Volume 14, Issue 14 — July 28, 2017
|When High Voltage Meets Low Voltage, Are There Sparks?|
By Lee Distad
The relationships between the various trades on a jobsite form a complex web of inter-dependencies. The two that are arguably the closest are the electrician and the AV pro.
That makes sense, since on even small AV jobs the AV pro needs to specify locations and load capacities for the electrical outlets required for the AV system. On large, complex projects, the AV pros and the electricians have to work together very closely on the interplay between the automation and everything in the building that is both powered and controlled.
Close relationships aren’t always smooth sailing though; they can go through rough patches. Conflicts can arise for any number of reasons, although poor communication between AV pro and their electrician counterpart is the most common.
Conversely, it’s because of the parallels between the high voltage and the low voltage categories that we’ve seen cross-pollination (if you want to call it that) occur between the two disciplines.
To some degree, there’s an impetus for AV pros to conclude that as their projects get larger and more sophisticated that they either need a licensed electrician on their payroll or an extremely close partnership with an amenable contractor to ensure that their needs on the jobsite are met.
At the same time, electricians can see what AV pros are doing, not just with things like lighting control, but also with audio and video, and conclude that these are products and services that they’re more than capable of delivering on.
If you visit any of the outlets of the large international wholesalers, like Eecol Electric, who cater to electricians, you’ll see not just high voltage lines and equipment, but a range of AV distribution and smart home equipment that might surprise you.
That shift among electrical distributors is notable, at least partly because there’s not a corresponding shift where AV distributors are branching out into high voltage equipment.
Instead, what’s more apparent is at the installation level of the channel, where AV pros are taking at least some ownership of high voltage, if only to ensure that their equipment is properly serviced with the loads they need in the building.
It’s still far more common for AV pros to have a preferred electrical contractor or two that they prefer to work closely with, it’s becoming less unusual for them to have an electrician on staff. There are certainly more now than there were five or ten years ago.
Not that some AV companies haven’t taken the plunge. A few have gone further still: not just employing licensed electricians in-house to serve their projects’ needs, but building out a new division to offer full electrical contracting to the builders.
In that way, they’re going after the electrical side just as electricians are pursuing the AV side. Diversification like that parallels what the electricians are also thinking: there’s a demand in the marketplace, why not get into the business yourself?
What does it all mean? What are the long-term implications that need to be considered?
Is this an increase in competition, cutting the pie into smaller pieces for everyone? Or does this mean newer, greater opportunities as a result?
I suppose we’re going to find out.
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By Frank Sabella
VP of System Integration, Conference Technologies Inc.
I purchased a new car yesterday. While its always satisfying to get new wheels the point of this post isn’t really about the new car experience. The process of buying a car can be summarized very plainly, it sucks. I sat on an uncomfortable chair in a less than interesting showroom listening to bored sales people talk about mundane things as a thunderstorm raged outside. I was one of two customers in the showroom, the other guy was waiting on something or other to come thru while I was not so patiently waiting on the paperwork guy. As I am waiting the salesperson I dealt with proceeded to try and sell me all manner of interior protections suggesting that fluids can seep into my new leather seats and remain in the foam potentially releasing an airborne toxin. I replied that I didn’t think that was actually a thing and if so I should probably reconsider buying this particular car. His descriptions of fluids in the seat cavities was akin to someone, hopefully not me, being cut up by a chainsaw while sitting in the rear passenger compartment. There were three levels of this epic save your seats compound, I would ask you now to pause and ponder the fact that there are three levels of interior protection options. I asked the obvious, does the cheapest option allow 75 percent of the fluids to permeate through the seats, does it include a gas mask for the releasing poisonous gasses? Perhaps the Goldilocks option only allows 50 percent of the liquids in? As you can likely tell I did not opt for any of these solutions. My salesperson was visibly disappointed more or less slapping the brochure onto his desk. There is always a fine line when presenting service options for something new and expensive. The salesperson had just spent time telling me that the vehicle I was buying is awesome then proceeds to tell me that the seats have no ability to resist even a droplet of Kool Aid.
