Behind the AV Programming and Installation at Henkel Dial, Part 2Level 3 Audio Visual installed an all-new facility with world-wide videoconferencing and digital signage. 6/24/2010 10:32 AM Eastern
Behind the AV Programming and Installation at Henkel Dial, Part 2
Jun 24, 2010 2:32 PM, By Bennet Liles
Editor’s note: For your convenience, this transcription of the podcast includes timestamps. If you are listening to the podcast and reading its accompanying transcription, you can use the timestamps to jump to any part of the audio podcast by simply dragging the slider on the podcast to the time indicated in the transcription.
An all-new facility with world-wide videoconferencing and digital signage was needed for the Henkel Dial Corp., in Scottsdale, Ariz., and they called in Level 3 Audio Visual to get the job done. Jeremy Elsesser is here to wrap up the conversation on how Level 3 made it all happen.
OK Jeremy, in part one we were talking about the Henkel Dial headquarters, an all new building with Crestron AV control systems and Polycom videoconferencing. You mentioned in part one that they had satellite receivers in there. How is the signal distributed from the satellite receivers? On distribution amps? Or how do they do that?
That’s a good question. We’ve taken all eight satellite receivers directly into the Extron 6400 matrix switch, and it then distributes out over twisted pair to anywhere in the building. So although you wouldn’t be able to have 15 different conference rooms watching different channels because you are limited to eight satellite receivers, they don’t use satellite in the conference rooms all that often. When they ask for it, an AV person from the integration team routes that down from the AV head-end. It’s all distributed through the matrix switch, out to the twisted pair, and down into the local rooms themselves. [Timestamp: 1:43]
OK, so all they have to do is let the tech guys know that they’re going to be using it.
You’ve mentioned before that there’s a Crestron Pro2 dual bus controller in there. How do you use that?
Each room has its own control processor and touchpanel for managing and processing local control for that room and the equipment local to each of the conference rooms. The Pro2 system is used up at the head-end to control the Extron 6400 matrix. It’s used to control the bi-amp audio flex VSP system; it’s used to control all eight of the DirecTV satellite receivers; it’s also used to route and control camera video as well as DSP audio from each of the conference rooms into the codec farm itself; and it also controls each of the twelve codecs so when you’re down in a conference room using one of those touchpanels and you need to do a videoconference you begin sending commands to the Pro2 up in the AV head-end, which talks to the codecs themselves, and it’s all seemless to the end-user. [Timestamp: 2:50]
And that’s a key thing because you never know who’s going to be in there trying to operate the system and that’s usually a very high-profile thing. They’ve got clients in there and everything has to work because they don’t want to look like they don’t know what they’re doing. Obviously they don’t just walk in there; these are scheduled events.
That is correct.
But they want to concentrate on the people end of things and not have to mess with the equipment. So what kind of information do they need to have so they connect with the right place?
Well, I am going to answer your question in two parts. So how the user goes about initiating a videoconference is that they go into the room, address the touchpanel. We put a lot of preset macro-type buttons on the touchpanel, so with one touch, it turns on the system, drops the screen, turns the projector on, switches all your inputs and all your outputs the way they need to be so when you actually hit “videoconference” on the touchpanel it talks locally in the room to all of the equipment, turns on the projector and the screen and routes everything. As I just mentioned, it also goes to the head-end processor and runs through what we call the queue, a dynamic queue. So it sees if any other codecs are being used. If codec one, two, and three are already being use for a conference, it knows that codec four is the next available codec. It takes video and audio of the microphones as well as the camera feed from the room that you are hitting the touchpanel in, dynamically routes that into codec four, and then routes the output of codec four dynamically back down to whatever conference room that you are looking for. When you reserve the videoconference on the touchpanel, it asks you for an approximate time of how long your conference is going to last: 1 hour, 2 hours, 3 hours, 5 hours. It then sets up a schedule in the queue saying this codec has been reserved for the next 4 hours if that’s the time you chose as well as it routes the IP address information for the codec down to the touchpanel so you could go into the same room three times in the same day, get three different codecs, but you’re always going to have the IP address and dialing information locally right there on the touchpanel itself as it routes it down from the individual codec. Now, the second part of your question, which is how do they know where to dial? This is where the AV team for Dial comes into play. One of their largest responsibilities is managing the videoconferencing. We supplied Dial with a RMX 2000 videoconferencing MCU bridge, which allows them to handle and host multiple conferences in one room. So very often the conferencing is pre set up by the AV team themselves and the participants just come in, hit “Give me my video conference,” it comes up on the screen, and they’re already on the bridge and ready to go. If it’s a simple point-to-point call, they have a directory set up so everything on the Dial-Henkel network, both locally to the United States as well as afar in Germany and in other parts of the world, host a E.164 directory that allows people to dial up other codecs and offices by a three- or four-digit extension just like you would on your telephone. That’s all published within the directory that they can access right from the videoconferencing unit itself. [Timestamp: 6:11]
All right, complex behind the scenes and a piece of cake out front. Now that wasn’t the only thing you did though. You put in a very sophisticated videoconferencing facility. Didn’t you install a whole new digital signage system for them too?
