Volume 13, Issue 22 — November 29, 2016
|The Key To This Business|
By Lee Distad
Like Dickey Fox said in Jerry Maguire, “The key to this business is *claps hands* personal relationships!”
Regardless of how fantastic their products are, vendor sales reps need to understand that the personal relationship they build with their dealers can be the make or break factor in how much business they get, or if they get any at all. Dealers typically have a high expectation of service from the reps who service their account, and rightly so.
Yet, vendor reps come in many varieties, not all of them good. Get a few dealers together at a banquet table during an industry function, and you’ll hear some funny, cringe-inducing stories about the less-than-professional reps they have had to deal with.
Way back in the day, my old boss agreed with me that we needed to beef up our offerings in one category. We narrowed it down to two brands; both of them more or less evenly matched technically. One was represented by a distributor we already had a great relationship with, who had a long history of going the extra mile for his dealers, while the other was represented in our territory by someone none of us liked, and who had a history of dropping the ball with one of his other brands. You can probably guess who got the business.
So, if you’re a rep, what can you do to better service your dealers? Many dealers would say, “Bring donuts and coffee on your visits!” While I’m not saying that’s wrong, there are other strategies you should also employ.
The most important is timely follow-up. When I think of the best reps I’ve ever dealt with, every one of them almost always picked up their cellphone on the first ring or replied to an email virtually instantly. Even if they didn’t have an answer to my question on hand, they kept the communication open and let me know that they’ve passed my query on to someone who can help. And when there’s a warranty issue, the best reps clearly communicated how they handle returns and service issues. There’s nothing worse than long delays waiting to hear back on a warranty.
On a related note, timely communications are also crucial. Believe it or not, but not every rep is punctual when it comes to communicating price changes and marketing initiatives. It’s a tough marketplace and being a week behind the market on price changes makes you look like an idiot to potential customers.
Last, but certainly not least, is that respecting your dealers’ time goes a long way. Time is money, and there’s never enough of it for anyone. That’s why it’s usually best to call in advance and schedule a day and time for meetings. Dropping in without any notice is seldom appreciated, unless you’re going to buy your dealers lunch, but I digress.
I know that when I read back over this, I feel mild feelings of guilt over any instance I can think of where I haven’t been as on-the-ball as I feel ought to be. Perhaps some of you feel the same way.
That’s okay, though. Aim for progress, rather than perfection. Make every effort to do your best. Believe me, your dealers will notice.
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|Why AI Isn’t Taking Over AV|
By Mark Coxon
It’s always interesting to hear people’s take on the future of technology. There seems to be a fanaticism built around Moore’s Law, the Turing Test, and the ability of computers to become “conscious.” It usually ends in a theory of technology not unlike the rise of Skynet’s machines in the Terminator movies.
If you’re not familiar with all the talk around these issues, ask Google about them and see what you find.
For brevity’s sake, I’ll include a couple definitions below.
Moore’s Law is the observation that the number of transistors in an integrated circuit doubles every two years, thereby doubling computer processing.
The Turing Test is a test for intelligence in a computer, requiring that a human being should be unable to distinguish the machine from another human being by using the replies to questions put to both.
Now I’ve talked a little about Moore’s Law before — I’m not disputing the accuracy of the transistor assertion, but more questioning the fact that merely doubling transistors makes things faster but doesn’t directly birth innovation.
As I stated before,
I can put one engineer with little creativity in a room and he will produce nothing new or innovative. I can then add three more engineers with little creativity into that same room, effectively quadrupling the “computing power” and still get nothing new. Just because the computing power quadruples, innovation isn’t spawned automatically. There needs to be a creative spark, typically spurred by asking a question in a new and unique way.
As for the Turing Test, a chatbot created in 2014 named Eugene supposedly passed it in 2014 by tricking people into believing human responses were computer generated while the computer responses were uniquely human. On the surface this may seem like an AI victory, that a machine was perceived as more human than actual humans, but if you dig a little you’ll notice that the Turing Tet has many skeptics, partly because the interactions are timed.
Why does a time limit affect the end result? Well, the main argument against it revolves around something called the mannequin effect. One mat very well bump up against a mannequin in a store believing it is a human and quickly apologize based on the brief interaction and a quick glance. However, the longer that interaction continues, the more apparent the nature of the mannequin becomes. The Turing Test times out that interaction, which favors the machine.
So as good as Alexa and Siri have become, and despite their first names and constant companionship, a conversation of any length will quickly reveal their bits and bytes. Even IBM’s Watson, arguably the most powerful and advanced AI engine around today, suffers from this same fate.
