Putting the ‘Innovation’ in Verizon Innovation Center

Whitlock and Cavanaugh Tocci Associates win the 2014 Integration Award in the corporate category for their work at the Verizon Innovation Center in San Francisco, CA.

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The Verizon Innovation Center in San Francisco is part of a series of technological showcasing and collaboration spaces that the company has constructed for partners and customers to gather and begin plans for the next generation of technology solutions.

Visitors come from around the world to discuss technology innovation and, in turn, rapidly develop, test, and prototype 4G LTE-enabled products.

“This journey started a few years ago,” says Gagan Puranik, director of innovation and growth marketing for Verizon. “Our vision at that time was about how to bring to life our aspiration of being the most innovative company in the world.”

In 2010 Verizon built the first Innovation Centers in San Francisco and Waltham, Mass. The centers were so well received that Verizon decided to build on its success by updating and renovating its Bay Area location.

3 Integrator Takeaways:
1. Technology changes. You need to be able to think on your feet, and have the ability to adapt to an existing building.
2. For this project Verizon needed the solu- tion to be able to work with or be modi- fied to work with new technologies.
3. Being able to communicate with con- tent, contractors, end users, and making sure everyone has input and under- stands what is going on is paramount.

3 End User Takeaways:
1. Choosing the correct integrator can be trying. More than anything the end user needs to have trust in an integrator.
2. As an end user, companies need to understand what they are buying and why they are buying it.
3. When working with first generation technology, end users need to under- stand that technology. While there may be hiccups, it doesn’t mean it’s the wrong technology.

Equipment Highlights:
Video Wall: Christie Digital
Automation: Crestron
Video: Samsung, Planar
AV Distribution: Extron
Racks: Middle Atlantic
Mics: Shure

Whitlock, a global AV solutions provider specializing in collaborative technology design, integration and managed services, was tasked with integrating innovative technologies and collaborative environments into the space.

Having worked on the Waltham Innovation Center as well, Whitlock had a good idea of the needs and solutions Verizon would need for the massive project. Whitlock called upon the consultants at Cavanaugh Tocci Associates, a partner during the first Innovation Center project, to once again help Verizon.

The most visually outstanding piece of the integration will draw a visitor’s attention immediately. A two-story digital Brand Totem stands in the center of the Innovation Center.

Messages run across the totem throughout the day, including messages communicated between floors to be seen on either level and customized messages for visitors. The totem creates a wow factor and stirs anticipation for those entering the space.

Related: Complete List of 2014 CI & TD Integration Awards Winners

“Gagan from Verizon and our team collaborated from the beginning on how to integrate the totem into the system,” says Matt Moore, a principal consultant at Cavanaugh Tocci. “We worked directly with the architect to make sure that everything looked great and wasn’t just stuck on, it was really a part of the system. Figuring out the technology behind it was done in conjunction with content consultants. Whitlock, every step of the way, did budget checks to see what was feasible and what could be built. The technology was chosen in a very collaborative way.”

For presentations, Whitlock equipped the Innovation Center’s 22-person, fixed seating, tiered theater with 60 Christie MicroTile screens stacked five high. The intimate space enables immersive, innovative demonstrations showcasing leading-edge technology and industry solutions. For larger functions, a multipurpose room was outfitted with the latest in world class audiovisual gear and support technology. The room serves as a space for functions, private dining, demos, large presentations, and exhibit space.

Collaboration rooms fit groups of 15-18 people and were designed to provide a clean, modern aesthetic mixed with state-of-the-art technology. The wood tables in each collaboration room house built-in power, data, AV connections and microphones. The rooms contain 90-inch LCD screens with HD video conferencing capabilities to bolster worldwide collaboration.