|Volume 12, Issue 24 — December 29, 2015|
|Better Fleet Management for AV Pros|
By Lee Distad
It’s been my repeated observation over the years from getting to know AV pros all over Canada and the United States that AV pros, regardless of where they’re located, have more in common with each other than they have differences. That applies to both the people who make a career out of the AV business, as well as how they structure and run their businesses.
I have a few theories about that — mostly that the business attracts (and retains) people with specific personalities and mindsets. Additionally, successful AV companies tend to sort themselves in to similar organizational structures and best practices. It’s that latter sort of similarity that I want to address.
One obvious commonality among AV Pros is transport: Everyone needs to move people and materials to and from their jobsites. Talking to business owners about their fleets of work vehicles (I’m weird that way), commonalities emerge. Underpinning their vehicle decisions is unanimously the desire to minimize their fuel expenses.
While some made gradual changes to their fleet of vehicles, often depending on the terms and conditions of their leases, others after looking at the math with their accountant make more sweeping changes.
One business owner I know swapped out his three gas guzzling Ford E-150s for brand new Chevy Colorados. He did a lot of calculating to determine that the savings in gas covered the lease payments, so it was a sensible decision. They still own two large older Chevy Astros that are paid off, but they’re parked and are only rolled out when there’s a really big load to take to a jobsite.
That same dealer eliminated the mileage allowance for the personal vehicle usage for his three sales staff, and assigned them each a brand new Ford Focus as their company car. He confided that as a concession, as well as a sort of prequisite to make them more excited about having a company car, he did equip the cars with the deluxe options package.
My friend’s focus on numbers allowed him to tell me that his fleet’s net mileage improved from 10 MPG to 17 MPG for his work trucks, and from 22 MPG to 33 MPG for his sales force. Factoring everything in, including leasing costs, mileage and the current direction of the price of fuel, he estimated that making such a big switch will save his company about $1,900 in fleet-related costs in the first year.
The most common vehicle choices I’ve seen several companies make in the last couple of years is opting for small utility crossovers like Chevrolet Equinox (and formerly the HHR, which was discontinued in 2011) for day-to-day work vehicles, because they’ve got enough cargo space for gear and boxes of wire for most projects, with a Mercedes Sprinter, configured in its medium size, held in reserve for large loadouts to jobsites, including moving really big flat panels.
Beyond swapping out your entire fleet there are a few steps you can implement in order to better manage your vehicle expenses, if you’re not already:
- Schedule your calls, especially service calls, by geographic proximity, making a loop, minimizing criss-crossing the city unnecessarily.
- Double and triple check your load-out to ensure that you’re not missing a vital piece of kit, and have to come back for it.
- Relating to the last point, make sure that your truck’s field supplies, such as drywall anchors and cleaning supplies are in good order, so your installers don’t have to frequently divert to the nearest Home Depot mid-job.
- Evaluate your current mileage charges for out-of-town jobs. You probably have to raise them.
- Discourage your staff from leaving their trucks idling. If they’re waiting at a jobsite and it’s hot enough to have the AC on, the weather is nice enough roll the windows down and enjoy the breeze.
Nobody knows what the price of gas will do, and the recent vacation in the price at the pumps this past winter is not a good future indicator. Fuel efficiency is a fairly easy expense to manage to support your bottom line.Leave a Comment
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|The Next Big Thing!|
By Mark Coxon
Have you ever been abducted by an alien? No? Well, me neither, but I think we’ve all heard the tales. One night, while out in the woods, a light shines from above. Someone looks up to be blinded by the light and instantly levitates off of the ground and is pulled into the ship, where little green “men” run various tests and observe their subject before releasing them back to their own species just in time to get on the 11 o’clock news.
The stories are entertaining at the very least, and with over 70 sextillion stars in the visible universe, many of them are surrounded by multiple planets, many argue that there has to be extraterrestrial life. I can’t say conclusively that there is or isn’t life out there, but I can guarantee you that all of these abduction tales are in the highest likelihood, false.
How can I be so sure? The description. Little man, two eyes, a nose, a mouth, two legs, two arms, walks upright. It defies the very definition of the term “alien.” Odds are that extraterrestrial life would be so different from that of life on earth that we may not even be able to perceive it.
According to Lord Martin Rees, president of the Royal Society and astronomer to the Queen,
“They could be staring us in the face and we just don’t recognise them. The problem is that we’re looking for something very much like us, assuming that they at least have something like the same mathematics and technology.“
You see, the discovery of new life most likely won’t look anything like what we know and understand life to be currently. We have a very specific paradigm we see life through, and that limits our ability to see anything else. Just because the most intelligent life form on this planet has a symmetrical body, two eyes, two legs, and is a biped doesn’t mean that those traits are essential or common to other intelligent life forms that would inhabit much different environments than we do.
So how does this all relate to technology? In exactly the same way.
Now there are a ton of people out there that purport that Moore’s Law, the fact that transistor count and computing power doubles every two years, dictates that we will have rapid innovation in the AV space as well. I disagree based on the lack of evidence. In fact, I will go back to the alien life example above.
