The Immersive Technology Experience Centre (ITEC) is a unique, state-of-the-art hub that brings together the latest immersive audio, video, lighting, and media technologies. Created by d&b group, its aim is to provide hands-on experience for new projects, and to fuel collaboration and research and development. LED screens driven by Brompton Technology processing are a key component of the space.

Opening at the end of April, ITEC sits within London’s famous Science Museum. It comprises four distinct spaces. At the entrance is a control room which features a Samsung all-in-one 110” LED screen, flanked by up-and-over Recience LED creative light boxes powered by a Brompton Tessera S8 processor, along with a transparent screen dividing the Production Control Room from the lobby, along with a d&b Soundscape system.

The main Lab includes an XR studio with an LED volume comprising CreateLED 4K LED walls and ROE Visual LED floor, both of which are driven by Brompton Tessera SX40 processors housed within the visible Critical Equipment Room and connected via fibre to the LED wall in the Lab, where Brompton Tessera XD 10G data distribution units are also located. The facing wall features video projection, and an immersive lighting rig and d&b Soundscape spatial audio system complete the set up. Next door is the testing lab, a space where new products can be put through their paces, with a green screen that provides the ability to virtually insert people into the LED volume. Upstairs is a visualisation studio, which includes 28 d&b loudspeakers to create a three axis, full Soundscape system, along with a 4K LED wall, allowing for pre-production/visualisation and for clients to explore the worlds of object-based audio and Soundscape.

“The d&b group recognised the drive for increasingly immersive projects,” says Andy Hook, Director of Technology Strategy at d&b within their new business unit, which has been set up to specifically focus on immersive technologies. “The desire for these experiences, and the impact AR, spatial computing and personalised experiences are about to have, entails a general increase in the scale of technology needed to engage audiences. That might mean including spatial audio to make somewhere feel like you’re in another space, or being enveloped in huge digital canvases, the likes of which are being seen in venues such as Sphere in Las Vegas.”

These technologies, however, are complex and their potential may not be easily understood from a brochure or a spec sheet. Yet there is an importance for stakeholders in any project, both technical and non-technical, to understand the technology early in the process, allowing for both its early integration and for proper budgeting.

“ITEC is designed to do just that,” he says. “It’s a space for all stakeholders to come and play with an array of technology, to understand why they’re spending money on it, and the part it plays in a project. It’s also for manufacturers to be able to collaborate, make technology better and find new, fun things to do with it.”

A total of four Brompton Tessera SX40s, an S8 and seven XD data distribution units drive the majority of the screens in ITEC. “We chose Brompton not just because of the fantastic relationship we’ve had with the company over the years, but because of the scalability, the flexibility and the quality of the final output that we get with the products,” Hook continues. “We know that whatever a client might want to come in and do, we’ll be able to do it with the tools that Brompton gives us. It’s also about the fact that Brompton constantly develops new features for its processors which we can simply push to the space without needing to change hardware. This means there’s no need to refresh the space or tear it apart.”

ITEC also includes a SMPTE 2110 infrastructure, a video-over-IP protocol that will be supported by Brompton’s upcoming Gen 3 processing products, which are fully backwards-compatible with panels using existing Brompton receiver cards, and delivers a future-proof platform capable of handling the most demanding applications.

“The inclusion of SMPTE 2110 is exciting,” says Hook. “It gives us flexibility, and means we can help people understand the protocol in a space that is a multi-purpose AV facility rather than a broadcast studio. We’ll also be able to demonstrate future protocols such as IPMX. With the increasing blurring of the lines between IT and AV, and the use of broadcast technology in corporate and education spaces, being able to explain the flexibility of what appears to be complex technology is important for the industry.”

ITEC is also a space for the community to use for training sessions, to meet, to hold community events, play with these technologies and to get the next generation involved in the experiences.

“When we’re children we dream and experiment. It’s how our minds expand,” states Hook. “As adults, we don’t get to do that anymore, but ITEC is our place to come and play, with loads of technical toys. People can plug into all that connectivity, or even bring their own toys and try something that no one’s done before. It’s a place to dream for today’s artists and technicians, and for the next generation.”

“To be part of ITEC means we continue to plant our flag in the future,” concludes Brompton’s Director of Business Development, Rob Fowler. “Knowing that our technology has been chosen to help industry visionaries create spectacular experiences, and will encourage the next generation to join us, is extremely gratifying.”

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