PLASA 2012: Clear-Com HelixNet Partyline Intercom series on show11 September 2012
The industry’s first networked partyline intercom arrives at PLASA after successfully showcasing its capabilities at 31 sports venues during the London 2012 Olympics. With 50 HelixNet Main Stations and 550 HelixNet beltpacks across the venues, the live production teams were able to take advantage of the systems’ efficiency, cost-savings and flexibility from setup to operation and maintenance. Under the initial release of HelixNet Partyline, users can purchase the HMS-4X Main Station, HBP-2X HelixNet Beltpacks, an HLI-2W2 two-wire Interface Module and the HLI-4W2 four-wire Interface Module. They can then experience the first system to combine a revolutionary platform with the audio clarity of the digitised Clear-Com sound and the ruggedness to withstand all conditions. Also, as the central administration of the entire system can be performed from the Main Station with a single cable, including firmware upgrades and maintenance, HelixNet can work off one’s existing cable infrastructure. This ability to be run over cabling that is already in place enables easy deployment and expansion as needed, making HelixNet the ideal solution for the Summer Games. Many of the venues where the game events were held already had an established cable infrastructure, so integrating the HelixNet with these setups was simple. The committee in charge of selecting audio equipment had specified digital communication systems for the events. The HelixNet partyline system fit this bill perfectly, providing users with all the functionality of an analogue partyline within a digital environment. “HelixNet offers such users as the London Games the simplicity of running cable anywhere without worrying about each cable type or where it will run,” says Dan Muchmore, regional sales manager, UK, Ireland and Scandinavia, Clear-Com. “Essentially, they only have to run one long cable, along which all of the channels can be run. It doesn’t matter how or where the cable is run – users will have access to every channel. At the Beltpack end, users can choose what channel they want or need to run. Another advantage of HelixNet is that it can operate over inexpensive cabling, such as Cat5, keeping the cost of deployment low. The ease of setup and reduced costs made possible by the system were a few of the main reasons HelixNet was selected as the intercom system of choice for nearly all of the venues at the games.” Clear-Com was contracted for the games’ overlay functions, requiring it to provide communications for three separate groups. These included announcers and commentators along with the on-venue results (OVR) people—who were the primary HelixNet users—and the production people who manage the stadiums and events. As the HMS-4X HelixNet Main Station and interface modules feature a high channel density and user capacity, it was able to provide access to many people and areas at once. HelixNet’s sleek 1RU Main Station fits into any standard 19-inch rack, and can provide power and four channels of audio to support up to 20 digital beltpacks. Unlike standard analogue systems, the all-digital HelixNet system is immune to electro-magnetic interference and ground loops, so there is never any hum or buzz. The Main Station settings and menus are quickly accessible, flexible and offer intuitive user operations. The system’s firmware maintenance and upgrades can also be achieved easily via USB ports, and it offers greater connectivity with existing analogue intercom systems and audio devices.
Boasting a clear audio signal, the HBP-2X HelixNet Beltpack offers high channel density and selectable channels to save resources. The rugged, ergonomically designed unit is a two-channel beltpack that can access two of any four system channels, connect program audio and provide individual level control over just one single cable, while distributing networked audio over a twisted pair. These features decrease the required number of cables. The beltpacks are also simple to operate and read, with optimally positioned buttons and volume knobs that are easy to locate, identify and control.