Volume 4, Issue 5 — May 22, 2018
|Huddle Rooms: A Definitive Guide To Outfitting Your Smaller Collaboration Spaces|
By David Danto and Andrew W. Davis
The year was 2006. Videoconferencing had been used in the corporate world for more than ten years — and everyone hated it. It failed to meet the promises of reducing travel costs and providing easy, “just like being there” experiences. Enterprise AV was really no better. Huge boardrooms and over-complicated large conference rooms were the norm, with most requiring an AV or IT technician to operate. Into this mix, Cisco inserted the concept of immersive “TelePresence” — easy to use, single purpose, high-definition rooms that finally provided the desired experience. Every enterprise executive seemed to love them — except the ones in the finance department. Despite expert advice about the limitations, these rooms — costing upwards of a half-million dollars each — took off like wildfire. Now, just about 10 years later, it would be difficult to find any of these immersive rooms still in operation at most enterprises. Additionally, anecdotal data suggests the number of over-complicated, custom AV rooms has also shrunk significantly. The high costs did help sink these models, but that alone wasn’t the biggest factor in the pendulum swinging back to smaller, simpler systems. The truth is that nature of business changed
Ten to twenty years ago, people would gather in these large rooms in one or maybe two buildings to hold meetings. Today however, most meetings take place with distributed participants. Some are in conference rooms, some are at their desk, some are working from home and some are in transit. All of these people need to be able to connect and collaborate effectively without having to look for a specially equipped room — and/or one that is likely too complicated for them to use. A growing number of people now manage to use their mobile device or PC to join a meeting, but many are still in an office — in much smaller groups.
Many enterprise technology leaders realized a different way to support information worker collaboration was needed. Having their people wander the hallways looking for an empty large conference room to use (and hoping that they can figure out how to get the AV technology working) just wasn’t effective. People conducting meetings from their desks didn’t work anymore, because desks were increasingly likely to be in an open-office environment rather than a private space. To meet collaboration needs, many organizations are installing smaller, simpler, easy-to-operate meeting spaces. Many more of these can be deployed for the price of one of the complex rooms of the past. These new spaces have generally been called huddle rooms.
What are Huddle Rooms?
A huddle room is a space where small groups of people (generally fewer than six) can go to have meetings away from the noise and activities of today’s typically dense open office environments. Depending upon organizational culture, these spaces may or may not have walls (huddle spaces vs. huddle rooms) and may or may not be intended primarily for impromptu meetings. The majority of these huddle rooms are equipped with basic, simple to operate technology to support local presentations and collaboration with remote individuals. Everyone seems to agree that these rooms should be able to function under the control of the average user — and not require assistance from an IT or AV technician. Simplicity is the overall theme. What isn’t agreed upon, however, is what features constitute “basic” requirements.
Some organizations believe a speakerphone is enough, with or without a shared display. Others consider some form of videoconferencing to be a requirement. Further confusing the discussion is the fact that a wide variety of manufacturers have introduced a plethora of solutions that describe a huddle room in terms of only their own products. Today’s offerings run the gamut from repurposed older modalities to new products that were created just to serve the huddle room paradigm.
It’s easiest to envision huddle room solutions along a spectrum, each with different features and approaches.
Each of the possible huddle room solution types has a number of variables, and each has significant pros and cons.
Classifying the Types of Huddle Room Systems
It’s easiest to envision huddle room solutions along a spectrum, each with different features and approaches.
Each of the possible huddle room solution types has a number of variables, and each has significant pros and cons.
It’s generally agreed that the most basic huddle space has a content display of some type and a telephone of some type. Smaller “quiet rooms” may have only a desk with one or two chairs and a tabletop display. Larger spaces may have a wall mounted flat-panel display and a speakerphone on a table with up to five or six chairs. Getting a person’s content onto the display can be accomplished by something as simple as a cable strung over to the table or as complex as any number of wireless content sharing applications and devices.
While these simple rooms meet the need for small, local groups of participants, they are typically not equipped to support collaborative meetings with remote participants effectively. People may bring their own notebooks and use them to join a meeting, but when using only a personal device to support even a small meeting room the results are typically less than satisfactory — with poor camera shots and unacceptable audio.
In order to improve the user experience yet still maintain a BYOD model, many organizations provide huddle rooms with peripheral devices meant to connect to a person’s notebook. These devices — which are commonly based on USB connectivity — can include:
- Audio Peripherals: A person’s PC can be turned into a very effective IP speakerphone by using a portable USB device. Some great examples of these include the Yamaha YVC-1000 or the Plantronics Calisto 600 Series. These provide excellent bidirectional audio in a small form factor for a relatively low price. If a more permanent audio device is desired, available solutions would include the Biamp Devio, which requires permanent installation and can also pass-through display signals.
- Video Peripherals: Instead of using the webcam built into a notebook or tablet, many organizations provide an external USB camera to improve the field of view, viewing angle and video resolution. USB cameras today vary greatly in scope and features.
- The most basic feature of a good huddle room camera is that it has a much wider pick-up angle than a typical webcam — with a 90-degree field of view being typical for a camera considered appropriate for this application. Cameras specifically designed for this application include Logitech’s Brio – which (for about $200) produces 4K ultra high-definition, HDR (High Dynamic Range) images in a field of view that is adjustable from 65 degrees to 90 degrees, and Huddly’s Go (with an innovative ability to correct ultra-wide images into distortion-free shots.)
- If a mechanical PTZ camera is desired (so that a user can focus on one specific spot, or move around to multiple specific spots) VDO360’s Team Cam is a good choice. It is inexpensive as far as PTZ cameras go (about $400), but it is built specifically for these huddle room applications — with the requisite 90 degree field-of-view.
- There are also next-generation cameras available for the huddle room which have the ability to determine how many participants are in a room and automatically frame-up an ideal shot. This “intelligent tracking” feature will likely be the norm going forward, but it is available today on a standard USB camera with Altia System’s Panacast 2 – which (for about $1k) offers panoramic 180 degree 4K views with HDR.
- Combined Audio and Video Peripherals: Some manufacturers are now building devices that combine audio and video capabilities. These appear in many form factors.
- Some look like traditional offerings combined into a single package. The Logitech Group (for about $1.3K) includes a traditional PTZ camera, a center-of-table speakerphone with optional puck microphone extensions, on-device and handheld remote controls, and needs just a single USB connection to a host.
- Other vendors have adopted a form-factor that is best described as a speakerbar with an embedded microphone array and camera. These are meant to be mounted under a display. One example of this form factor is Logitech’s MeetUp. It produces 4K images from a super-wide 120-degree field of view camera, and has integrated audio optimized for huddle room acoustics. Another example is the Yamaha’s CS-700 with ultra-wideband audio. A strength of this form factor is the clean design with minimal cables; a weakness is the larger distance between the meeting participant and the audio microphone, a situation that can lead to hollow-sounding audio.