If the probability of extraterrestrial life is so high based on all of the parameters I set forth above, where is it? Why do we have no concrete proof? This dilemma even has a name called Fermi’s Paradox. You see, mathematical probability, no matter how high, doesn’t always beget reality.
We have this same Fermi Paradox in AV. If Moore’s Law says we double transistor count every two years and with it computing power, where is all the innovation?
Here’s my take. I can put one engineer with little creativity in a room and he will produce nothing new or innovative. I can then add three more engineers with little creativity into that same room, effectively quadrupling the “computing power” and still get nothing new. Just because the computing power quadruples, innovation isn’t spawned automatically. There needs to be a creative spark, typically spurred by asking a question in a new and unique way.
This is why AI and machine learning are so overstated. Sure, big data can show us trends to help us optimize the systems we already have in place, I don’t deny that. However, big data isn’t going to solve our creativity problem.
In fact, if you’ve read Gladwell’s Blink, he makes a compelling case example by example that thin-slicing of big data can cause paralysis and over confidence leading to undesirable outcomes. There is an intrinsic benefit the human gut gives to our decision making, and one creative, motivated individual can beat big data and its analysis even against overwhelming odds.
The next big thing will come from human intuition and connection, and the unique ability of a person to approach a problem from a different, never before anticipated angle.
The next big thing isn’t going to look like the last big thing, but unfortunately our own ideas about what technology looks like today, inhibits our ability to produce real innovation at a rapid pace.
I once heard video conferencing evangelist Simon Dudley say that dramatic change of this nature usually “hits you in the back of the head.” Given that, I can’t say with certainty what the next big thing is, but I can say what it isn’t.
In video it isn’t Ultra High Definition. It isn’t High Dynamic Range. It isn’t enhanced color space, or even deeper bit depth, or full sub-sampling, or dare I say, as cool and beautiful as it is, transparent OLED. These are all worthy endeavors that will make amazing improvements to today’s displays, but they won’t change the face of AV as we know it. Just like 1080p, 3D, autostereoscopic, and transparent LCD failed to do so in the past.
If you think back, the last real transformative change to displays was going from the CRT to the flat panel, and even the flat panel didn’t gain steam until it offered a size larger than the CRTs. In 1995 Fujitsu’s 42″ plasma finally offered a larger, thinner alternative to the Sony 40″ HD XBR CRT, making plasma a desirable option, despite the dramatic jump in cost at that time. Plasma displays as a concept had been around since 1936, and became a monochromatic reality in 1964, so it was no overnight game changer to say the least. It took 60 years to manifest.
Think of Apple as another example. Apple is thought of as the king of the innovation crop, but consider the fact that the iPhone was launched in 2007. Sure we’re on version six now, but each iteration is about adding a new camera, adding more storage, etc. Someone transported magically from 2007 to today could pick up an iPhone, know it’s an iPhone, and navigate its use easily and fairly comprehensively in a matter of seconds. The iPhone hasn’t substantially changed in nine years, and the iPad, introduced in 2010, hasn’t changed substantially either in the last six.
Yet somehow, we think that adding an app to control our latest black box is “game-changing” cutting-edge stuff. It was when Savant did it in 2009, introducing a remote that was literally an iPod on top and a remote on bottom. It was also big news when they ditched their proprietary touch panels altogether in 2010/11, leveraging the newly released iPad for control instead. But today? It’s a given that you should have an app, not an innovation.
I wrote a few months back that the “app” is already dead, and I stand by that. In fact, looking at tech trends for 2016, everyone from Fast Company to Gartner to Microsoft agrees that we are shifting from a GUI to Zero UI or Ambient User Experience. So as you’re developing the new app for release next year thinking it will be the next big thing, it won’t be. (Sorry.)
The next big thing in video will have to break through the rectangle and shatter the 4th wall. The next big thing in applications will have to rely more on wearables, embedables and sensors as opposed to touch screen GUIs. The next big thing in unified communications will have to allow for physical interaction with real or virtual objects and be so lifelike as to not be perceptibly different than a face to face meeting.
Oh sure, we’ll hear about the small improvements we continue to see being promoted as “the next big thing,” but they most likely won’t be. Instead, just like Xerox overlooking the PC, IBM overlooking Windows and Kodak overlooking the digital camera, the next big thing will appear out of apparently nowhere and be so different than the current status quo that most people won’t see it for what it is until it becomes the one thing everyone now must have.
So, I will again reference one of my favorite blog posts of all time as a call to action for those in product development in the AV space:
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“Where are you strange thinkers? Where are you weirdos? For god’s sake, get weird. Do different… PLEASE… the fate of our ecosystem rests in your hands…in your mind lives the step function we desperately need… inspire us!”
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|How Often Do Your Proposals Result in a Sale?|
By Omar Prashad
As integrators, how many of us know exactly what it costs for each proposal we produce? I don’t have any empirical data, but from having had the privilege of doing this for almost 15 years, my anecdotal answer would be: very few. I know, I know — everyone thinks his own are great and his ‘way of doing it’ is leap-years beyond what the competition is doing. I beg to differ: The only thing that matters is the value perceived by the customer and 99 percent of the proposals I see are what I call ‘Look at me’ documents. We have to stop what we’re doing and put ourselves in the customer’s shoes.
