Leonard Suskin

Leonard Suskin

Leonard C Suskin, the pixel-and-inkstained wretch, lives in the suburbs of the greatest city in the world with his wife, two children and cat. A veteran of the AV industry, he is a senior consultant for Syska-Hennessy and continues to pen fiction and poetry in his spare time. Opinions are his own, not reflecting his employer, colleagues, rAVe staff or three cats - though they'd likely agree. The cats, that is. You can find him on Twitter @Czhorat. Pronouns: he/him.

Amish, Luddites and the March of Technology

Let’s start off with the Amish. Yes, you’re in the right place, and yes, this is the opening to a technology column. Theirs is a community about which I’ve been thinking, both since a recent vacation to Lancaster, Pennsylvania, and, more recently, after a discussion about so-called digital natives and acceptance of new technologies. I’ll […]

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Your Princess Is in Another Castle

Each level of the classic Mario game would end with our hero having battled through hoards of foes to rescue his beloved, only to be greeted with the now-familiar message that his princess is in another castle. The inherent sexism of the princess-rescue trope aside, this is what I think when I look at the […]

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Diversity, Inclusion and 2020 New Year’s Resolutions for the AV Industry

Happy New Year, friends. I’ve been too absent from these spaces as I’ve left one job, settled into a new one and let the rhythms of life get in the way. Let’s take it as a New Year’s resolution that I’ll be back, with more to share. As we’re talking about resolutions, we’ll start with […]

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Friction, SB-327 and Zoom’s Terrible, Horrible, No-Good Week

Last week was an eventful one for Zoom. In less than twenty-four hours, we had: The revelation of multiple security vulnerabilities in the popular Zoom conferencing software A [now updated] defensive statement by Zoom, dismissing concerns related to same Public outcry A reversal of course and introduction of an immediate patch for one vulnerability and […]

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Does Your Touch Panel Spark Joy?

One of my guilty pleasures is organization consultant Marie Kondo’s Netflix show, Tidying Up. Even those who’ve not seen her know of her, have seen the jokes about discarding those things that don’t “spark joy,” and have heard something about her growing influence. As I make my return to the design consulting world and leave […]

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How Long Until the Future?

Many science-fictional promises of the “world of the future” never have and perhaps never will come to pass. We don’t have our flying cars, and perhaps never will. We don’t have a robot maid. We aren’t eating Soylent Green. (OK, that one might not be a great loss). What about the meeting room of the […]

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Let’s Talk About Specs

The scene: Project manager training, major integration firm. Dramatis Persona: A project manager, new to the wonderful world of commercial AV A veteran of the AV industry The Dialog: “I’m worried about this bid we just won. There’s no way we can do all of this.” “Why, what’s wrong? It looked like pretty standard conference […]

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What Keeps an AV Professional Up at Night – Part the Second

I’ve spoken about the things that keep an AV professional up at night — in part the growing rise of one-box, easily configurable solutions sharply reducing the need for highly skilled integration in simple spaces. That trend continues with both industry stalwarts like Crestron and smaller upstarts like Owl Labs selling single-device collaborative solutions. That’s […]

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Scheduling, Software as a Service and the Day I Sat Through the Same Presentation Four Times

I don’t know if “As a Service” has replaced “experience” or “convergence” in the AV buzzword bingo game, but it certainly has been a hot topic as of late, opening some interesting questions as to how the business models of traditionally hardware-centric AV companies fit into a software — and software as service — based […]

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On Diversity

“I’m a white male, age 18 to 49. Everyone listens to me, no matter how dumb my suggestions are.” –Homer J. Simpson I’m with you, Mr. Simpson. Even if my ideas aren’t all crazy, I understand that as a cisgender, heterosexual, Caucasian male living in the United States of America I have just about every […]

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InfoComm 2018 Recap, Part the Second: Words by Which to Live

With the new branding, AVIXA appears to have picked up a new motto, one which many of us have seen on the various promotional items for sale in the AVIXA store at InfoComm: “Together, we can change the way people experience the world.” Those who know me I believe in language, and believe in having […]

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The TIDE Conference and Learning how to Think

Another InfoComm is now behind us. As we return to our everyday lives, we should look back and reflect on what we learned and experienced over the past week. For those of you who weren’t able to attend, this is a chance to share some of the lessons I found across the country in Las […]

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The AV Experience

“Experience” has been the big word in the industry as of late, even beyond the big change in our trade organization’s name to “Avixa” — the Audiovisual and Integrated Experience Association. Is this a buzzword, or should this represent a change in the way we design, and even how we think? It shouldn’t, because user […]

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On Delightful User Experiences

Some categorize the quality of a user experience as a hierarchy, like this one: An accessible user interface does its job. You can access and interact with the interface. A usable interface is one which can be manipulated to achieve a desired result. This doesn’t mean that the result is something of particular value to […]

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Aesthetics, Part the First — Minimalism and the Tyranny of the Black Rectangle

The past centuries have spanned many technological eras, each with a dominant aesthetic as well as dominant technologies. The Victorian era was the age of steam, of the first attempts to harness electricity. It was also an era of brass, polished wood, colored glass. It was an era in which a technical marvel was also […]

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What Keeps an AV Professional Awake at Night

