Harris Video Distribution System Connects Magic’s Amway Center Directly to Fans

On Oct. 1, the Orlando Magic and the city of Orlando officially opened the doors to the brand new Amway Center, complete with a cadre of the latest technology from Harris Corp.

“Our new arena will set the standard for fan engagement in sports and entertainment venues,” said Alex Martins, president, Orlando Magic.  “We took on this technical challenge with confidence because of our relationship with Harris.”

The Harris solution comprises an HD video production and distribution and IPTV system, integrated with digital signage — a unique convergence of IP and broadcast technology.  The solution’s enriched screen format presents all aspects of the Amway Center experience at 10 times the resolution of current technology.

Combining IPTV and digital signage over the same network allows the Magic to address more than 1,100 individual screens located throughout the arena with tailored content.  On the fly, displays can be driven to show replays and highlights, venue messaging, out-of-home advertising, or any combination of the three.  In addition, the system enables advertisers to have their name displayed on every screen in the facility at the same time, providing a “moment of exclusivity” marketing opportunity.

The network that drives all technology in the Center is managed via a Harris-built control room featuring more than 800 broadcast devices.  Approximately 75 miles away, employees at Harris headquarters monitor the network 24/7 via a Network Operations Center — similar to the one that manages the nation’s air traffic control system — to ensure fans experience no interruptions during events.

“The Amway Center really is the next generation for sporting venues,” said Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer.  “With this Harris technology, the energy and immediacy of the live sports experience has been combined with the benefits of watching on your home entertainment system to create a superior fan experience.”

The comprehensive production and distribution system includes all the components the Magic needs to present event action on scoreboards, television monitors and digital signage throughout the arena, in the front lobby and in the parking garage entrances.  The low latency of the overall Harris system enables content on the screens to be changed during the event and updated to the network with no interruption to the screen information/graphics or live action.

The Harris system will deliver advanced audio-visual and sensory effects, as well as access to a plethora of merchandise, services and information (such as traffic and weather updates) highlights of other sporting events and directions to seats, restaurants, and other amenities within the facility.  As all the digital signs are connected, important safety messages and clear directions — for example, in the event of an evacuation — can be easily broadcast throughout the Amway Center.

The network has been designed so that in the future, fans will be able to receive applications via their mobile devices.

“Our partnership with the Magic and the City of Orlando has resulted in an unprecedented technology showcase for Harris and a next-generation venue for staging events that far exceed anything fans have experienced in the past,” says Harris Morris, president, Harris Broadcast Communications.  “And whenever the next killer concept arrives, the uniquely scalable infrastructure we’ve put in place for the Magic will be ready.  The fans will love the Amway Center today — but just wait until tomorrow!”

Displays in lobbies, concourses, concession areas, and luxury suites can be addressed with individually tailored messaging and out-of-home advertising — providing significant new revenue-generating opportunities for sponsors and advertisers.  The dynamic signs can present different products and messages every few seconds, and Harris software enables huge quantities of advertising to be efficiently scheduled, tracked and billed.

At the concession stands video menu boards make it simple to change the offer to coincide with various venue events.  Concession price changes appear on any screen instantly, and because the menu board is connected directly to the cash register, sale items will automatically be priced correctly.

Harris is also working with venue concessionaires, the City of Orlando and the Magic to enable the delivery of managed social media marketing services that provide fans with special offers and contests via multiple social media platforms and mobile devices.