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Associations Focus: InfoComm Technology Tours

Attendees go behind the scenes in Vegas.

Associations Focus:
InfoComm Technology Tours

May 1, 2005 12:00 PM

Attendees go behind the scenes in Vegas.

Packed with technology-powered shows, exhibits, buildings, and facilities, Las Vegas is an audiovisual wonderland. Harnessing the city’s spectacular techno-scape to create a unique additional attraction during InfoComm 2005, June 4-10 at the Las Vegas Convention Center, ICIA has announced a series of Technology Tours. Participants will explore AV, staging, and communication technologies in action at major, state-of-the-art Vegas facilities.

The tour sites include the Fashion Show Mall (also known as the Retail Tech Fashion Show), where the focus will be on the integration of audiovisual and LED digital signage into a dramatic architectural setting; the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, home of advanced Internet 2 and video-on-demand systems, as well as the International Gaming Institute; the brand new Wynn Las Vegas, a 2,800-room mega-resort offering an inside look at its cutting-edge acoustical environment; and Cirque du Soleil’s spectacular “O” Show, a rare behind-the-scenes peek into the sophisticated rigging, lighting, control, and automation systems that make the show possible.

“ICIA’s popular tours are an unbeatable way for attendees to energize their InfoComm learning experience by exploring AV and communications technologies in sophisticated settings, led by the experts in charge,” says ICIA Executive Director Randal A. Lemke. “The tours are a great way to see how what’s learned in classroom training can be used in real-world situations.”


The Fashion Show, packed with more than 140 shops and restaurants, is a mind-boggling retail and event venue. Widely known among professionals for its advanced integration of digital media technologies into a high-profile urban environment, Fashion Show immerses visitors in the energy and excitement of the fashion industry.

Tour members will have a unique opportunity to peer behind the wizardry as they visit Show Central, the Great Hall, and the Plaza. Show Central is Fashion Show’s principal monitoring and control facility, and is home base for its media production facilities and digital media head-end. In the Great Hall, tour takers will be able to inspect the show’s theatrical staging infrastructure, right up to its 60ft. ceiling. The stage, rising out of the ground, comes alive every hour for daily house shows and is also used for major industry events and product launches.

At the Plaza, near the front of the property on the Las Vegas Strip, tour members will encounter The Cloud, an architectural icon towering overhead that provides shade during the day and at night turns into a giant projection screen nearly 500 feet long and 128 feet in the air. Below The Cloud rest four giant LED video screens that can be choreographed with images, sounds, and lighting effects to attract visitors, display advertising, or stage multimedia spectaculars.

Tour participants will receive unique insights into the technologies that make the Fashion Show spectacle possible and into the highly collaborative design and development process needed to build the facility’s technology.


At the University of Nevada’s legendary Las Vegas campus, tour members will be treated to an inside look at the Lied Library Internet 2 Access Grid, an advanced on-demand video system, and the renowned International Gaming Institute. The Lied access grid consists of resources that education and research facilities around the world use for group-to-group interactions. The grid node at the Lied employs three digital projectors, four video cameras, and eight ceiling-mounted microphones with echo-canceling electronics, all controlled by a single computer.

The sophisticated on-demand video system, also in the Lied, distributes analog and digital media to viewing stations, preview rooms, PCs, classrooms, conference rooms, and branch libraries. It’s equipped to play back VHS tapes, DVDs, laserdiscs, CDs, audiocassettes, and selected cable channels, and to receive satellite downlinks.

The International Gaming Institute, in the Stan Fulton Building, encompasses a state-of-the-art casino laboratory; a computer lab and classroom; a gaming resource center and library; a conference center; executive conference rooms, including one for the Wells Fargo Foundation; the latest in distance education technology; and a one-of-a-kind casino surveillance lab where visitors will see how audiovisual and communications technologies are used to facilitate learning.


The Wynn Las Vegas tour, at entrepreneur Steve Wynn’s new $2.5 billion resort, promises an exclusive look at the newest addition to the Las Vegas Strip. The resort is expected to open less than two months before InfoComm. Tour takers will get a behind-the-scenes survey of key departments, including Entertainment and Production Services, Music and Page, Creative Services, the Showroom, and a planned water feature. At the end of the tour, the attendees will receive gift packages.


The most flamboyant stop on InfoComm’s tour schedule is likely to be backstage at Cirque du Soleil’s “O” Show at the Bellagio hotel and casino. For decades, audiences have marveled at Cirque du Soleil’s ability to seemingly harness the very elements. “O” takes this to a new level, using 1.5 million gallons of water to create an other-worldly environment which Cirque describes as “a theatrical encounter with the possibilities and symbols of water.”

In fact, Cirque has never so closely relied on the marriage of top technology and superb performances as in “O.” Computer-controlled lighting, audio, special effects, and automation keep Cirque’s artists in the air and audiences on the edges of their seats.

Topics covered along this unusual tour will include how automation is used throughout the show and its impact on the live performance, the challenge of lighting an enormous stage, the challenge of filling a space with high-quality audio, the special effects used to dazzle viewers, and the HVAC technology used to keep them comfortable.

The Fashion Show and University of Nevada Tours will be conducted June 8 at 2 p.m. and 1:30 p.m., respectively. The Wynn Las Vegas and Cirque du Soleil tours will be held June 9 at 9 a.m. and 10:30 a.m., respectively. All the tours last three hours, and include transportation to and from the Convention Center.

Advance registration for the Technology Tours is available at $100 per tour for ICIA members and non-members. For additional information, or to register, contact ICIA at 800-659-7469 or 703-273-7200, or check the Web site at

For more information about ICIA and InfoComm, visit

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