Volume 9, Issue 12 — December 22, 2017
|The Truth and Nothing But the Truth?|
By Dr. Frederick Ampel
President & Principal, Technology Visions Analytics
The title of this column is a phrase that is the basis of a legal oath that has been part of English Law since at least medieval times and has essentially become embedded in our shared societal structure. The beliefs that have come to encompass our laws and governance concepts remain at their core based on the codices of Roman law, probably the versions from around 200 or so BCE. In the Roman treatises from that time the focus was on one major idea: precision of language.
Also of considerable concern within that focus were two basic social principles: fairness (aequitas) and practicality (utilitas). That fixation on precise and exact legal terminology to avoid ambiguity or even misinterpretation of ideas and rules has remained as a convention through the millennia.
Why? Because these ideas have also framed our fundamental cultural concepts of fairness and practicality and helped delineate the definitions trustworthiness and honesty. These are important to our whole social fabric because time has proven, repeatedly that the truth can be distorted by only including some of the facts; and/or by giving misleading indications about how to interpret these facts. Sometimes the partial use of truth can be used to give legitimacy to deception.
And that short introductory essay brings us to our main discussion.
How far from the truth are we willing to allow the information we rely on to migrate?
If what I see and hear every day both in the information about products and services and in the promises made by software developers and suppliers is to be used as the data point — way, way too far!
The Minefield of Software
Let’s look at the software side first, since it has become inescapable in systems deployed today. To an exponentially increasing extent, critical systems that were once controlled mechanically, or by people, are coming to depend on code as was recently discussed in an article authored by James Somers entitled “The Coming Software Apocalypse,” published by The Atlantic in September 2017.
That article notes, ominously, that this problem “was perhaps never clearer than in the summer of 2015, when on a single day, United Airlines grounded its fleet because of a problem with its departure-management system; trading was suspended on the New York Stock Exchange after an upgrade; the front page of The Wall Street Journal’s website crashed; and Seattle’s 911 system went down because a remotely located router failed. The simultaneous breakdown of so many software systems smelled at first of a coordinated cyber attack. Almost more frightening was the realization, later that same day, that it was just a coincidence.”
Nancy Leveson, a professor of aeronautics and astronautics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology who has been studying software safety for 35 years commented in that same article that, “When we had electromechanical systems, we used to be able to test them exhaustively, we used to be able to think through all the things it could do, all the states it could get into. For example, the electromechanical interlocking that controlled train movements at railroad crossings only had so many configurations; a few sheets of paper could describe the whole system, and you could run physical trains against each configuration to see how it would behave. Once you’d built and tested it, you knew exactly what you were dealing with.” (Leveson became widely know for her report on the Therac-25, a radiation-therapy machine that killed six patients because of a software error.)
But as industry in general and our world in particular is rapidly discovering, software is different. Just by editing a text file (which could be stored in a “cloud” server anywhere on the planet), the same chipset can become the core of an autopilot or the server responsible for an inventory-control system. It doesn’t know and it doesn’t care about the functionality it is assigned.
This flexibility is software’s miracle and its curse. Because it can be changed inexpensively, software is constantly changed and because it’s unmoored from anything physical — a program that is a thousand times more complex than another takes up the same actual space — it tends to grow without bound. Witness the bloatware install size of any word processing program of your choice today, against the size of that same program even five years ago — the growth is by orders of magnitude at least — and to what end? How much of the additional functionality is ever actually used even by so-called ‘power users’? I’d wager not much more than a small double-digit percentage!
Professor Leveson went on to pointedly say, “the problem is that we are attempting to build systems that are beyond our ability to intellectually manage and for the most part software engineers don’t understand the problem they’re trying to solve, and don’t care to… because they’re too wrapped up in getting their code to simply work at all.”
The landmine waiting to be stepped on here is this scenario: The software did exactly what it was told to do. The reason it failed is that it was told to do the wrong thing.
The Plan vs. The Unexpected
I don’t know about you, but my computer is always doing what I tell it to instead of what I wanted it to, but… I don’t always know what I should tell it to do, especially when it presents one of those “unexpected error” messages. In that same vein, it seems from conversations with numerous consultants and integrators over the last year or so that the consensus is that the biggest issue with AV systems is that with even a moderately complex control design, it is virtually impossible to test every possible operating state or condition to see what happens with unplanned button pushes or function calls. You diligently conduct reasonable proof of performance tests to ensure that it does what you expect by using expected button pushes in expected sequences and look for dead ends or lockups. There’s no amount of time you could devote to even getting close to being able to test what happens when people push buttons in more random or inappropriate sequences or what happens when a frustrated client is impatient and pushes buttons in too fast a sequence. The undeniable fact is that our species is extraordinarily unpredictable and is prone to taking the unexpected (or at from a programming standpoint the “Well, we never considered that option,” path only intensified this quandary.
