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AVoIP: Hard iron to IP and remote management

Opened in 2004, the Tulalip Resort Casino (TRC) is the largest its kind in Washington state. Operated by the Tulalip Tribes of Washington it houses a 192,000-square-feet casino, seven restaurants, extensive meeting facilities, an amphitheatre, an impressive award-winning 12-story hotel with 370 rooms and suites, and a world-class spa.

Digital signage is prominent throughout the TRC, with monitors used in nearly every possible deployment from entertainment spaces to dining, to meeting rooms, even elevators and restrooms.


Content directs guests to events, display sports broadcasts and keep casino players informed of the latest promotions. The sports gaming area is also packed with monitors showing live games from across the country—both to let bettors keep an eye on their favorite teams, and also to impart energy into this section of the casino.

It’s a level of digital signage that is beyond what many hard-wired, switched matrix AV systems can easily handle.

To move AV signals over IP, approximately 60 KDS-EN6 4K60 4:2:0 HDCP 2.2 video encoders were installed inside TRC’s Networks Operation Center. These send signals to hundreds of Kramer KDS-DEC6 4K60 4:2:0 HDCP 2.2 decoders that are connected to monitors throughout the TRC.

This great increased the scalability, capacity, and flexibility of the TRC’s digital signage network, both in terms of the number of playout channels being supported at any one time and in terms of the groupings of monitors to which these signals can be sent.

The scalers built into the Kramer decoders allow for image rotation for screens mounted vertically or horizontally. Any changes in monitor resolution (as 4K monitors are added), or orientation, will not complicate the process for TRC’s IT staff. Everything signal-based can be deployed from the Network Operations Center.

1G and 10G

At Tulalip, AV pro Aaron Jackson has leveraged network through-put of 10 Gbps with a redundant 10-Gb LAG. This connects to the TRC’s Networks Operations Center on the hotel’s admin level, which is home to various audiovisual servers, the Kramer Control system, a powerful Scala digital signage management platform, and more than 60 Kramer KDS-EN6 4K60 4:2:0 HDCP 2.2 video encoders.

Though a 10 Gb backbone was chosen for this project, the Kramer encoders/decoders only require 1 Gb throughput, and are capable of supporting 4K60 4:2:0 (10.2 Gbps). This gives the Tulalip Resort Casino solid 4K signal delivery, ensuring that its digital signage system won’t become overloaded and obsolete tomorrow, and provides headroom for future expansion.

Cloud-based and Remote

Kramer’s SL-280, seen here at the Tulalip Resort Casino, is a master/space controller (Kramer Control brain) that can operate over Ethernet with control interfaces that include: eight bidirectional RS−232, eight IR, eight GPI/O, and eight relays.

TRC has been steadily feeding a growing network of monitors using a cloud-based Kramer Control system. Built with drag-and-drop functionality, remote-control capabilities, and built-in system analytics, Kramer Control has made life easy for Aaron Jackson, who leads AV technical and integration support for TRC.

“Set-up is straightforward with Kramer Control,” said Jackson, an AV pro with extensive programming experience. “That’s why we gravitated towards this system. Kramer has the ‘full-stack’ more than anyone else on the market, especially when it comes to the drivers being pre-written for Kramer Control. The TRC’s in-house IT staff also find Kramer Control simple to use. It’s easy to scale up when needed.”

Further, with Kramer Control and Kramer Network – a software-based AV over IP enterprise management solution – IT teams are provided with device monitoring and management, including flexible AV signal distribution, room automation and video wall management. All functions can be performed remotely using a secure, password protected web portal 24/7.

Though Jackson runs the AV system, he lives and works eight miles away from the property in scenic Washington state. Using a password-protected web portal, he can sign into the system at any time and make whatever configuration changes the client wants.

“I like the Admin Room View feature, because it lets you get remote access to every device in the room.” -Aaron Jackson

“Aaron can sign on and monitor what’s happening on the TRC’s digital signage network using Kramer Control,” said Kopin. “He can also change signal distribution configurations and troubleshoot any issues using Kramer Network, our cloud-based management tool that lets you manage AV like it’s IT.”

Kramer Network supports functions such as device monitoring and management, flexible AV signal distribution, room automation, video wall management, and ‘views’ of each room’s AV set-up using Kramer Network’s Admin Room View feature.

“I like the Admin Room View feature, because it lets you get remote access to every device in the room,” said Jackson. “The TRC’s in-house IT people like it as well, because we both can use Admin Room View to drill down into a given space and answer questions such as, ‘which decoder is it using? Which options does it offer us to configure it?”

Moving to an AV over IP signal delivery system has given the Tulalip Resort Casino the headroom it needs to add extra monitors, expand its range of playout channels, and migrate to 4K content when the time seems right. The strategy adds value now and in the long term.

This is a level of flexibility that just wasn’t possible with the TRC’s former hard-wired/matrix-based AV distribution system.




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