Volume 9, Issue 8 — August 30, 2017
|Is Your Digital Signage Susceptible to Hacking?|
By Earl Naegle
As I’m sure many of you are aware, there were quite a few instances of digital signage hacking this year. One of the most recent incidents, the hacking at Union Station, has stirred up some concern regarding safety for digital signage.
Not to worry! Our team has put together four safety check steps to ensure that your digital signage is up to par regarding hacker prevention.
Is your digital signage physically secure?
This may seem like a trivial question, but you want to make sure that your physical application is secure to prevent onsite tampering. If an intruder gains physical access to your display, it won’t take a mastermind hacker to redirect the content. The hacker could simply unplug your system and plug into their player.
Locks and impact-resistant safety glass can protect the screen against damage and prevent unintended access to the inside of the display.
Are your passwords strong enough?
As a general rule of thumb, for digital signage systems as well as home devices, do not make your password something easily predicted – like Password1234.
Your first line of defense against hacking is a strong password. Be sure to change your password frequently, and do not share the information with non-essential personnel.
Are you using a public network?
If possible, you should use a Virtual Private Network (VPN) to increase security. Using a private network ensures data and access remain secure by creating an authentic, encrypted tunnel to pass data over public networks through a secure IP address.
Do you have a crisis plan in place?
If you have taken all other preventative measures, and your digital signage has still been compromised, it’s vital to have a crisis plan prepared. Is someone in charge of monitoring the content? Who should you contact, should there be an issue? These are questions that need to be answered ahead of time. You can also install remote interrupts to shut down the signage if hacking is detected.
These four basic steps can help you safeguard your digital signage and overall, protect your brand’s reputation! Be smart and keep your digital signage safe.
Do you have any other tips for hacker prevention? We’d love to hear from you.Leave a Comment
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|AV as a Service – Financially Speaking|
By Mark Coxon
A couple months back I wrote a blog on AV as a Service, AVaaS. It primarily focused on if the “as a service” model could work in AV, and it gave three examples in which at least parts of the AV system are currently being turned toward an AVaaS model.
As I always do with pieces I write, I invited some discussion around the piece by posting it in various social media outlets that allow comments. One of the most interesting discussions that developed in those threads pertained to AV being a traditional capital expenditure (CAPEX), meaning end clients were accustomed to paying for hardware up front and buying minimal managed services around the system as additional operating expenses, (OPEX). The argument was that it would be difficult at best not only for a manufacturer or integrator to provide all the AV hardware without any up front payment from the end user, but also from the perspective of shifting the mindset of the purchaser to see AV as an OPEX and not a CAPEX.
If you read my last piece, I acknowledged that given the cost of a complete AV system and installation, that I didn’t think we would see a full bore AVaaS offering for some time. But could I be completely wrong?
To explore that I offer a couple examples from outside the AV industry.
Let’s take a look at the auto industry.
An automobile is typically the second largest purchase the average consumer will ever make, second only to their home. The car is purchased, either with cash or through financing, but in either case, the auto manufacturer and the dealer both get paid for their product and services at the time of sale. This would definitely be seen as a Capital Expenditure.
However, things are changing.
Companies like Uber and Ford are investing heavily in AI and self driving car technology. Uber has purchased a fleet of vehicles from Volvo, and Ford has a test fleet of 30 self-driving Fusion Hybrids. Ride-hailing service technology may just flip the auto industry’s CAPEX model on it’s head. Instead, auto manufacturers and companies like Uber will have cars posted up throughout cities, ready to be dispatched via app to go pick up their passengers and deliver them to their destination. The passengers will only pay for rides they need, turning the consumer auto industry into a true “Car as a Service” play, and transitioning the consumer from a CAPEX to an OPEX mindset.
