February 13, 2013 By D. Craig MacCormack
When you’re dealing with the self-proclaimed Cake Boss, you know you should take careful notes and not stray from the plan, even if the plan changes on the fly sometimes.
It’s a lesson Abiose and Chima Gale first learned when outfitting celebrity baker Buddy Valastro’s house with an Elan g! control system more than two years ago, and one that was driven home even harder when they decked Valastro’s new cake factory in Jersey City, N.J. with an amped-up Elan control system, iPod docks, and much more in 2011.
The Gale brothers, co-owners of 360 Media Innovations, installed another Elan g! system at the new Carlo’s Bakery retail location in Ridgewood, N.J., which opened Feb. 10, and will be followed by several more retail locations this year and next, including one in Westfield, N.J., set to open in a few months.
“We’ve been working with Buddy for two-and-a-half years at this point, so we just know what he expects and we delivered what we saw fit,” says Abiose Gale. “He’s definitely someone who likes to have things automated.”
Inside The Installation
Carlo’s Bakery Ridgewood has two main areas — the storefront that features a Cake Building Station where customers can watch the baking artisans decorate their cakes and a Party Room for hosting birthday parties and special events. Each area has its own audio zone and video zone, and the Party Room has HDMI presentation capabilities so guests can use their own media devices to display content on the two 47” LG TVs during their parties.
360 Media Innovations installed a total of six 47” LG LCD TV’s and 13 in-ceiling speakers throughout the store which play content from an iPort IW20 in-wall iPod dock, a Fusion media server, two Cablevision cable boxes and a BrightSign XD230 digital signage player. An ELAN HC6 is the brains of the control system, with an ELAN S86, SnapAV B300 4x4 matrix and Crown CDi 1000 amplifier providing distribution and power for the store’s speakers.
The store uses two WAPs to provide uniterrupted Wi-Fi, which is vital for consistent operation of the iPads as POSes.
One of the coolest features of the new system is it automatically activates on and off 30 minutes before the store opens and 30 minutes after it closes. The major challenge, perhaps the only one, was the fact that the head-end room was the size of a small closet, and Gale had to create two wall-mounted racks.
“When you’re doing a job in an existing structure, you’re stuck with what’s there,” he says.
Unlike when 360 Media Innovations was working at the Carlo’s factory, Valastro wasn’t on site much for this install. Because another company did most of the wiring, 360 was responsible only for the audio wiring. In total, it took them about five days to finish the job, including pre-wiring.
Keeping It Simple
The new ShopKeep app allowed Valastro to replace traditional POS systems with two iPads to the instant audio and video control. The Elan control system also is scalable, meaning Valastro can use it as new retail locations open and he can also add security and surveillance, even through his iPhone.
Employees can now take the cash register with them to take orders from anywhere in the store. A simple four-finger swipe takes them right to the ELAN g!Mobile app, where they can adjust settings for the store’s TVs and audio zones. That means they can take an order, swipe to the A/V controls and swipe back to take another order in under 15 seconds.
“There’s no learning curve and it can integrate everything from TVs to lighting to electronic door locks,” says Gale. “It’s a very easy-to-imitate setup. The only thing that will be different are the amount of speakers and TVs.”