| Volume 13, Issue 22 — November 18, 2015|
|On Single-Source AV Systems and How We Get There|
By Leonard Suskin
Pixel and Ink-Stained Wretch
Last summer, I discussed the tension between selecting “best in breed” components from a single manufacturer and locking oneself into a single ecosystem. As time passes, the industry is certainly moving in a direction in which a single ecosystem is not only increasingly possible, but increasingly desirable as well. We’ve all heard horror stories about brilliant designs on paper involving sophisticated solutions selected from several separate sources that created countless technician-hours of headache and heartache to bring to life. This should be obvious, but for some it isn’t: Successful technical design is only successful if it can be successfully implemented, and saving money on equipment to turn around and spend it in time and labor is no bargain.
For a recent example, I was working in an AV design for a client who already had investment in Crestron’s building-management ecosystem. It was a centralized suite of rooms for which, after much discussion, we’d decided on a centralized infrastructure with minimal equipment in local spaces. It was a situation for which I could have advised the use of either HDBaseT or IP-distribution with a strong argument to be made for either, with the latter having a slight technical edge. At the end of the day (and after discussion with the client), the decision was made that the benefits in scalability and flexibility in an IP solution did not sufficiently offset the risk of having competing vendors supply AV control and transport. Could it have worked? Quite likely. Could it have been a disaster? Also possible. What we did know is this: If, on day two, after the installation, someone hits a touch panel button and nothing happens, they know which vendor to call. They know they won’t have the AV control vendor saying that it’s a transport problem and the AV transport vendor saying that it’s a control problem. There’s a clear responsibility for a working system and, hopefully, components which fit together.
The Route There: Buy What You Don’t Have
One big piece of news in this arena — a bigger story than it is being treated as — comes from Harman, which is no longer treating itself as a holding company but rather as a single entity with several divisions. One can build a strictly Harman single-source AV system:
- AMX Architectural interfaces
- AMX Control
- AMX local video transport (HDBaseT)
- SVSI IP video transport
- BSS Audio processing
- Crown audio amplification
- JBL Loudspeakers
All managed, of course, by AMX’s Resource Management Suite.
End to end it’s all Harman, and they got there with one acquisition after the next. In the short term this is an easier “sell” for us in the AV industry; these are all familiar and well-respected brands in their respective parts of the industry. Harman doesn’t have to convince us that they know how to make audio amplifiers, for example, because we’ve been using Crown amps for years.
The weakness to this approach is that, at least thus far, they’ve been very separate entities with little to no tangible synergy. AMX and BSS and SVSI are all part of the Harman umbrella, but there’s not only a lack of native interconnectivity, but I could also argue that SVSI has better synergy with QSC’s QSYS than it does with BSS Soundweb London. QSYS can directly inject and extract digital audio streams from SVSI’s IP transport, eliminating the need for analog inputs and outputs. BSS does not, at present, have that capability. I have heard talk about AMX adding SVSI’s IP streaming to its Enova DGX line; this would be a real benefit but it will take time. The acquisition is a starting point, not an end-point; until product development cycles run their course we’re left with what are, de-facto, many separate brands with one label. This does afford users the organizational benefits of a single-vendor solution, but the technical benefits may be years coming — if we’re lucky. If we aren’t lucky, the separate sub-brands will continue to operate autonomously and the company will remain unified in name only.
Another Path — If You Build it, Will We Come?
The other big players in our space — Crestron and Extron — have taken a different approach. Extron started making loudspeakers, audio amplifiers and DSP products years ago. The line is slowly growing with the recent introduction of Dante-enabled amplifiers and I/O wallplates, to take one example. Crestron as well has moved into the loudspeaker market, adding acoustic echo cancellation to its DMPS line, and has hired some very industry-respected talent in the audio processing realm.
Look at an all Extron system:
- Extron architectural connectivity
- Extron switching and control
- Extron video streaming
- Extron DMP-series audio processing
- Extron XTA/MPA amplifiers
- Extron loudspeakers.
That’s entirely possible. Were Crestron to introduce more amplifiers and a DSP (as I said, they already have AEC; I’d be surprised if they were TOO many years away), they’d be able to do the same. Getting to this point not only took Extron quite a few years with products slowly introduced over that time, but there’s been a challenge in leading people to accept them as, say, an audio manufacturer. Extron’s amplifiers have become accepted in the industry (justifiably so), but it took some time (and, to be fair, the line isn’t broad enough for quite all applications).
This process also takes quite a long time. On the positive side, once it’s don,e it’s done and everything is as much a single, integrated ecosystem as the manufacturer wants it to be; one doesn’t get that middle period between the acquisition and the hard work of tying things together.
Where Do We End Up?
I have no idea of the future path belongs to those creating from the ground up, those acquiring the best in the industry, or something between. What I do know is that this is the direction. The one part I’ve not spoken of here — but I have many times in the past — is the disappearance of the AV appliance. DSP, control, and asset management are all software. I can see a time in the very near future when instead of installing an AV control processor one will simply download an AV control application onto a general purpose server, and that this application will have various available modules and add-ons for audio processing, streaming, recording and content management.
We’re almost there, at a more hardware-free converged world. I see myself designing more and more systems without the familiar half-sized credenza racks full of gear under the flat panel. We’ll see which companies are there in the future, and what our world looks like.Leave a Comment
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|InfoComm Connections — Was It Worth It?|
By Christa Bender
This was my first time attending an InfoComm Connections show and I was facinated that InfoComm partnered with NAB, CCW and SATCON to provide an all-encompassing show to the attendees. As I walked the aisles, I quickly realized that any kind of AV technology was at my fingertips… digital signage, displays, projectors, collaboration, UC, automation, production cameras and switchers, streaming, even satellite feeds were available.
