Riedel Communications Entrenches Audio Solutions in Théâtre Royal de la Monnaie, Paris La Défense Arena, Catalonia Parliament, Adler Mannheim Hockey Club

Ridel Communications has been extremely busy in recent months in the world of sports. To learn more about the following projects, visit them at ISE 2020.

Belgium’s Historic Théâtre Royal de la Monnaie
The historic Théâtre Royal de la Monnaie, also known as the De Munt Theatre, has upgraded its entire staff communications infrastructure based on intercom equipment from Riedel Communications. Consisting of the Artist digital matrix intercom, Bolero wireless intercom in both integrated and standalone modes, and SmartPanel multifunctional user interfaces, the Riedel solution surpasses the theater’s requirements for highly flexible, reliable, high-quality, and future-proof intercom operations.

Located in the heart of Brussels at the Place de la Monnaie, the De Munt Theatre is one of the most prestigious opera houses in the world and the largest in Belgium, with more than 450 employees. Over its 300-year history, the theater has survived a revolution, a fire, and two world wars, as well as the normal passage of time and evolution of technology. The Riedel upgrade was part of a massive renovation project that closed the De Munt Theatre for two years beginning in 2016.

“We had several key requirements for a modern communications system that could meet the needs of our staff and crew. We needed seamless, high-quality coverage of the complete facility. And because of the theater’s historic designation, the installation would have to be as unobtrusive as possible with a minimum of antennas,” said Karl Ancia, Project Leader, Théâtre Royal de la Monnaie. “Another critical requirement is an integrated intercom solution that works over our IP network and also in standalone mode for performances outside the theater, with wireless support for PCs and mobile devices. Riedel’s Bolero has exceeded our expectations on every single count.”

The new communications system spans two De Munt Theatre buildings and supports a staff of 180 crew members, including a 90-musician orchestra, set builders, costume and makeup personnel, and support and technical services. Equipped with AES67 cards, an Artist-128 matrix intercom mainframe enables a seamless AES67 connection over the theater’s IP network to six rack-mounted 2300 SmartPanels and one desktop 2300 SmartPanel. The SmartPanels enable agile routing and control of all intercom signals transported over the network. In addition, SmartPanel “virtual panel” apps enable up to 56 Mac, PC, Android, or iOS devices to communicate with the system.

The Bolero wireless intercom system, consisting of 48 beltpacks and 12 antennas, is also integrated with the Artist matrix via the AES67 cards. Seven of the antennas are installed permanently to provide full coverage for the entire facility, with four additional antennas available for standalone use at outside performances. Outside broadcaster DB Video has also installed Riedel’s Artist on board its OB van for seamless production communications during live streaming of the theater’s events.

Bolero’s exclusive Advanced DECT Receiver (ADR) technology is a critical element in the installation, given the building’s historic status, the thickness of the walls, and the spread-out nature of the facility. With ADR, not only does Bolero provide outstanding reception from every needed location, but it requires fewer antennas for a less intrusive installation.

In the performance hall, the new intercom is a great improvement over the previous static system. With the new system, since the virtual panels can be viewed from offices or a laptop, tablet, or smartphone, users can program intercom configurations of any size and create subgroups as needed. Ambient noise during a performance is no longer a problem since the beltpacks can be programmed to eliminate it. A large advantage in a performance setting, especially for music, is Bolero’s extremely low latency – between 35 milliseconds and 38 milliseconds.

Another key feature is Bolero’s Bluetooth functionality, which enables users to answer calls from a mobile phone directly via the headset of the beltpack. This makes the intercom system a valuable tool in an emergency situation when outside first responders need to be engaged.

“I installed a Bolero Standalone system with 10 beltpacks in only 30 minutes – a fraction of the time I thought I would need,” sais Ancia. “But not only is Bolero extremely easy to use, its ability to operate in both integrated and standalone modes, plus native IP technology, gives us greater flexibility than ever before. IP networks are the wave of the future for communications and signal transport; therefore, Bolero gives us a future-proof solution.”

“The De Munt Theatre installation is a standout example of everything that is great about Bolero — seamless and crystal-clear communications in a large-scale and challenging environment, the flexibility to configure the intercom from any device, and the versatility to support any type of production, whether on-premises or at a remote location,” says Kristof Vanden Eynde, Riedel Belgium Sales Manager. “We are honored that Riedel solutions have played a key role in the modernization of this landmark, historic, and truly stunning theater – one of Belgium’s national treasures.”