What if we change our thinking for a minute and consider the cost of producing a proposal? Through the lens of cost perhaps I can inspire you to change your ways. Let’s think about the cost of producing a proposal as three separate buckets.
In the first bucket, we have the basic tangible physical costs of producing a proposal. These are things as basic as the cost of paper, marketing materials and printer ink. It’s easy to figure out how full the first bucket is; these are all costs that as integrators we understand and that are so miniscule that we don’t really need to consider them (unless any of you out there are delivering proposals on gold-leaf in which case we need to have an entirely different conversation). In the next bucket are our labor input costs. How much actual time does the account manager have invested in meeting the customer and creating the opportunity? How much time does our engineering team take in designing the proposed solution? Although these are proposal input costs that could be easily calculated, the reality is they often aren’t. The last bucket is the one that most integrators don’t consider at all, and it’s the one that has the biggest potential cost impact: the opportunity costs. Our most valuable resource is time; dedicating the time to create, deliver and follow up on a proposal means that we don’t have time to do something else. Opportunity costs represent a choice, choosing one activity over another and choosing one potential customer over another.
Using this ‘buckets’ framework, without even considering opportunity costs (which are difficult to quantify), producing a typical proposal probably costs somewhere around $200 – $400. A larger, more complex system can have proposal costs that climb well over $1,000 and even upwards of $10,000. Not a large sum on its own for most of the proposals that are being created, but when you consider that most integrators track and subconsciously incentivize sales teams on ‘net new opportunities generated’ or worse yet ‘number of proposals delivered,’ the costs of proposals can really add up. For the most part people do what they are measured on. This can lead to a system where our sales teams will put a proposal out to any warm body without properly qualifying and understanding the customer’s needs.
The first step is to change our thinking from proposal quantity to proposal quality. So the question becomes how do we create and deliver proposals that have a higher chance of acceptance? Most of the customer-facing proposals that I see are at one of two extremes. Either a proposal is a detailed parts list with line item pricing and no more, or a proposal is a comprehensive 40+ page dissertation that would rival the reading material burden for most graduate level MBA programs. The truth is both of these versions are actively losing you more business than they are winning.
Let’s take the encyclopedic version first. The problems here are what I’ll call kitchen sink-esque: The integrator includes every single piece of potentially relevant information that it has ever produced, from case studies to awards to resumes of key personnel to fancy cover pages signed by company executives. But length isn’t even the core issue here, it’s that everything is delivered from the perspective of the integrator, not the customer. It is all about how great we are, what we have done, our history, our certification and our achievements and awards. Here is a cold hard truth that many of you will struggle to believe: Our customers don’t care about that stuff. They care about what we can do for them, how we can improve their outcomes and how we provide them value unique to their needs. I consider great references, certifications and all of that other junk basic table stakes. You need them to get access to the game but once you’re at the point of proposal, it doesn’t matter anymore. We are selling technology that in theory is supposed to make our customers lives better, easier and faster. Do you really think that any of our customers are actually reading the entire proposal dissertation? Do you really think that the busy executive budget sponsor in your Fortune 500 account is looking at any of it?
Side note — in the context of an RFP, this sort of proposal diarrhea may be required. Although I don’t believe that responding to RFPs is a legitimate strategy for sustained and profitable growth (another one of those topics for another day).
On the other end of the spectrum, you’ve got the proposal as a one-page parts list that almost always uses very technical equipment descriptions and AV industry acronyms. On a personal note, I loathe those in our family of integrators that are still delivering a detailed parts list as the only component of their customer proposals (and while I’m a huge advocate for not delivering a detailed parts list at all within the context of a well presented proposal, it’s much less offensive). Those that are doing this, please help the AV industry out and stop immediately. We spend so much time thinking about and talking about strategies to differentiate ourselves in pro AV, how to move ourselves away from being seen as movers of product and how to show our customers that we’re valued partners (instead of transactional vendors). Every time a one-page parts list proposal is delivered to a customer, our entire industry is being pulled backwards. Let’s think about it from another perspective. We’ve all bought cars. Have you ever bought a car where on the proposal was every nut, bolt, belt and washer that went into making the car? The last time you bought a laptop was every microchip, wire and connector detailed? And when you buy a house, does the invoice itemize every nail, screw, sheet of drywall and shingle? Obviously the answer is no — we buy those things because of what they do for us as consumers. They fill a need that we have, one that’s Gestaltist (the whole being greater than the sum of its parts). Isn’t an integrated AV system the very definition of this?
So what are some actionable items that we can take as integrators to increase the likelihood of our system proposals being accepted? Here are some quick tips on how to produce proposals that have a higher chance of resulting in business. It will often take a strategic shift in priorities, and it will definitely take some effort, but let’s remember that we’re not in the business of proposal writing — we’re in the business of delivering impactful AV systems for our customers.
- The entire proposal needs to be from the perspective of the customer – What it does for the customer, what value it provides, and how it addresses her very specific need. I call this the project value proposition, which is separate from the scope of work and should be the first thing the customer sees in the proposal.