Been there? Anyone have a viable answer to this dilemma? If you do please help the rest of us.
Close Loop, Closed Minds
And all of those keep you awake at night problems, don’t even consider the two other gigantic problems surging through the software world:
- The promises about functionality and compatibility made by overly optimistic vendors which of course all of our clients have read, seen, or even worse actually believed and…
- The continuing practice by far to many vendors of designing deliberately incompatible products, and deploying un-announced software revisions, that force us to solve the “how do we make all this connect and talk to itself issues on the job, in the field, with the client tapping his/her foot impatiently as we spend time (and money) fixing something that should NEVER have occurred in the first place?” problem. I’ve lost count of the number of times I or my colleagues have been in contact with a vendor’s tech support and heard that whistling death phrase, “We’ve never heard of that happening before.” Or its even more fatal companion: “That’s simply not possible.” Sound all too familiar?
Don’t think the un-announced software or firmware deployments or the can’t happen guarantee could affect you? You are wrong! Let’s look briefly at a recent apparently simple but disastrous example.
Around 3 a.m. one night not too long ago, a major TV manufacturer pushed out a firmware/software update from its offshore headquarters to every one of its 55 inches and larger, newly introduced multi-thousand dollar 4K UHD TVs. The number of units being “targeted” by this improvement was in the six-figure range globally. The update was sent in at least 10 languages and automatically downloaded by the units, which then installed the new code upon power up.
So far so good you might think. NOT SO! There was an untested, unresolved and unfixable bug in the code. It rendered every hand-held remote inoperable. No longer could anyone make any changes using the remote. And… the update ‘locked’ the turn-on volume for the sets audio systems at maximum, regardless of any previous setting. The new firmware/software totally overwrote everything that had been in place including any custom settings and all calibrations.
Imagine the surprise of the set owners the next day when they pushed on and discovered nothing would happen. If they manually turned the set on at the panel they were immediately deafened by the volume setting. And the off button no longer worked. The only way to turn things off was to unplug the set. The only solution to the software issue was to force the set to restore its factory defaults (an option only available in the non-user accessible service menu).
The company’s customer service number exploded and all you could get was a busy signal (for days) and their consumer website crashed! The North American offices had had no idea what had happened.
It took a day and a half to trace it down to the unannounced update, and then at least four more days to get the information out to owners/dealers/retailers, etc. Overall it was a two-week long nightmare caused by a simple failure to bother to check the update BEFORE spewing it worldwide. What was wrong? A simple, easily-caught (if anyone had bothered to look) reversed numeral sequence in the update to the sets’ remote control recognition software made all non-service menu related commands useless.
Sure it was an annoying and painful episode, but it never had to happen, if common sense and any sort of quality control mindset had been in place in the software/firmware department’s operations.
So the next time you hear “that can’t happen” or any similar phrase, be apprehensive and — more importantly — check to see if the statement is actually true.
Hardware Myths and Fantasies
Look at any hardware data sheet or brochure and what do you find? A lot of technical details, probably a good dose of marketing fluff and blather, and some very carefully worded content about functionality, warranty and a half-dozen, brutally dense legalese disclaimers in tiny text about everything and anything that might conceivably be an issue down the road.
What is clearly missing from all of this is a functionality and reliability discussion or, better yet, warranty of serviceability for the task intended, the one they claim it can do in the marketing fluff.
Globally we have a ton of standards and specifications to tell us the most mundane details about any technical parameter or engineering figure of merit. Just a quick list includes those published and maintained by AES, AVIXA and IEC.
Various countries or other governmental entities (cities, states, provinces, etc.) may have additional specific standards or requirements — these should be verified and conformance assured either by the manufacturer or its distribution structure.
So there’s no shortage of data and details on the pure specification side of the fence. In fact, there are immense documents describing in microscopic detail how this information is to be formatted, presented and collated.
For example in the U.S. and Canada, we have the CSI/CSC structure and the Technical Specification Format, Master Format and multiple Division formats, rules, regulations and requirements for any building project, construction job or… you name it, there’s a rulebook for it. The level of detail required could easily require employing someone full time just to manage the paperwork.
A portion of that massive set of formats and rules requires inclusion of a section in the project documentation that describes equipment and systems requirements. Each major piece of equipment required for the project should have a paragraph that describes concisely and in detail, the minimum acceptable specifications for the item.
Unless it is a public project, there are usually two or three pre-accepted makes and models listed for each item. That section also has this little-hidden gem: “This information gives the bidders a very clear idea of the expected quality.”
