Visitors to our New Albany, Indiana-based headquarters are usually impressed with our spacious, open-air, two-story lobby, our 6,000-gallon aquarium, and the newly renovated, state-of-the-art “The Nook.” The Nook is a wall-sized, digital product showroom, with high-definition, breathtaking graphics that tell the Samtec story to our guests.
In The Nook, a visitor can learn about our global operations and integration, customers and markets served, Sudden Service®, Silicon-to-Silicon capabilities, and product solutions. They learn about this while they’re being blown away by the big, bold, eye-popping graphics and animations.
The nook has been around since 2017, the year we completed a major renovation of the lobby in our New Albany, Indiana (USA) headquarters. The original nook was on its last leg: the hardware was aging, the system suffered from overheating, and the legacy software made it difficult to upgrade. And besides the hardware and software obsolescence, it had simply lost its edge. In other words, it was nice, but the graphics and interface didn’t grab you. It was cool, but it wasn’t “WOW!”
The goals in updating the nook were to improve hardware and reliability, leverage new software, streamline content, update the story, and move to a system that could accommodate group tours. To that last point, the original nook was designed for a one-to-one experience. The wall was a huge touchscreen, which was better suited for one on one discussions, or with small groups.
The new system has a touchscreen kiosk at the back of the room. Visitors stand in front of the kiosk, looking forward at the wall of monitors. Working from the kiosk, the tour guide navigates through his presentation, covering the material that is best suited for that audience. For example, the guide can give a general overview of Samtec and the electronics industry if the group is from a local school. If the guests are a customer, the guide can show animated cut-away views of Samtec products and technologies that may be of interest.
Successfully launching such an aggressive initiative requires a large team of talented individuals, from both within and outside of Samtec. Skillsets required for this project included project planning, design, UX and UI (user experience and user interface) design, graphics design, hardware research and testing, 3D modeling and animation, and C# programming. Departments involved in the development include IT, Help Desk, Facilities Systems, Operations, Engineering, and Marketing. Outside of Samtec, we partnered with Thuxland (an LED screen expert and consultant) and Uber Displays (an LED vendor who handled the installation). Project leaders for Samtec were Martin Reimer and Davis Dillard.
The curved-screen wall is 24’7″ wide x 8’2” tall (7.5 m x 2.4 m), and the screen resolution is 3,960 x 1,320 (4K). The wall consists of 75 Black LED panels; each panel contains an array of 128 x 128 LED pixels. Doing the math, that’s 1,228,800 LED pixels on the wall. The computer powering it all sports an NVIDIA RTX 3900 graphics card.
The programs have been repurposed and the nook is now used at Samtec tradeshows worldwide. In Q1 2023 you’ll see it at DesignCon in Santa Clara, Embedded World in Nurnberg, and OFC in San Diego.
The new Nook is a natural extension of the 2017 lobby renovation. The lobby was reimagined into a spacious, modern, two-story welcome center that reflects the innovative, leading-edge technology company that Samtec has become. Wood and stone décor, with floor-to-ceiling windows, welcome guests with abundant light, charm, and warmth. The next stop on their tour is the nook, a visual tour-de-force that stunningly showcases the technologies, innovations, and corporate DNA that led us here.