- The power of options – This is a topic for another day, but the gist of it is providing the customer options that changes her thought process from, ‘Should I hire them?’ to ‘How should I engage with them?’
- Scope of Work – A non-technical, simplified narrative on how the system will operate. Give it to your 11 year old son, if he doesn’t understand what the system will do, your scope is ineffective.
And most importantly, don’t ever deliver a proposal to a customer without first having an agreed upon and scheduled time to meet with her and review. If I was going to deliver a proposal on a Tuesday, I would first make sure that I had a meeting scheduled with the customer on Friday morning at 10 a.m. to discuss and review (this is a specific time and meeting, ‘I’ll call you on Friday to follow up’ isn’t sufficient). Don’t throw the proposal out there into the black hole. As I mentioned earlier, as the integrator, we assume a costly and time consuming burden to design the system and produce a proposal. We are partners with our customers, we need them (for obvious reasons), and we have to remember that they need us – the relationship is always that of equals. If we’re going to invest time in designing a system that fulfills their needs, we need to have mutual expectations of the partnership. One of those is a scheduled meeting time to follow-up and review the proposal. In my world, if the customer won’t commit to that, we won’t produce a proposal for them. Remember opportunity costs — our time is better spent on customers who understand that our relationship is that of a partners.
Too many integration firms boast proudly of their fantastic proposals, of which the content was unfortunately often written by owners, managers and executives that are furthest away from the customer and who don’t understand that our only purpose as integrators should be to solve a customer’s unique needs (which often have to be translated from the ‘wants’ that they communicate). Everyone should be proud of his own firm’s accomplishments; we’ve all done some really fantastic work. But in the context of the customer proposal, remember the only thing that our customers really care about is how we will fulfill their needs.
It’s not about us… it’s all about them.Leave a Comment
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|Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens Premiers on Christie 4K Projectors and 388 MicroTiles|
Christie answered the call Monday night to bring a unique experience to guests attending the world premiere of Star Wars: The Force Awakens by providing spectacular red carpet displays.
“Disney and Christie have been sharing projection and display ideas and innovations for several years now to provide audiences with unparalleled moviegoing experiences,” said Michael Kern, Disney’s vice president of special events production and technical services. “So there was no question regarding who we would enlist to provide spectacular red carpet displays to make this a special night for everyone attending.”
The Christie team provided technical consultation at every stage of the installation, from concept creation, to pre-staging, onsite setup and delivery. To ensure this specific live setup went well and faced with an aggressive timeline, Christie pre-configured and staged much of the equipment in the company’s Cypress, California headquarters days beforehand. Christie’s coolux Pandoras Box Media Servers powered a variety of displays including 388 Christie MicroTiles that formed a back drop to the red carpet walkway and 18 Christie LCD panels that graced the red carpet and photo locations throughout the premiere. In a world where visual and audio experiences are assuming new importance in inspiring and moving audiences, content orchestration and synchronized content delivery is paramount which is why Christie acquired coolux GmbH (‘coolux’) a year ago.
“Christie projection technologies have powered some of Disney’s most famous world premiere events, including “Pirates of the Caribbean” and “High School Musical,” so it was totally in keeping with our commitment to our esteemed customer to pull out the stops to support the premiere of Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” said Sean James, vice president, Christie Global Professional Services.
And in November 2012, an alliance between The Walt Disney Company, Barneys New York and Christie brought the world of high fashion to life in brilliant colors, with multiple configurations of 425 Christie MicroTiles lighting up the windows of Barneys New York flagship store at 660 Madison Avenue, for their “Electric Holiday” display.
“That’s where we first fell in love with the Christie MicroTiles — with their high resolution, shallow depth, virtually seamless canvas and true-to-life image quality — so we were eager to include them in the red carpet backdrop for one of our biggest premieres,” said Michael Kern.
(The Walt Disney Studios in October 2013 signed Christie to provide the latest digital cinema technologies and a variety of professional services for The Walt Disney Studios’ production, post-production, screening rooms and premieres. Christie provides Disney’s Digital Studio Services Team with round-the-clock support for their digital cinema facilities.)
Within the El Capitan, which features Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos, the premiere magic continued in delivering a spectacular image and sound experience to audience members. In keeping with its unique position of working with cinema giants such as Disney, Christie also worked closely with Dolby in co-developing the new proprietary HDR and wider color gamut technology that leverages customized, high-frame-rate (HFR) capable Christie 4K laser projection heads to deliver the unparalleled visual excellence of Dolby Vision.
Christie is here.Leave a Comment
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|CEDIA Announces 2016 Board of DirectorsCEDIA has announced the 2016 volunteer board of directors. The board has three new directors: John Clancy, Ken Erdmann and Greg Margolis, as well as two re-elected directors: Michael Pope and Joe Whitaker. The CEDIA board also chose to appoint a new director, Jeremy Sweet, who will join the CEDIA board of directors for a one-year term to fill a vacated appointed position.|
John Clancy currently serves as executive vice president and chief technology officer for New York-based Audio Command systems. Ken Erdmann is co-founder and part owner of Erdmann Electric, Inc. based out of Springville Utah. Greg Margolis attended the University of Texas and instead of becoming a stockbroker in the midst of a recession, jumped into an unknown industry, home automation, founding HomeTronics in 1986. Jeremy Sweet has been the general manager for Connection Magazines for the last 12 years.
