Recognised as Australasia’s Leading Meetings and Conference Centre from 2012 – 2015 by the prestigious World Travel Awards, the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre is a one-stop-shop for creating and running a successful event. This includes amazing spaces, leading technology, creative food and wine, and staff with the skills and experience to bring it all together. Entrances to the multiple convention and exhibition spaces branch off a long foyer lined with modern architecture and angled windows looking out to the Yarra River.
Because of MCEC’s size and scope, there are often several events taking place within the venue at any given time. This means the long corridor is frequented by several people, each seeking their specific event of interest. Paul Rumble, Senior Manager Technology Services at MCEC, chose to integrate digital signage options to help direct foot traffic through the exhibition and convention halls’ shared foyer.
The shared foyer is pretty expansive — the kind of space that’d instantly dwarf a petite screen. Here, digital signage has to be big to make an impression. So they went big. 80 inches big.
“the Gilkon shroud is designed to lend digital signage a commanding presence as well as structural stability”
MCEC purchased two colossal 80-inch NEC commercial panels. To accompany them, Rumble approached Gilkon to construct custom enclosures (or shrouds) for both displays, having first seen Gilkon’s offerings at the Integrate 2015 expo.
Like a well-matched photo frame, the Gilkon monolith is designed to lend digital signage a commanding presence as well as structural stability. MCEC purchased two of them to house the NEC panels, both of which stand tall and proud in the entranceways of MCEC.
It’s not just the aesthetics that makes the giant enclosure what it is. Portability was a key requirement for MCEC’s needs — something Gilkon’s shrouds hadn’t featured previously. Though it posed a challenge making such a sizeable rig relocatable with anything less than a forklift, Gilkon built castors into the shroud that allow them to be easily and strategically placed wherever the most foot traffic will be concentrated. Power and Ethernet connections appear at spaced outlets all along the foyer to avoid long and ugly cable runs. Content is controlled centrally from MCEC’s digital signage software.
Paul Rumble: “Events here are layered over the top of each other. Peak business days mean we’ll have traffic that’s going to be centralised in one part of the building or the other. So we had to be agile enough to be able to cater for that. The fact that we’ve got two to cover this concourse means we can move them as we need to.”
The displays have another important purpose: “Recently we had one exhibition company that hired the whole convention centre, and they were able to utilise them to brand their events,” says Rumble. “The other thing we can do, because it’s all tied in with the signage system is, when there are no events in the venue, we can advertise our internal offerings like our new Shed café.”
Dale Arnull from Wilson & Gilkes’ AV Projects department says, “All the shrouds we make are custom. What made this one different was that it had to be mobile, and it had to be bigger than what we’ve made before. Our history of metal fabrication goes back a long way. We’re true innovators when it comes to producing quality products for the audiovisual industry.”