Volume 16, Issue 1 — January 11, 2018

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Volume 16, Issue 1 — 11, 2018

Editorial

Editorial

Editorial

Industry News

Projection

Control & Signal Processing

Unified Collaborative Conferencing

Cables, Cases, Furniture, Mounts, Racks, Screens & Accessories

Security

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Editorial

We Can Measure But Do We Know?

By Dr. Frederick Ampel
President & Principal, Technology Visions Analytics

Occasionally this column will dive deeply into a topic, starting, as is my wont to do, with a historical perspective. The history is there for a reason. To understand the often complex and multi-faceted themes you need to know how we got here and what drove the development of a particular technology or methodology and why. Equally, you need to accumulate a perspective on what it really means from a practical useful standpoint. This is the first of that type of article for rAVe.

Audio Measurement and Analysis

For more than four centuries, natural philosophers and scientists have sought to quantify, calculate and derive qualitative standards for the immensely complex multi-science topic we choose to use one simple word to describe — sound. Today’s technology enables investigations into the most minute detail and structure of sound and audio signals. But why do we seek to measure parameters like frequency response, signal transfer functions and a host of other variables?

The straightforward answer is to quantify and present data on the performance of sound (audio) systems, so that anomalies can be rectified. But do we really understand what all that data tells us about what we will and have heard? More on that a bit later.

Some History First

Authors Note: For a far more complete discourse on this topic, read this, an AES paper written many years back by Ted Uzzle and myself, which details the history of this topic from Aristotle (300 BC) to more or less the present day.

The idea of fixing — or more accurately, correcting — audio system performance goes way, way, way back, in fact well over a century or more depending on what level of fix you want set as your reference.

From a real world commercial perspective, we can probably set the year 1923 as a marker point, since that was the year in which Otto Zobel of the expansive research complex simply known as Bell Telephone Laboratories published his historic paper on filter designs to correct and improve audio quality over copper telephone lines (an obviously vital issue for his employer The Bell Telephone System or as it was usually called in those years MaBell or THE telephone company — aren’t monopolies wonderful?).

The Home of Genius and the DNA of Modern Scientific Acoustics

It is important to recognize that in the 1920s, Bell Telephone Laboratories was a giant in the world of science. The historic laboratory originated in the late 19th century as the Volta Laboratory and Bureau created by Alexander Graham Bell. Bell Labs was also initially a division of the American Telephone & Telegraph Company (née AT&T Corporation), half-owned through its Western Electric manufacturing subsidiary.

Researchers working at Bell Labs are credited with the development of radio astronomy, the transistor, the laser, the charge-coupled device (CCD), information theory, the operating systems Unix, Plan 9, Inferno and the programming languages C, C++ and S (a popular modern implementation of which is R). Eight Nobel Prizes have been awarded for work completed at Bell Laboratories.

That list barely scratches the surface of the massive amount of research done (and technology produced from that research) by the now-legendary science teams of what became the world’s largest industrial research lab. Names such as Harvey Fletcher, W.A. Munson, Richard Hamming, W.B. Snow, Harry Nyquist, Manfred R. Schroeder, E.C. Wente, A.L.Thuras, W.B. Shockley all walked the halls of the gigantic facility.

Some of the names above should be familiar to anyone in the audio world, including Harvey Fletcher father of stereophonic sound. (As director of research at Bell Labs, he oversaw research in electrical sound recording, including more than 100 stereo recordings with celebrated conductor Leopold Stokowski in 1931–1932.)

Certainly the names Nyquist, Schroeder and Hamming should be recognizable by any measurement user for their mathematical and engineering contributions still in use today. And of course, let us not forget the Fletcher-Munson curves denoting human hearing sensitivity, which remain a cornerstone of auditory science. The list of other contributions made by the thousands of people who made the labs their home at some point, would easily fill more than a few large books and anyone interested should look up the individual names.

There is also an exceedingly large and, until relatively recently, highly-classified body of research done by the scientists of the various divisions of the Labs during the WW II years, another book of its own for sure. Two of the most noteworthy developments were the refinement of the radar technologies first pioneered by British researchers, allowing their use on airplanes, ships and submarines, and the acoustic homing torpedo, which was a major factor in the successes of Allied submarine’s during the middle and later years of the global conflict.

Back to Audio and Acoustics

From the audio perspective, the initial development and refinement of what became known as Zobel networks (and still found occasionally in ancient POTS** telephone systems) was critical and laid the groundwork for what rapidly became the first organized scientifically rigorous major effort to analyze and then design a correction method for a measureable problem in sound (audio) — poor quality speech reproduction over telephone lines. (**Plain Old Telephone Systems — if you’re old enough to remember rotary dial phone the Zobel electrical filter designs were what all such analog networks used to make you sound almost normal.)

By the early ’30s, John E. Volkmann and others developed electrical filter systems (most prominently under the RCA and Western Electric nameplates) for use in Cinema audio systems. In all probability these would be recognized as the first real commercial application of the idea of frequency correction of a loudspeaker based sound system.

Now we had hardware to make the system “better” but how much better, and what effect was being produced. For that you needed to be able to measure what was happening. Thus the development of “measurement” technologies began.

Measurement Begins

The real beginnings of electrically based acoustical measurement can plausibly be dated to 1917, when Western Electric engineers combined four separate and at the time unrelated inventions to create a physically imposing machine for practical, reliable sound measurements. Today, it would almost be recognizable as a several hundred pound version of a very primitive but useful sound level meter. (For the historically inclined or just plain curious, please see here for the whole story, along with, Ampel Fred, and Ted Uzzle, “The Quality Of Quantification,” Proc. Inst. Acoust., v13 Part 7, pp47-56, 1991.)

Four decades later, Don Davis at Altec Lansing presented the professional audio world with Acousta-Voice technology, the first true equalization system designed for sound systems (or PA systems as they were then more popularly called). Of course this was followed by many, many others including White Instruments, but what remained to be perfected or at least make more easily accessible, was how to accurately acquire sufficiently precise data on sound system performance to make these technologies truly effective.

This took the addition in the early 1970s of a true audio focused test instrument, which was made for Altec Lansing by Hewlett Packard and provided reliable, third-octave data that matched up nicely with the filter sets available for the Acousta-Voice unit. As shown below in Figure 1, the 8050 Real time Analyzer was that device (it rapidly became known as the “real time” in the industry of the day).