The 2016 CEDIA board of directors is composed of:
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- John Clancy, Audio Command Systems, Inc.
- Ken Erdmann, Erdmann Electric
- Dennis Erskine, Erskine Group, Inc.
- Hagai Feiner, Access Networks
- Omar Hikal, Archimedia
Dubai, United Arab Emirates
- Kris Hogg, Konnectiv Technology
Sheffield, United Kingdom
- David Humphries, Atlantic Integrated
- Greg Margolis, HomeTronics, Inc.
- Larry Pexton, Triad Speakers Inc. – Founding Member
- Michael Pope – Re-elected, Audio Video Interiors
Middleburg Heights, OH
- Jeremy Sweet – Appointed, Connected Home
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
- George Walter, Christie Digital Systems
- Joe Whitaker – Re-elected, The Thoughtful Home
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|YOU NEED TO STAY ALL FOUR DAYS: Dr. Michio Kaku to Present Friday’s Closing Keynote at ISE|
By Gary Kayye
Friday’s Closing Keynote at ISE 2016 will be given by Dr. Michio Kaku, one of the world’s leading scientific figures. He is a recognized expert in Einstein’s unified field theory and his unparalleled skill in predicting trends affecting business, commerce and finance based on the latest scientific research.
I’ve assigned Kaku’s book, PHYSICS OF THE FUTURE to my class of college students at UNC in my New Media course since its debut. I think this alone is reason-enough to stay for day four of the show!
The keynote will begin at 9 a.m., half an hour before the show opens on Friday 12 February.
Dr. Kaku holds the Henry Semat Chair in Theoretical Physics at the City University of New York. He received his Ph.D. in physics from the University of California at Berkeley in 1972, and has been a professor at CUNY for almost 30 years.
He is the author of several international best-sellers. He has two New York Times best-sellers, Physics of the Future and Physics of the Impossible. For Physics of the Future, he interviewed 300 of the world’s top scientists, many of them Nobel Laureates and directors of the largest scientific laboratories, about their vision for the next 20 to 100 years in computers, robotics, biotechnology and space travel.
His latest book is The Future of the Mind, which details the stunning breakthroughs being made in neuroscience, which are finally beginning to unravel the mysteries of the human brain. Recent scientific advances in brain-machine interface have made possible a form of telepathy, telekinesis, recording and uploading memories, and even photographing thoughts.
Dr. Kaku also does considerable public speaking on international radio and TV. He frequently keynotes major business conferences focusing on future trends in computing, finance, banking and commerce.
For more information about Friday’s keynote speaker, visit Dr. Michio Kaku’s website.Leave a Comment
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|ISE 2016 — You GOTTA Go! This Is an ACTUAL International ShowIntegrated Systems Europe (ISE), the largest AV trade show in THE WORLD, will deliver an unprecedented experience for exhibitors and attendees in 2016 through a wide selection of events, conferences and innovative new features around the show. These are scheduled to take place before and during the exhibition that will take place from 9-12 February 2016 at the RAI, Amsterdam.|
On the day before the show opens visitors can benefit from listening to a host of industry experts and thought leaders at the Smart Building Conference, a joint venture between ISE’s co-owners InfoComm International and CEDIA. Erik Ubels, Deloitte, Director Information Technology & Workplace Services and Philip Vanhoutte, MD Plantronics are amongst the line-up of experts from across the commercial and residential smart building industry taking part in the conference.
The theme for this year’s SBC is ‘The Network is the Building.’ It will explore how the IP backbone changes the way we work, the way we live, and the new services now possible with today’s buildings. Topics covered include building and home control, wayfinding, cabling buildings for the future, the impact of mobile, multi-dwelling units, the Internet of things and audio-over-IP. Bob Snyder, Editor in Chief of Channel Media Europe, will chair the full-day programme on 8 February 2016.Also taking place on 8 February is the Audio Forum conference. Visitors will have an opportunity to attend the pre-show event presented by one of ISE’s media partners Connessioni on the theme ‘Theories, Technologies, Legends and Myths about Audio.’ Donato Masci, an acoustic designer and consultant from Studio Sound Service in Italy, will be one of the first to take the stage alongside qualified audio professionals offering seminars and panels at the full day event.
The Opening Panel Discussion and Opening Reception will take place on the evening of the 8 February at 6pm. It will provide the ideal opportunity for networking over food and drinks and a chance to look ahead to the upcoming show days.
The Sports Venue Integration Summit will be held on the morning of 11 February. Sports Video Group Europe, in conjunction with RH Consulting, will explore a day in the life of the contemporary connected stadium. Topics to be covered include new approaches to fan engagement, AV/IT integration, event preparation and temporary overlay.