Please take careful note of that wording — expected quality — not actual quality, promised quality, guaranteed quality, tested for quality or any other kind of quality assurance, only “expected.” Well golly gee, I expected to get a million dollars from Publishers Clearing House, but…
Is expected the best we can hope for? Is the truth what someone decides it is or is it based on incontrovertible and verifiable facts and data?
The Real World
Out there, where the customers are, published specifications performance is beside the point. In fact, it is totally, utterly, completely, absolutely and unequivocally irrelevant!
Other than within the tour-sound universe, where equipment rider(s) may call for specific brands or models to satisfy a perceived or possibly actual artistic requirement, brand identity is not front-of-mind with the majority of end-users/buyers.
Certainly, there may be name recognition, word of mouth created opinion on need or desire (the “well, our major competitor’s facility uses xyz so shouldn’t we?” statement). But putting those essentially artificial needs aside, what logo is on a power amplifier is not really a make-or-break issue for clients (with of course the caveat that there is always one to whom it really does matter for a reason you will never really know).
Twenty-first century automated manufacturing processes, globally sourced component supply chains and a host of other factors make it very, very, very hard to separate any one of the 40 or so 1 kilowatt-per-channel amplifiers costing $500 to $999 you can easily find on any major gear website, based on pure numerical data or rated (expected) performance information. In fact, it is essentially impossible using simply the numbers if you remove the marketing/brand identity from the data — I know. I’ve tested this many times with “knowledgeable” professionals asking them to pick out their favorite brand simply based on stated generic technical data.
But these sets of data, which amount to a performance promise, are not the information we need or should be using to decide what to specify, what to install or who to support product-wise.
New Rules for a New World
It’s time for a new constitution (as The Who said), wherein we have a “BILL OF THE TRUTH” requirement for all hardware and software we are expected to recommend, buy, specify, install or otherwise have involvement (and thus responsibility) for.
Herewith are the provisions of the “BILL OF THE TRUTH”:
- No product shall be made available for sale or use until it has been thoroughly and completely tested in real-world conditions under normal operating parameters by non-manufacturer third-party verification.
- No updates or changes to existing software or firmware may be automatically installed.
- No software shall be sold until it has been tested “in the real world” under normal end-user conditions, by a neutral third party verification process using actual hardware upon which the software is ‘expected’ to function.
- A new parameter for hardware shall be implemented stating the MTBF [mean time before/between failure] conditions and how that data was derived and verified.
- All core or kernel code for software shall be tested and verified as to its suitability and functionality on the actual platform and with the accompanying hardware and software that would typically be deployed to ensure that it actually works.
- Specifiers/buyers/installers and related professionals shall be indemnified by a hold-harmless clause in which the costs associated with making a system or device functional shall be born by its manufacturer or developer in the case of software.
- No assumed or expected functionality shall be allowed in a product specification/sales sheet until and unless that performance or functionality has been third party verified to actually exist.
- Software or firmware source code written in a language other than English shall be tested and verified to function in English and any other language in which it is expected to be sold /used/operate. No un-tested code shall be permitted with a product in any language.
- Control systems shall be tested not only for expected functionality but for non-expected conditions or operation to ensure that no harm or failure can be induced by such operation.
- Your ideas here!
It is time we got more than we expected and less ‘it can’t possibly do that’ from our supply chain.
Help write the new BILL OF TRUTH for equipment and software. We shall no longer be asked to tolerate being used as beta test platforms for unfinished hardware or software. It’s time for the truth to be simply that and not some highly manipulated carefully couched, legal CYA verbiage.Leave a Comment
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|Should AV Be Seen?|
By Erik Beyer
Regional VP of Sales for CLAIR Solutions
Stealthy AV equipment is readily available and can make for a very sleek and highly functional project.
In the AV industry, for as long as I can remember, the idea of being able to have an AV system of some kind and making it as invisible as possible has been a request of clients. At the end of the day, can you ever really hide all of the equipment in a system? Obviously, this depends entirely on the installation and equipment being used. If you think about the size of technology, meaning the physical size of gear, we have seen certain things shrink in size while maintaining an acceptable level of performance. In addition, we have seen some changes in technology, from projection, to displays, speakers, microphones, control systems and the pieces that make it all work.
Concealing Projectors in Conference Rooms
When looking at a conference room setting there are certain things you can’t avoid seeing. For example, if you have a presentation, you are going to have some kind of projection or display to show the content. But, if projection is being used, it’s now easier to conceal projectors while using lift systems or just smaller projectors with more capabilities, making it easier to leave it exposed and make the necessary adjustments to get the picture you want and need.
