A Navori Labs QL Professional digital signage engine is driving fan engagement for sports and live events at the Bell Centre in Montreal. The system – recently expanded in time for the 2016-17 NHL season – powers dynamic video, animations, graphics and rich data to hundreds of displays around the venue. Fans of the Montreal Canadiens and other visitors now see a more widespread mix of appealing content in up to 4K resolution – entertainment, information and sponsored – the last of which provides Bell Centre with a measurable ROI for the signage network.
Bell Centre hosts the QL Professional solution itself onsite. Highly scalable, it has rapidly expanded to hundreds of media players, and 4K support. It feeds content – including targeted advertising from sponsors – across concourse displays, concession menu boards, videowalls for experiential signage, as well as a massive LCD display at the main venue entrance. The flexible QL multi-seat architecture allows multiple users to create, manage and schedule content both inside the venue and from remote offices.
“I wanted a digital signage solution that could live on our central network but remain operationally independent from the IT department,” said Pierre-Eric Belzile, vice president of information technologies and communications at Montreal Canadiens hockey club. “It needed to support multiple users with multiple different layers of access, support targeted playout by display, and leverage a variety of media players. Above all, it needed to be easy to learn, easy to install, and easy to use. The best solution by far was Navori, and we continue to find new ways to benefit from the flexibility of their software, including 4K support, data and even audio-only content.”
Bell Centre mixes a limited amount of 4K content into the network today, although expects to do so in a far greater capacity moving forward. Belzile points to Navori’s flexibility in content creation as a key enabler of this expansion, while noting that Navori QL Professional has no restrictions on resolutions and aspect ratio.
“Navori provides the canvas within its QL software to support virtually any resolution we want, which gives our content creators the ability to bring stunning visuals to life on any display,” said Belzile. “We are beholden only to the limitations of the display. In the near future, we expect to upgrade the LCD screens that comprise our videowall to support 4K and higher resolutions. We also have a very large outdoor display for event presentation at the main entrance, with the pixels to support very high resolutions. Navori can grow with us to support higher resolution content.”
Content can be synchronised across many screens for important messages, or targeted down to specific displays. The current architecture includes a mix of Windows and Android players, which users can switch between depending on the type of content being disseminated. The flexibility in player options – accentuated through Navori’s ‘player-agnostic’ philosophy – also helps Bell Centre manage its costs appropriately as its digital signage network expands.
During many events, Bell Centre employees walk the concourse with iPads to offer 50/50 raffles. The iPads are connected to a common Avaya network that hosts Navori and other IT and AV systems, including Matrox encoders and decoders that extend Navori content distribution over the network. As employees enter new information into the iPads, Navori QL automatically updates the raffle information, including winners, on various displays every 15 seconds.
On the audio side, Belzile worked directly with Navori to create a message-on-hold program. The Navori players feed audio related to event, security and other important visitor information to callers; as well as to standalone sound systems at the box office and around the concourse. This flexibility eliminated the need to purchase a separate audio playout system.
“Navori has reduced our overall costs over the years in many ways,” said Belzile. “It starts with a diverse array of media player options from Navori, Seneca Data and other vendors, all of which are managed centrally with a single Navori software solution. These range from very compact players with limited storage to support certain business operations; and very high-storage units for our more visually intensive playout requirements. The ability to customise QL to support advanced audio and data needs has also provided exceptional value – not to mention its reliability in scheduling and disseminating advertising content to accelerate our return on investment. They also provide exceptional support, both from their North American office in Montreal, as well as their Switzerland headquarters. They have been more than a supplier; they have been an excellent partner.”
Picture: Club de hockey Canadien inc.