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Video Innovation Moving at the Speed of Business

While YouTube has proven to be a groundbreaking success for delivering content from everyday Joe to big organizations and even now schools, that delivery option might not be the most finessed for a b 1/24/2008 6:22 AM Eastern

Video Innovation Moving at the Speed of Business

Jan 24, 2008 11:22 AM, By Jessaca Gutierrez




In the last several issues of Corporate AV, we’ve discussed all sorts of ways companies are pushing the envelope when it comes to communicating and bridging the gap between campuses, cities, and even continents as more companies go global. These include such technologies as HD videoconferencing and telepresence. Video, whether live or content that is created for a videowall or digital signage, is driving today’s market in just about every industry. While YouTube has proven to be a groundbreaking success for delivering content from everyday Joe to big organizations and even now schools, that delivery option might not be the most finessed for a business looking to seal a marketing deal, motivate employees, or provide advertising targeted to reach specific viewers.

Early last year, Velocity Broadcasting, a private satellite broadcasting company, and Morton’s The Steakhouse restaurant joined forces to develop what they call a “precision marketing concept.” The development would create a mix between a videoconferencing suite and a movie theater, but with a restaurant boardroom as the backdrop (sans theater-style seating) and no back-and-forth communication. Rather, the live video stream is broadcasted from Velocity’s broadcasting studio in Pittsburgh. While attendees happily chew away at their steak at their local Morton’s, they watch a live broadcast of a company presentation, a training, or any event a corporation can dream of that would need specialized content and delivery. Velocity organizes and scripts each broadcast, working with two Velocity hosts, who act much like news anchors, and the chosen speakers to provide the content.

In order for each participating Morton’s boardrooms to receive the live broadcast, the location was equipped with a satellite to deliver a fully encrypted feed from an Echostar 121 service. Although the presentations won’t be like meeting in person or even provide the service videoconferencing does, the Morton’s boardrooms are similar to the boardrooms found in some higher-end boardrooms: dark mahogany wood and technology that blends in seamlessly with the room. In each boardroom, Velocity installed the “Velocity Suite.” Each suite includes: a 9ft. drop-down projection screen, a 1080i projector, and 11 JBL twin woofer with cinema tweeters. Because Velocity had to work around the Morton’s restaurant schedule, Velocity integrators either had to work early in the morning before the restaurant opened or after it closed.


Video Innovation Moving at the Speed of Business

Jan 24, 2008 11:22 AM, By Jessaca Gutierrez




Perhaps the most unique feature of these suites is that they can be controlled by the Velocity Control Center. For each event, the control center drops the screens, adjusts the lighting, and turns on the projectors and audio at the preselected Morton’s locations (program users don’t have to select every location) at precisely the exact time. This remote-control precision was an important feature for Velocity. “It’s about delivering the experience and making it very powerful,” says Philip Elias, CEO and executive producer of Velocity Broadcasting. Because this type of content delivery is targeted at C-Level executives, Elias says the experience needed to deliver the kind of luxury those users expect.

But the suites can play host to other events as well without Velocity providing a complex and well-rehearsed broadcasting, for example a viewing of the The Superbowl. For that reason, each location was also equipped with a Crestron controller. This allows Morton’s employees to control the suite as well, and it made training simple for Morton employees.

While the experience won’t provide the same interaction as a real meeting or presentation or even videoconferencing, each broadcast does invite viewers to call into Velocity’s Call Center that has 20 operators ready to take questions and comments that can be answered live within the broadcast. With more than 35 people working within the studio, it’s a large-scale production.

The Green Bandwagon

Like every telecommunications company has heavily touted in the last year, the Velocity/Morton’s partnership is green, cutting down on expensive travel. Although there is some travel costs associated with getting keynote speakers to Velocity’s studios, compared to sending a handful of people rather than a whole staff or even a company, the costs are minimal on the travel side. Some will argue that it doesn’t really keep fuel consumption down when attendees still need to drive to their local Morton’s.


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