Mission: Experience Boeing like never before
Hear the name Boeing, and you think of the commercial aircraft for which it’s well known. But enter the Boeing Collaboration Center, and you’ll be immersed in the company’s rich 100-year history of sophisticated fighter platforms, satellites, cyber security, unmanned autonomous and underwater systems, space exploration and many more solutions positioning Boeing as one of the world’s largest aerospace companies. From the first sea planes in the early 1900s to the International Space Station and beyond to Mars, Boeing has been there.
The Boeing Collaboration Center is 7,500 square feet of flexible engagement space inside the company’s new mid-Atlantic headquarters complex in Arlington, VA, located across the Potomac River from the nation’s capital.
“The Center vision was to promote a new way of engaging with our global customer,” says Jeffrey Bals, project manager for the Boeing Collaboration Center. “Presenting Boeing capabilities through visualization in an immersive environment allows us to achieve unparalleled customer understanding and deliver results.”
Guests to the Center include customers from U.S. defense, space, commercial, and international markets; government officials; and various stakeholders from numerous domestic and global communities of interest.
“They’re coming in to collaborate with our teams to share and discuss their mission needs,” explains Bals. “The Center’s immersive toolbox gives customers an opportunity to experience Boeing in a way that they have not seen before.”
General contractor Harvey-Cleary Builders was responsible for overseeing construction of the Boeing/Downstream, LLC design and engaged AVI-SPL to integrate the complex solutions to the Center.
“Boeing envisioned diverse audiovisual technologies integrated seamlessly into a sleek, modern space. This meant overcoming nearly daily challenges in the complex design while keeping pace with the construction process,” says Bill Chedester, AVI-SPL project manager.
Action: An all-around team effort
Enter the Boeing Collaboration Center, and you immediately see a 27-by-8-foot Entrance Feature. This massive statement presents an impressive multi-sensory visualization of the company’s diverse capabilities, combining Christie Micro Tiles with Panasonic projectors that deliver integrated imagery.
“It’s an awe-inspiring way to welcome customers to Boeing and says ‘We Do Amazing Things’,” says Bals.
Guests are then greeted at the Welcome Wall. This 3-by-3 array of Samsung 55-inch multi-touch displays communicates customized messaging and includes objectives for the engagement, agenda details, and an array of concierge features, including real-time flight arrival and departure information and a comprehensive 100-year history of Boeing.
A pair of Collaboration Rooms feature Cisco video-conferencing systems and 90-inch Sharp displays that were reengineered by Display Werks to include a touch interface allowing for a comfortable, flexible engagement space. These rooms can be configured in different ways, and can be combined into one large working environment controlled by the integrated wireless Crestron system.
Adjacent to the Collaboration Rooms is the Launch Window, which offers sofa seating in front of a 90-inch interactive Sharp display that was also reengineered by Display Werks from an off-the-shelf consumer TV. The display can render 3D content to showcase Boeing products as well as touch-enabled simulations.
The Global Presence Wall features a 3-by-3 array of Samsung 55-inch multi-touch displays with custom content about Boeing’s global presence, featuring supplier information, economic impact, corporate citizenship efforts, as well as specific detail by country and by worldwide locations.
The jewel of the Center is the One Boeing Wall, an impressive array of 18 interactive Samsung displays that include video conferencing and allow customers to explore and cross-reference Boeing products, services and capabilities. After an engagement, documentation annotated on the wall can be saved and sent to business leaders and customers for follow-up.
The same application supporting the One Boeing Wall is available on two multi-touch Interactive Table displays, located at opposite ends of the Center. Both tables feature two embedded 42-inch multi-touch computers manufactured by Multitaction that feature object recognition. This allows Boeing leaders and customers to place an object, like carbon fiber or a product model, on it to gain a deeper understanding of capabilities. The displays are enhanced with concealed speakers.
In the Horizon Theater, guests can experience presentations, webcasts and flight simulations. They can also engage in two-way video and audio conferences with remote participants such as key Boeing executives or subject matter experts worldwide. It’s an immersive environment inclusive of 5.1 digital surround sound, and edge-blending, high-definition image projection on a 180-degree curved screen.
“No matter where you are in the theater, you feel the sound and experience the motion of a flight simulation,” says Bals. “The experience is so realistic, we installed steady bars for observers to balance themselves.”
Two wired Crestron touch panels – one in the staff office and another in the equipment room – control the systems throughout the Center.
“Pepperdash programmed the Crestron system to bring the diverse array of technologies into a single, customized interface,” says Chedester. “We’ve partnered successfully with Pepperdash on a variety of projects and the client is always impressed with the results.”
Collaboration Center staff also have wireless control using tablets that run a Crestron X-panel that simulates the wired panels. Staff touch a map graphic on the wireless tablets to designate different zones to engage the wireless microphones and sound systems.
The combination of audio, video, and control systems unites the Center’s separate areas into one immersive environment made possible by Boeing, AVI-SPL, and its partners following through on a vision.
“We brought in Edge Technologies and rpVisuals for installation services, both of whom dedicated resources to see the project through to completion,” says Chedester. “We also had the support of manufacturers like Lightware USA and Aurora Multimedia, who coordinated a custom solution when off-the-shelf products couldn’t meet the requirements. This project was a team effort in every sense of the word.”
Impact: Engaged customers and a vision brought to life
A hundred years after Boeing started operations in 1916, the company now has a toolkit that delivers first-class customer engagement experiences unlike ever before.
“The Collaboration Center concept gives us an opportunity to deliver a first-class experience to our customers, and to showcase the past, present, and future Boeing in a way that goes beyond the linear PowerPoint briefing,” says Bals. “When customers get to features like the One Boeing Wall, they are totally engaged.”
The key mission of the Center is to give each guest a customized experience. In Collaboration Rooms, the Launch Window, and the One Boeing Wall, the Center’s flexible design and precise audio and visual systems promotes maximum return on a customer’s valuable time. Since opening in May 2015, Boeing has hosted more than 2,000 guests from over 21 countries.
“I would imagine that in three years, the Collaboration Center will not look like it does today,” says Bals. “As our customers’ requirements and technology solutions in aerospace advance, so must this environment. That’s where we will count on our design and engineering partners to deliver and bring that vision to life.”