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IBM undergoes major display upgrade with Digital Projection

The tech giant has upgraded its Thomas J Watson Research Centre

Tech giant IBM has given the facilities at its Thomas J Watson Research Centre – the headquarters of its research division – a major upgrade with a Digital Projection Radiance LED video wall for its primary display.

The previous display technology utilised in the auditorium was a Digital Projection TITAN Pro Series projector with a motorised screen. The new brief included upgrading to direct-view LED technology to create a brighter, colour-rich, and dynamic presentation space, uninhibited by ambient light, and capable of delivering ultra-high resolution up to 8K pixels. The modular Radiance LED solution also allowed IBM to benefit from a totally seamless image across the entire front wall.

In order to achieve the desired resolution, and to ensure an excellent viewing experience from every seat in the 240-seat venue, the 1.2mm pixel-pitch Radiance LED Performance Series was selected. Designed to be maintained completely from the front, and needing only a few inches of depth, the Radiance LED system required very little modification to the auditorium wall infrastructure. The LED display panels fits where original wood panelling was installed.

The result was a dynamic and immersive LED display, measuring 34 feet wide by 16 feet tall, installed to match an architecturally significant curved wall, which was crucial to the aesthetic of the auditorium. In partnership with HB Communications, Digital Projection provided design engineering and installation of the curved wall, ensuring a successful deployment of the enormous, near-8K resolution display.

Lorraine Herger, former director of research integrated solutions at IBM, had this to say about the project: “We believe that profound breakthroughs come when businesses, governments, academic institutions, and others work together to tap into diverse points of view and expertise. Our vision was to provide a stunning, ‘jaw dropping’ image that would make presentations more memorable to the audience. The full screen image with its immense size (34’x16’) is amazingly lifelike and impresses the audience.”

Tim Hutton, senior account executive at HB Communications, said of the integration process: “We included an Analog Way multi-layer premium seamless switcher, Ross SDI routing system, Crestron NVX network AV encoding/decoding system, Shure MXA910 Beamforming Ceiling Microphones, Meyer Sound surround sound speaker system, and Panasonic HD PTZ camera systems, just to name a few.”

As for the room design itself, Hutton added: “One of the main challenges for this application was meeting the client’s technology requirements while preserving the architectural integrity of the auditorium. The front wall of the auditorium consisted of wood panelling which IBM wanted to retain so an ingenious solution was needed. Multiple high-resolution pictures of the front wall were taken and combined into a single background image which perfectly emulated the wood panelling when displayed on the Radiance LED Video Wall. Digital Projection was engaged from project inception to completion. DP engineering and sales worked seamlessly with both HB Communications and IBM on the design, structural requirements, installation, and system commissioning to make this impressive installation possible.”

Commenting on the completion of the project, Herger said: “During our opening event, we displayed a high definition image of our original wall on the LED wall and our community did not know the original wall had been removed and replaced with an image. The colours, brightness, clarity, and depth of vision that can be achieved are amazing!” Herger goes on to say, “The Radiance LED wall brought our vision to life with image quality exceeding our highest expectations. We were extremely impressed and grateful with the level of dedication and meticulousness that the DPI installation team showed in order to provide us with this wonderful LED experience.”