ICC Sydney: Meet The Head AV Guy
The $1.5b International Convention Centre Sydney is quickly taking shape. Gary Thomas has been the principal technical architect, with Fredon the integrators. The word on the street makes for a mouthwatering AV prospect.
There will be three theatres: the ICC Sydney plenary-style theatre seating 8000, the 2500-seat Darling Harbour Theatre and the 1000-seat Pyrmont Theatre 1000 and then there’s the 35,000sqm of exhibition space. Some of the big-ticket items include a comprehensive QSC speaker and QSys network, d&b V Series in the theatres, 180sqm LED screen out the front of the main theatre, Panasonic 12K projectors, IPTV, 10GB fibre tielines around the building, full-spec broadcast studios, smart lecterns… We’ll bring you the full story in due course.
Overseeing the ICCS AV toyshop is Brian Nash, Director of Audio Visual Services. AV Asia Pacific had an email exchange with Brian to hear how things were progressing.
AV Asia Pacific: How have people’s conferencing and exhibition AV requirements changed over recent years and how is ICC Sydney doing things differently to meet those expectations?
Brian Nash: The ‘bring your own device’ trend has been a key design consideration for us. Today, many delegates and presenters are wanting to operate off their own device and multiple connection types can be required at any given time. To support this shift, ICC Sydney has installed easy to use ‘intelligent lecterns’ which allow any device to be connected at one time, either through physical ports or via our integrated Wi-Fi.
We have also deployed 955 access points throughout to ensure the high bandwidth, high density and robust wireless connectivity is accessible across the venue to meet delegates’ need for easy and consistent connection to fast Wi-Fi.
Higher resolution video and enhanced collaboration are also vital, so we have a raft of interactive, high definition digital signage solutions and large scale projection opportunities plus first-rate audio equipment and elite conferencing facilities.
AV Asia Pacific: AV and IT is converging from a technical and practical point of view. How is ICC Sydney addressing this when it comes to delivering AV services? For example, are certain traditional IT/AV boundaries being blurred?
Brian Nash: In an unprecedented move, ICC Sydney has combined its ICT and AV departments to deliver a frictionless digital experience for clients. We have created a single platform from which to manage all digital elements across the precinct, allowing full control of digital signage, event recording, and broadcast capture and online streaming of events.
This includes the ability to stream sound and video via a sitewide audio and IPTV network that incorporates presentation and broadcast AV across a consistent network.
AV Asia Pacific: How will greater levels of AV integration impact the client and attendee experience?
Brian Nash: ICC Sydney’s integrated approach has enabled us to implement a leading monitoring and reporting system to track performance and provide real-time insights.
Every connected device is viewable from our single platform and this gives us access to instant feedback and vital analytics from which we can then shape and adapt digital conditions as required. ICC Sydney also has a built-in contingency plan to proactively mitigate any potential device failure — a level of planning that is rare in convention centres.
AV Asia Pacific: What are the advantages of a ‘fresh start’ when it comes to delivering world class AV at ICC Sydney?
Brian Nash: The main advantage to creating something from the ground-up has been our ability to create a purpose-built digital venue which not only supports the needs of today, but truly has the capability to flex and adapt for decades to come across all types of events, big and small.
ICC Sydney has been built on a 10GB optical fibre backbone, so unlike other venues, we have been able to hardwire a high calibre and functional IT network into every room. Here, every hireable space, including all formal meeting rooms and theatres, has also been 3D modelled for acoustic performance, with architectural finishing specified around the AV requirements of the area.
All formal meeting spaces are integrated with the venue’s AV system too, and pre-configured with optimal environmental ambiance, including lighting control.
Another benefit of starting fresh has been the freedom to really raise the bar in terms of industry standards. We’ve been able to undertake a rigorous amount of research and coordinate a large scale ‘Technical Cabling Infrastructure’ throughout the precinct between key operating and control areas. Input from several production companies and television networks has been taken into consideration for this to ensure we can bump in and out different events without delay.
All switching and processing equipment for ICC Sydney is based around a centralised rack room, situated locally to each cluster of meeting rooms. This would have been difficult to implement in an existing structure, and not only frees up vital space within the rooms but also allows the venue to easily introduce additional layers of AV over time.
The entire venue design caters to the changing architecture of meetings and events, and is supported by world leading technical and production facilities that are scalable, flexible, and upgradable. We can now constantly evolve and innovate, supporting our clients with bespoke solutions for years to come.