The sprawling new Kalahari Resort facility in Sandusky, Ohio is a stunning representation of deeply rich African culture, marrying authentic African art and artifacts with the excitement of a modern-day resort. In addition to a spa, restaurants and a roaring water park, the Kalahari Business Resort includes the new NIA Convention Center: a 95,000 square foot meeting and event space that is designed to provide a stimulating business environment capable of hosting more than 2,000 attendees at any given time.
The NIA Convention Center is steeped in the Kalahari African theme, but provides businesses with the most modern in audio-visual technology to facilitate meetings, presentations, social events and dinners. In total, the convention center comprises 21 rooms, each capable of supporting high-resolution video broadcast, multiple video inputs and reinforced sound. These rooms include the Grand ballroom, which can be zoned into eight separate rooms; a junior ballrooms that can be zoned into five separate rooms; four octagonal conference rooms designed to look like African huts; two pre-function rooms and, finally, two executive boardrooms.
Responsible for installing the convention center's audio and visual capabilities was Sensory Technologies of Indianapolis, IN. Sensory was brought on in early 2006 for the full design/build on this new facility, overseeing the design of the entire AV system as well as the engineering and programming for the system's audio and control functions.
"Our biggest challenge with the NIA Convention Center was providing advanced functionality with an intuitive front end, especially for the system's audio element," said Eric Brown, Design Engineer, Sensory Technologies. "The Kalahari theme is made even more prevalent by incorporating African music and themed sounds throughout the entire convention center. This need for complete audio distribution coupled with high-impact conferencing and presentation capabilities alongside video functionality on a dedicated LAN made it apparent early on that network-friendly components would be paramount."
The system provides installed sound for background music, as well as program audio and local voice reinforcement, throughout the entire convention center, including hallways, common areas and atriums, among other areas. For signal processing within the convention center, Sensory decided on the Biamp AudiaFLEX processor, utilizing a total of eight AudiaFLEX units, four of which are dedicated to the grand ballroom, two for the junior ballroom, and one AudiaFLEX in each of the executive boardrooms. In the four separate hut styled conference rooms, one Nexia CS is responsible for all of the processing.
Brown continued, "From general sound distribution to a very fine level of zoning and conferencing, this was an ideal installation for the Biamp AudiaFLEX. The AudiaFLEX makes this system virtually hands off and makes our job easy because we can provide the advanced functionality that Kalahari required and still make the front end of the system easy-to-control. Our biggest challenge is always balancing complexity with ease-of-use. With the Biamp processor, this challenge seems to be easier to overcome with each project we do."
The NIA Convention Center also features two executive boardrooms that can seat up to 20 participants but provide an intimate level of communication and conferencing. Both rooms feature Crown MB4e, low profile table microphones to accurately pick up audio during conference calls. Each room also features an impressive conference table with custom-made cable cubbies for laptop, network, and power connectors, and an ERK rack from Middle Atlantic Products to house components locally.
A Crestron® touchpanel controller communicating with a Crestron processor provides quick, easy control over each room's AV components that include DVD/VCR combo units, VHS tapes, CD playback and cable television inputs. With the Crestron's wireless functionality, meeting attendees can make changes from anywhere in the room and control the system using a custom GUI designed by Sensory that provides simple, readable command functions and emphasizes the NIA Convention Center theme.
"The Crestron controller and AudiaFLEX processing power makes control easy, and was easily configured with the building's LAN. In this case the convention center set up a virtual LAN specifically for the AV systems. We were able to set up control stations in the rackroom and provide technical staff with the ability to quickly make changes. It also gives us the ability to access the system at any time via VPN to troubleshoot as needed. It's all very useful and really quite simple. And with the way the network and systems are setup, the center has the ability to expand their capabilities as they see fit in the future."
In the ballrooms, attendees have the ability to make use of high-resolution video inputs for video projection through Panasonic PT-D5600, which are mounted stationary from the ceiling with Chief Manufacturing mounting hardware and projecting on Draper Senior Electrol and Access installed screens. All of the main system components are housed in Middle Atlantic Products WRK racks in a dedicated rackroom.
About Sensory Technologies
Sensory Technologies is a leading videoconference and audio-visual system solutions provider. With headquarters located in Indianapolis, IN and regional offices in Chicago, IL, Dayton, OH, Milwaukee, WI and Ft. Wayne, IN, Sensory Technologies delivers expert solutions to the Midwest as well as nationally.
Specializing in videoconference technology, audio-visual system integration and visual collaboration solutions increase our client's productivity and communication effectiveness, Sensory Technologies provides fully integrated solutions consisting of system design, equipment procurement, integration and on-site service support for projects in boardrooms, conference rooms, training centers, schools, universities, control centers, museums, hospitals and many other specialized venues.
For more information on Sensory Technologies, please visit www.sensorytechnologies.com or contact: Sensory Technologies, 6951 Corporate Circle, Indianapolis, IN, 46278; Tel: (317) 347-5252; Fax: (317) 347-5262.