I was finally summoned to “Johnny Closers” office to finalize the transaction. First, as a technologist, I am going to point out to great dismay that car dealers are still using dot matrix printers. For the love of all things its 2017, get real. Second, why the hell is all this crap still on paper. Hand me a tablet with all the documents loaded, I sign my name the required 552,000 times (I actually think I may have bought a house along with the Parthenon as well), and let me be on my way. That of course is not how it went, it was purely analog with carbon copies flying about and Johnny placing my copies in a giant envelope I will likely never ever look at again. I have now been at the dealership for three hours, my deal was actually done within the first 45 minutes, it was a pretty simple transaction. My salesperson informed me shortly after I put my all powerful and legally binding initials on the piece of notebook paper with the serious and vast negotiation locked in that “Johnny” requires about 15-20 minutes to get all the paperwork entered. That ended up being a doctors office 20, the math came out to 1 hour and 25 minutes to be exact. As I am finally going thru the stacks of paper and arthritically signing the myriad of documents “Johnny” is fielding phone calls, not just answering and quickly dispensing with the callers, he is having 3, 5, 7, 10 minute conversations. Meanwhile I am sitting there waiting for the next slew of documents to come my way. When he finally gets off the phone and we make our way thru the Yellow Pages of documents he pulls out the same crime scene leather protection good, better, best sheet. I explained that I had already been through this with my salesperson and I wasn’t interested, shocked he replied, “He is good but I explain it far better and I know you won’t want to decline this amazing protection package.” As a sales minded person I just had to hear this pitch as the words “what a tool” floated around in my deadening brain. He went with the “old school” telling me about some of his customers that pretty much lost everything because they didn’t buy his seat disaster prevention solution, “if they had to do it all over again they all said without a doubt they would buy.” At this point I am so numb to the idiocy of the situation I could only reply, “Johnny (moniker), I do not want nor will I ever buy the leaky car interior fluid repelling system.” I was having fun calling it several different things; of course he said I had 30 days to change my mind, what a relief.
Thankfully my salesperson collected me and escorted me to my new car, Johnny followed as I did not think he had completely given up on selling me the leather seat condom package. My salesperson hands me the two keys and asks if I need help backing it out of the service bay where they had kindly placed it as it was raining outside. He did not offer to show me anything, in all honesty I didn’t need him to, I could teach a class in Apple Car Play however he could have shown me where the hood release was (that’s a thing, right?), where to put in windshield wiper fluid (not that I would but, hey), or demonstrate how the rear seats fold down with the push of a button, a feature I discovered on my own. It was after closing but that’s no excuse. Now we enter the moral of the story. As I am about to climb into my dangerously unprotected driver side seat they pull out a customer survey form. Now I know why Johnny tagged along as they both hit me like velociraptors explaining that the only column that matters is “excellent,” anything less is a failing grade in the eyes of their faction. They asked that when the survey comes I please score my experience as excellent, it would really help them out. As you might have surmised, I have a few points here. First, as someone that loves our own Customer Experience Survey, I find it hugely distasteful and completely valueless to suggest to your client how they score you. The results are a basis of measurement on areas that are strengths along with things that could use improvement. If you cook the numbers the survey has zero value. It was obvious they are incentivized by the results, which is also a huge mistake. A company should not need to incentivize their teams for doing the right things and providing a great experience for clients. That must be the absolute focus and mission at all times. I did not feel I received an excellent experience so I am certainly not going to cater to these goofballs because they want to hit a key performance indicator by the end of the month. Here is a really easy suggestion. Instead of telling me to rate my experience as excellent why not actually make my damn experience excellent. If you focused your attention on me, the customer, if you demonstrated professionalism, pride, confidence, organization, expertise and skill, then an excellent rating you will have.
In the end I scored them based on how my experience was, which was less than satisfactory. When I saw the car in the daylight the following day, I was astonished to see that despite it only having 20 miles on it was caked with mud in the interior rear door sills. In fact the car was pretty terribly ported — it’s black and there were streaks and soap residue all over, it was terrible. Buying a car is a special occasion, a big life purchase. No matter what you sell, there should never be any sign of complacency on the part of the representative providing the goods and/or services. Purchases are often emotional, even B2B transactions. It does not matter that you may do these transactions all the time, your client does not. If you want an excellent score, be excellent; it really isn’t all that hard. Hopefully my new seats hold up under the pressure and the chaos found in the modern suburban environment.
This blog was reprinted with permission from Frank Sabella and originally appeared here.Leave a Comment
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|CEDIA Announces 2017 Americas and Asia Pacific Home Technology Professional Awards Finalists|
CEDIA has announced the 2017 Americas and Asia Pacific finalists for the Home Technology Professional Awards competition. The CEDIA Awards honor the best projects completed by home technology professional members in the past year.
The projects were evaluated by a global panel of judges with various areas of industry expertise. Winners for the Asia Pacific region will be announced on Wednesday, August 30 in conjunction with Integrate 2017. Americas winners, will be announced as part of CEDIA 2017 at the CEDIA Celebration hosted on Wednesday, September 6 on the USS Midway. Global winners and EMEA regional winners will be announced at the CEDIA EMEA Awards hosted on Friday, September 29 at Warner Bros. Studio Tour London – The Making of Harry Potter.
