Access to data and information is the lifeblood of the financial services business. The financial services marketplace is fast-paced, with large flows of data being exchanged around the world. So when Daimler Financial Services Americas (DFSA) was consolidating operations between Mercedes-Benz Financial and Daimler Truck Financial, they looked to the integration firm Nu-Star Technologies and ClearOne’s NetStreams IP-based solutions for AV information systems that could serve their needs.
DFSA moved into their newly constructed, state-of-the-art office building in late 2008. The new Customer Care and Call Center operations facility located just outside Fort Worth,Texas, offers brand-specific financing for Mercedes-Benz automotive dealers and their retail customers. The three-story, 164,000-square-foot building accommodates up to 800 employees, and features 81 flat panel displays throughout the facility.
According to Brian Vago, President of Nu-Star Technologies, the integration timeframe was very tight, with a three-month window to install the AV systems. “We chose NetStreams products because they were easy to install and the engineers on staff were very responsive,” he says. “And their IP-based products were a perfect design solution for the needs of the client.”
DFSA requested high definition (HD) content from every source - satellite television, digital signage server, videoconferencing codec, etc. - to every destination, and the ability to route any source to any of the 81 flat panels in the building. In addition, they also wanted the ability to override every display for company-wide breaking news or a company-wide address via videoconferencing.
Michael Braithwaite, Senior Vice President of Technology for ClearOne, says that the DFSA data infrastructure, a combination of fiber optic and CAT6 cabling, wasn’t a challenging environment for ClearOne’s NetStreams products. “NetStreams devices have a built-in discovery protocol. The self-building network sends advertisements onto the network looking for other NetStreams devices. Intelligence is in the network and also in the nodes,” he explains. “Our products are agnostic to the type of network cabling.”
ClearOne’s NetStreams devices also auto-generate their device names based off the MAC addresses. Integrators customize each end node’s name to better reflect its location or purpose, i.e. conference room #1. The integrator can also route sources or link rooms, as well as tweak the acoustics via sophisticated digital signal processing. An integrator also has the option to limit the audio output for a certain space. “These options really make it feel like a custom install,” says Braithwaite.
Vago says that NetStreams engineers assisted with the product configurations and with the commissioning of the system. “It was so easy. All we had to do was install the NetStreams MediaLinX encoders in the rack at the head end, and one ViewLinX decoder at each display,” he adds.
According to Braithwaite, ViewLinX decoders provide an additional cost savings because they have the capabilities of a digital signage player and a cable box. “A digital signage deployment is usually designed around players and servers. The problem is that it can only do digital signage. But with DFSA, they can switch a display from digital signage to breaking news to videoconferencing at any time,” he says. “With a fully configured IP network, you can literally schedule any source or activity, anywhere, at any time using NetStreams products.”
In addition, the distributed architecture of ClearOne’s NetStreams product family eliminated the need for a central control or a central server. Control points were distributed throughout the building via 36 ClearOne NetStreams NS-TL430 4.3” In-wall LCD Touchpanels.
Braithwaite also adds that ClearOne’s NetStreams products provide advantages over matrix switchers, which are often deployed in similar installations. “Our products don’t require an integrator to pull additional out-of-band cabling,” he explains. “Typical matrix switchers may run over CAT5 or CAT6 but they are not IP-based. Most matrix switchers are analog and susceptible to interference and signal loss. The NetStreams products are all digital and consistantly deliver a clear and clean robust signal at every node, at every time.”