Four years ago, Obscura completed work on the Chick-fil-A “Why We Love College Football” display, a 52’-long multi-touch interactive LCD wall for the College Football Hall of Fame in Atlanta, Georgia.
At the time, Terrance Beavers had recently joined the CFHOF as senior manager of content production. The simplicity of his title belies the impressive list of responsibilities on his plate, including exhibit installations and maintenance, graphics and video production, content creation and editing, and IT management. With the number of offerings at the Hall, that’s a lot of responsibility.
As this is one of our long-running permanent installations, and a complex multi-touch interface with a custom-built CMS underlying it, we thought we’d get in touch with Terrance to see how things were going. (As anybody who’s been around the block knows, the guy maintaining a highly-complex permanent installation is bound to, let’s put it delicately, not be a big fan of its developer. Because you know how it goes.)
Over the last four years, Terrance has been responsible for maintaining the wall, keeping it running, making sure the screens are aligned, lasers cleaned, the RFID synced, audio functioning, air conditioners blowing, software updated, and content fresh. “Your man Chris [Dadzitis, one of our Senior Systems Engineers] has come out a few times and worked with me, giving me tips and advice on how to keep it going smoothly … it’s been great.”
When football season starts, Terrance updates the wall’s content regularly. “I shoot games and download videos from conferences, and am constantly updating it. During the summer I go back and find content I didn’t have time to download before — whether it’s a new logo, highlight footage, anything.”
A bit trepidatiously (because let’s be real), I ask how well the user interface is working for him. “It’s great, it’s smooth, I don’t have too many issues. One thing I appreciate is how the CMS is integrated with the wall, so that when I upload stuff I can tag the content with year, date, what happened, who’s in it, reactions, whatever, and that’s invaluable because if I have to go back and find specific content, I can find it.” There are over 10,000 pieces of content on there, so that’s saying something.
He continued, “I have the opportunity to let people touch things like they can’t at museums … a lot of people need prompting, and then they dig deep in the content … and they’re in awe, their eyes light up … especially little kids. And the older folks can listen to the audio through their hearing aids using Bluetooth. Seeing the joy and pleasure on their faces, and the content lighting up their eyes, those are the moments the wall was built for. ”
As a proud UC Berkeley alum, I couldn’t resist indulging myself, and asked him if he has “The Play” on there. “Oh yeah, absolutely. It’s part of our ‘Greatest Moments.’ And that’s what I try to accomplish with the wall. The RFID technology lets you see content from your favorite institution, and I want you to see that play on the wall. I want to make sure things that are genuine and synonymous with the institution are represented.”