London, ON, Canada - August 2018… Nestled between Lakes Huron, Erie, and Ontario, just north of the U.S. border, London, Ontario, is home to a wealth of music festivals, art exhibits, and other attractions, including The Factory, Canada’s newest and largest indoor adventure park. Built in a former Kellogg cereal factory, the 170,000-square-foot complex features the highest indoor rope course in North America, a large “warrior course,” an arcade, a Kid Zone, virtual reality games, escape rooms, a restaurant, and a 28,000-square-foot “Hero Room,” which hosts the trampoline park—all served by an AV network employing Visionary Solutions PacketAV-series network encoders and decoders.
Designing and installing audio and video systems for the massive concrete building presented an array of challenges for Austin Speidel, Electronics Design Engineer for Superior Trampoline Manufacturing (STM). STM provides turnkey solutions for trampoline parks, including advanced trampolines of their own design, trampoline-integrated games, interactive lighting, and related equipment and supplies. Speidel is a one-man electronics division, designing and installing customized AV systems for trampoline parks and developing specialized technology, such as an RFID wristband system.
“We are trampoline park owners, so we know what park owners need in an AV system,” Speidel asserts. “Trampoline park owners see our products at our showcase trampoline park in Lincoln, Nebraska, and several were impressed with the AV system I designed and installed there and asked us to provide AV for their trampoline parks. So now we offer that. I use Symetrix DSPs, and Cadon Technical Sales, our Symetrix rep, introduced me to Visionary Solutions because of the integration between Symetrix DSPs and Visionary Solutions encoders and decoders. The Factory install was the first time we’ve used Visionary Solutions, and it was the right choice.”
Speidel’s video-over-IP network runs over dual fiber lines and encompasses the entire facility. Four cable boxes feed a choice of TV programming into the network via Visionary Solutions PacketAV Duet encoders, which offer both video and Dante audio encoding. “The Factory also has 10 places where we installed Duets so they can do corporate presentations and the like,” reports Speidel. “They can roll a mobile podium into the restaurant with a Duet, and since Visionary Solutions encoders and decoders use PoE, the client just connects one audio and one video network cable and plugs the laptop into the Duet, and audio and video are on the network. It provides a huge amount of flexibility.”
At least 20 TVs serve the complex. “There are four TVs on the concourse and eight in the restaurant,” Speidel details. “The restaurant also has two 5500 lumen projectors. Most of these have Visionary Solutions D4100 decoders, powered over Ethernet. In each staff room, we have two TVs, one of which gets video from a D4100 decoder. Visionary Solutions Duet decoders have analog audio output so we use a Duet to feed video to the other TV and send network audio to a Stewart amp that drives a couple of ceiling speakers. Being able to do that was pretty neat.”
The Factory’s 300 x 100 foot main room has 100-foot-high ceilings and features High Ropes ziplines that soar 60 feet above the trampoline park. The trampolines are equipped with sensors and interactive lights for interactive games.
A Symetrix Prism 8x8 DSP in the main AV rack manages the network. Three background music players and a couple of mics connect to the Prism’s analog inputs. The Dante audio network feeds PreSonus AIR powered loudspeakers in the big main room via a Symetrix xIO 4x4 I/O expander. Community pendant speakers, driven by Ashly power amps, serve a 1,000-foot-long by 50-foot-wide concrete hallway. The restaurant has its own network switch and Symetrix xOUT 12 audio output expander, in addition to the Visionary Systems Duet encoder and D4100 decoders.
“Our decision to use video over IP was based on integration between Visionary Solutions and Symetrix products,” declares Speidel. “I used Symetrix Composer to control network discovery, video routing, and configuration and switching. I used Symetrix SymVue to design custom software control panels for The Factory’s operations with integrated control of Dante audio, Visionary Solutions video, and cable. Having one control interface for video and audio was huge. The client uses the control panel on a tablet that they can carry around to control a mic in the lobby or video in the restaurant. They can switch from a logo screen to a presentation input easily with Visionary Solutions products.”
Visionary Solutions/Symetrix integration enabled Speidel to provide another useful feature. “The TVs and the projectors time out and shut off when they get no signal,” he explains, “so at the end of the day, you use an Off button in the Symetrix control panel to cut video to all TVs and projectors on the Visionary Solutions network. Eventually they’ll all shut off.”
The Factory opened in June 2018, and the video system contributed to an excellent launch. “This was an important project for us,” offers Speidel. “Visionary Solutions encoders and decoders enabled us to provide a large-scale, integrated networked video solution with features and quality that met or exceeded our expectations and those of our client.” “We've been very happy with Visionary Solutions,” confirms The Factory IT Manager Sean Bryant. “Having one control interface for audio and video, thanks to the integration between Symetrix and Visionary Solutions, is much better for the staff and makes my job easier, too. The Visionary Solutions system has worked well over large distances and provides great picture quality.”