As if the show itself wasn’t enough, I got to catch up with many #AVTweeps, including a couple of first time real-life encounters! I enjoyed meeting Cindy Davis in person as well as walking the show floor with Lindsey Adler (my favorite part of the afternoon). And it is abundantly clear that Chris Neto and I wear the same glasses.
Since I only spent one day at the show, I chose not to participate in any of the learning sessions. However, I talked to a few people that had and they found them to be very informative.
I spent some time at the DisplayNote booth as I am always interested in different collaboration solutions. I was intrigued that this solution can be provided off the network, on the network or via the cloud for meeting attendees to share, capture and collaborate their information. Will it replace other collaboration solutions I provide to customers? Probably not, but it is a viable solution.
I spent time in the FSR booth and was instantly attracted to the display that showcased their fire-resistant floor boxes. FSR recently partnered with Connectrac which makes perfect sense to me and they had numerous products in the booth for attendees to see firsthand.
I spent time talking to Exterity and learned of a recent addition to their line, Catchup TV, which allows users to access programs as far back as seven days so no important programs are missed due to not being scheduled for automatic recording.
I also spent most of the day testing out a new product from Sennheiser, the MKE 2 digital microphone. Sennheiser partnered with Apogee to offer this professional microphone that you can pair with modern iOS devices. If you want an awesome microphone to record presentations, interviews or podcasts, just plug it right into your iOS device and start recording. If you want to be able to edit your content, download the Apogee MetaRecorder app to customize and organize your audio files. You can then take your audio recording an export your XML file to Final Cut Pro X… super cool in my book.
So did I think it was worth the trip to NYC to attend InfoComm Connections? To me, the show reveals itself in its name — Connections — and that was the theme of the day for me. I thoroughly enjoyed spending the day talking to manufacturers, industry peers and friends. It was worth the trip for me and I’d do it again!Leave a Comment
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|The Age of the Me-Too Products|
By Anthony Coppedge
House of Worship Technology Consultant
The perfect product has not yet been built, but that doesn’t stop today’s audio, video and lighting manufacturer’s engineers from trying to build it. If they did, they’d end up building the product they wanted to use, right down to the subtle minutiae of every killer feature and ergonomic design. And it would be a total commercial flop.
What I’ve described is not a far-off theory of a manufacturer you’ve never heard about; it’s the reality of too many products which we could all name that were really cool ideas — but were a product without a market. Engineers build the coolest stuff, but they’re almost never the client.
Fearing the Voice of the Customer
There’s been a shift in the market that I’ve seen manifested at LDI, Infocomm and AES where the manufacturers went front inventing things we’d not even considered to being consumer-driven. Perhaps there is no greater influence on his shift than the voice of the customer on social media. In a matter of hours, your brand can suffer at the hands of a few key influencers who railed on your product or service and, thanks for the ubiquitous “share” buttons of social media, one disgruntled customer is represented by a swell of negative user press via retweets.
Shrinking away from negative feedback is not healthy, and it often can be turned around with a little bit of effort and a lot of validating that you’re hearing the customer by demonstrating how you hear them; and, no, this is not the same as repeating back what she just said so that she ‘feels heard.’ Leading the customer is often replaced with fearing the customer and the potential power of her social media voice.
Solve Vertical Market Problems
And yet, an aspect of this industry is that it has moments of true brilliance. Real innovations continue to be showcased at industry tradeshows and quickly find their way into thousands of customers’ hands. But for the majority, a slice of the pie — even a sliver — is just enough profit to cover the next version of their technological widget; no waves are made, and no jobs are lost, but the market isn’t made better by their contribution.
Having worked with dozens of manufacturers over the years, I’ve seen the anecdotal evidence of this in the hedge-betting on minimally improved new products aimed at no market in particular, but generic enough to find a home in some pedestrian applications with a systems integrator more interested in volume than quality.
Where’s the focus? Where’s the moxie to bravely address multiple vertical markets — even one at a time — with products that excite and, more importantly, solve problems that are directly plaguing the vertical market user?
Years ago, I was hired by a manufacturer to come in well before a product was ready for release, which was usually the case because manufacturers want to know how to shoe-horn in an product into the house of worship market after the product has been built. Happy to get in on the action early, I made a trip to the corporate HQ of this medium-sized manufacturer in south Texas and was pleased to work directly with the main engineer — also the founder — on re-imagining an entirely new version of a product that had garnered them a lot of success in the church market. Long story short, they were willing to think about what problems the church user was trying to solve and, equally refreshing, even went so far as to build a custom User Interface (UI) that spoke the vernacular of a non-technical volunteer instead of a broadcast video engineer. And while I make no claims that my work in thinking through the signal flow and output transcoding options that would most directly benefit churches as well as my UI involvement was what made the product a huge success (it won a Technical Emmy Award), I am grateful to have worked with a manufacturer that was willing to think about vertical markets and address them directly.
Finally, I wonder about this industry and how many manufacturers are missing their sales marks or, even worse, settling for good sales when they could have stellar sales in the house of worship market. Often, this can be traced back to a trend in any industry where management changes the targets for their engineering, marketing, or sales teams with the hopes of spurring on better sales figures without making any real changes to the products.
There’s even a term for this: goals displacement.
Goals displacement: the substitution by an organization of the goal or goals which it was established to serve, for other goals.
Here’s an example I saw first-hand when brought in to work with a leading (as in worldwide leading) manufacturer on a product it thought would work well in the H.O.W. market. The engineers were told to make it no more than $20,000, and it had to do the work of similar, but more robust products in the lineup that were well above the $100,000 price point. The marketing team was told to hire me to help them put the ‘church spin’ on it. Well, the end result was a product that was clever, but didn’t do any one thing amazingly well. Frankly, it was a ‘meh’ product for the church space with a not-so-meh price tag, and, as time would later tell, it sold a paltry amount to the H.O.W. vertical.