- Next-generation technology is emerging in this category as well, in the form of start-up Owl Labs’ new Meeting Owl. This is a Center of Table camera / speakerphone that more resembles Amazon’s Echo than a video conferencing peripherals. It has an innovative 360 degree camera that finds the people who are currently (or were recently) speaking and creates a close-up of just their images (under a strip with all the meeting participants’ around the table.) The company has yet to fully ramp-up production of these (approximately $800) units, so the jury is still out on them, but the intelligent tracking shown again here is sure to be of great interest.
The general benefits of BYOD systems include:
- Because the user is bringing his or her own codec engine, the cost to the enterprise of deploying a huddle room system is reduced compared to installing dedicated conference room solutions.
- Meeting hosts will likely use a conferencing application or service that they already use in their own workspaces. Hence, they are familiar with the software and likely need little or no additional training.
- A natural byproduct of this implementation is that the meeting participants have all their files with them already on their computers or tablet devices. No need for special downloads or uploads.
- Using a BYOD strategy, the compute engines can’t be centrally managed at an enterprise level. If a PC has an issue (network connectivity, bad driver, security update causing conflicts, etc.) no one will know until the meeting has begun and the failure is experienced by the users. (This is the main reason that enterprises who have opted for installed room appliances avoid the BYOD model.)
- USB peripherals in the conference room are portable and easily misplaced or misappropriated.
- BYOD devices must have easy access to drivers for huddle room peripherals unless they use standard drivers. Meeting hosts may need to select the particular peripherals from a menu system – i.e. use the huddle room camera instead of the embedded camera.
- Some enterprises use a BYOD model without adding appropriate peripherals. Expecting a PC’s embedded camera, microphone and/or speakers to meet the need or installing a webcam designed to work at a desktop (with a nominal 12” distance for good images) are common mistakes that lead to poor quality meetings.
Hub Based Rooms:
Some organizations that want a more powerful and manageable system in their rooms than a BYOD strategy will allow, but don’t want to install systems that they perceive to be “large” “complex” or “expensive” have opted for a permanently installed table top system. These hubs can be envisioned as a center of table speakerphone on steroids. Of course they make audio calls, but can also handle such things as connecting to mobile devices, sending content to the rooms display, and making very basic video calls (with restrictions.) Options for these can include the following:
- Crestron Mercury – an all-in-one tabletop solution that supports audio calls, AV presentation, and video conferencing (via built-in speaker and microphones and an included USB camera.) The device is a full open SIP conference phone that directly connects many popular VOIP calling platforms, and is able to connect directly to Skype for Business (MS Teams) and Zoom video conferences. (All other services require a BYOD device for connection.) It also pairs – via Bluetooth – to mobile devices and supports presentations via HDMI and Air Media. Mercury can be registered for reservations via Exchange or G-suite.
- Polycom Trio – the latest successor to Polycom’s Iconic “starfish” speakerphone, but with many additional features. It sports a “smartphone-like” UI as it connects to Microsoft’s Skype for Business and Office 365 for audio calls, video calls and content sharing.
- Conferencing Service Provider Platforms – some conferencing service providers – such as BlueJeans and Zoom – now offer hub based systems for their subscribers.
The general benefits of Hub Based systems include:
- As a permanently installed device, a hub based system can be remotely monitored for some health / availability information in an enterprise environment
- Without the variabilities stemming from devices being brought into the room, a more stable performance is a major benefit.
- Less “hook-up” and set up time is required as no peripheral connections are required. There is less risk to meeting delays.
The general drawbacks of Hub Based systems include:
- Videoconferencing capabilities are usually restricted to calls on one or two locked-in systems/platforms. For example, the hub may present only the option to start a Skype or Zoom call; other options would require an attached notebook.
- Often the hub manufacturers arbitrarily restrict compatible video cameras to a very small list of low-end devices. Despite having a standard USB port for camera input, their software prevents the use of better, more feature rich cameras. They are likely trying to convince users that want better images to purchase a more advanced system than a hub.
- Where offered, the management platform for some hub systems is sometimes different from the management platform used on larger systems. Organizations that want a blend of small hubs and large systems may have to use two management consoles to monitor all systems.
All In One Rooms:
Many organizations want to equip their huddle rooms with a single product – or a single product bundle – from a single manufacturer – to simplify the processes of ordering, maintaining and updating any software/firmware. Some of these systems still require a third party display, some of them come with the display, and some have all their features built into a display. Subcategories for these include the following:
- Peripherals based system with added general compute engine – Some manufacturers take their BYOD type peripherals, add a compute engine for videoconferencing and audio processing, and sell them as a complete system. One example of this is Logitech’s Group Kit – complete with a small Intel NUC computer. Another is VDO360’s Clearwater system – where the PTZ camera is actually mounted on a small general purpose computer. These types of systems give you all the cost savings of a BYOD system but mitigate the connection and driver issues that arise from bringing the computer into the room each time.
- Control Device Wrapped Around A General Compute Engine – Some manufacturers take general compute based conferencing and add a touch panel for control and status, making the package seem like a complete room system. Skype Room Systems – like Crestron’s SR – do just that. It provides the same Skype for Business or Microsoft Teams UX that might be running on a laptop or mobile device, but built into a permanent, in-room engine. Users can get a familiar touch and feel in the form of a room system, but all wrapped around only the conferencing features of a PC application.
- Speakerbar with Appliance Codec – Many enterprises shun a general compute engine in their huddle rooms because of a perceived lack of stability, and actual lack of enterprise grade central monitoring. To gain those features, users look to manufacturers that make conferencing appliances – hardware codecs – for room use. These can still be minimal / simple installations as exemplified by Cisco’s Spark Room Kit. This unit is in the ‘speakerbar’ format for use under a display, containing the speakers, microphone array, intelligent tracking camera and in this case a dedicated videoconferencing codec (in a device that costs approximately $11K or approximately $3K plus an ongoing monthly fee.). The pros for such a system include the rock-solid performance and reliability along with the enterprise grade monitoring. The cons include the fact that it requires an infrastructure purchase, or a cloud subscription to function.
- All In A Single Display – Another product design is based on including the codec, audio and camera components within the display housing itself. A benefit with this approach is that you put up a display and you’re done – no additional peripheral devices or cable connections are needed. This All-in-One style is available as a standard display – like the Cisco Spark Room 55 – and interactive displays – like the Cisco Sparkboard and the Microsoft Surface Hub. These types of huddle room systems exhibit a certain elegance, with nothing to connect or attach, but they might have their drawbacks as well. Users need to ensure that they are clear on what infrastructure or licensing is required to operate them; what conferencing platforms, systems and/or software they are compatible with; how difficult they are to operate; and how good the images and sounds are that they produce. Not all single display systems are created alike, so end-users need to try them and speak with current users to understand any issues they’ve experienced.