Now if that weren’t enough, we’re also seeing other ways that automobiles are transitioning to an aaS model. Enter WaiveCar. WaiveCar has vehicles parked around it’s pilot city of Santa Monica in city owned spots. A passenger simply downloads the WaiveCar app, locates a car, and then reserves it. Once at the car, they are granted access and can drive the car for two hours…for free! Additional hours are $5.99.
WaiveCar is an ad-based model that sells advertising on the cars, as they become mobile billboards as they roam around the city. It’s essentially a free “Car as a Service” model where even the OPEX to the driver is waived altogether.
If this sounds familiar, there are similar ad-based aaS models in AV already in the digital signage space, where an ad company installs the signage in public spaces for free, allowing the venue to use a percentage of the content space, and then sells advertising to round out the content. The signs are maintained either for free or for a small fee.
Based on the above, if an automobile company can find a way to turn a $30,000 CAPEX into a per use fee based OPEX, then I don’t think a company like Samsung, who owns companies in just about every part of the AV food chain, would be unable to figure out an OPEX model themselves.
If consumers can make the leap from CAPEX to OPEX in their automobile purchases, I think it also shows that consumers mindsets can be changed if the value proposition is right as well.
The real question may not be “if” AV can transition to an AVaaS model, but “when” and “who” will offer it first.
I’d love to hear your thoughts below.Leave a Comment
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|USB-C: Powering Macbooks Today, AV Tomorrow|
By Richard Blackwell
The latest Macbook uses a USB-C port for both power and USB communications, and rumors are that the iPhone 8 will also switch over to the USB-C. Wait…what!? Yup, just when you finally got everything you own converted to the one cable style it’s going to change, but this time you may be a little more accepting and here’s why: The USB-C connector, part of the USB-3.1 standard, is designed not only to connect devices, but to power stuff – a lot of stuff.
Take a step back from your desk and if it’s like mine you can see under it the rat’s nest of power, USB and video cables. Now image that the 114-year-old 120-volt electrical outlet is gone and replaced by a simple box with a couple USB-C connectors on it. You’ll plug your laptop directly into it (with no $100 adaptor to lose or forget), and of course your phone, but also your LED desk lamp and the second display for your laptop. Think of the $$ saved in 120v adapters alone, and not to mention you significantly reduced the clutter both on and below your desk.
[Queue the record SCREEECH here]…You read correctly, the ubiquitous 120v power outlet goes away, and all of the labor and training to install it shifts over to a low voltage USB outlet that can be installed by almost anyone with a little training. Hang on a minute, AV racks plug into those outlets — will we need to request a special 120-volt power outlet in the future? No, because guess what? Many of the AV equipment makers are already on this and planning to allow their equipment to be powered by low voltage USB-C (see POE below). Again we are ditching the power adapters for a single common power supply ($$!!!), but what about the intelligent power strips we use to condition power and switch circuits on and off? Well power strips will still be out there, but they won’t actually switch power flow off — they will instead send the off/standby message to the device that tells it to turn off the second monitor, the desk lamp and yes, the USB coffee cup warmer (power strips will be glorified USB hubs). As this process continues there will be a significant reduction in the cost of electrical wiring in a building leaving mostly the central heating and cooling systems to need high voltage power.
If everything is going to be USB connected then everything can talk to each other and the IoT world takes another big step forward in devices online. Keep thinking along this track and now everything in the building is smart, so automation of every device that needs power naturally follows, and you just need a little more software to do most anything you dreamed of in the past. Total connectivity.
Hey what about PoE? Power over Ethernet is also competing for some of the same devices, so the truth is no one is sure which will ultimately win out in the end. However, there is a school of thought today that USB may be a little better suited for the job of power distribution to clustered groups of devices because it’s not attempting to travel thousands of feet. Standard practice is to pull one Cat6 cable to each device and that’s a lot of cable, whereas USB-C may need no or limited data connectivity and it can pull one line to a simple hub for distribution. In either case, the days of 120-volt AC and 277-volt AC distribution, for the first time in 100 years, approaching sunset.Leave a Comment
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|Peerless-AV Introduces New All-in-One Kiosk Powered by BrightSign|
Peerless-AV has introduced a new All-in-One kiosk powered by BrightSign. Featuring a new design with lean frames and a small footprint, the All-in-One Kiosk offers a complete digital signage solution for any indoor application setting – from corporate to retail to hospitality.
