Built alongside the existing Scottish Exhibition and Conference Centre (SECC) and Clyde Auditorium, The SSE Hydro is a music and live events venue to match any around the world. Designed by Foster + Partners, this unique venue is a welcome addition to the Glasgow skyline and is helping attract some of the world’s leading performers, events and shows to Scotland.
Completed in September 2013, The SSE Hydro was purpose built to provide audiences with the best possible live experience throughout their visit, whilst also creating the opportunity for the SECC to generate extra revenue through advertising, corporate sponsorship and strategic partnerships.
As such the SECC team investigated current options for a complete digital signage and IPTV solution, with a focus on allowing them to leverage existing investment in the IP network backbone that had been implemented around site. The SECC team decided that, for The SSE Hydro, they would work with Sony and Tripleplay.
“We looked at several options for our arena, with the Sony and Tripleplay solution proving both the most cost effective and the closest match in terms of our technical requirements,” commented Tony Edwards, Technical Manager for the SECC.
In total, around 140 Sony screens were installed in the Hydro displaying Tripleplay digital signage and IPTV. Every screen is capable of displaying both digital signage and IPTV services, whilst central control through a web browser enables management to have full access to every individual TV.
Tony Edwards continued; “We needed central control, we needed to be able to both zone content and send a specific message to a specific screen at the minute we needed it. Tripleplay’s management interface has proven very simple to master, allowing us to achieve what we needed very quickly, learning how to operate in a short space of time.”
An important element of the implementation was to provide advertising for key corporate sponsors around the arena, utilising 64 screens above concourse food and beverage kiosks and many more to show advertising and visitor information. Owing to The SSE Hydro’s unique circular design it is impossible to escape the digital signage screens and, thus, the corporate messaging is always visible.
“Everywhere you look there are TV screens. With capacity for 13,000 visitors in the arena we really have opened up a fantastic brand opportunity for our corporate sponsors, but also, owing to the simple, central control we can ensure the messaging is right for our customers too,” said Scott McIntyre, Visitor Information Manager.
“We can create pre and post show playlists, helping to maximise the revenue opportunities for our in-house vendors during an event, also keeping our customers informed of other events that we have upcoming. Having the ability to schedule and change playlists instantly has been a great bonus for us, the platform has enabled us to do exactly what we wanted,” commented Scott.
Not only has the solution been advantageous from advertising and promotional perspective, it has also proven a hit with network staff, with its low bandwidth requirements meaning it has no impact on other services.
Tony Edwards continued; “There were obviously some concerns from our network team that by running television and signage services across the network we would encounter problems. However, the system has proven to be very IP efficient and the IT department have had no qualms in commenting how little impact the solution has had. We are delighted with the way the implementation has gone.”
Aside from digital signage in the concourses, the Tripleplay solution also provides live TV for corporate boxes, restaurants, bars and dressing rooms, whilst it can also be used to provide a live camera feed from the auditorium to screens anywhere on site. Additionally, the Tripleplay solution is used to provide digital signage content to four ‘totem’ style displays outside of the venue, allowing simple promotion to those passing the venue or the display of special information for customers leaving and arriving at the venue; the solution is fully ingrained in the make-up of the Hydro experience, inside and out.
A venue fit for the stars “The possibilities this solution has offered are great, we feel we have barely touched the surface of what it can do and so believe our investment is a sound one, future proof too. Some of the world’s biggest stars have appeared at the venue; Beyonce, Justin Timberlake and Rod Stewart, for example, we feel we have put together a venue fit for those artists and their audiences,” added Scott McIntyre.
The Tripleplay solution also features integration into event engines and alarm systems, enabling TV screens to be used in an emergency or evacuation procedure to ensure the safety of visitors.
Tony Edwards summarised; “We are proud of what we have achieved here at The SSE Hydro, it makes a huge difference when you find a solution that just works how you want it to; Tripleplay is exactly that and we’re glad to be working with them.”