 

The original Acousta-Voice filter set used modules for specific frequencies similar to the concepts developed by C.P. (Doc) Boner a bit earlier on as shown in Figure 2, and later modified and enhanced, becoming the cleaner and more easily adjusted rack mount format as shown in Figure 3.

 

Now four-plus decades later, we have dozens of very high quality software based analytical tools at our disposal, which can precisely measure parameters and data to fractions of a dB, and provide vastly more data than anyone can reasonably absorb.

What we have created for ourselves with all the high-powered computer driven technology being thrown at the question, is the ability to generate definitive and quantitative data to a level of precision way beyond our ability to hear or, frankly, correct.

What we have is mass quantities of numbers, graphs, curves and information that can delve into a sound system’s performance on a truly microscopic level. The question that is not being asked (at least not often enough) is: How useful is all that data, and how much functionally applicable knowledge is it producing?

The legendary Richard C. Heyser (Inventor of Time Delay Spectrometry, which when commercialized turned into the TEF analyzer from Crown International) said in one of his early papers on the subject, “There are only three useful and measureable variables in audio — those being time, energy and frequency.”

He added, presciently, “Attempting to analyze or correct other parameters is essentially an exercise in futility.” And that, ladies and gentlemen, IS the problem.

In the paper quoted above Heyser also said, “It is… perfectly plausible to expect that a system which has a ‘better’ measured frequency response, may in fact sound worse simply because the coordinates of… measurement are not those of subjective (human) perception.”

He is also reported to have said during an AES session on the topic that he could tell you that there was a bump in a response curve at precisely 5.312549 kHz from a reflecting surface, but realistically there was literally nothing you could do to ameliorate the problem, since surface in question was the face of the recording console in a control room he had measured!

So lets summarize. In essence, this all comes down to five decisive realities:

  1. The ability to measure something does not automatically carry with it the ability to understand the measurement’s meaning with respect to human aural perception.
  2. Machines and microphones do not and will never be able to “hear” in precisely the same way that humans do. (Since we do not as yet completely understand all the parameters of human auditory perception, it is therefore essentially impossible to build any device to mimic it or replicate what happens between the external ear and the auditory processing centers of the brain).
  3. The ear-brain system performs subjective (often classified as non-linear) analysis. It is also a system wherein the “code” used to process the information is still understood on a limited basis and the subject of much unsupported (scientifically speaking) assumption.
  4. Just because we can quantify a parameter does not mean we need or can effectively use that data.
  5. Despite its lack of scientifically-acceptable specifics and mathematically-correct formulas, the subjectively based analysis of perceived acoustic or audio quality is still the measurement system that most sentient residents of this planet accept and understand – and most importantly base their qualitative judgments upon.

At its core level, the problem is that any computer system running any code/software or generating any measurements we are likely to acquire or need produces a numbers-intensive linear world view.

It lives and breathes digit after digit, but it knows them not. It cannot tell you that these numbers are right and those are wrong; it simply crunches and crunches until some answer appears on some form of display.

In summarizing this quandary, Dr. Heyser stated, “…one commonsense fact should be kept in mind, the electrical and perceived acoustic manifestations of audio are what is real. Mathematics and its implementations are at best a detailed simulation that we choose to employ to model and predict our observations of the real world. We should not get so impressed by our ability to delve into the finest details, that we assume the universe must also solve these equations or look at things in that particular way. It does not.”

Although our hardware has evolved across the centuries, the user is still a biological entity that sees objects in space and hears events in time. Measurement hardware hears sound as waves, not events. Understanding this distinction is critical, because it focuses on the essential difference between purely logic-based systems and those operating in the biological domain.

The same subjective-objective argument was made about triode tubes versus pentode tubes and then later about tubes versus transistors. As has been repeatedly stated by many authors, opinions about auditory qualitative analysis, its nature, definition and measurement persist. It does not seem as if the many sides in the discussion have reached much common ground and whether that is even feasible remains an open question.

It is crucial that professional practitioners understand that although objective measurements supply a scientifically valid, thoroughly repeatable data, and must be an integral part of the science of sound, the devices under test will ultimately be used by human beings and not machines. Thus it is also incumbent upon all to accept as equally valid the somewhat less-scientific subjective judgments. After all, it is the sentient biological quality-assessment systems that will be the final judge of our success or failure.

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Editorial

So You Want to Go to CES? Nah, No You Don’t. Really, You Don’t – Here’s Your CES 2018 Guide So You Don’t Have to Go

By Gary Kayye
rAVe Founder

During the CES (Consumer Electronics Show) each year, nearly every big consumer tech company debuts something new — and many of them will declare it “disruptive” or “game-changing” or “innovative” or one of a dozen or so other self-congratulatory adjectives that mean nothing. And all the while, the city for Las Vegas commences to ripping people off like no other city can do quite as well. Drinks go up 20 to 30 percent. Hotel rates more than double or even triple from the week before. Taxis gouge riders, Uber drivers no-show riders not going “far enough” and everyone is grumpy by Wednesday.

Trying to navigate the Las Vegas Convention Center halls, filled with 184,000+ souls trying not to miss the “next-big-thing” (another over-used moniker by many for the booths) is a horrible experience. Just horrible. The food lines are 45 minutes long, minimum. The bathroom lines are longer than the entire time would would spend inside a bathroom at home on a normal week and the show’s aisles just aren’t wide enough. It’s like sitting in traffic on the 405 freeway in Los Angeles at 5:30 p.m. on a Friday. Bumper-to-bumper traffic.
Don’t get me wrong. Everyone should experience it. Once. But after that, you won’t want to go back — but you might have to, if you work for one of the 4,000 or so companies that will exhibit their new gear and software this year.
There will be some big news out of CES and we’ll be covering it at rAVePubs.com — or, at least the truly big news. But, in the meantime, so you don’t feel like you missed anything, here’s the most important things being launched there this week:

8K, 8K, 8K: Did I mention 8K? Yes, Sharp, LGSony and a few others will be showing 8K TVs, monitors, cameras and players. Some are LCD and some are OLED. But all of them are 7680×4320 resolution. (Editor’s Note: In all fairness, Sharp debuted an 8K TV back in 2017 here). You can’t use them with anything, yet, as there’s no content. But, there will be after the 2018 Winter Olympics — so if you want to watch that over-and-over then there will be some in March. But, don’t expect any of the big content companies to serve-up 8K content via your set-top box in 2018. However, if you want to watch 16 NCAA basketball games side-by-side on one screen in native 1080p in April during the annual tournament, you’ll love 8K!