Powered by a BrightSign Built-In Digital Signage Module, the All-in-One Kiosk delivers flawless Full HD 1080p60 single video decoding, HTML support, networked content playback, as well as an abundant set of features, including interactivity via the GPIO port, remote snapshot, live text, media feeds and multi-zone.
With an integrated 55″ commercial LCD display offering six points of IR touch, the All-in-One Kiosk fully engages users, making it ideal for a variety of uses, such as wayfinding, entertainment and digital merchandising.
The major features are:
- Ultra slim design offering rugged protection for any indoor application environment
- Quick and easy set-up via micro SD card
- Six points of IR touch to fully engage users
- HTML5 engine supporting flawless playback of content and modular assets layered with video
- 1080p video and audio streaming
- Ability to easily update messaging and interact with the kiosk via Ethernet, Wi-Fi or the BrightSign App
- The use of live data and media feeds to display popular news, finance, weather or social media feeds
Here are all the product specs.Leave a Comment
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|rAVe’s InfoComm Wrap-Up Video Debuts!It’s here! You’ve been asking for it and we’ve released it today.
Each year, we produce a wrap-up video to give you a glimpse of the InfoComm 2017 show. Are you in it? Is your company highlighted?
Check It! Watch here.Leave a Comment
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|Almo ProAV Announces E4 AV Tour to Visit New York and Irvine This FallAlmo Pro A/V today announced details for the fall 2017 E4 AV Tour, which travels to New York on Sept. 19 and Irvine, California, on Oct. 3. Registration for both events is currently open.
The E4 program offers AV professionals a full day of educational sessions worth InfoComm CTS Renewal Units (RUs) as well as exclusive access to the newest AV products and services.
Three new exhibitors have joined the tour, including AOPEN (digital signage products), BSS (audio products) and Hisense (flat-panel displays).
Based on demand, Almo is again partnering with InfoComm International to deliver a half-day IoT Insights Conference. Worth a total of three CTS RUs, the conference is based on InfoComm’s IoT Insights events and focuses on raising awareness of the role of secure, connected, internet-enabled devices in AV solutions and strategies. The conference includes:
- A session on digitalization and how IoT changes everything (1 CTS RU).
- A session on IoT in the real world (1 CTS RU).
- A live discussion called IoT Think Tank LIVE featuring all the experts working together to provide IoT solutions (.5 CTS RU). NEW!
- An exhibit hall tour showcasing some of the best products on the exhibit hall floor that relate to IoT (.5 CTS RU).
By partnering with InfoComm, Almo Pro A/V is able to offer an entire day of CTS-certified courses. E4 will begin with a keynote session led by Gary Kayye, industry consultant and founder of rAVe Publications, who will discuss the topic of 4K while using true 4K technology. Kayye will then give some attendees a “backstage pass” to learn firsthand about the 4K system being used at E4.
These courses are also available on the fall E4 tour:
- Trends in AV for Huddle Spaces (.5 CTS RU) NEW!
- The Emergence of the Collaboration Board in Huddle Spaces (1 CTS RU) NEW!
- HDBaseT Installer Expert Program with ATEN (1.5 CTS RU)
- OLED The Curve of the Future (1 CTS RU)
- Content Creation for Digital Signage (1 CTS RU)
- Dante Audio Networking Fundamentals (1 CTS RU)
E4 Experience Workshops/Samsung Experience Showcase: E4 Experience Workshops allow attendees to roll up their sleeves and “get hands-on” by participating in practical application sessions using the industry’s hottest AV products.
