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Audio-over-IP for an Entertainment Venue, Part 2

Apr 14, 2010 11:57 AM, By Bennett Liles

Deploying an automated audioplayback network at Nickelodeon Universe.

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Editor's note: For your convenience, this transcription of the podcast includes timestamps. If you are listening to the podcast and reading its accompanying transcription, you can use the timestamps to jump to any part of the audio podcast by simply dragging the slider on the podcast to the time indicated in the transcription.

DataNab install Barix system at Nickelodeon Universe

DataNab designed but did not install the Barix audio network system for Nickelodeon Universe. Instead, the theme park used its electrical contractors for the installation. DataNab had to be sure to provide detailed setup and installation instruction since these contractors had limited experience with the system.

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Audio-over-IP for an Entertainment Venue, Part 1
DataNab installed a whole new Barix audio entertainment network for Nickelodeon Universe...

SVC: Adam VanOort, in part one, we were talking about the Nickelodeon Universe theme park and the Barix audio network that DataNab set up there. Exactly how do you go about setting up the hardware, the Instreamers, the Exstreamers, their Annuncicom. Is there a software procedure that you go through on those?
VanOort: Yeah, they are all web-based products, and they are all based on the same chipset. So if you figure out how to set up one, you will have no problem setting up the others, but basically, all it takes is a computer that is networked to the device and a web browser. Once you find out the IP address of the device or a sign-in IP address to the device, you can log in with your web browser by just typing that IP in the address bar, and then once you have done that, a prebuilt configuration page will show up just like any other web page and allow you to make all the configuration settings and definitions that you need. The IP address can sometimes be a little bit difficult to know under certain circumstances, so what Barix has done is put a nice little feature in there that they call "Sonic IP," and this would be used if you plug a device into a network that has a DHCP server on it, which is going to automatically assign an address. If you're the network administrator, of course, you can find out what address has been assigned to the device and so on, but if you're just a random tech from outside the building or a user inside the building that doesn't have that access and you plug the device in, there wouldn't really be a good way to find out the IP address without the Sonic IP feature. What this feature does is when you plug it in, if you plug your headphones into the device, it will actually audibly tell you in a voice with a German accent what the IP address is. So it will tell you "192.168" or whatever it is and then you can just write that down and get into it using that method. [timestamp: 2:39]

I understand that they use some satellite music feeds. How do they connect to the satellite music feeds?
In the instance, where you're sending a feed up, basically once [the Instreamers are] on the network, it doesn't matter what path they are taking, whether it's over DSL or cable modem or T1 or a satellite feed. If it has the network attached to it, it can be programmed to send the feed to any IP address in any port on the Internet. So whether it's an internal IP address or one over the Internet that gets routed through a satellite, it's kind of transparent to the Instreamer. It's just another network to it so you just tell it where to send the feed and it can send it. In addition, the Instreamer can also be a server, so if you have got devices out in the field that want to go poll audio feed from the Instreamer, they just need to know how to access the Instreamer over the network. Again, it doesn't matter what kind of network it is as long as it's a IP network and it's routed properly, you can get to the Instreamer whether it's through satellite or standard cable, DSL, T1, whatever. You just need to know where that IP address is, and then it will go poll the feed from the Instreamer and in that case the Instreamer acts as a server. [timestamp: 3:48]

How is this stuff protected?
Yeah, their park is inside, and they actually have at least a virtual dedicated network for all of these audio devices in the park, so they are all set within the same subnet. They all can talk directly to each other without going over any external networks or the Internet or anything like that, but at the same time, for the background music and ads and things like that, the Exstreamer 100s can actually be used as well. In that case, they can poll, whether it's satellite radio or just Internet radio or whatever, they can poll those feeds down from the Internet and then play them out through an Instreamer to the rest of the Exstreamers in the park for the background music or advertisements if they wanted to post those from a remote location. [timestamp: 4:40]

How do they provide power to these things? Did you have to provide power, or did they already have that in place?
They all come with just your standard little wall wart power supply, and they are all mounted or installed within communication closets that are located around the park. And obviously each of those closets, in addition to the network, you have power available there for other switches and routers and other devices as well so that wasn't a big issue. They just used them out of the box and plugged them right in. [timestamp: 5:07]

They've got the same power back up feature as the network stuff?
Yeah, the devices themselves don't come with a UPS or anything built-in; however, we've had a number of customers use off-the-shelf UPSs to power these things, and they will actually go for a long time because they're very low-power devices—anything from probably 4W to 8W maximum. We've even had customers in remote locations, like out in the desert or where there is only satellite access, use solar power to them because they are such low-power devices and that is one of the nice features about them. [timestamp: 5:41]

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