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Northwestern University Raises Their Game with VITEC

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Northwestern University Raises Their Game with VITEC
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EZ TV IPTV & Digital Signage Solution for Sports Venues Delivers a Captivating Fan Experience at Welsh-Ryan Arena

"VITEC’s EZ TV IPTV & Digital Signage Solution for Sports Venues puts Northwestern University’s Welsh-Ryan Arena in the same class as the top facilities in the world and made us a leader in collegiate sports. Now - whether fans are attending a basketball game, volleyball game, or wrestling match - every screen is delivering all the action happening on the court, with striking digital signage and video content, to every corner of the arena." Brian Baptiste Northwestern University’s deputy director of athletics for capital projects and operations

BACKGROUND - Northwestern University (NU) is revving up the game-day experience for Wildcat fans at its newly renovated Welsh-Ryan Arena. The arena in Evanston, Illinois, was renovated in 1983 and serves as home court for its basketball, volleyball, and wrestling teams. The venue had been largely untouched since its opening and to make way for the $110 million renovation, the school completely gutted the existing structure. The mission was to create an environment that would feel both intimate for fans and intimidating to visiting teams. Seating capacity was adjusted to just over 7,000 seats to create one of the world’s most accessible arenas, while giving every spectator a great view of the court and allowing room for the new Wilson Club premium seating area. The other priority for transforming the fan experience was focused on replacing the CATV system and implementing the best video technology available. NU improved the fan visual experience by installing a four-sided center court video board and LED ribbon displays around the arena. To carry the on-court action outside, more than 75 displays were installed around the concourse, at the concessions, and within the Wilson Club.

THE CHALLENGE - With the goal of delivering a state-of-the-art fan experience at the forefront of the planning process, the organization required an IPTV and digital signage system that could do more than just display video and concession signs. NU needed a solution that would distribute live content as high-quality IPTV streams in low latency to every screen and would offer a selection of IPTV channels from multiple service providers. Additionally, the digital signage solution needed to easily allow the school to create sharp, dazzling video content, compelling digital signage campaigns, and point-of-sale menu boards at the arena’s concession stands. The final item on the checklist was a centralized, user-friendly interface that the school’s small broadcast operations staff and sponsorship team could easily manage from the broadcast control building, adjacent to the arena.

THE SOLUTION - Wanting the best-in-class fan experience, Brian Baptiste, the school’s deputy director of athletics for capital projects and operations, spent time researching the IPTV setups of many leading collegiate and professional sports teams. During this process, Baptiste and the NU team were made aware of VITEC’s EZ TV IPTV & Digital Signage Solution for Sports Venues by the digital integration group within Mortensen, the GC for the renovation. The NU team learned that VITEC was the premier platform for some of the nation’s most state-of-the-art sports and entertainment venues, including the Sacramento Kings’ Golden 1 Arena and the Green Bay Packers’ Lambeau Field.

The powerful VITEC EZ TV solution not only enhances the fan experience with broadcast-quality, low-latency live and on-demand video streams, but also provides exceptional digital signage capabilities to every display over the facility’s existing network infrastructure. With VITEC, NU is able to engage fans while reducing the capital and operational expenses associated with legacy solutions. Driven by VITEC's affordable, high-performance, hardware-based endpoints; every screen in the university’s network becomes a potential revenue opportunity, delivering eye-catching digital content with dynamic data and menu boards that automate food service workflows. In addition, VITEC offers a 100-percent hardware-based IPTV solution with digital signage end points which feature low latency playback of up to two HD channels simultaneously.

The high-performance platform also supports scalability into the future with VITEC's mobile app for iOS and Android devices for streaming live video and playback of IPTV content. An integrated, EZ TV Media Library enables administrators to tag, edit, organize, store, search, and share media files for archiving or playback. The VITEC EZ TV solution provides unprecedented value with a suite of modular tools that further streamline media processes from live streaming to recording, archiving, and collaboration; easily allowing users to manage a full digital video experience across an entire venue.

THE RESULTS - Even with an aggressive time frame for the construction project, VITEC’s EZ TV IPTV & Digital Signage Solution for Sports Venues enabled NU to hit the ground running and set a new benchmark in fan engagement. The new arena opened just in time for the first tip-off of the 2018-2019 basketball season with EZ TV’s comprehensive IPTV and Digital Signage platform fueling every screen with high-quality, ultra-low-latency IPTV streams and captivating digital content. Fans can now walk around the new arena without missing a minute of the action. With the unparalleled support of VITEC’s administration tools and comprehensive capabilities, personnel can easily manage all the arena’s IPTV and digital signage, plus benefit from new revenue growth opportunities for years to come. The result is entertainment that goes above and beyond standard IPTV and digital signage solutions that has transformed the facility into a leading collegiate arena. 

THE BENEFITS

• Easily and affordably answers the demand for a broadcast-quality, low-latency IPTV content available at any screen in the arena

• Centralized IPTV and digital signage capabilities and comprehensive administration tools simplify content creation and management tasks for IPTV and digital signage

• Efficiently scales to any number of displays in the network, making every screen an asset to the fan experience

• Opens up and drives new sponsorship revenue opportunities with a built-in suite of digital signage capabilities and analytics

• Securely and freely moves high-value video content throughout the installed EZ TV network due to leading-edge DRM interoperability