Health-Tech: Now, this is, actually, the next big thing. There will be well over 300 companies debuting new DIY or self-management healthcare solutions that leverage your digital leash (i.e., smartphone). We’ve already seen some biggies over the past year: You can now manage (some types of) diabetes without pricking a finger; there’s a continuously-measuring heart-rate monitor through phones and the Apple Watch; and real-time personal monitoring can connect to your online medical records that your doctor (or EMS) can use to help you. But at CES 2018, we will see a new generation of heath-tech that will become a new economy for the world. A big economy — potentially like tech was back in the late 1980s. And, as Steve Jobs once said in his famous Stanford grad speech, “No one wants to die.” So, everyone will be willing to spend money on anything that is even remotely proven to help you save your life or make you healthier. Things as simple as hearing aids connected to the infamous cloud to things you swallow and monitor your body for anything that’s not normal. CES 2018 could forever be remembered as the year health-tech exploded on the scene.

Smart Cars: Let’s be honest here, we already have smart cars. A BMW, a Mercedes and even a Honda are all computers on wheels. Google and Apple entered that space with its on-board entertainment systems made for cars a few years ago. Heck, I wouldn’t even consider buying a car that doesn’t have Apple’s CarPlay. But, the self-driving car is nearly a reality and will change our lives forever. There will be a handful of them at CES — all prototypes, of course, but they will truly wow and amaze people. And, as Elon Musk and Google will tell you, we’re less than a half-dozen years away from seeing them in the showroom for us to buy. The only thing that could slow this down has nothing to do with technology,

ironically. It’s the government. They might decide that the impact on the economy that self-driving cars would have may not be sustainable, yet, economically, so they may find a away to regulate its debut until they address the economic (i.e., job elimination) impact. But, expect to see companies like FedEx, UPS and the U.S. Postal Service as some of the first to use them.

Ugh, More Smart Speakers: For me, enough is enough. I love my Amazon Echo and Alexa. And, even though I’m probably an Apple fan boy, it’s going to take mind-blowing experience with Apple’s HomePod smart speaker to make me switch. I mean, I’ve not only trained Alexa to know what I want — in many cases before I even ask her — but we’re on a first name basis. At CES, there could be at least three major new launches of smart speakers from the likes of RokuVizio and even Microsoft, who I hear is going to take another try at it. Enough is enough. This will be a short-lived phenomenon as peer-recommendations will dominate here and the big three will likely shake out to be Amazon, Google and Apple, eventually. The rest will be also-rans or will license one of those (like Sonos did, integrating Alexa into the new Sonos One speaker). That said, what could eventually help Apple and Google against Amazon will be the seamless use of their technologies in their car entertainment systems — so you can have the same personal digital assistant in the car as you have at home (with all its expert knowledge of you).

VR & AR: You can’t have a review nowadays without saying Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality. So, there you go. It’s said. It will be everywhere as it’s not only the buzz-term of the times but it’s also a way to attract VC (venture capital) funds. So, they’ll be plenty of it. Nothing earth shattering yet, except better gaming.

Fast Connections Everywhere: That’s the holy grail, right now, of technology. To be able to remain connected all the time with a fast connection was the promise of 3G, 4G, LTE and now 5G. But, even Wi-Fi has issues. Heck, in my 35’ x 35’ classroom at UNC  there are places in the room where you can connect with blazing speed and places where students can’t even connect. It’s crazy. So, imagine doing that all over a town, a county or a state. That’s what AT&T, Sprint and Verizon have been trying to do for over a decade and, well, have failed to do. They just can’t keep up. CES will be all about 5G but it won’t fix our issues. I promise you that. But attendees will be impressed with the claims and the carefully-orchestrated demos.

OMG, I Almost forgot About AI: Artificial Intelligence, or AI, has actually been around for years — and we’ve been using it for years. It’s what makes Siri sort of recognize what you are asking her on an Apple device. And, AI is that feature where, when you’re Googling something, the search box fills out what you were going to Google before you finish typing it. Yes, that’s AI. AI is what’s making the device, the machine, the cloud and big-data aggregate your current device usage, instantly, with what everyone else in the world is doing right now and AI automatically figures out what you wanted. The ultimate in AI would be something that predicts what you want and need 100% of the time — but that would be terrifying, especially if someone else you knew got to see inside that, like reading your mind. But it’s coming. And at CES 2018, there will be no fewer than 200 companies showing AI stuff. And, all the biggies will, for sure.

Robot Fun: I have always wanted a robot. I would love to have a robot. Please, finally, come out with a robot. It doesn’t even have to be as cool looking as BB-8 from Star Wars. It can be square and flat — I don’t care. But I want it to be able to cook and clean. I love my Roomba (robot vacuum) but it’s lacking. I still have to clean behind it. And, it can’t cook. I want a robot that can cook. Seriously! Alas, the robots, and there will be a few of them, that will be at CES will be demos. Like the self-driving car, they are a few years away from anything substantial. They need that AI thing I talked about, above, to be better.
Hey, I have a great idea: How about a robot that can drive and I can talk to — or, better yet, a robot that knows where I want to go, will entertain me while going there and will feed me along the way?!

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Editorial

More OLED-on-Silicon to Come from New Joint-Venture

By Chris Chinnock
Founder and President, Insight Media

One of the display technologies that is being used in Virtual Reality (VR) headsets is OLED-on-Silicon. Recently, a new partnership was formed between US-based Kopin and two Chinese partners: BOE and Olightek. The three have agreed to form a Joint Venture (JV) to build new state-of-the-art OLED-on-Silicon manufacturing facility in China to serve anticipated needs for displays in VR and AR headsets.

So why have these three joined forces? Kopin’s expertise lies in microdisplay design and manufacture (LCD, LCoS and now OLED) having produced over 30M devices so far. The company is strong in backplane design and has manufacturing experience with LCD and LCoS microdisplays. They have also been very active in development of all the elements of VR headset design (optics, electronics and ergonomics).

