mesh networking

Intro: JCB exhibition,told the ‘Story of JCB’ from its inception through to modern day. The story was told through a timeline of zones and was operated either as an automated show allowing visits to wonder at will or through guided tours, the latter being used primarily for promotional purposes for JCB’s customers and dealers.

The Challenge:  Whilst ipads were provided for tour guides to control the zones as required, additional hardwired button panels were required for a backup to the ipads as well as an alternative way to start each zone. Many of the guides were retired JCB employees and many weren’t comfortable with new fangled technology so preferred the simple button approach.

The problem occurred when no one was prepared to commit to where to locate these buttons. We could have tried second guessing where to locate these BUT if we got this wrong this would have required a major rewire to accommodate at both a large cost but also major disruption to the exhibition.

The Solution: Wireless buttons was the obvious answer but what transmission system, IR, RF, Bluetooth, WiFi? We investigate all of these solutions and rejected all of them on the basis of reliability, security or other reasons. We settled on Mesh networking, this is a local network topology in which the infrastructure nodes (i.e. bridges, switches, and other infrastructure devices) connect directly, dynamically and non-hierarchically to as many other nodes as possible and cooperate with one another to efficiently route data from/to clients. In short Mesh networks provides the best coverage with the most reliable, self-healing wireless system available. With enough gateways to cover the space the button panels could be located anywhere and could be re-located at anytime anywhere in the zone and still be guaranteed to work. The hardware supplier provided a translator to turn the triggers in IP messages for the AMX system.

Customer Benefit:

Innovative use of MESH networks to allow for relocation of show trigger points to suit changing requirements without the need for any re-wiring or reprogramming of the system.