For more than 20 years, the Olympic-sized RiverRink skating rink has been a focal point one Philadelphia’s holiday traditions and provided the centerpiece of a ‘pop-up’ winter garden for 2014. RiverRink is also the site of the first US application of the Powersoft Deva messaging system that is promoting ‘smart city’ status.

RiverRinkFor the thousands of skaters that attend RiverRink each day, the Powersoft Deva system delivers up to 115dB of sound from a diminutive physical footprint while remaining completely energy independent. Two of the Deva units are also programmed to take photos of skaters at regular intervals. After the rink closes, the system, which is controlled over a wireless LAN, provides intelligent surveillance and active monitoring of the premises.

Live Sound Co handled design and integration of the system; ‘Our first installation of Deva is the culmination of our efforts with Powersoft, and its incredible engineering vision,’ says Live Sound Co President, Jeremiah Leiter. ‘When we turned the units on and they were working exactly as we hoped they would. We don’t just want to sell products to our clients, we want to help them solve problems. This is exactly what the Powersoft’s Deva enables us to do.’

The RiverRink installation comprises four Deva units mounted on steel poles on opposite sides of the skating rink. A fifth Deva unit is mounted on a pole and directed towards the entrance of the rink. Each unit comprises an active loudspeaker, an interactive messaging system, high-powered LED lighting, an FM tuner, built in GPS, presence sensors, Wi-Fi and other intelligent features.

‘As far as I know, there is no other product on the market that combines such a compelling feature set,’ says Live Sound Co COO, Nik Mondo. ‘The icing on the cake is that it can be solar powered and has a built-in battery. This means that you don’t have to worry about the typical power restrictions that might be faced in other scenarios with competing products.’

RiverRinkWhile the RiverRink installation was initially set up as a proof of concept, to demonstrate Deva’s features and functionality, Mondo is confident that the council will soon find other ‘smart city’ applications for the unit: ‘I would like to see Deva installed alongside the trails along the Delaware River, all the way to South Philadelphia,’ he says. ‘Such a system could provide messaging and an added measure of assurance and security for pedestrians, especially in areas where there is not a lot of lighting or public infrastructure.

‘Security is such an important consideration for just about any metro area,’ he continues. ‘On this product, there is a light, a camera, an FM tuner, a motion sensor and a speaker all in one. So, if somebody walks in front of the unit, it can trigger a predefined message – or it can photograph surroundings at predefined intervals. All of this activity can be monitored from any location via the network.’

Deva’s intelligent design carries through to its ease of installation: ‘We can install each unit in about seven minutes,’ says Mondo. ‘The mounting and set-up is simple – exactly what you would expect from Powersoft. The power is supplied via solar panels, which are clamped to the truss above each unit.’

‘As engineers, designers, installers and integrators, we are used to dealing with complex levels of components, software and other considerations to make things work right,’ says Leiter. ‘Deva is a joy for us because it is so easy to get it up and running – all the functionality you could ask for is at the ready for the end-user.’

Once up and running at RiverRink, Deva’s audio quality did not disappoint: ‘When we first fired it up and played music in the rink, all the audio engineers and staff had smiles on their faces. The audio was crisp, clear and articulate,’ Mondo says. Initially, he was concerned that the four Deva units would not cover the 98-ft x 200-ft rink space. ‘I was extremely worried that four units may not cover all that space,’ he recalls ‘To my surprise and excitement, they audio covered the entire rink with ease and even bled out into other areas beyond the rink when we needed it to.’

Having completed its first Deva installation at RiverRink, Live Sound Co is eager to approach other new markets with Powersoft’s latest solution, which is among the first to combine such features in a physically compact and ecologically minded design. New markets and potential applications include amusement parks, zoos, campus environments and other city municipalities – all of which could likely benefit from Deva’s interactive messaging and security features. ‘We really believe in this product since it represents a potential solution for so many things,’ says Leiter. ‘We have an open invitation for any city official in the US to visit us in Philadelphia to preview what these units could do in their own cities.’

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