What went wrong? After the mix was in the bowl, they added in more ingredients but no more ‘stuff’ that made it represent their truly illustrious brand. Then, instead of admitting they’d missed the mark, they required their marketing team to put a nice shine on it and then paid me to tell them how to pitch it to churches. In the end, I told them it would flop in the church market without a major redesign — and this was mere months before the National Association of Broadcasters convention where it would make its debut. It did have a unique feature set for the portable ENG setup, but that was not what they wanted to hear.
The goal was set after the fact and the new goal was nowhere in alignment with the potential use of its features. Instead, the company almost guaranteed that its marketing would have to pitch it as what it was not in order to make it sound appealing to the church market.
You can have a good intention, but if your goals are not aligned with your vision and in sync with the market, you will miss the mark. A classic example of this is a firm that had a major issue with people arriving to work late. Management had a goal for timeliness, but misplaced their goal’s expectation; if someone was late four times, they were fired; no exceptions. Guess what the employees did? Sure they were on time a lot more, but when traffic or an unforseen issue was going to make them late for their fourth time, even though they’d left early to be on time, they simply turned around and called in sick. Better to take a sick day or even lose a day’s wages than to lose your job, right? The wrong outcomes happened because the goal shouldn’t have been about being on time, but a cultural shift to replacing apathy with passion.
How many products will there be at the next trade show that are new but the same? What kind of shift needs to happen for manufacturers to realize they must address the desired outcomes of each vertical market and make products and align their services to meet those needs with products that excite us and solve our pain points? The age of the me-too product is upon us, and it needs to go the way of the dinosaur. Churches, and every other vertical market, will buy the products that align with their ‘why’ — so start making those again!
Too much doom-and-gloom, or is the author illuminating a truth of the A/V/L market? Share your views and opinions in the comments below.Leave a Comment
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|It’s More Than the Network|
By TJ Adams
Director of Installed Systems Products Management, QSC
Let’s be honest — there are a million ways one could describe AV and IT integration. It’s true that in this day and age, we can now control just about every device via the network, make our phone calls via the network and route our audio and video using the network (and only a few projects thus far truly accomplish all three). So what does “AV/IT convergence” really mean?
Most answers will land around IT infrastructure simply meaning “the network.” The truth is, that’s not at all what it means. It’s so much more than the network.
So, let’s start with a definition — the way IT defines it.
The term IT infrastructure is defined in a standard called Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL) v3 which is a combined set of hardware, software, networks, facilities, systems, etc. (including all of the information technology), in order to develop, test, deliver, monitor, control or support IT services. Associated people, processes and documentation are not considered part of IT Infrastructure.
What’s important for an AV professional to extract from the definition is the concept of hardware, software, networks and facilities all being part of IT infrastructure.
Let’s take a look at two examples:
1. Monitoring — Centralized and Simplified
The ability to centrally manage and monitor all network assets and systems is a major concern for IT. AV solutions need to tie into standard software programs with SNMP (Simple Network Management Protocol) that allows for centralized managing and monitoring.
Spiceworks offers a free network monitoring tool that would allow for AV solutions with built-in SNMP to be monitored and allow IT to catch problems before the users do. No more emergencies, just real time monitoring and management. One should be proactive, and not reactive.
Other management software platforms used by IT are LANDESK, SolarWinds or HP BTO (Business Technology Optimization) software. These programs are much more robust when compared to browser-based access to a single device.
2. Contact Directory
IT professionals also need AV products to integrate with LDAP (Lightweight Directory Access Protocol). LDAP can be used to store the enterprise contact directory service. Directory services allow access to information about users, systems, and applications, among others. This capability matters because it allows end users to dial by name instead of number in a conference room.
Understanding It’s More Than the Network
At QSC, we’re working to align its AV solutions with how IT works. For example, IT is accustomed to appliances that host specific software-based applications. In the IT professional’s mind, these applications should function at multiple network layers. IT does not just think about the network layers that AV focuses on. AV has a hard time thinking past the first three layers. IT really thinks a lot about layers three and above — especially the application layer.
It’s Not About the Box; It’s About the App
This is where QSC diverges from other products. Typical AV products have limited or single applications, i.e., the box is the application. The box is a telephony application or a networked audio distribution application — that’s all it does. With QSC, however, the box itself runs the applications.
The Q-SYS Platform can run a VoIP app, it can run an AEC app, or it can run a networked audio app all at the same time. Any of these apps can be assigned to various network segments. This flexibility allows the IT person to work with their AV partner to construct an operating file that accommodates their specific needs.
The QSC Q-SYS Core 110f DSP Appliance is built for the corporate AV market because it delivers true integration — workaround free — with IT systems, software, and the network.
Watch this short video with TJ Adams, QSC product manager and rAVe’s Corey Moss to learn more about the approach.
It’s not just the Core 110, it’s all of the Cores.Leave a Comment
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|InfoComm: Because a Napkin Doesn’t Cut It Anymore|
By Ann Brigida
A while back, I was chatting with a bunch of AV experts from every corner of the industry about a hot topic: project documentation. We were working on an ANSI standard for verifying the performance of an AV system. The basis of that standard was documentation. In other words, in order to accurately verify performance, you had to know what the system was supposed to deliver in the first place. You would base your performance verification on the system documentation that all involved parties agreed on.
But each time we entered this conversation — about accountability based on promised delivery — we’d also have a long conversation about workarounds, necessitated by this simple question: What if there was no documentation? The group wanted to provide some guidance for verifying a system when no project documentation existed. They mentioned it every time we talked about the structure of the standard and what we needed to define.
I was stumped. Why did they insist on negating their own requirements, which were to align verification of a system with its promised outcome, by adding a “get out of jail free” caveat that would effectively render useless the rules they were about to write? And it made me wonder: Is it ever okay for a project to be undertaken with no documentation? And if it is, how do you verify the performance of that AV system? What would you be measuring against?