- Complete, Multi-component Systems – Legacy videoconferencing manufacturers have a number of systems available that get ordered on a single SKU, get installed in hours and not days, only require power and a network port to operate, and perform splendidly in a huddle room environment. Cisco’s MX300G2 is one such system that can be unboxed, installed and making calls in less than an hour. Systems such as these provide the greatest ability to be remotely monitored within an enterprise, drastically reducing end-user issues. They often connect to a central management system that provides a dashboards and alarms. Of course, however, this usually means that organizations need to have purchased and installed these management systems as a prerequisite. Polycom’s Medialign Systems are another example of this type.
The general benefits of All In One systems include:
- Nothing has to be brought into the room for them to work. They are ready to go once someone walks in, and some of the systems can be remotely monitored because they are always connected.
- They generally eliminate the concept of system troubleshooting that legacy AV devices had. If there is any question about the condition of the equipment or any component then the entire system can be easily replaced. No programming, staging or compatibility checking is required.
The general drawbacks of All In One systems include:
- They are often more expensive than BYOD solutions
- They may require additional infrastructure components or costly services
Mini Full System Rooms:
These systems represent the custom AV Integrators’ response to the huddle room hype. The recommendation is to build a smaller custom designed, custom programmed, multi-component system using best-in-breed AV and collaboration components — just as was traditionally done in the AV model – but in this case done smaller.
The general benefit of Mini Full Systems is the specific ability to have the technology, user interface and displays customized to exactly what the end users require.
The general drawbacks of Mini Full Systems are plentiful:
- There is little to no cost benefit – each room still needs to be staged, assembled, and installed in the field. Only the custom programming can be repeated – and only to a certain extent.
- Patches and updates still need to be applied on a per component basis, with each component likely coming from a different vendor.
- In-room failures need to be remedied using traditional AV troubleshooting processes. The problematic component or cable needs to be identified, ordered and replaced – which can be a time-consuming process.
It is important to realize that there are inherent trade-offs for each of the huddle room solution types categorized above – and the trade-offs are not always evident. Can the system connect to all conferencing platforms you use? Will the camera deliver an adequate shot in your specific room? Is the system compatible with the cameras or other accessories you want to use? Is quality sacrificed for cost savings? Understanding the trade-offs and how they map into your organization’s collaboration needs is a crucial step to success. Independent technology consultants with experience across multiple platforms can provide valuable and cost-effective advice.
All the systems detailed above will continue to improve as technology advancements are brought to market. This is the nature of the electronics market. We can already envision a number of these improvements in price, performance, and feature sets.
- Voice First user interfaces (UIs) are now universally available on mobile smartphones and home devices. If you tell your phone or home device to “Call Helen” it places the call. That technology requires an always-on microphone connected to an AI engine in the cloud – which is a significant security issue for most organizations. (There are in fact conferencing services – such as Zoom – that offer this feature today, but it is often not permitted by enterprise compliance teams.) There is no doubt that the security issues can be overcome, and we’ll soon be able to start meetings just by asking.
- Meeting rooms will likely make more use of AI than just voice control. Room systems will be able to identify the people in the room (either by smart device proximity or facial recognition) identify the meetings scheduled on their calendars, obtain the needed presentation materials, and set all of it up to begin with a single request to “start my meeting.”
- Manufacturers are preparing to bring improved audio algorithms to the market. Audio performance has long been acknowledged as even more important than video in a video conference. With sketchy video, users will hang in; with unsatisfactory audio they simply hang up. Future speaker/microphone devices will likely be programmable to pick-up sounds from a specific distance that can be set. Depending upon the circumstances, huddle room walls may not be needed for sound isolation. Noise suppression and echo cancellation performance will continue to improve. Polycom has already introduced an “acoustic fence” feature that significantly improves audio performance in huddle room situations.
Whether you are an information worker in a large enterprise or an SMB, huddle rooms are likely to play a role your business communications future. IT professionals will need to wrestle with the myriad of technology choices available. Our advice to all readers is to start by assessing your actual user needs (not as easy as it sounds) and then identifying the best approach or approaches to meet those needs along with key concerns. The second step is to outline priorities – start by considering price, performance, ease-of-use, compatibility with already-deployed technology, training and adoption requirements and manageability. These will vary depending on the number of rooms you are considering, their location, your IP network bandwidth and other factors as well. The optimal choice may not be just one solution, but rather a blend of them.
Our guide above details the types of solutions that the different vendors have brought to market and our assessment of their strengths and weaknesses. Many of the solutions are sufficiently low cost that trialing them is a reasonable step. Be careful, however, not to expose large groups of end-users to systems that are being tested. End-user adoption is a critical component of a successful collaboration strategy, and confusing the users — or exposing them to technology they will not be using — is rarely a good step. Nothing good comes from showing users technology they will not like, or technology they did like but will not be using. We strongly urge organizations to decide upon a single strategy based upon actual user needs and go forward with it, deploying huddle room technology that is consistent with all of their collaboration experiences. This will create a stable and uniform user experience across any environment.
About the Authors
This article was written by Andrew W. Davis and David Danto and expresses solely their own personal opinions.
The co-founder of Wainhouse Research, Andrew has been reporting on the visual collaboration industry since 1994. He has published numerous reports, opinion pieces, magazine articles and newsletters and has presented at numerous industry events over the years.
David has over three decades of experience providing problem solving leadership and innovation in media and unified communications technologies for various firms in the corporate, broadcasting and academic worlds including AT&T, Bloomberg LP, FNN, Morgan Stanley, NYU, Lehman Brothers and JP Morgan Chase. David is the IMCCA’s Director of Emerging Technology and a noted industry analyst and consultant. He can be reached at DDanto@imcca.org, and his full bio and other blogs and articles can be seen at Danto.info. Please reach-out to David if you would like to discuss how he can help your organization solve problems, develop a future-proof collaboration strategy for internal use, or if you would like his help developing solid, user-focused go-to-market strategies for your product or service
About the IMCCA
The Interactive Multimedia & Collaborative Communications Alliance (IMCCA) is a not-for-profit user application and industry focused association with membership comprised of service and product providers, consultants and users. Members benefit from the understanding and the use of various interactive and collaborative communications technologies in their professional and everyday lives.
For further information please contact Carol Zelkin, IMCCA Executive Director, at 516-818- 8184 or email@example.com. Visit the IMCCA web site here.
