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Harman provides integrated audio and comms for New York train terminal

The Stillwell Avenue Terminal in Coney Island has completed the installation of a Harman IDX audio and software-based communication system.

“I looked at the Stillwell renovation as a pilot opportunity to test technologies for creating a state-of-the-art facility,” said Robert Rivera, who has worked with Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA) New York City Transit for 17 years and is currently the PA/CIS project manager for the Electronic Maintenance Division.

Rivera added: “When I was challenged to identify an alternative to simply replacing the existing communications system, I wanted to do something that surpassed anything we’d ever done before. As the result of a lot of research and testing, the Stillwell Avenue Terminal has become a template for what a terminal’s communications system should look like in the future and how the various components should integrate with each other.”

At the heart of the solution is a partnership between Harman Professional, IED Audio (the legacy system) and digital signage company SolariCorp, each of which contributed to the development of a system that integrated loudspeaker hardware with communications software.

There were significant challenges to overcome including difficult acoustics as well the shear amount of data to convey about arrivals and departures, due to the terminal’s position as the starting point for four lines.

The audio system consists of more than 250 JBL Control 25 loudspeakers and for the mezzanines, chandelier formations were constructed consisting of six loudspeakers each. “These are great out-of-the-box solutions from JBL,” said Rivera. “We are looking to deploy the JBL Control 25’s at entrances to the BarclaysCenter stations as well.”

Harman’s IDX hardware-software solution was chosen to communicate train information. It combines audio components with the information delivery system to create a digital display of audio updates.

“As a proof of concept, this is a homerun,” said Rivera. “The Harman system allows us to interface to some old analogue carrier systems up and down the Stillwell lines, making it easy for us to talk to all the local control stations on all of those lines. No other system out there allows us to do that.”