House of Vans
Delivery of a robust public Wifi service in one of the most difficult locations in London.
Staging live concerts by big name acts like the Foo Fighters, hosting large scale skating competitions, guaranteeing thousands of visitors can engage through social media, showcasing exhibitions, and providing food and refreshment; these are just some of the things experienced at the House of Vans.
The technology to enable these events to run seamlessly without interruption or compromise of quality has been made possible by connectivity to the Panoptics network giving truly uncontended internet services.
About the venue
The House of Vans venue in London showcases the culture and creativity that has defined the Vans fashion brand since 1966; embracing and fuelling creative expression through art, music, cinema, skateboarding, BMX, street culture and fashion.
The venue located at The Old Vic Tunnels at Waterloo is a unique space for exhibitions, gigs, and street sport and now home to London’s only indoor skate park, an 850-capacity music venue, a 160-seat cinema, a gallery, as well as two bars and an industrial-looking cafe serving American style food. For the next few years it will host art exhibitions, creative workshops, concerts and film screenings and is open to eat, drink and hang out in five days a week. The London site is the second House of Vans venue following the launch in Brooklyn, New York.
A challenging IT environment
Brought in at the planning stage by Zero Degrees Events and Black Sparrow, experiential marketing experts, who manage the day to day operations of House of Vans; Panoptics were engaged to design and deliver the technology and communications infrastructure transforming the tunnels and bringing the House of Vans London venue to life.
This was no mean feat considering we were greeted by four disused empty railway tunnels; there was nothing to be found but damp and darkness. It helped to be brought in to work on the project at the outset but timescales were still very tight and had to be met as Vans had a launch date announced for opening to the public, with a live performance from Primal Scream!
We made it our mission to understand exactly what needed to be achieved with the venue. Although this was the first House of Vans to open in Europe, we could see the vision by examining the technology architecture of the New York venue. The House of Vans ethos supports the community as the skate park is free to use keeping charity very much at its heart striving to get disadvantaged kids off the street and into a safe, fun environment. Musicians are asked to donate a percentage of ticket sales to Vans’ partner charities and we provided subsidised services including free director consultancy time and free support time.
- A LAN & WAN for the entire building incorporating multiple networks for both private and public use.
- A WiFi solution supporting large scale social media sharing from hundreds of skaters and visitors tweeting, blogging, sharing experiences and imagery
- A WiFi solution supporting live gigs, events and exhibitions are delivered through the Panoptics Managed WiFi and Connectivity services.
Connecting the site
Connectivity to the Panoptics network empowered the House of Vans to run reliable, fast and uncontended internet services.
Working closely with the fit out crew to understand the building, its limitations as well as its opportunities, the network had to be designed with a fit-out strategy incorporating aesthetically aware cable runs with network availability at the right locations either through fixed points or WiFi.
Layer 2 was sourced from Virgin Media and proved to be a very difficult implementation caused by multiple entities in the ownership of the land (including Network Rail, LCR to name but two) and the legal delays and complexities this presents in addition to very a complicated cable run.
Consistent connectivity from the outset
As we were waiting for the Circuit to go live we had to find innovative ways of connecting the House of Vans to the internet allowing gigs and events to run which we managed through ADSL bonding and satellite feeds. The House of Vans venue now has an enterprise class network incorporating LAN, WAN and WIFI providing full WiFi services for visitors providing
- Live web streaming for gigs and events
- Tier 1 carrier internet connectivity.
- Panoptics Cloud WIFI management, network support and telephony, all managed through a dedicated customer portal on our website.
- Significant social media engagement
- Enhanced connectivity services to clients
- Stable reliable corporate network
- VOIP telephony
- Opportunities for further managed services and cloud based solutions for other venues that VANs choose to deploy
The tunnels opened for business as The House of Vans in August 2014.