The second annual Capital Summit, on the afternoon of 11 February, will benefit from the likes of leading European financial experts, equity funds and strategic investors, such as the returning panellist Neil MacTaggart of Media Asset Capital. John Bowen of MediaBridge Capital Advisors and John Stiernberg of Stiernberg Consulting will co-moderate the discussion, which aims to bring together AV and IT industry entrepreneurs and executives with financial professionals and business experts from the world of investments, mergers, and acquisitions.To highlight the addition of the extra show day in 2016 will be the presentation of the Closing Keynote speaker Dr. Michio Kaku, one of the world’s leading business futurists and scientific figures. Dr Kaku’s presentation will take place at 9am, half an hour before the final day of the show opens on 12 February. Recognised as a leading figure in his field, Dr. Kaku will focus on future trends in technology and commerce. Here are the details.
An exciting first for ISE 2016 is the launch of the Drone Arena. Hosted by Stampede Global, the new area will welcome leading drone manufacturers, and will deliver a programme of education and practical demonstrations on a daily basis.
Another first will be the launch of the Dolby Atmos Immersive Theatre, a collaboration between Arcam; Dolby and Genelec. The theatre will demonstrate the breath-taking audio that can be delivered via the system for music; music videos and movies.
ISE 2016 will also see the addition of a fourth Show Floor Theatre. The Audio Solutions Theatre, joins the already established Residential Solutions, Commercial Solutions and Unified Communications Theatres.
The four ISE Show Floor Theatres will provide a unique opportunity for attendees to hear industry experts, consultants and manufacturers present the latest in workflow solutions, case studies, technology innovation and business analysis in an innovative and intimate setting situated in the halls of the RAI. A special focus will be a series of themed Digital Signage Summit Presents sessions, taking place daily in the Commercial Solutions Theatres. All sessions in the Show Floor Theatres are free to attend.
In addition to the ISE Show Floor Theatres, CEDIA and InfoComm International will present an even wider range of courses at ISE 2016. Both associations will offer more of their popular technical and business education, with offers in place for early bird discounts.
More information on keynote speakers and conference programmes can be viewed here.
rAVe has the industry’s ONLY ISE MicroSite where ALL the ISE news, blogs, videos and photos will be posted. And, it’s already live. If you’d like to see our ISE 2015 coverage (including over 1,700 videos we shot), go here.Leave a Comment
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|CEDIA Announced Largest Ever Training at ISE 2016The CEDIA training programme for ISE 2016 will be the most comprehensive ever for home technology professionals. Attendees will be able to access 32 training sessions over five days, on a vast range of technology and business topics with places available for booking now.|
CEDIA’s training will include three education pathways: Technician, Designer and Networking. Pathway specific courses will be taught by true industry experts in their subject matter, ensuring that you get the best training from the very best individuals.
CEDIA Technician Pathway: The courses on this pathway are perfectly suited to any Home Technology Professional that is looking to improve their technical competence, covering a range of topics from Video and Audio formats to rack building, systems control and technical fundamentals.
CEDIA Designer Pathway: The designer pathway will cover the design and management of a project through its entire lifecycle, from understanding client needs, to estimating and specifying, to designing specific systems and sub systems.
CEDIA Networking Pathway: This pathway will give professionals a chance to hone their networking skills, culminating in a networking specialist examination. The courses will cover networking from understanding fundamentals both wireless and wired networks, how to install them and how to manage them once installed.
Courses will be led by renowned U.S. experts Rich Green and CEDIA Senior Director of Learning & Emerging Technologies Dave Pedigo and will cover future innovations like:
- Immersive home cinema audio
- Advanced networking
- Lighting control
- Hi-resolution audio
All the specific course details are here.Leave a Comment
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|FX Luminaire Introduces Copper LED Up Light, Plus Other New Lighting Products|
FX Luminaire has announced the release of six new products, including the NR, the company’s first copper LED up light. FX Luminaire says the NR is engineered to withstand coastal conditions and other harsh outdoor environments. Each fixture is compatible with the Luxor system and includes four colored filters (amber, blue, green, and clear frosted) for color temperature customization. ZDC compatibility is also an option, creating more than 30,000 custom colors with the Luxor ZDC controller (no filters required).
Other new products include:
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- The PL and TM Incandescent Fixtures. New G4 socket version accepts incandescent and LED replacement lamps.
- The PS Hanging Bracket which converts the PS surface-mount down light into a pendulum light. With 9 LED capability, the PS is perfect for outdoor seating areas and high ceilings and is compatible with the Luxor ZDC controller.
- The MD Straight-Cut Shroud a 90-degree cut shroud option for the MD down light, hiding more glare and creating a more pleasant experience.
- A Gutter Mount Bracket for mounting accent lights at the roof deck. The brackets allows for easy wiring in the gutter without drilling into the roof deck and the ½-14 NPSM threads are compatible with all FX accent lights.
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|Twist Takes Aim at Whole Home (Err, Apartment) AudioOffering an LED/Speaker combo, Twist — a new company that plans to ship its CR90 LED light with a built-in speaker — will ship in Early 2016. Unlike nearly every other entry-level LED/Speaker combo product, Twist does not require a Wi-Fi HUB or any sort of wireless controller — you just screw in the LED’s into a CR90 compatible can light and you instantly get a wireless speaker (automatically Apple AirPlay capable) for just $99 per light (or $199 for a three-pack).|
Offering a color temperature that automatically changes from 5000 Kelvin to 2700 Kelvin throughout the day, the Twist LED uses less than 10 watts of power but is as bright as a 60-watt bulb (800 lumens). They work using your existing WiFi network and Bluetooth together. The 18-mm speaker is spec’d at 250Hz – 20 KHz @ 12dB and actually uses Neodymium magnets in an aluminum cone.
