Mission: Delight Clients, Empower Employees
The Northern Trust Company is a venerable global bank that provides investment management, asset servicing, asset management, and banking to corporations, institutions, affluent families and individuals.
For Northern Trust’s upcoming 125th anniversary, the company was updating its Chicago headquarters. Its mission: to have an environment that functions as an impressive showpiece for guests and provide an improved employee collaboration systems. The goal was to complete the upgrades, with the assistance of AVI-SPL, by the August 2014 celebration.
AVI-SPL’s relationship with Northern Trust includes seven years of work on its multimedia systems, development of AV standards and acting as a national provider for its North America offices.
“That’s a common thread working with AVI-SPL: making good on issues as they crop up. That’s something we can always count on – the project will be done right.” – Joe Pappalardo, VP, network services, Northern Trust
“We use the AVI-SPL team for R&D and to create standards that we use globally,” says Joe Pappalardo, VP, network services.
“We are a technology-intensive company, and the goal was to express our technological prowess in a public and client-facing manner,” Pappalardo says.
Action: Automated and Always Ready
Much of AVI-SPL’s work on this project, which began in November 2013, encompassed lobby spaces and Northern Trust’s Global Conference Center.
“Northern Trust is a client that’s very involved, and they know what they want,” says Adam Stanton, AVI-SPL project engineer. “It makes our job much easier.”
Easier, but not without its challenges.
One of those challenges involved an interactive Planar video wall that would go against a curved marble wall in the headquarters’ public lobby. To ensure full touch capabilities, the team had to make sure the framed bezel covering the overlay sensors stayed flush with the monitors.
“You still had to have the monitors flat in order to track your fingers,” explains Doug Goczkowski, AVI-SPL project manager.
Goczkowski and his group coordinated with the construction team, Downstream (the content provider), and Harley-Ellis (the architect) to come up with a solution that worked for all parties involved.
“You really pulled it off,” says Pappalardo. “Your team did all the leveling from the front, as opposed to going to the wall and saying ‘make this flat.’”
The centerpiece of the Global Conference Center is the Miami room, a four-way divisible meeting space that includes flat-panel displays, a media matrix switcher for sending signals to those displays, connections for computers, ceiling speakers and a digital signal processor with echo cancellation for all audio sources. When it functions as one large space, the main room has video conferencing capabilities, and presenters can make use of two video walls made up of 88 Christie MicroTiles each and measuring 200 inches diagonally. When divided, two of the rooms are able to access the display walls. However, to accommodate the smaller spaces, a video processor reduces the number of tiles being sent signals, resulting in a 165-inch display.
“That’s pretty unique,” says Goczkowski.
Next to the Miami space is a line of four breakout rooms with AV capability, one of which includes video conferencing. Other technology includes large flat-panel displays with touch overlays, matrix switchers, computer inputs, and advanced audio integration (including a digital signal processor with echo cancellation).
For conference room scheduling and system control, AVI-SPL’s team relied on Crestron equipment.
“Every component that could have been Crestron is,” says Goczkowski. “It’s always the solid solution.”
“It’s all automated,” says Stanton, who led the work on programming for the touch panels. “They can do whatever they want on the fly.”
The touch panels in each room activate and deactivate the appropriate space depending on which walls are up or down. For example, if rooms A and B in the Miami area are combined, then touch panel A is active and B is not, and A controls the combined space.
A Crestron DigitalMedia system is centrally located in the AV closet and enables Northern Trust staff to send any video signal to any display from any room, including presentations and video conferencing feeds.
“It was good your team came through,” says Pappalardo. “That’s a common thread working with AVI-SPL: making good on issues as they crop up. That’s something we can always count on – the project will be done right.”
Impact: Ready for the Next Hundred Years
By the time the Northern Trust anniversary arrived, the new headquarters had been equipped for the celebration, ready to launch into its next 125 years. AVI-SPL’s team made the deadline. More importantly, the work it completed now enables the company to bring staff together with vendors and clients in a beautiful and accessible space.
The Global Conferencing Center is at the heart of that collaborative mentality.
“I expect it will get business anywhere from two to six meeting sessions on a daily basis,” says Pappalardo. “The entire concept is gaining a head of steam.”
“People are generally impressed with the technology,” he adds. “It’s not just the technology, but the treatment of the rooms to work with the technology.”
Because the conference rooms are for clients, the equipment had to be easy to use – and it is.
“We put convenient technology at our business partners’ fingertips so we can impress our clients,” says Pappalardo. “It’s really all about the client.”
That dedication to the client is reflected in the company’s support services. An AV concierge is on staff to assist whenever clients or staff are using the rooms.
Beyond the conference areas are spaces that accommodate the one-way delivery of content like information and entertainment. The Concierge Lounge, which functions as the lobby area to the conference center, includes a digital signage display that lists meetings scheduled for that day as well as weather, time, date, and a scrolling news ticker. Another lounge offers a space where guests can relax and watch cable TV.