We did. They have three displays in the entrance of their facility as you walk up, they have two large 52in. Sony LCD displays in their lobby itself. They have four LCDs in their workout gym facility. They also have four displays in their cafeteria, which also doubles as their company meeting facility and room, which has a full integrated system as well. We took a similar approach to the digital signage as we did the videoconferencing, and instead of putting digital signage players behind the individual LCDs or displays, we put them all at the head-end and allowed them to be routed anywhere. So if there’s a particular digital signage that the marketing wants to look at in a conference room, they have the ability to route that into a conference room as easily as they can route it out to the public display that they want the signage to be on. [Timestamp: 7:23]
Behind the AV Programming and Installation at Henkel Dial, Part 2
Jun 24, 2010 2:32 PM, By Bennet Liles
And how did you get the video distributed to all the displays? What format does the video signal route around in?
It’s all 1080i format, all component video. It’s all handled from the AV head-end touchpanel so, again, this is managed by the inhouse AV team. They handle the content and handle the scheduling of signage out to the TVs. There’s a very large 15in. touchpanel in the AV head-end, which gives the AV team full matrix routing capability from any input to any output so they will set up the digital signage assignments at the AV head-end. [Timestamp: 8:01]
What do they do with the content? Is it mainly just promoting the company or is there specific information for employees on the system?
They do both. Ninety percent of it is for promoting the company itself. Henkel, being a large company, has a number of graphics designers on payroll and Flash designers, so they have an over abundance of content that they just put onto the digital signage players that might be anything from a soap commercial to a sales rally type marketing material for internal, depending on the display that they are using. They did a beautiful presentation of the building being built, which is one of the things that gets looped on the digital signage where you can see the facility before they had even broken ground and then go through the steps of building the building as well as they do some minor internal messaging and communication as well as they use this for emergency broadcast. So we’ve programmed a button on the touchpanel that allows the AV integrator to, or excuse me, the AV team to push an emergency button that flips all of the TVs in the building to an emergency channel, which is a digital signage player that tells them that they need to get out of the building that everything is being evacuated. [Timestamp: 9:19]
Well that can come in real handy. I hope not too handy though, but…
Yes, I hope not either.
And they also have what they call the Corporate Café. What do they do in there?
This café, it’s a great room all the way around. So they have their own facility in terms of a kitchen and it’s a full catered staff. People can come in there and have lunch. It’s a very large room, two-story room, with an upper balcony area that looks down over the eating area itself. This is also where they hold their monthly team meetings for the entire company. They’ll come in there, the president of the company will give a presentation; they will put that on videoconference over to Germany; they will record it. So it is a very well-used room in the Henkel Dial world, here in the United States. [Timestamp: 10:10]
Have they got a wireless mic system in there?
They do. They have wireless handhelds as well as wireless lapel microphones that can be utilized through the room for both audio reinforcement within the room itself because it is a very large room as well as transmitting over videoconference. [Timestamp: 10:25]
So where is the business end of all that stuff? Is it right there in a local rack or is it centrally located?