CEDIA Americas and Asia Pacific member companies with finalist projects include:
- Audio Images – Orange County, CA, USA
- Admit One Home Systems – Edina, MN, USA
- Atlantic Control Technologies – Annapolis, MD, USA
- Beyond Hi-Fi – Bellvue, WA, USA
- Bradford Wells + Associates – Los Angeles, CA, USA
- Cantara – Cosa Mesa, CA, USA
- Casaplex – Kensington, MD, USA
- Cyber Group – Scottsdale, AZ, USA
- DC Home Systems – Portsmouth, NH, USA
- Design Electronics – Niagra Falls, Ontario, Canada
- Digital Residence – Clayfield, Queensland, Australia
- Edge Audio Visual Pty Ltd – Cashmere, Queensland, Australia
- Electronic Living Pty Ltd – Virginia, Queensland, Australia
- Future Home – Los Angeles, CA, USA
- Graytek – Coquitlam, British Columbia, Canada
- Home Concepts, Inc. – Calgary, Alberta, Canada
- Inteliksa de Mexico SA de CV – Tlalnepantla, Mexico
- La Scala – Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
- Land & Sea Entertainment – San Diego, CA, USA
- Liquid Automation – Rosedale, Auckland, New Zealand
- Look & Listen – Morningside, Queensland, Australia
- Millennium Systems Design – Orlando, FL, USA
- New Box Solutions LLC – Van Nuys, CA, USA
- Paradise Theater & AudioVisions – San Diego, CA & Lake Forest, CA, USA
- Shanghai AV Style – Shanghai, China
- Smartlab, SRC de CV – Naucalpan, Mexico
- Starpower – Southlake, TX, USA
- Station Earth – Fergus, Ontario, Canada
- The Digital Picture – Helensvale Town Centre, Queensland, Australia
- Zene Private Theater – Beijing, China
- ZIO Group, LLC – Winter Park, FL, USA
Additional information about the finalists can be found on the CEDIA website. Individuals interested in attending the CEDIA Celebration hosted at CEDIA 2017 may purchase a ticket through the CEDIA 2017 registration system. Those interested in attending the CEDIA EMEA Awards may purchase tickets at http://www.cediaawards.orgLeave a Comment
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|James Loudspeaker Unveils Q-Series Floor-Standing Speakers|
James Loudspeaker just launched the Q-Series floor-standing loudspeakers with three standard models that can be custom sized and finished to meet the exact needs of any environment. Leveraging the technology in James’ flagship BE-Series in-wall speakers, all three Q-Series models employ a rigid, reinforced MDF enclosure, a grille made from coated aluminum bar stock and the signature James Loudspeaker 1-inch Beryllium quad tweeter array. The Q-Series are designed for a two-channel music system and/or a multi-channel theater when a floor-standing form factor is the preferred solution.
- Q60: The Q60 has been engineered to use two amplifiers (bi-amplification), one for the full-range portion of the speaker and another for the internal 12-inch down-firing aluminum cone subwoofer. Above the 12-inch subwoofer, which features a 3-inch voice coil capable of handling 1000+ watts of power, the Q60 utilizes a three-way system comprised of two 8-inch woofers, two 6.5-inch midranges and the Beryllium quad tweeter array. List is $15,000 U.S. (each).
- Q48: The Q48 implements the same bi-amped system and 12-inch subwoofer as the Q60 but uses a pair of 8-inch woofers, two 5.25-inch midrange drivers and the Beryllium quad tweeter array. List is $10,000 U.S. (each).
- Q30: The Q30 loudspeaker, like the Q60 and Q48, features the Beryllium quad tweeter array, but uses an 8-inch midrange and 8-inch long-excursion woofer all feature aluminum cones with Santoprene rubber surrounds. Lists for $6,000 U.S. (each).
Here are all the details.Leave a Comment
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|Klipsch Forte Speakers Are Back With Third Version|
Klipsch today announces the release of the new Forte III loudspeaker. The Forte III is a member of the Klipsch Heritage series and features updated cosmetics and the latest advancements in acoustic engineering, while maintaining the original design and performance as before. The speaker hosts a three-way design utilizing a
12” woofer and horn-loaded midrange and tweeter, with all new state of
the art titanium compression drivers. A new midrange horn incorporates a modified Tractrix design with patented Mumps technology to improve coverage and control of the key mid-frequency band. The Forte III employs a rear-mounted passive radiator that is 15” in size for greater bass output and extension.
At just 13” deep, the Klipsch Forte III solves space issues with its narrow, shallow footprint, while still delivering room-filling, quality sound. Each pair of Forte III loudspeakers is grain-matched using wood veneer panels and labeled with sequential serial numbers, ensuring that each pair of speakers is a matched set.