Concealing AV in Small Spaces
LED displays are a big deal now in small to medium sized spaces as they are more affordable, require less installation work, and look pretty sharp. If it’s so important that the display not be seen when not in use, there are ways to conceal the display in a wall or even overlay it with some kind of white board or even a framed picture. But, to what expense is hiding this technology really necessary? Obviously if a client demands the ability to have these types of things hidden this may prompt some discussion.
If you think about other aspects of AV systems in small space, you have to put the rack and control equipment somewhere. Now, in a really efficient system, some of these items live in the ceiling as part of the projection mounting. Others require a little more equipment and there may be a furniture-like credenza that has accommodations for rack equipment. In a larger space, you can actually put the control equipment in a closet somewhere else, out of site. There are times when that rack equipment has fan noise that needs to be dampened or silenced to avoid creating noise in a room commonly used for video and teleconference calls. In a small space, this may be a challenge. But by using furniture racks, you can oftentimes accomplish a very clean solution while achieving the quite space you need.
Concealing AV Equipment in Larger Spaces
Now, in larger spaces, especially in performance spaces, churches, hospitality and restaurants, having the AV equipment exposed is not only acceptable but desired as part of the aesthetics. Having worked with a lot of traditional looking churches, there is often the discussion of finding ways to conceal the AV and lighting systems as much as possible. From an audio perspective, many times this is quite possible with proper planning and execution with the right gear. Manufacturers have taken this need into consideration and many have provided gear that make this need very accessible.
Planning and Priorities for an AV Project
Going back to asking the question, “Should AV be seen?” depending on the client and location, will pose the common discussion of priorities. In a project, there are three criteria that drive planning discussions. Those are timing, cost and quality. The saying then goes, you can only pick two. When talking to a client or if you are planning a space that requires AV and possibly even lighting equipment, and you wish to conceal it as much as possible while still achieving great performance, it’s important to make sure you have the time to design and engineer the system, weigh in the quality of equipment that may be required to accomplish such a design, then most importantly, make sure the budget supports the desired outcome of the project.
With the right planning, design, and budget, anything is possible. It’s just important to be realistic and to make all expectations known up front. If the project supports it, getting renderings done to show the visual concept of the desired design is helpful to confirm an approach. I would like to think that these kinds of steps go without saying. Stealthy AV equipment is readily available and can make for a very sleek and highly functional project. Just decide ahead of time what you are willing to see exposed, both when in use and when not in use, to manage the expectations of a project.
Erik Beyer, AV and Technology Consultant for AV BendLeave a Comment
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|Augmented Reality Will Change Our Industry|
By Scott Tiner
In my last column, I wrote about how virtual reality will offer amazing opportunities for integrators working in higher ed. A few days after I finished, I read an article that made me think about how augmented reality will change the basic functions of our industry. The article is titled “Why Every Organization Needs an Augmented Reality Strategy” and appeared in the November 2017 issues of Harvard Business Review. This was one of the best articles I have read about the impact of augmented reality. Take a few minutes and read it. After reading it, you will know that If you run any type of business: integration, design, support services or manufacturing, you will be impacted by augmented reality. Taking a cue from the article, here are some ways I think we will be affected, sooner than later.
In the article, Michael Porter writes about the visualization effects of AR. In the AV industry, we will see this soon with installs. A problem that currently exists with installs is that the installer needs to look at a design schematic and translate that to the physical reality in front of them. This is where many mistakes are made — in that translation. By implementing AR, installers will be able to look at the boxes in a room and the device will decode the barcodes on them. The box that they need at that moment will be highlighted by the VR. Then when they turn to the rack, AR shows them where in the rack that specific piece of equipment goes, based on a rack elevation drawing done by the designer. Finally, as they wire the rack, they see the images of where all the various connections plug in. This prevents any translation mistakes from the drawing to the physical reality.
Troubleshooting is another area where AR will prove to be extremely useful. This is both during and after installation. By looking at the equipment, the installer will be able to see all the information that they currently need to read on a computer. Is a video connection receiving signal? What level is a certain audio input set at? Additionally, changing any of these settings will be done by hand motions. A virtual volume dial will be able to be turned to tune the settings perfectly. The installer will be able to make these changes walking throughout the space, without carrying a computer. By implementing AR, installation companies will be able to save money by cutting down on errors and possibly reducing the number of staff required on an install site. Requirements for the designer to be on site will be reduced as the designer will be able to view the exact install and current settings, as though they were standing in the room, if the installer has any questions or needs to make any changes.
Providing a support service also is enhanced with AR. Imagine being able to walk into a space for a trouble call. By looking around the room, at the projector, at the touch panel and at the rack, you can get readings on settings and signals.
Documentation is another opportunity for improved services and lower costs. Since all the equipment is being recorded virtually as it is installed, there is no need to document changes after the install. This prevents future problems when those updates were forgotten to be made to the final drawings. Serial numbers, ownership tags, models, etc. will all automatically be recorded through the AR system.
