Siemens’ “exiderdome”—and the “Wow Factor” Begin U.S. Tour in Chicago in July

May 4, 2008
The exiderdome’s show piece is the 1,500 sq-ft movie screen used for high-tech, HD video presentations.

First you have to get their attention. To do that, global automation giant Siemens has assembled a road show displaying 137,000 of its products in a portable building called the “exiderdome,” a two-story, 10,000 sq-ft venue built of 55 standard shipping containers that can be assembled and disassembled for transport to nine American cities via land and water.

Dubbed a “traveling automation technology expo and learning laboratory,” the exiderdome consists of eight separate product areas, conference rooms, an executive lounge and a central atrium that can be used for receptions, training sessions, multimedia presentations and black-tie events. Once assembled, the exiderdome is entirely self-contained, including heat, air condition, wireless Internet access, power generators and a kitchen with hot and cold running water. It also has what Matias Ernst, Siemens’ global project manager for the exiderdome calls, “an incredibly high ‘wow’ factor.”

The show piece of the facility is the multimedia screen located in the structure’s atrium. Three interior walls, approximately 100 linear feet, are made of three-sided columns, or prisms, that rotate to display the wall surface appropriate to each event. In just three seconds, the walls can become a 1,500 sq-ft movie screen for the dome’s signature HD presentation.

These three walls are made up of 150 prisms, each about eight inches wide and separated from the next prism by a one millimeter gap. For the prism system to work properly, the floor must be perfectly level. The building’s foundation has hundreds of adjustment points that can be raised or lowered to overcome unevenness in the ground beneath exiderdome.

The show is powered by seven HD projectors that can deliver project 625 megabytes—as much data as 25,000 written pages—per second. The audio visual setup weighs about 4 tons, and three of the exiderdome’s permanent staff of 17 are dedicated to running and maintaining it.

“We wanted to provide our customers with the best technology show available,” said Ernst. “The prism wall system was the only way we could achieve the high-definition presentation that we wanted.”

The exiderdome will offer visitors a range of training and learning events focused on the latest developments in security, energy and the environment, innovation, productivity and other business challenges. Each program has been designed by Siemens Energy & Automation to meet the specific needs of its customers. Siemens executives and outside experts, such as industry analysts, futurists and academics will lead the learning events.

“To reaffirm our commitment to our American customers, we are bringing productivity solutions for their businesses right to their doorstep,” said Thomas Varney, vice president of communications for Siemens Energy & Automation.

The U.S. tour will begin in Chicago, where it will be docked at Navy Pier on an ocean-going barge July 21-25. From there it will sail to its next three U.S. stops, plus three Canadian cities along the St. Lawrence Seaway. To reach its final five U.S. destinations, it will be transferred to a convoy of 55 tractor trailers.

After Chicago, the dome will go to Detroit (Aug. 8-15), Boston (Oct. 18-23), New York (Nov. 1-7), Charlotte, N.C. (Dec. 8-12), Orlando, Fla. (Feb. 2-6, 2009), Los Angeles (March 5-11, 2009), Denver, (April 6-10, 2009) and Houston, (May 4-8, 2009).

The exiderdome has been on tour elsewhere in the world since 2005, when it debuted in Shanghai. Since then it has appeared across Asia, Russia, Mexico and Canada. After the U.S., it will go to South America.