General Electric System Solutions for Innovation
SOUTH AFRICA: General Electric (GE) recently opened the GE Africa Innovation Centre in Johannesburg. This marks the first ‘innovation centre’ opened by the American multinational conglomerate in Africa and the 10th worldwide. Located on the ground floor of the facility is an exhibition/experience centre peppered with interactive displays and other digital technologies designed to immerse and stimulate an audience. These interactive pieces of tech were installed and integrated by System Solutions’ Johannesburg branch.
The Gearhouse Group-owned systems integrator installed a combination of NEC and Samsung equipment, including an 84-inch touchscreen display from the former and a 110-inch 4K videowall with a multi-touch overlay from the latter. The installations of these two systems marked the first for both in South Africa. Additionally, several other content players and large format display screens ranging in size were deployed on the exhibition floor, as well as 12 small format interactive screens.
‘Apart from the installation of the large NEC full touchscreen, we had to very carefully install the four 55-inch screens in a two-by-two videowall configuration for full touchscreen capability,’ explained Prashna Parsoot, System Solutions’ project manager. ‘The huge 2430mm x 1372mm overlay we used for the interactive showcase was imported from the USA and specifically designed to cover the four 55-inch display. The touchscreen was laid out, assembled and wired into the correct position for testing. Once this was achieved the software was downloaded, installed and tested to ensure working order before actual installation. The screen was then installed in front of a piece of glass that was specifically cut to the correct dimensions for the touchscreen. Once this was all installed and tested, and under the watchful eye of our senior technician Charles Naidoo, the LED Screens were installed.’
The purpose of the Africa Innovation Centre is to focus on skills development, and showcase GE’s move towards a ‘digital industrial economy’. The displays showcase content created by Imagination, GE Global’s digital design consultancy.
System Solutions also installed a series of wall-mounted screens with NFC readers and an Oculus Rift VR headset at the venue’s virtual reality station. For the Innovation Centre’s Industrial Internet interactive display, a table-mounted touchscreen control was fitted and enables visitors to light up various parts of several 3D models.
‘The team, comprising myself, Charles and his technical team, Karen Blyth the operations manager and Jennifer Jeffrey the sales executive, have all worked together to install the job fully to the client’s specifications,’ concluded Ms Parsoot. ‘The variety of the installations required, and the levels of interactivity, meant we needed to apply our technical creativity throughout, and I think this shows. The ultimate goal of the centre is excellence and collaboration for GE, its customers and stakeholders across Africa. At System Solutions we’re happy to have been part of making that happen.’