As the article mentions, the biggest hurdle right now is the cost, awkwardness and availability of augmented reality lenses. These systems have decreased in cost and size dramatically, even in the past two years and there is no reason to expect this decrease won’t continue. The AV industry has a head start in this area, as we should be very familiar and experienced with the current AR equipment. The second hurdle is getting all the information into a digital format. Again, we have a head start in this area. Every integrator and manufacturer has digital drawings of their installs and equipment. To integrate this into an augmented reality view will become an easier lift because of this head start.
These are just a few of the ideas on how our industry will be drastically changed by augmented reality. Firms who begin to prepare for these changes will be ready to take advantage of them when they become more and more mainstream.Leave a Comment
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|Sharp Launches Ultra-Thin Bezel 55″ PN-V550A MonitorSharp expands its PN-V video wall series with the launch of its 55″ Class (54.6″ diagonal) PN-V55 0A LED ultra-slim bezel professional monitor. With a bezel-to-bezel width of just 3.5 millimeters, the PN-V550A features Sharp ’s Uniform Color Calibration Technology (UCCT).
The PN-V550A monitor is native HD (1920×1080) resolution with a brightness spec of 500 cd/m2 designed for digital, signage and video wall applications. Sharp says their video walls are easy to assemble and control via RS232C or the network. Four monitors set up in a 2×2 configuration, for example, is 4K (3840×2160 pixels), equivalent to a 110″ Class (109.2″ diagonal) screen. Optional Mirror Frames in video walls help lessen the visible lines between monitors by reflecting images of the display content. Here are the details.Leave a Comment
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|Delta Launches Indoor LED with new FE Series Family|
Delta Display Solutions’ new FE Series Fine Pitch Indoor LEDs are designed for high ambient light environments and come in 1.26, 1.58, 1.9 and 2.5mm pixel pitches. And Delta now offers the LED cabinets in pre-configured sizes ranging from 110” to 220” in full HD and 220” up to 440” in UHD resolution. The fine-pitch pixels choices and size configurations accommodate a wide range of viewing distances and applications. Each is in an exact 16:9 aspect ratio, which fits standard content supplied via many sources.
The aluminum die-cast frame is designed so that each LED module attaches magnetically to the cabinet.
- Each individual cabinet has a 16:9 aspect ratio with a 27″ diagonal
- Full-HD configurations available in 110”, 137”, 165” and 220” diagonal
- UHD configurations available in 220”, 275”, 330” and 440” diagonal
- Front installation options
- Certified UL, CB, CE, FCC, CCC
Delta’s FE Series of indoor LED Display Systems start from 75,000 EUR, not including installation. Here are the details.Leave a Comment
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|Primeview Expands LED Poster Offerings With New Indoor and Outdoor Rated OptionsPrimeview announces new outdoor and indoor LED Poster digital signage offerings designed for wayfinding, advertising, digital merchandising, concierge and self-service applications.
Designed to support both indoor and outdoor signage needs, Primeview’s says the posters are easy to install, operate and maintained are 24/7 rated.
Primeview’s 1.9-millimeter (PRVLED19PSTR) indoor LED Posters feature various installation options, easy operation, multiple communication modes, high-brightness and low power consumption. The posters can mount in multiple ways such as easel, kiosk, wall and ceilings. Weighing just under 80 pounds, the posters have a thin footprint.
Primeview’s outdoor LED Posters are available in single (PRVLED39ODPSTR-S) and double-sided (PRVLED39ODPSTR-D) versions. Having a total 3.9-millimeter pixel pitch depth, Primeview’s outdoor LED Posters can bring effective advertising value to any environment. Also included are thermostat-controlled fans that quietly adjust to the environment from inside to ensure optimal operating temperature.
The LED Posters are here.Leave a Comment
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|New at Digital Signage Expo 2018: Emerging Tech Talks|
Digital Signage Expo (DSE), the world’s largest international trade show and educational conference dedicated to digital displays, interactive technology and digital communications networks, announced today that it will debut Emerging Tech Talks at DSE 2018. These will be presented as 45-minute sessions in a special on-floor theater dedicated to emerging technologies and will include topics such as:
- The Role of AI, Machine Learning, Robots in the Future of Connected Commerce
- The Role of Public Kiosks in the Smart City
- Facial Recognition Technology: Does it have a Place in Luxury Beauty Experience?
