Advanced Helps GE Put Imagination To Work By Integrating Groundbreaking AV Solutions In GE's New Grid IQ Global Innovation Center

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GE has opened its new $40 million, 200,000 square foot Markham, Ontario Grid IQ Global Innovation Center dedicated to promoting its next-generation energy management grid.  To help bring the center to life in the most engaging, customer-friendly way possible, GE turned to Advanced, Canada’s leading AV integrator, to envision, design and install an integrated AV and IT solution that encompasses 55 rooms including a Customer Experience Center that features a jaw-dropping 58-foot Prysm LPD video wall.

According to Mark Mulford, President and CEO at Advanced, “This expansive AV and IT installation encapsulates GE’s mantra of Imagination At Work and provides an immersive media experience that is vital to convey the forward-thinking technologies GE is developing to improve the efficiency, reliability and security of the world’s electrical grids.  As Canada’s premier AV and IT integration company, we are proud to be recognized by GE for our industry-leading solutions and to help GE deliver an unmatched visitor experience.”

The Customer Experience Center brings GE’s Grid IQ technologies to life in a visual and easy-to-understand way. Advanced utilized the Prysm video wall and several wall-mounted touchscreen displays to allow customers to explore GE’s energy technologies firsthand and enable them to discover solutions to improve and enhance their energy grids. In fact, it is the world’s largest curved Prysm video wall, measuring 58 feet wide by 7 feet tall and comprising 175 individual tiles with the thinnest seams currently possible.  Incorporating today’s greenest large-format display technologies, the video wall consumes just one-tenth the power of traditional digital displays. Video processing is provided by the latest Extron Quantum Elite processor and a professional grade multi-zone audio system was installed to complete the media experience. The entire Customer Experience Center features Crestron automation and can be controlled through an iPad.

“GE wanted to create a one-of-a-kind experience for their customers,” said Mulford, “and we proved that Advanced, more than any other integration company, has the knowledge, experience and vision to deliver compelling and effective AV solutions. We worked directly with GE and Prysm on the concept, design and implementation of the system and utilized the newest cutting-edge AV and presentation technologies. This resulted in one of the world’s most immersive digital environments. To put it simply, there is no other system like this on Earth.”

The AV installation encompasses 54 additional rooms including executive offices, boardrooms, training rooms, meeting rooms and many more. One training room, which can be divided into two separate rooms with a motorized wall, is equipped with a SMART 70” LCD interactive display and an enterprise-grade Polycom video conferencing system, allowing simple and effective global conferencing and training sessions. The room also features several large interactive touchscreens, a projector and a fully integrated audio system.

The facility’s executive boardroom is equipped with a Crestron system that controls an NEC projector mounted on an automated projector lift, an audio conferencing system, table-mounted microphones at each seat and ceiling-mounted microphones that provide an unobtrusive solution for presenters.  

Even the manufacturing floor got an AV upgrade with more than a dozen 46” LCD monitors gracing its walls to display production stats and other internal GE messaging.

The collaboration room allows individuals to work together in real-time with internal or external staff worldwide. Advanced installed a SMART interactive whiteboard, in-ceiling speakers, microphones, a video conferencing system and a projector to accommodate every type of meeting and interaction. All of the room’s AV functions can be managed through the Crestron control system on a wireless Crestron touchscreen device.

GE knows that happy, healthy employees are productive employees, so they had Advanced create a gym and fitness studio that provides a personal AV experience at each fitness station. Employees can plug in their personal iPads and iPods to listen to music or watch satellite TV or DVDs at each station. The system can direct audio to individual stations or the main loudspeakers throughout the entire gym and fitness studio.

Adding to the Global Innovation Center’s sense of community, the cafeteria serves double duty as the location for Markham’s town hall meetings.  The cafeteria features a projector and five NEC LCD displays with built-in speakers to display cable programming for staff and provide video presentation capabilities for town hall meetings, while an integrated video conferencing system with two wireless microphones allows meetings to be broadcast to remote viewers.

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