. Formerly it was only possible to videoconference using independent sound and image systems, i.e., without connecting to a room system. Now, with the new conferencing system, which allows for the integration of voice, audio and video, it is possible to videoconference using all the installed professional solutions and to communicate between rooms.

The Council of State room is also fitted with three motorized Vaddio cameras that cover all the room’s surfaces and includes a front-facing camera to view the President of the Republic. The PTZ cameras installed on the walls focus on each participant and are positioned to zoom in automatically whenever the microphone button is activated.

This room also features large NEC screens that support the individual monitoring of each participant and complete the installed solution, being activated only in certain types of meetings. 

ROOM SOUND SYSTEM

The audio design of the space was also a matter of the utmost major importance: perfect sound with optimum intelligibility was the goal, and nothing less than this would be considered. And because the architecture of the space had been an issue throughout the project, the problem here too was that it was not possible to install speakers in the walls. The solution? The table. Using the renowned Arthur Holm brand, the audio solution was to integrate motorised speakers into the table. These activate automatically when needed, allowing for 360º sound distribution. They can be understood by all participants in the meeting and can also be hidden in the table when not in use.

Based on the installed functionalities and in order to guarantee the best audio quality, Xilica also joined this project to provide technological consistency in digital processing, AEC, DNR, as well as management and control over all the sound components, thus also becoming a key player in this project.

IP VIDEO

 

The project also included video signal management using IP video technology to link all the signals between the various rooms. The actual need was for the management of various signal inputs and outputs (videoconferencing signal, PC signal, Box TV, etc.), which Wyrestorm met using IP encoders and decoders, making it possible to have the various inputs and outputs at different locations in the building, thus enabling the creation of virtual matrices able to send/receive any signal to/from any room, including the interpreters’ room.

MOTORISED SUPPORTS

 

 

Given how difficult it was to install a camera to capture a front view of the President of the Republic, due to the architecture of the space and all the physical constraints, the solution was to turn to one of the leading manufacturers of motorised systems, Unitech Systems. In this way, together with the high level of expertise in the production of conference tables, it was possible to develop a bespoke recessed support solution for the videoconferencing system, which is activated by a single button and is visible when needed and hidden within the table when not in use.

Bespoke table

No less significant and because it turned out to be one of the most important aspects of the audiovisual project, as it would integrate much of the audiovisual technology that would significantly improve the quality of the meetings involving the Presidency of the Republic, was the design of the new table in the Council of State meeting room. This table is where the most important decisions for the country are made and around which the world's most prominent figures are seated, so all the AV elements had to be carefully selected for their aesthetics and functionalities. This rosewood table with oak carvings was designed and developed in agreement with the client and the architecture of the Belém Palace. Custom-designed to accommodate all the AV solutions and incorporating storage spaces to conceal any devices that are not needed (conference system multimedia consoles), this is a multifaceted table that allows participants to prepare and start a meeting in a matter of minutes. The result speaks for itself and has not only met but even exceeded all expectations.

CONTROL AND AUTOMATION

 

 

In order to facilitate the management of all the installed systems, every detail has been carefully thought out and everything is automated and centralised. Using a touch screen, an operator in the office is able to manage and control all the functions in the President's offices.

 

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