The Downtown Drumheller merchants and building owners have teamed up to add wireless music throughout the downtown core.
John Shoff of Reality Bytes and Bob Sheddy of Century 21 have been researching for the better part of two years, on how to get music playing throughout the downtown core.
A month ago, they tested a new Sonos speaker in a weather enclosure that allows multiple speakers to play synchronized music. The hope is, with enough speakers in the core, it will give the pedestrian shopper a seamless and elegant experience as they walk from shop to shop.
“Bob Sheddy had approached me about this idea several years ago, and we have been brainstorming on a logical and cost-effective way to provide music throughout the downtown ever since,” said John Shoff. “The goal was to be able to provide Christmas tunes during the holiday season, spooky music at Halloween, you know various themes based on the seasons, etc.”
Wifi will be the main source of consistent sound provided by Reality Bytes. This allows the speakers to sync together to work in harmony.
“It would have cost thousands and thousands of dollars to replicate that network, and the project wouldn’t be feasible,” said Sheddy.
So far, the following business owners have come forward to each purchase a speaker; Jeff Larsen of the Napier Theatre, Mike and Carol Todor of Third Avenue Arts, Dr. Ivan Chan, a local Chiropractor, Innovators Inc. - Critters 360 Building, Steven Peterson of The Brick, Alok Verma and Trevor Gough of Chartered Professional Accounting and Century 21 PowerRealty.ca.
Shoff is hoping to have the first set of speakers installed by the end of November.
Mayor Heather Colberg commented, “Having these speakers in the downtown core will compliment the overall downtown revitalization program Economic Development is working on. I’m proud of the business owners and building owners who are willing to get involved to make our community a better place by purchasing these speakers to enhance our downtown.”
The logistics of using traditional speaker systems and stringing speaker cables everywhere was an obvious issue so the two put their heads together and started looking at other options.
“What we’ve come up with is something quite exciting,” said Shoff. “We can play music from a dedicated computer system that Reality Bytes will host & maintain free of charge, and deliver that audio content through our existing BYTEsurfer wireless network that blankets the majority of the valley and surrounding area.”
“What I really am excited about, is that we can also broadcast live events, musicians, or announcements through the system as well. So, for downtown events we’ll have a fairly simple to use system that can wirelessly beam the audio content up to some or all of the speakers.” said Shoff.
All of this can be done at the touch of a button straight from a smartphone.
“We have a mobile app that can control this all very easily right from the street for fine tuning,” said Shoff. And, as just an added benefit from this, we’ll be increasing the public WiFi hotspot coverage to blanket all of downtown, so people can easily connect and use the Internet while they walk from store to store.”
The Town of Drumheller has agreed to placing the speaker enclosures on the street light poles, which ensures they are secure and can tap into power.
They are also providing a bucket truck to assist with the installation of the system.
“I am also so happy to see the store owners be involved and on b
oard by sponsoring the cost of some of this equipment,” said Shoff “It’s simply a win, win for everyone, and I might add that the cost to the citizens of Drumheller is essentially zero, as this is all being done by donation from all parties involved.”