So at our next standard development meeting, I asked this group of knowledgeable, highly-respected, experienced AV gurus a few questions. I wasn’t trying to be difficult; I just needed to understand:
Me: So, can you tell me, honestly, how many AV projects don’t have any project documentation?
Them: Hmmm. A lot. Say, 60 percent.
Me: Everyone agrees?
Them: Yup, that sounds about right.
There was some conversation about whether an equipment list alone qualified as “project documentation.” They decided that it didn’t.
Me: And of those projects with no project documentation — out of the 60 percent — how often is it okay not to have any documentation?
Them: Never. It is never okay to have a project without documentation.
And they were unanimous on this point. They all agreed that project documentation is necessary 100 percent of the time, yet they also agreed that 60 percent of the time, there wasn’t any.
There’s a standing joke in AV about sketching out a system design on a napkin and then using it as the installation plan. It’s just a joke. Really.
But it’s no joke that too many systems are put together without proper planning or consideration for the way they’ll be used, which leads to all kinds of mistrust and misunderstanding. The AV practitioner is often left with two equally unacceptable choices: save a business relationship and lose a bunch of money or quit now and lose a client. And it doesn’t have to be this way.
InfoComm is in the process of creating a standard that lays out minimum AV documentation requirements. In coming posts, I’ll explore some of the issues around project documentation and other standards-related topics. But I ask you now, as I asked my esteemed colleagues: What do you expect from AV documentation? Is there a Top 5 list of documents you’d like to see for every AV project you work on? Share your thoughts, and together we’ll raise the bar for our entire industry.
This blog was reprinted with permission from InfoComm International and originally appeared here.Leave a Comment
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|NSCA Intros Something AMAZING!!The National Systems Contractors Association (NSCA) just introduced a new online tool that they say saves time, streamlines hiring, identifies current employees with extraordinary technical skills, and finds the best new candidates: the Technical Assessment Tool.|
Through a series of basic, intermediate, and advanced questions about the industry and technology, this online tool allows integrators to analyze technician and installer proficiency before hiring. The test is completely customizable, allowing users to select which categories to test for each candidate. Examples include:
- Acoustics/Audio/AV (pro sound, unified communications, videoconferencing, etc.)
- Phone, Data, & Networks (cabling, digital signage, networking, nurse call, etc.)
- Life Safety, Fire, & Security (access control, surveillance, fire alarms, etc.)
- Lighting (low-voltage lighting)
The test can also be administered to internal employees who express interest in a role that requires technical knowledge. By asking employees to complete this test, integrators will have a better understanding of where they best fit within the organization. Once testing is complete, both the test administrator and the candidate receive a report explaining performance.
“The new Technical Assessment Tool will save integrators valuable time in the hiring process, as well as help get the right people into the right positions,” says NSCA Executive Director Chuck Wilson. “Being able to quickly compare technical skills among viable candidates may be the differentiator in determining who to hire. This tool will also help integrators measure knowledge levels of current employees who are interested in moving into technical roles.”
The Technical Assessment Tool is available exclusively to NSCA members for a fee of $75 per exam. The tool contains 18 modules; testing a candidate in all 18 modules takes approximately three hours. For more information, or to learn more about the Technical Assessment Tool, go here.Leave a Comment
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|InfoComm Renames Distinguished Achievement Award for Mackey BarronInfoComm International, the trade association representing the commercial audiovisual industry worldwide, just announced that the Awards Committee has voted to rename InfoComm’s Distinguished Achievement Award in memory of Mackey Barron.|
The award will now be known as the Mackey Barron Distinguished Achievement Award, and is the highest honor bestowed on an industry member by the association.
Mackey Barron was the founder of HB Communications. He was involved with InfoComm and its predecessor organizations since 1947. At one point he attended 58 straight InfoComm trade shows, stretching back to before they were called InfoComm. Barron served on the association’s Board of Governors. He received the Distinguished Achievement Award in 1998.
Barron was a proud World War II Air Force veteran. He was a prisoner of war for nearly a year, but persevered and returned home to launch a new inspirational chapter in his 95-year life: helping to establish and nurture what we know today as the pro AV industry.
When the Awards Committee considers honoring a member with the Distinguished Achievement Award, two major criteria are applied — the career accomplishments of an individual, and the individual’s contribution to the AV industry.
“Mackey Barron is a reflection of the criteria used to select recipients of this award,” said David Labuskes, CTS, RCDD, executive director and CEO, InfoComm International. “By recognizing him we honor his commitment to and passion for the industry and the individuals who, like him, make AV not only a profession, but a way of life.”
The 2016 Mackey Barron Distinguished Achievement Award will be presented at InfoComm 2016 in Las Vegas. Nominations for InfoComm’s awards will open Dec. 1, 2015. Here’s InfoComm’s Remembrance of Mackey.Leave a Comment
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|NSCA Announces Excellence in Product Innovation AwardsNSCA is excited to announce that entries are being accepted for its second annual Excellence in Product Innovation awards. And, NSCA says that this recognition program honors products that have a profound impact on systems integrators.|
Any manufacturer that produces low-voltage products for installation by integrators in the commercial space is eligible for this award. Industry manufacturers may nominate their own products.
One winner will be named in each of the following categories, along with one overall Grand Prize Winner:
- New Revenue Potential
- Recurring Revenue Potential
- Ease of Customization
Additional considerations are made during judging in regard to how the product impacts user experience (scalability, versatility, deployment cost, ease of use, ROI, ADA compliance, energy efficiency, etc.).