Paris La Défense Arena
Riedel Communications’ MediorNet real-time media network, Artist digital matrix intercom, and Bolero wireless intercom are providing a comprehensive signal routing and communications backbone for Paris La Défense Arena, a showpiece domed stadium located in the famous La Défense business area west of Paris. MediorNet provides integrated, decentralized, and fully redundant signal distribution and processing throughout the 40,000-seat arena, which opened to much acclaim in October 2017. Through tight integration with MediorNet, Artist and Bolero enable flexible communications with crystal-clear audio quality.

One of only two multiuse domed stadiums in Europe, Paris La Défense Arena features moveable seating that enables it to be used for a variety of indoor sports and entertainment events at various capacities. The arena is the home venue for the French rugby union club, Racing 92, and will play host to gymnastics events for the 2024 summer games.

“Since the arena is state-of-the-art and groundbreaking in many ways, we needed nothing less than the state of the art in communications and signal routing technologies. Riedel was the obvious choice,” said Jean-Marc Poissenot, Chief Operating Officer, Paris La Défense Arena. “MediorNet is a powerful solution for handling the complexities of transporting, routing, and processing video and audio signals across the long distances spanning our arena. Plus, the combination of Artist and Bolero, with its unique Advanced DECT Receiver technology, delivers reliable communications that are immune to the multipath reflections you can expect in many stadium deployments.”

The decentralized MediorNet backbone enables Paris La Défense Arena to route any type of signal from any point in the stadium to any other point or points without requiring staff to reconfigure any cables. The network reduces single points of failure and creates operational efficiencies by enabling arena staff to place physical I/Os closer to where they are needed. In addition, MediorNet’s integrated processing capabilities include embedding/de-embedding, frame synchronization, video/audio delays, and a test pattern generator, reducing the need for single-purpose peripheral devices.

An Artist-32 digital matrix intercom mainframe enables robust and reliable crew communications throughout the arena. The Artist intercom supports 12 Bolero wireless beltpacks together with an RSP-2318 SmartPanel in the control room. With its integrated mic and speaker, each highly intuitive Bolero beltpack can also be operated as a wireless keypanel or as a walkie-talkie radio. Operators, administrators, and crew enjoy seamless communications workflows thanks to the integration of wireless and wired technology in a single decentralized system.

“Paris La Défense Arena is another outstanding showcase in Europe for Riedel technology, highlighting how our communications and real-time network solutions are able to fulfill even the most complex requirements of arenas and stadiums,” said Franck Berger, General Manager, France and Africa, Riedel Communications. “Bolero has proven to be a game-changer for wireless communications, especially when paired with the award-winning Artist, our multifunctional SmartPanel user interface, and MediorNet’s industry-leading signal transport and processing capabilities. This high-profile arena installation is just one more example of how unique and agile Riedel solutions really are, not only for sports broadcast but also for events and entertainment.”

Parliament of Catalonia
The Parliament of Catalonia in Barcelona has installed a comprehensive signal routing and communications backbone based on Riedel’s MediorNet real-time signal transport, processing, and routing technology, together with the Artist digital matrix intercom and Bolero wireless intercom. The new networking infrastructure is a core element in a multiyear HD upgrade of the Parliament’s video recording and broadcast capabilities.

The Parliament of Catalonia is the unicameral legislature of Spain’s autonomous community of Catalonia, occupying a historic, 300-year-old palace in Barcelona’s Ciutadella Park. Since 2002, the Parliament has been producing its own institutional television signal and making it available, free of charge, to media outlets.

For the wholesale migration of the video operation to HD, the Parliament had several complex requirements. Although the installation would initially be based on 1080i, the goal was to adopt technologies that could be easily migrated later to 1080p and 4K production in an IP-based operation. In addition, the signal distribution mechanism would need to support existing workflows in the Parliament building, which are based on nodes distributed throughout the facility and connected by fiber optics. The project hinged on the ability to transport large numbers of decentralized signals in an effective and financially viable way, with future-proof technologies that could serve the Parliament well for at least a decade.

“Even in the project’s early stages, it was clear that Riedel’s MediorNet would be perfectly suited to our needs in terms of flexibility, decentralization, and the ability to transport and route signals over fiber. MediorNet also gives us the guarantee of a smooth transition to IP in the future, with the reliability and proven success of a solution that’s well-established in the market,” said Daniel Rodriguez Carvajal, Audiovisual Technician, Parliament of Catalonia. “MediorNet’s ease of use, management, and plug-and-play capabilities are also big plusses. In fact, we think of MediorNet as a type of ‘Swiss Army knife’ – it’s incredibly versatile, and we have had absolutely no system failures since we went live with the new infrastructure.”

