IKH Areena is a multipurpose sports venue located in the town of Kauhajoki, Finland. Opened in October 2022, it is home to the professional basketball team Karhubasket, which plays in the highest national tier – drawing thousands of fans to its home games – and serving as a meeting place for the town’s 13,000 citizens.
The space comprises three restaurants, a lobby, six VIP sections, one big conference room, a gym for the team, dressing rooms, and the court on which they play.\
A few AV equipment companies were considered, but ultimately Kramer was selected. In addition to scoring top marks for its products’ capabilities and ease of use, Kramer’s local presence and support were a major plus, helping make Kramer the top choice. Its local presence and Finnish-language support were priorities for both the system integrator, Luova Tehdas, and the customer.
Luova Tehdas began designing the AV solution before the arena was built, opting for an AVoIP system. “You can achieve so much more with AVoIP and send anything to anywhere,” says Antti. “It is such a simple solution, yet it allows us to do much more than with a basic matrix system. Plus, it’s more flexible, and we can scale up if needed.”
The comprehensive system includes 50 KDS-7 encoders and decoders, and Kramer Control with SL-240C and KT-1010 touch panels. To complete the solution, the Kramer equipment was connected to high-end speakers and amplifiers, and screens from various manufacturers.
Ville Nurminen, Technical Manager and AV Operator for Karhubasket, is more than satisfied with the arena’s AV system, and is particularly pleased with the ease of use, versatility, support, and quality.
“The setup is really easy to use, which was one of the main points, as we didn´t want to have a specialist in the arena at all the times,” he says. “Luova Tehdas did a good job of making the user-interface friendly. Having a couple of iPads with the Kramer software installed is also a great feature as users don´t have to go to the control room; you can see that everything is working smoothly from the iPad,” he continues.
Antti is also a fan. “Since the Kramer system is so intuitive and easy to use it has also reduced support calls. And with the ability to make changes online, we’ve been able to provide remote support.” This, of course, is a significant time and cost saver for both Karhubasket and Luova Tehdas.
Installation came with some added challenges as the integration team had to wait for construction to be completed, which was finally done just one month before the opening game. Despite the tight schedule, the AV system was live in time, helping create a great start for the new arena.
Antti recalls: “We had great support from the local Kramer office, and we could call our Kramer Account Manager at any time – he also called us and asked how things were going.” He adds: “He is not just a guy that we buy from, we now consider him a friend.”
With huge global shortages plaguing many AV companies at the time, Antti was impressed that all Kramer equipment was delivered on time, hassle free.
The Kramer AV system has proven to be extremely reliable, which is essential in a live game environment. The arena’s IT team is happy, and each game’s audience gets a far more entertaining and immersive experience.
In addition, the goal of a customizable solution has paid off, with Karhubasket’s AV team’s ability to easily modify the panels as needed.
Best of all, Karhubasket’s expectations have been fully met. As Ville says: “I can only recommend Kramer. There is nothing in the system that is not as promised. With Kramer, there’s no false promises.”
Antti also rates Kramer highly as a partner: “Kramer has been there every step of the way. They have great local support and service. And products in stock. I also think the reliability is important: everything works, and the quality is impressive.”