This article was reprinted with permission from IMCCA and originally appeared here.Leave a Comment
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|The Science of Why|
By Mark Coxon
One of the most shared business leadership talks is Start With Why by Simon Sinek. It emphasizes the importance of purpose in a business and leadership’s ability to communicate that purpose to their employees to accomplish amazing things together. I believe it has been so popular because most business books emphasize what to do and/or how to do it. They are manuals on execution and strategy. In stark contrast, Sinek struck a chord by focusing on purpose and inspiration instead, changing the paradigm on the modern business model.
I believe that in technology we are also steeped in the culture of execution. Of course, this isn’t a bad thing. A brilliant plan, executed poorly, will never reach it’s potential. Also, given the binary nature of inputs and outputs and the technicalities of signal distribution, etc., we need to be concerned with the “what” and “how” in order to deliver working systems. However, even technology has a human aspect to it. There are desired outcomes to achieve and behavioral barriers to overcome, and the motivations of the people using our systems matter. Given that we also need to start with “why.”
Of course, every vertical, space and even customer may have completely different goals, so the “whys” may vary significantly, but could there be some trends that may be helpful to the way we approach our projects?
The integrated architecture firm Gensler recently did a study on public spaces asking just that question.
Why do people visit public spaces in the first place and given that, how can we use those motivations a to design better public spaces?
Interestingly enough, their study also includes data collected from visitors of these spaces, and much of that data includes impressions of how technology impacted their experiences in those spaces as well.
So what were some interesting trends in that study? Let’s dive into their “Experience Index” to find out.
The first take away is that visitors of public spaces rarely have a singular motivation. Gensler defines five main motivations for visiting public spaces. Those are Task, Social, Discovery, Entertainment and Aspiration.
Many times, as technology designers, we think of the functional motivation-performing a task. Any system design that accomplishes the task is seen as a viable solution, but if you look at the study, you’ll see that many other motivations may be at play as well, even for someone who is in fact, at least partially task driven. This means in order to create successful experiences, we need to also leverage technologies that aid in social connections, discovery, entertainment and the visitor’s aspirations. This means we have to know at least a little about the demographics of the potential visitors themselves.
Another interesting finding in Gensler’s Index is that technology definitely matters.
According to Gensler:
“It’s clear that technology makes a significant impression on users, no matter the space. But users may be less interested in technology that they interact with or use directly, and more interested in technology that is embedded in the space and contributes to the overall designed experience.”
The study also found that in each instance, spaces with the latest technology provided significantly better experiences to visitors than spaces that did not embrace technology or that had outdated technology installed.
As AV professionals, we should be acutely aware of how what we provide affects the people who utilize our spaces. We should also be well versed in the language of “experience” especially given that companies like Gensler speak that vernacular every day. If we can design systems that address the multiple “whys” defined by Gensler above, then we can differentiate ourselves from the crowd designing systems solely with an objective, task-based mentality. A common mindset can assure a trusted seat at the design table and help ensure our preferred position in the project throughout the execution process as well.
Instead of summarizing the whole thing here, I would encourage everyone reading to go to Gensler’s Experience Index and read the report for yourself. Everyone’s business is slightly different, and there may be some hidden gems for you in there.
Concentrating on “why” opens the door to a real partnership. Delivering the “what” and “how” keeps the door open for the next project.
Graphics via Gensler’s Experience IndexLeave a Comment
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|AV and Speech Technology|
By Tony Sprando
Commercial AV Designer
This past January, Las Vegas hosted the Consumer Electronics Show where Speech Technology was the bright shining star and a definite win in the consumer market. With examples like Alexa, Siri, Cortana and Google Assistant, speech technology is sure to be a major player in the audiovisual industry soon.
What is Speech Technology?
According to Wikipedia, speech technology relates to the technologies designed to duplicate and respond to the human voice. They have many uses. These include aid to the voice-disabled, the hearing-disabled and the blind, along with communication with computers without a keyboard. They enhance game software and aid in marketing goods or services by telephone. The subject includes several subfields such as speech synthesis, speech recognition, speaker recognition, speaker verification, speech encoding and multimodal interaction.
Audiovisual Uses for Speech Technology
Along with other AV experts, I anticipate speech technology will also have many AV uses. For example, rather than typing instructions into a keyboard, we will soon merely speak our orders into a microphone. Soon, all our devices will evolve to offer voice-enabled services.
Additionally, imagine you are in a crowded and bustling room full of people. You attempt to give voice commands to your smartphone but to no avail. The microphone reception is just too garbled, and Siri calls your sister instead. However, upcoming generations of users may no longer have this problem. New features will be available that will integrate audio and visual cues, interpreting both your voice commands in conjunction with the movement of your mouth. Essentially, your new device will “read” your lips while also “listening” to your words. And of course, this will greatly improve recognition accuracy, especially in the presence of noisy areas.
The Winter 2018 edition of Speech Technology magazine had an interesting article (p. 15) also reporting on the use of voice-powered application for the Internet of Things (IoT) realm. Simply put, IoT is the interconnection via the Internet of computing devices embedded in everyday objects, enabling them to send and receive data. Quoting from a Strategy Analytics report titled, “From Alexa to Industry: Opportunities for a Voice-Powered Internet of Things,” the article states, “Voice can be used to communicate and to control and with proper consideration of fitness for purpose, it can result in a more natural experience for the user. In some cases, voice presents a vital hands-free experience for users, an extra layer of security, and even lower build costs than expensive touchscreen panels.” From my perspective, this is a very interesting prospect for implementation and application.
Challenges for Implementation
Implementing speech technology is not without its challenges. Of course, like any new technology, cost is a major factor for most consumers. The previously mentioned virtual assistants (Siri, Alexa, Google Assistant and Cortana) are offered on a wide range of speakers ranging in cost from $50 – $300. This range has at least allowed these voice assistants to be main stream for consumers. However, these devices are limited for personal and entertainment uses only. While speech technology is much more accurate than a few years ago, accuracy is currently around 90 percent. This still leaves too much wiggle room for errors, especially within business settings. And finally, the goal is to ultimately sound and feel like human interaction. Regretfully, the responding voices are still a bit robot-like. Again, for businesses hoping to mirror human interaction, a robot-like customer service encounter is not preferable.
Scratching the Surface
The Consumer Electronics Show is the world’s gathering place for all those who thrive on the business of consumer technologies. The CES website states it has served as the proving ground for innovators and breakthrough technologies for 50 years — the global stage where next-generation innovations are introduced to the marketplace. Given that speech technology seemed to be a part of every exhibitor display, I am certain we have only scratched the surface of this technology’s everyday use.