I still remember my first concerns about user engagement with the technology we provide. It was over a decade ago; we were fitting out four conference rooms per floor over about a dozen floors. Video teleconferencing in two, local presentation in the other. Pack up, head for the elevator, repeat. It was one of my […]

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On Myths and All-Male Panels

CES is here and, with it controversy. Of the six keynote speakers, six are male. That’s a ratio, for those of you mathematically inclined, of 1:0. Of those six, one is Asian, five white. None are African or African-American. This is the second year in a row that they’ve chosen not to invite a woman […]

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On Digital Assistants

An AV consultant once had a conversation with an executive from manufacturer about the most expensive home he’d seen. He asked what kind of control system one would build for a ten-million dollar home. The executive answered that there’d be a single button. When the button was pressed, a servant would walk into the room […]

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A Visit with Microsoft

When we think conference room and collaboration technology, we too often think of audiovisual collaboration technology, and when we think about that we think of a small set of traditional AV manufacturers, largely unknown to those outside of the industry. We think of control system manufacturers such as Extron and Crestron, of Vaddio and its […]

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The Power of Names

Names have power. Names matter. Decades of fantasy literature have taught us that. Kvothe, the kingkiller, gained control of the very air itself when he learned and spoke the name of the wind. In the wizarding world, nobody would dare speak the name of Lord Voldemort. On Roke Island, the young Sparrowhawk learned the secret […]

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A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Software Revolution

I’ve written time and again about the rise of software as opposed to dedicated hardware. About AV as a Service (AVaaS). About how all of those black and grey boxes we’ve come to know and love will soon disappear, to be replaced by services running on virtual machines. It isn’t just a rule about audiovisual, […]

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On Biamp and Baseball: Second Thoughts on the TesiraFORTÉ DAN

Last week, I wrote about Biamp and the announcement that Dante will now be an option in their smaller TesiraFORTÉ DSP units. While it is an interesting story and the TesiraFORTÉ DAN units do fill a niche, it might not be as important as it appeared to me at first reading. I’ll tell you why […]

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At ISE, Crestron Goes Big (and Small), and Biamp Steps Towards Dante

Editor’s Note: Leonard Suskin has additional thoughts on Biamp’s TesiraFORTÉ DAN, which you can read here. ISE has never been quite as big to me as InfoComm, though not for any particular reason. Perhaps it’s that time-zone differential is even worse heading East across the ocean than West to Las Vegas [or due South to […]

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An Announcement from QSC, the Death of Hardware and Where We Go Next

I’ve been writing for some time about how the days for dedicated hardware in the commercial AV realm might be numbered. We will always, of course, need edge devices: loudspeakers and amplifiers, microphones and audio digitizers. Video encoders, video decoders. Displays. Between all of these devices, however, live the entire world of AV switching, control, […]

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Year in Review

While it may have been a quiet last few months of the year for me as I settle in to my new position back in the integration side of the business, you should know that your pixel-and-inkstained wretch is alive and well. It’s been another interesting year in the AV industry, with quite a bit […]

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My Journey in AV

In an office suite in New York there was a pit. Not a dirty hole in the ground, filled with spikes and threatened by a swinging pendulum, but a cozy little nook of unfinished plywood, crowded with cables, video monitors, equipment racks laden with gear, bundles of cable running to and fro in a Gordian […]

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Accessibility for Everyone in a Virtual World

A great deal of digital ink has been spilled on the phenomenon of Pokémon Go, including on these very pages by Gary Kayye, on the AV Power Up! podcast and, of course, by yours truly. There is one more thought which I’d like to share before I wander off to talk about something else, which […]

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A Crack in the Wall Between the Real and Virtual Worlds

Assuming that you’ve not been living under a rock, you’ve at least heard about the Pokémon GO! craze. For the uninitiated, Pokémon Go is an augmented reality game produced by Niantic (in partnership with Nintendo, which owns the rights to the intellectual property on which it is based) in which one needs to hunt the […]

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InfoComm from Afar

And… one more quick one post-InfoComm post. For the second consecutive year, family obligations kept me away from the big show. Last year it was my lovely bride’s recovery from major back surgery; this year was a more joyous occasion as my son graduated pre-school (and yes, this is important; another tradeshow will always come, […]

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A Locksmith, a Monkey and the Oldest Profession: On Disruption

While I’m not attending InfoComm in meatspace this year, I’ve managed to flitter in and out of the show via Twitter, Periscope, Snapchat, etc. I’ll talk more about the experience of the trade show from afar, but today I’d like to discuss the keynote speech, a recent visit I made to my locksmith and what […]

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AV and the Price of Oranges

On the fiction side of my blog (I still do write fiction when I’m not here) I wrote a recent vignette about a shopper purchasing some pre-peeled oranges in a grocery store. If you’re on social media you’ll likely have seen the photo of said oranges making the rounds as an example of our wasteful […]

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A Morning with Shure and Musings on AV Conference Room Topology

Yesterday, I had the opportunity to attend a demo of the new Microflex Advanced microphones from Shure. These are digital beam-steering microphone arrays designed for tabletop (the MXA310) and ceiling (MXA920) placement. They are high-end, solidly built products which fit very well into some design philosophies and perhaps not as well with others. Both are […]

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