The Norman Hotel is an iconic Australian steakhouse and bar, a contemporary venue located in the same building in Brisbane where the hotel was established in 1889. Norman’s Bar opened in 2009 as part of a major renovation of the hotel. The bar is a much-loved local pub where regulars and visitors come for the drinks and food, camaraderie, and, in classic Aussie fashion, to watch broadcasts of the “footy” and other sports.
Norman’s Bar boasts 12 large TVs strategically placed to provide patrons in different parts of the bar with great views of football games, other sports, and varied content and events. The system did not work in certain areas of the bar and frequently broke down, leaving bar patrons unable to see their favorite sports matches. The audio-visual system was controlled via an app on a mobile iPad that got moved around as different staff members used it. This made it difficult and time-consuming for staff to change audio and video settings in certain areas if they or the iPad happened to be elsewhere in the venue.
In 2022, the bar management wanted to upgrade the video and audio reliability and quality while continuing to use the existing TVs. They also wanted to make it easier for staff to control the things like audio and video, with minimum disruption to their primary jobs of serving customers.
Systems integrator SDC Solutions worked with Smart Home Programming and Automation to upgrade the bar’s audio, visual, and control capabilities. They upgraded all the video from SD to HD, with a Kramer multi-format digital matrix switcher. The system is controlled by a room controller and a control gateway, all from Kramer. The bar now has access to nine zones of video with nine inputs, which are all controlled using the Kramer Control application on dedicated Kramer touch panels mounted on walls and shelves around the staff areas of the bar.
David Bowdler, the Owner of Smart Home Programming & Automation explains why Kramer products were chosen for the Norman’s Bar upgrade. “Kramer has the best products for this job because of their versatility. Because we’re using the Kramer Control system, it gives us the flexibility of being able to custom-build the interface to actually suit the customer. They’re at a great price point that makes it competitive, and the backup support you get is superb.”
He notes that being able to view and fix any issues remotely via Kramer Control, no truck roll needed, is another factor that made Kramer the right choice for this installation.
The main benefit felt by Norman’s Bar patrons is a better experience watching TV around the bar. “Now, they can come to the bar and see the footy in great quality. They can hear it. It just makes it a much better place to be in,” says David.
It’s not just the bar patrons that are happier; the staff of Norman’s Bar now find controlling the video and audio easier and faster. With multiple Kramer touch screens installed in multiple locations behind the bar and in other areas, staff can easily and quickly change audio and video settings for any screen no matter where they are. This has reduced time out from their core jobs of serving customers.
“Feedback from the Norman from both managers and upper management has been very positive,” says Gavin Sayers, Telecommunications Installer for SDC Solutions. “The benefits of using Kramer have come through the reliability, customer feedback with how easy it is to use.”
Gavin added: “Another benefit of having the Kramer system is that they have a seven-year warranty on the majority of their hardware, which has helped with not only giving the client confidence to go ahead with this product but also gave us as the installer full confidence knowing we have the backing from Kramer.”
It quicky becomes clear that the same confidence flows through all the work that both SDC and Smart Home Automation undertake with Kramer.
“Kramer products have been reliable in every installation that I’ve undertaken between Smart Home and ourselves,” says Gavin. “We’ve had the support that we needed, whether it be from Kramer themselves or Smart Home, and we’ve always managed to deliver exactly what the client has needed. I would always recommend going down this path.”
David, from Smart Home Programming and Automation, echoes that thought, saying “I feel whether you’re doing residential, commercial, industrial applications, Kramer has got the product that will have the right solution for you.”