- Introduction to Interactive Digital Signage: Learn how to easily create interactive content for digital signs using BrightSign’s BrightAuthor software. (1 CTS RU)
- The Business Case and Technical Advantage for Collaboration: Learn to use and sell Barco’s new Overture software-based AV control solution for everything from huddle spaces to enterprise-wide management across multiple campuses.
- Samsung Experience Showcase: The interactive demo room features a creative mix of outdoor displays including an IP56-certified weatherproof design, specialty displays such as the ML55E mirror display, and UHD/4K signage with the ability to display the equivalent of four FHD content screens on a single UHD screen.
E4 AV Tour participating manufacturers will showcase the latest products and services available through Almo. Fall tour exhibitors include AKG, AMX, AOPEN, ATEN, Atlona, Avocor, Barco, BrightSign, BSS, BWG, C2G, Canon, Chief, Comprehensive Connectivity, Crestron, Crown, Da-Lite, DBX, Elo, Epson, Furman, Hisense, Hitachi, IAdea, InfoComm, JBL, Kramer, LG, Listen Technologies, NEC, Optoma, Panasonic, Peerless-AV, Planar, Premier, QSC, Samsung, SecurityTronix, Sharp, Soundcraft, SunBriteDS, Tightrope Media TouchSystems, Tripplite, tvONE, Vaddio, ViewSonic and ZeeVee.
E4 New York and E4 Irvine Details
E4 New York is on Sept. 19 at the Teaneck Marriott at Glenpointe in Teaneck, New Jersey. E4 Irvine is on Oct. 3 at the Irvine Marriott in Irvine, California. Both events run from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. and are entirely complimentary — including parking — for Almo Pro A/V’s reseller, integrator and consultant partners. To register, go here.Leave a Comment
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|Key Digital Introduces Affordable Distribution Amplifiers With Support for UHD 4K60 4:4:4 SignalsKey Digital introduced today the KD-DA1x2, KD-DA1x4 and KD-DA1x8, three cost-effective distribution amplifiers that offer resolution support up to UHD 4K60 4:4:4. The KD-DA1x2, KD-DA1x4 and KD-DA1x8 provide one HDMI input to two, four or eight HDMI outputs, respectively. Key Digital says these distribution amplifiers were designed for a superior distribution system without signal degradation, offering the best in quality, performance and reliability while still remaining cost-effective
All three of these distribution amplifiers will support all SD, HD, VESA and Ultra HD/4K video standards including UHD/4K, 1080p/60, 1920×1200, 3D and support of HDCP 2.2 and HDR, with deep color support up to UHD/4K 30Hz 4:4:4/12 bits or 60Hz 4:4:4/8 bit.
With EDID Control, there is a built-in internal library with 15 EDID handshakes in addition to native EDID data of output/display one. The full buffer system manages TMDS re-clocking / signal re-generation, HDCP source and display authentication, Hot Plug Management and EDID Control handshake. Supported lossless compressed digital audio formats include Dolby TrueHD, Dolby Digital Plus, DTS-HD Master Audio and Dolby Atmos.
The specs for the KD-DA1x2 are here, for the KD-DA1x4 are here and KD-DA1x8 are here.Leave a Comment
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|Datapath Fx4 Now Has 4K60 HDMI input
Datapath launched the Fx4 around InfoComm last month and now the multi-display controller supports 4K resolution at 60 fps (8-bit color) on the HDMI input. Added as part of the latest firmware upgrade, this new capability makes the Fx4 capable of handling 3840×2160 resolution signals.
Datapath says its Fx4 provides four outputs from a single box and they can be daisy-chained to build large video walls without any degradation in signal. With dual Ethernet port capability, only one Datapath Fx4 in the chain requires connection to the physical LAN as Ethernet loop-through is supported on the second port, meaning multiple devices can be connected.