Using an App, you can change dim them (or set it to auto-dim as well as set a purple nightlight mode) together or independently and you can use any AirPlay compatible (including Apple MUSIC) to play audio to them — other apps will work eventually. But, as Apple AirPlay is more than 56 percent of the market (according to Apple Insider), then Twist has a good shot at making it even if it only launches with just AirPlay capability.
You can check out Twist here.Leave a Comment
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|James Loudspeaker Offers Built-to-Match Sound Bars for Curved LCD Displays|
James Loudspeaker has announced the availability of built-to-match curved sound bars to accommodate the demand for curved displays and screens. Each curved bar is custom built per the specific geometry of the TV or screen, giving integrators a vital tool to deliver superb audio performance along with seamless cosmetics.
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The curved geometry option is available on the SPL-3, SPL-5 and SPL-6 series of sound bars, providing integrators with superb sound quality, best-in-class aircraft-grade aluminum construction and seamless cosmetic integration for any A/V system. James Loudspeaker exhibited a curved SPL-5 sound bar at CEDIA 2015 mated to a Samsung 65-inch display to rave reviews.
James Loudspeaker curved sound bars are available now. There is a $400 premium for the curved geometry. Check out the company here.
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|Two New BenQ Projectors Launch Aimed at Home and CommercialBenQ America launched two new projectors int he form of the TH670 and MH741. Both are spec’d at 10,000:1 contrast ratio, 3,000 (TH670) or 4,000 (MH741) ANSI lumens of brightness and native 1080p resolution. The TH670 is aimed at home entertainment, while the MH741 is spec’d for medium- to large-size conference rooms, training rooms, classrooms and houses of worship. Among a variety of connectivity options including HDMI, the TH670 offers a 1.5-A USB Type-A input supplying power for accessories such as wireless dongles. In addition, for those times when the projector needs to be set at an angle from the screen, the TH670 automatically corrects the vertical trapezoidal effect.|Leave a Comment
For installation flexibility, the MH741 provides 2D keystone correction by adjusting the trapezoid effect via horizontal and vertical adjustments up to ±30 degrees. This allows the projector to be placed off center, for instance, where the presenter can stand in front of the screen without blocking the image. With corner fit geometric correction, the projector enables the picture to be perfectly aligned by adjusting each corner of the image independently. Advanced connectivity options on the MH741 include two HDMI inputs, one with MHL. With MHL presenters can project small-screen content from mobile devices to the big screen by mirroring documents, photos, videos, and presentations. Once connected, the projector supplies power to the smart device, keeping it charged while presenting.
To lower TCO, both the TH670 and MH741 feature BenQ’s SmartEco technology, which automatically adjusts lamp power to deliver bright, vibrant images with up to 10,000 and 4,500 hours of lamp life, respectively, as well as energy savings of up to 70 percent without any compromise in picture quality. To further reduce power consumption, an “Eco Blank” mode allows users to blank out the screen whenever projection isn’t needed, while a “No Source Detected” mode automatically reduces power consumption to 30% when no source has been detected for more than three minutes. With the Auto Power Off function, the projectors automatically shut down when not in use for 30 minutes. When inactive they keep power consumption to a minimum, <0.5-W standby power, for even more energy savings.
The TH670 and MH741 projectors are available now and priced at $999 and $1,899, respectively. More information is here.
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|Extron Ships 4K HDMI Matrix Switchers with Audio De-EmbeddingExtron is shipping its DXP 1616 HD 4K and DXP 168 HD 4K, the first two models in a new series of high performance HDMI matrix switchers for resolutions up to 4K (capable of 4096×2160 @30Hz at 4:4:4 and 4096×2160 @60Hz at 4:2:0). They are HDCP compliant, and support data rates to 10.2 Gbps, Deep Color up to 12‑bit, 3D, and HD lossless audio formats. Extron technologies such as SpeedSwitch, Key Minder and EDID Minder, along with automatic input cable equalization and output reclocking, ensure dependable system operation with exceptional switching speeds and compatibility between devices. These 16×16 and 16×8 matrix switchers also feature built-in audio de-embedding, enabling digital audio from any input to be assigned to the digital or analog stereo outputs for streamlined integration. The DXP HD 4K Series is ideal for use in applications that require reliable, high performance routing of digital video and digital or analog audio signals in professional AV environments.|
The DXP HD 4K Series also switches embedded digital audio from HDMI source signals, along with the corresponding video, to any or all of the selected outputs. The technologies and capabilities built into the DXP HD 4K Series ensure high performance AV signal routing, with a fully digital pathway that maintains the highest possible audio and image quality for multiple sources and displays.Leave a Comment
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|Channel Vision Intros IR-5011 All-In-One IR Repeater SystemChannel Vision has launched its IR-5011 IR Repeater Kit. This kit repeats the remote codes the most popular cable boxes such as Uverse, Cisco, Motorola and Scientific Atlanta. Using what Channel Vision class self-modifying software to adjust the IR code of each equipment provider, the new IR Repeater kit gives the user reliable performance. The kit includes an improved IR receiver designed to receive both low latency and high frequency signals while maintaining noise immunity. The IR-5011 also features an adjustable emitter output to accommodate sensitive equipment, according to Channel Vision.|
The small, versatile receiver has three mounting options ensuring a solution for every application. It can be placed near your television using the supplied holster, set up in a hole drilled in your equipment cabinet using the supplied hole mount, or set atop a dresser or table using the supplied table top mount. With the IR-5011, users can control four devices up to 1,000 feet. away using a single Cat5 cable between the IR Hub (IR-1204) and the IR Receiver (IR-2401). Add two more dual head IR emitters (IR-3002) to control up to eight devices total.
