Venue-Hub: Sound Leisure
Always keen to stay ahead of the pack, the company has spent the past two years working on the successor to the Milestones platform, ‘Venue Hub’ which will be launched at this year’s EAG.
SL Director Mike Black explained “We believe ‘Venue-Hub’ represents a turning point in the evolution of jukeboxes and its release will have a significant effect on the future direction of the industry. In 2008 Sound Leisure established a project aimed at giving us a clear understanding of emerging consumer music technologies, from web-based music streaming and download services to social networking sites and hand-held gadgets. We were aware that a huge change was taking place in the way consumers discovered, sourced and listened to music and felt it was important to understand the reasons why these rapidly expanding technologies engaged with so many people. It was a difficult process because we came to realise that although ‘Milestone In Music’ was leading the field in terms of jukebox technology, we were still falling short of meeting a whole generations expectations for a digital music product.”
Venue-Hub brings the modern jukebox in line with those expectations by combining the latest technology with a highly developed customer interface, high definition portrait touch screen and an extensive feature list aimed at engaging modern music consumers. The software will be available in two totally new cabinets, the P23 and P32 which have 23” and 32” full screen portrait touch screens respectively.
The entire platform was developed to enable stand-alone applications to be quickly programmed and integrated. As the system continues to evolve, this flexibility will enable Sound Leisure to quickly and easily construct new features and deliver more diverse content through licensed partnerships. More importantly, Sound Leisure believe it will allow the company to create branded, customer specific stand-alone applications which can be quickly added to the system and tailored to meet practically any requirements. The company is already working on a several ‘Venue-Hub’ apps and a number will be on demonstration at the EAG exhibition to give customers a glimpse of the diversity this functionality offers.
Another key element which ensures the Venue-Hub experience feels contemporary is the implementation of gesture controls which are common in modern consumer products and found throughout the interface. This has been achieved whilst retaining standard control methods for less experienced users, so customers now have the option of browsing through tracks using standard next and back buttons, or by simply swiping a finger across the screen. Tracks can be selected by using a standard double tap action or by dragging and dropping tracks on to a ‘play’ box. As a quick alternative to typing letters on a touch screen keyboard, users can simply drag any track by an artist on to the ‘search’ box and Venue-Hub will display everything the jukebox by that artist. The whole touch screen interface feels slicker and more intuitive than anything that’s been done before. As Venue Hub can be online to Sound Net’s unlimited track library of over 4.5 million tracks the company have gone to great lengths to ensure the basic function of locating tracks is as streamlined as possible.
Of Sound Leisure’s partners and content providers SoundNet, Black says “Everything was taken back to the basics and analysed. Soundnet have totally reworked the entire back-end database to ensure the quality of information we give to the customer is much better when they are searching for tracks or looking for an artist. This facilitates a greater intelligence with the ‘Venue-Hub’ system, it can identify which artist’s you’re trying to locate even if you don’t spell the name perfectly. It can even return related results, so if you search for tracks by a group it will even return solo tracks that have been recorded by members of the group.”
Black continued “The Venue-Hub is a massive landmark for Sound Leisure and the jukebox industry. It brings the jukebox right up to date in terms of the quality and depth of the user experience. Sound Leisure has a reputation for been the market leader and the key innovator within the jukebox sector and ‘Venue-Hub’ will only serve to strengthen that reputation. The profile and strength of the partners we’ve been able to attract as a result of ‘Venue-Hub’ really confirms the massive leap forward the platform represents, and the really exciting part is this is just a glimpse of what we have planned in the future.”
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