The Fx4 also supports DisplayPort (DisplayPort1.2 or two HDMI 1.4 2160p at 60 outputs or equivalent up to 616 MP/s). It routes HDCP content on all inputs and outputs, and can be programmed and controlled independently of the platform through its network interface options (Ethernet or USB). Here are all the details.
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|LG Debuts Pro:Centric Direct Hospitality Management System|
LG Electronics is launching an advanced new content management system for hotels called Pro:Centric Direct that features an authoring tool using drag and drop widgets as well as a new Internet video streaming and casting service. The new Pro:Centric Direct platform allows system integrators unlimited design options for guest user interfaces while providing them access to new streaming services in partnership with system integrators.Leave a Comment
Based on HTML5, the LG Pro:Centric Direct platform features easy editing tools to allow the system integrator to design a truly custom look and feel for their hotel clients — from a blank template “free design” to various theme templates provided by LG.
Pro:Centric Direct enables LG’s system integrator partners to interface their network servers and Chromecast or similar casting devices, to enable guests to pair and stream content from their Android and iOS mobile devices, or launch any of the embedded applications of LG’s smart hotel TVs. Providing guests access to these services either from their devices or from the smart television platform offers a wide selection of Internet-based video and music entertainment options within a single unified platform, Kosla explained.
LG Pro:Centric Direct also helps hoteliers keep guests up-to-date on hotel activities, news, weather and other information within seconds through widgets that can be placed on the TVs home screen. Offering guests more services than ever before, the LG Pro:Centric Direct platform features an IP interface for two-way communications, enabling guests to place orders for room service, make appointments at the spa, interact with the concierge, review their portfolio and check out, to name a few. Guests no longer have to search the room for information. All updates, menus and content are in one place – on the TV.
LG Pro:Centric Direct is here.
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|Zoom Launches Room Display Sign Software for Zoom Rooms|
Zoom Room Scheduling Displays use an iPad that’s placed outside the room to show current availability, display upcoming meetings and allow people to reserve time for a Zoom meeting.
The scheduling system integrates with Zoom Rooms and any calendar system. Basically it’s an iPad app that allows the iPad to be locked out to only be a room scheduling device. After you sign into the Zoom Rooms controller, the list of rooms you can choose includes both the room name and the calendar resource.
You can learn more here.Leave a Comment
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|Ocean Matrix Intros Four Problem Solving AV Interfaces|
Ocean Matrix just released four new ProAV and HomeAV adapters including an audio extractor, an audio embedder, an Ethernet to fiber converter and an HDBaseT HDMI extender.
The OMX-HDMI2-AEE 4K HDMI 2.0 Audio Extractor and Embedder extracts audio signals from an HDMI source and allows simultaneous S/PDIF (Toslink) and stereo (3.5mm) analog and digital output. This device can also embed external stereo analog or digital S/PDIF into the outgoing HDMI signal.
The OMX-HDMI-BASET HDBaseT HDMI Extender supports sending 1080p HD signals with embedded audio up to 300 feet over a single Cat5e/6/6a/7 cable. The HDBaseT technology based extender transports signals via network cables for point-to-point and multiple-point connections.
The OMX-E2F 100Base-T Fast Ethernet to SC Fiber Converter transmits up to 12 miles over singlemode SC fiber and protects the signal from electromagnetic interference(EMI). This converter can also be used for fiber to UTP signal conversion.
The OMX-HDMI-EPOE Extender sends 1080p HDMI over CAT6/6A/7 cables up to 110 feet with (this is their claim) zero latency and includes EDID management and IR control. The system’s POE transmitter sends AV signals and power through the receiver to the display on a single cable.
Of course, you can see all their products here.Leave a Comment
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|RealMotion Technology Elevates the Passenger Experience on Royal Caribbean’s Ovation of the Seas Cruise Ship|
RealMotion, the technology division of the award-winning experiential design studio Float4, today announced that, together with Float4 and Materials & Methods, it has provided the backbone for an entirely new kind of permanently-installed interactive video wall for Royal Caribbean International’s new Ovation of the Seas cruise ship that took its maiden voyage in April 2016. Click here to watch a video of the installation.
