Built alongside the existing Scottish Exhibition and Conference Centre (SECC) and Clyde Auditorium, the SSE Hydro is a music and live events venue designed by Foster + Partners.
The venue is helping attract some of the world’s leading performers, events and shows to Scotland.
Completed in September 2013, the SSE Hydro was purpose-built to provide audiences with the best possible live experience, whilst creating the opportunity for the SECC to generate extra revenue through advertising, corporate sponsorship and strategic partnerships.
The SECC team investigated options for a complete digital signage and IPTV solution, with a focus on allowing them to leverage existing investment in the IP network backbone that had already been implemented.
“We looked at several options for our arena, with the Sony and Tripleplay solution proving both the most cost effective and the closest match in terms of our technical requirements,” comments Tony Edwards, technical manager for the SECC.
Around 145 Sony screens were installed displaying Tripleplay digital signage and IPTV via an Amino set-top-box. Every screen is capable of displaying both digital signage and IPTV, whilst central control through a web browser enables management to have access to every individual TV.
Tony adds: “We needed central control, we needed to be able to both zone content and send a specific message to a specific screen at the minute we needed it. Tripleplay’s management interface has proven very simple to master, allowing us to achieve what we needed very quickly, learning how to operate in a short space of time.”
An important element of the implementation was to provide advertising utilising 64 screens along the venue’s concourse. Owing to SSE Hydro’s unique circular design, it is impossible to escape the digital signage screens and, thus, the corporate messaging is always visible.
“Everywhere you look there are TV screens. With capacity for 13,000 visitors in the arena, we really have opened up a fantastic brand opportunity for our corporate sponsors, but also, owing to the simple, central control we can ensure the messaging is right for our customers too,” says Scott McIntyre, visitor information manager.
“We can create pre and post show playlists, helping to maximise the revenue opportunities for our in-house vendors during an event, also keeping our customers informed of other events that we have upcoming. Having the ability to schedule and change playlists instantly has been a great bonus for us, the platform has enabled us to do exactly what we wanted.”
The system’s low impact on bandwidth has also been a hit with the client.
Tony says: “There were obviously some concerns from our network team that by running television and signage services across the network we would encounter problems. However, the system has proven to be very IP efficient and the IT department have had no qualms in commenting how little impact the solution has had.”
The Tripleplay solution also provides live TV for corporate boxes, restaurants, bars and dressing rooms, whilst it can also be used to provide a live camera feed from the auditorium to screens anywhere on site.
Additionally, the Tripleplay solution is used to provide digital signage content to four ‘totem’ style displays outside of the venue.
“The possibilities this solution has offered are great, we feel we have barely touched the surface of what it can do and so believe our investment is a sound one, future proof too. Some of the world’s biggest stars have appeared at the venue; Beyonce, Justin Timberlake and Rod Stewart, for example, we feel we have put together a venue fit for those artists and their audiences,” adds Scott.
The Tripleplay solution also features integration into event engines and alarm systems, enabling TV screens to be used in an emergency or evacuation procedure to ensure the safety of visitors.
Tony summarises: “We are proud of what we have achieved here at The SSE Hydro, it makes a huge difference when you find a solution that just works how you want it to; Tripleplay is exactly that and we’re glad to be working with them.”