There are few places where a commercial integrator’s work attracts the public’s eye as much as Las Vegas. Over the years, gaming hotels have gone to greater lengths to keep people coming to their establishments, to be more than just a place for tourists to play slot machines or black jack.
They need the “wow factor” of fancy technology more than most vertical markets, and Kelley Technologies has been there to provide it at seemingly every turn of the commercial A/V industry’s evolution.
“We started doing broadcast TV for the casino industry, uplinking TV events from a broadcast standpoint, and grew into a company that really focused on technology,” says owner Mike Kelley, whose company can be thanked by plenty of casinos and their patrons for making it possible to view video feeds of big prize fights or daily horse races, for example, before it was commonplace.
“We put satellite into hotels for years, before anybody else, we worked on the first race and sports book for Caesar’s Palace, scrambled the NYRA (New York Racing Association) signal and brought it down at Caesar’s, and we’ve built or rebuilt about 85 race and sports books since then.
“Over the years we’ve broadened our scope from being just A/V to doing voice, data, surveillance, security, theatrical lighting. We’ve worked on casinos built in the Caribbean, literally every casino in Atlantic City, we’ve done riverboat casinos, Native American gaming … we’re always there when some new area of gaming jumps up. Today we’re really fortunate in being one of the larger A/V tech companies.”
Location: Las Vegas
Principals: Mike Kelley, owner; Bob Schiffman, senior VP – design; H Waldman, senior VP – projects
2011 Revenues: $9 million
Years in Business: 31
Specialty: Audio/video design-build
Top 5 Brands: Crestron, Extron, JBL, BSS, Samsung
FYI: “Build strong customer relationships and don’t be afraid to think outside of the box.”
In a city whose game is about one-upmanship in size, style and substance, gaming casinos have found that it’s good to have Kelley Technologies on their side.
Pillars to Its Success
On the notion that it’s good for casinos to have Kelley Technologies on their team, “I think the Cosmopolitan speaks to that, particularly the signage at the front – it’s probably the most photographed area of Las Vegas right now aside from the famous Welcome to Las Vegas sign,” says Kelley.
Ah yes, the Cosmopolitan. That “signage” of which Kelley speaks would be the eight 20-foot tall, four-sided towers/pillars/columns or whatever you want to call them that are dazzling our commercial Integrator cover for this month’s Design Issue. Kelley Technologies got involved on the $3.9 billion hotel project through its executive architect, the locally based Friedmutter Group, for what became a nearly $15 million top-to-bottom job that includes roughly 6,300 Samsung flat-panel displays among guestrooms (the hotel has nearly 3,000 guestrooms), restaurants, bars, casino and pool deck in the two-tower resort. Of those, 400 screens alone comprise the eye-popping lobby pillars (another two dozen are hung behind the front desk), which render artistic digital content 24/7 and were fabricated with proper ventilation and ease of service accessibility in mind, too.
Whether it’s working primarily with the property owner, architect, design firm, specifying consultant or other contractors, Kelley Technologies makes sure to get its hands dirty on a project at the early stages, for both creative and practical reasons. Not only can the input help the client and other trades understand what’s possible between the technology and design – which can lead to stunning results such as at the Cosmopolitan and elsewhere – but it can ensure that the A/V controls are highly operational for everyone who will be using them.
“We’ve got such a diverse set of designers, guys who have worked on every showroom in Las Vegas and many other hospitality projects and also amusement parks throughout the country,” says Bob Schiff man, senior VP – design.