Occupying the south-west quadrant of Abu Dhabi’s waterfront on Corniche Drive, the Emirates Palace Hotel consists of a central palace for dignitaries and two wings on either side containing a 300-plus room luxury hotel. Other facilities in the seven storey complex include a council chamber for 300 dignitaries, a 1,200 seat auditorium and a ballroom that can seat 2,000 people.
Bond Communications designed and installed what is probably the world's largest and most advanced hotel integrated multimedia system to date offering guests a futuristic environment, in keeping with the overall standards set by this magnificent new hotel.
The most advanced technology has been introduced in all 390 rooms and suites inside the Emirates Palace allowing the guests to control everything from the interactive Multimedia systems and in room entertainment, viewed on the 755 Plasmas, to lighting, air conditioning, personal computers, internet access and room service/butler call by pressing on-screen demand buttons of a wireless remote control touch panel allowing guests to access any of the integrated systems.
Bond Communications' also designed and installed the most advanced digital dynamic signage, public area and auditorium audio visual, voting and translation equipment, and in room guest entertainment.
In the 1200 seat auditorium, special matrix programming was undertaken involving the writing of custom software to ensure tamper-proof ease of operation for the systems manager and its’ various users. Handling a total of 118 inputs and 117 outputs routed around the auditorium on two discrete networks, a third network is also used for control purposes. A control screen can be recalled at either of the rack locations or on a laptop placed by the mixing console, allowing the user to select one of the 95 possible system channels for mixing to each individual loudspeaker. Selection and naming of these channels is controlled by an external program which allows single point changing of names, unlike the standard software, whilst different configurations are saved as user presets for later recall. Each loudspeaker symbol also has a signal presence indicator incorporated to show which devices are active at any one time.
Control of a router and automatic microphone mixing is available for simple conference events, whilst individual mixes can be configured for feeding into the translation system for interpreters, as well as program feed into the technician’s communication system and for the Back of House and Front of House show relay/ paging feeds. The microphones are directly fed to the mixer via shielded multicore, and then from the mixer the audio path goes directly into a cab 16i adjacent to the mixer to the breakout boxes adjacent to the speakers.
The auditorium was acoustically treated and designed with the loudspeakers specifically hidden from view. The stage has a fixed screen on either side, incorporating twelve (12) speakers concealed by non-acoustically treated fabrics in its’ outer design. Four subwoofers provide extended low frequency reinforcement from below the stage, whilst six (6) full range speakers combat the delays further back from the stage in the theatre. Thirty (30) speakers are fixed in the walls of the auditorium to provide surround sound.
For the cinema audio system, Bond Communications team built a mobile tower on wheels, which resides backstage out of view when not in use incorporating three (3) horn-loaded cinema speakers powered by nine (9) amplifiers giving the cinema audio a good boost. The towers can also be easily dismantled. The control room in the wings of the theatre hosts a series of amplifiers that power fifty line relay speakers installed throughout the back of the house for stage announcements. The interpretation system used for delegates during conferences is a 16-channel digital system hosting 24 delegate microphones and a wireless voting system. All the audio equipment has been installed to allow the operator to control the audio via a PC, including all the equalisation and crossovers. However, for the larger events, there are two fully loaded racks, with four (4) compressor / limiter, a reverb. Additionally, 24-track Hard Disk recorder was installed to record all the languages from the system and a playback system was opted for in addition to eight wireless microphones.
A total of 572 high quality audio ceiling speakers, which individually incorporate an 8” woofer with a 1” tweeter, were installed throughout the hotel.
The main ballroom has been divided by three floor-to-ceiling screens, which can be drawn back for larger events such as conferences and larger banquets of around 1,000 guests. Located in the overhead control room at the top of the ceiling, 8.5 metres above the ballroom floor, the audio from the playback system is fed through six (6) eight channel mixers, before being volume controlled. Six, six-way stereo distribution amplifiers then splits the signal into the twelve 8-channel amplifiers with fifteen DBX Driverack 260’s providing signal processing, before being passed out to the 90 ceiling speakers. The projections, VHS, TV, cameras for events, satellite receiver and of course, the sound are all controlled by the touch screen controller.
The main stage, located at the opposite end of the ballroom from the control room, hosts another discrete PA. Two arrays each consisting of six line array cabinets and three subwoofers built into the adjacent walls and once again concealed by acoustically transparent cloth are powered by twelve amplifiers. A 24-channel console provides sound mixing for such events, whilst a combination of three diversity receivers can be used for handheld, and headset microphones.