The $1,800 Forte III is available now and are available in American Walnut, Natural Cherry, Black Ash and new Distressed Oak. Here are the details.Leave a Comment
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|Emotiva Audio Corp. to Make CEDIA Debut With 16-channel Processor and 3D Audio Presentation|
Emotiva Audio Corporation will make its CEDIA Expo debut in September with a live demo that features several of its most recent product introductions, in addition to the first public demo of the highly anticipated 16-channel RMC-1 A/V processor.
The RMC-1 ($4,999) is a no-holds-barred 16-channel processor that supports full 4K UHD video, with high speed video switching, in addition to the latest Dolby Atmos and DTS-X object-oriented surround sound formats.
The centerpiece of Emotiva’s demo room will be a 7.4.4 demo, featuring the best-in-class RMC-1 A/V processor, with 16 fully balanced channels, including an all-analog preamplifier section, precision 32-bit AD/DA conversion, and an advanced 4K UHD video management system. Eight HDMI inputs and dual HDMI outputs support 2.0b and HDCP 2.2, ensuring theater-like video quality from all 4K UHD HDR10 sources and equipment.
Sonically, the RMC-1 features a full 16 channels of Dolby Atmos and DTS:X surround sound (7.3.6 channels), with a decoded audio signal for each channel that is processed by a separate high performance AKM Verita 32-bit DAC, operated in precision balanced mono mode. Support is provided for native audio decoding of single- and double-rate DSD digital audio signals, accepted from either HDMI or USB sources.
Here are all the tech specs.Leave a Comment
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|RTI’s Integration Designer APEX Programming Software is Now Available|
RTI today announced that its Integration Designer APEX software is now available. The Windows-based programming platform includes new features that RTI says speeds up the installation process for projects of any size, while still being fairly easy to use.
The backbone of RTI’s control and automation solutions, Integration Designer APEX supports the capabilities the company has planned for upcoming software releases, while delivering numerous immediate features that they claim simplify programming and make system design more efficient. These include automatic generation of the graphical user interface and programming, a new IR library, multi-room programming, advanced graphic resizing, and more. The completely flexible software allows system designers to modify auto-generated templates, take advantage of third-party templates, or create their own pages while still utilizing APEX’s powerful features.
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|Atlona Ships 4K HDR-Capable HDMI Audio De-Embedder and DownmixerAtlona is now shipping its new AT-HDR-M2C audio converter. Designed for commercial or residential playback of multi-channel source content via displays, distributed audio systems, and whole-house audio systems, the AT-HDR-M2C extracts, decodes, and downmixes multi-channel PCM, Dolby and DTS audio from HDMI sources. |
The AT-HDR-M2C delivers stereo downmixed audio over HDMI, analog unbalanced audio, and TOSLINK digital audio outputs. It also simultaneously passes through the HDMI input with no downmixing. The successor to Atlona’s popular AT-HD-M2C and AT-UHD-M2C-BAL, the AT-HDR-M2C is compatible with HDMI signals up to 4K/UHD at 60 Hz with 4:4:4 chroma sampling and supports HDR10 plus other HDR formats. The new audio converter is compatible with HDMI data rates up to 18 Gbps and is HDCP 2.2 compliant.
Compatible with current and emerging 4K/UHD and HDR sources and displays, the AT-HDR-M2C supports all video resolutions, audio formats – including all Dolby and DTS formats – and color spaces encompassed in the HDMI 2.0a specification, and can pass metadata for HDR content. The device can serve both surround-sound and two-channel audio systems from a multi-channel audio source, and can de-embed HDMI audio with or without being connected to a display or other HDMI destination.
Integrated EDID management features and audio volume, bass, and treble adjustments can be controlled through the device’s graphical web interface, third-party control systems, or the free Atlona Management System (AMS) network software platform. AMS enables systems integrators and users to set up, manage and monitor multiple Atlona solutions over a LAN, WAN or VPN.
The AT-HDR-M2C is $449.99. Here are all the details.Leave a Comment
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|Extron Ships Industry’s First Control Processor With AV LAN Ports and PoE+ In a move to, no doubt, be watched by both Luxul and Pakedge, Extron’s new IPCP Pro 360 is a control processor with three dedicated AV LAN ports and one standard Ethernet port. The control processor provides PoE+ to external devices, eliminating the need for additional power supplies. It features security standards and Gigabit Ethernet ports, which ensure compatibility with multiple TouchLink Pro touchpanels using a standard network infrastructure. The AV LAN ports are designed to control local AV devices, and safeguard them from outside intrusion or interference. The IPCP Pro 360 can be used with Extron LinkLicense, which further enhances the capabilities of Extron Pro Series control systems. The IPCP Pro 360 is an ideal choice for controlling multiple devices and control signal types within AV systems requiring an isolated AV network.
The Extron IPCP Pro 360 can be configured using Global Configurator Plus or Global Configurator Professional software or programmed using Extron Global Scripter. Here are the specs.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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