Interactive Video Walls Fuse Digital Content with Engineered Designs at the Mercedes-Benz Visionary Center
Located at the site of the Mercedes-Benz manufacturing plant near Vance, Alabama, is the Mercedes-Benz Visitor Center where the public can take an educational look into the past and the future of the world-renowned automaker. Here, visitors can learn the story behind the Mercedes-Benz brand and experience a museum featuring vintage cars throughout its history including iconic classic automobiles and authentic race cars.
People can also explore what's coming next with Mercedes-Benz by stepping into the Visionary Center, which presents the company's concept cars and future automotive technologies. The space also conveniently functions as a useful employee training tool where anyone from technicians to dealers are brought in for Brand Immersion classes.
The latest adaptation of the Visionary Center explores not only the future of the Mercedes-Benz line, but the automotive industry altogether by showcasing a concept Mercedes-Benz electric car featuring its proprietary 'EQ' technology. In order to properly reflect the innovation behind these upcoming vehicles — and to be able to more effectively update the Visionary Center in the future — Mercedes-Benz approached commercial design firm Method-1 to redesign the new Visionary Center space.
Method-1, specializing in branded interior environments, was tasked with overhauling the room both in terms of physical appearance and in how Mercedes-Benz could communicate with their guests and employees. This led to a collaboration with Dalton+Anode, a digital creative studio specializing in visual information design, which was brought on board to manage the interactive component of the project. Working closely with Method-1, Dalton+Anode integrated two Clarity® Matrix® MultiTouch interactive LCD video walls in 3x1 and 2x1 configurations from Planar. The installations blend with the room's engineered design, creating an immersive experience in the renovated space.
"The touch screen video walls connect visitors to the innovations behind Mercedes-Benz's vision for the future of mobility," said Jeff Peden, Dalton+Anode director of sales and marketing. An ultra-slim profile touch screen video wall with extremely narrow tiled bezel widths, Clarity Matrix MultiTouch is an ideal solution for the branded environment of the new Visionary Center. Clarity Matrix MultiTouch offers a superior touch experience with pin-point accuracy and a surface that is protected by Planar® ERO™ (Extended Ruggedness and Optics™) technology — providing an optically-bonded glass front for increased ruggedness and optical performance.
Intuitive design, reliable performance
For the project, Dalton+Anode created a custom content management system and a multi-user interface that integrates with the Clarity Matrix MultiTouch video walls, providing engagement with rich, visual content. According to Peden, Dalton+Anode's touch screen application was designed to be organic in its movement and flow to adequately capture the elegance of the Mercedes-Benz brand, and Clarity Matrix MultiTouch helps support this functionality. "When we use Planar products, we know the touch interface is going to perform the way we expect—with the precision we expect," Peden said. "The responsiveness of Planar products is extremely reliable."
Off-board electronics provide seamless design compatibility
The unique, off-board architecture of the Clarity Matrix MultiTouch was a necessary design feature that allowed the video walls to be naturally integrated with the branded elements of the Visionary Center. The distributed design transfers heat, complexity and potential points-of-failure from the video wall displays to a remote rack-mounted system, providing installation flexibility and eliminating the need to provide a power source behind the displays.
"Beyond the logistical benefits of the off-board architecture, the aesthetic considerations of the installation were a critical factor for this project," added Peden.
The environmental room design of the new space includes a series of custom LED inlays to match the energy of the concept vehicle. Using addressable LED neon, the lights work in conjunction with the on-screen graphics of the Clarity Matrix MultiTouch video walls. Pulses, which appear to leave the physical LED lights, are picked up by the background graphics of the video walls and carried back to the LEDs.
"The Clarity Matrix MultiTouch allowed us to achieve a seamless integration with the LED lights, as well as the environmental graphic design elements conceived by Method-1," Peden said. "Thanks to the products and support from Planar, we were able to achieve a compelling, immersive experience worthy of the Mercedes-Benz brand."