About 20 miles south of Seattle, in the heart of the Pacific Northwest, sits the corporate headquarters of Zones, an IT services and solutions provider that generated 1.3 billion dollars in sales in fiscal year 2015. More than 700 people work out of that office, in addition to the dozens of partners who frequently pass through to meet with sales representatives and experience new technology. Zones needed a cost-effective solution to replace the projector setup that was being used for corporate events and partner marketing opportunities.
“I’ve been working with NEC for 15 years, since I started with Zones back in 2000,” says Michael Stavnshoj, Partner and Product Management Category Manager at Zones. “We’re well aware of their quality really, that everything is grade A. We wanted to get something in that was rock solid and we didn’t have to worry too much about maintenance. I use NEC monitors on my desk as well as at home and I’ve been very impressed with how they do business and the quality of the products. So that’s what I went with. Go with the best, you’ll never regret it.”
Zones has had the space since 2005, and being a large, open, 60-foot by 90-foot space, it has been used in a number of ways. First and foremost the digital signage is used to educate sales reps on new offerings from the company. Sales reps hold meeting multiple times a day utilizing the video wall area. The company also holds partner fairs in which partners come set up booths to show off projects, and company “town hall” meetings that involve presentations from Zones’ president and guest speakers to hundreds of employees. While the projector system created an image relatively equal to the new video wall in size, a southwest facing wall of windows and hundreds of fluorescent lights washing out the images that came from the projector.
“It wasn’t sharp, it wasn’t really a snappy image. It was acceptable, like in most cases, but it didn’t pop,” says Stavnshoj. “We wanted to get something that really stood out. Something that would make you remember. That’s why we decided to upgrade to a video wall.”
A total of nine NEC X554UN professional grade displays were mounted to make up a 3×3 video wall in the main event room. As part of the video wall installation, Zones selected Chief‘s ConnexSys video wall mounting system. The LVSXU model was selected because it solves common video wall challenges of speed of installation, alignment, serviceability, and rigidity. Zones partnered with VS Networks for the media player and content management software. VS Networks develops, produces, and supports customized marketing solutions for digital signage. To guarantee maximum uptime, SurgeX SX-DS-156 provides power protection that eliminates catastrophic surges without any negative after effects.
With Zones encouraging sales reps to sell digital signage, they wanted to prove what digital signage could be capable of. “This really is a story of us wanting to drink our own champagne,” says Greg Parsonson, Vice President, Partner and Product Management for Zones. “We have developed a digital signage solutions practice under Michael, and we want the ability to feature these solutions and demonstrate what we’re capable of. What better way to do that than to bring it to life in our own corporate environment for our own employees to see and use on a daily basis? They then can speak more intelligently to these types of solutions for our customers.”
The video wall shows a number of content pieces, but they’re all centered around showing off what Zones partners are capable of doing. For example, the wall can show the NEC story, giving information about multiple display screen lineups. Other partners can advertise laptops, printers and other solutions that are available. A lot of internal information goes directly to the reps thanks to the new video wall. Partner content is created and contributed by the company being advertised, while in-house employees create content for “techorating” as Michael puts it – scenic views of national parks, mountains and lakes break up the constant stream of information and give employees something peaceful to look at.
Ingram Micro Professional Services was selected to complete the installation. Installation services include comprehensive site surveys, pre-sales consultative expertise, and installation capabilities. With all the components on hand at Zones headquarters, the installers had the displays mounted to the wall and the system running within four hours.
“We have a full-blown services team here at Zones, so we can pretty much do any kind of installation we need to,” says Stavnshoj. “We rebuilt the wall ourselves because it was a sheet rock wall, we put plywood behind that so there would be a solid base. We also partnered with Ingram to have their integration team come up and do the fine tuning to get that up. I’d say it’s probably about a 50/50 between us and Ingram in installing. It all went very smoothly.”