Bell Ice Cube Pushes Limits of Technology

Bell Ice Cube Pushes Limits of Technology

Creating an Immersive Experience with Digital Signage

Bell, one of Canada’s largest communications companies, wanted to provide the ultimate fan-zone experience with a dynamic, place-based media execution called the Bell Ice Cube. Housed in a 3000-square-foot temporary structure, the Bell Ice Cube allowed visitors to cheer and watch teams compete live in HD, get the inside scoop on their favorite athletes using interactive cubes or “Smart Cubes,” listen to live music, and mingle with some of the world’s best athletes, all under one roof.

“Bell wanted to create an experience that would allow the public to connect to the spirit of a great event in a way that no other place could offer,” says Kara Kingston, associate director, Sponsorship. “With more than 20 televisions, using 10 discrete HD feeds, plus our own dedicated live feeds, the Bell Ice Cube enabled visitors to view, interact, and learn within a magical environment, and was the natural meeting place for people coming into the center of the city.”

Scala Certified Partner Jigsaw Interaction edited video content and produced all of the motion graphic elements used on the cubes and around the Bell Ice Cube. diVA, Jigsaw’s custom software and hardware platform, was used to manage and assemble the entire interactive experience while working in tandem with Scala 5 via Jigsaw’s custom API. Scala 5 provided the reliable controllable HD media playback engine, and Scala 5 Network Manager provided valuable remote monitoring of the computer hardware and playback engine. Together, the two-way communication delivered the robust solution needed for all hardware and sensors to respond to the environment and user actions. The end result was a remotely monitored multi-dimensional user experience. Jigsaw also produced all the motion graphics and animation content that was used throughout the venue. They have over 11 years of experience creating content for digital signage networks and 15 years of working with Scala software.


Housed in a 3000-square-foot temporary structure, the Bell Ice Cube allowed visitors to cheer and watch teams compete live in HD, get the inside scoop on their favorite athletes using interactive cubes or “Smart Cubes,” listen to live music, and mingle with some of the world’s best athletes — all under one roof.

“In a project of this importance, there is simply no room for a solution that is not rock solid,” explains Shaun Mavronicolas, creative/technical director, Jigsaw Interaction Design Lab. “The combination of our diVA platform and Scala 5 gave us everything we could possibly need to use technology in an unrestrictive, creative way to deliver the kind of experience today’s audiences expect, without sacrificing reliability.”

Once inside, visitors had the opportunity to engage with the space while constantly being entertained and delighted by visual and physical stimuli. The center of the room hosted 12 22-inch Samsung LCD screens or “Smart Cubes.” The cubes acted as selfcontained interactive kiosks that responded to user’s simple hand hover actions, letting them select between three HD videos. The cubes also responded to visitors’ movements throughout the space. The LED illuminated white cubes would switch to a glowing blue cycle when someone was within a certain distance of it, and then back to white as they moved away. Sensors ensured a 360-degree detection radius. The visual result produced the illusion that the cubes “followed” visitors through the space.

When a user stood within two feet of the front of the cube, a special condition was met, the glowing cube would respond by turning to a solid blue. At the same time, on-screen content would switch from a screensaver type animation to a short 3-second visual animation. The animation showed the user where to hover their hand in order to select from a unique set of videos and where to plug in their ear buds. As the user walked away the cube would return to its default state. The Bell Ice Cube was a critical touch point in the heart of downtown Vancouver. It succeeded in transforming the ordinary into a powerful memorable experience.