Arizona developer JDM Partners is one of the largest owners of entitled land in the greater Phoenix area and has decades of experience in residential and commercial development, including business parks and master-planned communities. In addition to real estate, the group previously was involved in professional sports ownership and operations through JDM Partner Jerry Colangelo, former owner of the NBA's Phoenix Suns, the Phoenix Mercury of the WNBA, the Arizona Rattlers of the Arena Football League and the Arizona Diamondbacks of Major League Baseball.
JDM oversees business from its Phoenix corporate headquarters and holds meetings and presentations in the group's office boardroom. In 2016, JDM began to recognize the need to update the boardroom, as the space over the years had become outdated and eventually was not reflective of the high-profile level of projects the group is known for.
"The boardroom had really fallen behind in terms of its capacity for conducting presentations," said Tom O'Malley, chief operating officer of JDM. "We are a very experienced group, but we are not part of the millennial generation that is on the cutting-edge of technology. In meetings, we were still using wood easels and flip charts. Our boardroom had a drop-down projection screen, but using it required an assistant to come in and hook it up. If we held a lunch meeting, we might have to scoot plates away so an architect could roll out renderings, and you had to be careful that water didn't spill on them."
In planning a boardroom upgrade, the group at first simply wanted to elevate their ability to present information, but as they explored options they soon become interested in pursuing a project that embraced much more. "We meet with governors, mayors, senators and very large investors which requires a higher level of presentation," O'Malley said. "So, we turned our attention to investigating what was possible."
JDM retained the services of Scottsdale-based PHX Architecture and challenged the firm to reimagine the boardroom into a space that was not only modern, impressive and functional, but forward-looking and collaborative. "Beyond a design that would impress clients and partners, it was important to them that a new boardroom reflect how people will work in the years to come," said PHX Architecture President Erik Peterson. "In their desire to push the limits, we knew that technology—and specifically, display technology—was going to be a big component."
Next, systems integrator Cyber Technology Group was brought in to join the project team. After evaluating options that would be suitable for a video wall, Jason Hersh, senior project manager with Cyber Technology Group, recommended a Clarity® Matrix® LCD Video Wall (2x2) run by a Clarity® Visual Control Station™ (VCS™) video wall processor, and a 24-inch Planar® Helium™ touch screen monitor – all from Planar. Hersh also recommended for the Planar system to be integrated in combination with visual collaboration software provided by SaaS company Bluescape.
Featuring 4K and Full HD resolution, LED backlighting and a 3.7mm tiled bezel width, the immersive and flexible 55" Clarity Matrix LCD video wall offers outstanding tiled visual performance and an ultra-thin installation depth.
The Clarity VCS video wall processor is a flexible and easy-to-use video wall processor designed to capture, display and manage multiple sources on the video wall, which can be positioned and resized individually anywhere on the video wall.
The Planar Helium Series monitor provides projected capacitive touch technology and an extremely responsive touch screen to provide an interactive screen on the boardroom table, allowing users to interact with content on the video wall.
With incorporating cutting-edge display technology into JDM's workflow, it was important for the display to minimize complexity and provide simple operation. "We don't have an IT department, so for a solution to be useful, it needs to be intuitive," O'Malley said. "A senior partner should be able to walk in, hit a button and pull up a template that is easy to use."
With usability as the foremost challenge, Hersh said the Clarity Matrix video wall and Clarity VCS video wall processor provided an effective solution. "The system really delivers in terms of its simplistic function—it fits right into their workflow," Hersh said. "The versatility of the Clarity VCS processor allowed us to create a unified user interface that supports a range of different devices. Users with PCs, Macs or iPads can connect to the network and immediately have the ability to display or control multiple sources/formats of content on the video wall."
The flexibility provided by the Clarity VCS video wall processor allows JDM to work with a diversity of content in many different ways. "They can take maps, images, illustrations, PowerPoints or whatever it may be and zoom in, zoom out, drag or manipulate, and the clarity remains intact without artifacting," Hersh said. "They can literally have a meeting on the display without having to close, open, reload or change input. And glitches related to syncing, aspect ratios, sizing or resolutions are fixed by the Clarity VCS processor on the fly, so the user just uses and the presenter just presents. The power of this system is just ridiculous in its technical capacity to effortlessly manage visual content."
A compatible tool
The Clarity Matrix video wall and Clarity VCS video wall processor also proved to be highly compatible with Bluescape's collaborative software, which facilitates access, content sharing, interaction and visual collaboration in an easy-to-use, easy-to-access place. "The Planar solution enhances the Bluescape technology and unleashes the potential of the Bluescape platform," said Nick Brown, Bluescape vice president of product and marketing. "We can really leverage our software with such an impressive system."
Greater business efficiency
According to O'Malley, the Planar solution has streamlined day-to-day business. "Our presentations are now simplified, yet incredibly more impactful," he said. "We can better collaborate with our people when they're traveling offsite. And now, when our architect comes to the boardroom, he doesn't have to bring large rolls of renderings anymore. Instead, he quickly connects to the system and throws the graphics on the display—and the graphics are more useful in a way that's really impressive."
Moreover, O'Malley said the Planar system has made the JDM office more functional. "We can take 20th century business and put it in a 21st century platform that looks 21st century, but is operational even for those of us that aren't super technologically advanced," he said. "It allows us to be more efficient and do business in a better way."
By bringing superb clarity and brilliant visualization of content to the renovated boardroom, JDM can now emphasize a new level of presentation, capturing the attention of clients, prospective employees and partners. But JDM has also found other beneficial uses for the display system. "For one of our partners, Jerry Colangelo, basketball represents some of his most important work as he has held many prominent roles in professional and U.S. Olympic basketball," O'Malley said. "So, to be able throw three or four games on the video wall during the NCAA Tournament and for it to look phenomenal was just perfect."