Moving on Up with AV over IP

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Luxury living is alive and well in the UAE city of Dubai, even after 15 years of intense competition among builders that has threatened to oversaturate the market. But whether buyers are following the recent “understated luxury” trend or seeking those sweeping waterfront views at the higher end, the market for these residences remains healthy.

One of Dubai’s latest exclusive residential buildings, Volante, is geared toward the high-end buyer. The tower comprises 45 luxury apartments across 35 floors, each overlooking the  Dubai  canal and views of the Burj Khalifa.

Residents also enjoy their share of leisure and entertainment options, including a central club with a café, cinema, gym, spa and swimming pool.

Volante management also had luxury on its mind when it came to residential technology. In addition to a comprehensive building automation and smart home management solution to control AC, blinds, lights and music in apartments and common areas, the facility also includes a high-end residential AV system to entertain residents and visitors in the club areas.

Ultimate Solutions, a home automation and commercial AV systems integrator specializing in low-voltage systems, had designed the custom installation.


“Volante is aimed for wealthy empty-nesters, whether they live here year-round or come to Dubai for extended stays,” said Jana Malhas, managing director, Ultimate Solutions. “They want to enjoy and maintain a certain lifestyle, which includes access to many residential services. That can mean a massage in the 24/7 spa, a social event in the theater, a private meeting in the executive lounge, and personalized meal preparation from the on-site chef.”

Many of these perks are centralized in the Volante Club, and is therefore the main gathering area for residents and their visitors. Naturally, this area required an AV system of its own to inform and entertain guests.

“The initial installation added two screens in the club: one in the meeting room and one in the salon. And the infrastructure is in place for eight additional TVs in the gym, for residents to enjoy as they exercise,” said Malhas. “To keep the infrastructure as light and cost-effective as possible from an integration perspective, we opted for an  AV over IP architecture to move signals around the facility.”

As Malhas and her team surveyed the AV over IP landscape for equipment options, Atlona’s OmniStream quickly rose to the top as an ideal platform for their needs. An important reason for this choice was how well OmniStream tested from an interoperability standpoint with other systems  on the network – as well as its handling of high-resolution 4K content.

“This all starts with a central managed, Ethernet switch with Power over Ethernet, and OmniStream becomes the primary source for video distribution in the club,” said Malhas. “It uses a light infrastructure, with everything moving over Cat6 network cable. 

The first two TVs have HDMI connectivity at the output, and the eight TVs in the gym will be pure IP distribution. There is a lot of flexibility in the platform, it is easy to scale, and it plays well on the network with the smart home automation signals powered by Savant Systems.”

Ultimate Solutions opted for a wired system to feed content to the apartments, with an Atlona AT-UHD-PRO3-66M matrix switcher moving video over structured cabling to TV sets over HDMI, and corresponding Atlona receivers behind the TVs. The PRO3-66M lives in the same equipment racks with  a Savant automation system for audio, shades and lighting – which Malhas calls the “brains” of the system – and a KNX system for lights, curtains, and air conditioning management.

Malhas is particularly proud of the fact that her team was able to meet the efficiency and waste reduction goals thanks to all equipment choices across AV and home automation, and notes a 30% savings in overall energy consumption. And with a second Volante build on the horizon, she anticipates following the same technical blueprint – with one distinct difference.

“We will be in a much better position to work with PoE over long distances for video distribution,” she said. “That means we will be able to use OmniStream building-wide, and leverage AV over IP to its full advantage.”


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