Beijing / China,

Shure Wireless Systems Safeguard APEC Conference

The solid performance and outstanding audio quality of the Axient Wireless Management Network provided the APEC Grand Banquet with a perfect audio experience

Beijing, November 2014 - The Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Conference held from November 7 to 12, 2014, was one of the largest and most important multilateral international events to be held in Beijing since the 2008 Olympics. The conference was attended by the heads of state from 21 countries, including China, the United States, Russia, and South Korea, making it an event of tremendous strategic and historical significance.

On November 10, the welcome banquet themed "flexibility and cooperation" was held at the "Water Cube", an Olympics venue. Shure top-of-the-line Axient Wireless System was chosen for the banquet microphones, as wireless microphone backup of Chairman Xi Jinping's speech of the night, to broadcast the master of ceremonies' introductions, and support simultaneous interpretation. The UHF-R Wireless System was also used for the banquet band and performances. The solid performance and outstanding audio quality of the Axient system ensured that the APEC Grand Banquet had a perfect live audio experience. Broadcast of the leaders' speeches and artistic performances during the banquet were accomplished flawlessly by the supporting technical team.

Banquet Planning Set Reliability as the Top Priority

The top priority at an important event such as the APEC Conference was guaranteeing absolute reliability. The APEC banquet venue was located inside the Water Cube however, which meant that many wireless base stations at the Olympics Center and in its surroundings created a chaotic radio environment. Wireless transmissions are also easily affected by the surrounding environment like mobile phones, internal wireless communications at the venue, security personnel's radios, and mobile phone jammers, which might all cause interference. This made the management of wireless equipment extremely difficult. Normally, wireless equipment is not used for live speeches by leaders. The fact that the Axient system was chosen as the wireless backup system of Chairman Xi's speech represented the high level of faith put in the wireless technology of Shure microphones.

As the authorized distributor of Shure products, Advanced Communication Equipment (Int'l) Co., Ltd. (ACE) began working on the conference planning in August 2014, absolute reliability was set as the guiding principle for the banquet proposal. Engineers tested the radio spectrum at the APEC banquet hall in advance. The Axient system effectively helped engineers with simplifying the complex wireless/radio environment and mapping the spectrum around the banquet hall in order to quickly find clear, usable frequencies.

Mr. Liu Wei, the product manager from ACE in charge of the APEC project, said, "Wireless frequencies are changing all the time so they need to be monitored over a longer period rather than just at a single point in time. Due to the importance of the APEC banquet, we carried out 4 to 5 frequency sampling sessions. This was twice to triple the workload of ordinary events. Axient's Spectrum Manager and Wireless Workbench 6 Software provided a faithful and detailed map of the radio frequency spectrum on site, simplifying the task of log analysis and allowing frequencies to be distributed in a scientific manner. The rich graphical interface helped us select the best frequencies and ensure accurate forecasting of the wireless spectrum during the actual event. The equipment's operating frequencies and back-up frequencies were all within our control so we were able to handle a major event like the APEC banquet with confidence and less pressure."

The frequency diversity function of Shure's Axient system provided the APEC banquet with the maximum possible protection against radio interference. Real-time scanning of the wireless environment with automatic inspection and interference-avoidance ensured that there were no channel disruptions during critical tasks. The technical team in charge of the APEC project was particularly fond of Axient's automatic frequency-switching function. During important events, it is impossible for the team to control or predict unexpected interference. During the APEC banquet rehearsals for example, the technical team detected unexpected radio signals. It didn't happen often but it was always very abrupt. Relying purely on manual adjustment when there is unexpected interference may lead to skipping, noise or even disrupt the performance. At such an important political event, immediate and seamless frequency switching had to be guaranteed. Axient's frequency diversity and interference detection/avoidance function meant that the APEC project's technical team didn't have to worry about frustrating signal loss or audio noise. The receiver can seamlessly switch over to another frequency to guarantee clear, uninterrupted audio quality all throughout the APEC banquet.

Achieving the Best Sound Quality through Optimal Antenna Deployment

The design of the stage for the APEC banquet used many "Chinese elements" such as a backdrop of mountains and rivers, and a series of artistically arranged Chinese pavilions. However, these movable balconies, towers, pavilions, walkways, and fake mountains made out of glass and steel also caused some difficulties for live sound.

As a gatehouse would be built in the center of the stage, the audio technical team had to take into account the fact that a direct approach may result in a certain amount of absorption and obstruction of the radio signal. This would have an impact on radio safety. The technical team therefore conducted detailed analysis and on-site signal testing of the stage architecture. Antennas were relocated from the rear to the front, and antenna equipment was placed even closer to the performing area. A pair of UA874 directional antennas was also chosen with all systems integrated into this pair.

The technical team also fine-tuned the antenna placement and signal transmission power at the banquet venue based on the leadership’s positioning, the master of ceremonies' range of movement, and the status of the guests, optimizing the antenna placement to deliver the best sound quality.

Guaranteeing Reliability through Professional Integration

For an all-important live broadcast event like APEC, the Axient system provided an all-in-one solution with its integration of six important functions: Interference Detection and Avoidance, Frequency Diversity, ShowLink Remote Control, Spectrum Management, high-level Power Management, and Wireless Workbench 6 software control. Wireless reliability in a complex radio environment was guaranteed through this professional wireless management network.

In the APEC technical team's opinion, Axient's seamlessly integrated design proved to be extremely practical. The ShowLink Wireless Remote Control, for example, forms a bridge between the receiver and transmitter during frequency-switching, ensuring that signals are transmitted in time. The engineer can effectively control the configuration of multiple transmitters worn by actors on the stage through ShowLink without leaving the control console. Even if signal interference occurs, it can automatically synchronize and adjust the receiver and transmitter frequencies right away. In fact, all Axient components work together hand-in-hand. Without the Spectrum Manager for example, the engineer would not know if interference occurs or not, and without the frequencies saved by the Spectrum Manager, there would be no readily available backup frequency to switch to.

Liu Wei explained, "An assignment involves many tasks including detecting interference, issuing an alert, and switching to a backup frequency. The attractiveness of Axient is that it can easily and effectively within a single system network. The problem is quickly and easily solved, eliminating all kinds of problems."

Interestingly enough, even the engineer on site may not notice when the Axient system functions are working together on certain tasks such as frequency switching. Everything is automatically and quietly handled by the wireless management network and the engineer will only learn about these events when reviewing the Axient logs after the event. No surprise that engineers who used the Axient system during the APEC project commented that people have good reason to place so much faith in Shure. The guaranteed professionalism makes it the obvious choice for important direct broadcasts.

Building a Reputation through Success in the Field

The Axient Wireless Management Network has set a new paradigm in security, reliability and trustworthiness through its all new level of integration and all new wireless design philosophy. It has become the best choice through its proven success in the field.

The Axient system can now be found in many important events around the world, providing ample proof of its reliability. These events include World Cup in London, the ABC TV station in Chicago, the Super Bowl opening ceremony in the U.S., the CICA Summit Gala in Shanghai, the Oriental Billboard ceremony, the Korean Music Wave concert, the Great Hall of the People media conferences, CCTV 2014 World Cup, "Hao Men Sheng Yan" live show, and the New Year's Eve Galas of many provincial television stations. CCTV's largest performance hall now generally uses the Axient system for live gala events. Jilin TV and other TV stations also use the Axient system for live broadcast programs such as weather forecasts and news. The success of the APEC program proved once again the reliability of the Axient system.

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