Pliant Technologies CrewCom delivers communication solution for FirstOntario Centre

OVG360, which manages FirstOntario Centre and FirstOntario Concert Hall, recently upgraded its outdated intercom systems to enhance communication throughout the multi-purpose venues.

Head of Audio Michael Stewart worked in conjunction with AVL Media Group Sales Director Rob Poretti in selecting a precise intercom system that provides reliable communications across the spacious production venue.

After an off-site coverage test with Pliant Technologies’ CrewCom 900MHz wireless intercom system and a DECT-based wireless intercom from another manufacturer in order to compare overall performance, the choice was clear. Poretti explained: “I placed the CrewCom Radio Pack on my left hip, the DECT-based radio pack on my right hip and sent both devices program audio. I then went for a long walk down the street to test range and also how long it took to come back on-line after I was out of range.

I could hear that where the DECT dropped out, the CrewCom continued with great coverage, about 25 percent further. I then noticed once I was out of range, the CrewCom system re-reconnected right at the edge of coverage, but the DECT system, by comparison, had to come fairly close to the antenna to reconnect. CrewCom easily passed the test and I immediately called Michael and told him we found our solution.”

Once they had a chance to consult together in person, Stewart and Poretti conducted an RF coverage test at the venue and the duo was immediately sold. Shortly after, AVL system integrator partner Solotech, supplied both the theater and arena with CrewCom Radio Packs, SmartBoom Headsets, and CrewCom Control Units. Additionally, both buildings house multiple CrewCom radio transceivers to ensure coverage where needed.

With an extensive history as two of Canada’s premiere entertainment venues for decades, the theater and arena are solid-built structures comprised of a lot of concrete and steel building materials. “We have many areas that make it difficult for much of our RF to get through, and those solid walls could also impede the wireless intercom also, so Pliant being a 900MHz system with its excellent RF propagation was extremely important for us,” said Stewart.

For the OVG360 production team, it was also vital to have a communication system that was consistently reliable. “When production is communicating with the intercom system, it’s as much a safety tool as it is communication,” added Stewart. “Even just one mistaken cue during a risky act could be disastrous. That’s why I take the quality of the audio very seriously. Our CrewCom system gives us the audio quality and the range to ensure safe productions.”