A large auditorium and multiple mid-size meeting rooms
Convene is a high-end conference space provider which capitalizes on existing real estate to provide meeting places for their clients in convenient and strategically located centers.
In 2012, Convene chose to expand to another location in Manhattan, this time in the financial district. Covene wanted a space that could accommodate a large auditorium and multiple mid-size meeting rooms, so that the needs of each unique client could be met. The 36,000 square foot space at 32 Old Slip fit Convene’s needs and provided stunning views of Manhattan.
From the start of the project, Convene’s co-founder Ryan Simonetti stressed superior audio visual equipment as a core mission. “Companies are becoming more reliant on AV capability to put their meetings together,” observed Simonetti. “Today’s meetings are highly integrated, not only physically but technologically, bridging to another audience in another location, or one online. To make meetings more collaborative and interactive, we’re seeing an increased connection between AV technology and the meeting itself.”
- Project duration:
- one year
- Time on site:
- six months
- Manufacturers utilized:
- Cisco, Polycom, Crestron, Extron, Sennheiser, JBL, Sharp, Christie, Listen, Chief
Simonetti and Convene’s Director of Technology Nicholas Cox knew they wanted to find an integrator who understood their vision and could become a true partner in innovation. After a long search process it became clear that HB Communications was a good fit. According to Cox, “The HB team delivered in every criteria we had for our ideal integrator – they were up-front and honest with us from the very beginning, and had a great deal of leverage to get us the best pricing and service.”
In designing the technology for 32 Old Slip, ease-of-use and reliability were top priorities. The system would need to be able to run up to 16 hours a day continuously, and 250 days a year. Also, “the rooms had to be simple, controllable, and very serviceable if the need presents itself,” said Dave Fretz, senior account executive for HB Communications. “The whole notion was to make rooms as simple as possible for the users so they could walk in, walk up to the touch panel controls, and operate it easily with no technical help.”
Based on these needs, a Crestron control system was chosen. Convene’s guests have comprehensive control of their meeting experience. In the diamond-shaped main auditorium, an 18-foot diagonal rear-projection screen is situated in the front of the space with two 90-inch LED screens on each side and two more 60-inch displays in the back of the room. The room is also equipped with a full surround sound system with subwoofers and ceiling speakers. Wireless Sennheiser mics, plus additional microphone support when called for, round out the room’s superior sound component. The room is outfitted with Cisco videoconferencing and Polycom audioconferencing technologies to accommodate participants in other locations.
Old Slip’s 12 smaller breakout rooms are all connected to the head-end control system, making them useful for overflow as well as stand-alone spaces. Each room features touch overlay LCD screens with whiteboard capabilities, which makes these rooms particularly useful for small-group brainstorming. “You can have a truly collaborative experience with the people in the room,” said Fretz, “annotating up on the screen, making notes, and adjusting things on the fly, as opposed to just working on your laptop and displaying it.”
Guests are able to record audio and video throughout the facility for later distribution and review. “Historically, AV and IT ran as parallel-but-separate businesses, but today they’re very much intertwined because all audio visual equipment is supported by a network,” Simonetti noted. “At Old Slip, we invested on the infrastructure side so we have the storage capacity and bandwidth to capture as much content as needed, and then have the ability to move it through a cloud-based app or direct bridge. On the AV side, we invested in sufficient audio and video equipment to be sure we’ve captured everything that’s physically going on in the spaces.”
The end product exceeds Convene’s expectations. “HB scrutinized every detail, throughout installation and implementation, and that attention shows in the success of the space,” notes Cox. “People have been highly receptive to the design.”
“We want to be the place where people execute their most productive ideas, and get their work done,” Ryan Simonetti added. “When you see the space doing what it was designed to do, with people collaborating at a high level, that’s what’s most rewarding for us a company. AV technology will continue to be an ever-larger part of how we accomplish that.”
"When you see the space doing what it was designed to do, with people collaborating at a high level, that"
co-founder of Convene