|Transition to Barix’s Store&Play IP audio solution simplifies scheduling, playout of content for Group’s retail campuses|
The Dutchman Hospitality Group specialises in helping its guests slow down and enjoy the simpler things in life. Keeping with this philosophy, the company has turned to Barix to centralise its in-store radio programming on its core IT network, transitioning to the company’s Store&Play IP audio solution to simplify the scheduling and playout of content on three of its largest retail campuses.
Based in Amish country in rural Walnut Creek, Ohio, Dutchman Hospitality Group sought a unified solution to deliver audio programming across multiple buildings to maintain a consistent and pleasant customer experience — a feat that proved impossible with separate CD players and the “everyone’s a DJ” approach. The company put its IT contractor, Mark Greenawalt of Makarios Networks, in charge of finding a cost-efficient solution that would offer better control of the overhead music in each building.
“When we made the business decision to have a single source of overhead music on each campus, the challenge of distributing the audio seemed to require pulling new wires between each building,” said Greenawalt. “I discovered Barix Store&Play while conducting research, and discovered that their solution converts audio to data packets for network distribution, before converting back to audio at the playout point. Once I realised we could use our existing infrastructure, it became clear that transitioning to Barix would save a lot of time, labour and money. The devices are inexpensive, and the ease of setup made the overall transition very affordable.”
Since discovering Barix, Greenawalt has since transitioned Dutchman Hospitality Group’s Walnut Creek and Sugar Creek campuses, which include multiple buildings spread across large areas, featuring a mix of retail stores, restaurants and inns. In the Ohio town of Berlin, the company is streaming music from the Berlin Farmstead Restaurant to the Carlisle Country Inn a quarter-mile down the road, taking advantage of Barix’s flexibility in networking audio across separate, distant properties.
The Barix Store&Play solution is configured to minimise use of network resources, downloading programs for playback on a scheduled basis. The network architecture includes a central Instreamer device on each campus to encode audio into files for streaming over the network; and Exstreamer devices at each remote building to receive and decode the files back to high-quality audio. With fibre-optic connections and a Gigabit Ethernet backbone already in place, Greenawalt had the Barix system online and streaming audio across all assigned locations within days. The IP-addressable Barix solution has operated flawlessly, producing outstanding audio quality with exceptional reliability.
"The Barix receiving devices plug directly into our sound systems, instead of requiring investment in new amplifiers and loudspeakers"
“Being a musician, I have to say that I’m very impressed with the sound quality,” said Greenawalt. “But the ease of configuration and reliability is what really makes this special. The Barix receiving devices plug directly into our sound systems, instead of requiring investment in new amplifiers and loudspeakers. As one representative in a two-person IT department, having a low-maintenance solution is huge. It really is a set-and-forget system, with no wires to pull and no extra materials or components required.”
Looking ahead, Greenawalt expects that the Barix system will be used solely for the purpose of reliable background music distribution, but envisions opportunities to scale the network to additional locations on each campus as new services develop.
“The Barix IP audio solution strikes me as having an internet radio station for our own private campuses,” he said. “The sky is the limit in terms of where we can take it in the future. Considering its flexibility and ease of configuration, I’m not sure there is anything you can’t do with this system in terms of audio distribution if you are thinking creatively.”