Described by Royal Caribbean as the newest and third ship in their Quantum Class of ships, Ovation of the Seas features the same groundbreaking venues as its sister ships, Quantum of the Seas and Anthem of the Seas, and is designed to take cruisers to new heights in guest activities, entertainment and dining options.
“When designing Ovation of the Seas, Royal Caribbean wanted to create an entirely new standard for guest experiences,” explained RealMotion Chief Technology Officer Sevan Dalkian. “They wanted to instill a ‘wow’ factor in every part of the ship’s public spaces. RealMotion technology was selected as the backbone for Materials & Methods’ vision for this first of its kind, constantly changing and evolving, gesture-driven art wall on the ship’s main esplanade that engages all 4,180 double-occupancy passengers who travel on the ship.”
According to Dalkian, the RealMotion solution enabled continuously changing content on the 8’ x 20’ digital art wall that reacts to each person passing by, and can be controlled through gestural interactivity. As interactive content producers, Float4’s team integrated the creative assets to bring the concept to life. A wide sweeping gesture can brush across the image, altering color or pattern, creating ripples, causing flowers to bloom or particles to disperse, revealing colors or adding layers. A short, sharp motion alters the canvas differently, giving the user the ability to paint with a quickly learned movement “language.” Watching the vibrant canvas respond to bodies in space is arresting, and invites an audience of every type of passenger to want to engage and play.
“The installation is featured at the heart of the ship in the main esplanade, and consists of eight LCD displays that are staggered asymmetrically,” explained Dalkian. “The displays are surrounded by frosted glass panels backlit by LEDs. An infrared camera tracks the movements of each passerby, and interactive programming translates their motion to visual effect. The visual content moves seamlessly between LCD screens and the lower resolution LED areas of the canvas, sharpened and softened respectively as the content spreads like pools of paint off of the high resolution displays. There are nine themes of visual content, so individuals encounter an entirely different interactive experience each time they pass.”
The build was designed to be modular and low-impact, for a quick and efficient installation process onboard. The wall was first fully constructed in Materials & Methods studios alongside Float4’s programming support and disassembled as a kit of pre-wired panels and movable parts with built-in capacity to adapt to varying installation circumstances while achieving extremely precise tolerances. It was designed to be entirely front serviceable, allowing for easy access for any required maintenance throughout the life of the wall.
The vision behind RealMotion™ is to provide a technology ecosystem that can empower ideation through the prototyping, execution, delivery and monitoring of next-generation immersive and interactive environments. RealMotion’s purpose is to be omnipresent in all stages of the production pipeline. From the early stages of a project, through production completion and final commissioning, RealMotion provides a robust and impactful architecture for interactive content generation, delivery and maintenance.
Available in Ultra, Pro, Lite, and Micro system configurations to meet specific project needs, the RealMotion platform consists of three core components. The RM Designer module empowers users to create, collaborate and deploy content utilizing real-time content editing, generation and compositing software. RM Servers host, generate, connect and enable real-time content manipulation, playback, and delivery. The RM Admin module provides online system monitoring, information flow, and management.Leave a Comment
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For all you REGULAR readers of rAVe DS [Digital Signage] 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 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).
Don’t like us, then go away — unsubscribe! Just use the link below.
To send me feedback, don’t reply to this newsletter. Instead, write directly to me at email@example.com or for editorial ideas, Editor-in-Chief Sara Abrons at firstname.lastname@example.org
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.
Everything we publish is Opt-in — we spam NO ONE! rAVe ProAV Edition is our flagship ePublication 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. You can subscribe to any of those publication or see ALL our archives by going to: http://www.ravepubs.com
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rAVe contains the opinions of the author only and does not necessarily reflect the opinions of other persons or companies or its sponsors.