Riedel Communications’ Artist Intercom matrix played a powerful communications role at the February 18 NBA All-Star Game at the recent Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas. Providing multiple and flexible intercom channels, the Artist kept the behind-the-game players coordinated and on-cue: producers, stage manager, time-out coordinator, lighting, sound, front-of-house, and a gaggle of broadcast trucks in the TV compound that sent the game to fans throughout the world.

This was the fifth consecutive year that NBA Entertainment named Wireless First, Inc. to supply the system and the fifth consecutive pick of Riedel by Wireless First. Connecting four locations 1,000’ apart, the Artist Intercom matrix supported all of the pre-game, half time, and post-game entertainment events, including appearances by Christina Aguilera, Wayne Newton, and Penn & Teller. The Artist gear starring at the 55th annual All-Star Game provided a decentralized fiber-based network backbone for intercom and distribution of analog and digital audio and TCP/IP signals. As many as 128 matrix mainframes can be connected via a redundant optical fiber ring to form a single large, full summing, non-blocking distributed matrix with up to 1,024 ports.

The four mainframes at the NBA All Star Game were linked via a redundant fiber ring and were supported by approximately 30 Artist 1000 series control panels. These control panels feature special LED displays with eight characters, which provide for optimal legibility under all lighting conditions. And the eight characters of the display erase the need for cryptic abbreviations on the displays of the intercom panels.

Kevin Sanford, founder and president of Wireless First comments on the performance of the intercom system at the game: "The beauty of Riedel’s Artist intercom is that it's customizable and easy to use even for non-techies,” he says. “After a five-minute lesson, they can run the panel. The Director configuration software with its remote control function makes it very easy to trouble shoot and change things on the fly quickly. The option to put frames in different locations and easily connect them all through fiber while controlling the whole system from just one location—that's huge! If you had to go back and forth and interconnect everything, there would be miles and miles of cables, not to mention the time it would take for set-up."