“This is a very different type of recognition for manufacturers,” says NSCA Executive Director Chuck Wilson. “Our focus is to recognize manufacturers that are totally committed to our channel, and offer an innovative product specifically designed to help integrators generate more revenue, earn more profit, reach new customers, or open new markets. The response to this program last year was remarkable; it raised the bar by showcasing innovative solutions that truly make a difference.”
Entries are being accepted through Jan. 15, 2016. Winners will be announced at NSCA’s 18th annual Business & Leadership Conference on Feb. 25, 2016, in Dallas, Tex.
To enter, go here. For NSCA members, the first product entry is $299 (subsequent entries are $199 each). For non-members, the first product entry is $499 (subsequent entries are $399 each). Products submitted for consideration must be announced by Feb. 1, 2016, and must be available for sale and shipment on or before April 1, 2016.Leave a Comment
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|InfoComm Membership Elects 2016 Board, Leadership Search Committee MembersInfoComm International, the trade association representing the commercial audiovisual industry worldwide, is pleased to announce election results for the 2016 InfoComm International Board of Directors and Leadership Search Committee (LSC).|
Julian Phillips, Executive Vice President, Whitlock, has been elected Secretary-Treasurer of the Board by InfoComm membership. InfoComm members also elected Jeff Day, CEO, Bluewater Technologies, and Kevin Kelly, President, Chief Operating Officer and Owner, Stampede, to the Board.
In addition, the Leadership Search Committee appointed Ratnesh Javeri, CTS-D, Managing Director, Innovative Systems and Solutions Pvt. Ltd. to the Board of Directors. Zane Au, CTS-D, LEED AP, Shen Milsom & Wilke, was re-appointed to the Board.
Alexis Bryant La Broi, Systems Consultant, Avitecture Inc., was elected by members to serve on InfoComm’s Leadership Search Committee. La Broi has been in the AV industry since 1995.
Members of the InfoComm Board will appoint a Director to complete Phillips’ current term at the next Board meeting later this year. Two additional LSC members will be appointed by the current president of the Board, rounding out the new governance of InfoComm for 2016.
“When I was elected to the InfoComm Board in 2013, I was humbled and honored, but uncertain of the contribution I could or should make to the association and the industry as a whole,” Phillips said. “I now have four more years to contribute and feel energized and excited about continuing our fantastic work and learning from some of the most talented and committed people I have ever met. I will continue my focus on globalization, customer membership and AV convergence.”
A complete listing of the 2016 InfoComm Board of Directors appears below:
- LSC Chair: Matt Emerson, CTS, CEAVCO Audio Visual Co., Inc.
- President: Craig Janssen, LEED AP, Idibri
- President-Elect: Gary Hall, CTS-D, CTS-I, Cisco Systems
- Secretary-Treasurer: Julian Phillips, Whitlock
- Directors: Zane Au, CTS-D, LEED AP, Shen Milsom & Wilke; Frank Culotta, CTS, Symco Inc.; Maru Gaitán, Grupo Niza; Ratnesh Javeri, CTS-D, Innovative Systems and Solutions Pvt. Ltd.; Joe Pham, Ph.D., QSC Audio Products, LLC
Outgoing members include Johanne Belanger of Tourism Toronto, chair of the leadership selection committee and former president of the InfoComm board, as well as board members Deb Britton of K2 Audio, Michael Carter of The Clarient Group and Sarah Joyce of Electrosonic.
InfoComm is here.Leave a Comment
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|Planar Brings Transparent OLED Display to Market, LookThru Now Available for Pre-OrdersThis morning Planar announced the new Planar LookThru OLED transparent display, based on a prototype display first shown at ISE 2015 (and which earned a rAVe Best of ISE 2015 award for Best Overall New Product). The product will first be available in one size, a 55″ 1080p display, and available with and without touch technology. The Planar LookThru OLED transparent display allows users to view video content, digital images and text on a virtually frameless glass display while enabling designers to overlay this content onto real objects or scenes that sit behind the glass. Planar has previously manufactured transparent LCD displays, but moving to OLED display technology signifies a significant advancement. Since OLED (Organic Light Emitting Diodes) is self-emissive, the displays do not require a backlight the way LCD panels do. This means that an OLED transparent display offers better picture quality, higher contrast and wider viewing angles, in addition to essentially being “more transparent” — Planar says this new OLED display offers 45 percent light transmissivity, compared to transparent LCD displays that typically offer 5 to 17 percent light transmissivity.The display, which offers a five-millimeter bezel on the top and sides (there’s a three inch bezel at the bottom where the electronics are housed), can be tiled into a video wall — you could stack two displays on top of each other by turning the top display upside down and theoretically go as many displays wide as you wanted using off-board electronics. It can also be used in portrait or landscape mode, and is available as a table-top display, in a ceiling-mounted configuration or flush-mounted on a wall.|
The display offers Planar’s Extended Ruggedness and Optics, which uses damage-resistant and optically-clear Corning Gorilla Glass bonded to the front surface of the display — particularly useful in museum or retail applications using touch technology where a display may be touched by thousands of fingers.
The LookThru is available with optional touch technology, available with 32-point simultaneous touch points.
Planar is now accepting pre-orders for the LookThru Transparent OLED Display. MSRP will start just under $15,000 for a display without touch added. It is expected to begin shipping in February 2016. More information is available on the display here. Here’s a video from Planar about the display.