There is something unique to being “human.” Something beyond a simple accumulation of the data that we consume with our eyes and ears. I’m not arguing the metaphysical here, just the uniqueness.
I was in a chat room with some SMPTE engineers once discussing digital video and active vs. passive 3D, (yes, I need help) and one of those engineers made an eloquent statement that I wish I would’ve done a screen capture on. To paraphrase, they said that,
“Somewhere in the back of the human mind, where neurons are firing to process all of those projected or backlit pixels 60 times a second, the brain perceives a difference between that digital stimulation and the actual reflection of light back to our cones and rods in a physical, naturally lit environment.”
That comment immediately rang true to me and has always been in the back of my mind when people say that VR the real world will someday be indistinguishable from one another. No matter how deep the rabbit hole gets, I think that the brain, will on some level, always know that it’s in the Matrix, just like it discerns the difference between dreams and consciousness.
I also remember an experience that I had as an integrator when the firm I worked for was doing a job for an air and space museum centered around Robonaut 1 and the robotic DARPA arm, named Robbie. Part of our contract involved recording content consisting of interviews with the scientists working on these cutting edge technologies. I sat in the office with the man who was editing the content, so I heard countless hours of the content. The common theme was that it was impossible to teach robots “how to think.” They could create all sorts of logical problem programs and data analysis that utilized machine learning, but were nowhere close to critical thinking let alone consciousness.
There was an example of telling the robot to get a pencil. You can code the possible locations: desk, drawer, cabinet; you can scan multiple images of the pencil into the computer and give the robot a camera as an eye. But that simple task, go get a pencil, may still be very difficult for the robot to achieve. A person on the other hand can see a pile of papers and know that something may be hiding beneath or notice a laptop bag at the end of the desk and look inside the zippered pocket to reveal the prize.
For set tasks, technology with some machine learning and AI may very well be good enough, but for critical thinking it’s just not close yet. Machines and systems using AI need highly intelligent humans to write the if then loops they so desperately depend upon as well as to monitor them in case situations arise that just aren’t in that data base yet.
Alexa may be a great way to control your home, but in reality you’re doing nothing greater technologically than pressing the button you used to push on your control panel. “Alexa, turn the heat up to 75” is an easy thing to program. Data relating outside temperature to inside temperature may also be helpful for the machine to learn when you turn on the AC vs. the heat and at what temperatures you usually set to come up with a program for the Nest. On the flip side, getting Alexa to realize that when a user exercises in the morning, she should turn the AC down, and that when there’s a new baby she should turn the heat up is a different thing altogether, but an observing human understands those correlations immediately.
AI is great. Data is amazing. Machine learning is an incredible feat.
But there is still a human factor to interacting with the world that eludes them all.
I was on a podcast about the Samsung and Harman acquisition where an industry stalwart again promoted his platform that states people don’t want a rack full of hardware, they prefer simplified and unified devices.
I don’t necessarily agree or disagree. I believe people actually don’t care what the hardware is as long as it solves the problem. It could be a rack of gear or an app. It doesn’t matter either way. The customer isn’t buying either, they are buying the answer to their problem, regardless of the methodology used to provide it.
My issue was more with his assessment that because of this trend that integrators are overconfident in their value to the end customer.
Sure, the hardware may no longer need a lot of “integration” as four boxes have now been integrated into one, but the user experience itself as a direct result is not automatically good. The software may be advanced; the system may mic the room, play test tones and calibrate itself; the control software may learn how different users utilize the space.
That’s all well and good, but a computer doesn’t know what sounds “tinny” or that the CEO has a slight hearing loss that needs to be accounted for in certain frequencies. Systems with ambient noise mics that automatically adjust volume levels to achieve better signal to noise ratios only work to a degree. STI is still only measured by achieving even coverage and by evaluating RT60.
The point is that the science can be sound (no pun intended) but the user experience trumps all. The numbers all may add up in the GPU of a deep learning electronic brain, but the experience may still lack something.
Science says that a highly directional hypersonic speaker playing two separate sounds out of phase to create a net frequency within the range of human hearing should work. Reality says that it does work in generating the sound, but that the listener has an adverse reaction on a physiological level to hypersonic waves that gives them a feeling of uneasiness if left listening to them for too long. The computer and the human hear the same sound, but the human feels differently than when listening to a traditional speaker at that same frequency.