- The Digital Canvas: Imagination Realized
- How Autonomous Self-Driving Cars Will Change the OOH Industry
- Engaging and Extending Your Digital Reach Through Visible Light Technology
- Chuck AI: Merging Machine Learning with the Creative Process
- The Power of Holographic Augmented Reality in Marketing and Advertising
- Secure IoT Device and Content SaaS on Amazon AWS
Registration for any of the Emerging Tech Talks, or any of the DSE 2018 educational conference seminars, which are sponsored by BroadSign International and are eligible for Digital Signage Expert Group (DSEG) certification renewal credits, is available online here.Leave a Comment
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|Extron Intros New 4K/60 HDMI Distribution Amplifiers|
Extron just introduced the new DA HD 4K PLUS Series one input, multiple output distribution amplifiers for HDMI signals at resolutions up to 4K/60 @ 4:4:4 chroma sampling. The DA HD 4K PLUS Seriesare HDCP 2.2 compliant, and support data rates up to 18 Gbps, HDR, Deep Color up to 12-bit, 3D and HD lossless audio formats. They also include integrator-friendly features such as automatic input cable equalization, automatic color bit depth management and selectable output muting via RS232. The DA HD 4K PLUS Series distribution amplifiers are available in two, four and six output sizes and are ideal for applications that require the distribution of a 4K/60 HDMI source signal to multiple displays.
To enhance and simplify integration, front panel indicators provide easy monitoring and troubleshooting. Outputs can be muted independently via RS232, allowing content to be previewed on a local monitor. Also featured are Extron EDID Minder and Key Minder technologies to maintain continuous EDID communication between connected devices, ensuring simultaneous distribution of HDCP-encrypted source content. Each output on the DA HD 4K PLUS Series provides +5 VDC, 250 mA for powering peripheral devices.
The DA2 HD 4K PLUS is housed in a 1″ (2.5 cm) high, quarter rack width metal enclosure that can be mounted in a rack or discreetly installed beneath a desk. It includes an external, universal power supply for worldwide power compatibility. The DA4 HD 4K PLUS and DA6 HD 4K PLUS are housed in 1U high, half rack width metal enclosures, are rack-mountable and are equipped with internal universal power supplies.
Here are all the tech specs.Leave a Comment
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|Christie Intros APEX 0.9mm LED Video Wall With Ultra-Fine Pixel Pitch|
Christie is enhancing the Christie Velvet Apex Series line of products with the launch of the APEX 0.9-millimeter LED video wall. Available in ultra-fine pixel pitches from 0.9-millmeter to 2.5-millimeter and featuring a 16:9 aspect ratio.
Apex 0.9 is a 0.96-millimeter pitch LED that delivers amazing colors, brightness at high uniformity. The new offering allows for scaling to popular resolutions in a smaller square meter area as well as reducing optimum and minimum viewing distances.
Christie APEX 0.9mm video wall offers:
- 16:9 aspect ratio
- Remote and redundant power supply
- Front serviceability
- Slim design that is ADA compliant
- Advanced monitoring capability (SNMP)
To help simplify the decision making process, the Christie Velvet LED video wall bundle provides an easier way to integrate a seamless, full HD LED installation. The bundle is a complete solution comprised of an ultra-fine pitch Apex Series LED designed for corporate spaces, control rooms, digital signage and architectural display applications. The process starts with choosing the pixel pitch or size of the required video wall required and then the Christie team takes care of the rest. That includes making sure all the LED tiles, power supplies and cabling needed are made available quickly and easily to help integrate the video wall into the specified space.
Here are all the specs.Leave a Comment
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|Cabletime to Introduce New Digital Signage Content Creation Software, New Lower Latency HDMI Encoder at ISE|
Cabletime is planning to unveil the latest version of its digital signage content creation software and new Lower Latency HDMI Encoder with HDCP Pro 2.2 support and compliant solutions at Integrated Systems Europe (6-9 February 2018, RAI, Amsterdam).
Digital signage users looking for the rich creativity of content creation software coupled with full control of their media environment, including capture, manage, storage and display functionality, will benefit from Creator 2.0. This latest update to Cabletime’s class leading, enterprise wide digital signage tool, now features full integration with MediaStar Media Manager to enable easy scheduling and distribution of digital signage pages across the network. In addition, users will be able to add 4K content, video rotation, live web clippings for extra impact and new-style tickers.
Also being shown on the Cabletime Stand 10-P130 will be a new low latency HDMI encoder (Model 798), which will offer a faster, more efficient MediaStar blade to add to the current encoder solution. As well as meeting users’ IPTV headend, digital signage and digital media encoding and distribution needs, the MediaStar 798 encoder will also support HDCP Pro 2.2 content protection across an enterprise network. This will ensure that protected content can be played out onto HDCP-compliant devices and will be a feature of all Cabletime’s MediaStar products during 2018.