Tony, the AV GuyLeave a Comment
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|Optoma Launches ZU660 WUXGA Laser ProScene Projector Aimed at ProAV Market|
Optoma today launched a followup model to its ZU650 and ZU650+ projectors with the Optoma ProScene ZU660. The Optoma ZU660 features four corner adjustments, better color matching integration and compatibility with Optoma’s BX-CTA16 and BX-CTADOME lenses.
The Optoma ProScene ZU660 is WUXGA laser phosphor projector (1920×1200) designed for museums, boardrooms, houses of worship and smaller entertainment venues. With 6,000 ANSI lumens and a claim of 2,000,000:1 contrast ratio with Extreme Black enabled, the ZU660 includes built-in color matching with an HSG adjustment. The Optoma ZU660 also claims a laser phosphor light source with up to 20,000 hours of maintenance free operation.
Features of the Optoma ZU660 include:
- Resolution: 1920×1200 WUXGA
- Brightness: 6,000 ANSI lumens
- Contrast Ratio: 2,000,000:1
- Light Source: Laser phosphor
- Motorized lens shift, zoom and focus
- Built-in color matching with HSG adjustment
- Four-corner adjustments
- Vertical and Horizontal lens shift: 50 percent vertical, 15 percent horizontal
- Connectivity: HDBaseT, two HDMI, DVI-D, VGA and 3D SYNC In and Out
- Pricing: $5,999
The Optoma ZU660 is detailed here.Leave a Comment
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|DPI Readies Industry’s First 8K DLP Projector, Ships 4K 3-Chip DLP Projector at 12.5K LumensDigital Projection was at NAB last week with its first-ever 8K DLP projector. The 25,000-lumen INSIGHT LASER 8K (7680×4320) — that’s 33-million pixels and four times the resolution of 4K. The INSIGHT LASER will ship later this year.
In the meantime, DLP’s HIGHlite 4K resolutions (3840×2160) LASER is now 12,500 lumens and a 2000:1 contrast ratio. The 3-chip projector is aimed at home-cinema and entertainment venues, commercial AV and houses of worship. Medical imaging is also supported through the projector’s DICOM simulation mode. Digital Projection’s LASER projectors provide a lowest cost of ownership as a result of the laser illumination system’s 20,000-hour life-span. With no lamps to replace or maintenance costs, the end-user saves money over time and never needs to worry about the possibility of lamp failure. In addition, since they are laser, the projector can be oriented in any position. Other features include HDMI 1.4a, HDMI 2.0 for support of 4K-UHD formats and DisplayPort 1.2 for 4K content delivery.
Here are all the specs.Leave a Comment
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|Tripleplay Releases Caveman 1.1 Digital Signage Update
As part of its latest software release, Caveman 1.1, Tripleplay now supports the delivery of digital signage and IPTV to AVNU PF series with BrightSign Built-in and Samsung’s Smart Signage Platform version 5 (Tizen 3) as well as support for the Tripleplay Interactive IPTV Portal for the Samsung HF series Hospitality Smart TV.
AVNU PF Series is a range of tablet and touch displays powered by the BrightSign Built-in module. These models range from 10” up to 32” and come in both standard and interactive touch formats. Tripleplay can deliver both digital signage and IPTV to these devices. Samsung Smart Signage Platform v5 is the latest model of the digital signage device, which Tripleplay delivers IPTV with digital signage to using Lynk DRM encryption and without an external media player or set top box. Samsung HF Series Hospitality Smart TV is the latest model of Samsung smart TV aimed at the hotel and accommodation sector and can be used to deliver Tripleplay’s Interactive IPTV Portal solution without the need for a media player or set top box.
Caveman 1.1 has now been released and is available to new and existing clients – more specifics are here.Leave a Comment
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|Microsoft Fixes Surface Hub and Sets New Bar with the New Surface Hub 2 Collaboration BoardTaking a page from the Samsung playbook, Microsoft’s new Surface Hub 2 is thinner, lighter and now being primarily promoted to be used like a digital flip-chart — in addition to being marketed as a “traditional” Collaboration Board for Huddle Spaces and meeting rooms.
Microsoft says the Surface Hub 2 was designed from the ground up to be used as a “team” system — to get people out of their seats, to connect and ideate, regardless of location. The new Surface Hub 2 is thinner, more agile and FINALLY more affordable. The 4K resolution 50.5” multi-touch display creates a digital canvas that’s integrated with Microsoft Teams, Microsoft Whiteboard, Office 365, Windows 10 and the cloud. The 4K cameras actually automatically rotate with the display (when you switch from landscape to portrait — and back), it has integrated speakers and a far-field mic array and multiple Surface Hub 2’s can be virtually-connected by placing more next to each other — sort of like “stretching” or extending the Microsoft Windows 10 desktop screen.
Watch this to understand what I’m explaining and how it works.
Surface Hub 2 scales by allowing you to tile up to four screens together in portrait or landscape and dynamic rotation means you can switch it at will base don what you’re using the room for. It is also significantly easier to move around your workspaces than its predecessor thanks to a Microsoft partnership with Steelcase who created a system of rolling stands and mounts to help Surface Hub 2 customers be mobile.
Here are all the details on the new Surface Hub 2.Leave a Comment
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|Screen Innovations Adds New Zero Edge Pro Screen
Screen Innovations (SI) has announced an update to its Zero Edge screen with the new Zero Edge Pro. Thirty-six screens in one and three bezel options: Small (1/2-inch), Medium (1-1/2-inches), or Large (2-inches). The Medium and Large options are available in twelve colors with an in-lay of hand-wrapped velvet or completely wrapped in velvet. Available colors are the same that were recently introduced on SI’s Solo Pro lithium-powered motorized screen.
Zero Edge Pro is also available with SI’s LED backlighting options, another original feature on Zero Edge screens. SI has added a new option for backlighting as well, including a new IP controlled solution that can be integrated and controlled seamlessly with Philips Hue Smart Lighting ecosystems.
Simultaneously, SI has also announced a new rendition of its Black Diamond material available exclusively on Zero Edge Pro. Black Diamond XL, which has exceeded the optical height barrier of 60-inches, is available up to 76-inches high and carrying a claim to be the largest optical-layer based Ambient Light Rejecting (ALR) screen in the world. Zero Edge Pro is also available in a variety of SI’s materials, including a new 1.0 gain material, aptly-named Unity, as well as their advanced line of acoustically transparent materials, such as Pure and Slate AT.
All the tech specs are here.Leave a Comment
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|Crestron to Ship AirBoard Whiteboarding SolutionCrestron will soon be shipping the Crestron AirBoard PoE electronic whiteboard technology. Crestron AirBoard enables viewing of electronic whiteboard content on any display device, thereby solving the problem of meeting participants — remote participants, especially — not being able to see the whiteboard unless they’re seated with a direct line of sight.
