Pointing the way

AUTHOR: Inavate
Sound Precision line-arrays in the main hall

Kistamässan is a multipurpose venue positioned in the heart of Sweden’s Kista Science City. Its creators utilised LCD screens and projectors to create a comprehensive signage system throughout the modern centre.

When the Mayor of Stockholm, Sten Nordin, cut the ribbon to mark the opening of Kistamässan he unveiled a modern exhibition and conference centre which would serve, not only the local area, but, due to its central location, the whole of Sweden. An extensive digital signage system was installed throughout the exhibition centre, providing important information for visitors and additional revenue from advertisers.

Digital Media Display (DMD), a Swedish AV installation company, came on board to install projectors and screens throughout the complex to display the marketing messages and signs. A total of 40 Samsung 46MXN LCD displays and six Epson G5350 projectors were fitted around the building.

Front Signage, a digital signage specialist headquartered in Stockholm, joined the project and, working closely with DMD, acted as software provider and signage system manager. The company’s COO, Jarl Lidén, explains that each of the 46” Samsung screens were fitted with embedded media players and described their configuration.

“You enter the Kista Fair at entry level and are greeted with what would conventionally be called a video wall. It consists of 28 screens; 14 screens wide by two screens high in a landscape format – it’s a huge installation. When you take the escalators upstairs to the area where the trade fairs take place you will find six pairs of screens, also 46” Samsung. Two of the Samsung screens provide 3D images.

“The 3D-movies for playback on these screens are created in a similar way to the method used to make ‘standard’ 3D-animations. The main difference is that we use several camera angles combined instead of just using one camera as for normal flat 3D-animations represented on a normal 2D-television.

“When making these kind of stereoscopic animations you also need to work with and consider the depth factor when producing content. The autostereoscopic screen itself is an off the shelf product and is delivered with special optics already built in. All that is needed additionally for playing back movies on the screen is a computer that can deliver full HD movies (1080p) in uncompressed RGB format. The movie format demands a data bandwidth of 150Mb/s.
A normal DVD or Blu-Ray movie will play back fine on the screen but it will stay as flat as it is on a regular 2D-TV. We create the content in a custom format for it to become a stereoscopic movie with depth.”

He went on to describe the projection solution that had been implemented outside Hall Two of the Swedish exhibition centre. “In addition there are projection areas,” he said. “There are six Epson projectors stacked in pairs. Each projector is 5,000 Ansi lumen, so each pair provides 10,000 Ansi lumen.” Content for the projectors is played out via three standard PCs and the projectors are dual-stacked on three Chief ceiling mounts. The mounts had to provide a permanent solution while enabling easy access for maintenance.

Dennis Sundell, CEO and part owner of DMD, said: “For this application we were in need of a true professional AV mounting solution. Key concern for us was to find a projector mount solution that would enable us to mount multiple projectors above each other from a single column. In addition we knew that the registration of the projection was going to be a very precise job.”

The LCD2C Chief projector ceiling stackers combine two RPA Elite projector mounts, which enable independent roll (±3°), pitch (±20°) and yaw (±360°) Microzone adjustments for precise projector registration. The team at Kistamässan uses a Phillips screwdriver to make the adjustments. A quick connect/disconnect function allows convenient lamp and filter access and disconnecting does not affect pre-set adjustments. Cables are routed through the top of the mounts without additional accessories.

Sundell added: “[The] stacking solution was the answer to our needs and really simplified the installation. The independent roll, pitch and yaw adjustments within the projector mount made the fine-tuning of the projection quick and easy. Perhaps more importantly after servicing or changing the projectors in the future, the registration of the projector mount settings are not lost. This means we do not have to re-do the projector registration again, we just snap the projector back on the stacking system.”

Lidén continued: “We operate all of these displays using our own software. We can provide total synchronisation across the screens. So, for example if you want to show something across all 28 screens we can. The graphic engine in our software allows, in all the screens to be totally co-ordinated as one screen and saves a lot of rendering costs.

“The screens are used in different ways depending on the event at the exhibition centre. Right now, we have a film that uses all 28 screens on the video wall. A layer of text can be superimposed on top of that and still images can be can be included as well.”

Looking to the business and revenue side of the installation Lidén explains that Front Signage take the solution and sell packages to advertisers. The company sells ten slots of ten seconds each for a show. The screens are, of course, also used to direct trade fair visitors around a show. The whole system is managed over the internet. Usually the screens will play-out a schedule that is repeated throughout the day. However, operators can change what is on the screens in real time and interrupt the play schedule if a change is required.

In conference areas Smartsign’s Manager software was used to provide a conference guide on 14 Samsung SyncMaster 920XT 19” screens outside conference rooms. Smartsign is a digital signage software provider that often partners with Samsung and Phillips. The conference guide system they provided for Kistamässan is manually updated, usually by the people manning the reception or the conference manager. The software can be set-up to automatically update, usually pulling the information off a central database where conference information is stored. However, currently Kistamässan hasn’t utilised this option.

Sound reinforcement throughout the exhibition centre’s two main halls initially proved a headache for the centre’s business area manager for external events, Christer Ekman. Sound Precision provided the speakers, working with distributor and long-time partner, IGECE. Kurt Strömmer, managing director and owner of Sound Precision, explained: “In November 2008 Urban Eriksson at IGECE called me to say I should contact Christer Ekman at Kistamässan because he was not happy with an offer he had received for sound systems. I met Christer at the exhibition centre and he showed me the two halls.

“One hall can house 450(+100) seats and the other 350(+100) seats. They can be used independently or together as one big hall. The sound system had to handle both speech and music and have a very small front area. There could be no loudspeakers on the floor. Furthermore it had to be easy to move because the halls are also used for exhibitions. We developed a system to fulfil their demands; the result was 24 Sound Precision LA-20’s”.

The LA-20 is a passive two-way full range (50-20000Hz) line-array speaker with a width of 194mm and the height is 524mm per cabinet. The horizontal dispersion is 120 degrees and the cabinet is made of aluminium. Each speaker is equipped with four 128mm bass-middle range units and sixteen 20mm treble units designed by Sound Precision. Each speaker has an impedance of 24 Ohms so one stereo-amplifier can handle up to 12 speakers in four Ohms load. Strömmer says the installation was completed in June 2009 but added that they were still finalising the arrangement for moving the line-arrays.

The sound system also utilised two Yamaha MG16 6CX-USB mixers and remote control from Ashly Audio in the form of an Ashly WR5. Ashly Audio also provided a Protea24.24M digital signal processor and two Yamaha XP7000 amplifiers were selected for the system. Signals are distributed via four 2½mm Silspeak cables. IGECE delivered the amplifiers and loudspeaker cables while local integrator, Nightline installed the system. The system design was born out of collaboration between Sound Precision, Nightline and Ekman at Kistamässan.

The centre was opened in September 2008 and DMD finalised the display installation in May 2009. The reaction of visitors has been extremely positive and the signage system has, so far, proved itself to be both helpful and reliable. Lidén concludes with a comment on the revenue generation side of digital signage. “Reaching the customer in this way is relatively new but rising in popularity.” Kistamässan is certainly a good example of how an advertising tool can work hand-in-hand with a useful and informative signage tool.


Ashly WR5 remote control and Protea24 DSP
Sound Precision LA-20 line-arrays
Yamaha MG26 mixers and XP7000 amplifiers

Chief LCD2C dual projector mounts
Epson G5350 projectors
Front Signage digital signage software
Samsung 46MXN LCD displays, SyncMaster 920XT 19” screens
Smartsign Manager software