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Videoworks, from megayachts to the most exclusive residences

Two simple abbreviations, AV and IT, sum up everything perceived as essential for true comfort in today’s yachts and homes. Audiovisual systems and Information Technology, commonly known as the Internet; but also home automation and, more recently, applications of artificial intelligence, are imperative in the design of today’s homes and yachts. So it’s not surprising that owners are increasingly coming to Videoworks to ask how they can import the experience they enjoy on board into their homes, or vice versa, setting up new yachts or refits with all the conveniences they have at home or in the office.

With over 25 years of experience, Videoworks is an international leader in the design, construction and installation of innovative audio/video, communication, IT & connectivity systems for the world’s most exclusive customers in yachting, architecture and business. Videoworks has installed over 850 systems in its first 25 years in the business, celebrated last year. The company has more than 120 employees in Italy, the Netherlands, France, the United States and Turkey. Confirming the Italian company’s growth since it developed an AV system for Gianni Agnelli back in the early days. Videoworks has been on the cutting edge of technology ever since, even in this age of intense technological development.

Design meets technology

The systems used in the home and on board a yacht may look similar, but they are actually quite different. What they share is a combination of technology and design, with devices that are practically invisible; but beyond this initial similarity, they are two different worlds.

“The first difference is that, on board a yacht, the owner is always sure to have the support of qualified crew members; while installers in the home do not normally provide any advice on AV and IT devices. So while our motto for onboard systems is “keep it simple”, in the home it must be “keep it even simpler than simple”. What’s more, maximum use on a yacht rarely exceeds 60 days a year, whereas people use their in-home systems for two or three hundred days,” explains Videoworks CEO Maurizio Minossi.

On land, 5G internet and landlines ensure a 100% high-speed connection, but the situation is more complicated at sea. One solution allowing yacht owners to eliminate bulky CDs and DVDs is Kaleidescape, a media player that whose storage and playback systems offer ultra-high definition digital content.

Another difference is that video projectors are used more frequently in residential projects, whereas on board a yacht it’s important to pay close attention to IPTV (Internet Protocol Television) to ensure the Internet connection is routed via the users’ home country, no matter where they are browsing from, so that they can keep up on the latest news and watch their favourite movies and TV series just as they do at home. In residential projects, the only option for outdoor areas is normally installation of independent speakers, while in indoor areas it’s necessary to control heating and ventilation; on a boat, no heating is normally required, only cooling, but outdoor areas require a plenty of equipment for lighting and providing access to the sea.

“We don’t deal in standard solutions, either on a yacht or in a home; every single project has its own unique history, and its success depends on the ability to listen to the customer, be inspired by their needs and support them as best as possible in their requests; but also having the honesty to sometimes say ‘no’ when functions are requested that could jeopardise general stability. Underlying it all is one of the fundamental rules guiding everything Videoworks does: designing and building a system is always exciting, but the real job is to keep that system working perfectly so users can enjoy the experience they expect”,  Minossi points out.

Videoworks is the ideal partner in the home, too

Demonstrating how needs in the home and on board a yacht can converge, Videoworks ensures that every AV and IT installation on board a vessel, and under more challenging conditions than on land, meets the expectations of the most demanding customers in terms not only of communications, but also of lighting, temperature control, entertainment, assistance, safety and even health monitoring. Without neglecting even the most minor conveniences for the user: guests can access their own Netflix or Spotify account on the system of any yacht without difficulty, even when sailing from one continent to another.

Another strength of AV and IT design in today’s yachts is that it can now be almost invisible, as in the home. Videoworks’ goals include limiting the visual impact of technological devices, with the exception of high-end AV brands that add character to interior design. The Italian company also ensures that the installations are future-proof, allowing systems to be updated for 20 years. Online security is an increasingly important concern, and Videoworks takes care of this, too, with specific solutions such as firewalls, antiviruses and web filters for the utmost peace of mind.

It’s essential to optimise AV and IT on the basis of positioning. Videoworks helps design systems that create multipurpose spaces, so that offices, beach clubs, spas and gyms can be used for different purposes at different times. This can sometimes be achieved with dynamic lighting systems, turning an elegant dining room into a nightclub in a matter of seconds. All with the utmost ease of use, so that owners can control them from a single device or app.