The Parliament of Catalonia’s massive decentralized 368 x 368 router consists of four MediorNet MetroN core routers and 36 MediorNet MicroN high-density media distribution network devices, 10 of which are configured as multiviewers with the Riedel MultiViewer App. The deployment also includes two Compact Pro stage boxes and four RockNet real-time audio distribution devices. The SMPTE 2110-30-based network integrates an Artist-64 intercom mainframe and Bolero wireless intercom, outfitted with 20 2300-SmartPanels to enable agile routing and control of all intercom signals.

Thanks to close collaboration between the Parliament audiovisual staff, the Riedel team, systems integrator Telefonica Servicios Audiovisuales, and Riedel’s partner Crosspoint, the new signal infrastructure was deployed in record time. Barely four weeks after the deployment began, the installation operated flawlessly for its first event, a ceremony to present the Parliament of Catalonia’s Medal of honor on the National Day of Catalonia. Essential to this production were the Artist wired intercom system, which also acted as a simple audio monitor, and the easy-to-use Bolero wireless intercom, which enabled the audiovisual staff to communicate seamlessly and reliably.

“Riedel’s MediorWorks interface is used on a daily basis for monitoring and controlling crucial operations within the Riedel distributed matrix at an engineering level, and it offers ease and immediacy in the technical monitoring and detection of errors that are vital to our operation,” said Rafael Ramón Martín, Image and Sound Technician for the Parliament of Catalonia. “Even with an electrical shutdown of the entire infrastructure, MediorNet just switches off and then switches back on, and everything works perfectly.”

Germany’s Adler Mannheim Ice Hockey Club
Adler Mannheim, the ranking champion in the German ice hockey league (Deutsche Eishockey Liga or DEL), has adopted Riedel Communications’ award-winning Bolero wireless intercom and Bolero S managed communication service for its 2019/2020 season. Bolero and Bolero S enable clear three-way communications between the goalie coach in the stands, the video analyst in the locker room, and the assistant coach on the bench for every Adler Mannheim game.

“As a top team in the DEL, we aim to be the technological pioneer in European ice hockey and have a deep commitment to technical innovation. To give one example, we have been using live tagging for video analysis for many years,” said Youri Ziffzer, Team Manager, Adler Mannheim. “Riedel is the ideal partner to ensure absolutely reliable communication between our coaching staff and video analyst. The Bolero solutions give us maximum flexibility, especially for away games, freeing our staff from having to worry about acquiring radio frequencies.”

For each Adler Mannheim game, the team uses live tagging technologies to analyze gameplay in real-time and distribute video recordings to the coaches’ tablet devices, enabling them to make informed tactical changes as the game progresses. The Bolero intercom enables the coaches to review and discuss relevant situations and make information immediately available to their colleagues on the sidelines.

“Ice hockey is the fastest team sport in the world. There’s no time for misunderstandings, and decisions have to be made extremely fast. That’s why crystal-clear audio quality is absolutely vital for our coach communications,” says Mike Pellegrims, Assistant Coach of Adler Mannheim. “With Bolero and Bolero S, we have absolute certainty that every detail and every instruction will be conveyed to our coaching team instantly and clearly.”

The home venue for Adler Mannheim and the Rhein-Neckar Löwen handball club is the SAP Arena in Mannheim, a multipurpose venue with a total capacity of 15,000 seats. In addition to ice hockey and handball, SAP Arena is used for many other sporting events and as a concert stage. Bolero is in use for more than 130 events a year, not only by coaching and event personnel but by SAP Arena facility technicians to facilitate efficient communication between different departments.

“In the SAP Arena, the assistant coach on the bench is often surrounded by 13,600 emotional, roaring fans,” says Niklas Rautenberg, Account Manager at Riedel Communications. “Given the noise levels and RF reflections, a closed arena is a very challenging environment for wireless communication. With the previous intercom, the Mannheim team often struggled with feedback and miscommunication — but these problems are now a thing of the past with Bolero.”

“Bolero is the pinnacle of professional wireless communication. When it comes to audio quality, connectivity and user-friendliness, I cannot think of anything better,” said Volker Jürgens, Head of Facility Management, SAP Arena. “We had the system set up once according to our wishes, and from then on, it was really plug-and-play — just plug it in and off you go.”