Cabletime will be showing its MediaStar IP Re-Caster blade, which converts Multi-cast to Uni-cast and vice versa and has just been declared as ‘SRT Ready’ by the SRT Alliance. This means that it meets criteria that ensure it can optimise streaming performance across unreliable and unpredictable networks without compromising on security and with easy firewall traversal. The company is also expected to demonstrate RoomStar, its specialist interactive TV and content distribution solution for the global hotel market as well as support for Pro-Idiom decryption in its MediaStar media player products. RoomStar will be launched first in the US, and is due to become available in Europe during Q2 of 2018.
The MediaStar range provides TV/AV and multimedia distribution and digital signage products primarily for medium to large enterprises, which require future-proof, stable and proven solutions for live TV, corporate communications, multicasts, audio, training and digital signage. Cabletime is here.Leave a Comment
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|Epson Ships Seven New Pro L-Series Laser Projectors and Ultra Short-Throw Lens for Live Events and Large Venue Applications|
Epson today announced it is now shipping its seven new Pro L-Series laser large venue projectors and the ELPLX02 ultra short-throw lens. Epson’s Pro L-Series laser projectors are intended for use in large venues, including rental and staging events, lecture halls and digital signage installations.
The new Pro L-Series includes seven new models – six WUXGA projectors with 4K Enhancement ranging from 12,000 to 15,000 lumens of color and white brightness and one SXGA+ resolution projector with 15,000 lumens. The projectors feature BT.709 color space, flexible connection options, high native contrast ratio, and 360-degree installation. In addition, the three 15,000 lumen laser projectors operate from a standard 120V power outlet and feature the same compact cabinet as the rest of the line – this is a big, big deal for the rental market.
All six models are spec’d for up to 20,000 hours of laser light source operation. Epson is the first manufacturer to combine inorganic 3LCD panels with an inorganic phosphor wheel to achieve this level of brightness and colorimetry in a laser projector.
In addition, the new ultra short-throw ELPLX02 lens that projects from 100-inches up to 1000-inches is now available alongside Epson’s extensive selection of lenses. The ELPLX02 ultra short-throw lens is the perfect solution for space-constrained environments and rear-projection applications. It also enables the 12,000 and 15,000 lumen Pro L-Series laser projectors to deliver large-size images from very short distances. With a 0.35 throw ratio, negative offset and impressive lens shift range.
Each projector uses a solid-state laser light source and electrostatic air filter and inputs include HDBaseT, 3G-SDI, HDMI, VGA and are compatible with Crestron RoomView, AMX, Extron XTP, Control4 and Art-Net. There are nine optional interchangeable lenses including the new ultra short-throw ELPLX02. And, because they are SSD, you can install at any angle (full 360-degree installation flexibility). The new Epson Pro L-Series projectors are currently available and the ELPLX02 ultra short-throw lens (list $13,999) will be available in January 2018.
Here are the full specs on the projectors and here are details on the lens.Leave a Comment
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|Digital Signage Federation Announces New 2018 Board of DirectorsThe Digital Signage Federation (DSF), the independent not-for-profit trade organization serving the digital signage industry has announced the election of its new 2018 board of directors.
Richard Ventura, VP of Strategy for NEC Display Solutions, will be serving a second year as chair. Continuing in the vice chair role will be Spencer Graham of Real Digital Media. Jeff Kent of Cineplex and Brian McClimans of Peerless-AV have been elected by the board to serve as secretary and treasurer, respectively. Len Dudis with Grupo Vidanta who is currently serving as secretary, has been elected to the newly created executive committee role, director of marketing.
The at-large board elections, which concluded on Dec. 4, 2017, have been announced. Staying on the board of directors to serve a second two-year term are:
- Ryan Cahoy – Rise Vision
- Paul Fleuranges – MTA/NYC Transit
- Sheldon Silverman – SmartBomb Media Group
- Sandi Stambaugh – SYNNEX Corporation
Newly elected at-large board members who will be starting their first two-year term in January are:
- Laura Cison – GFX International
- Stephanie Gutnik – Broadsign
- Dave Haynes – Sixteen:Nine
Randy Dearborn from MGM Resorts and Mark Boidman from Peter J. Solomon Company will be leaving the board at the end of 2017 because their terms of service have concluded.
The DSF is here.Leave a Comment
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|Extron Introduces Architecturally Discreet Pendant Speaker|
Extron has entered the pendant speaker market with their new SF 3PT, a pendant loudspeaker with a 3” full-range driver for speech reinforcement and music playback in high-ceiling and open-ceiling applications. The SF 3PT is available in black or white and is paintable to fit in with any décor. Included with the SF 3PT is Extron’s exclusive PendantConnect speaker cable that combines the speaker wires and a steel safety cable within a single outer jacket, providing for a finished installation that is clean and secure. The UL listed SF 3PT offers both direct 8 ohm and 70/100 volt operation and is voiced similarly to the Extron SF 3CT LP for sonic consistency in mixed ceiling environments.
