September 19, 2012 By Chris Rand
It’s satisfying when an integrator’s vision for a given project is fully-realized by the client. In the case of integrator Thorburn Associates’ installation at SAS Institute’s global headquarters, the key was the collaborative process.
SAS is headquartered in Cary, N.C., with a large campus of buildings; among them “Building C” and “Building V.” SAS’s Building C is the company’s new office building and Executive Briefing Center; Building V is home to one large auditorium, two studios, various classrooms, and SAS’s full HDTV production facility. The production facility is used for post-production editing of the company’s marketing content, including broadcast commercials and both training and marketing-related internal and external webcasts.
The most noteworthy tech in the installation was a Utah-400 Series routing switcher from Utah Scientific, spec’d to connect with SAS’s existing Utah Scientific system and installed in Building C. Fiber optic lines tie video signals between building V and Building C, and are routed via the new Utah-400 device. In Building C, the team’s presentation work included sophisticated acoustical treatments, two blended image rear projection screens, four front projection screens, five Christie MicroTiles video walls, and various carefully-placed displays in the new building.
Though planning for the installation had been underway since 2003, SAS turned down two iterations of the project’s estimated costs because of what principal Steve Thorburn describes as “Runaway Pricing”: an on-going and dramatic increase in the cost of materials that made budgeting for the installation extremely difficult. SAS decided to “come back to it when the economy was in a better position,” says Thorburn.
By 2012, with the throes of the economy behind them, SAS found in Thorburn a “trusted advisor”: the integrators’ desire to deliver based on SAS’s needs was met with an open acknowledgment of the benefits of the install, despite their previous reservations about the associated costs.
“A lot of times as an A/V consultant, we’re pigeon-holed into A/V technology,” says Thorburn. “In this case, we were able to subtly influence the architecture to make improvements to the presentation experience.” The integrator was able to use more technology in the installation because Thorburn placed an emphasis on benefits, rather than the tech itself, in presenting his solution to SAS. Thorburn found the client particularly well-versed in technology as well, which only made the dialogue more effective.
In conjunction with design experts, architectural firm Davis Kane Architects, and the client itself, Thorburn Associates’ message to SAS became a welcome centerpiece to a dialogue among team members with the greater purpose of the installation in mind.
“It goes back to the collaboration of the team,” says Thorburn. “We always had a voice at the table.”