Since its founding in 1925, Shure has been a staple in professional audio. The company is known for producing high-quality performance microphones and a variety of solutions that deliver a great audio experience—and the company ensures that quality is also applied to its business applications. To show off the latest products it has created for business meeting spaces, Shure set about creating a state-of-the-art demo facility that reflects the modern workplace.
“We wanted to establish a facility where anybody would be envious of the technology represented in our boardrooms and conference rooms,” said Rick Renner, director of professional audio, Shure.
The Shure Experience Center in the Chicago City Center is the result of that goal, a destination where visitors can experience Shure products and other collaboration tools within working rooms designed for the corporate enterprise.
So that Shure could demonstrate those solutions, AVI-SPL—number one onSCN's 2017 Top 50 integrators—was entrusted with integrating them on time and on budget, while making sure the result met all the needs of the project’s key stakeholders.
The Shure Experience Center has two sides: one for its own personnel, including sales and marketing staff, and one for the guest experience. Those customers include architects, consultants, AV vendors, and the end users looking to evaluate Shure’s products in a working environment.
Visitors explore solutions within four areas—huddle room, conference room, boardroom, and training space—all of them based on Shure’s global standards. Staff and guests can hear the quality of Shure products and experience the collaborative solutions of trusted vendors like Cisco, Biamp, and Christie within meeting rooms that are highly automated and driven by control systems that make it easy to run those spaces for various uses.
Front and center are Shure’s audio products, including its Microflex microphones and IntelliMix P300 processor. The P300 has all the functionality for digital signal processing—including audio processing and echo cancelling for all room mics—in one compact unit that fits behind a display or below a table.
Cisco solutions are the basis for Shure’s unified communications platform. Throughout the center, participants can video conference and share content with remote and in-room participants. For BYOD collaboration sessions, they use the Christie Brio presentation system, which supports wireless sharing of content from laptops, tablets, and iPhones to the displays.
In the training room, where staff can learn about new products, Biamp Tesira handles the networked distribution of audio and video sources. Cisco video conferencing works in conjunction with camera tracking that responds to the audio of the Shure microphones to focus on speaking audience members.
Many of the solutions in these demo areas can also be found in the Hub, a versatile open space where staff and guests come together for informal meetings and functions. There, presenters can connect laptops to displays to present material, have open collaboration sessions, and host impromptu demos.
To complete these ambitious spaces in time for the center’s opening in early 2018, the AVI-SPL team was committed to open communication and long evenings and weekends. “They gave us daily and weekly updates, and they were often proactive in heading off issues that could arise,” said Dave Feldman, Shure AV engineering and IT executive. “They would do whatever it took to get the job done during that day.”
In the few months it’s been open, the Shure Experience Center has welcomed a variety of customers to see, hear, and test products in areas that reflect the spaces where they want to integrate audio and other collaborative solutions. Shure facilitates this discovery through demos for end users at the enterprise level as well as for those who would integrate or recommend products and systems. “We’ve had rave reviews from people that have come through,” said Renner.
Throughout these spaces, guests experience the differences among the Shure microphones, so they can see what makes sense in their environment. The Microflex Wireless, Microflex MXA910 ceiling arrays and MXA310 table arrays demonstrate their ability to pick up every speaker at a conference table and provide 360-degree coverage of the participants.
“They can come in with an idea of what they’re looking for, and we can show them how it’s going to perform within their space,” said Kevin Smith, Shure director of integrated systems.
As for the staff, they quickly took to their new home since the spaces are standardized on solutions used throughout Shure offices. “They were very comfortable and productive from day one,” added Feldman.
During the center’s opening ceremony, which was held in the Hub, the digital signage, presentation system, and overhead voice reinforcement blended seamlessly together. For the first three weeks of the Shure Experience Center’s opening, an onsite AVI-SPL tech assisted with training, helped kick-off meetings, and was available to troubleshoot any issues.
Through AVI-SPL, the property management firm, contractor, AV consultant, and its own team, Shure dedicated itself to ensuring that this new experience center would be a success. “The main thing that impressed me about working with AVI-SPL was their openness to ideas and understanding what our employees were comfortable with,” concluded Feldman. “Working with AVI-SPL was a true collaborative effort.”