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FCUK-FM Distributed to FCUK Retails Stores Worldwide with Barix Exstreamer Music-Over-IP Standalone Streaming Audio Components.
Cost-Savings, Music Quality and System Reliability Said to Be ‘Fcuking Great!'
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November 10, 2005 - London, England - Global retailer, French Connection, streams live audio to 80 stores throughout the U.S. and the United Kingdom via unused bandwidth on its DSL connection and a network of Barix Technology Exstreamer digital audio streaming devices. French Connection is a leading London-based retailer, which operates stores on several continents around the world including Europe, North America, Australia, the Middle East, and Asia. Its well-known “FCUK” brand extends beyond contemporary fashion clothing to toiletries, fragrances, eyewear, watches, shoes, and even sporting goods. To reinforce its brand, French connection launched an in-store radio station – FCUK FM – broadcasting “none of the hits, none of the time.”
Discarding global satellite transmission, with its associated installation issues of receivers and dishes, the company sought to implement an alternative, more cost-effective method of distributing in-store audio, music, messaging and advertising. In addition, the new solution had to be low-maintenance for every store broadcasting FCUK FM.
Streaming media fit the bill perfectly. UK-based streaming media specialists, Makeni (www.makeni.com), were called in to help French Connection design and implement the right solution. Makeni provides solutions that harness the power of web-centric and digital media technologies in the areas of corporate communications, online training, Internet radio, event broadcast, product videos, and commercial video distribution for retail and corporate clients. Makeni's broadcast, streaming and programming experience allows them to build easy-to-use software and systems that manages webcasts, in-store media and content delivery systems from anywhere in the world. Makeni suggested utilizing French Connection's existing VPN and, after some industry research, identified the ideal standalone audio streaming client – the Exstreamer from Zurich, Switzerland-based Barix AG (www.barix.com).
Exstreamer (www.exstreamer.com) is part of Barix's network-based audio distribution system, which enables users to stream high quality audio from PCs or digital audio servers via existing Ethernet or wireless networks. The device is easily controlled from anywhere on the network via any standard web browser using a PC, PDA, web pad, or IR remote.
Since each French Connection store was connected to a DSL circuit, primarily for exchanging point-of-sale information, Makeni suggested streaming audio from a central server, delivering the audio via unused bandwidth on the DSL connection and receiving the audio with Exstreamers, which were installed in every store.
Makeni's solution was based around its retail scheduling system, ProMotion. ProMotion was developed for the retail environment to allow cost effective and flexible delivery and display of media in-store. Based around the technology of Internet delivery, ProMotion includes a series of modular elements that together provide an end-to-end private broadcasting network, at a fraction of the traditional cost.
In FCUK's case, ProMotion comprised additional monitoring and control modules which now automatically poll each in-store Exstreamer unit, querying its status, and displaying the results on a single web page. This allows French Connection IT staff to identify any network problems within any one of the 80 individual FCUK shops. The Makeni monitor automatically restarts receivers, when necessary, if DSL connections become congested. Makeni also provides all streaming output of the radio station via the client's website at www.fcuk.com
According to Doug Gardner, French Connection's IT director, "Streaming FCUK FM over our VPN meant that we could get live radio into our stores, without the need for installing satellite dishes and running cables throughout. It also allowed us to extend the 'radio' coverage to some of our shops in America, where a traditional satellite feed wouldn't have reached. The in-store Barix Exstreamers didn't require any user configuration. Literally, we shipped them, they were plugged in, and they worked, with no user intervention. We are very happy with the Makeni solution." (END 592-words)
For more info, please visit www.barix.com and www.makeni.com
Barix Technology AG is a leading Zurich, Switzerland-based manufacturer of innovative, IP-enabled network interface devices for commercial and residential automation, security, and remote control and data collection systems applications. Barix Technology's programmable components feature device-level intelligence and are used worldwide to distribute audio, monitor sensors, and control devices via standard IP-based networks. For more information, visit www.barix.com