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United Therapeutics

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Clarity Matrix Biowall is Centerpiece of Public Space

United Therapeutics Corporation is a biotechnology company focused on the development and commercialization of unique products to address the unmet medical needs of patients with chronic and life-threatening conditions. In 2010, the company received approval from Montgomery County Parks and Planning Commission to expand its campus, a decision United Therapeutics met with a commitment to include a gathering spot on the grounds that the public could freely access and enjoy for the purposes of relaxation, reflection and enlightenment.

Depicting the beauty of the world in stunning imagery

In keeping with its focus on innovation and its support for sustainability, United Therapeutics designed the space as a courtyard facing a 144 square-foot video wall housed within one of the campus buildings. Located behind a massive glass window, the Clarity™ Matrix LCD Video Wall, from Planar Systems, is one of the most technically-advanced of its type. It is an electronic canvas, which United Therapeutics calls The BioWall. It depicts the beauty of the world, showcasing an ever-changing selection of nature, science and art videos collected from all over the world. It has been operating 24 hours a day, year round since it was launched on Earth Day 2012.

"The BioWall is our gift to the community. Planar's technology allows it to be a great piece of moving art that beautifully shows our world in all its forms and in a manner that is calming, serene, even inspirational. It is viewed by individuals and groups of all sizes, and we are very pleased to be able to provide it," says Avi Halpert, Vice President of Corporate Real Estate for United Therapeutics.

Accommodating demanding installation and architectural requirements

United Therapeutics initially researched various video wall technologies and found none that satisfied the unique requirements of the BioWall. They turned to their audio-visual partner, Avitecture, Inc. (Sterling, Virginia), who recommended the Clarity Matrix MX55 for the project and subsequently installed the four-wide-by-four-high BioWall array. Avitecture's Bill Apter (Senior Consultant-Special Projects) says "Clarity Matrix was right for the project primarily because it would accommodate the constrained space available for the wall and could meet the stringent weight limits that were imposed by the method by which the video wall needed to be mounted. No other video wall on the market was designed with these essential characteristics.

The BioWall is suspended directly behind the building's exterior glass wall and in front of a busy, narrow interior corridor. Its shallow depth was a critical factor as the corridor could not be impeded by the BioWall support structure. The lightweight panels made it possible to mount the entire video wall on a custom-built frame that is suspended from two tracks attached to the ceiling. This design eliminated the need for any floor structure, keeping the public corridor free from any obstruction. The entire 16' x 9' Matrix video wall slides back and forth on a trolley to allow service access. Apter said that the Clarity Matrix's sub-four-inch total mounted depth and 59-pound panel weight were critical to the successful design. Both factors reflect a unique engineering feature of Clarity Matrix: an off-board electronics design that allows the Matrix controllers and power supplies to be located away from the video wall, in the basement rack room below the BioWall.

"The excellent design of Planar's EasyAxis™ Mounting System allowed our technicians to access the video wall wiring from the front of the wall during installation and to properly align the 16 panels. Another key benefit of the off-board electronics is that it removed heat-generating components from the video wall that could cause failures and would also require additional cooling in the public corridor." The end result is a dramatic public art display. The Clarity Matrix's edge-to-edge glass panels with 5.5 mm tiled bezel width provide a near seamless image when viewed from the beautiful plaza that United Therapeutics has created to showcase the BioWall.

The BioWall depicts content – some of which approaches cinematic quality – provided by professional and amateur videographers from around the world. The constant input of content is managed by Randy Scope, Director of Content Procurement for United Therapeutics. "Since we are trying to use the most interesting, dramatic and high quality video, the video wall has to depict it in optimal fashion. With Clarity Matrix, the picture is bright, crisp and perfectly color saturated and balanced, and even when viewed close-up, there is no pixilation whatsoever. Many people have told us it's amazing."

Incorporating unique and critical engineering features

A number of engineering features come together to make this image quality possible. Notable among these are Clarity Matrix's full HD resolution, 800-nit brightness, 3500:1 contrast ratio, and backlight control. But a display is only as good as it is reliable. Planar ensures this reliability by providing a commercial-grade direct view LCD panel, a 50,000-hour backlight life, and a number of built-in diagnostics, monitoring and alert capabilities. "The most important aspect of the Clarity Matrix BioWall is that the public sees what it believes is a single pane of gorgeous imagery and they can enjoy it 24 hours a day, year-round. For United Therapeutics, the added benefit is that the video wall is incredibly dependable and delivers the performance and cost of ownership that we wanted for this project," Halpert adds.