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Video Signage at Cowboys Stadium

Jun 14, 2012 10:18 AM, With Bennett Liles

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And one of the more intriguing parts of this that we touched on before is the control aspect of it. I can’t even imagine what the learning curve must be on just mastering the equipment. What’s the advantage of having the 64-bit VisionSoft operating system at the stadium?

You know, it’s interesting. You’re never going to please everyone and VisionSoft is a 3D representation of a stadium so when you’re actually running VisionSoft you can actually project onto 3D little objects the preview of what you’re actually running and this allows you as an operator to always keep your eyes on the ball so our system’s a little bit different than other peoples because we actually allow you to see what’s going on and you’re always can see your playlist even if they’re in the Z axis which would be in distance so they would be maybe tucked away in the background and with transparencies you will always see your work. When we designed this system what we realized is as we put in more and more boards the operator was not able to keep their eyes on all the displays and more importantly they needed to have a confidence monitor to know those displays were firing so in VisionSoft we are patent pending on certain technologies that we use to actually bring that confidence information back on to a 3D plane and so that way the operator would know that, yes his machine is firing, and that’s very helpful knowing that the board’s are lit up so when we designed VisionSoft we really tried to go in a very different direction and it’s been neat to watch it being adapted and see how many video boards people are running with it and also knowing that the system has grown because of the 64 bit memory usage and we’re able to truly run clips that other competitors truly just can’t run and we’re always constantly striving to improve the amount of resolution VisionSoft can run to. So all in all, the 3-dimensional interface, the concept of being able to see your preview and know that’s actually running on your other computers in the stadium and in addition to that all the statistics, the stats, all the inputs that VisionSoft can run our system is really just an incredibly expandable cool visualization tool for the operator to actually run a game and know what he’s running.

You’ve had the chance to install it and watch it work. Has that given you any ideas for future versions or system upgrades?

Well absolutely, one of the coolest parts of being in technology is that you are pushed by the market and by seeing what other people are doing, not just your competitors but in general the whole technology market place so for me I’m excited we are working on a brand new front ended interface so we’re going to be upgrading the 3D system to a newer form of visualization surface. I think that going forward we are going to see VisionSoft become more and more useful. We have a character generation module right now that’s coming out that is extremely powerful and we’re going to be adding video inputs, we’ve not rushed into the marketplace like, again, our competitors have in that way because we wanted to make our system open ended and then bring in video in an open ended way and we’re going to bring in video exactly the same way we’ve done the content on the fascia system keeping it really flexible and realizing we have no idea what the top end of video resolution will be in the future therefore we’ve got to from the design from the get-go thinking ten years ahead figure out what is the most open ended way to do this. So very, very exciting developments in the VisionSoft in fact, a little bit of self-promotion but next week I will be going to Italy to be honored by the International Stadium Business Awards and VisionSoft has been nominated as the top—in one of the top five finalists for product innovation. I don’t know if we’ve won yet, it would be nice to win but more importantly what an honor to be one of the finalists and I think for ANC it proves the point that we’re striving to be excellent.

Absolutely and it’s great when the experts in the field take notice of all the work you’ve done. Now with something that complex, how difficult is it to learn to operate the control of it all. Is there some kind of apprentice period for the operators?

You know not really, VisionSoft is designed to allow people to pick it up within two to four hours the basic VisionSoft. The complexity comes in when you start building and designing the complex scripts to do the complicated linkages between video boards and that’s done at the onset and then once you actually have your scripts built for VisionSoft which is where things go on all of your stat systems the system is really just a playlist building infrastructure where you build your playlist, you decide if they’re going to be in batches and batches allow you to group playlists together and then you have incredibly cool tools within the batches that allow you, for example, to interrupt what you’re watching and then come back to exactly where you went out of. So let’s say for example you’re doing advertising you go to a fan prompt, you come back from the fan prompt, the advertising starts exactly where you left off. Those are the kind of cool features that VisionSoft and its batch system has, I believe, excelled in providing our customers with additional perks and features. At the end of it VisionSoft is very flexible and moving forward VisionSoft, I believe, has one challenge which is how do we meet the ever shrinking pixel. What that means is as the pixel shrinks in size the resolution and demand of VisionSoft increases exponentially and that means we’ve got to be always thinking about the evolutionary step because when I started an indoor fascia system was around 22-23 mm. and then it went down to 16 and now we’re talking about 8 mil or 6 mil and then eventually we’re going to get down to what? 1 mil?

Tremendous just thinking of all the possibilities and what it’s all going to look like for the fans and the TV viewers.

I mean it should be literally, we’re going to get to a point where we’re going to be able to put up the sods on buildings and completely shift their design and it will look so photo-realistic that it might as well be the real thing and we are marching towards that and its software packages like VisionSoft in the forefront of figuring out how you make that stuff work.

Well, now we’ve got electronic architecture and electronic acoustics. It’s been a fantastic story to read about and I’m sure it was great being right there in the middle of it. Mark Stross from ANC Sports, thanks for being here to tell us about it.

Thank you very, very and this was a pleasure to actually be able to discuss one of the most exciting projects I have ever worked on and what is nice about it is it’s a legacy piece that I will be able to tell my children about and it took a team of people and a very dedicated team of people that I have worked with from Mitsubishi to Jerry Cifarelli who is our CEO and our founder who basically had the vision to bring together such a crack team to be able to take on such challenges and from my prospective VisionSoft has been a real dream to be able to work on and actually bring forward so thank you for the privilege of telling you about the Cowboys and what ANC did.

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