SKLZ, which designs and manufactures training products for serious athletes at any level, has had a long-standing partnership with EXOS, which offers performance training, physical therapy, and nutrition support to professionals, amateurs, and youth athletes. So when SKLZ managers began planning for a new headquarters and warehouse, they invited EXOS to open a training facility in the same building.
In designing the AV systems for SKLZ and EXOS, simplicity and reliability were the most important considerations. Their users would have enough on their plates without worrying about how to make the AV work.
As you walk into the new SKLZ facility, you’re struck by its open architecture. Carved out of a large warehouse structure, the spaces have high ceilings, big windows and few walls.
For example, there’s a Sharp LED monitor behind the receptionist’s desk, and it can play welcome messages and company promotional and instructional videos – but as likely as not, it’s showing the biggest game or sporting event going on in the world that day. The same is true of a 9’ x 14.5’ projection setup in the visitor area.
The first floor also includes a photo studio that allows the company to shoot still images and videos of athletes using its products. Included in the studio is a projector and 12’ x 16’ screen, often tuned to the day’s big game but also available for the room’s secondary use as a meeting space.
The offices and work spaces are located on the second floor, together with a “Nourishment Area” and four conference rooms. The biggest of these, the “Skybox,” occupies the second story of a glass and steel open-topped structure, set on giant casters in the open visitors’ area. Its large, floor-to-ceiling windows provide a birds-eye view of what’s going on in the company and next door at the EXOS training facility.
A highlight of the Skybox is a 5’ x 9’ motorized dnp Supernova projection screen that drops down out of the ceiling on nearly invisible steel cables. “It looks like a large flat screen floating in the center of one of the windows,” says Steve Gordon, an account executive for CompView’s San Diego office. “The mechanism is hidden by an I-beam just below the roof, so all you see is the screen and its two-inch black borders. It’s a really great effect.” In addition, there’s a 3500-lumen projector mounted in the back of the room and four SoundTube RS500i pendent speakers hanging down over the table. It’s a very clean look and the projected images are superb.
The Supernova technology is unique in that it provides a gain of 2.0 but with a very wide viewing angle and good control of ambient light. “It was the obvious choice in this environment, given that there are no curtains on the Skybox windows,” Gordon explains. “Another benefit is that it offers a very high contrast ratio, and that allowed us to use a lower lumen projector for a more cost effective solution.”
The SoundTube speakers are also very helpful in this glass-walled, hard-surfaced environment. By using them to aim the sound directly at meeting participants, the CompView team was able to minimize reverb and maximize audio clarity.
The training facility
The EXOS side of the building houses leading performance training equipment among the array of SKLZ products. CompView installed background music systems based on Extron amplifiers and SoundTube speakers throughout the workout areas, plus Sony large-screen displays and sound systems in two conference rooms, including a large classroom used to teach EXOS’ training systems.
CompView also installed a unique monitor lift in the “coaches room” at EXOS for a cognitive assessment tool from Axon Sports. The system helps athletes develop cognative skills through “mental reps”, and it allows coaches to establish baselines for individual athletes that can later be used in testing for concussions. Advanced Mounting & Design (AMD) custom-made the lift to raise and lower a 65” Ideum touchscreen display over a two-foot range to accommodate the heights of various athletes.
Simplicity and reliability
“For example, we recommended AMX Inspired Signage XPress because it’s a really solid, straightforward product,” he explains. Inspired XPress gives SKLZ a simplified software interface that allows staff to quickly create messages or assemble SKLZ videos on a PC, then send them to players mounted behind the displays or next to the projectors. The players reside on the company’s IP network, so installation was simple and economical as well.
“AMX also offers software training and was able to send an instructor out to Carlsbad to train the SKLZ staff on-site,” Gordon says. “SKLZ had never used anything like this before, and there was a bit of a learning curve—but the training was excellent.”
“The AV systems are all plug and play, and very user friendly,” Misty Madrid, SKLZ Human Resources Director adds. “You just take your laptop into a conference room and you can show a presentation on the big screen, or show team members something you’re working on.”
Madrid explains that the construction process was lengthy, but the AV system design and installation went very well and “the AV systems have been working great.” In addition to day-to-day operations, SKLZ has hosted a number of other companies’ events and meetings, including board meetings. “They like the unique look of the facility and the projection and sound.”