Las Vegas is known for going big. From sports arenas to the attractions along the Las Vegas Strip, what happens in Vegas is clearly something you won’t forget. So, it’s fitting that one of the largest AV-over-IP installations in the world can now be found at the first ground-up resort to be built on the Las Vegas Strip in more than a decade: Resorts World Las Vegas, which resides on the former grounds of the famous Stardust Resort and Casino.
The near 88-acre, $4.3 billion property—which includes the Las Vegas Hilton, Conrad Las Vegas, and Crockfords Las Vegas—includes more than 3,500 guest rooms and suites within the three separate hotel properties, a 5,000-seat theatre, two-story dining and retail promenade, and more than 40 high-end dining options. Designed to be one of the largest AV integrations found on the Strip, signals can be transmitted from anywhere on the property, including to a signature 100,000-square-foot LED screen, known to be one of the largest LED building displays in the country.
Richard Perks, director of AV infrastructure at Resorts World Las Vegas, was tasked with bringing together the right group of partners to take the AVoIP project from concept to fruition. He selected Technology West Group of Las Vegas, a leader in customized AV systems, to manage the project and lead the design of the AV system and network. With more than 2,000 PacketAV endpoints and 2,000 Q-SYS audio channels, the large-scale network was designed to perform.
Unique User Interfaces
Richard Reisig, vice president of Technology West Group, said the scale of the system is what sets it apart from other installs within the industry. “The number of endpoints continues to grow as we build out the system," he explained. "It’s a very large, purpose-built network designed to supply one gigabit of non-blocking bandwidth, end to end, to any location on the property with less than a millisecond of latency.”
The software-based Q-SYS platform was selected to support the large-scale centralized processing throughout the property, creating one-of-a-kind experiences for visitors within event spaces, common areas, and premium luxury suites. The network is powered by Q-SYS Core 5200 Enterprise processors, two of which are located within each hotel tower.
“The most radical departure from traditional AV is in the software interface,” said Shane Snell, project manager with Las Vegas-based integrator National Technology Associates, who was responsible for integration within the resort’s first-floor common areas. “They wanted to build a user interface that spread across the whole property. It’s very personal and we haven’t seen it in any other properties.”
Within the luxury suites, 12 different room types are available—and each guest room is outfitted with a fully automated system that includes ceiling loudspeakers, touchscreen controls, environmental controls, and AV distribution. Working in partnership with the One Touch Living integration team, a series of custom Q-SYS user control interfaces (UCIs) were developed to offer real-time visibility for each space.
Common areas, such as the gaming floor, hallways, elevators, and hotel lobbies, were part of the larger system, but had their own distinct requirements and needs within the network. Including Dante as a licensed feature made it easy to integrate additions to the network, including Bluetooth audio and DJ inputs.
“It’s the only place I know where all these different protocols actually live on the same set of switches,” said Scott Kalarchik, senior advanced applications engineer, QSC. “The network engineer figured out how to put everyone’s protocols on here, and it works perfectly for this.”
The open technology provided by Q-SYS enabled global programmers to make adjustments while allowing the in-house AV/IT team at Resorts World Las Vegas to easily learn and master the system. It was very important for the in-house team to fully understand the capabilities of the network and what it could support.
“This system is scaled up to encompass the whole property. We probably have the largest deployment done at one time and it all works as one large system,” said Perks. “It truly makes our jobs easier for such a large building.”
Separate But Connected
Of course, it wouldn’t be Las Vegas without thrilling nightlife amenities. The property includes a nightclub, social gaming, dining experiences, and more. When conceptualizing the network, these areas had to operate independently while also maintaining the ability to integrate with each other for special events. With these spaces being utilized by so many different people, it was important to make sure everything was not only functional, but also easy to use and control.
Keeping Q-SYS at the heart of the routing capabilities, integration company Solotech was tasked with using the open architecture of Q-SYS to customize a system that could easily integrate third-party devices to enhance the entertainment spaces throughout the property, providing a unique experience for each guest attending a concert or lounging out by the pool. “Every one of the bungalows and cabanas is almost its own individual proprietary AV deployment,” said Ben Baczenas, integration system designer with Solotech.
With the network allowing for multiple plugins to be readily available, Technology West Group needed to find a network-based video solution that could integrate well with Q-SYS and allow them to connect with anything on the property no matter the location. Visionary was brought on board to design custom solutions with PacketAV endpoints that offer internal device VLAN tagging, which is unique to Visionary—and critical due to the size and complexity of the network.
“It wasn’t just someone pushing their skews or forcing us to build a facility around their product,” said Reisig. “Visionary really jumped through and made new product for us, which was fun. I have never had a manufacturer help in that way.”
One of the custom solutions Visionary created was the Bluetooth-enabled PacketAV Duet Wall Plate Encoder, which combined Dante/AES67 audio embedding and de-embedding with 4K UHD video over a single gigabit Ethernet port. “At the time, it was the only wall plate with Dante audio integration,” said Scott Freshman, Visionary COO. “At the time, it was analog input and they asked if we could change it to Bluetooth to save them from putting port drops separately next to each wall plate.” This flexibility was a game changer and allowed Technology West Group to reduce overall power consumption, number of ports, and costs related to integrating two products instead of one.
When collaborating with so many partners on a project of this scale, issues are bound to arise. But Q-SYS commended Perks on bringing together a group of partners that made the process fairly seamless, especially when you consider working through a global pandemic, among other challenges.
“A job like this doesn’t happen without something going wrong. There is always something you don’t foresee. But we had the people and teams in place to talk it out and actually work through it. There was no finger pointing. Things just happened,” said Kalarchik.
As a robust network built on Q-SYS and Visionary technology, Perks is confident the system can accommodate growth and adapt to new or changing system requirements. “We have a lot of opportunity to add newer technology as it becomes available,” said Perks. “I think we’re pretty well poised to be able to do anything we need to do now and in the imminent future.”