The SF 3PT pendant speaker comes with everything needed for a finished installation, including 20 feet (6.1 meter) of PendantConnect speaker cable, an Extron exclusive hybrid design incorporating the speaker wires and a steel safety cable into a single outer jacket, allowing for a secure and seamless integration using only a single cable.
Here are all the tech specs.Leave a Comment
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|British American Tobacco Takes Digital Signage and IPTV to the Next Level for New Head Office|
British American Tobacco is one of the world’s leading multinational companies, with brands sold in over 200 markets across the globe. British American Tobacco, South Africa (BAT SA) is the largest manufacturer of cigarettes in South Africa and, alongside their five world-class trade marketing distribution centres, has recently established a new head office located in Cape Town.
New high spec office created a need for a high quality digital signage and IPTV solution
The head office move coincided with a drive for better internal communications and an upgrade to its existing digital signage and IPTV infrastructure that had dated and become an ongoing challenge. “We were moving into a brand new modern head office. The old digital signage solution was limited and outdated, the digital TV was proliferated and each department had a number of decoders on different contracts. We wanted the ability to perform effective real-time distribution of information via an easy to use system that could be flexible with any content format,” commented Deon Mostert, senior IT manager.
The system that they previously had was an archaic FTP solution running off PC’s that had to be individually connected to each screen. Not only was this inconvenient and difficult to manage the whole system had become hugely inefficient and even changing simple digital signage displays was an awkward and problematic task. With this in mind, there were a number of requirements BAT SA had when deciding on their digital signage and IPTV manufacturer. Working with Datacentrix, a principal ICT solutions provider in the region, they selected the Tripleplay platform.
Single platform for all corporate communications
It was vital that BAT SA was able to centrally control the system from an easy-to-use interface whilst also having a form of delegation control in place allowing the correct people to have the appropriate access to the right part of the system. This enables simple digital signage displays to be edited and changed, but no-one without proper technical knowledge or access permissions can make any significant alterations to the system.
With the Tripleplay solution, BAT SA has more dynamic end-point control, for example, being able to run live diagnostic reports so that any problems with any of the screens is identified immediately; this has resulted in virtually zero down-time, allowing the system to operate constantly and consistently.
Deon Mostert added, “Real time distribution of content was a key requirement for us. With Tripleplay’s digital signage and IPTV platform, we can display relevant information to staff and visitors; whether that is safety announcements, live video feeds or product information and updates on any screen, or group of screens, that is appropriate.”
BAT SA was keen to make sure that the content delivered was eye catching and that passers-by would want to take notice of the information. The fact that it could therefore push a range of content types in various formats to these endpoints was of paramount importance, and something the Tripleplay solution is perfectly suited.
Mostert continued, “This is just the start of what we are looking to do with Tripleplay. We are working closely together to evolve and adapt our solution. We want to draw more live data from the internet to display as part of our digital signage throughout the site. We also want to do more with the layouts of our digital signage and are hoping to take advantage of new features such as the 3Create Visual Editor tool, whereby we can create layouts and eye-catching digital signage in seconds.”
A truly scalable solution
Ensuring BAT SA stays ahead of the technology curve is very important and so working with a partner who could provide a future proof solution was a key part the solution’s appeal. Deon Mostert said, “The fact that the Tripleplay solution is constantly evolving and can be upgraded means you are never left with an outdated system, you always have the option of installing the latest features and staying ahead of the curve in digital signage and IPTV technology. For us, as we pride ourselves on being a fast moving and adaptable organisation, this flexibility and scalability is extremely important.”
The relationships built between manufacturer, partner and client means that BAT SA has total faith in the partnership and Tripleplay solution. Mostert concluded, “Datacentrix delivered our project on time and in full, they were transparent and forthcoming throughout the process and were backed by professional technical staff and committed vendor support from Tripleplay.”Leave a Comment
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For all you REGULAR readers of rAVe DS [Digital Signage] out there, hopefully you enjoyed another opinion-packed issue!
For those of you NEW to rAVe, you just read how we are — we are 100 percent opinionated. We not only report the news and new product stories of the ProAV industry, but we stuff the articles full of our opinions. That may include (but is not limited to) whether or not the product is even worth looking at, challenging the manufacturers on their specifications, calling a marketing-spec bluff and suggesting ways integrators market their products better. But, one thing is for sure, we are NOT a trade publication that gets paid for running editorial or product stories. Traditional trade publications get paid to run product stories — that’s why you see what you see in most of the pubs out there. We are different: we run what we want to run and NO ONE is going to pay us to write anything good (or bad).
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