Crestron AirBoard is essentially a camera on an arm that attaches to any electronic whiteboard via the included mounting kit. With PoE, only a single Ethernet cable to the LAN is required for video, communication and power.
With Crestron AirBoard, annotations can be saved and then posted, emailed, or texted to either a central web page (education applications) or to invited participants (corporate applications). Meeting participants simply choose “whiteboard” as a source on the in-room Crestron TSW or Crestron Mercury touch screen to start the session. When “end meeting” is selected, the user is prompted to save and send the file.
Remote conferencing participants can access the whiteboard session much like they would connect to Crestron AirMedia, by entering the URL (or friendly name) shown on the room display in their web browser. Once on the web page, the user simply enters the dynamic PIN or access code, which is also shown on the room display.
Here are the details.Leave a Comment
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|Epiphan Video launches Pearl Mini All-in-One Live Production Streaming DeviceEpiphan Video announced the official launch of their new portable all-in-one live production system, Pearl Mini. Pearl Mini is a hardware solution that contains everything users need to capture, encode, stream and record professional-quality live video. The system offers two HDMI inputs and one SDI input, allowing users to mix multiple sources into custom layouts and encode two separate programs simultaneously in resolutions up to 1080p, via H.264. Users can operate Pearl Mini using the device’s user-friendly touch screen, web-based Admin panel or Epiphan Live mobile tablet interface.
Designed to enable professional live video across a variety of markets and industries, Pearl Mini is designed for corporate and marketing communications, live event production, lecture capture in higher education and others. We here at rAVe use the Pearl for all our streaming events!
In the live event industry, operators can use Pearl Mini to stream live switched programs to multiple destinations while simultaneously recording for post-production. Within educational institutions, lecturers and AV technicians can use Pearl Mini to easily capture, record and stream lectures, conduct one-on-one remote tutorials and create a library of video on demand in their LMS/CMS.
In corporate settings, users can live stream meetings, presentations and training to increase stakeholder engagement, enhance communication strategies and boost corporate brand. While marketing teams can use Pearl Mini to create dynamic live streams that increase brand awareness, generate audience engagement and help tell their brand’s story.
Here are all the specs.Leave a Comment
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|Draper Launches Ambient Light Rejecting Surface for Ultra-Short Throw Projectors
Draper has announced TecVision XH800X UST ALR and CS1000X ALR, the latest additions to their TecVision line of ISF-certified, 8K-ready viewing surfaces. The TecVision XH800X UST ALR will debut at InfoComm 2018. TecVision XH800X UST ALR is a premium ambient light rejecting surface formulated for use with Ultra-Short Throw (UST) and short throw projectors in moderate to high ambient light applications for improved contrast and color saturation. This surface can reject 57 percent of off axis ambient light while still being able to support extremely wide viewing angles. Available in NanoPerf up to 102” image height, the TecVision XH800X UST ALR works with lens throw distance ratio of 0.25:1 or longer for best brightness uniformity.
In addition, the TecVision CS1000X ALR includes Draper’s TecVision with 82 percent ambient light rejection, making it designed for spaces where there’s high ambient light with no way to control it. The TecVision CS1000X ALR’s half gain angle is 20 degrees and should be viewed within 30 to 35 degrees off-axis. A lens/throw distance ratio of 1.6:1 or longer is recommended.
TecVision is available in sizes as large at 23 feet by 67 feet wide. Boasting what Draper says is better off-axis performance than similar products, TecVision surfaces offer minimal variance in gain spec and optimal uniformity for better ambient light performance qualities. All TecVision surfaces are engineered for high contrast, precise resolution, color accuracy and the broadest possible view cone while providing superior quality, consistency and uniformity.
All the details will be posted here.Leave a Comment
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|ATEN Eliminates Bulky Docking Stations with Plug and Play USB Mini Dock
ATEN Technology today launched its USB-C Dual-HDMI Mini Dock (UH3233), helping to transform SMB and consumer USB-C devices into dual monitor workstations. The slim and lightweight design of the mini dock makes it an ideal solution for individuals with businesses who want to maximize their workspace while easing their ability to travel.
Supporting dual display mode and using USB-C connections to deliver reliable highspeed data transfers, the UH3233 mini dock can route video from the source device to two HDMI monitors, splitting the video transmission for a dual-view display via a single cable while maintaining a high-quality resolution up to 1080p. Users can connect up to 128 additional peripherals, including Dual HDMI and USB 3.1 Gen1 devices.
- Plug and play – no additional drivers or external power adapter required
- USB 3.1 Type-C compliant
- Connects a computer to two HDMI monitors with dual-view output
- Supports 4K (UHD) resolutions via single display output
- Supports dual-display video output up to 1920×1080 simultaneously
- USB 3.1 Gen1 port with data transfer rates up to 5 Gbps
The USB-C Dual-HDMI Mini Dock is available for $110 and here are the tech details.Leave a Comment
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|New Extron 7″ Wall Mount Touchpanel Ships|
Extron is already shipping the TLP Pro 725M 7″ wall mount TouchLink Pro touchpanel. They redesigned this latest TouchLink Pro touchpanel inside and out with a new quad-core processor, eight times more memory, and a higher resolution, 1024×600 capacitive touchscreen built with scratch and smudge-resistant edge-to-edge Corning Gorilla Glass. The TLP Pro 725M also features the convenience of PoE — Power over Ethernet, which allows it to receive power and communication over a single Ethernet cable.
The TLP Pro 725M is built for today with an eye on the future. With its improved graphics engine, quad-core processor and increased RAM, you’ll see faster background graphic loads and crisper page flips. These performance enhancements offer an enhanced user experience now, while providing ample memory and processing power to support exciting new features and capabilities in the future via firmware updates. A variety of mounting kits are available, providing a clean installation on a wall, glass, podium or other surface. All TouchLink Pro touchpanels can be customized using Extron GUI Designer software. This powerful interface design software offers ready-to-use templates for a wide variety of rooms and presentation environments.Leave a Comment
Here are all the tech specs.
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|Audio-Technica Ships ATUC-50 Digital Discussion System
Audio-Technica is now shipping three new components for its ATUC-50 Digital Wired Discussion System – the ATUC-50INT Interpretation Unit, the ATUC-50IU Integration Unit and the ATLK-EXT165 Link Extender – expanding the functionality of the system.
Designed for situations where up to three languages are involved, the ATUC-50INT places control in the hands of interpreters, thanks to the system’s web remote-based conference management software application. The unit’s control panel allows easy selection of headphone volume level as well as the choice of floor or relayed language. Discussion participants can select between the three interpretation channels on their ATUC-50DU discussion units or the languages can be transferred to an existing language distribution system via the ATUC-50CU control unit. Multi-language discussion recording is also made simple with the ATUC-50CU’s on-board four-channel recorder. The ATUC-50INT is designed for bi- and tri-lingual discussions and applications.
