TECHNICAL DESIGN AND DEVELOPMENT
Savage heritage lies in New York City live event production and fashion design processes. The founders of Savages, Alex and Ted, both approach their work with a rigorous, highly-engineered process designed to promote stability and repeatability. Over the past seven years Savages have produced a wide array of technical deliveries, ranging from custom network solutions to mass-market fashion lines to luxury event designs to one-off branded software solutions.
MIDI TOUCH CHIP
Whenever possible, Savages like to make magic happen using road-tested industry standard protocols to drive the activations that engage our client's audiences. TD Bank and Tierney wanted to turn a bank window on Manhattan's 5th Avenue into a forest scene that would come to life when a passerby touched the outside of the glass.
We knew how we'd get the video action cooking - we deployed a PRG Mbox Media Server to feed content to a 4x4 wall of seamless LED panels. The challenge the piece presented was all about "control" - somehow, touch input had to get from the window to our Mbox. We decided, since we had a system that would be at home in a concert arena, to use a control spec well-familiar to the arena-touring world - MIDI Show Control. We designed a chip that took touch input by detecting changes in the electormagnetic field around the chip, and converted it into a MSC "bang." As an added bonus, our chip is remotely programmable - the last MSC message it "received" is the message the chip "sends." Working with MIDI and a rock-solid PRG Mbox media server allowed us to safely create a portal that transported New Yorkers off the streets and into the woods.
And we never even turned the thing off. We ran 24 hours a day for over six weeks, with not even a single error logged. It was actually kind of tough, packing this one away and putting it back on the shelf.
INTERNET ANYWHERE LTE NETWORKING SYSTEM
Working in events makes one thing very, very clear - if you don't have a good data connection on-site you're going to be miserable. This is true for a number of reasons - office email, schedule sharing, production coordination, social media account management, photo processing and sales operations all jump to mind. Over the past couple years we've noticed a trend that goes beyond the infrastructural gestures outlined above - more and more live marketing activations rely on having a rock-solid Internet connection to operate properly. Brands are crafting experiences that have server-side processing.
And a lot of those brands are discovering that off-site networking can be a nightmare.
The IA system was developed initially for Canadian concert touring clients, as hockey arena lobbies aren't noted for having great Internet. Our rig takes an approach we call "Brute Force Total Backup" - we bolted four military grade antennas and amplifiers to two Verizon LTE hotspots, then connected those two hotspots to a single Cradlepoint mission-critical specification router so we could get a back-up connection in the event that we lost a hotspot.
But one point of fail-over doesn't really do it for Savages - we like to have as many as possible, especially when what's at stake is show-critical data transfer. We built another box just like the first, giving us four points of cellular connection in two geographically-distinct locations. Then we built a rack that switches between the two boxes and local hardline Internet, favoring whichever is the fastest. That's three points of failure right there, all in two small Pelican cases and a 16-space rack.