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The Money Channel

When Russell Investments, a worldwide investment firm, moved its global headquarters it turned to integrator Dimensional Communications to deliver what would be critical AV systems.

The Money Channel

When Russell Investments, a worldwide investment firm, moved its global headquarters it turned to integrator Dimensional Communications to deliver what would be critical AV systems.

Financial institutions rely on collaboration and information flow. Employees need constant access to stock market updates and world news to keep abreast of the global market. So when Russell Investments, a worldwide investment firm that manages roughly $160 billion in assets, moved its global headquarters from Tacoma, Wash., to Seattle in 2010, it turned to Dimensional Communications to deliver what would be critical AV systems.

The newly christened Russell Investments Center (formerly the Washington Mutual Tower, then the Chase Tower) is the sixth tallest building in downtown Seattle, with its namesake occupying five of the 42 floors. San Francisco’s Charles M. Salter Associates was the AV consultant and chief system designer for Russell Investments and ensured that the integration team hit the ground running.

“It was a tight time frame of approximately two weeks from bid to on-site work,” says Dan Cann, project manager at Dimensional Communications. “The AV budget was several million dollars and there was a lot to accomplish in a short amount of time. The AV systems design was nearly complete when we joined the project, making for a seamless transition to the installation portion.”

Step onto any of the Russell Investments floors and it’s clear that access to information and collaboration are top priorities. The company’s headquarters embraces an open floor plan—even the CEO sits out in the open among the other 900 employees.

Visitors who enter the lobby areas are greeted by 50-foot-wide dynamic videowalls that use physical walls as their projection surfaces. Content includes world commodity and currency prices, stock market updates, news headlines, and moving graphics. Creative agency Downstream, of Portland, Ore., created the content and provides remote updates to each of the floors’ Dell XPS 9100 computers, which act as content servers. Each Dell computer is networked with the display systems on the other floors so that the content is synchronized perfectly. “If you could somehow be in the lobby on each floor at the same time, you would see the same content at the same time on all floors,” Cann says.

To achieve the right effect, Dimensional Communications installed six BenQ MP776 ST DLP multimedia projectors side by side in the ceiling, using Chief RPA projector mounts. (Due to space limitations, the 16th floor has only two projectors.)

“This portion of the install was difficult because the BenQ super-short-throw projectors are physically lined up with each other. We had to use physical adjustments because there’s no zoom for lens shift; only keystone correction,” Cann says. “The ceiling is an angled ceiling, diagonally across the lobby, so we had to push the projectors higher and higher into the ceiling in order to line them up.”

Each projector gets its content over an Extron MTP twisted-pair transmitter-receiver connection using an Extron P/2 DA2 Plus VGA distribution amplifier. The projected images are blended using TV One C2-2450A edge blenders, which enables content to move across all 50 feet of the projection space.

On one of Russell Investment’s floors is an executive conference center. Visitors to that floor see a traditional 4×5 videowall of 20 NEC X461UN 46-inch narrow-bezel LCDs, hung on Chief LSMVU Fusion pull-out mounts. “The NECs are a great choice for a videowall,” Cann says. “The in-monitor processing eliminates the need for additional equipment and they’re easy to assemble since they have built-in settings for videowall applications. There’s one video input for all the displays, which also saves on labor. And the Chief mounts articulate outward for easy maintenance access.”


Russell Investments employs an in-house media production team that often broadcasts custom content on modulated TV stations, dubbed Russell TV. Once people pass through a lobby and into the floor’s main workspace, they’re typically greeted by a Sharp LC-46LE700UN 46-inch LCD on a Chief PCM ceiling mount that constantly shows either a regular financial news channel or the company’s own Russell TV programming.

Additional Sharp LC-26DV27UT 26-inch LCDs on a Chief FSR wall mount are located at what the company calls its “collaboration bars.” These 10-foot work tables are located throughout each floor and have power and Ethernet connections, so employees can quickly and easily collaborate and still have access to news and information.

High-definition signals to the various Sharp displays come from one of three main source types: a Crestron DigitalMedia system sitting in one of the firm’s multipurpose rooms, a farm of five Russell TV servers, or from one of six Comcast HDTV tuners. Each source interfaces with its own Contemporary Research QMOD-HD modulator, and each Russell TV display has a Contemporary Research ICC2-ATSC HDTV tuner and RS-232 controller. Through a head-end network controller and Web server, the company’s technology managers can control all the Russell TV screens through a Web interface.

The solution enables control via coaxial cable, which saved on additional labor and materials. “And each Contemporary Research HDTV tuner is addressable either by group or by individual display,” Cann says. “This allows the staff to schedule the TV’s on or off status, and to globally change channels or volume.”

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