Olightek’s expertise lies in the manufacture of OLED microdisplays, in particular the deposition process. The manufacture of OLED microdisplays on Si is not the same as manufacturing OLED displays on glass for a tablet or cell phone. Since Si is opaque, microdisplays must use top-emitting OLED structures.

BOE is already the largest LCD maker in China and is the clear leader in direct view OLED display production in China as well for use in devices such as TVs and mobile phones. According to David Hsieh at IHS, “BOE’s [direct view OLED] capacity will grow by 10 million m² per year from 2017 to 2019 as it ramps up the B10 Fuqing Gen 8 and B9 Hefei Gen 10.5 fabs. Meanwhile, ramping up Gen 10.5 in late 2018 will allow BOE to take the capacity crown away from LG Display in 2019 to reach 54.8 million m² in 2019.” And it is expanding its OLED ecosystem activities in many areas. This includes OLED printing (Kateeva), sub-pixel rendering (Yungyinggu) and VR/AR headsets (Xloong).

The entry of BOE into this niche part of the display industry is interesting. The combination of Kopin, Olightek and BOE is a strategic blend of Kopin’s microdisplay expertise, Olightek’s micro OLED manufacturing capabilities and BOE’s world class large scale manufacturing and is designed to dominate the OLED microdisplay market.

The new JV is being capitalized with about $150M with BOE the major shareholder. The new OLED-on-Silicon manufacturing facility is expected to be operational in the first half of 2019. The initial capacity is expected to be about 1 million OLED microdisplays per year, and the longer term goal is to establish the largest OLED-on-Silicon capacity in the world. The new facility is expected to be built in Kunming, Yunnan Province, China. Until the new facility is built Kopin and Olightek have entered into an agreement to expand Olightek’s current OLED manufacturing capacity by sharing the cost to procure additional deposition equipment for OLED-on-Silicon microdisplays. The new line is expected to produce displays in the first quarter of 2018. The intention is that this capacity will be able to meet initial demand and also allow potential customers to design products with the OLED microdisplays until the BOE facility is in production.

The manufacturing of OLED-on-Silicon microdisplays can get complicated, so let’s take a deeper look at the supply chain. First, there are only a handful of OLED-on-Silicon microdisplay suppliers in the world. These include Olightek, Kopin, Sony, eMagin and MicroOLED.

All outsource the fabrication of the OLED backplane to silicon foundries, but then employ different business models for the fabrication of the OLED frontplane and device packaging. All, except Kopin, are vertically integrated, meaning they do the OLED depositions and packaging in-house. Only Kopin is pursuing a totally fabless manufacturing model with Olightek and later BOE, providing the OLED deposition, color filters and packaging for the company.

Kopin claims such a model offers more flexibility and will lead to lower cost microdisplays and AR/VR products. Kopin says that while the capital investment in OLED microdisplay frontplane equipment is not huge compared to direct view OLED fabs, the utilization of the factory contributes to a large fraction of the cost of displays. The fabless model allows Kopin to leverage the OLED expertise of Olightek and BOE and their state-of-the-art equipment without the capex and opex burden.

So how will Kopin differentiate their microdisplays? Hong Choi, Kopin’s CTO said that their patents cover technologies that reduce power consumption, increase frame rate even for very high resolution (120 Hz frame rate for its 2k x 2k display), and improve image uniformity by mitigating any Si process-related non-uniformity. In addition, Kopin’s patented architecture can reduce motion artifacts by implementing a “rolling shutter” in which each line is reset to black a certain time after it is illuminated.

Choi made it clear that Kopin OLED-on-Silicon microdisplays will be very attractive based on the backplane design and features. He noted that their team has a long history of OLED backplane design expertise in addition to transmissive LCoS and reflective LCoS (via their acquisition of Forth Dimension Displays). But each technology needs a different backplane design with only limited commonality such as using ramp DAC (digital to analog converter).

Like the other display backplane designs, both analog and digital circuits are needed for the OLED backplane. To drive OLED pixels, transistors should operate at least 5V. Digital circuits can operate at 1.2 V or 1.8V. Either 0.18 um or 0.13/0.11 um design rules can be used. The smaller design rules with l.2V digital circuits are preferred for lower power consumption. There are many foundries that have mixed signal processes that supports both > 5V and 1.8 V (or 1.2V).

Clearly, Kopin, Olightek and BOE see a growing market for OLED-on-Silicon microdisplays and investing to satisfy this expected demand. We will have to see if this bet pans out.

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Industry News

Dan Dugan Sound Design Launches 50th Anniversary Celebration

Dan Dugan Sound Design is celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2018 and has launched a year-long celebration. Company founder Dan Dugan, CEO of Dan Dugan Sound Design, Inc. will be at the company’s display booth for several trade shows this year (including ISE, NAB, InfoComm, AES and others) to greet attendees and conduct his “killer demo” of legendary Dugan automatic microphone mixing technologies.

Dan Dugan began his sound designing career while working at the American Conservatory Theater in San Francisco, where he designed the first multi-scene theatrical sound console along with other equipment. While at ACT, the production stage manager coined the title Sound Designer “to describe what Dan Dugan does.” He became independent shortly thereafter.

Dugan took on the challenge of designing sound reinforcement systems for regional productions of the musical Hair. He thought that there had to be a better way to handle 36 live mics on stage than twisting knobs on a rack of mixers. After six years of experimenting, he found a solution. His invention, the automatic microphone mixer, radically improved the quality of sound operation in installed sound, conferences and broadcasting. No longer did audio mixers have to sweat fading up the next talker while keeping system gain under the feedback point; instead, they were free to focus on the quality of the mix.

An automixer controls a group of live microphones, turning up mics when someone is talking and turning down mics that aren’t being used. The real-time voice-activated process invented by Dugan maintains overall system gain and ensures everyone is being heard at the right time. The technologies invented by Dan Dugan are widely recognized for their “transparent” gain-sharing operation. Overall system gain is held at the level of one microphone, regardless of who is talking, how loudly (or softly) they are talking or how many people are trying to talk at once. Operation is simple: microphones are connected, system gain is set, and the automixer takes care of the rest. The result is clear, understandable audio without upcutting talkers or shifts in background noise.

