When the folks at GE’s premiere Global Research Center wanted to show off their latest “Trains with Brains” technology to the world, they partnered with the Creative Advantage team to design and create an extraordinary visitor experience to educate and entertain.
Trip Optimizer (TO) is a sophisticated system of software, sensors and advanced controls that greatly increases the fuel efficiency of freight trains, saving billions of dollars and tons of emissions each year. It will have a huge impact on the rail industry and the proud GE scientists behind TO wanted to showcase their innovative technology in the best light possible.It started with a complete makeover of the Transportation Innovation Lab and Visitor’s Demonstration Center. Everything from custom floating wall graphics and new flooring to oversized banner stands and a new façade, all designed with maximum visual appeal and impact in mind.
When a visitor enters the space, they’re faced with two 75” touchscreen monitors mounted side by side. At the center of it all is an interactive kiosk that can feed visuals and animations to the audience in support of a live presentation by a GE expert explaining Trip Optimizer and its benefits. It can also function independently, presenting a series of short topical overview videos while cycling in auto mode. There’s even a locomotive simulator where visitors can “drive” a train and compare their performance to the “perfect trip” of Trip Optimizer. As they adjust power in anticipation of the terrain that lies ahead, real-time data is fed into the kiosk and used to control an animated profile of the train as it’s rolling down the tracks. The animation is complete with the sound of clackity wheels, clanging couplers and data visualizations to help explain the forces that are applied to the train as it travels up and down hills.
The whole project involved a wide variety of skillsets spanning the spectrum of technical and creative services. Everyone from creative and video directors to copywriters, UX designers, animators, video editors, system integration engineers, developers and database architects – all working together to make sure we got it right. We even coordinated with the electricians, carpenters and floor installers who were helping transform the physical space.
In the end, it’s all about elevating the experience and the brand, sharing the promise of technologies like Trip Optimizer with GE customers, business leaders, media representatives, students, railroad stakeholders and other visitors for years to come.