My point is that although our systems may get less complex, utilize more software and less hardware, and become easier to control and program, as well as “learn” how to be more efficient and relevant over time, they will never understand the human experience. There will always be value in the presence of a real person, trained in the technology, who knows how to address these issues and how to make sure that the AV environments we create are optimized to the actual users themselves with their unique and subjective experiences of the technology.
In order to fulfill the promise of exceptional experiences, we must be able to actually experience the effects of the systems we create. A machine cannot “experience” anything and I’m uncertain that they ever will be able to. The value of the integrator in the equation is not in connecting boxes or writing code, it is in their humanness, in their ability to experience the system once installed and in being able to empathize with the end-user to create something worth more than the out of the box solution.
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|Samsung Acquires HARMAN, Including AMX, JBL, Crown and AKG|
Click here to see Gary Kayye’s thoughts about this acquisition.
Samsung Electronics and Harman International today announced that they have entered into a definitive agreement under which Samsung will acquire HARMAN for $112.00 per share in cash, or total equity value of approximately $8.0 billion. Upon closing, the transaction will immediately give Samsung a significant presence in the large and rapidly growing market for connected technologies, particularly automotive electronics, which has been a strategic priority for Samsung, and is expected to grow to more than $100 billion by 2025. HARMAN is the market leader in connected car solutions, with more than 30 million vehicles currently equipped with its connected car and audio systems, including embedded infotainment, telematics, connected safety and security. Approximately 65 percent of HARMAN’s $7.0 billion of reported sales during the 12 months ended September 30, 2016 are automotive-related, and its order backlog for this market at June 30, 2016 was approximately $24 billion.
HARMAN’s experience designing and integrating sophisticated in-vehicle technologies, as well as its long-term relationships with most of the world’s largest automakers, will create significant growth opportunities for the combined business by enabling it to leverage Samsung’s expertise in connected mobility, semiconductors, user experience, displays and its global distribution channels. In addition, the combination of HARMAN’s brands and audio capabilities and Samsung’s expertise in consumer electronics will deliver enhanced customer benefits and elevate user experiences across Samsung’s complete portfolio of consumer and professional products and systems.
“HARMAN perfectly complements Samsung in terms of technologies, products and solutions, and joining forces is a natural extension of the automotive strategy we have been pursuing for some time,” said Oh-Hyun Kwon, vice chairman and chief executive officer of Samsung Electronics. “As a Tier 1 automotive supplier with deep customer relationships, strong brands, leading technology and a recognized portfolio of best-in-class products, HARMAN immediately establishes a strong foundation for Samsung to grow our automotive platform. Dinesh Paliwal is a proven global leader and, in our extensive discussions, we have developed deep respect for him, his strong senior leadership team and HARMAN’s talented employees. HARMAN’s sustained track record of rapid growth fueled by technology leadership and an unmatched automotive order pipeline reflects its commitment to innovation and customers.”
“The vehicle of tomorrow will be transformed by smart technology and connectivity in the same way that simple feature phones have become sophisticated smart devices over the past decade,” added Young Sohn, president and chief strategy officer of Samsung Electronics. “We see substantial long-term growth opportunities in the auto technology market as demand for Samsung’s specialized electronic components and solutions continues to grow. Working together, we are confident that HARMAN can become a new kind of Tier 1 provider to the OEMs by delivering end-to-end solutions across the connected ecosystem.”
Dinesh Paliwal, HARMAN chairman, president and CEO, stated, “This compelling all-cash transaction will deliver significant and immediate value to our shareholders and provide new opportunities for our employees as part of a larger, more diversified company. Today’s announcement is a testament to what we have achieved and the value that we have created for shareholders. Samsung is an ideal partner for HARMAN and this transaction will provide tremendous benefits to our automotive customers and consumers around the world. Combining Samsung’s strengths in leading-edge displays, connectivity and processing solutions with HARMAN’s technology leadership and long-standing customer relationships will enable OEMs to provide new offerings for their customers. Partnerships and scale are essential to winning over the long term in automotive as demand for robust connected car and autonomous driving solutions increases at a rapid pace. This transaction will bring HARMAN and Samsung’s complementary strengths together to accelerate innovation in this space. More broadly, this investment underscores the strength of HARMAN’s employees, as well as our success and leadership across our markets. We look forward to working together with Samsung to elevate experiences for consumers worldwide.”
Here was Samsung’s summary of the acquisition:
- Automotive: Combining HARMAN’s leadership in new connected car technologies, including its top positions in infotainment, cyber security, over-the-air updates and telematics, with Samsung’s significant expertise and experience in connectivity technologies, including 5G, UX/UI, display technology and security solutions, will enhance HARMAN’s automotive and connected services businesses to drive greater sales and provide significant benefits as automakers speed the adoption of next-generation connected cars.