Over the years, Dugan products have been updated to conform to changing industry standards. Modern DSP technologies have been adopted, as well as current modes of I/O including ADAT, MADI and Dante. Control of “Dugans” has also progressed with the years, with remote control via PC and iPad apps and a physical control surface option.

Dugan products are used in education, corporate, live theater, television and government settings worldwide. In addition to manufacturing his own products, which connect to standard audio consoles via insert points, Dan Dugan licenses his algorithms to other manufacturers. Yamaha has now adopted Dugan technology in all of their digital mixing consoles and installed sound processors, and Dugan automixing is available in products from Waves, Sound Devices, and Protech Audio. Dugan also manufactures a plug-in automixer card for selected Avid products.

When not in his lab in San Francisco, Dan Dugan is an avid recordist for the Nature Sounds Society, often capturing realistic surround recordings in Yosemite National Park. He also has a lively interest in philosophy (particularly skepticism), the philosophy of science, and current controversies about scientific paradigms and alternative medicine. In the Professional Audio world, Dugan has made public challenges to fraudulent and overly extravagant claims for high-end hi-fi products.

For more information, go here.

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SDVoE to Do Side-By-Side Demos vs 1G Infrastructure

At ISE 2018 (Amsterdam, February 6-9, stand 3-B150), the SDVoE Alliance will feature a series of interactive, head-to-head demonstrations that highlight the pitfalls of trying to use a single 1G network to combine AV and IT.

“The big dream of AV/IT integration is to simplify your infrastructure to a single, flexible network, and the benefits are huge,” said Justin Kennington, president of the SDVoE Alliance. “Unfortunately, there is a lot of misinformation out there, some even put out by major manufacturers, that would lead you to believe that a 1G network is up to the task. We’ve put together three straightforward comparisons that confirm 1G infrastructure cannot support IT data users and AV-over-IP systems simultaneously. True AV/IT convergence, with zero-millisecond latency and flawless image quality, can only happen on 10G infrastructure, and only with SDVoE.”

The demonstrations will use quality of service (QoS) techniques on standard network hardware to illustrate the productivity losses that occur when one type of data must be prioritized. The demos will show that with low-cost 10G hardware, such compromises are not necessary. Finally, SDVoE-compliant hardware will be compared head-to-head against so-called “no latency” 1G products so that booth visitors can observe for themselves that “no latency” means something very different than “zero latency.”

Benefits of a single flexible 10G infrastructure for AV and IT include:

  • substantial cost saving for installation and maintenance
  • a large talent pool with the skill to maintain IT infrastructure (rather than a patchwork of specialized proprietary AV cabling)
  • reduced risk of stranded investment – as business needs change ­(more IT, less AV, or vice versa) core infrastructure is ready
  • simple expansion – bandwidth can be easily increased with no concern or decision to make about the KIND of infrastructure.

All AV distribution and processing applications that demand zero-latency, uncompromised video can benefit from SDVoE technology, which provides an end-to-end hardware and software platform for AV extension, switching, processing and control through advanced chipset technology, common control APIs and interoperability. SDVoE network architectures are based on off-the-shelf Ethernet switches thus offering substantial cost savings and greater system flexibility and scalability over traditional approaches such as point-to-point extension and circuit-based AV matrix switching.

Here are the details.

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Projection

InFocus Introduces IN3140 Series Projectors Aimed at Classrooms and Meeting Rooms

InFocus Corporation just announced the IN3140 Series projectors — a less than seven pound line of 5,000 lumen (4,000 lumens in Eco Mode) projectors including the native resolution 1080p (IN3148HD), WXGA (IN3146) and XGA (IN3144).

The projectors offer 1.5x optical zoom and supports aspect ratios of 2.35:1, 4:3, 16:9, and 16:10 with a contrast ratio of 11000:1. Inputs include two HDMI v1.4 (one with MHL compatibility), two VGA, composite, s-video, as well as 3.5-millimeter and RCA L/R audio ports.

The IN3140 Series supports multiple forms of 3D content, including Blu-Ray, 3D broadcasting, video games, and PC connectivity. For easy network management, the IN3140 Series projectors also feature RS232 and RJ45 connections.

The IN3148HD, IN3146 and IN3144 are priced at $1,361, $1075 and $1,037 respectively. Here are the detailed specs.

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Control & Signal Processing

TechLogix Expands Its 18G Over Twisted Pair Range

TechLogix Networx is expanding its 18G over twisted pair product portfolio with the launch of the TL-TP100-HDC2, a compact extender set which transmits HDMI, bi-directional control and Ethernet up to 100 meters over standard twisted pair cabling. The TL-TP100-HDC2 supports 18G 4K@60 4:4:4 HDMI, HDR, HDCP 2.2 and multi-channel audio.

The TL-TP100-HDC2 leverages VLC processing to extend full 18G 4K@60 4:4:4 HDMI up to 100 meters (330 feet). This unique technology senses signals over 10G and automatically compresses the color space for transport over lower bandwidth cables, such as Cat5 and Cat6. After transmission, the color space is then decompressed back to the original, full bandwidth.

Additional features include built-in audio return channel (ARC), analog and digital audio embedding, analog and digital audio de-embedding and flexible power at either the transmitter or receiver.

The TL-TP100-HDC2 is here.

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Atlona Ships AT-HDVS-210U-TX-WP HDMI/USB-C Wall Plate Switcher and HDBaseT Transmitter

Atlona is now shipping the AT-HDVS-210U-TX-WP wall plate switcher, which the company says is the industry’s first HDBaseT-compatible switcher/transmitter with direct USB-C input support. The new 2×1 switcher, which also supports HDMI connectivity, will make its European debut in the Atlona stand (5-U80) at the ISE 2018 show, being held February 6-9 at the RAI Amsterdam Convention Centre.

The HDVS-210U-TX-WP features one HDMI and one USB-C input, the latter of which enables direct connectivity for new and emerging laptops, tablets, and smartphones equipped with AV-capable USB-C ports. Automatic input selection switches between the two interfaces when a new source is connected, using both hot plug detect (HPD) and active video detection technology to ensure reliable auto-switching even with source devices that maintain a high HPD signal when not actually delivering video.

