Orpheus theater upgrades voice evacuation

The life safety system is one of the most important pieces of technology in any public building. As one of the five largest theaters in the Netherlands, Theater & Concert Orpheus takes the responsibility for the safety of its visitors very seriously in its three halls with a capacity between 242 and 1286 seats as well as the affiliated restaurant. When it became time to replace its aging evacuation system with one that would meet the latest safety standards, Bosch Praesensa was the obvious choice.

The requirement was to upgrade the current solution to meet the necessary regulatory requirements for public buildings and ensure it received the required EN certification. It is in this kind of mid-to-large application that Praesensa sets a new industry benchmark. As an advanced and extremely cost-efficient fully IP-based system, featuring a smart-power concept and integrated redundancy, it is perfect for both centralized and decentralized network topologies.

The main challenge for the theater was the integration of the house PA and background music system with the voice evacuation system. The aim was for a solution that would give the theater complete control over all of its Dante-based audio facilities from one interface. Achieving this aim relied on Praesensa’s built-in OMNEO* networking architecture. OMNEO is an IP-based architectural approach to connecting devices to exchange information such as audio content and device control. OMNEO is able to seamlessly integrate with Dante networks ensuring the voice evacuation system and the communications operate together.

Making the connection

One of the key parts to this project was ensuring the systems were integrated without infringing on the functions of the evacuation system. The evacuation system needed to be able to completely take over from the house PA and background music system in the event of an emergency, but also give sufficient flexibility on the background music channels when the system is in normal operation.

With OMNEO facilitating Dante audio, the result delivered exactly what the theater wanted to achieve. It has given the user full flexibility on the various audio routings within the venue. A 32-channel Dante matrix sits at the heart of the solution, allowing the user to manage the entire house system without affecting the Praesensa public address and voice evacuation system.

“The main deciding factor in this project was the requirement for IP-based linking,” says Henry Bax from Connect AV. “The evacuation alarm system also had to meet high audio quality standards, because the different zones and loudspeakers are also used for various activities in the venue.”

To add an extra level of complexity to the project, the switchover needed to be done while the venue was operational. Again, this was an area where the functionality of Praesensa proved to be advantageous. Thanks to this choice, Connect AV BV – the systems integrator responsible for the project – was able install the new solution while also keeping the original solution working as a backup.

The result is a complete success, with a combined solution that delivers exactly what the client required. “Due to the very good cooperation between all involved parties, the migration went very well, without hiccups,” concludes Bax. “The goal of upgrading the evacuation alarm system to the latest regulations have been achieved, so that an inspection certificate could be issued.”

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Rebecca Morpeth Spayne,
Editor, Security Portfolio
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