BMW & VW Benefit From Flawless Wireless Communications At The IAA

The IAA, or International Motor Show, in Frankfurt is one of the most  important annual events in the international car industry’s calendar.

This year, on the elaborate, split-level VW and BMW stands, Shure’s  flagship Axient system facilitated secure wireless communications to a  world-class, interference-free standard — continuing the proven  tradition of reliable performance provided by Shure at previous motor  shows.

As the IAA is one of the most important events in the car industry’s  calendar internationally, error-free operation is of paramount  importance.

In contrast to previous years, the leading car manufacturers held the  important press conferences announcing their new products on their own  exhibition stands, rather than making use of conference rooms elsewhere.

On the elaborate, multi-floor VW and BMW stands, secure, interference-free wireless communication was crucial.

Installation technology consultants IT AUDIO, as a subcontractor of  NIYU media projects, was responsible for implementing the audio  connectivity plan for all three of the BMW Group’s exhibition stands in  Hall 11.0 (BMW, Mini, and Rolls Royce). The practical realisation of the  audio infrastructure on these stands was carried out by various  contractors, with Lleyendecker handling the main part which was BMW. IT  AUDIO chose an Axient wireless system offering over 30 channels for  audio communications across the mainly split-level stands.

Eight RF channels were in use for the different presentation areas on  the manufacturers’ stands and for various interview applications. For  the evening events, which involved discussion chairpersons, prominent  guests and bands, 14-channel Axient systems and six channels of Shure’s  PSM 1000 in-ear monitoring were used, and for the all-important press  conference, these were expanded by a further eight channels of Axient.

IT AUDIO specified two AXT600 spectrum management units to monitor  the RF status in Hall 11.0, and both proved their worth at the press  conference, which featured countless ENG teams from all around the  world. "Administering the total of around 220 frequencies which were  assigned to the BMW stand, from about 500 to 720MHz, was down to us  alone," explains Miguel Augusto, service provider for Lleyendecker. "The  Spectrum Manager allowed me to switch the entire setup to secure  frequencies at a moment’s notice via ShowLink Remote Control: an  enormous advantage which no other system can offer. Axient also allows  us to raise or lower the output power at will. Normally, we work at the  10mW setting, but at evening events, when speakers move around on stage,  we can adjust the power output as we wish with the system still  running."

"We equip the key management representatives with dual wireless  transmitters for the press conferences and the evening events," explains  Til Schwartz. "That way, we always have a backup via the system’s  Frequency Diversity mode in case of technical failures or other  unforeseen occurances."

Shure’s Axient system was also chosen by those responsible for audio  at Volkswagen’s stand in Hall 3.0, namely audio consultants Hansjörg  Wenzel from FILMTEC Media and Hagen Weigel, Head of Technical Projects  at Winkler Multi Media Events. A total of ten channels of Axient were  used on the VW stand. At the main press conference, the three key  speakers were also equipped with wireless transmitters operating in  frequency diversity mode.

In the run-up to the show, external service provider Thomas Meyer  calculated for Riedel that about 350 wireless frequencies would be  required for all of Volkswagen’s events at the IAA, including the Audi  Hall, which was specially erected in the exhibition’s Inner Atrium. "In  some areas, the available frequencies were used pretty much to capacity  due to the extensive use of wireless telex, translation, telemetry and  Steadycam systems," explains Hagen Weigel. "And of course, there were  always reporting teams using unregistered equipment, which you can never  plan for. But with Axient, I can always fall back on switching  frequencies automatically without anyone even realising what I’m doing!"  he concludes.

"Compared to the previous IAA, two years ago, the number of wireless  channels required by BMW Group has almost doubled — particularly as the  main press conference in 2013 did not take place on the BMW stand  itself, as it did this year," comments Til Schwartz, Managing Director  of IT AUDIO. "What’s more, this year we had to include wireless tour  guide and translation systems, which also use up RF spectrum. There  wasn’t much in the way of spare frequencies on-site — it was a  challenging environment. But Axient proved a match for the situation  without any problems."

"The International Motor Show always presents great challenges in  terms of wireless frequency management, particularly during the press  conferences when things can really start to sizzle," comments Jens  Stellmacher, Project Manager at Shure Distribution. "Apart from the  manufacturer’s requirements, many additional frequencies are needed for  the newsgathering teams and video crews. In conjunction with frequency  diversity mode, Axient’s interference detection & avoidance function  guarantees flawless operation, even in this kind of demanding RF  environment."

Besides BMW and Volkswagen many other car manufacturers employ Axient  at the IAA; in total, there were around 100 channels of the flagship  analogue system in use at the show.

Gear List
Model Number Quantity Description
Axient Wireless management network offers a spectrum management suite to integrate spectrum analysis, channel allocation, and device management.
PSM 1000 An unprecedented combination of audio and RF performance for the most demanding professional monitoring applications.