Automatic display control powers up compatible displays and projectors without manual intervention when a presentationdevice is connected, streamlining operation. Input selection, audio volume and display power can also be controlled via RS232 or TCP/IP commands, enabling straightforward integration with third-party control systems.

The HDVS-210U-TX-WP’s HDBaseT transmitter enables 4K/UHD video at 60Hz with 4:2:0 chroma subsampling (8-bit color) to be delivered over Cat6a or Cat7 cable up to 330 feet (100 meters) alongside embedded audio, control and Ethernet signals. Power is supplied remotely by the receiver via Power over Ethernet (PoE).

The HDVS-210U-TX-WP features a U.S. one-gang, Decora-style form factor and ships with interchangeable black and white trim kits.

The HDVS-210U-TX-WP is one of a trio of dual-input wall plate switchers in Atlona’s HDVS-200 series of HDBaseT AV solutions. Its sibling AT-HDVS-210H-TX-WP features two HDMI inputs, while the AT-HDVS-200-TX-WP pairs an HDMI input with an analog VGA interface. All three wall plate models integrate seamlessly with Atlona’s AT-UHD-EX-100CE-RX-PSE receiver, HDVS-series receivers and scalers, and HDBaseT-equipped switchers.

Here are the tech specs.

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WyreStorm to Launch Modular H2XC Series HDBaseT 4K HDR at ISE

WyreStorm is announcing at ISE 2018 the H2XC Series modular HDBaseT 5Play 4K with integrated audio DSP matrix switchers, featuring a selection of customizable multi-format, multi-platform transmission cards.
 
An evolution of the H2X Series, the H2XC was developed to offer even more pro AV and large high-end residential options for the distribution of multi-source 4K UHD with HDR and legacy video formats, as well as multi-source audio matrix switching to multiple zones, including SmartTV functions and audio-on-demand products. As per its parent model, the H2XC Series includes WyreStorm’s proprietary SmartEDID technology to dynamically remove conflicts when combining 1080p and 4K screens within the same installation.
 
The H2XC features a choice of a 10 or 16-way H2X chassis populated by a custom selection of six multi-format transmission cards in any quality or combination as per customer specification. The H2XC features an integrated audio matrix with powerful DSP capable of routing up to three separate audio signals per transmission card (depending on card model), including ARC, HDMI de-embed from video and separate line-level audio only sources.
 
The TX-H2X-HDMI card offers 4K HDR with multiple audio options to 70 meters (230 feet) or 1080p to 140 meters (459 feet). Connectivity includes HDMI in, HDBaseT Class A and mirrored HDMI out, S/PDIF audio in, S/PDIF and analog stereo audio out and IR to zone for source control. The TX-H2X-HDBT card offers the same connectivity, with the exception of swapping the HDMI input for a Class A HDBaseT Input to support decentralized source connection.
 
Dedicated video and audio cards enable video and audio zone-expansion respectively to allow a dealer to skew the number of AV inputs and outputs to suit the project. The The TX-H2X-VDZ offers HDBaseT in, HDBaseT and mirrored HDMI out and IR to zone, while the TX-H2X-ADZ features HDMI in and out alongside S/PDIF audio in, S/PDIF and analog stereo audio out.

The final two TX-H2X-VLC and TX-H2X-OM3 cards support 18Gbps transmissions of 2160p 60Hz 4:4:4 and 2160p 60Hz 4:2:2 HDR 12 bit. While the TX-H2X-VLC features HDBaseT Class A transmission to 70 meters (230 feet), the TX-H2X-OM3 instead offers transmission over multi-mode fibre up to 300 meters (984 feet). Both cards also feature include HDMI in, mirrored HDMI out, S/PDIF audio in, S/PDIF and analog stereo audio out and IR to zone.

Both will be available in Q1 of 2018 with pricing still to be announced. The H2XC modular transmission cards options are:

  • TX-H2X-HDMI; $999 MSRP; now shipping for H2X Series models
  • TX-H2X-HDBT; $999 MSRP; now shipping for H2X Series models
  • TX-H2X-VDZ; MSRP TBC; available Q1 2018
  • TX-H2X-ADZ; MSRP TBC; available Q1 2018
  • TX-H2X-VLC; MSRP TBC; available Q1 2018
  • TX-H2X-OM3; MSRP TBC; available Q1 2018
  • TX-H2X-SDI; MSRP TBC; available Q1 2018

Here are all the specs.

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New Crestron DM XiO Director Network Appliance Simplifies Deployment of DM NVX Network AV Systems

Crestron announced today that it is now shipping DM XiO Director. An enterprise-grade network appliance, natively running simple yet powerful software, the DM XiO Director centrally configures, manages, and controls DM NVX network AV systems. The DM XiO Director is available in three models, depending on the number of DM NVX endpoints. The software tool enables device discovery, domain configuration, endpoint mapping, multi-casting management and status monitoring. DM NVX Series is the industry’s only secure solution that delivers 4K60, 4:4:4 and HDR video over standard 1Gb Ethernet.

The DM XiO Director virtually emulates the functionality of a traditional hardware-based DigitalMedia matrix switcher, routing 4K60 streaming AV signals throughout a room, building or campus. Three models are offered which support 80 (DM-XIO-DIR-80), 160 (DM-XIO-DIR-160) or unlimited (DM-XIO-DIR-ENT) endpoint devices. DM XiO Director can handle even the largest corporate enterprise, university, governmental, military, medical, transportation, sports, entertainment, hospitality, gaming or retail application.

The DM XiO Director automatically discovers each DM NVX endpoint on the network, and allows each one to be assigned to a “domain” using a simple UI. A domain is simply a logical grouping of endpoints that operate together as a single switching entity, allowing individual rooms and other subsystems to be arranged and controlled independently. The DM XiO Director effectively eliminates the need for physical switchers in every room, replacing them with the virtual equivalent running on the AV network.

The DM XiO Director provides an intuitive web-based user interface to facilitate system configuration, signal routing, and comprehensive diagnostics of the complete AV network. Each domain and endpoint can be designated with a user-friendly name. Navigating the entire system is easy using the search box to quickly find domains, endpoints, inputs and outputs by name or address. A system overview screen is also provided, showing the video and audio signal status for every input and output in a graphical layout that’s easy to view and navigate.

