Integrity Wire Solutions has been successfully meeting Chicago’s low voltage AV installation needs for eight years. They are best known for, and specialize in, close circuit TV (CCTV), residential and commercial alarm systems, home theater installation, commercial sound, and image viewing. As the historical neighborhood of Logan Square continues to cultivate, however, IWS has spent the past few years shifting its focus to the video sourcing demands of northern Chicago’s hospitality district.
Milwaukee Avenue’s newest hot spot, The Old Plank, is owned by Esam Hani and is his seventh establishment within a three-block stretch. The sports bar is equipped with several TVs for sports viewing, garage style doors, an outdoor patio with fire pits, and locally brewed craft beer and cocktails.
Because the modern agave and whiskey themed sports bar houses 21 TVs with eight different sources, ideal for when several popular sports teams are playing at the same time, or when a DJ is on-site, Hani realized he needed an effortless solution that his employees – primarily bartenders and wait staff – would be able to easily operate to switch between the various sources on the fly.
During construction, longtime integrator and friend of Hani, Jose Rivas of Integrity Wire Solutions was brought onto the job in order to handle the video source installation and source broadcasting before The Old Plank’s grand opening in May, 2019. Hani challenged Rivas to install an AV system that would “simply work” and not cause his employees headaches so that they could concentrate on his number one priority for the restaurant – providing customers with top notch customer service and a memorable dining experience.
Rivas, who was responsible for the AV distribution at Hani’s six other establishments, had previously discovered Vanco International’s Evolution EVO-IP HDMI over IP System at a Lunch and Learn the company had put on for its integrators. With the ability to transmit virtually lossless 4K@60Hz, 4:4:4, HDR, HDCP 2.2 video, audio, and IR/RS232 control, the EVO-IP is an ideal point-to-point, splitter, switch, matrix and/or video wall solution. Rivas immediately liked that the EVO-IP simplified the process for managing, transmitting, and receiving AV signals and controlling hundreds of devices over a local network. Unlike other similar solutions on the market, EVO-IP is also fully customizable, and easy to design, integrate and install so it would offer the perfect solution for efficiently routing video to several locations at The Old Plank. Rivas knew that Hani would be immediately sold on the On Screen Display (OSD) as well as the ease of use, so he jumped on ordering the equipment required.
Rivas had incorporated Vanco HDMI products into his projects in the past and has always liked the outcome. This was his first time incorporating the HDMI over IP products, however. “The initial simplicity of setup is what appealed to me most. It’s very straightforward and manageable, and it’s also a cost-efficient solution. I like how you’re able to distribute the video throughout multiple sources without having to get too deep into the network switch,” said Rivas. Vanco continues to announce new enhancements to the EVO-IP, designed specially with commercial AV installers in mind. One of the latest enhancements, which Rivas, along with other installers are fond of is the drag-and-drop option for uploading photos in the OSD settings. “The drag-and-drop feature for mapping simplifies the setup and system management process,” mentioned Rivas.
Following a couple of brief resolution setbacks, Rivas, along with the help of Vanco’s tech support team, was able to troubleshoot issues caused by some old cable boxes and get The Old Plank’s AV system up and running just in time for the grand opening.
“The Vanco tech support team was very attentive and dependable through the entire installation process, and I’m very pleased with how simple the EVO-IP system was to install,” said Rivas. “I’m looking forward to taking a deeper dive into the product to see what else it is capable of and I plan to incorporate the system into future projects, including Esam’s other local establishments. One of the taverns has 12 TVs so we have discussed the possibility of creating a video wall there.” The EVO-IP has also inspired Hani in consider incorporating the EVO-IP into his home entertainment room in an upcoming renovation.
Feedback on the installation from The Old Plank’s management team has been positive as well. Tony Rodriguez the assistant manager of Old Plank said, “We were thrilled by the turnout of our grand opening. Jose finished the sourcing project at 1:30 a.m. the Friday before we opened, and due to the user-friendly nature of the product, the whole team still had time to learn and feel comfortable using the AV system before the doors opened. We’re located on a very busy, commercial strip full of restaurants, cocktail bars, and taverns and we want to be the place where people come to enjoy the game, or to just kick back and have a good time. I’m confident that The Old Plank’s AV system capabilities has provided us with a leg up.”