audio system brings impact to
Watson Wyatt conferences
Sometimes itís the obvious
answers that are the
hardest to find.
When managers at Watson Wyatt,
a multinational consulting firm specializing in human resources issues,
built a conference room in Chicago last year, they knew what they wanted,
but werenít sure how to get it.
of the problem was that Watson managers wanted an a/v system that would
disappear when not in use. In particular, says John Lytle, the consultant
most responsible for the project, "we needed individual microphones
for our teleconferences and the recording of meetings. But our managing
consultant really didnít want them hanging from the ceiling all the
time." In the same way, firm managers wanted the screen, rack, and other
equipment either hidden at all times or hidden when not in use. It was,
says Lytle, a question of esthetics and professionalism.
other problem was that Watson consultants needed a first rate system.
Esthetics were important, but the quality of the sound and projected
image were critical. There was no way they could accept anything less
than the best with the number and level of client and internal meetings
that would go on in the room. Critical, too, was the issue of system
control. Watson Wyatt employs over 200 consultants in its Chicago office,
and virtually all of them use the system regularly. They needed a system
so intuitive that anyone could use it with a bare minimum of training
United Visualís Doug Carnell
and his engineering staff were able to design a system that met all
of these criteria. For the best possible sound pickup, for example,
they used eight miniature ElectroVoice microphones hanging from the
ceiling. To meet esthetic concerns, they put them on motorized reels
so they would disappear when not in use. In the same way, they installed
first rate components from Sony, Bose, Altec Lansing, Gentner, Lectrosonics,
Visitec and Draper. To make the system operable by so many people, they
put all controls on an AMX Tiltscreen, programmed to operate each function
with the touch of a single button. Choose "audioconference," for example,
and the mics extend, sound components turn on, and the touch screen
brings up a menu for dialing.
Lytle says United was the
key to making their needs a reality. "We knew what we wanted, but Doug
was the person who went back and brought all the pieces together, found
all the components that would put together the room we wanted. The servo
reeler technology is one example. It wasnít something Iíd seen before,
but it solved our problem and works very well."