- Audio: HARMAN’s leading brands and cutting-edge audio systems include JBL, Harman Kardon, Mark Levinson, AKG, Lexicon, Infinity, and Revel. The company also licenses Bowers & Wilkins and Bang & Olufsen brands for automotive. All of these brands will greatly enhance the competitiveness of Samsung’s mobile, display, virtual reality and wearable products to deliver a fully differentiated audio and visual experience for customers.
- Professional: The combination will also expand the combined company’s business-to-business platform through its ability to deliver integrated, large-scale audio and visual professional solutions at stadiums, concert facilities and other performance centers such as The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts and STAPLES Center – home of the GRAMMY Awards.
- Connected Services: Samsung will gain access to HARMAN’s 8,000 software designers and engineers who are unlocking the potential of the IoT market. This collaboration will deliver the next generation of cloud-based consumer and enterprise experiences, as well as end-to-end services for the automotive market through the convergence of design, data and devices.
Operating Structure and Leadership
Upon closing, HARMAN will operate as a standalone Samsung subsidiary, and continue to be led by Dinesh Paliwal and HARMAN’s current management team. Samsung is pursuing a long-term growth strategy in automotive electronics, and plans to retain HARMAN’s work force, headquarters and facilities, as well as all of its consumer and professional audio brands. Samsung believes the combination will increase career development and advancement opportunities for the employees of both companies.
Samsung’s Automotive Electronics Business Team, which was established in December of 2015 to identify opportunities for Samsung in the automotive sector, will work closely with the HARMAN management team to realize the full growth potential of the combination.
The purchase price represents a premium of 28 percent based on HARMAN’s closing stock price on November 11, 2016 and a 37 percent premium to HARMAN’s 30-calendar day volume weighted average price ending November 11, 2016. Samsung expects to use cash on hand to fund the transaction. The agreement has been unanimously approved by the boards of directors of both companies.
The transaction, which is subject to approval by HARMAN shareholders, regulatory approvals and other customary closing conditions, is expected to close in mid-2017.
Harman is here and Samsung is here.Leave a Comment
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|Legrand Launches Eliot IoT Program To Advance Connectivity and Intelligence In The Built Environment|
Legrand today launched ELIOT, an IoT program that advances connectivity and intelligence in the Built Environment and enhances value in the use of connected products. Legrand is joined by partners Amazon Alexa, Samsung and Cisco in launching ELIOT, which offers a purpose-built cloud, gateways for installed legacy offerings, an array of natively-connected new products, and innovative solutions comprising connected, intelligent technologies and services.
Engineered specifically for the Built Environment with end users from the consumer domain and partners from the professional community in mind, Legrand’s ELIOT program advances both the technology and the IoT experience.
According to John Selldorff, chief executive officer of Legrand North and Central America, Legrand’s deep expertise in manufacturing products that are integrated with building infrastructures, coupled with its understanding of how electrical technologies are purchased, deployed and used, improves the experience with the Built Environment.
As of November 2016, there are over 22 million Legrand connection points already in existence. Annual sales of Legrand connected devices are over $350M in 2015, up 34 percent since 2014. Legrand is targeting double-digit average annual sales growth for connected products by 2020 and doubling the number of connected product families from 20 in 2014 to 40 in 2020. Legrand has an existing footprint in most North American homes and buildings that includes intelligent Power Distribution Units (PDU) and Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS) systems from its Raritan, Middle Atlantic and Racklink brands, robust wireless networking from Legrand’s Luxul brand, Wattstopper residential and commercial lighting control systems, multi-room audio from Nuvo and Intuity home automation.
Legrand owns companies like Luxul, On-Q, Middle Atlantic and NuVo. The company is here.Leave a Comment
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|James Loudspeaker Introduces Modular Freestanding Indoor/Outdoor Home Theater SolutionJames Loudspeaker has introduced the Modular Indoor/Outdoor Theater, a dramatically innovative approach to delivering all available surround formats to any environment in a high-performance, fully custom free-standing form factor. The Modular Indoor/Outdoor Theater is a built-to-size aluminum structure to be assembled onsite, housing all of the required loudspeaker components for any surround format. The system is compatible with an array of subwoofer options depending on the décor and acoustic requirements of each room.