Here are the details.

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Unified Collaborative Conferencing

Sharp Debuts the 70″ PN-L705H 4K Resolution AQUOS BOARD

Sharp has introduced its first 4K Ultra-HD resolution (3840×2160) AQUOS BOARD interactive display system. The 70″ PN-L705H interactive display offers Sharp’s Pen-on-Paper user experience that they says makes writing comfort close to using an actual pen on paper. The PN-L705H interactive display is especially designed for architecture, design, corporate collaboration, museums and libraries because of it’s ability to be mounted in various configurations (including flat).

The LCD panel in the new AQUOS BOARD is native 3840×2160-pixel and is bonded directly to the protective glass layer, thereby eliminating the air gap between them, for a consistent and natural feel when writing. It uses capacitive touch technology and has an expansion slot compatible with the Intel Mini OPS system including a optional wireless board (PN-ZB03W), an HDBaseT receiver board (PN-ZB03H) or media player (PN-ZB03AO).

It lists for $15,795 and here are all the detailed specs.

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Mersive Selects ISE to Debut Meeting Analytics Engine

Mersive Technologies announced that it will launch at ISE a new cloud-based room monitoring and meeting analytics service. Mersive (Booth 14-N130) will also unveil room scheduling, expanded language support and further new features to its Solstice Pod wireless collaboration solution.

Mersive Solstice brings unlimited collaborative content sharing to ordinary meeting and education spaces, transforming how top organizations work and learn. Mersive newest addition the its Solstice product line, Solstice Kepler, provides alerts, real-time statuses, usage data and other valuable meeting analytics for the Solstice deployment. The new service facilitates the day-to-day management of Solstice deployments and can inform the organization’s workplace technology and space planning decisions.

In addition to Solstice Kepler, Mesive’s latest 3.1 version of Solstice adds new features for meeting collaborators, including room scheduling via calendar integration, expanded in-product language support, a fully redesigned welcome screen and more. The room scheduling feature integrates with Microsoft Exchange and Office 365 to automatically maintain an updated room calendar and can support other 3rd party calendar systems via the Solstice OpenControl API.

Mersive is also announcing support for French, Spanish, Italian, German and Traditional Chinese within Solstice.

Mersive is here.

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Samsung Flip Is New Digital Flipchart

Samsung Electronics just unveiled its new Samsung Flip digital flip chart display. Introduced at the company’s First Look event, the Samsung Flip 4K resolution WM55H allows for sharing, annotation, movement and even searching via a portrait-based, 55” LCD touch-screen. Additionally, the Flip’s portable, wheel-based stand transforms any location into a huddle room, meaning added flexibility to businesses with limited conference space.

Through simultaneous multi-user engagement, the Samsung Flip allows up to four different participants to content or annotate directly on screen at the same time using either their fingers or a dual-sided pen. It’s all mounted on a cart with integrated wheels.

For added interactivity, the Samsung Flip display also offers device compatibility through both wireless connectivity and USB, PC and mobile ports. An integrated screen-sharing functionality makes Flip content available on connected PCs, smartphones and tablets without interruption or reduced visual quality. Likewise, users also can import personally-stored content onto the Flip display’s screen and introduce fresh ideas to the discussion.

The Samsung Flip display delivers collaboration efficiency by condensing the multiple tools and processes required for a traditional meeting into an all-in-one design. Participants do not need a specialized touch pen to interact with the screen, and can erase notes through a quick palm swipe. Flip users also can access up to 20 pages of writing space, with embedded search functionalities available to instantly direct participants to specific content. This continuous, rolling stream avoids the lost time and interruptions that often result as participants have to search through multiple sheets of paper or lines of notes to locate a specific detail.
 
Each Flip display is customizable and can configure to portrait or landscape orientations to suit unique meeting needs. When coupled with its height-adjustable stand, the Flip also maximizes available writing space at users’ preferred positions. Should a meeting require more centralized, roundtable-style discussion, users can remove and connect the Flip display to a compatible wall mount.

Here are the details on the $2,699 Flip.

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Sound Control Technologies to Debut New RemoteCam Solutions at ISE

Sound Control Technologies (SCT) will be using ISE 2018 (Stand 11-F160) to unveil four new solutions in the RemoteCam product portfolio for digital PTZ cameras. The new RemoteCam6 (RC6-CST) has been designed to deliver a reliable, cost effective link between the Cisco SX80 and SpeakerTrack 60. It will enable Dual HDMI, Ethernet control and power to the SpeakerTrack 60 over a single CAT6 cable.

Also showing from SCT will be the new RemoteCam7 (RC7-PD2) which has been designed to support Polycom Group Series codecs and the EagleEye Director II. This product enables HDCI video, analog audio, RS232 control, IR control and power to the Director II over a single Cat5e or Cat6 cable.

In addition, the latest in SCT’s RemoteCam5 product line, the RC5-RKP will be launched. It supports the Cisco Quad Camera and Codec Plus or SX80 codecs. Like the rest of the RemoteCam5 products, this enables HDMI and Ethernet control plus power to the Quad Camera over a single Cat5e or Cat6 cable.

All three new RemoteCam solutions deliver power up to a distance of 300’ feet over a single Cat5e or Cat6 cable and integrators visiting ISE will appreciate that all Sound Control kits are complete solutions with necessary cables required to connect to the camera and codecs, accommodating the custom nature of the manufacturer’s connectors implemented on these cameras and codecs.

Also showing from SCT are the RCS and RCT Series Ceiling Mounts. The RCS Series solutions are sheetrock ceiling mounts designed for the Cisco Precision 60, PHD 12x, Precision 40 and Polycom EagleEye IV cameras. These three-piece, all-metal solutions come with a common back box and mounting plate, and they become camera-specific with a custom cradle to securely hold the base of the camera.

The RCT Series’ acoustic tile ceiling mounts are designed for the Cisco Precision 60, PHD 12x, Precision 40 and Polycom EagleEye IV cameras. These three-piece, all-metal solutions come with a tile bar, plenum box and become camera-specific with a custom cradle to securely hold the base of the camera.

Sound Control Technologies’ new stuff is here.