Here’s a rAVe video from ISE 2015 of the prototype transparent OLED in action (not the final LookThru product, but an early iteration of it).Leave a Comment
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|Primeview Intros Snello Video Wall Monitor with Thin BezelPrimeview USA’s new Snello is a new video wall monitor with 0.9-millimeter bezel gap and will be available in two sizes 49″ (PRV49SNL) and 55″ (PRV55SNL). Available for pre-order in Q4 of 2015, the panels of the Snello video wall will be IPS rated and will be available with optional HDBaseT and HD-SDI connectivity. Manufactured per project, Primeview USA’s Snello and current video walls feature reliable military-grade backend with industrial components for 24/7 use of the new video wall.|
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|Premier Ships AV Shelf for Dual-Pole CartsPremier’s new A/V Shelf for Dual Pole Carts and Stands, the PSD-SHLF, is now shipping. This new shelf is designed to mate with our PSD-HDCA adapter, allowing it to be quickly mounted directly to the dual poles, without the need to remove the display.|
Other benefits of the PSD-SHLF include:
- Durable steel construction
- Easy to install & adjust along any length of a Premier Mounts dual pole cart or stand
- 25-lb. weight capacity
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|Extron Ships New Cable Cubby EnclosureExtron is shipping the Cable Cubby 100, part of the Cable Cubby Series/2 line of furniture-mountable cable access enclosures. The Cable Cubby 100 is a compact, round enclosure for AV connectivity and USB power that is ideal for applications where a single user access point is required. Its round design eliminates the need to measure or use a routing template, making installation quick and easy using a standard four inch (102 mm) hole saw.|
The Cable Cubby 100 features two connectivity openings for up to four single-space Mini Architectural Adapter Plates – MAAPs or two single-space MAAPs and three AV cables. Its modular design allows cables and MAAPs to be serviced from the top of the enclosure after it is installed. The Cable Cubby 100 is also available with two USB power outlets for charging mobile devices. The Cable Cubby 100 Switch Kit is available for “Show Me,” push to talk, or mute mic applications. A cover plate conceals mounting screws giving a refined appearance. The Cable Cubby 100 is available in a black finish.
All the specs on the Cable Cubby 100 are here.Leave a Comment
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|Comprehensive Connectivity Introduces New Pro AV/IT Lightning CablesComprehensive Connectivity has debuted a new line of Pro AV/IT Lightning Cables with what they say is professional grade construction.|
Unlike ordinary consumer cables, Comprehensive Pro AV/IT Lightning cables feature a heavier, more durable overall construction as well as dedicated strain relief where the cabling meets the connector to prevent the cable from coming apart. These cables also feature Comprehensive’s exclusive Surelength indicators that clearly indicate the length of each cable right on the connector mold making them perfect for all Pro AV/IT applications where Apple products are used.
Comprehensive’s Pro AV/IT Lightning Cables are MFI certified and can connect an iPhone, iPad or iPod to a computer’s USB port for syncing and charging or to the Apple USB Power Adapter for convenient charging from a wall outlet.
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- Lightning male to USB A male
- Surelength indicators on the connector heads
- Compatible with all Lightning devices
- Apple MFi certified
- RoHS compliant
- UL Rated cable
- Available in 3-foot, 6-foot and 10-foot lengths
- Lifetime warranty
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|Aurora Debuts HD and 4K Tuner for Commercial InstallsAurora’s new V-Tune Pro 4K is a worldwide compatible tuner for any integrated system which requires IPTV, ATSC, QAM and NTSC. The tuner is capable of decoding MPEG2, MPEG4, VC-1, H.264 and H.265 with resolutions up to 4096×2160 @ 60Hz via RF and LAN. There is also an on-board 4K scaler for viewing 1080P HD content on 4K displays.|
The V-Tune Pro 4K can be controlled via IR, RS-232 and IP and has the ability to program any channel for OTA/Broadcast or streaming content from the LAN.
- 4K professional tuner (up to 4096×2016 @60Hz) with 4K up scaling for non 4K content
- QAM/ATSC Tuner with built-in IPTV Streaming decoder (H.264/H.265)
- RS232 display control over IP
- USB/IP cloning for ease of setup of multiple units
- Rack mounts included for ease of install
- Decodes up to 4K digital content (web cam/digital signage/educational material, etc.) streaming on network direct to individual channels same as QAM modulated content
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|Sony Expands PXW Line of Shoulder-Mount CamerasSony’s newest addition to its PXW series of shoulder-mount camcorders is the PXW-X400 — a network and wireless capabilities-capable XAVC-Long 60P shoulder camcorder camera. When a wireless LAN connection is unstable or unavailable, the new camcorder’s Ethernet interface (RJ45) enables direct connection to a network for file transfer, live streaming and control from a web browser. Near-field communications capability gives users a one-touch link between the camera and a mobile device.|
The pool feed function (HD/SD SDI) lets users record a 1.5G HD-SDI external signal on SxS cards, useful for recording a distributed signal from another camera on-site without a portable deck. The camcorder body’s inner structure has a new design that improves the weight balance between the camcorder and lens, resulting in more comfortable shoulder-mount use, especially during long periods of shooting. The camcorder’s “ONLINE button” lets users bypass a mobile device or the camera’s menu for direct on/off control over: direct streaming transmission of AV signals from a PXW-X400 to assigned destinations; auto-uploading of proxy files to cloud services and FTP servers; and on/off control over Sony’s PWS-100RX1 network server during shooting.
The low-power (22W) camcorder PXW-X400 uses a 2/3″ 3-chip CMOS image sensor and supports several HD and SD formats including XAVC and will come in three versions.
List prices for the different models are:
- PXW-X400; body-only, no lens or viewfinder; $16,500
- PXW-X400KF; a 20x manual focus lens, viewfinder and stereo shotgun mic: $20,600
- PXW-X400KC; a 16x auto focus lens, viewfinder and stereo shotgun mic: $21,100
More information is here.
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|VITEC Unveils MGW Pico TOUGH HD ISR EncoderVITEC today unveiled MGW Pico TOUGH — what the company is claiming as the world’s smallest dual-channel H.264 HD/SD encoder. Weighing less than a pound, the MGW Pico TOUGH is designed for manned and unmanned airborne platforms (aka drones), military vehicles and ground units. The MGW Pico TOUGH consumes less than seven watts of power for 1080p encoding with KLV/STANAG metadata.|
MGW Pico TOUGH features simultaneous, low-latency streaming of two sources from HD-SDI and analog composite signals, JITC-compliant metadata processing AES encryption, forward error correction technology, real-time resolution scaling and image cropping. The credit-card-sized, rugged enclosure uses MIL-DTL-38999 connectors and is certified for extreme environmental conditions.
