At Texas’ newest indoor waterpark, The Cove at The Lakefront, exciting aquatic attractions are combined with a retractable roof and high-tech AV solutions to create an atmosphere unlike any other indoor waterpark in the country. The entire park’s audio and video is managed through a Control4 automation system, including a giant 30-foot-wide DVLED display that offers staff full control to respond to guest requests while ensuring important messages are broadcast to the right areas.
According to custom integrator Steve Withey, president and CEO of Elite AV Innovations, The Cove’s technology enables different TV and music to play across 18 video displays and 11 distinct audio zones, while rentable private cabanas and party rooms offer guests direct control of local content.
“With the ability to easily adjust music and TV content throughout the park, in addition to a public address system that can quickly override audio in specified areas, The Cove has full wireless control of the guest experience,” Withey said. “There’s no other attraction I know of where a family can relax in a private cabana with user-controlled TV and audio while watching real-time video of guests surfing in a FlowRider surfing pool projected on a 30-foot-wide DVLED display. It’s one-of-a-kind.”
The DVLED display was designed to stretch over the full width of the surfing pool, and it’s the first thing people see when they walk inside. Using the Control4 app on iPads or mobile phones, park staff can use the display as a single large screen or split it to broadcast two separate video feeds. One of the most popular uses of the display is to highlight people having fun in the park through the use of two interior-facing PTZ surveillance cameras that can focus on various areas, including the surf pool itself.
The public address system includes multiple microphones conveniently located throughout the building, as well as a wireless unit that can be carried around the park. When staff needs to make an announcement, they use a custom-programmed Control4 6-button configurable keypad to turn on the microphone, mute the music in desired audio zones, and then broadcast the microphone audio to only those areas.
Guests who rent private party rooms for birthdays and other occasions can use wall-mounted six-button keypads to select and control music, the TV and their own content using an HDMI connection. The private cabanas offer groups a convenient relaxation and meeting place with comfortable couches, a mini-fridge and an individually-controlled TV.
Knowing that user-operated remote controls in a waterpark is a recipe for wet remotes, Elite AV Innovations opted not to use expensive touch screen models in each cabana. Instead, they built a video distribution system with custom-labeled channels that enables the use of normal TV remotes. Utilizing nine cable boxes each tuned to a different channel, the system empowers The Cove to label all nine feeds with unique names, and then allow guests to choose a feed with the remote just like a normal TV station. This provides users control of local media without requiring direct access to the Control4 system.
Withey also made opening and closing the park simpler for staff by programming a button in the Control4 interface that automatically turns every TV and speaker on or off.
With so much technology involved in the park’s guest experience and daily operations, Withey needed a convenient way to troubleshoot minor issues such as periodically resetting equipment. Using a WattBox power conditioner with OvrC capabilities, he can receive push alerts for any issues and initiate power cycles from his office, his home, or wherever he might be without needing to travel to the park. It’s part of the main equipment rack, made by Strong, which is located in a closet on the mezzanine level where it’s protected from moisture and chlorine. The rack also includes a 10-inch Control4 touch panel that affords full access to the system.
“Ensuring the technology is always working is as essential to the park as ensuring there is always water in the pools,” Withey said. “Through OvrC, I’m able to detect and solve a number of common problems immediately regardless of where I am. Without this solution, we would have to send a technician for something as simple as resetting a TV or router, incurring unnecessary costs for both us and the park. I love not having to jump in a truck at 7 a.m. on a Saturday and drive 30 minutes to do two minutes of work.”
In addition to the interior cameras, the property features nearly two dozen exterior models that provide full surveillance coverage that can be viewed through any Control4 interface or the mobile app, giving the owners enhanced peace of mind no matter where they are.