The James Loudspeaker Modular Indoor/Outdoor Theater can be used for all three Immersive Audio formats; Dolby Atmos, Auro3D and DTS:X as well as conventional 5.1 or 7.1 surround formats based on the speaker configuration selected. Conceived as a fully customizable free-standing solution, the Modular Indoor/Outdoor Theater is capable of delivering superb cinematic performance to an existing room without the need for any modifications to the space. This gives integrators an ideal turnkey theater for clients in rental properties or any other temporary scenario. As an outdoor theater, the free-standing powder coated aluminum structure is ideally suited and can be mated to an array of landscape subwoofer options such as subterranean models for the most discreet visual presentation.
Each custom configured James Loudspeaker Modular Indoor/Outdoor Theater is composed of aluminum with marine-grade coatings to withstand outdoor environments and features sealed beam construction for compact size. The package can be ordered in 15 standard colors, or a custom color at additional charge. Source components and amplification sold separately. The James Loudspeaker Modular Indoor/Outdoor Theater is available now and starts at $60,000.
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|AptoVision Expands BlueRiver NT+ Series of AV-over-IP Chipsets|
AptoVision today announced BlueRiver NT1000, the latest product in AptoVision’s BlueRiver NT+ Series of AV-over-IP chipsets,which remain the world’s only chipsets to transport uncompressed, zero-latency Ultra HD/4K HDR over Ethernet. BlueRiver NT1000 delivers all the advanced IP-switching and extension capabilities AptoVision is known for, while reducing the bill of material costs for AV over IP encoders and decoders by up to 50%.
Purpose built and cost optimized for AV/KVM switching and extension applications, the HDMI 2.0 and HDCP 2.2 compliant BlueRiver NT1000 can transmit true 4K/60Hz (4:4:4) video with zero frame latency over 100m of CAT‐x or 30KM of fiber. It supports the complete range of signal types including audio, GbE, USB 2.0, RS232 and IR, all of which can be routed independently. Audio can be extracted from or injected into any HDMI stream within the network.
AptoVision’s flagship chipset, the BlueRiver NT+, is now renamed BlueRiver NT2000 and continues to offer high-value AV processing capabilities which enable video-wall, multi-view and seamless switching applications. Together, the two members of the BlueRiver NT+ Series allow manufacturers to offer a top-to-bottom portfolio of AV-over-IP products which address the full range of feature, performance and pricing requirements for virtually all AV applications.
The full BlueRiver NT+ Series will be on display at ISE 2017 (Amsterdam, February 7-10) on stand 12-H55. Here are the detailed specs.Leave a Comment
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|Atlantic Technology Now Shipping its Flagship FS5 Front-Stage Soundbar for Large TVsAtlantic Technology has begun dealer shipments of its new model FS5 Front Stage loudspeaker system. The Atlantic Technology FS5 contains all three front-channel theater speakers in a single enclosure. Its attractive piano-gloss cabinet is 50 inches wide but only 3 inches deep so it can be wall-mounted using built-in keyhole brackets, placed on a shelf or used with Atlantic’s special Shelf-2405, which provides a shelf attached directly to the flat screen TV itself.
The FS5 draws upon Atlantic Technology’s long expertise in home theater speaker acoustics. Each of the three independent speaker systems contains two 4.5-inch CPP woofers, an ultra-wide dispersion 3/4-inch silk dome tweeter, and an audiophile-grade crossover network. The tweeters are mounted high between the woofers in a low-diffraction baffle to ensure dialog intelligibility. The sound is smooth, vibrant and spacious, with the unmistakable detail and effortless quality typical of the company’s loudspeakers. With two woofers for each channel, bass response extends down to 80Hz, which more than deep enough that any accompanying subwoofer to be totally non-localizable.
The Atlantic Technology FS5 Front Stage Loudspeaker lists for $1,199 and here are the details.Leave a Comment
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|Klipsch Takes on SONOS with New Stream Wireless Multi-Room System Using DTS Play-FiKlipsch announced today the new Klipsch Stream Wireless Multi-Room Audio System — clearly aimed at the SONOS. Expanding into the wireless multi-room audio segment, Klipsch Stream distributes audio wirelessly from streaming internet sources, locally stored content and traditional audio sources. The Klipsch Stream app, available on iOS and Android, provides users control of all their music from any device to any room.
The Klipsch Stream system consists of six products, all featuring the DTS Play-Fi technology for high resolution wireless multi-room streaming over a Wi-Fi home network. Products include two sound bars (RSB-8 and RSB-14), a wireless speaker (RW-1), a table top stereo system (The Three) and two legacy source converters (Gate and PowerGate).