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Cables, Cases, Furniture, Mounts, Racks, Screens & Accessories

Metra Home Theater Group Debuts Structured Wiring Panels and TV Mounts

Metra Home Theater Group announces structured wiring panels and TV mounts. Metra Home Theater Group has expanded their portfolio to include structured wiring panels, a new product category for the manufacturer. The structured panels offer flexible mounting for stud spacing variations in either a recessed or a surface mount installation. They are constructed of solid steel with a durable, white powder coat finish and include grommets and ten cable ties and mounts. Three sizes are available for 14” (CS-SP14), 20” (CS-SP20) or 28” (CS-SP28) panels. Hinged metal panel doors are sold separately, and include a lock and two keys for added security. The structured panel doors can support up to four 120mm cooling fans with preset mounting holes and integrated louvered ventilation for improved cooling. Doors are available for 14” (CS-SPD14), 20” (CS-SPD20) and 28” (CS-SPD28) panels.

Commercial or residential buildings can provide a challenge for TV mount installation if the standard 16” studs are not in place. To address this issue, many of the new mounts are compatible with both 16” and 24” center studs to offer a more versatile mounting solution for integrators. Two new large, full motion mounts for 42” to 84” TVs are offered with a center extension (FML642) or a side extension (FML64S). These sturdy mounts have a weight capacity of 132 pounds, a tilting angle of +5 to -15 degrees, and allow for dual stud installation with 16” or 24” center studs. The LPU64 is a new, ultra-low profile, fixed TV mount for 42” – 84” TVs that is only 14 mm (0.55”) from the wall. It has a weight capacity of 99 pounds and offers dual stud installation. The FMM44 is a full motion mount for medium sized TVs from 26” to 60”, with a weight capacity of 66 pounds and single stud installation. The FM44IW is a 400×400 full motion mount designed for in-wall installations between 16” center studs. It fits TVs from 32” to 60” and has a weight capacity of 75 pounds.

Here are all the specs: https://metrahometheater.com/cs-sp14.html

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Luxul’s Dual-Band Epic 3 Wireless AC31000 Router and XAP-810 AC1200 Wireless Access Point to Make European Debut at ISE 2018

Luxul will be at Integrated Systems Europe (ISE) 2018 to debut the Epic 3 (XWR-3150) dual-band wireless AC3100 router with built-in Domotz remote management, router limits content management, roam assist technologies and the XAP-810 AC1200 dual-band Wireless Access Point (WAP).

With advanced 4×4 MU-MIMO (Wave 2) technology, Luxul says the Epic 3 delivers wireless data transfers of up to 3100Mbps for fast streaming and bandwidth-intensive applications. The router offers a full feature-set, with an easy-to-use interface and capabilities that ensure optimal network performance, scalability and security, including firewall, QoS, virtual local area network (VLAN) support, virtual private network (VPN) and more.

For integrators, the Epic 3’s integrated Domotz technology saves time and money by allowing them to remotely manage and support clients’ networks and all connected devices, eliminating the need for truck rolls and service calls. Integrators receive alerts when network issues arise, allowing them to take immediate action. Router Limits content management gives end-users control of their internet experience by allowing them to manage internet traffic, choose which devices can access the web, determine what parts of the web are OK (or not OK) and set the days and times the internet should be available. In addition, the Epic 3 router offers a built-in wireless controller featuring Luxul’s exclusive Roam Assist technology. This makes it simple for integrators to set up more than one access point in larger Wi-Fi networks, while ensuring a seamless roaming experience for their clients.

Luxul’s XAP-810 WAP features leading-edge 802.11ac 2×2 dual-band technology and 5Ghz beamforming to deliver data rates up to 1200Mbps and excellent wireless coverage for a world-class Wi-Fi experience. The WAP offers a sleek design that allows for unobtrusive mounting on a ceiling, wall, or other flat surface — making it a great choice for delivering coverage to smaller spaces. Installing the XAP-810 requires a single Ethernet cable, which delivers both power and data through the integrated PoE+ port.

Here are the details.

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New Key Digital KD-ProG Cables Deliver 18 Gbps Signals Up to 75′

Key Digital’s new KD-Pro30G, KD-Pro40G, KD-Pro50G, and KD-Pro75G are HDMI cables capable of sending 4K resolutions with Ultra HD/4K support up to 4096×2160 or 3840×2160 24/25/30Hz [4:4:4] and 50/60Hz [4:4:4] up to 75′.

The KD-ProG cables support 18Gbps of bandwidth and the latest HDMI standards. These cables feature HDR10 (High Dynamic Range) which provides for life-like images through the use of a greater range of luminance levels. They are HDCP 2.2 compliant and backward compatible with previous HDCP versions. The Ethernet channel on the KD-ProG cables support up to 100 Mb/s of Ethernet speeds between two HDMI connected devices.

The KD-ProG cables have Audio Return Channel (ARC) which allows the audio to be returned from the display back to the HDMI source for amplification and display. These cables support digital audio formats including Dolby TrueHD, Dolby Digital Plus, Dolby Atmos and DTS-HD Master Audio. The KD-ProG cables have been designed using Open Eye Technology and have been certified and tested for low loss and a noise-free performance. The KD-ProG cables offer the latest in 4K resolutions, super-fast data transfer rates, and HDR10 support making them the ideal cable for installation in racks, at displays or over long lengths in commercial digital video applications.

Here are the details.

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Security

Nortek Security & Control Announces ELAN Integration With 2GIG GC3

Nortek Security & Control (NSC) today announced the integration of the ELAN Entertainment and Control Platform with the 2GIG GC3, claiming it to be the industry’s first Z-Wave Plus Certified Security panel. The GC3 panel can now be controlled natively from within the intuitive ELAN user interface

ELAN’s Auto Zone Detection simplifies installation; once the panel has been configured, all zones and zone names will be automatically added to the system. Through the “Arm-Disarm” feature, the viewer interface shows current panel security status and provides controls to arm and disarm the GC3 system, while “Auto Arm” enables arming the panel without entering a PIN code. “Event Based Arming” automates the arming as a system command – such as “away mode” or “good night mode” using the ELAN Event Mapper. The “History View” provides access to the GC3 history page to view zone fault and system status history, “Zone Status” enables viewing the main security page displays of all currently faulted zones, while the “Zone Bypass” feature allows installers to automatically bypass all faulted zones when arming from ELAN.

Here are the details.

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