Step into the lobby of Raven Industries in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, and your eyes are drawn to a spot just beside the front desk operator. There is a bench built into a wall, shifting at a forty-five degree angle two-thirds of the way down. The bright white of the wall serves as a background to stunning HD visual displays built into the angled split.
Raven Industries is a diversified technology company comprised of three divisions. Applied Technologies deals in GPS products and management tools for the agricultural market. Engineered Films manufactures high performance plastic films and sheeting to major markets. The Aerostar division is a world leader in designing and manufacturing aerospace and surveillance technologies, electronics, and specialty sewn products.
When modeling ITS corporate lobby IT needed a sleek and cutting edge design that could highlight the steady technological growth the company has been involved in since 1956 and their ambition for the future.
“The executive team was looking for a design that incorporated HD content without the traditional limits of a television mounted to a wall,” says Andrew Simmons, project manager at Raven Industries and the technology decision maker in charge of the video wall project.
“We didn’t want something that every company had done; we wanted something new and innovative that positions us as a tech company.”
While attending a technology conference in Chicago, Simmons discovered the Christie’s MicroTiles. After further research he invited representatives onsite to perform a full demonstration. From there it went to design and final approval.
Three vertical and seven horizontal modular display MicroTiles construct the screen that informs visitors of the company’s mission and the abilities of their products. At times you may see outlines of current Raven projects presented in a color palette more advanced than traditional plasma and LCD screens. The MicroTiles from Christie allow for saturation and accuracy that fit perfectly into a corporate lobby, giving a sense of sharp and advanced sophistication to visitors and clients.
“The modular display technology can be configured into nearly any shape and size to create an eye-catching digital canvas,” says John Berkovich of Christie in a release.
Christie MicroTiles use a building block format to enhance and inspire visual display design in new and innovative ways. With 70x the amount of pixels of most LCD and Plasma displays, 115 percent of the NTSC color gamut, and self-calibrating color and lightness, the display is astounding. They boast 65,000 hours of LED lighting and built-in eco-power consumption modes, making them cost-effective even when running 24 hours a day. With 1mm seams, the combination of tiles created the visual display that Raven Industries had been searching for.
“The biggest challenge we had with this project was incorporating the new technology of the MicroTiles with the very old building lobby that was being renovated,” says Simmons. “The design team and contractors did a great job at integrating both.”
Kristin Tilus, communications manager at Raven Industries, controls the content for the video system. Christie’s Jumpstart software, a user-friendly content management solution, accompanies the MicroTiles. It allows the display of multiple video files, graphics, text and Microsoft Windows applications on a five to 15 megapixel digital display.
“The software is user friendly and intuitive,” says Kristin Tilus. She uses the screen for several videos that explain company history and purpose, demonstrate the products currently in use, outline the building, including renovations currently in progress, and highlight the different divisions of the company. She also uses the screen to welcome guests by displaying their name and photos, for personalized messages, slideshows, and employee retirement parties.
“Customers have come in and taken pictures with the screen,” says Tilus. “It’s been a highlight.”
The MicroTiles are said to last at least ten years running 24 hours every day. Raven Industries run the MicroTiles on a timed schedule that can be adjusted and controlled. The screens shut off overnight and on weekends to conserve energy. The main entrance is composed of glass and has significant ambient light from outside and overhead. The initial worry was that traditional screens would wash out. A year into use Raven has seen no reduction in quality or vibrancy from the MicroTiles screen. The tiles can shift out of place at times, but the occurrence is rare and a simple fix.
“My advice to end users who are looking for a solution [is] don’t be afraid to take a risk. This was a solution that we had never implemented before,” says Simmons. “In the end it was worth every penny.”