BACKGROUND

Shannon Brewing Company is proud of their one-of-a-kind, award-winning fire-brewed beer. Made with pure Texas spring water, whole grain, and whole flower hops, the beer is sure to satisfy the palate with its rich, malt flavor.

Shannon wanted to optimize its front-of-house bar area, outfitting it with an easier way to distribute video to any TV without the hassle of a different remote for every TV, and also to monitor its back-of-house equipment for temperature, humidity, and other environmental factors to keep the beer production flowing without any waste.

The brewing company was looking for a solution to be able to keep tabs on their brewing equipment at any time, from any location, as well as ways to keep the entertainment engaging for customers. Shannon reached out to Black Box because we could provide an overall solution addressing both front-of-house and back-of-house operations from one source.

CHALLENGE

The brewing company faced two challenges: enhancing the video entertainment in the customer-service area and transitioning the monitoring equipment from the analog age to the digital age in the brewing area. Previously, they attempted to install media players behind each TV that used the in-house Wi-Fi system. This proved to be very difficult to use in multiple ways. The Wi-Fi could not handle all the video downloading and there became way too many remotes. This made it challenging for Shannon to reliably provide video entertainment and details about the products, events, and other real-time business information for the brewery patrons. In addition, they needed the ability to remotely track key brewing environmental parameters of the facility for safety measures and to help ensure the highest level of product quality control.

The prior technology limited the ability to distribute video content to various displays and did not use a convenient user interface for dynamic control. The brewing company desired a reliable AV solution to ensure that brewery patrons would have the best experience to compel them to extend the duration of their visit, maximizing the potential revenue for the business.

Specifically, the solution needed to address the requirement for multiple 2 x 2 video walls, with several additional individual displays, and the ability to distribute/switch multiple sources to any display or video wall. Also, the employees wanted to be able to quickly control the video from a simple touchscreen interface. For the IoT environmental monitoring of the brewing equipment, all parameters must be accessible via a web interface with customizable dashboards.

SOLUTION

The new AV system must replace the current video distribution system that is comprised of media players and doesn't use the in-house Wi-Fi system. For the IoT, this system must move beyond old-time analog gauges and use new digital gauges that will relay information to the internet for ease of access and trending.

The Black Box AV solution was simple. Create a video matrix system to combine the eleven TVs and eight media sources to be able to send any source to any TV, at any time. The eleven TVs consisted of two 2 x 2 video walls, two 65" TVs and one 55" TV. These TVs are scattered all over the brewery. The eight sources were four media players for sports and normal TV, two for use of a Mac Mini for PowerPoints and menus, one for an Apple® TV, and one for a digital signage player for ads.

Black Box's MCX-AVoIP video matrix system is a perfect solution for Shannon. MCX is a next-generation AV-over-IP solution from Black Box. It distributes and extends 4K 60 Hz video and audio over IP. Via uncompressed 4K 60 Hz, 4.4.4 video, MCX delivers the video quality high-end AV applications require to display eye-catching content. Last, there is zero latency with this system. This robust video distribution system's encoding and decoding happen in real-time (0.03 milliseconds). This means you never deal with annoying lag or video delay – you get seamless switching between video sources in less than 100 milliseconds with no artifacts or screen blink. This ensures that you can switch video content super-fast without any noticeable distortion to your image.

Black Box also has a solution to control this next-generation AV system with a simple touchscreen panel. Black Box's ControlBridge touch panel features a clean, modern design with an edge-to-edge glass front. The slim, low-profile aluminum body includes a tabletop stand. It's designed to sit on tables without obstructing views. The color touchscreen panel offers stunning true-color images. The projected capacitive touch overlay enables the panels to be used in any light setting. And it's easy to keep clean. A single Ethernet cable connection provides easy network integration, and PoE+ eliminates the need for separate power cables.

The last AV solution to tackle is the digital signage player. Black Box offers the iCompel® lineup. iCompel is also easy to use, giving you the flexibility to create attention-getting digital signage without a lot of creative or technical know-how. Ideal for small- to large-scale places, the iCompel appliances work right out of the box with all software preinstalled. And there are no recurring licensing fees to deal with later. Because iCompel supports many media formats, you can combine video with scrolling text, photos, Flash, and Web content. In addition, it handles PDF, MPEG, AVI, QuickTime®, and PowerPoint® media; JPEG, GIF, and TIFF images; and WAV and MP3 audio. Scaling from a standalone installation to a multichannel network with many screens is a matter of simply adding more iCompel units to your IT network configuration.

As for the IoT solution, Black Box is deploying their AlertWerks environmental monitoring IoT platform, which consists of the IoT Web Gateway and various IP-based wired and LoRaWAN wireless sensing devices including temperature, humidity, water leak detection, door operation, pressure, motion, air quality, and people counting. 

The Black Box solutions are installed throughout the entire facility including the tasting room, speakeasy, cold storage locker, patio, office, brewing area, and restrooms.

RESULTS

Debuting on Super Bowl Sunday, the brewery rolled out the new, comprehensive AVIoT solution from Black Box. Their patrons enjoyed the thrill of the big game on the clear, pixel-perfect video walls in the bar area and outside patio. Business owner Shannon Carter commented, "The AV system put in the front side of business is incredible. The amount of control we have over our content is amazing, our customers love it. We can show a lot of content split into many TVs or all on one."

Shannon was confident that the equipment in the back room would operate efficiently so he could keep an eye on environmental factors, maintaining the quality and taste of the beer brewed on-site. He said, "If you ever wanted to check a temperature in the evening or set a temperature in the hot liquor tank… you have right there on your phone all the data you need to make sure that it's working. I can't tell you how easy that is and how much peace of mind it brings to be able to know that your business is operating correctly, effortlessly, and efficiently while you are away."

If any equipment stops operating correctly, Shannon knows the IoT solution can address that, too. He remarked, "If it's not, I have all sorts of alerts that go off. I can't tell you how much better I sleep at night knowing that this stuff is going and working the way it's supposed to work."

Going forward, other companies may adopt similar solutions from Black Box to maximize their business potential, customer experience, and profitability. The Shannon Brewing Company case sets the precedent for possible installations in other breweries, restaurants, and bars.

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Solution: Audio Visual Integrations,

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