Getting In Early Streamlines Design
The ground-up project meant that The Werd Company was entrenched in the earliest conceptual design phases, working closely with Lake Flato, the architectural firm; and Manito Construction, the prime contractor. Early work included plotting and submitting a low-voltage plan that encompassed all low-voltage wiring needs and locations, wallplates, and placement of loudspeakers, displays and supporting AV components. This technical detailing was led by partner and CEO of Werd, Ali Ramzanali.
“Being the low-voltage management partner meant that we were heavily involved in the IT network design, and facilitating all components of the underlying Layer 1 infrastructure,” said Ramzanali. “We worked closely with the other trades across security, shopper tracking, structured cable planning with CPS, and YETI’s own IT department for Wi-Fi and point of sales systems, to formulate the logistics of implementation.”
As is increasingly standard, AV and IT systems were co-located in the same space. Dunavan and his team consolidated core AV systems, including the Prism DSP and remote management PC, into a standalone MSTR RACK ER42 – a 42-inch enclosed rack with active cooling and horizontal lacing bars for wire management. CAT6 patch panels distribute discrete, segregated network connectivity to Ubiquiti’s UniFi system driven by their USG-Pro4 gateway, and US-24-500W 24-port switches that securely connect the AV network to YETI’s IT infrastructure.
The remaining rack infrastructure includes a Luxul AV Series AMS-1816 managed switch for managing video transmission, as well as three Dante-enabled Crown Audio DCi amplifiers for multi-zone audio.
“The Luxul switch was configured specifically for the video matrix wall,” said Ramzanali. “The 18-port switch configuration provides us with extreme flexibility to send modular content formats to the LG 55-inch displays. The Crowns amplify the audio signals from the video wall sources over Dante to 70-volt JBL Control series speakers for daily delivery of background and foreground music.”
Atlona’s Velocity VGW-HW IP-based control processor is the final rack component, and arguably the most important as it touches nearly every component in the system – a mix of HDBaseT switching and IP routing equipment that manages 4K or HD content for the video wall.
The video wall architecture includes a JunoX 451 HDBaseT switcher, which is used to switch between four video sources. Once selected, the signal moves into an AV over IP system powered through the Luxul switch. That switch feeds nine AV over IP receivers, each of which is dedicated to one display in the 3×3 video wall.
The video wall can translate a single 12-foot wide, seven-foot high image over all nine displays, or separate images for different displays. An Atlona single-gang, dual-HDMI wallplate (AT-HDVS-210H-TX-WP) provides auxiliary inputs for the same wall, allowing staff to present content from standalone devices.
“The JunoX and HDVS are HDBaseT switchers that integrate seamlessly with the Velocity IP gateway,” said Ramzanali. “The JunoX can switch between the YETI Presents playlist input, a DirecTV live television signal, and two auxiliary inputs from the HDVS wallplate. Using Velocity control, we can direct which input goes to which display by simply pressing the button.”
The YETI Presents content was the “primary driver” for creating the video wall, according to Dunavan. The playlists are composed entirely of YETI-produced content created to promote the brand, including short films, documentary mini-series, and short promotional pieces that include product overviews. The Werd Company works closely with the marketing team and other departments to manage content scheduling and distribution once production is completed.
“Most of the YETI Presents content that lives on this wall exists in rotating playlists that are scheduled in loops,” said Dunavan. “They give us the content and we ensure that it is properly formatted before building the playlists and schedules. We maintain the digital infrastructure throughout, although they can manually override our schedules if they are staging an event, or want to switch over to DirecTV for the Chicago Bears game. This is all part of The Werd Company’s continued support services, which have proven especially popular in retail environments.”
The Werd Company also maintains the digital signage content and infrastructure, which includes three 43-inch LG screens mounted in portrait mode. These screens represent the ambassador wall; a set of carefully calibrated, picturesque displays featuring YETI’s brand ambassadors in their respective elements. A Raspberry 3 Model B+ single board computer supports digital signage content playback.
Unlike the video matrix wall, local staff cannot override content on the ambassador screens. “More than the video wall, these screens represent the spirit and nature of the YETI brand,” said Dunavan. “The ambassadors will move every few minutes and occasionally look at the camera before resuming as a still image. The dynamics capture shopper attention, so it’s important to maintain those visuals. Therefore, everything is scheduled, monitored, and executed remotely for YETI through our subscription model.”