Details on the MGW Pico TOUGH are here.Leave a Comment
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|Martin Audio Debuts MA5.0Q AmplifierClaiming a new eco-friendly design, Martin Audio’s new MA5.0Q power amp is designed for both portable and installed systems and specified with four channels of 5,000 watts in a 1 RU enclosure. Minimum heat dissipation makes the MA5.0Q suitable for hot or otherwise challenging environments using a patented Class D output stage design.|
The MA5.0Q is integrated with a switch-mode power supply, internally switchable 230/115 V nominal, a fixed frequency switch-mode amplifier and patented amplifier output filters with ripple cancellation network (Optimized for 4 Ω loads) thus, AC protection (shuts down power supply when AC mains voltage is outside operating range) and a Clip limiter (prevents severely clipped waveforms from reaching loudspeakers) makes it capable of being used in any environment on earth.
The MA5.0Q is scheduled to start shipping from mid-November. More information is here.Leave a Comment
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|Listen Technologies Adds to iDSP Offerings With 216 MHz ReceiverListen Technologies has a new model in its iDSP (Intelligent Digital Signal Processing) family with the new iDSP 216 MHz Receiver. The iDSP line is focused on the assistive listening market.|
The 216 MHz receiver is designed for larger venues such as stadiums and convention centers, with a range of up to 3,000 feet (914.4 meters). Two versions of the new 216 MHz iDSP receiver are available: LR-4200-216 Intelligent DSP RF Receiver (216 MHz) and LR-5200-216 Advanced Intelligent DSP RF Receiver (216 MHz). The LR-5200 Advanced Receiver features the ability for end users to select multiple channels for applications such as language interpretation.
LR-4200-216 and LR-5200-216 receiver features include:
- A display for customized channel name, volume level, battery level, and inventory management
- Integrated neck loop/lanyard, incorporating an advanced DSP loop driver
- Advanced lithium-ion battery and battery management
- Dual headphone jacks to accommodate neck loop/lanyard or two sets of headphones
- Convenient USB port, making it easy to set up with free iDSP software and apply firmware updates
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|Extron Introduces New Scaling Technology called Vector 4KExtron has been using Vector 4K in their products for a few months now — we started noticing it mentioned in their release in September when they launched the DTP CrossPoint 108 4K, but now it’s officially been explained. Vector 4K is the company’s latest generation of Extron scaling engines (that apparently will be used in a plethora of new products to debut over the coming months, that they say has been specifically engineered for 4K signal processing — not just modified from an old 1080p engine. For over 20 years, Extron has been engineering their own scaling and signal processing and they have become an industry leader in scaling technology.|
Extron says that Vector 4K was developed internally by signal processing engineers that have crafted patented image processing technologies that they say “set the industry benchmark for visual performance.” Features such as bicubic scaling, 30-bit color depth, and 4:4:4 chroma sampling ensure very high image quality while preserving detail present in the original source material. With scaling technology developed in-house, Extron says they can design to exacting specifications and have absolute control over the end product.
In addition to advanced video processing, Extron says that Vector 4K delivers consistent, reliable performance that takes the guesswork out of signal capture and source management. Featuring the industry’s most accurate source capture technology, and the ability to manually adjust image parameters with fine precision, even the most unique signal formats are displayed with speed and dependability. Additionally, scalers and video processors with Vector 4K scaling include a variety of convenient, user-friendly features, such as EDID and HDCP management that streamline integration and optimize system performance.
Vector 4K scaling technology is featured in the Extron DTP CrossPoint 4K Series of scaling presentation matrix switchers, as well as the Extron XTP SFR HD 4K fiber optic scaling receiver.
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|Altinex Debuts TNP530 Retractable BoxAltinex’s new TNP530 Tilt ‘N Plug retractable tabletop interconnect box is designed for mounting into tables, podiums, or other furniture. The new TNP530 includes dual 12 Amp U.S. power receptacles, two USB ports, retractable VGA and HDMI video ports / cables, one RJ-45 network connector, and a 3.5 mm audio connector. The TNP530 incorporates Altinex’s RT300 Series retractable cable systems for both VGA (RT300-121) and HDMI (RT300-125) video connections.|
The TNP530 interconnect box’s input plate is accessed by pushing down on the top cover. The unit then auto-tilts open with assistance from an internal spring. Once open, the input plate remains securely in place. The input plate is hidden, or closed, by pressing down on the top cover until the latching mechanism engages. In its closed position, the top panel lies flush with the table’s top.
The Altinex TNP530 lists for $935.00. Here are all the specs.Leave a Comment
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|Hall Research UH2X-P1 Extender Handles Uncompressed HDMI, USB & LAN SignalsHall Research has introduced the UH2X-P1 extender for HDBaseT 2.0 that they say sends uncompressed HDMI, USB 2.0, Ethernet, RS232, IR and PoE over a single CAT5e/6 cable. The extender kit includes a transmitter and receiver.|
The extender is spec’d to support all PC and HDTV resolutions including 4K (UHD) and can extend video along with IR, RS232, USB, and IP using a single run of CAT5e/6 cable up to 100 meters (330 feet) — however, no color bit depth specification is listed. The PoH/PoE compliant extender includes a power supply that plugs to the transmitter end. The receiver gets its power through the Cat6 cable per IEEE802.3af standard as required by HDBaseT Alliance. The receiver includes an integrated two-port USB 2.0 Hub, making it perfect for remote KVM applications. The USB extension is transparent to the PC Host and requires no drivers or software.