All products can be controlled via the Klipsch Stream app or the DTS Play-Fi app both available for iOS and Android. A Kindle version of the Klipsch Stream app will be available beginning in 2017.
Klipsch Stream Reference Sound Bars:
Klipsch is introducing two Reference sound bars that feature Play-Fi technology and can be part of the Klipsch Stream Wireless Multi-Room Audio system. All new Klipsch Reference sound bars feature HDMI input(s) and output with the ability to pass a 4K Ultra HD Video signal, as well as HDMI-ARC and CEC. Additional inputs include Bluetooth, optical and RCA.
The Klipsch Reference RSB-8 sound bar package features a 40” wide sound bar and 6.5” wireless subwoofer. The RSB-14, Klipsch’s top-of-the-line sound bar package, features a 44” wide sound bar and 8” wireless subwoofer as well as three HDMI inputs. Four (4) 2-1/2” mid range drivers and two (2) 0.78” tweeters in Klipsch tractrix horns provide unparalleled cinematic sound with deep, rich bass. As part of the Klipsch Stream multi-room wireless solution, both sound bars are easily controlled from the app and can sync with any other Klipsch stream products for a whole-home audio eco-system. The RSB-8 ($499) and RSB-14 ($699) are available now.
Klipsch Stream RW-1 Wireless Speaker:
The Klipsch Reference RW-1 Wireless Speaker, part of the Klipsch Stream Wireless Multi-Room Audio System, is a solution for any room in the home where additional playback from their Klipsch Stream system is needed. Each speaker, controlled seamlessly from a phone, tablet or computer, delivers incredible sound to every room. Integrated controls for power, volume and mute are located on the top of each RW-1 wireless speaker for quick control when the consumer’s phone or tablet is in another room. Additionally, two RW-1 wireless speakers can be pair together for stereo listening using the app. The RW-1 wireless speaker is available now at $249.
Klipsch Gate Audio Source Converter:
The Klipsch Gate seamlessly connects legacy audio sources (CD player, turnable, etc.) to the all-new Klipsch Stream Wireless Multi-Room Audio System. Simply connect the Klipsch Gate to any audio source to play content throughout the home. The Klipsch Gate can also route audio from the Klipsch Stream Wireless Multi-Room Audio System to an A/V receiver, amplifier, or set of powered speakers via the stereo miniplug output. The Klipsch Gate is available now at $179.
PowerGate Wireless Stereo Amplifier:
Specified with two 100-watt channels and class D amplifier, the Klipsch PowerGate can be selected and streamed for playback in other rooms where Klipsch Stream products are located. The PowerGate features optical, RCA line-in / phono pre-amp, USB and Bluetooth inputs as well as a 192kHz / 24-bit conversion for playback of high resolution audio files. PowerGate is available today at $499.
Heritage Wireless Three Tabletop Stereo System:
Incorporating real wood veneer and tactile spun copper switches and knobs, the Klipsch Heritage Wireless Three tabletop stereo system blends the acoustics and classic design legacy of Paul W. Klipsch with the latest technologies. The Three features Bluetooth, RCA line-in / phono pre-amp and USB audio inputs and can be used as a standalone stereo system or integrated with the Klipsch Stream Wireless Multi-Room Audio system. The Three will be available at the end of November in two finishes — Walnut and Ebony — at a list of $399.
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|dnp Intros Ambient Light Rejecting RETRACTABLE ScreenTomorrow, dnp will launch something the company is calling the Supernova Flex Classic.
The dnp Supernova Flex Classic is available in 100” or 120” sizes in 16:9 format, and 100” and 110” in 16:10 format using the company’s ISF certified 08-85 Supernova material. The screen rolls up and down quickly at the touch of a button via a noiseless electric motor. These screens can be mounted on the wall or ceiling in meeting/conference rooms, classrooms and residential applications. Supernova screens will keep your audience engaged and provide clear and vivid images with full color saturation, regardless of the viewing angle.
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|Attero Tech Ships Bluetooth Audio Networked Solutions|
Attero Tech is shipping two new Bluetooth audio interfaces. Not to be confused with consumer Bluetooth interfaces, the Attero Tech unBT2A and unD6IO-BT are the first Bluetooth-enabled audio devices designed specifically for use with commercially installed AV systems. Attero Tech also released its new unDNEMO-BT, the world’s first Bluetooth-enabled, Dante network audio monitor.
