Audio specialist Sennheiser debuted its new MobileConnect streaming solution in the U.S. at a recent performance of Cirque du Soleil's spectacle production La Nouba, held in Downtown Disney during InfoComm 2015. During the event, Sennheiser hosted 50 top A/V consultants for an exclusive social gathering, followed by a demonstration of MobileConnect in the ultimate performance environment: a Cirque du Soleil stage.
The event was held against the backdrop of a record-breaking InfoComm exhibition that 'WOW'ed more than 39,000 attendees and A/V decision makers representing 108 countries around the world.
La Nouba, which is performed ten times a week in a custom-built theater that seats 1,650 patrons, has been running since 1998. During the performance on June 17, which coincided with InfoComm 2015, Sennheiser guests were invited to experience its new MobileConnect streaming solution first-hand. MobileConnect is an innovative technology designed to provide unprecedented capabilities and features to the hearing and visually impaired.
"When we approached Cirque du Soleil with our MobileConnect solution, they liked the concept of having their patrons utilizing their own devices and headphones," said Frederick Girard, sales director, system integration, at Sennheiser. "Even though they have assistive listening devices on site, our solution reduces the logistical challenges of picking up and dropping off these devices, while ensuring a positive theatrical experience for the hearing and visually impaired."
"Additionally, Cirque du Soleil's team immediately spotted potential interruptable foldback (IFB) applications and was eager to test MobileConnect's capabilities backstage, in the green room and other production areas," Frederick said.
Sennheiser guests were treated to dinner at House of Blues before being provided with a pair of headphones and instructions on how to download and use the MobileConnect, which takes just 2 minutes. "MobileConnect requires next to no training to use — it is a very simple solution that is easy to operate and understand," Girard said.
Among the A/V consultants on hand were Sergio Molho, partner and director of international relations for Highland, NY-based Walters-Storyk Design Group, a leading acoustic firm and audiovisual integrator.
"With its new MobileConnect technology, Sennheiser is helping theatrical productions, live sporting events, church services and other kinds of activities become more meaningful for people with disabilities," said Molho. "Our firm, WSDG, routinely handles installations at major sports facilities and theaters around the world. MobileConnect is a solution whose time has come, and we will be exploring possibilities to integrate this on our future projects."
During the La Nouba production, Sennheiser worked with Cirque de Soleil's production crew and FOH sound technicians to create two separate channels on the MobileConnect application: one capturing all of the stage microphones, the other capturing the stage microphones plus the production intercomm. The 50 attending Sennheiser guests were able to effortlessly toggle between both channels and listen to 'behind the scenes' production calls.
"I was personally very excited to look around and see our customers engaging the MobileConnect system," said Girard. "The low latency of the system, ease of use and flexible feature set worked flawlessly, as expected. Moreover, it seemed very natural for audience members to be using such a system — it was a genuine live test of the technology and everything seemed to fit."