In addition, the UH2X-P1 features audio return from receiver to the sender. The source for the independent audio return path is user selectable. It can be either from the ARC pin of the HDMI output connector (ARC signal from the connected TV) or from a separate SPDIF audio input connector available on the Receiver.
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|Extron Ships DTP 4K Transmitters for DisplayPort and HDMI with Audio EmbeddingExtron has started shipping the DTP T DWP 4K D series of two input Decora-style transmitters for sending DisplayPort or HDMI, audio and control over a shielded CATx cable to Extron DTP-enabled products. The DTP T DWP 4K 232 D extends signals up to 230 feet (70 meters), while the DTP T DWP 4K 332 D extends signals up to 330 feet (100 meters). Both DTP T DWP 4K D models provide one HDMI input, one DisplayPort input, and independent analog stereo audio connections. They support video signals at resolutions up to 4K, including 2560×1600 and 1080p/60 Deep Color. Analog stereo audio embedding and RS-232 remote control facilitate integration in demanding professional environments. Integrator-friendly features include EDID Minder, auto-switching between inputs, remote power capability, and bidirectional RS-232 and IR pass-through for remote AV device control. The wall-mountable design provides the convenience of placing input connections precisely where they are needed.|
The DTP T DWP 4K 232 D and DTP T DWP 4K 332 D help ensure optimal system performance by automatically adjusting color bit depth based on the display EDID, preventing color compatibility conflicts between the source and display. In addition to RS-232 input selection, these transmitters can be set up to automatically switch when they detect a source, making them ideal for automatic routing and unattended operation. They also feature independent connections for embedding stereo analog audio onto the DTP video output signal. For added installation flexibility, the DTP T DWP 4K D transmitters can be remotely powered by Extron DTP-enabled products over the twisted pair cable. They offer an HDBaseT output mode that provides the additional integration convenience of a twisted pair output that is compatible with any HDBaseT-enabled display.Leave a Comment
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|Epson Adds Two Portable Projectors to Its EX-SeriesEpson today introduced the EX5250 Pro and the EX5240 portable projectors — both aimed at small- to medium-sized businesses. The EX5250 Pro projector is an XGA resolution (1024×768) at 3,600 lumens, includes wireless connectivity while the EX5240 also XGA but is specified at 3,200 lumens. Both projectors include VGA and HDMI connectivity. Of course, they are both 3LCD projectors. The EX5250 Pro and EX5240 both support HDMI and the EX5250 Pro features wireless connectivity with Epson’s quick connect on-screen QR code, allowing users easy access to content from smartphones and tablets using Epson’s iProjection app to scan the on-screen QR code and instantly project content from an iOS or Android device.|
The EX-Series offers features including image adjustment tools such as automatic vertical correction and Epson’s “Easy-Slide” horizontal image correction. The Epson EX5240 ($549) and EX5250 Pro ($599) are already shipping. Here is more information.Leave a Comment
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|Showlogix Releases Version 1.6 With Multi-Display Timeline Allowing Time Based Shows With InteractivityShowlogix has released its version 1.6, designed for producing multi-display shows and interactive attractions in museums, visitor centers, trade shows, live shows, etc. The new Timeline Object includes numerous layers of videos, images or sound, synchronized to one centralized timecode. This is done across displays and computers. Several timeline objects can be added and can run simultaneously.|
While this object requires loading all media files in advance before running a timeline, you can still load and play videos, images, texts and external inputs on top of a timeline. Moreover, it includes the option of fading smoothly between two media files on a single layer across displays, all while the timeline is running.
Other interactive features to this version:
- It is possible to make layers react to mouse, touch or camera input.
- Using the built-in tracking module, you can use cameras to detect motion for visualizing mouse and multi-touch events.
- It is now possible to monitor and calibrate any remote camera on the manager software. You can add many cameras on the network and collect tracking and touch data, in order to make massive multi- display tracking scenarios.
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|Extron AV to USB Scaling Bridge ShipsExtron Electronics is shipping the MediaPort 200, an HDMI to USB bridge for integrating pro AV sources or systems with software codec conferencing applications. It works seamlessly with a computer using generic USB video and audio drivers. The MediaPort 200 features an HDMI input with HDCP-compliant loop through, accepts signals up to 1920×1200, and scales video to a USB 2.0 output. Audio features include program and mic inputs, HDMI audio de-embedding, and USB bidirectional audio, plus AEC reference and line level outputs. The MediaPort 200 also includes DSP with EQ, filters, mixing, dynamics and ducking. This allows the MediaPort 200 to serve as a complete soft codec interface, with the added flexibility of integrating into larger hardware codec or DSP systems. The MediaPort 200 enables versatile integration of conferencing PCs into pro AV system designs.|
The MediaPort 200 bridges the gap between simple Webcam-to-computer solutions and traditional hardware videoconferencing systems. For small meeting spaces with just a PC and display, the MediaPort 200 is ideal for enhancing audio and video quality by adding support for professional-grade equipment such as videoconferencing PTZ cameras, boundary microphones and sound reinforcement systems. In boardrooms and large conference rooms, the MediaPort 200 easily integrates a conferencing PC into a fully equipped AV system with video distribution and processing, control, DSP, microphones and full sound reinforcement.
To ensure an HDMI source is presented with the highest possible image quality to a soft codec, the MediaPort 200 incorporates Extron video processing technology, specifically engineered for high performance image scaling and frame rate conversion that preserves detail and legibility of source content. The DSP in the MediaPort 200 is ideal for optimizing mic and program source signals, as well as outgoing signals bound for the PC, sound reinforcement systems, or outboard DSPs. The MediaPort 200 can also deliver far-end audio as a dedicated AEC reference output to an AEC-equipped DSP, to provide distributed AEC processing for several microphones.
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