So like all of the rest of the rooms. There’s a small rack that houses some local equipment like a DVD/VCR, the touchpanel itself, some local routing and network switches, and that sits down in a closet in the room itself. Other than that, all of the rest of the equipment that feed it sit up in the head-end like everything else. [Timestamp: 10:52]
And what do they have up in the big training room?
The big training room is a stadium seating type of training room with dual 5000 lumen projector displays. So there’s two projection screens; there’s a fully integrated automated podium that they do presentation for. This room does not have a local rack in it. There’s a separate AV facility down on the first floor near the training room that has the local rack for the training room itself as well as it goes back to the head-end. There’s two cameras in this room: one in the back of the room to focus on the lecturer and presenter and one in the front of the room to be able to zoom in and narrow down on students themselves if they have any questions. This is very much used for intercompany training. Again, they’ll use the two projection screens; one for far-side video and the other for content, or if they’re not doing any sort of videoconferencing, they’ll put the content, the Power Point or whatever the training material is, up on both screens so that they can hit the entire audience with it. [Timestamp: 11:54]
And for central AV management, since this is a Crestron outfit, they use RoomView for monitoring and managing the whole thing.
They do. We set them up with a RoomView server that gives them a very easy monitoring tool to tell them if a room is in use or if lamp hours are starting to run down on a projector. It allows them to pull up the XPanel touchpanels for each of the room and can control them via the web. So it really enables the AV management team the ability to manage all of the technology from their office locations, which has been a phenomenal response from the Dial Corporate team because it just minimizes the disruption to the meetings when they can just pick up the phone or they can do what they need to do remotely instead of having to come in and drag cables across the floor or disrupt the meeting with having a participant in there. [Timestamp: 12:48]
Yeah, I love RoomView. I use that everyday on my job and especially like the logging features on it. So they can actually text message to the touchpanels in each of these conference rooms?
They can. They can send a message to the head-end and communicate directly with the AV team. [Timestamp: 13:03]
Much less disruptive, I guess. I mean participants would much rather get that type of information from them from having the phone ring or an intercom blasting. So how long did this whole mammoth job take from concept to the time you were ready to show it off?
Well, I will answer in two answers: From the initial relationship development with our director of business development, it was approximately about three years. From the time that L3 actually got involved from a design standpoint to deliver the project, was about a year and a half. Fourth quarter of 2007 is when we started designing and got completed with the design and chosen early first quarter of 2008. Then we got in over 2008 and prewired and waited for the construction to complete, did most of the prewire and infra-structure work over the summer in 2008 until about November of 2008, when the product started to be, the building, started to be finally finished, and then we were able to get in there and install the rest of our product, which we finished out in February of 2009. [Timestamp: 14:13]
And you obviously had to provide some training for the clients and show them how to use it. How did all of that go? Did they seem to pick up on it pretty quickly, or did you have to come back in and maybe tweak the touchpanel set up or anything like that?
Honestly, we’ve gotten some great feedback on the ease of use on the technology, and we have not had to go back and do any additional training. One of the benefits of having a inhouse AV managements is a team of technical people that we have trained at length on all the technology, and if there’s any trouble with any of the not-so-technical end-users, they become the first point of contact. If there’s truly a problem with the system or something is not functioning right then they would get in contact with us. When we did the training, we printed up beautiful screenshots of every touchpanel page and walked them through in their own training room, did a full presentation with their technology, walking them through each step of the touchpanel and how you use the touchpanel to control the technology and what you’ll push to do a videoconferencing and all those things, which became a beautiful leave-behind that they were able to take notes on and have as a reference guide. [Timestamp: 15:26]
Sounds like they were happy with the job. Very happy.
All right, Jeremy Elsesser and Level 3 Audio Visual with the Henkel Dial headquarters out there in Scottsdale, Ariz. A massive job, but I appreciate your being here on the Corporate AV podcast to give us all the details and tell us how you set it all up.
Thank you Bennett. I very much appreciate the opportunity.