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Innovative Video Walls Redefine Northeastern University Admissions

The iPad-controlled interactive video wall in Northeastern’s new Visitor Center earned Whitlock and consultant Cavanaugh Tocci honorable mention in the 2013 Integration Awards presented by CI and TD. >

Tom LeBlanc
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The challenges went beyond space, says RP Visuals president Randy Pagnan. “Each design called for edge-blending of multiple projected images, and in no instance were we able to use multi-point mirrors, six-axis mounts, or the ideal lens optics for blending [but] with projectiondesign’s range of lens options and WB2560 muti-image processor, together with ProNet.precision softward and StewartFilmscreen projection surfaces, we were able to engineer solutions that didn’t compromise the results in any way – despite almost all of our ‘golden rules for blending’ being broken.”

Performance Pays Off

When Northeastern University came to Cavanaugh Tocci for audiovisual consulting, it was very focused on developing a solution that would engage young students. “There was a big emphasis on interactivity,” Moore says. “They didn’t want a static display; they wanted to stand out and communicate with students in a new way.”

The solution taps into young consumers’ expectation that if you touch a video screen it will, in essence, return the favor. That expectation also applies to multiple people touching the same screen, so Cavanaugh Tocci’s solution offers up to 32 touch points. “The idea,” Moore says, “is that a family or two groups who might be visiting the school can all interact with one of the screens at the same time.”

So far, so good, says Graham Bacher of Whitlock, the integration firm that worked with Cavanaugh Tocci on the project. Since the new Visitor Center opened during the summer of 2012, Bacher, an on-site technician who is embedded on the Northeastern campus as part of the school’s managed services contract, says he constantly sees students walk into the Visitor Center and begin interacting with the wall.

It’s Bacher, by the way, who has to squeeze behind glass wall for maintenance, and he is pleased with how RP Visual’s custom rack solution makes the most of tight space. “It’s really been opened up back here,” he says.

Photos: Inside Northeastern University’s Innovative, Interactive Video Wall

One reason space behind the glass is such a premium is because of what’s on the other side, a 115-seat presentation room, essentially the second stop that prospective students make when embarking on a tour of Northeastern. The Cavanaugh Tocci and Whitlock integration includes 60 Christie MicroTiles, Fulcrum Acoustic and Tannoy speakers.

Video content for both the presentation room and the main space projection glass is controlled by Christie Digital Vista Spyder processors and Crestron running on iPads. “They can use any source to display content and switch over from interactive modes to presentation modes,” Moore says.

The admissions office located upstairs features a smaller video presentation room and a fully-integrated board room, both Crestron controlled with Polycom Codecs.

Northeastern asked that the price of the entire A/V project not be reported here, but it’s safe to conclude that it cost a pretty penny. Know this, however: On its website Northeastern indicates that the total annual costs of tuition, room and board and fees is $55,296.

Investing in technology to greet and engage pro
spective students, therefore, seems like a worthy investment.