Lowe Campbell Ewald, a global advertisement and marketing communications agency, recently moved into a new office in Detroit where they have integrated a unique and impressive dual-sided display system. A two high by two across 55-inch Planar Clarity Matrix MultiTouch Video Wall is built into the wall of the agency’s lobby. Depending on who is visiting, the screen runs television programs, company content, or specific information for clients’ projects. The lobby display, however, is only half of this system.
“We needed a tool that we could use, and maybe we could adapt some of the way we prepare and present content,” says Mark Lesnau, Media Systems Engineer for Lowe CE. “In the end, we were looking for a very impressive presentation tool. A way we could organize our thoughts literally.”
Lowe CE called on BlueWater Technologies to integrate the visual system. The company needed a way to present information to clients in both a public and private forum. BlueWater input a dual sided video display system into the lobby’s wall, with the backside display housed inside a private presentation room. The system is able to flawlessly switch content from one screen to the other, back and forth between the lobby and private room. The screens also act independently. When a project is displayed in the private room, for example, an HD digital TV receiver can display television programs on the lobby screen at the other end. The system uses Anacore Synthesis as its interactivity platform.
“Using the Anacore Synthesis in a way where we’re splitting between two walls really hasn’t been done as a project,” says Jim Crowley, VP of Integration and ISS Sales at BlueWater Technologies.”We really had to work with the client to figure out needs analysis on both sides of the wall. We did a lot of trial and error to work through solutions with Mark [Lesnau] to vet out what would work and what wouldn’t work, and then put it in the field of application. It was quite a challenge.”
Challenges aside, the system’s capabilities are impressive. The wall enables agency personnel to use simple tap, swipe, and pinch touch motions on the screen to display, position, and annotate a virtually unlimited number of multimedia windows. Employees can pull up images, videos, PDF, presentation software, browsers, etc. and arrange them as they please within the screen. The display can then switch the from the lobby screen to the private room for a deeper presentation. Custom programmed Crestron systems provide control using a Crestron DM matrix switch.
While this system only exists in the Detroit office, the capabilities could exist further beyond. If the system is put in place in other offices, Lowe CE would be able to interact and collaborate in the same meeting at the same time remotely. For example, if a client is located in two locations, with each of Lowe CE’s locations housing the same video wall and Synthesis system, each member of the team can witness and interact with the same presentation on their respective walls. The movements will be mirrored remotely. Add in videoconferencing, and the team is virtually in the same room.
“Primarily the agency purchased this product because they wanted to be able to work through work spaces,” says Gary Lusk, Sales Representative for BlueWater Technologies. “What they’ll wind up going into is each one of their offices working together.”
As far as utilization of the system goes, it’s a bit of a work in progress. The system is easy to use on the surface, but powerful beneath. The user experience is simple. Employees log in with their standard company information, and can manipulate whatever projects they have been given access to. They can interact with content, move it, close it, manage it, and do everything they need. The administration takes a bit longer to train on.
“It’s a two-step thing to train,” says Lesnau. “It’s training the users to actually use the tool and then training the background people to get the content into the tool and manage basic access and permissions to projects. That being said, both sides are quite easy to train and learn.”
The true challenge of the system was setting it up and getting it to work correctly. However, now that the ground work has been laid, it will be easier to integrate the system with each installation. BlueWater feels capable in their ability to replicate the process. Lowe CE, in the meantime, is enjoying the abilities and features they now have to show off to their clients.
UPDATE: Anacore was recently acquired by Prysm, which now utilizes the Synthesis technology.