Get all your news in one place.
100’s of premium titles.
One app.
Start reading
James Careless

Money Talks

American Bankers Association Boardroom.

The American Bankers Association (ABA) is a trade association representing the nation’s $23.4 trillion banking industry, which includes small, regional, and large banks that collectively employ approximately 2.1 million people. In late 2022, ABA moved to its current 87,000-square-foot headquarters in Washington, DC’s Dupont Circle neighborhood.

[Editorial: Videoconferencing Sparks ‘Zoom Boom’ for Cosmetic Procedures]

As part of the move, ABA further committed to Zoom videoconferencing in support of its active hybrid work environment. A host of multi-sized meeting and workspaces within the three-story office environment—including a large boardroom, two large conference rooms, 10 medium and nine small conference rooms, 11 huddle rooms, the CEO’s office, three coffee bars, staff lounge, and more—were equipped to support Zoom meetings effectively and efficiently.

“The majority of our people work two days a week from the office and the remaining time at home, so there's a big need for videoconferencing to support regular, daily meetings with anywhere from two people to over a dozen,” explained Tony Neal, ABA’s VP of infrastructure. “We also support weekly meetings of ABA stakeholders in other locations, for example, meetings of state banking association members and those of other types of committees, including our board of directors.”

ABA’s AV project was designed, managed, and installed by New York-based TRITECH Communications. TRITECH is no stranger to installing AV systems for the financial services industry, having already done such work for JPMorgan Chase, Moody’s Investor Service, and Brown Brothers Harriman, among others. “TRITECH was the best vendor to meet our needs, in part because they were already doing the cabling in the building,” Neal said. “For projects like these, I prefer the cabling vendor and the AV vendor to be the same—and their reputation as a reliable and savvy AV deployment partner made the choice easy.”

The sheer scale of the project, along with the fact that the ABA wanted it done reasonably quickly, made for a challenging build. ABA started the process with TRITECH in December 2021, moving into their new headquarters just 11 months later. Add the fact that these rooms had to seamlessly support a range of portable BYODs and TRITECH had its work cut out for it.

“This was right during the COVID-19 crunch,” recalled TRITECH’s Barclay Davidson, who managed the ABA project. “As such, we had problems getting some of the equipment specified for the large boardroom and two large conference rooms, such as the Crestron NVX AVoIP distribution systems. Crestron was experiencing a product shortage at that time, so they provided us with an interim solution until the NVX units we wanted could be retrofitted into the rooms in December 2023.”

The Big Three

Without a doubt, the large boardroom and two large conference rooms are the stars of this show. They are interconnected using networked AV-over-IP via a central headend located in the ABA’s AV room. The approach provides a future-proofed solution that allows the system to be easily scaled should requirements be added as technology evolves.

[Clancy: Crestron Answering Hybrid Workforce Needs]

The boardroom is equipped with a Planar 109-inch LED video wall, NEC NP-P605 6,000-lumen ceiling-mounted laser projector, and Da-Lite Tensioned Advantage 110-inch motorized projection screen installed in the ceiling. There are also mobile TV display cart connection plates within the boardroom to support additional viewing angles both within the room and when its accordion-style glass partition is open to create a 2,400-square-foot reception space.

Multiple Vaddio RoboSHOT 30E PTZ cameras in the boardroom provide coverage of the space. The setup is rounded out with a Zoom Room appliance that supports Zoom meetings, laptop connections with both HDMI and USB ports in a floor box, Soundtube CM-82 ceiling speakers, ceiling-mounted beamforming microphones, and lavalier and handheld microphones. All AV functions are controlled using a Crestron TSW-1070 10-inch touchpanel mounted on the wall that can also be connected to the floor box.

Meanwhile, the two identical 30-person, large conference rooms each have a pair of wall-mounted Samsung QB85R 85-inch displays, with a RoboSHOT PTZ camera mounted between them to capture the audience looking at the displays. A second camera is mounted on the ceiling facing toward the displays to cover a presenter standing at the head of the room. A mobile TV display cart connection allows those in the back to watch a closer display for detailed viewing, if required. Like the large boardroom, each large conference room has a Zoom Room appliance, HDMI/USB floor box, ceiling speakers, a similar selection of microphones, and Crestron touchpanel control.

Comprehensive Connectivity

The AV equipment in the rest of ABA’s meeting and team rooms varies depending on their usage and capacity. For example, each of the huddle rooms, which are designed to enable hybrid meetings with up to five in-person attendees, has a wall-mounted Samsung QB50R 50-inch flat panel display, plus a Logitech videobar connected to a small-format PC behind the display to support Zoom conferences.

[Viewpoint: Hybrid Headaches]

Smaller team rooms at the ABA include a Samsung display along with a Logitech videobar and user interface. (Image credit: TRITECH)

A Logitech Tap user interface located on the table controls the system, with an HDMI connection to enable content sharing from a laptop. However, the HDMI connection is not necessary for ABA staff laptops, which can share directly to the display via Zoom’s share screen functionality over Wi-Fi. A similar approach is used in the medium and small conference rooms, with some variance in monitor size.

The CEO’s office has a Samsung QB65R 65-inch display on a Chief TS325 articulating wall mount, along with a small-format PC and a Logitech videobar. Zoom conferences can be controlled from a user interface located on the table. The CEO’s office also has an HDMI connection to support content sharing from a laptop, if required.

[SCN Hybrid World: Videobars Offer Simplified Conferencing Solution]

Each of the three coffee bars features a Samsung 65-inch monitor connected to a BrightSign XD234 media player and CATV/streaming devices installed behind them. Plus, the staff lounge has a 55-inch monitor and a CATV/streaming device, while one visitor reception area has a similar setup housed in a cabinet under the TV.

“TRITECH also designed and installed a mesh network setup for end user cable TV stations in select but varying employee offices," Neal added. "The flexibility of the design allows ABA to move TV services to any office that requires it without running coax cable or disturbing the infrastructure.”

According to Neal, the ABA’s Zoom-centric facility is working as planned. “Our staff and people from the outside say that the rooms are great,” he said. “We've had very few issues with them, almost zero issues with them, to be honest.”

The secret to ABA/TRITECH’s success on this project? “Prototyping and testing the rooms as we did is always a good thing before they all get installed,” replied Neal. “Work with the AV vendor to make sure that everything meets your needs, do a lot of testing when the room is turned over to you by them, and, crucially, ensure that the room is easy for the customers to use from the onset.”

Sign up to read this article
Read news from 100’s of titles, curated specifically for you.
Already a member? Sign in here
Related Stories
Top stories on inkl right now
One subscription that gives you access to news from hundreds of sites
Already a member? Sign in here
Our Picks
Fourteen days free
Download the app
One app. One membership.
100+ trusted global sources.