One sector that has taken advantage of fiber optic communication technology is Worship Spaces. Many churches today offer a diverse selection of services, from religious sermons, to nursery care, to Sunday School and other educational classes. In order to facilitate so many activities, churches require communication systems that are not only flexible and perform consistently, but are affordable too.
Fiber optic transmission systems, especially digital systems, are ideal choices because they meet all these requirements and can be used for multiple purposes such as controlling audio, video, lighting and closed circuit TVs.
Fiber may be used in a variety of applications, such as audio and video systems, which are frequently used during church services and presentations. Video cameras and monitors are often set up so that the entire congregation can see the front of the church from wherever they are seated. A camera and microphone, located in the front of the church, capture video and audio of activity happening at the pulpit.
These signals, fed to a fiber optic transmitter, are then sent over a fiber optic cable to a receiver unit located in the rear of the church. Once the signals reach the receiver, they are output over coaxial cable to a video monitor and speaker. This enables even those who are seated in the very last row of pews to view what is going on up front.
Many worship spaces also use closed circuit TVs for various areas, such as on-site Sunday School and daycare facilities, or for educational classes that oftentimes take place in the evening.
Using a mounted video camera, it is possible to monitor other rooms within the facility, or monitor the outside entrances from the inside. The same type of system can be used for access control, to allow entry in and out of secured areas.
A typical setup for an entranceway would include a video camera, complete with pan, tilt, zoom, a call button, an intercom and a door latch. When a person approaches the door, they use either the intercom or the call button to get the attention of the person inside. The video camera can be zoomed in and out, it can pan the area, or be tilted up and down in order for the individual at the monitoring station to see who is outside.
Fiber can also be used for operational wiring. Some examples would be: to control automation that may be used during services, such as rotating the organ platform or opening curtains to reveal an altar or scripture, or to control lighting, both inside the buildings and out.
While these types of signals could certainly be installed without the use of fiber optic cable, fiber technology offers several advantages over a traditional “wired” system. In addition to being much smaller and lighter in weight than copper wire or coaxial cable, fiber has the ability to transmit more information at one time, in opposite directions and at a greater speed. Unlike copper wire or coaxial cable, fiber will not corrode, and is totally immune to virtually all kinds of interference, including lightning and extreme weather conditions; it does not conduct electricity.
Though the cost of laying a single coaxial cable is cheaper per foot than a single fiber, coaxial cable can only send one signal, while fiber has the capability of sending multiple signals over a single fiber. In addition, fiber is better equipped to handle upgrades and new functions as needed, without installing more. The same cannot be said for coaxial cable, which would require the installation of additional cable, incurring additional costs.
With advantages such as flexibility and consistent performance, fiber optic transmission systems have become increasingly popular, and the technology has become more user-friendly, and better understood than it was even 5 years ago.
Now, with the availability of digital fiber optic technology, more and more industries are experiencing the “digital difference”, bringing fiber optic transmission to a whole new level.
Worship spaces are unique settings because they often combine many different functions under one roof. Whether a service is being held, a holiday show with audio, lighting and automated effects, or an educational presentation; all scenarios require sophisticated systems that are capable of performing multiple tasks at the same time.
Though the initial installation costs are considerable, once a fiber optic transmission system is installed, it requires minimal maintenance, few upgrades and, as a long-term investment it is the most economical choice.