The Columbus Zoo and Aquarium sits on a massive, 580-acre campus in Powell, Ohio, and is more than just a welcoming home for over 10,000 animal species. The zoo also boasts a water park, golf course, various dining options and hosts hundreds of special events for nearly 2.5 million visitors annually.
As the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium expanded over the years, different audio systems by different designers and contractors were deployed to support a variety of background music and public-address systems. This resulted in an inefficient and ineffective system with over 900 unintegrated audio points, very low security, minimal control capabilities and no centralised network management.
With so many devices, cross-points and administrators involved in controlling the audio, the zoo needed a system to manage its hardware in an efficient and secure manner. The Dante audio network platform was deployed to pull together the more than 300 Dante-enabled speakers, 50 amplifiers, 50 wireless microphones and 20 digital processors already installed throughout the zoo’s campus.
With Dante as the networking solution, the Columbus Zoo, Zoombezi water park and Safari Golf course deployed hundreds of audio devices from multi-vendor manufacturers including RDL, Bose, Symetrix, Shure, AudioTechnica, Ashly, BSS, Biamp, BTX and Behringer equipment.
Despite the significant gains realised by moving to a Dante audio network, there were still challenges. With the deployment of Dante Domain Manager, the zoo now organises and categorises its audio streams by room, building and site, allowing the zoo to unify its systems, control the audio streams and manage who has access to the network.
“The beauty of Dante Domain Manager is that we have a core standard set of systems now that are all controlled and communicate over our existing network infrastructure,” said Gregg Oosterbaan, Vice President of Technology Strategy for the zoo. “And because it’s all IP connected, we can continue to add new systems to our Dante system cleanly and simply.”
Dante Domain Manager is a complete network management platform that brings user authentication, audit capabilities and role-based security to audio networks. It integrates seamlessly into any Dante-enabled product to provide the interoperability, flexibility and scalability to design, manage and control an enterprise-scaled AV system. By bringing the IT industry’s Network Domain Concept to AV, Dante Domain Manager makes audio networking more secure, scalable and controllable than ever before.
“We have a strong community that we strive to support,” said Oosterbaan. “Whether that’s through public address systems, special events or large corporate outings, keeping our technology and audio systems on the forefront of performance is important. Dante Domain Manager helps us do that.”
The Columbus Zoo and Aquarium uses Dante Domain Manager’s suite of IT-focused tools to keep its network secure and free of external – and even internal – threats and changes. With its previous, unsecured system, it became too easy for unwanted changes to be made and accidents occurred. Dante Domain Manager combats these unwanted changes and puts all control in the hands of the network administrator – a key tool for the zoo which has three employees working with the software.
The administrator is able to grant credentials to those operating the audio network, ensuring only the correct people are making changes in an allotted location. Regardless of the event, Dante Domain Manager keeps the zoo’s audio network secure and functioning by providing limited access and usability to those given access to the network.
“Security is extremely important in today’s world,” said Oosterbaan. “Regardless of the event or location, with Dante Domain Manager, we can control the streams, control who has access and make all this happen cleanly.”