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Case Study: Executive Briefing Center, MA

Boston’s AVH Technology Partners tackled a new Executive Briefing Center (EBC) in the corporate headquarters of a major New England-based software developer. The goal for the center was to stage compelling presentations for investors, informative daily briefs for staff, and engaging training sessions for end-users. To that end, the EBC is a vibrant space that not only fulfills the needs of the client today but also meets the collaboration demands of the future.

“The client is very creative and wanted to push the envelope in everything,” notes Steve Grace, AVH President. “Featuring a large LED video screen, spatial audio and theatrical lighting, the EBC can synchronize video content with acoustic and lighting effects. This is a space with capabilities seldom found in corporate environments.”

The space includes a lobby, meeting rooms and boardrooms—all designed to make an impression. The EBC is where potential clients— typically executives and decision makers for large corporations–are brought to discuss contracts worth millions of dollars. The technical impressiveness is particularly important as the contracts are for complex software development and the capabilities of the EBC could help mean the difference in securing a contract.

When AVH began the search for equipment that could deliver what the client wanted to achieve in the EBC, they turned to the Analog Way Aquilon C, says AVH Vice President Collin Hogan, who designed the system. “We needed seamless switching, complex videowall processing, Dante audio, 12G SDI, and true 4K HDR 4:4:4. Aquilon C offered everything–and in one box, which simplified our schematics tremendously.”

Part of Analog Way’s LivePremier family of products, Aquilon C is a fully modular and scalable 4K/8K multiscreen presentation system and videowall processor. In the EBC, a 16 x 12 Aquilon C drives an approximately 12 x 7-foot 0.9 mm Planar LED video screen that features an easyto-use, browser-based Crestron control system. Mike Valadao of Devine Technology Partners in Canton, Massachusetts integrated and installed the Aquilon for AVH. Aquilon can seamlessly switch, scale and window to any output creating multiple layers of content and PIPs on the main screen and other displays. At the same time, the latency from input to output is low enough to support videoconferencing. In the boardrooms, Cisco speaker bars are combined with Lightware matrix switchers. This combination provides extra inputs and flexibility but keeps the standard Cisco control interface the client is accustomed to in their facility.

Overall AVH Project Manager Ed Hondzinski points out that the EBC is currently using just a small portion of the system’s capabilities. But there are big plans for what’s to come.

“This was our first project which required the ability to integrate with Unreal Engine and a full spatial audio system,” reports Hogan. “Analog Way has crazy capabilities, so it’s not a stretch for them.” The spatial surround system is meant to make the space more impactful, engaging and impressive. It differs from typical surround sound in that can be manipulated in real time. The client is also developing various media with combinations of video, surround audio, and lighting. These clips may be triggered automatically as someone enters the room, turns on a light switch or makes a touchpanel selection, or it can be triggered from a control room. An example would be, as people enter the space a sound wooshes around them and pulls their attention toward company logo illuminated on the floor and then to the emerging video wall content.

One future plan is to experiment with Unreal Engine, utilizing real time telemetry data from PTZ cameras to manipulate sound and lighting. An example of this would a presenter walking around the room. As the camera follows them, the presentation audio and illumination would track as well. The camera’s auto-tracking ability could also be engaged to further automate this effect.

System control can be performed in an on-site control room with a touch panel and preview monitors or in the EBC itself with a desk and simple, automated GUI, which makes operation “very approachable for the day-today user,” notes Hogan. “Analog Way has really come into its own in the last decade and is outclassing others in the same space, especially in regard to LED video,” says Grace. “The company has made huge strides.”

“Aquilon jumped off the page to us,” adds Hogan. “The cost of Aquilon was similar to other processors but a mile ahead in features and performance.”

Challenges in the space were many. Among them, the ceiling was made of 2” thick felt panels in a herringbone pattern. “We needed to figure out a way to microphone the audience without penetrating the panels and not interfere with the aesthetic too much,“ Hogan explains. “Biamp TCM-1’s fit in the 4” gaps between the panels and all but disappeared in the ceiling. This solution satisfied the architect aesthetically, but also provided great audio coverage.” The team encountered similar challenges with the speaker and camera mounting (see drawing).

Supply chain issues persist in all industries in the post-COVID world, and AVH designed the EBC at a time when everyone was unsure of equipment availability. “The whole project was based around a product that had to be built in and delivered from Europe, but Analog Way saved the day by providing us with a spare system of theirs in the US that got the EBC up and running until the unit we ordered arrives,” says Grace.

“The client has told us how happy they are with the EBC and with how beautiful the LED video screen looks with its windows, transitions and navigation,” Hondzinski says. “They’re very proud of the space.”

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