The ATUC-50IU integration unit gives installers the ability to choose the inputs and outputs for a particular installation. It is equipped with two RJ45 ports for connection to other discussion system components, seven Euroblock connectors for audio and control options and six Euroblock connectors for LED power and input/output (GPIO). Its feature set includes a mic input, speaker output, headphone output, control input (Talk On, Vol. Up, Vol. Down, Channel Select), LED status output and GPIO. ATUC-50 firmware version 1.6.1 is required to operate the ATUC-50IU.
The ATLK-EXT165 link extender (half-rack chassis) allows users to extend the ATUC-50CU cable runs in a system. The extender is equipped with two RJ45 ports through which it supplies DC +48V power to connected devices (ATUC-50DU, ATUC-50INT, ATUC-50IU and other compatible products). It can be set to power on/off automatically in tandem with a connected control unit or to operate locally, powering on/off with the press of its Mode switch. ATLK-EXT165 link extender supplies DC +48V power to connected devices, enabling extended cable runs. The unit features power overload protection, cutting power when drawn current is greater than 2.6A.
Here are all the tech specs.Leave a Comment
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|Crestron Ships Horizon Keypads
Crestron announced today its new line of Horizon keypads are available to order. Available in configurable single-gang models that combine up to four across, the new line offers designer aesthetics, better button feel, four different button styles, programmable multi-color backlighting, interchangeable custom top and bottom trim pieces and Cresnet wired communications.
The Horizon line is available in single-gang and up to four keypads can be ganged together. Dealers can choose from four button styles: single, side-to-side rocker, small up-down rocker and large up-down rocker. Top and bottom trim pieces are interchangeable to suit any décor and provide the ultimate in style and elegance.
For better readability under any lighting conditions, every model in the Horizon line includes multi-color backlighting that illuminates the laser engraved text on the buttons. If desired, when the button is pressed it can glow up to two to three times brighter than the inactive buttons. Moreover, each button can be programmed to glow in any color — it’s completely customizable.
The Cresnet bus is the communications backbone for Horizon keypads, along with many Crestron lighting controllers, shade motors, sensors and other devices. Cresnet is a simple, yet flexible four-wire network that provides bidirectional communication and 24VDC power for Cresnet devices. Cresnet supports up to 252 keypads and other devices.
Horizon keypads accessories with a similar aesthetic will be available for a 120VAC outlet, a 120VAC outlet + USB charger and keystone jack. Here are all the details.Leave a Comment
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|Vivitek Launches Novo Wireless Presentation System
Vivitek has launched a new Novo Wireless Presentation System aimed at small to medium-sized business like cafes, beauty salons, garages, small retailers and even office reception areas. Vivitek’s new NovoDSmini digital signage solution can be connected to any display device with HDMI. Like Vivitek’s existing NovoDS solutions, the NovoDSmini benefits from NovoDS Studio, the simple to use playlist editing and device management software. Users do not need any programming skills to create digital signage to capture their customers’ attention in any environment. The NovoDSmini can play content ranging from text, audio, photos, videos, webpages, YouTube, Twitter and weather updates. The 36 pre-arranged templates allow users to easily create information about an SME’s services or offers.
NovoDS Studio software helps to effortlessly create digital signage. Its multi-page-playlist editing and scheduling flexibility — by hour, day, week or month — means SMEs can use the product to deliver relevant messages over their chosen time-frame, without having to frequently update content manually. For instance, a cafeteria can program the NovoDSmini to display the breakfast options from 6 a.m. to 11 a.m., the lunch options from 12 p.m. to 3 p.m., followed by dinner specials from 5 p.m. on. This dynamic content creates far more impact on audiences than just showing and repeating one playlist. Furthermore, images are displayed in Full-HD 1080p, NovoDSmini ensures that the content displayed is eye-catching, even in smaller areas.
For shop owners with multiple digital signage screens to manage, NovoDSmini also provides a centralized device management function to enable users to control all of the NovoDS devices on the network. This ensures that SMEs are kept productive and focused on their task at hand, rather than spending time on managing digital signage devices. Users can monitor the device or devices’ status easily and they can update all the devices’ content at once, or separate them into groups and assign different schedules per group, according to the content, venue and the time it is due to be displayed. Users also have the option to synchronize content over selected devices, to create a stunning effect across multiple signage displays.
The U.S. launch will happen at InfoComm but today was all about EMEA. The NovoDSmini is £229 ex VAT and here are the stats.Leave a Comment
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|InFocus Doubles-Down on Wireless Presentation Systems with Button-Based SimpleShare|
InFocus Corporation has been in the wireless presentation market nearly as long as Barco (the inventor of the market-leading ClickShare), although InFocus’ marketshare in that market hasn’t been significant. But now InFocus is back with a new button-based system called SimpleShare — a point-to-point presentation solution for wireless connectivity and sharing of videos, presentation, documents, data and more. SimpleShare is device-agnostic and allows users to share high-definition video and sound wirelessly to any display with an HDMI input. SimpleShare allows for a plug-and-play installation with no software, downloads, or network management required, making it incredibly user-friendly for anyone to implement without burdening the IT department. Users can also switch between up to 254 presenters with the click of a button.
Available in three bundled solutions, there is a SimpleShare package for every application. The base model SimpleShare (INA-SIMS1) includes one transmitter and receiver perfect for a small meeting room; SimpleShare Presentation System (INA-SIMPS1) is a complete conference room solution with three transmitters and a charging station; SimpleShare Touch Presentation System (INA-SIMINT1) supports up to three presenters with wireless touch control from a touch display panel, and allows users to annotate on anything they present from their source device, as well as draw and write on a built-in digital whiteboard.
The SimpleShare platform was designed with information security top of mind. SimpleShare utilizes WPA2, the most secure encryption method available, developed by the Wi-Fi Alliance. Servicing a radius of 15 meters from the receiver, the AES-CCMP algorithm used is a cipher key encryption with variable key size and changes at varying intervals, preventing any possibility of leaked data or hacking.
Here are all the specs for the $899 SimpleShare.Leave a Comment
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|Barco XDL Laser Projector Now Carries a 75K-Lumen Spec|
Barco is launching a new range of laser projectors dubbed the XDL. Designed specifically for very large venues and events, the XDL is spec’d to be Rec. 2020 color, uses a native (4096×2160) 4K resolution 3-chip DLP system and can handle content up to 120Hz. The XDL will be launched to coincide with InfoComm 2018.
