When staff at Texas Tech University’s Rawls College of Business visited a trade show and saw Christie® MicroTiles®, they knew they found the solution for their flagship classroom’s digital display wall. Located in Lubbock, Texas, the college has six areas of study – Accounting, Energy Commerce, Finance, Information Systems and Quantitative Sciences, Management, and Marketing – in addition to dual programs in conjunction with architecture, agriculture, foreign languages, law, medicine, and environmental toxicology.
Installed at a 15-degree angle pointing down at the audience for better viewing, the 12 units wide by 9 units high Christie MicroTiles array features educational content and, via a Christie Spyder X20 video processor, displays multiple pictures and videos simultaneously for instruction with a customized structure holding the display securely in place.
Christie MicroTiles, used with a Christie Spyder X20 image processor, are also a flexible and easy-to-use solution for the instructors who use the display. Instructors can show multiple images and easily change them. The tiles’ brilliant color and excellent resolution make the display — even detailed images from spreadsheets or graphs — viewable from any angle or distance in the amphitheater-style classroom.
“Our goal was to have a ‘wow factor’ and something that stood out on the cutting edge of technology,” said Kathryn Suchy, associate director/computing, Texas Tech University. “This Christie MicroTiles installation definitely accomplished that goal and when people see the MicroTiles and are told of their capabilities, they are blown away.”
Consultant and Integrator Serve Key Role in Leading Project to Completion
Serving as consultant on the intricate project was DataCom Design Group, of Houston, Texas, a solution-based firm focusing on filling client needs.
“The school wanted something that stood out when you walked into the classroom,” said Richard Brink, associate principal, DataCom Design Group. “The school really took to the MicroTiles and wanted as large a wall as was feasible.
“It was important for the school to have an additional recruiting tool for both students and faculty; something that really made a statement,” Brink continued. “Besides the physical practicalities of such an installation, keys to their decision were what content would be displayed and how they would utilize the screen itself. We asked them, ‘In your wildest dreams, how many images do you want to see for both special events and regular use?’ and similar questions. With the size, resolution and capabilities they wanted, the solution was Christie MicroTiles.”
Jon W. Litt, account executive at Whitlock, project integrator, explained to the decision makers at the school that Christie MicroTiles were the correct choice.
“The school wanted a state-of-the-art statement piece and the MicroTiles dovetailed into that very, very well,” said Litt. “You basically put the MicroTiles wall up and allow it to do what it needs to do for many years. As a result, the school maximized the return on its investment.”
One design challenge the installation team faced was ensuring the custom bracket could support the weight of the array and leave enough space to keep it cool. The architect, structural engineer, mechanical engineer, and Litt worked together to design a bracket that could support the video wall – which had no other support but the ceiling bracket – and allow for sufficient airflow behind the wall without creating a wind tunnel effect and whistling sound. Litt said the team did “a lot of engineering on air velocity. It was a real advantage that Christie MicroTiles don’t burn very hot.”
Instructors select the sources of information or data to display and the Christie Spyder X20 image processor does the rest of the work of getting the selection displayed. “The [Christie] Spyder and [Christie] MicroTiles is a natural match,” said Litt.
“Christie MicroTiles have more resolution than any other solution available in the market. Color reproduction is great and the university really liked the overall low cost of ownership, because the tiles wouldn’t need a lot of maintenance and replacement compared to other solutions,” Litt continued. “That maximizes their return on investment.”
With more than 200 students sitting in the auditorium classroom and multiple images, spreadsheets, graphs and financial content displayed onto the Christie MicroTiles simultaneously, ultra high resolution and superior colors are vital.
“The color, saturation and brightness made the school so happy with the installation and the final product,” added Litt. “The reaction of people has been incredible. You walk in and see this massive video wall and people say, ‘wow that is so cool.’ Texas Tech wanted a statement piece — something state-of-the-art — and [Christie] MicroTiles really fit into this story.”
“There is no question that the MicroTiles video wall is a wonderful tool for recruiting high end faculty talent,” concluded Suchy. “If you have high-end faculty, the students will come and the Christie MicroTiles contribute to that end. We are very thrilled with the installation and you can see how classy the entire setup looks.”