Planar Displays Support Leading University's Marketing, Recruiting and Branding Goals
Any university today wants to be seen as a center of excellence in academics, and many also recognize that a world-class athletic program aids in student attraction, builds stature for the institution, and supports many of its financial objectives. The University of Oregon (UO) has long rated highly in academics as well as athletics, and has recently gained national attention as a football powerhouse as a result of significant investments made in coaching and staffing, and in the facilities it has constructed to attract and train its players.
Among these facilities is the new Hatfield-Dowlin Complex. This is a leading-edge football performance center where technology and architecture have been brought together seamlessly to create an environment that is unique in the ways it acknowledges the many and varied informational and experiential needs and preferences of players, coaches and staff. The Hatfield-Dowlin Complex was designed by Firm151, a highly-regarded architectural and design company. Together with the university and Planar Systems, Firm151 established an extensive digital information strategy for Hatfield-Dowlin, and then partnered with CompView, a leading nationwide A/V integrator, which provided a complete audio visual infrastructure for the facility and handled installation of an array of AV systems including a one of-a-kind video wall for the lobby that utilizes Planar's Clarity™ Matrix LCD Video Wall System.
"The University of Oregon football team's reliance on science and technology fosters a climate for innovation on every level," says Jeff Hawkins, Oregon's Senior Associate AD for the football program. "The Hatfield-Dowlin Complex, generously donated by Nike Chairman and his wife, Phil and Penny Knight, is a prime example and it represents an ongoing commitment by the university to provide world class facilities. In the words of The Washington Post, It's the #1 Tech-Savvy Sports Facility in the World."
"Without question, the Planar displays help us to share the vision and philosophy that is Duck football. Whether the focus is based on teaching, recruiting, motivation or analysis, the Planar systems help us to assist our current players to improve and furthermore to attract future top performers into our program," Hawkins continues.
Clarity Matrix Video Wall is powerful focal point of stunning lobby space
Clarity Matrix was chosen based on its ability to accommodate a key architectural element of the center, an L-shaped wall that would create a dramatic focal point in the visually stunning lobby. Its selection reflects a growing trend in higher education: the use of architecturally-grounded video platforms to create maximum interest among target audiences and to better connect them with the mission, values and culture of an institution.
"In Hatfield-Dowlin, video wall technology is integral to the architectural fabric of the facility," says Randy Stegmeier, principal of Firm151. "This is a departure from the conventional use of video walls. As such, it says several things, including that Planar understood our design intent, and also that the University of Oregon recognized how technology used in this way would add to its appeal and help in its efforts to attract the best students and athletes."
On entering Hatfield-Dowlin, one comes face-to-face with an enormous Clarity Matrix video wall that stretches 35 feet in each direction from a prominent left hand corner of the lobby. The 64 Clarity Matrix MX55HD displays are tiled to within a few millimeters of each other, creating a virtually seamless canvass that extends up to the lobby ceiling, which itself is formed by reflective panels. "You get the impression that the video wall wasn't added onto the lobby wall, but is part of it, and its reflection in the ceiling makes it appear twice as big as it really is," Stegmeier adds. "It provides an awe-inspiring view into Oregon football and that creates an impression and attraction that is unlikely to be matched by any other university in the country."
Shared vision of design objectives is essential project enabler
For its part, Planar saw the importance of understanding the architectural vision for Hatfield-Dowlin. "We knew that by listening carefully to the designers, and having a willingness to adapt our technology to their design objectives, we'd provide a solution that would be a strategic asset to the university," says Adam Schmidt, Vice President of Americas Sales for Planar Systems. "Through this effective partnership, we have delivered to the UO a set of powerful recruiting and development tools that will provide a compelling return on investment for years to come."
The integration and installation specialists at CompView cited Clarity Matrix for the technical aspects of the video wall; in particular, its EasyAxis™ Mounting System and its ultra-slim profile. "As an example, EasyAxis is the only mounting system we know of that will allow front access to video panels that are installed at 90-degree angles to each other but with less than 3.8 millimeters of separation," says John Cathey, CompView's Systems Integration Sales Director. "Also, Clarity Matrix allows many components to be located away from the video wall. This design results in a lighter weight panel that was very easy for installers to handle, and it keeps the video wall's heat level down, which helps keep energy costs down and reduces the likelihood of heat-related problems."
Clarity Matrix features that make a difference
The Clarity Matrix video wall was specified to show a variety of information, including University of Oregon branding content, clips of Oregon football games, sports programming and live game footage. Clarity Matrix ensures that the display of this content is up to the highest quality standards with features that include eco-friendly LED backlighting, 800 nits of brightness, a 3500:1 contrast ratio, and over 132 million pixels. "All of these combine to provide a picture that is stunning whether viewed close-up by someone in the lobby or by passersby right outside or even a block away," Firm151's Stegmeier says.
Technology for the new athletic environment
While the Clarity Matrix in the lobby is the digital media face of Hatfield-Dowlin, it is only one of the many Planar products and technologies in the complex. In areas ranging from athlete's lounges, to locker rooms, to coaching classrooms, more than 60 other Planar displays and monitors can be found, including Planar® EP-Series, Planar® PS-Series and 70-inch and 80-inch Planar® UltraLux LCD displays, many with touch and multi-touch capability, and some equipped with Planar's ERO™ technology that provides added durability and image enhancement Planar's Schmidt says. "The wide array of compelling visual experiences required in Hatfield-Dowlin was a perfect fit for Planar. That's what we're all about: incomparable visual experiences. And Hatfield-Dowlin is truly incomparable.