The XDL series also carries the brightest lumen spec ever, up to 75,000 lumens. Barco also says the XDL speeds up the installation process by reducing cable hassle and alignment time because the projectors provide a lens shift of up to 100 percent. And, images can be matched to the projection surface with the on-board real-time warping and blending feature.
Companies that already own Barco XLD+ lenses will be able to reuse them on the XDL projectors. Because they are all using a laser light source, image flicker and lamp-related costs and maintenance (such as lamp replacements) are eliminated. Compared to xenon projectors, the XDLs also consume 40% less power and ensure minimum downtime.
Here are all the specs and options.Leave a Comment
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|MXL Debuts New AC-360-Z Web Conferencing Mic|
MXL Microphones introduces its new USB-powered table-top web conferencing microphone, the MXL AC-360-Z, at this year’s InfoComm Show (Marshall Electronics Booth C2164). The new MXL AC-360-Z has been co-developed with engineers from Zoom, a leading web conferencing and communications software provider, to enhance the microphone solution for Zoom Rooms and Zoom-enabled conference rooms.
The AC-360-Z expands upon the popular three capsule boundary microphone, the AC-404, through its 180° sound arc, with a full 360° pickup. When placed at the center of a large conference table, everyone speaking around the AC-360-Z will be clearly audible.
The AC-360-Z is compatible with any Mac or PC device through simple plug-and-play connectivity without needing to download any drivers. When used with Zoom, each quadrant of the AC-360-Z acts as an independent device for optimal performance and fidelity. Link up to three devices together to cover any room, small or large and each microphone ships with a complete installation kit including cables and mounting options.
Here are the details.Leave a Comment
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|Barix Expands Multi-Site Music Streaming Solution Family at InfoCommIP audio company Barix will come to InfoComm (June 6-8, Las Vegas Convention Center) with an expanded suite of low-cost, multi-site audio contribution and streaming solutions. Barix will demonstrate the two new and now-shipping solutions, Instreamer ICE and Retail Player, at Booth C3465.
InfoComm marks the global debut of Instreamer ICE, which combines the bandwidth efficiency of AAC+ encoding with streamlined integration, thanks to a built-in Icecast server that supports up to 50 simultaneous listeners. Ideal for temporary live internet radio services from worship, corporate and other specialty broadcasters, the enhanced compression of AAC+ encoding allows end users to deliver the same audio quality as mp3 at half the bandwidth, or double the audio quality using the same bandwidth.
Instreamer ICE is believed to be the first product of its kind to combine an Icecast server with the encoding platform. This removes the need to download and configure an Icecast server on a separate machine, a time-consuming and often complex process, that enables listeners to receive live streams on their connected devices. Instreamer ICE’s all-in-one integrated solution instead enables setup times of less than five minutes, allowing users to quickly be up and running with internet radio streams.
The value proposition of Instreamer ICE is extended when coupled with Barix’s Retail Player solution. Receiving its North American debut, Retail Player combines robust hardware receivers with an intuitive, web-based management portal for large-scale retail, hospitality and corporate music applications. Instreamer ICE customers can quickly scale beyond 50 streams with Retail Player, while retaining a cost-effective price point for broader distribution networks.
The combined solution is ideal for private internet radio networks, as well as for businesses that previously turned to less reliable, consumer-grade players due to budget restrictions. The Instreamer ICE solution ensures that listeners can consume live streams on their mobiles, laptops and connected devices, while Retail Player provides a robust, network-configurable device with automatic playout for business applications.
Powered by the company’s new IPAM400 IP audio module, Retail Player receivers support high-quality decoding of live audio streams, and advanced buffer management in an ultra-compact form factor. The Barix Retail Player Portal adds value through centralized configuration, management, status monitoring and stream switching across multiple locations. The Retail Player portal also simplifies maintenance and upgrades of multiple receivers, including the ability to remotely update the units’ firmware as new features and enhancements are released to meet customers’ future needs.
Barix is here.Leave a Comment
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|Luxul Releases Dual-WAN Epic 5 Wired Gigabit Router with Integrated Domotz and Router Limits Technologies|
Luxul today announced its Epic 5 router (ABR-5000) is now shipping with Domotz remote management software. With the Epic 5’s onboard Domotz technology, integrators receive alerts when network issues arise — allowing them to take immediate action — and share device information with Luxul’s support team for swift and easy troubleshooting. The router also eliminates the need to purchase a separate Luxul Domotz Pro for remote management. This lowers network costs and speeds setup, improving the bottom line for integrators while providing a better experience for their clients.
Router Limits offers cloud-based controls for internet safety and management and puts users in complete control of every aspect of their internet experience, allowing them to manage screen time, filter content, and track browsing history. Router Limits users can also control mobile devices’ access to the internet when they leave the home network.
Sporting a clean and modern look, the Epic 5 features green or blue front-facing LEDs, while its rear-facing ports include two dedicated WAN and five dedicated LAN ports. The router features dual-WAN capability, allowing the LAN to be connected to two internet connections with load balancing and failover control. The router delivers gigabit WAN-to-LAN speeds for ultra-fast streaming and bandwidth-intensive applications while also enabling integrators to lower operational costs and improve the customer experience.
Details on the Epic 5 are here.Leave a Comment
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For all you REGULAR readers of rAVe AVBuyers.Club 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 percent opinionated. We not only report the news and new product stories of the ProAV and HomeAV industries, 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 or say anything good (or bad).
To send me feedback, don’t reply to this newsletter. Instead, write directly to me at firstname.lastname@example.org or for editorial ideas, Editor-in-Chief Sara Abrons at email@example.com.
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 ProAV Edition is our flagship newsletter with what we believe is a reach of virtually everyone in the ProAV market. rAVe HomeAV Edition, co-published with CEDIA and launched in February 2004, is, by far, the largest ePub in the HomeAV market. We added rAVe Rental [and Staging] in November 2007, rAVe ED [Education] in May 2008 and then rAVe DS [Digital Signage] in January 2009. We added rAVe GHGav [Green, Healthcare & Government AV] in August 2010 and rAVe HOW [House of Worship] in July 2012. rAVe Radio, our podcast network, was launched in 2012. AVBuyers.Club, our first publications targeted at end users, launched in May 2015. You can subscribe to any of those publication or see ALL our archives by going to: http://www.ravepubs.com
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Copyright 2018 – rAVe [Publications] – All rights reserved – All rights reserved. For reprint policies, contact rAVe [Publications], 210 Old Barn Ln. – Chapel Hill, NC 27517 – (919) 969-7501. Email: Sara@rAVePubs.com
rAVe contains the opinions of the author only and does not necessarily reflect the opinions of other persons or companies or its sponsors.