Included in the kit:
Here are the specific product details.Leave a Comment
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|RTI Ships New KX1 Multi-Room Audio KeypadRTI today announced its new KX1 multi-room audio keypad is now shipping. Specifically designed to control distributed audio within rooms or zones across any home or business environment, the innovative keypad simplifies the user experience through a color OLED display, two-way control capabilities, backlit volume, programmable hard buttons, and more.|
RTI’s KX1 features a 1.2-inch OLED color display — allowing two-way metadata feedback from audio sources such as AV receivers, media streamers, iPod docks, and more. The device also provides 11 backlit hard buttons to facilitate commonly selected functions for users, and a convenient back-lit volume bar to display audio volume levels clearly.
To facilitate the installation and integration process, the innovative KX1 provides customizable programming capabilities via RTI’s renowned Integration Designer software — allowing installers to tailor the automation experience easily to customers’ specific requirements. Featuring an embedded Ethernet connection for straightforward connectivity, the multi-room audio keypad can be fitted into any standard single-gang electrical box, and is available in black, white and light almond colors.
It’s here.Leave a Comment
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|Antelope Audio Intros Two Thunderbolt-Compatible Devices: Orion32+ and Orion StudioAntelope Audio announced that Orion32+ and Orion Studio, are now compatible with Apple Thunderbolt technology — and both are shipping.|
Orion32+ follows its predecessor, Orion32, which launched three years ago as a 32-channel interface solution in a 1U rack. Orion32+ is now Antelope’s flagship interface and features Thunderbolt compatibility, improved dynamic range, claiming zero latency monitoring and Antelope’s “signature uncompromising audio quality.”
The Orion32+ is 32 channels of I/O with a spa of zero latency monitoring and 32-simultaneous channels of 24-bit, 192 kHz audio performance. The unit also delivers a vast range of connectivity options including Thunderbolt, MADI and USB, making it suitable for use in commercial, home studio and live environments. The Orion32+ also incorporates ADAT and S/PDIF throughput, with I/O being handled by eight D-Sub 25 connectors and a pair of mastering grade monitor outputs — both capable of delivering 129 dB dynamic range.
Now with full Thunderbolt compatibility, Antelope’s Orion Studio is in a 1U form factor, is their lowest latency AD/DA converter in its class and USB compatibility.
Designed for both project studios, home recording environments and other applications, Orion Studio delivers professional grade audio quality and is capable of processing 32 channels of 192 kHz audio at dizzying speeds of 100μ round trip delay. With 12 commercial quality microphone pre-amplifiers, 16 analog outputs, two mastering grade monitor outputs and Thunderbolt compatibility, Orion Studio is the perfect companion to achieve the ultimate in sound quality.
Orion32+ is priced at $3,495 (U.S.) and Orion Studio is priced at $2,795 (U.S.) and all the specs are here.Leave a Comment
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For all you REGULAR readers of rAVe HomeAV Edition out there, hopefully you enjoyed another opinion-packed issue!
For those of you NEW to rAVe, you just read how we are — we are 100% opinionated. We not only report the news and new product stories of the high-end HomeAV industry, but we stuff the articles full of our opinions. That may include (but is not limited to) whether or not the product is even worth looking at, challenging the manufacturers on their specifications, calling a marketing-spec bluff and suggesting ways integrators market their products better. But, one thing is for sure, we are NOT a trade publication that gets paid for running editorial or product stories. Traditional trade publications get paid to run product stories — that’s why you see what you see in most of the pubs out there. We are different: we run what we want to run and NO ONE is going to pay us to write anything good (or bad).
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A little about me: I graduated from Journalism School at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (where I am adjunct faculty). I’ve been in the AV-industry since 1987 where I started with Extron and eventually moved to AMX. So, I guess I am an industry veteran (although I don’t think I am that old). I have been an opinionated columnist for a number of industry publications and in the late 1990s I started the widely read KNews eNewsletter (the first in the AV market) and also created the model for and was co-founder of AV Avenue – which is now known as InfoComm IQ. rAVe Publications has been around since 2003, when we launched our original newsletter, rAVe ProAV Edition.
rAVe HomeAV Edition, co-published with CEDIA, launched in February, 2004.
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rAVe HomeAV Edition contains the opinions of the author only and does not necessarily reflect the opinions of other persons or companies or its sponsors.