Both Attero Tech Bluetooth audio interfaces employ a simple, consistent, one-button pairing and connect process that avoids the frustration often associated with pairing consumer Bluetooth products. The pairing button is defeatable for restricted-use applications with third-party control systems, that wish to remotely manage the Bluetooth interface and pairing process. A front panel LED indicates connection status. Each unBT2A or unD6IO-BT interface, as well as the unDNEMO-BT, can be assigned a customizable, Bluetooth-friendly name for applications with multiple co-located interfaces to minimize errant connections. The interfaces are compatible with most smartphones, iPads, and Android tablets.
Attero Tech’s unBT2A is an in-wall interface in a single-gang, Decora form factor that adds Bluetooth audio connectivity to installed audio systems. The unBT2A provides balanced analog audio outputs, so it’s universally compatible with any installed audio system. It’s an excellent choice for hotel ballrooms, conference centers, restaurants and bars, sports facilities, spas, and convention centers. The unit’s mini-B USB port provides a bus-powered connection for initial product setup at installation and for firmware updates. The unBT2A is compatible with Attero Tech’s unIFY GUI for Windows for simple system commissioning.
Included with the unBT2A, Attero Tech’s unBT2A EXP expander unit provides balanced mono or stereo analog audio output on three-pin depluggable connectors, enabling easy connection to the audio system. The outputs are software switchable between -10 dBV (consumer) and +4 dBu (professional) nominal output levels. The unBT2A EXP sports an RS-232 port for third-party control and customization, using a simple serial protocol.
The first audio interface to offer Bluetooth connectivity to a Dante network with professional-class control, the unD6IO-BT Multi-I/O Dante Audio Interface is a dual-gang wall box offering both consumer-style, wired audio I/O and stereo Bluetooth wireless audio input. This combination enables easy connection of a wide range of devices to a Dante network.
The unD6IO-BT’s front panel provides line-level audio input on two RCA connectors, along with a stereo, line-level, 3.5 mm TRS audio input. The inputs can be selected via software, individually or in combination, as an audio flow. The front panel is equipped with a TRS stereo line level output on 3.5mm driven from the Dante network. The outputs also support remote volume control.
Featuring 802.3af-compliant PoE (Power over Ethernet), the unD6IO-BT works with any compliant PoE network switch. The interface is recommended for installs in venues such as hotel ballrooms, conferencing applications, convention centers, restaurants and bars, and sports, spas and fitness facilities.
Attero Tech’s unDNEMO-BT Dante 64-channel Network Monitor is an audio monitoring system with an internal monitor speaker and built-in microphone that provides end users with a simple solution for selection and monitoring of up to 64 Dante audio channels. Equipped with full-duplex USB audio capabilities, it can stream audio to and from a Windows PC and serve as a hands-free USB soft-conferencing device. Full-duplex Bluetooth audio connectivity enables wireless listening with Bluetooth headsets. You also get a rear-panel 3.5 mm TRS auxiliary line input that can be routed back to the Dante network.
The front panel sports Volume, Channel, Source Select and Mute buttons. An easy-to-read OLED display presents channel names, volume settings, and configuration information.
Two network connections allow Dante daisy-chaining of multiple unDNEMO-BTs and other Attero Tech daisy-chain-enabled devices over a single home run to the Ethernet switch. Attero Tech’s unIFY GUI for Windows is available for system setup and enables integrators to select names for the audio flows to replace the native Dante flow names. The unDNEMO-BT can be powered by an external +24 VDC supply or can be PoE powered with any 802.3af-compliant PoE network switch or mid-span injector.
The unDNEMO-BT is recommended for a variety of applications, including command and control rooms to provide easy and private access to multiple Dante audio feeds, legislative applications to allow staff to listen in on floor debates or hearing room discussions, and simultaneous interpretation and delegate systems. Stock brokerage offices can use it to monitor audio from network and cable financial channels. It’s also a great choice for sports bars and restaurants to allow each table to listen to audio form any of the video screens.
Attero Tech’s unBT2A and unD610-BT Bluetooth audio interfaces and unDNEMO-BT Dante network monitor will be available November 2016. More information on the unBT2A is here, the unD610-BT here and the unDNEMO-BT is here.Leave a Comment
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|Crestron Says It’s Sped Up the Response of Touch Screens With the New TSW Series|
Crestron is now shipping the new generation of TSW touch screens, which the company says has faster touch response. The TSW-560, TSW-760 and TSW 1060 are available at the same pricing as the prior generation.
New TSW touch screen features include a faster processor, a higher level of network security (enterprise-grade) including 802.1X, TLS, FIPS-140-2, SSH and SFTP, they use backlit capacitive buttons as well as an ambient light sensor and they have a built-in PinPoint proximity beacon. In upgrading such an important and popular product line, Crestron says they took special care not to make any changes that disrupt how integrators install and commission TSWs. The styling and colors remain the same, as does power via PoE and easy mounting options.
