Kramer K-Touch Systems in the Race with NASCAR Teams
The speed and reliability of the Kramer Electronics K-Touch system has qualified it for the NASCAR racing circuit at Joe Gibbs Racing in North Carolina. A total of eight K-Touch systems are installed on hauling trucks and pit boxes, allowing crews to keep track of races at every turn.
According to Jim Foley, chief technology officer at Joe Gibbs Racing, the addition of K-Touch to a system that already incorporated the Kramer VS-1616D matrix switcher has helped to facilitate the video switching. “With K-Touch, the crews put in their desired sequence for the video and push a button for it to go right to the display they want. K-Touch eliminates the need for crews to call an A/V engineer every time they need to switch inputs.”
The K-Touch System is an all-in-one solution that controls devices directly over IP. It is a true BYOD solution, enabling use of any commercially available Apple iOS or Android-based phone or tablet as its user interface, with no requirement to purchase dedicated touch panels or other hardware. K-Touch is also scalable and economical. With K-Touch, all data is stored in a cloud-based platform and can run on any Web browser. K-Touch has a very large database of existing drivers, so adding new products to the control interface is an easy drag-and-drop process. Once the new command is created, it is uploaded to the cloud and the user simply has to connect and sync their device to instantly have the new command installed and ready to use.
Each of the systems installed in the haulers and pit boxes at Joe Gibbs Racing use six inputs and sixteen outputs to provide high-quality video from any source at any time. Inputs include broadcast feeds from NASCAR, shots from cameras stationed around the track and from cameras inside the cars. In addition, there are several computers displaying information such as lap times, track position and weather radars. “The crews can pull up the weather radar or other information on the displays quickly if they need it,” Foley said. “They don’t need to see the weather constantly, but they can access it as necessary.”
Foley said as the pit crews use the system more, they discover needs for additional presets. “It’s always evolving and we’re adding as we go,” Foley noted. “The crews download from the Cloud and they’re all set. They’re very impressed by the system.”
The crews are excited about the flexibility K-Touch provides. Foley also explained that Kramer helped them meet the challenge of clearly communicating their needs for inputs, outputs and presets which led to their own customized interface. The result: an easy-to-see keypad with the organization’s logo and the preset names.
Joe Gibbs Racing did its own installations, which required a quick turn-around on a weekly basis, because the haulers were often traveling. With four drivers on the NASCAR circuit, Foley said both cars and haulers travel more than 30 weeks of the year. The extensive travel also required the mobile systems to maintain cable connections despite bumpy road travel. Foley said they added Kramer locking HDMI cables to secure the connections in the trucks, enabling the system to keep pace with the grueling NASCAR travel requirements.
The power and flexibility of Kramer’s K-Touch Control system help keep the Joe Gibbs Racing in the lead on the NASCAR circuit.