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Morgan State University

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Clarity Matrix Video Walls Serve as Versatile Learning Tools at Morgan State University

In September 2017, Morgan State University officially opened its new Martin D. Jenkins Behavioral and Social Sciences Center, a technology-centric facility that is anticipated to improve the college's ability to attract students, faculty and research awards. Built on the university's Baltimore, MD campus, the $79-million multi-functional building houses five behavioral and social sciences departments and includes a 170-seat auditorium, a multi-level atrium, computer and science labs, collaborations spaces, and flexible classrooms to support traditional lectures or group learning. Among the high-tech features of the new center—which include advanced network connectivity and a 'maker space' with a virtual learning classroom and 3D computers/printers—are two Clarity® Matrix® LCD Video Wall Systems (LX46HDU) from Planar. Designed and installed by audio visual technology solutions provider Design & Integration (DI), the video walls were specifically chosen as part of a building-wide design strategy focused on communication and collaboration.

Atrium Clarity Matrix Video Wall Provides Flexible Options

In the Jenkin's Hall ground-floor atrium, DI installed a Clarity Matrix video wall in a 4x4 configuration that serves as multi-functional tool for the space. Featuring Full HD resolution per display and LED backlighting and designed with an ultra-narrow bezel, the Clarity Matrix delivers outstanding tiled visual performance. With built-in Planar® Big Picture Plus™ Video Wall Processing, sources can be scaled across the entirety or any section of the video wall.

Julie Wilson, design and construction project manager at Morgan State University, said the Clarity Matrix installation helps support the university's focus on the 21st-century-learner. "Today's students are digital learners—they've had electronic devices in their hands since they were small, and this is how they tend to communicate and learn," Wilson said. "The atrium video wall gives us the flexibility to convey information and important messages to students, but also for the students to communicate among themselves. We worked very closely with DI to create an academic environment for the 21st-century-learner that will make their experience here as meaningful as possible."

As part of this effort, DI installed Creston AirMedia equipment, which allows students to connect through a wireless application and subsequently use the video wall to display and share content. "The main focus of this approach is rooted in creating a collaborative experience, which is consistent with the theme of the building," said Brad Phipps, DI director of field operations.

The Clarity Matrix video wall can also be used by faculty to support overflow viewing for a lecture hall that is located directly behind the display—thus, effectively increasing the capacity of the hall. "Instructors can take sources that are being shown within the lecture hall and cast them on the video wall," Phipps said. "The versatility allows for multi-faceted usage and increases the functionality of the space."

Clarity Matrix MultiTouch Expands Uses of IDD Suite

On the fifth floor of the new Jenkins Hall building, DI integrated a Clarity® Matrix® MultiTouch LCD Video Wall in a 3x3 configuration that is located in the instructional design development (IDD) suite. Although the suite was initially intended as a corporate classroom to solely support the continuing education of faculty, Wilson said the impressive aesthetics and functionality of the Clarity Matrix MultiTouch has created more use opportunities for the space.

"The video wall provides a spectacular visual experience and creates a dynamic environment in the suite," Wilson said. "There's a lot of 'wow!'"

Clarity Matrix MultiTouch features an ultra-slim profile touch screen and includes the Planar® EasyAxis™ Mounting System, which helps create stunning and precise tiled images. Clarity Matrix MultiTouch also utilizes the latest touch technology, enabling up to 32 touch points and allowing multiple users to simultaneously interact with the video wall without affecting other users. Additionally, the surface is protected by Planar® ERO™ (Extended Ruggedness and Optics™) technology, providing an optically-bonded glass front for increased ruggedness and optical performance.

According to Wilson, the Clarity Matrix MultiTouch is used for committee meetings and will also be leveraged to give presentations for attracting university funding, such as research grants. "When content is presented on this very high-tech, high-definition, touch screen video wall, everything is much bigger and much more exciting," she said.

Off-board Architecture delivers Integration Benefits

The Clarity Matrix video walls include a unique distributed design that transfers heat, complexity and potential points-of-failure from the video wall display to a remote rack-mounted system, providing installation flexibility and eliminating the need for AC power outlets behind the displays.
With the Jenkins Hall project, the off-board architecture of the Clarity Matrix allowed DI to remotely locate the electronics in an AV rack room, resulting in a simplified design. "By being able to consolidate the power supplies, the need to coordinate for space and power locally at each display is removed," Phipps said.
"This also helps eliminate confusion with design work in terms of conduit infrastructure, elevations and other considerations. The other benefit is that we didn't have to worry about controlling heat build-up behind the video walls."

Clarity Matrix Installation Enhances Visual Environment at the Earl G. Graves School of Business and Management

Prior to the Clarity Matrix installations at the new Jenkins Hall facility, DI integrated a curved Clarity Matrix video wall in a 6x3 configuration at the Earl G. Graves School of Business and Management complex, in conjunction with the design, construction and subsequent opening of that facility in 2015. Located in the atrium of the $72-million, 138,000-square-foot building, the Clarity Matrix video wall was designed to complement the interior architectural of the space and is used to display artistic content including occasional information on special events.

DI recently created a five-minute video for display on the Clarity Matrix which portrays the core values of the Earl G. Graves School of Business and Management, and plans to collaborate with the school to develop further videos that can be worked into their content schedule.