Liberty Revived - AvNetwork.com

Liberty Revived

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Evelyn Hill selected Samsung’s 40-inch MD-C Series LED-direct lit commercial displays for its digital menu boards at the renovated Crown Café on Liberty Island. The café serves more than 600 guests an hour and the menu boards have improved the service flow.

When Superstorm Sandy made landfall on the East Coast on October 29, 2012, Liberty Island was hit hard, with the storm surge flooding 75 percent of its 12 acres.

While the Statue of Liberty itself survived the storm unharmed, many of the facilities that supported the iconic attraction took a heavy beating, resulting in the closure of the island to visitors for more than eight months.

For Evelyn Hill, the official food and retail concessionaire for Liberty Island and several other National Park Service monuments, the closure was devastating. “The eight months that the Statue of Liberty was closed was a tough time for us all,” said Brad Hill, president of Evelyn Hill. According to a park service report, 3.7 million people visited the Liberty Island in 2011, generating $174 million in economic activity and supporting 2,218 jobs.

While the lengthy closure of the Statue of Liberty hurt Evelyn Hill financially, it did provide the company the opportunity to move ahead with a planned redesign of the popular Crown Café. “On the positive side, it allowed us to do the renovation without interfering with visitors,” Hill said. “We were very excited to create a new, contemporary environment.”

As part of the renovation, Evelyn Hill sought to utilize the latest digital signage technology to present café menus and promotions in a dynamic, attractive, and cost-effective manner. The company was an early adopter of digital signage, first installing flat-panel displays at one of its Liberty Island cafes in 2004, and later integrating dynamic video walls when the Liberty Gift Pavilion was constructed in 2010.

“When we partnered with Evelyn Hill to install those first digital signs, each display needed a dedicated PC to serve the content,” recalled Glenn Polly, president and CEO of VideoSonic Systems. “By 2010, technology had evolved so we were able to use Samsung LCD displays with content run off external media players.”

When Evelyn Hill approached VideoSonic to discuss the AV outfitting for the renovated Crown Café post-Superstorm Sandy, Polly knew that they would be looking to push boundaries and further streamline their digital signage. The Crown Café menu boards and digital signage would need to be vibrant, slim, and elegant to fit with the modern interior of the renovated café. They had to be energy-efficient to conform with Evelyn Hill’s strong emphasis on environmental sustainability. And, lastly, they needed to be easy to manage and enable automated content updates.

Evelyn Hill selected Samsung’s 40-inch MD-C Series LED-direct-lit commercial displays for its digital menu boards at the Crown Café. A total of 10 displays were installed above the nearly 50-foot span of the service counter. Additionally, the café features three 40-inch displays at the entrance while a number of 22-inch LED-backlit Samsung displays were installed in portrait format on pillars along the queuing line, displaying promotional menu items interspersed with fun facts and trivia about the Statue of Liberty to keep guests engaged.

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The Crown Cafe is taking full advantage of Samsung MagicInfo’s “day-parting” capabilities, scheduling automatic updates to promote specific menu items throughout the day and have the displays power down on time at the end of the day. Plans are also under way for new content, including employee-focused messages before the café opens and information for guests on the organic foods the café offers.

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To mount this variety of panels, Polly explained, “we used Chief MTMU for the landscape, and MTMPU for the portrait. The 22-inch Samsung LCDs are installed in pylons that velvet ropes are strung between, like a line in the bank, only the pylons have video on both sides. There are four pylons total.”

Videosonic also updated the background music system in the renovation, using Bose DS16F speakers with a Bose DXA2120 mixer amplifier. The Crown Café subscribes to Muzak for music content.

For video content, Videosonic relied on the Samsung Smart Signage Platform that arrives integrated via an embedded system-on-chip media player that resides directly on the MD-C Series display’s circuitry board. As Polly explained, this not only reduces hardware costs but also results in savings in installation and provides a cleaner design. Other advantages of the system-on-chip media player include less maintenance and display downtime due to fewer potential points of failure, and reduced power consumption.

The MD-C Series also comes preloaded with Samsung’s MagicInfo software, a management tool which that enables any non-professional user to schedule, play, and update display content simply and conveniently. “MagicInfo is very powerful,” said Polly. “It’s user-friendly and easy to grasp. It delivers dynamic content that can change depending on time of day and guest traffic. It can be programmed ahead of time, and managed from anywhere.”

The Samsung MagicInfo Lite content management software has allowed Hill to add “AV Manager” to the many hats he wears, updating content from his PC and sending it out instantly to all the displays. The Crown Cafe is taking full advantage of MagicInfo’s “day-parting” capabilities, scheduling automatic updates to promote specific menu items throughout the day and have the displays power down on time at the end of the day. Plans are also under way for additional, dynamic content for the displays, including employee-focused messages before the café opens and information for guests on the organic foods the café offers, nutrition, and Evelyn Hill’s environmental programs.

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