Aquatics Center New State-of-the-Art Digital Sign

For those of you that venture over to the Rec Center from time to time, make sure you peek into the swimming area. You should be able to catch a glimpse of a very special, and large, piece of new technology.

This past August, a new video/scoreboard was installed on the west wall of the pool. And this is no ordinary scoreboard.

Aquatics Center scoreboardThe board is manufactured by Colorado Time Systems (CTS) based in Loveland, Colorado. There are two main scoring system manufacturers in the United States, Colorado and Daktronics. Daktronics video and scoreboards are used in every other Miami venue, but they were the clear cut favorite for this new installation, according to Aquatic Center Director, John Mihevic. “In the bid process, Colorado came up with a better price for a superior product,” he said.

The entire purchasing process took approximately three years to complete.

The size of the new board is 48 feet wide by 24 feet high. It replaces a two board system where only one of which could play video. In comparison, the old board was only 35 ft. by 18 ft. The old board consisted of 9 electrical circuits, while the new one has 18, plus has increased power and flexibility.

One of the attributes that makes this board so special is the spacing of the lights that make it work. The best Dak scoreboard available at the time of purchase was 10mm. The one Miami purchased from Colorado’s is 8mm. That is the distance between each LED bulb, and the smaller the distance, the better the quality of picture. As a reference point, the boards used in Millett and Goggin are all 12mm. According to Mihevic, “This is the largest 8mm aquatics scoreboard in the country, with a resolution of 1824 x 448.”

This scoreboard is a special coated board, similar to what is used outdoors. “That is needed because of the corrosion that can come from the humidity and chlorine that is prevalent in a pool environment,” Mihevic noted.

The entire installation of the mammoth scoreboard took about three and a half weeks to complete. Representatives from CTS were on site to help with the installation and training. IT Services assisted with the installation of the digital signage player.

The system is run via a command center style PC setup in an office adjacent to the pool and viewable through a window. It also can be controlled through a mobile app that is programmed to only work while on Miami’s MU-WIRELESS network. Through this computer, staff can show everything from current swimming meet scores, a daily calendar of events, advertisements like those shown on other display boards around campus, and even full screen movies.

A new feature of the improved scoreboard is the ability to display live results as they are happening in the pool. Mihevic noted that this feature was created specifically for Miami, but now is available to other CTS clients.

The old timing system was UNIX-based, but the new Gen 7 version of the software is Windows-based, and now can be run entirely through a laptop, instead of the proprietary hardware that was needed before. This makes it a lot more cost effective for clients like Miami, which is one of four beta sites for the Gen 7 version.

The whole system got quite a workout this past weekend when Miami hosted the Mid-American Conference Women’s Swimming & Diving Championships. The event hosted close to 200 swimmers and divers from eight teams over the course of four days.

Speaking of cost savings, this project was considered a LEAN project because it allows for less paper printouts during competitions, due to the fact results are now available to mobile devices.

Mihevic also believes the new board will help attract others to Miami. “It can help with recruiting, both for new student athletes in swimming and diving, as well as in securing major events.”