How Lightware Solutions Empower Seamless Connectivity for Alaska Bank

Lightware's Cisco systems power a hybrid conference room.
(Image credit: Lightware)

Northrim Bank, founded in 1990, has matured from a small community bank to Alaska's only publicly traded, publicly held company with well over 450 employees, and branches from Nome to Ketchikan. Growth in Alaska has come with its fair share of obstacles and required videoconferencing available to those customers who couldn't make it to physical locations. Lightware's zero-latency MMX HDMI Matrix Switcher and Cisco solutions help solve some of those challenges.

“Northrim Bank has customers who live off the road system, branches that can only be serviced by air, water, or sled, and branches stretched across geography twice the size of Texas," explained Ben Craig, executive vice president, chief information officer for Northrim Bank. "In 2014, Northrim Bank deployed Cisco secure videoconferencing to every branch and remote employee to better connect employees and customers. As with most pre-pandemic videoconferencing solutions, initial organizational adoption was slow. Desktop video phones and video monitors were easy enough to use. Still, only the most tech-savvy employees opted to leverage videoconference rooms because they were too intimidating and complicated.

“We integrated Cisco WebEx SX80 Room Codecs to enable collaboration between in-person and remote meeting participants. Unfortunately, there was not a simple mechanism to power the displays, manage inputs and connect peripherals—these required an additional piece of technology. The team attempted to simplify videoconference rooms by deploying home-grown solutions to automate larger rooms and ad-hoc third-party remotes in smaller huddle rooms. However, the integration tools created an overwhelming and intimidating user experience creating a large barrier to adoption.”

Lightware's Cisco systems power a hybrid conference room.

(Image credit: Lightware)

At this point, Northrim Bank discovered Lightware’s MMX HDMI Matrix Switchers, a standalone solution offering uncompromised 4K30FPS signal management through HDMI 1.4 connectivity. Boasting zero latency for critical operations, the extensive selection of available variants, compatibility and connectivity features made Lightware’s MMX Series a perfect fit for AV operations. Thus, Lightware’s MMX Series expanded the capabilities of Northrim’s investment, transforming each meeting room into a powerful, yet easy-to-use tool for all employees.

“Lightware’s technology removed users’ real and perceived barriers to adoption by delivering intuitive and colorful graphical user interfaces to control the room’s projector screen, TVs, power, volume, mics, input sources and display and projector outputs,” explained Craig. “Once users enter the room, they are immediately greeted with intuitive instructions prompting them to wake the system using the touchscreen, their displays and peripherals are powered on and changed to their correct default inputs, and their speakers and microphones are adjusted to preset volumes.”

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Lightware has simplified expanding, extending, and controlling Cisco WebEx teleconferencing by providing a pre-configured appliance. With Lightware’s MMX Series, users can expand the number of inputs and outputs of their Cisco system, extend the connectivity over longer distances, and empower the user to natively control the entire solution via the Cisco WebEx Room Navigator.

“Historically, other vendors offered complex solutions that required extensive training, certification, and maintenance,” noted Craig. “These legacy solutions were unnecessarily complicated to install, maintain, and utilize; moreover, their technology is proprietary and not intuitive in the slightest. With Lightware, Northrim Bank designed an intuitive touchscreen interface between the Cisco WebEx SX80 Room Codec and the Lightware MMX Series in an afternoon without additional training. It just worked – right out of the box. There was no need for consulting or technical support. Most importantly, the user experience proved to be paramount.

“Our goal was to create a solution that anyone can use. It had to be easy enough for someone to walk into the room and intuitively start a meeting, make a call, join a call or simply utilize the space without having to be formally trained or have an operating manual. Now that Lightware is fully integrated with our Cisco meeting rooms, Northrim Bank has a reliable and stable solution. Users can enter the room without being overwhelmed by the technology. It provides them with a consumer technology experience and is as simple as using an iPhone or an iPad.”

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Lightware’s MMX Series allowed Northrim Bank to substantially reduce costs while simultaneously unlocking the full potential of their video conference rooms. Lightware’s integration with Cisco enables nearly unlimited capabilities for meeting room control.

As a Cisco Solutions Plus partner, Lightware can provide a flexible, consistent, seamless user experience across room types. Lightware and Cisco have created configured packages designed for small to large meeting spaces. Lightware bundles seamlessly integrate with Cisco Webex and can be easily configured utilizing the Room Configuration Wizard. The plug-and-play system has all the necessary components to get the system up and running in no time.

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