What kinds of arsenal do you carry in your high-tech tool bag? If you asked Neil Cooper, senior project manager of Florida Sound Engineering Co., Inc., this question a few years ago, Global Caché products would never have been mentioned.
In fact, neither the company nor its offerings were even on this 10-year integrator’s radar back in the early 2000s.
At the time, Global Caché was an outfit he had never heard of much less dealt with.
Global Caché Integrates EverBank Field
It wasn’t until Florida Sound Engineering landed a particularly tricky and massive project that Cooper starting hearing about Global Caché—and the comments were glowing. And it wasn’t long after this initial introduction to the Global Caché lineup that its products became not only a mainstay in Cooper’s high-tech tool bag, but his go-to solution for many of his company’s high-caliber commercial jobs.
The aforementioned Global Caché-inspired project involved installing and configuring an extensive video distribution and control system in EverBank Field, home of the Jacksonville Jaguars. The stadium-wide system would comprise more than 230 video displays, including six massive LED boards, many of which were added to the stadium in 2014 as part of a $26.6 million-dollar renovation.
Delivering Affordable Control of Video
“They doubled the amount of displays inside the stadium from the original 100-or-so displays,” says Cooper.
Two of the existing displays that Florida Sound Engineering may soon work into the video distribution and control equation are two massive video boards. Located at each end zone, every display measures 352 feet wide and 60 feet tall, bestowing EverBank Field honors as the stadium with the world’s largest video boards.
These two end-zone displays are so massive, they each offer enough real estate for three side by side 16:9 video feeds plus a 44-foot space for a scoreboard. That’s more than 21,700 square feet of active display area.
Add this to the 200+ individual, mostly LG displays that would grace the popular Jacksonville, Fla., venue, including newly constructed cabana club-style decks on the 50-yard-line, and an interactive fan area complete with wading pools, and Florida Sound Engineering would need to design and install a video distribution system of mammoth proportions.
“The existing RF backbone had worked okay for distributing video to the 100-or-so TVs that had been used in the stadium prior to the 2014 update, but it simply wouldn’t be able to facilitate network and control of all the new TVs and the old serial TVs via IP,” says Cooper. “We kept the RF network intact for video distribution, but needed to find a way to enable easy control of the club displays over IP, and most importantly, keep the solution within budget.”
While the network is in place for every TV, the control system that Florida Sound Engineering set up currently handles the TVs only in the stadium clubs.
“The plan is to expand the system to control every TV in the stadium in the near future,” says Cooper.
Huge Cost Savings for Serious Reward
The obvious solution, Cooper says, would have been to outfit each display with its own IPTV receiver box. To the tune of $1,200 per receiver, though, this would have blown the budget in the blink of an eye. Looking for a more affordable alternative, he sought the advice of QSC, the vendor of the A/V control system chosen for the stadium.
“While discussing our dilemma with QSC, they suggested that we call Global Caché, which we did to discover that their iTach Ethernet to Serial with Power Over Ethernet (IP2SL-P) would fit the needs of this project perfectly,” Cooper says.
Not only that, but the small plug-in device, which is compatible with PC-based control software, iPhone/iPod/iPad control apps, and high-end control systems, would cost just $100 per TV to implement—an enormous cost savings—that would make Florida Sound Engineering come out looking like a hero.
Integrating QSC Control System with LG TVs
In this case, the IP2SL-P would receive and carry out commands from a QSC Q-SYS control system. “The Global Caché piece was our gateway,” Cooper says. “By having this handy tool, we were able to get IP commands from the Q-SYS system to individual TVs as well as select TVs that we group together by using the Q-SYS configuration software.”
The commands are initiated from QSC touchpanel interfaces custom designed by Florida Sound Engineering to provide a simple means of video access, selection and control by from various locations in the stadium.
In addition to being a huge cost saver, the Global Caché IP2SL-P added no extra labor time for the Florida Sound Engineering crew to install. “The API spec sheet provided by Global Caché really streamlined the installation process,” Cooper relates. “Our biggest challenge ended up being ensuring that we had all the correct codes for each TV.”
Global Caché Becomes a Go-To Solution
Based on Global Caché’s role in the success of the EverBank Field project, Florida Sound Engineering has made it a point to familiarize itself further with GC’s product portfolio.
“We followed up the EverBank job by ordering the relay version of the iTach for the control of an A/V system in a church,” Cooper says. “This and other Global Caché products will be an ongoing interface that we use on many of our projects going forward.”