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July’s must-see install: Gruppo Credito Valtellinese

A financial group continues to invest in AV to bring staff together, with impressive results writes Mike Clark.

Italy’s Gruppo Credito Valtellinese (Creval) consists of three local banks, three companies operating in specialised areas of finance, two insurance companies and three production companies. Parent company Credito Valtellinese, founded in Sondrio in 1908 and the first Italian bank to be awarded quality certification for its loan application, issue and management process, currently has 370 branches.

Following its policy for quality based on innovative technological solutions, the group’s Via Feltre premises in Milan, Italy’s finance capital, recently underwent a high-profile expansion. The new facility includes a high-profile boardroom, meeting rooms and a professional training centre featuring cutting-edge AV and videoconferencing technology, designed and installed by video communication specialists Gecom.

As well as a Full HD videoconferencing system, the set-up includes an impressive Crestron DigitalMedia system for digital AV and control signal management and distribution, and Crestron’s Fusion enterprise management platform, both installed for the first time by Gecom on this prestige application.

Gecom technical manager Mirko Ciarlo followed the work from the preliminary stages, working with the client to establish the operational deployment of each room, the design of the AV/control solutions, and the execution of the work of planning the various areas in such a way as to enable the systems to be installed in a satisfactory manner from both a technical and aesthetic point of view.

He explains: “We have worked with Creval since 2010. Previous projects include the supply of a centralised video communications infrastructure (multiconference unit, gatekeeper, manager, etc), and specialised support for the complete integration of the videoconferencing system with other facilities already in use by the client, such as Cisco CUCM and Microsoft OCS.”

After its solution had been compared with those of three competitors, Gecom was appointed as contractor and chose the technology installed along with clients, according to their specific requirements. Gecom worked directly with Claudio Miotti, who was in charge of the Creval department, as well as with Enrico Scarafoni, Sacha Petix and Cristian Paieri.

Planning ahead

Ciarlo continues: “Apart from ensuring the technology installed had the lowest possible visual impact, to satisfy the architects’ brief, the main technical difficulty was that we were obliged to design the fibre infrastructure used to transport the contents combining the multimedia environments a year before the definitive design was completed. This meant forecasting everything that would eventually be realised, in order to calculate how extensive the cabling had to be to connect the various rooms and ensure perfect multimedia data transport.”

Preliminary work began in February 2012; installation work was carried out by Gecom technicians and the rooms tested and handed over at the beginning of this year.

All the rooms can exchange an AV flow (1 TX and 1 RX for all of them, except the auditorium, with two TX and two RX flows), via a combining control room. This houses a Crestron 16 x 16 DigitalMedia matrix switcher, with nine fibre input cards, two output kits and a CP3 control processor.

After passing through the ground floor reception area, which features six wall-mounted Samsung 46in monitors, there are four small meeting rooms, a 200-seat auditorium also able to host large videoconference link-ups for key events such as shareholder meetings, and an equipment room containing all the building’s centralised control hardware. This auditorium features a videowall formed by nine Samsung UD55C LED displays; video content can also be viewed on four stand-mounted Samsung 55in monitors which can be moved around the room as required.

Sound reinforcement is courtesy of six Tannoy VLS 30 array speakers and a pair of VX 15Q compact enclosures, powered by two MC2 amplifiers (a T1000 and a T2000). Six speakers hosted on the podium communicate via a DIS Digital Discussion System, while Audio-Technica handheld wireless mics are available for audience participation.

The first floor hosts two 25-seat rooms with videoconferencing and projection facilities (NEC UM330W units), while two other adjacent almost identical training rooms with 25 workstations can either host separate events or (with the soundproofed dividing wall removed) be used as a single large room (sharing the audio/video/control facilities).

On the second floor, another pair of modular rooms (used for various functions, such as trade union meetings) offers the same possibilities. Here too videoconferencing facilities are installed and the rooms are almost identical to the training rooms, with the exception of the latter’s MimioTeach interactive whiteboards, MimioCapture for recording whiteboard notes and graphics on a PC and wireless MimioPads to Control the whiteboards from anywhere in the classroom.

Audio in each of the six rooms comprises four Tannoy ultra-compact Di 5DC speakers, an Apart Champ 2 amplifier, Apart Audiocontrol 12.8 digital mixer, Audio-Technica lavalier and handheld wireless microphones and Biamp Nexia VC for conference audio processing.

Each of the six rooms has a local rack with a Creston 8 x 8 DigitalMedia matrix switcher, Audio-Technica mic hardware and other local units, whereas the boardroom has a 16 x 16 DM matrix.

Full HD videoconferencing facilities include a Radvision RT1200 codec and a pair of Sony EVI-H100VW HD cameras, except the boardroom, which is equipped with five 1080p PTZ colour cameras.

Boardroom set-up

In the stylish impeccably appointed third-floor boardroom, the table houses 17 Arthur Holm retractable 21.5in HD monitors and a DIS Digital Discussion System with 24 microphones. Tannoy sound reinforcement comprises eight two-way bass reflex recessed speakers, powered by an Apart amp; teleconference audio is processed via Biamp Nexia VC. Four Samsung UD46C 46in displays form a videowall, supported by four stand-mounted 55in monitors. Technology is controlled using a Crestron TSW-1050 touchscreen. There is also a small room adjacent to the boardroom equipped with three Samsung 55in LED Pro displays.

The entire building has WiFi coverage and each room’s hardware, including lighting and blackout curtains (one side of both the auditorium and the boardroom is entirely glazed, and looks on to the centre’s courtyard) can be remote controlled via a dedicated Crestron touchpanel with an intuitive GUI developed by Gecom along with the Creval technical work group.

Ciarlo states: “This project stands out among similar work done in the past precisely thanks to its core technology – Crestron DigitalMedia – and the fibre network used to combine the rooms.”

Miotti concludes: “Our investment in Via Feltre, introducing some extremely innovative technological features to our group’s AV infrastructure, is the natural evolution of choices taken from 2000, with the first videoconference rooms for meetings between branches throughout the country, necessary to enable staff to take part without having to travel. Being able to count on a reliable highly qualified partner such as Gecom was fundamental and will continue to be so in the future, to maintain the high standards achieved to date.”

Writer: Mike Clark.