Beyond Network Solutions are a networking, AV, and communications company with live events in their DNA. Fronted by George Kostopoulos and Ben Gore, both have extensive experience in live production, with George a specialist in video, and Ben in audio. Born out of a lack of holistic IT services for live events, Beyond handle network and Wi-Fi deployment for festivals and other complex events, ensuring production, ticketing, catering, marketing and every other service on-site is logged on and ready to go.
With the recent increase in demand for drive-in, socially distant, or live streamed gigs, Beyond went in search of a fit-for-purpose, affordable, and reliable way to broadcast audio to an audience, and came to the conclusion that audio over Wi-Fi via Listen Everywhere was the way to go.
With the benefits of being BYOD, license free, scalable, customisable, and not reliant on an internet connection, Beyond’s basic Listen offering can connect up to 1,000 users to high-quality stereo audio, and more users can be added if required.
The tech core of Beyond’s Wi-Fi audio system is the Listen Everywhere LW-200P-08 eight-channel server. In addition to being able to run eight separate audio channels, the free app that receives the audio can be customised with branding and run ads and special offers that don’t interrupt audio.
“After extensive testing, we determined that Listen Everywhere is an incredibly good product,” says George Kostopoulos. “It’s such a user-friendly app, and doesn’t just do audio. With the ability to run marketing banners, you can do things like offer your audience ‘$5 off catering when you show this ad.’ And the multichannel audio capability means you can have simultaneous translations of speech running, and the user can select which language they want to hear.”
Listen Everywhere LW-200P-08 eight-channel server
With so many live streamed gigs relying on platforms originally intended for video conferencing, George was sure there was a better way. “These web concerts all using Zoom just didn’t make sense to me,” he observes. “Not only do you have to rely on an internet connection, there’s the delay, and the extra hassle of meeting numbers and passwords, not to mention the problem of people posting inappropriate things in chat.
“There’s just so many points of failure. FM is another technology often used on-site, but then you have the expense and hassle of licensing. We’ve seen all the problems and believe this is the solution.”
With a solid backbone of enterprise grade Ruckus and Ubiquiti IT hardware, Beyond Network Solutions have both the gear and knowledge to roll out complex high-density networks on any site. “Most production companies don’t have all the IT hardware that you need to support site-wide implementation of technologies like Listen Everywhere,” elaborates George.
“We focus on high-density networking. There’s a lot of configuration and custom settings of access points that need to happen for a network to function properly. For example, you need to understand how both data and Wi-Fi actually works. Wi-Fi sits on the most inefficient radio frequencies you can use, and it chews up bandwidth and resources.
“You have to be across all of your VLANs and subnetting to ensure your network can handle the speed and density of IP addresses being handed out in a short amount of time, make sure there’s no conflicts, and not create too much traffic. There’s also a lot of optimisation that needs to happen to ensure that devices automatically connect to their nearest access point, not one on the other side of the site.”
Beyond Network Solutions offer a full-service on-site deployment, including pre-event preparation. “We help with things like pre-show marketing to attendees,” illustrates George.
“Communicating and encouraging them to download the app before they get there. At the show, we’ll help with putting up QR codes and download prompts on LED screens around the venue, and provide simple ‘1-2-3’ instructions on how to get connected. If there are any issues on the day, we’re always there on site, we don’t just set up and leave!”
George also sees a huge market for Listen Everywhere as an installed product. “There’s so many applications for this technology,” he enthuses. “And it’s really easy to incorporate into any permanent installation that has a Wi-Fi network– just plug in an audio input and it’s ready to go.
“In these cases, we can help with custom branding and design for the app, and any upgrades or configuration of the Wi-Fi network. Listen Everywhere is so much more cost-effective and easier to deal with than FM and other broadcast technologies.”
CX Magazine – July 2020
LIGHTING | AUDIO | VIDEO | STAGING | INTEGRATION
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