The Special Meeting Chamber (SMC) consists of an inner circular table seating Eight GCC dignitaries and a larger outer circular table for twenty-two Arab League representatives. This layout is concentrically ringed by seating for foreign ministers and secretaries, for which the sound is relayed via eight cabinets, installed in a hexagonal pattern on the ceiling above the main dignitaries in the centre. Four amplifiers power these loudspeakers, whose signal has been supplied from the same combination as in the ballroom. Signal processing is handled by equaliser / limiter, another console has been installed for larger functions. A digital system can translate as many as eight different languages while a digital vote system handles voting capabilities whose results are relayed to large Plasma screens for the main audience to see. Fourteen receivers have been provided, allowing the audience members the opportunity to question the politicians following a meeting.
There are a total of thirty-three meeting rooms on Level 4, each capable of accommodating approximately thirty people for presentations and seminars. Each room hosts an impressive catalogue of A/V equipment to cater for a function’s every need – VHS and DVD players with a Mini Disc networked to an amplifier, touch screen network integrated controller and a six-channel microphone mixer complemented with two microphone receivers. A state of the art unit projects visuals onto a large automated screen, both of which are lowered from the ceiling by remote control.
Away from the auditorium, ballroom, SMC and meeting rooms, Bond Communications installed eight audio processing units in the main reception areas of the hotel. The processing includes preamp, fader, mute and polarity control, parametric EQ, crossover filters, compressors, gates, limiters and an automatic mic mixer in addition to other functions. The equivalent analogue processing equipment would easily fill several racks, but the Bond solution only measure one rack unit in height and can be conveniently hidden in podiums and lecterns. The audio for the coffee shop, reception area, Havana Club, Italian and seafood restaurants, piano bar and VIP room are all controlled via PC.
The royal suites located on the seventh floor of the hotel, is arguably where the main political decisions are made before the assembly gathers downstairs in the SMC for a more public viewing. The palatial settings and ambience are completed on the A/V side by huge plasma screens and EVID speakers, which are powered by amplifiers and processed by graphic equalisers in a nearby control room. Each of the 335 rooms and suites below this floor are all equipped with 50” plasma screens, 6” ceiling speakers, amplifiers and touch screen control system, which allows the guests to do almost everything from ordering room service to satellite TV.
The state-of-the-art Guestroom Interactive Television and Video-on-Demand (VOD) solution drives a revolution in delivery of high-quality infotainment system offering a broad spectrum of information and entertainment services; wide selection of television channels, on-demand movies for guests to view at their own convenience with ability to pause, rewind, fast forward, and interactive guest services combining instant delivery of guest messages, bill view, hotel information portal, wake-up call, Internet, games etc. The simple-to-navigate user interface allows guests to easily access all facilities with a smart, wireless touch panel provided in each room. The system seamlessly integrates with other hospitality systems including property management system, building management, digital signage etc. A powerful and highly scalable guestroom multimedia solution offers simultaneous 798 video streams at 6Mps.
The Emirates Palace is a wonderful hotel offering the most sophisticated facilities in the region, if not the world,” said Nicholas William Mobayed. We needed to make sure we could offer the best technology performance and integration available. The Bond solution fits these criteria because it can be personalized and also allows for video recording capabilities on a large scale. Most importantly, it easily handles the business and operational challenges for a hotel of this magnitude. This will work well with the advanced multimedia system Bond developed, which is the largest ever in the hospitality industry."
Integrated with the Guestroom video services interface, Timeless TV allows hotel guests to capture 50 TV channels in real time with the ability to record, pause, rewind and fast-forward through live video. In addition, hotel will use the platform to deliver multimedia conferencing facilities to the 390 guest rooms at the ultra-luxury hotel.
The most advanced and the largest Digital Signage solution comprises of 215 signage displays, a combination of interactive and non-interactive displays utilizing hotel’s wired and wireless network. The latest in media communication and advertising technology uses attention-grabbing targeted multi-media messaging to communicate effectively with the hotel guests and visitors. The non-interactive signage is fully integrated with hotel’s conference booking system to automatically display event information on the right signage display and at the right time. The non-interactive signage displays are utilized for in-house advertisement when idle. The way-finding interactive displays offer guests and visitors to easily orient themselves and gain information about the hotel or the conference center. The system provides hotel users with creative freedom to mix a variety of media with dynamic data; text, graphics, animation and video that can be seamlessly combined to make information shine. The contents are continuously changed and updated within minutes ensuring up-to-date and accurate information at all times. A fully customizable digital signage solution, allows properties to promote their brand while delivering a unique viewing experience to their customers.
The system seamlessly integrates with other hotel systems: displays day’s events on the guestroom plasma utilizing hotel’s SMATV system, integrates with building management system (BMS) to trigger evacuation alerts and overrides relevant displays with pre-defined route to the nearest emergency exit.
Bond’s responsibilities also included close coordination with the specialist Architectural Consultant for design and supply of decorative frames needed to house LCD displays.