Videoworks and artificial intelligence

And here comes a new challenge: artificial intelligence. Videoworks is already involved in a large-scale AI project at a major Italian construction site.  

“With the latest generation of machine learning services, we can optimise energy consumption with home automation and get users accustomed to systems controlling lighting, curtains and temperature, so they can identify their ideal climatic conditions at any time of year,”  explains Maurizio Minossi.

Examples of installations at sea and in the home

Design and technology, on a yacht as in a home, are almost always defined on the basis of the owners’ requests: the more specific they are, the greater the challenge involved in meeting them. On a yacht this is even more challenging, because space is always limited, even on megayachts approaching 100m in length, and then there is the matter of accessing connections on the open ocean, as well as the management of energy consumption, as all energy is generated on board. All this adds to the complexity of the project.

·        A good example of this is a recent Videoworks installation aboard the  45m maxi yacht “UV II” in Italy’s ISA Yachts shipyard. The owner is a great music lover, and everything on board the vessel is designed to permit complete use of audio and video sources with  installations totalling 20,000 watts in power, an  audio system  comparable to that of a professional recording studio, and a completely soundproofed room where the owner can listen to music without disturbing the other guests. The on-board equipment includes a K-Array Audio system managed by processors with Symetrix Dante technology for hi-fi audio zones, Extron processors for surround systems in the main salon and owner’s lounge, and HDMI 4K over IP 1Gbps video distribution via ZeeVee devices.

As for Videoworks systems for the home, two villas, in Monte Carlo and in Italy, offer perfect examples of the Ancona-based company’s capabilities.

·        For a residence on the hills of Monte Carlo Videoworks created: 

Audio/video and control systems for the home cinema and lounges, massage room, gym, outdoor areas and pool area, all managed via iPad.

Open space, dining room, kitchen and living room. Each zone can be managed separately, or they can be combined in a single area with perfect sound diffusion. Glass partitions can be opened up to extend the atmosphere into the solarium.

The pool area  is equipped with additional sockets for addition of a complete DJ console, ensuring perfect integration with professional equipment broadcasting throughout the home.

 Sound can be broadcast in the pool area and on the sundeck with speakers hidden in the greenery. A sound wall broadcasts in the living room, kitchen and lounge. The home cinema features a 7.1 surround sound system with B&W wall-mounted speakers and a video projector with a wall-mounted screen.

The device control system  has a centralised rack and local racks in all areas.

iPad control of outdoor lighting is designed to permit chromotherapy.

Satellite TV, Blu-ray, AppleTV and Airplay System in the living room and cinema. TV, Apple TV and Airplay systems in the gym and massage room.

 Cisco network infrastructure  with full wireless for indoor and outdoor coverage of the main building and guesthouse. The system is prepared for future additions in all rooms.

·        The peculiarities of the installations in the home in Italy are dictated by the owners’ specific requirements. 

Audio/video systems. From the lounge area to the gym, from the pool to the outdoor areas, every room in the home can be controlled via iPad, creating a single environment in all the rooms or a different one for each.

Swimming pool, fitness area and spa. The fitness area and lounge offers a high level of sound quality with minimal overall system size. Pool audio is managed entirely by systems developed by Videoworks in collaboration with the best experts in the field, guaranteeing impeccable sound reproduction using the latest DSP technologies even in complex environments such as rooms with high ceilings, water and windows. The cinema features a top-quality hi-fi system for true audiophiles, with a 100″ TV and surround sound. The room also features McIntosh’s iconic Sonus Faber.

Lighting system. All indoor and outdoor lights can be controlled via the Lutron/KNX platform, separately or using programmed scenarios accentuating the details of the house.

Centralised system. The home’s rack room contains almost all the devices in the system, allowing the owner to connect, manage and monitor the various technical details throughout the property. A centralised layout ensures that all other areas are kept free, and maintenance operations are less invasive and simpler.

Network infrastructure. Complete wireless coverage throughout the premises, including the guesthouse, both indoors and outdoors with a professional fibre optic network and a backup 5G connection.

Integration with CCTV/HVAC/video intercom and telephone system. The user has full control over the system, from heating to cameras and video intercom, from an iPad or smartphone.

Airplay system, satellite TV and Apple TV. Apple TV and Satellite TV central decoders in every room.

For both installations, changes, updates, upgrades and technical support are always possible, even remotely.

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