Merging Back and Front of House, XOS Creates Media-Scape for Indiana Basketball
Indiana University has one of the nation’s richest basketball histories, and, beginning in May, that history will be fully digital. Through a partnership with design firm Downstream, XOS Digital has digitized IU’s new basketball facility, Cook Hall. The project involves providing upgraded video rooms and XOS coaching software throughout the facility, as well as connectivity to the new interactive design elements inside Legacy Court, the public area of Cook Hall that houses a hall of fame celebrating the history of Indiana basketball.
“In the public areas, we very much wanted to make sure that people could enjoy the rich tradition of men’s and women’s basketball that means so much to people in the state,” explains Chuck Crabb, assistant athletic director for facilities at IU. “The minute our fans walk in the building, we want them to say ‘wow.’ We’re not just talking about an X’s and O’s operation; we actually have integrated our entire historic presentation in our public area, Legacy Court. The wow factor is there.”
A Flexible Hall of Fame
To bring IU basketball history to life, XOS and Downstream created three fan-facing elements in Legacy Court: an interactive player database and two coaches’-era cases with interactive elements, celebrating the Bob Knight and Branch McCracken eras. Currently, those elements are tied into a photo database, but, because XOS is the technology and A/V integrator for the entire building, connecting the Legacy Court elements to the coaches’ video suites and archives is relatively simple, once Indiana gives the green light.
“They are working through those issues, as far as what they’re going to do from a database perspective,” says Bryan Bedford, director of business development for the Integrated Solutions Group at XOS. “The plan right now is to provide some flexibility so, if they want to move into doing some video, they have the choice to do that. From a technology perspective, that’s the easy part. We have done that for some other projects.”
XOS also designed the consolidated equipment center that enables IU video staff to control program scheduling, volume, power supply, and system modifications to all three interactive displays at the same time.
One of the biggest challenges with this project, Bedford points out, is trying to make decisions in the middle of basketball season. Now that both teams have wrapped up their seasons, the IU staff will have a chance to turn more attention to the facility and begin deciding where to add more video into the Legacy Court project.
Back to the Front
Bedford describes the technology in Cook Hall as front-of-house meets back-of-house.
“We’re leveraging all of the back-of-house technology with the recruiting-brand experience,” he says. “[The IU team] really saw the vision of being able to have flexible media-scapes in the branded areas, so we were able to leverage the infrastructure and internal video room to be able to service the whole building.”
The internal-video-room infrastructure now comprises twice as many video workstations for both men’s and women’s basketball as were previously available. XOS has also upgraded the video rooms for both the men’s and women’s teams and inside the video coordinators’ offices.
“In each of those areas, they’ve got servers, our Thunder systems to break down game film from a basketball perspective, numerous routers, and headend racks of equipment,” Bedford says.
Prior to beginning this project, the IU basketball video rooms were “in the bowels of Assembly Hall,” as Bedford describes it, “and it’s a DVR farm. Wires are spread everywhere, with guys capturing video in every nook and cranny.”
XOS worked directly with the architect in the early stages of planning the Cook Hall project and quickly determined that the space originally allotted in the building’s design was not adequate for the number of editing and viewing rooms the IU coaches wanted. Accordingly, the architects doubled the amount of space allotted for video for both the men’s and women’s teams.
When the project is complete, the men’s and women’s video areas will accommodate up to six edit stations, a matrix router, and an AMX control system to route and control video, so that graduate assistants will no longer have to manually program TiVos to record various games at 11 p.m. each night.
“Indiana is one of those schools that are power users when it comes to video,” Bedford says. “They see the benefit in that and how that allows them to prepare.”
Building the Brand With Technology
All together, the project will take about eight weeks to complete, although coaches will begin moving in before the process is finished.
“That holistic look and feel of Legacy Court is probably what I’m most proud of, that it really ties together and doesn’t look like somebody threw a flat panel in the corner,” Bedford says. “There is a real synergy between technology and the brand. People want their hall-of-fame–branded environments to be media-scapes more than graphic-scapes. You always need the next great IU player in that spot, and, if you had a flexible video palette, that could already be changed. We want to help clients stay current and flexible.”