Get hands-on experience plus education in the classroom, and tie it all together with a trip through the visually stunning Interactive Learning Center at Viega’s new Colorado Seminar Center.
Viega opened its second seminar center earlier this year after the first location in New Hampshire has found great success since opening its doors in 2006. The Colorado location was a new build, alongside Viega’s new North American headquarters.
The seminar center features a variety of eye-catching components. There’s the gateway near the front entrance; a giant video screen runs up one wall, across the ceiling and down another wall. A variety of looped videos fill the screen, including Viega fittings waterfalling down the screen. And a large set of screens, also near the entrance, show all of Viega LLC’s current social media content.
Then, Viega’s showpiece, the ILC, occupies the center of the 23,000-square-foot building. There are four classrooms on one side and two hands-on workshop spaces on the other. The ILC is full of displays and interactive screens to show off Viega’s capabilities.
“We’re always looking for new ways to teach, new ways to enhance the educational experience,” said Jason McKinnon, Director of Technical Services. “The ILC is an interactive opportunity. Visitors can touch and feel and experience digitally some of the things we talk about in the classroom. Really, it’s a bridge between the classroom and the hands-on spaces. We talk about theory in the classroom, and the hands-on space allows guests to physically put things together. The ILC then shows a finished installation – how it should look and perform – and pulls everything together.”
McKinnon noted that the group from Viega involved in creating the new ILC in Broomfield took cues from its Nashua counterpart. “We looked at what was successful there, and then scaled it up because of the size of this new facility,” he said. “We were working with an existing space in New Hampshire, so the layout changed in Colorado because it was part of a new build.”
Each of the 20 vignettes in the ILC are tailored to a different topic. They have touch monitors, many of which present images or information but can also switch to clear mode so guests can see a real-life setup.
In clear mode, the screen becomes a window, where the viewer can see real Viega products behind it, along with digital graphic callouts that describe the benefits and features of the products. The monitors also allow the customer to further explore information about Viega products through the touch screen via product overview and detail menus.
Topics included in the different vignettes are process piping, water quality, compressed gas and air, a mechanical room, commercial plumbing, SmartLoop, in-wall flushing, shipbuilding and many others.
In the Smart Connect vignette, for example, contractors can see the technology working. Water passes through unpressed connections and then people can pick up a press tool and actually press a fitting to witness the water stop and see the Smart Connect innovation at work.
For the ManaBloc vignette, workers at Viega’s McPherson plant actually created a ManaBloc with clear resin. The display is lit up with LED lights so that visitors to the ILC can look inside the ManaBloc and see its assembly.
The vignettes in the ILC were created by award-winning trade show construction company Matrex. The company was able to incorporate everyone’s cutting-edge ideas to create a truly unique experience.
“They help us tell the story of Viega,” explained Marketing Coordinator Jim DeBroeck. “It’s not just a MegaPressG fitting: The fitting is attached to a gas meter that’s attached to a ‘house’ so you can see the entire scope of a product.” McKinnon said the fresh ideas and technology folded into the ILC are important for the industry.
“The industry we’re in, it’s not a flashy, high-tech industry. But this is flashy and high-tech,” he said. “We’re using new, cutting-edge technology, which helps us reach the younger people coming into the trades.”