Portuguese mall under control with Barix

AUTHOR: Inavate

Acutron Electroacustica of Portugal has installed a Barix Audio over IP zoned audio solution for the Colombo shopping mall in Lisbon. The solution provides Colombo, one of the largest shopping malls in Europe, with a point-to-multipoint solution to deliver voice, audio and control signals to more than 30 locations.

The complete Barix Audio over IP solution features Instreamer 100 encoding and Exstreamer 100 decoding devices for voice and audio distribution as well as Barionet and IO12 devices for control and system monitoring. The entire system is controlled using Acutron software for signal distribution to any zone from the central server and local operator terminals.

According to Antonio J. de Oliveira, co-founder and head engineer of Acutron Electroacustica, the Barix solution provided a flexible, multi-zone entertainment and security system for a large space that lacked a suitable network infrastructure. The complete solution allows operators at Colombo to address multiple zones in the large shopping and leisure complex, including dozens of restaurants, a bowling alley, a health club, a multiplex cinema, and an amusement area.

“We were required to design and install a system that does not require a great deal of cabling and infrastructure inside the building,” said de Oliveira. “Using limited network connections, the Acutron team established IP links to several operator terminals, each of which communicate with a certain number of Barix Exstreamers. We then connected more than 30 Exstreamers and their associated amplifiers back to a central technical room. The Acutron software and Barix hardware together act as a distributed switcher, routing live pages from a microphone or audio programs from a Barix Instreamer to single or multiple zones.”

Acutron uses several premium-quality audio sources for distribution across the network, including Barix Instreamers to encode audio from CD players into MP3; and Internet audio sources including “Barix Radio”, Barix’s own online radio station. Barix Exstreamers decode the audio for local playback over loudspeakers at each zone.

While the end-to-end solution is automated, priority functionality in the Barix Exstreamer allows operators to make live pages and security announcements from specific terminals as needed. Operators can select specific zones or address the entire building from a paging station, and the regular audio program resumes immediately following the announcement. In addition, the Barix Barionets also trigger pre-recorded emergency announcements for playback across the network, taking priority over the regular audio programming using a pre-set “emergency” audio level.

The Barionet adds monitoring capabilities for each connected amplifier across the network through continuous reporting and logging of system operations, as well as visual alarming of performance issues to operator terminals. Local operators can collect messages and warnings received from Barionet contact closures and forward them to a central team for further investigation. The autonomous nature of Barix Audio over IP equipment means that the Barionets continue to communicate with the local Exstreamers even if the central server is offline.

All Barix products are inexpensive, low-power devices that are scalable to the growth of the operation; offer reliability through a PC-FREE design with no moving parts; and serve as a flexible platform for integration into virtually any operation requiring audio transport and delivery. Barix also offers its programmable BCL standard open to all customers to easily tailor applications for specific needs. Local control, audio relay, and low-latency streaming are a few examples of custom programs using Barix’s BCL software environment.