Ottawa, Canada, January 16th 2020 – The Grand Mosque in Sharjah is the United Arab Emirates’ second largest mosque and one of the region’s most highly anticipated building projects. Costing AED 300M (approximately US$ 82M) and capable of accommodating 25,000 worshippers, the mosque’s imposing Ottoman-style architecture dominates the skyline on Emirates Road, bordering Sharjah with its Dubai neighbor to the south. Inside, the mosque is sumptuously decorated with ornate chandeliers, stained glass windows and wall paintings – an impressive environment that required a very careful and unobtrusive approach to AV.
When planning the building project, the Sharjah Government Planning Department appointed The Sharjah Broadcast Authority (SBA) as a consultant. They, in turn, approached Broadcast Solutions ME (formerly Videlio Middle East), handing them complete responsibility for the delivery of a broadcast system to support the mosque’s busy calendar of Islamic events. The client’s list of priorities was short but precise. “There was a clear view that the AV system needed to be easy to operate and only require minimal human resource”, remarks Salah Ayoub, Project Manager with Broadcast Solutions ME. “There was also an obvious requirement that the system blend in with the wonderful interior of the building and not detract from the design or decorations”. In order to facilitate this, Ross Video created a special white version of its popular PIVOTCam compact camera (12 of which are used around the mosque), and Broadcast Solutions ME built a bespoke camera mount to ensure the cameras could be fixed discreetly around the prayer hall and building without standing out. The cameras can all be controlled centrally from the first-floor control room, and video switching duties are performed by a 36-input Ross Carbonite Black production switcher. The various AV sources and destinations are married together by a series of Ross Ultrix-FR1 routing/AV processing solutions, with Ross openGear racks providing modular signal processing and distribution. All graphics content is courtesy of Ross Video’s XPression graphics engine.
The list of equipment being used is certainly impressive, but one of the most surprising aspects of this project is the fact that the entire AV system was specified, designed and installed in a matter of weeks. “We were working to an incredibly tight deadline, with only a few weeks to get everything installed and tested before the official opening of the mosque”, notes Salah Ayoub. “We pulled out all the stops to meet the date, and the opening was a great success. We’ve since been able to take some time to refine and improve the workflows, ensuring the operators and staff are completely at ease with the system and understand its potential. I’m very proud of what we have delivered here, both for Broadcast Solutions and for Ross. It’s a flagship installation in the region and we’ve used all our broadcast expertise to deliver something very special. I have no doubt that this system will help SBA and the mosque to deliver compelling content to worshippers and the wider community for many years to come”.