BMW Welt centralises control and updates multimedia systems
Munich landmark BMW Welt worked with macom and Kraftwerk Living Technologies to overhaul its technology set up and prepare it for the future. The resulting installation offers more for visitors and BMW Group customers while centralising processing, management and control.
BMW Welt is an established attraction in the heart of Munich that engages visitors with interactive exhibits as well as informing them about the Bavarian automotive brand.
After more than a decade in operation, BMW Group decided it was time to overhaul exhibition and conferencing areas in order to update the user experience but also reduce complexity of technologies that had been gradually added to and extended over the centre’s lifetime. It turned to macom, an AV consultancy firm and long term BMW Group partner, to advise.
Michael Kottke, operations director at macom (UK), acted as the project manager. He explains: “BMW Group was looking for a 360-degree approach to the project. They wanted a concept that replaced equipment that was at the end of its life, improved quality and stability and addressed operational issues.”
After drawing up project guidelines and principles, design requirements and design documentation, macom put the project out to tender and eventually, with BMW Group, selected Austrian integrator Kraftwerk LT to handle the installation, commissioning and operational services.
“The LED installation in the Double Cone creates a wow factor and BMW Group is able to play out content in a synchronised way.”One of the biggest challenges was that BMW Welt is open 360 days a year. BMW Group also instructed that some areas could not be closed and visitors rerouted, which meant the installation team often had to work at night.
At the heart of the system are Crestron Fusion and DigitalMedia systems. “We believe that [the Crestron] technology is reliable, it’s good from a monitoring perspective and it’s good to integrate with third party equipment,” notes Kottke.
In the main event space – a 28m high structure with a swirl of glass and steel resembling a tornado and dubbed the ‘Double Cone’ – a Digital Media Presentation System manages signals for LED displays spanning 150 sq m.
The LED displays include a curved 4K-UHD LED display wall constructed from Barco’s X1.6 product. This highlight wall is surrounded with an ‘LED spindle’, a thin Barco X2 LED display that echoes the spiral of the Double Cone.
“The LED installation in the Double Cone creates a wow factor and BMW Group is able to play out content in a synchronised way now,” says Kottke. “It’s also easier to produce content for that technical exhibit now. The old system used plasma screens with individual players for each display so essentially they had to create 50 different clips for playback. That’s now down to four, while at the same time providing more features and a better user experience.
“We installed the LED with Kraftwerk over Christmas and New Year,” Kottke continues. “We only just had enough time to get the installation done and there was a lot of working through the night especially when the PA system was replaced in the main hall.”
Two HD videowalls – a 10x1 and a 4x1 – constructed from 55-in LCDs were also built into the lower floor of the Double Cone as well as a single 55-in monitor on its own.
The visuals are supported with audio, played out from Meyer Sound loudspeakers with processing handled by Biamp.
Connections are provided for presentations and events and the Crestron DigitalMedia and Biamp DSPs offer centralised signal processing.
Further LED displays are deployed throughout BMW Welt. The Highlight Wall South, measuring 6.4 x 3.6 metres, replaces a plasma videowall.
The 4K LED display delivers 3840 x 2216 pixels using Barco X1.6 LED tiles. The LED wall can be used even in bright sunlight.
Video playback is via an AV Stumpfl Wings Media server, while five Meyer Sound loudspeakers offer audio playback and a Crestron control system is in place.
There is another highlight LED wall in the Rolls Royce area, this time using a Barco X2 LED display system with a pixel pitch of 2.7mm. This wall measures 6.4 x 3.6m and delivers 2304 x 1296 pixels. Again AV Stumpfl Wings media servers offer video playback, while Crestron handles control.
A number of interactive exhibits are deployed throughout the visitor facing parts of the exhibition.
“These elements were deliberately taken out of the scope of this upgrade because the exhibits constantly change so their lifespan is shorter than the rest of the installed technology,” says Kottke.
A meeting and conference room, called the Business Club, was also updated as part of the installation with Meyer Sound surround sound, a Barco X1.6 LED screen and VC capabilities.
It can accommodate more than 20 guests and offers connections for a range of AV sources for presentations and events. Crestron handles control and video matrixing, while Biamp takes care of audio DSP.
The Business Centre contains two event rooms, which can be subdivided to offer four independently usable event facilities. For the displays here macom opted for projection, with Kraftwerk LT installing 3-chip DLP units to offer HD images.
Mobile videoconferencing is provided and a range of inputs for audio and video sources are accessible via floor tanks.
Crestron DigitalMedia and Biamp DSPs offer centralised signal processing here as well. A Yamaha TF-1 digital mixing desk has been integrated into each room with mobile flight case to be able to control audio during live events.
A digital signage system spans the consultancy office, auditorium, north and south entryways, management entrance, north counter, south counter and the shop. It consists of client server based system DisplayStar.
A background music system was installed throughout the facility. Meyer Sound intelligent DC self-powered systems with remote power supplies were deployed. Kraftwerk LT installed more than 100 loudspeakers comprising UPM-1XPs, UPJ-1Ps and MM-10XP subwoofers.
Each floor has its own technical control centre. Infrastructure for signal transmission was almost entirely overhauled to deliver mostly glass fibre sections, HDBaseT routes and Triax routes.
The network switches in the technical control centres were also modernised. All network-based protocols are accessed via the same switch and separated into VLANs. The switches are equipped with two duplex fibre cables to the media technology centre on the third floor.
Crestron Fusion is used for monitoring with Kottke noting: “It’s much easier for operational teams to track and monitor systems and see if anything is wrong. They can react quicker and replace equipment with components they have on site. For example, if a particular loudspeaker fails then the system gets informed and sends an email to the service teams.”
Management of the system is outsourced to Kraftwerk LT who works with an in-house team at BMW Welt.
The system was deliberately structured in a modular way so BMW Group can continue to add to it and avoid obsolescence issues.
Meyer Sound loudspeakers
Yamaha TF-1 mixing desk
Control and distribution
DigitalMedia and control panels
AV Stumpfl Wings Media Server
Barco X1.6 and X2 LED