Large-screen displays and video walls enhance gathering spaces on campus

Wharton School partners with NEC Display and Video Visions to update presentation technology

The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania is recognized globally for intellectual leadership and ongoing innovation across every major discipline of business education for its 5,000 students. Jon M. Huntsman Hall is Wharton’s newest and biggest building. A colloquium located on the eighth floor incorporates a video wall, but needed an upgrade after five years. The room can host as many as 150 people and is used most often as a social gathering space, as well as for hosting presentations, dinners and conferences.

The Wharton School had already partnered with Philadelphia-based video-wall designer, seller and installer Video Visions on a number of audiovisual installations on campus. The school also already used displays from NEC Display Solutions in 57 group-study rooms, so both partners were an easy choice to tackle this project. Upgrading the existing video wall incorporated a number of challenges. The room is finished in wood panels that could not be modified, so it was important for the new wall to fit seamlessly in the existing space. Whatever screens were installed also needed to be able to perform in a variety of lighting situations.

For the new video wall, Video Visions used 46-inch NEC X463UN displays mounted on push/pull brackets in a 4 x 3 configuration. The wall is supplemented by two 55-inch NEC X551S displays on carts to accommodate the width of the room. “We thoroughly enjoy working with NEC and chose to lead with their product line due to the fact that they have a wonderful sales and technical team that backs up their products,” says Vincent DiStasio, vice president of Video Visions. “We know that when working with NEC, we will get the product support that both we and the client need.” The ultra-narrow bezel and wide viewing angle of the X463UN displays make them ideal for video-wall installations.

The 700 cd/m2 maximum brightness and direct white LED backlighting make them ideal for any lighting situation. “Obviously these are decisions that are not trivial, and we wanted to make the best choice possible,” Jarymovych says. “On a relative scale we didn’t spend a large sum of money, but on a project like this we live with the decision for years.” The screens are able to function with the existing wiring, eliminating the expense of changing out that wiring. In addition, the screens can handle content from a variety of sources, including laptops and tablet computers. “We really consider Video Visions and NEC our partners in this,” says Marko Jarymovych, IT technical director of public technology with the Wharton School. “We also use large-screen NEC displays at our campus in San Francisco. We’ve always been happy with their products and support.” Working with Video Visions and NEC was key to making the project a success, Jarymovych says. “Video Visions really helped us in terms of product selection and handling the logistics of the installation and implementation,” Jarymovych says.

“For me, this is where a partnership with someone like Video Visions, and in turn leveraging their partnership with NEC, is really helpful,” he says. “I’m managing a whole portfolio of projects, so the fewer technical details I have to be involved in and the fewer field decisions I have to make, the more efficient I can be with my time in dealing with other issues. To me, that’s the real value in that partnership.”

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