Here are the specifics.Leave a Comment
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|Gpinto Intros New Plug and Play Turntable|
Gpinto has introduced ON (which stands for “Old / New”), which the company claims to be the world’s first plug and play turntable. At just 6.5cm high, it can handle all kind of sources – both analog and digital. It can be connected to a computer with a USB cable or to portable devices (smartphones, tablets and digital music players) via a Bluetooth aptX audio receiver. The unit houses a valve preamp with dedicated power supply and amplifiers from 100 up to 500 Watts RMS.
Technical details include:
- DuPont Corian plinth and multi-layer beech veneer deck
- Belt-drive DuPont Corian platter, 33/45 RPM
- Carbon fiber tonearm
- Selectable MM/MC cartridges
- Valve preamp with dedicated power supply
- Two analog inputs (RCA stereo)
- Digital inputs (one coaxial, two optical, one USB) with High-Definition D/A converters 192Khz / 24Bit
- Wireless Bluetooth aptX
- Digital amplifier from 100 watts to 500 watts RMS 8 ohm
All the specs are here.Leave a Comment
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|Z-Wave Alliance Ups Security Requirements for All Z-Wave Certified IoT DevicesThe Z-Wave Alliance has adding a security requirement to its long-standing interoperability certification. This addition to its certification program will require manufacturers to adopt the strongest levels of IoT security in the industry. The Alliance Board of Directors has voted to make the implementation of the new Security 2 (S2) framework mandatory for all products that are Z-Wave certified after April 2, 2017. The security measures in S2 provide the most advanced security for smart home devices and controllers, gateways and hubs in the market today.
The Z-Wave Alliance, along with its Board of Directors and members, have been working for the past several years to develop world-class security for its devices as the IoT expands into every modern household in the U.S. and across the globe. A 2016 survey by Intel Security(1) showed that two-thirds of consumers are worried about cybersecurity of connected devices and recent incidents involving popular brands demonstrates the real need for industry leadership.
Z-Wave’s S2 framework was developed in conjunction with cybersecurity hacking experts, giving the already secure Z-Wave devices, new levels of impenetrability. By securing communication both locally for home-based devices and in the hub or gateway for cloud functions, S2 also completely removes the risk of devices being hacked while they are included in the network. By using a QR or pin-code on the device itself the devices are uniquely authenticated to the network as well. Common hacks such as man in the middle and brute force are virtually powerless against the S2 framework through the implementation of the industry-wide accepted secure key exchange using Elliptic Curve Diffie-Hellman (ECDH). Finally, Z-Wave also strengthened its cloud communication, enabling the tunnelling of all Z-Wave over IP (Z/IP) traffic through a secure TLS 1.1 tunnel, removing vulnerability.
The changes to Z-Wave’s technical certification program, which is administered through 3rdparty test facilities in Europe, US and Asia, first established to test and certify Z-Wave devices in 2005 will check that all S2 security solutions, which contain rules for command classes, timers and device types are correctly implemented.
Here are more details about it.Leave a Comment
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For all you REGULAR readers of rAVe HomeAV Edition out there, hopefully you enjoyed another opinion-packed issue!
For those of you NEW to rAVe, you just read how we are — we are 100% opinionated. We not only report the news and new product stories of the high-end HomeAV industry, but we stuff the articles full of our opinions. That may include (but is not limited to) whether or not the product is even worth looking at, challenging the manufacturers on their specifications, calling a marketing-spec bluff and suggesting ways integrators market their products better. But, one thing is for sure, we are NOT a trade publication that gets paid for running editorial or product stories. Traditional trade publications get paid to run product stories — that’s why you see what you see in most of the pubs out there. We are different: we run what we want to run and NO ONE is going to pay us to write anything good (or bad).
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A little about me: I graduated from Journalism School at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (where I am adjunct faculty). I’ve been in the AV-industry since 1987 where I started with Extron and eventually moved to AMX. So, I guess I am an industry veteran (although I don’t think I am that old). I have been an opinionated columnist for a number of industry publications and in the late 1990s I started the widely read KNews eNewsletter (the first in the AV market) and also created the model for and was co-founder of AV Avenue – which is now known as InfoComm IQ. rAVe Publications has been around since 2003, when we launched our original newsletter, rAVe ProAV Edition.
rAVe HomeAV Edition, co-published with CEDIA, launched in February, 2004.
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