ELEGANT DESIGN, LIFELIKE AUDIO. MicroexTM Wireless Systems Enterprise-scale Microphone Solutions for Managed AV Environments ™
Microex Wireless systems bring vivid, lifelike audio to meetings, panel discussions, teleconferences and other applications in managed AV environments — from signature boardrooms and concentrated multi-room environments to networked corporate campuses. • • • • • • •
Flexible mic options – Gooseneck, boundary, bodypack and handheld microphones Modern, low-prole designs – Fit comfortably into diverse AV environments Dante™ digital audio networking – Low latency, multichannel audio over Ethernet networks Advanced rechargeability – Smart lithium-ion batteries enable remote monitoring Browser-based control software – Comprehensive system setup and real time control Automated frequency coordination – Ensures clean frequencies for every wireless channel Encrypted wireless – AES-256 protection for secure over the air wireless audio
C O D E Community
Community. Outdoor. Distributed. Engineered. Know the CODE. Speak to Hills AV today to unlock audio solutions for every project. P: 1300 445 571 (1300 HILLS 1) www.hills.com.au
Samsung SMART Signage Displays
Samsung Smart Signage Platform (SSSP) takes Samsung dynamic signage to another level. Included in the new Samsung DME, DHE and UED series, SSSP offers quad core System on Chip (SoC) technology helping to boost power and provide more functionality for Samsung signage applications.
Images for illustration purposes only Specifications correct at time of print, but subject to change without prior notice 1 Samsung LED BLU Commercial Displays use LCD display panels with LED back or edge lighting. 2 DP Cables not included. (Sold separately)â€“DP loop out not available on DM32E 3 MagicInfoÂŽ Premium S server client access software licence is required for networked applications, one licence required for each display (sold separately). Internet connection may be required. Data and subscription charges may apply. Usage may be subject to third party service provider agreements. Network infrastructure not included.
Samsung Smart Signage Platform (SSSP) Included with DME, DHE and UED ranges
• Complete Stand-Alone Signage Solution • Design Template options included • DME, DHE, UED series allows for PC free content scheduling and delivery to multiple compatible displays using DP Daisy chain² (excluding DM32E) • DME, DHE, UED series PC-less video wall with DP Daisy chain² (excluding DM32E) • PC-less touch using SoC player and optional Touch Module (sold separately). • Scalable for networked server based signage applications with MagicInfo® Premium S client access software licences (licences sold separately - one licence required per display³).
New Samsung Commercial Displays with Samsung Smart Signage Platform The new Samsung DME and DHE series LED BLU¹ displays introduce a sleek design. Helping to provide clients with a consistent look for their installations even when different model types are required for specific applications.
PC-less video wall from SD Card, USB (devices sold separately) or on-board memory in one display with DP Daisy chain²
USB Direct play back MagicInfoS Direct play back
Editorial Do No Harman?
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Editorial Director: Christopher Holder (firstname.lastname@example.org) Editorial Assistant: Preshan John (email@example.com) Publisher: Philip Spencer (firstname.lastname@example.org) Graphic Designer: Daniel Howard (email@example.com) Additional Design: Dominic Carey (firstname.lastname@example.org) Accounts: Jaedd Asthana (email@example.com) Circulation Manager: Mim Mulcahy (firstname.lastname@example.org)
alchemedia publishing pty ltd (ABN: 34 074 431 628) PO Box 6216, Frenchs Forest, NSW 2086 Australia email@example.com All material in this magazine is copyright © 2016 Alchemedia Publishing Pty Ltd. The title AV is a registered Trademark. Apart from any fair dealing permitted under the Copyright Act, no part may be reproduced by any process without written permission. The publishers believe all information supplied in this magazine to be correct at the time of publication. They are not in a position to make a guarantee to this effect and accept no liability in the event of any information proving inaccurate. After investigation and to the best of our knowledge and belief, prices, addresses and phone numbers were up to date at the time of publication. It is not possible for the publishers to ensure that advertisements appearing in this publication comply with the Trade Practices Act, 1974. The responsibility is on the person, company or advertising agency submitting or directing the advertisement for publication. The publishers cannot be held responsible for any errors or omissions, although every endeavour has been made to ensure complete accuracy. 4/4/2016
lot’s changed, so let’s recap. Harman, the US-based global tech behemoth, purchased AMX for US$365m in 2014. Not so long after, AMX purchased AV-over-IP specialists SVSi. Last year Harman purchased Symphony Teleca, forming a fourth division of its business called Connected Services. Fourth division? Yep, Connected Services joins Harman’s gigantic in-car automation division (which accounts for nearly half of Harman’s turnover), Lifestyle (JBL headphones etc), and Professional (AMX, JBL Pro, AKG, Martin etc). ‘What’s new?’ I hear you ask. “Harman has been buying up companies for as long as anyone can remember.” The more sceptical observer might also note that often Harman couldn’t quite figure out what to do with the company it bought so it sold it back 10 years later in a management buyout. Things are a different now. There’s a plan. Let’s look at the Professional Solutions division. In it we find familiar faces such as JBL, AKG, dbx, Martin, Soundcraft, Digitech, Crown, BSS, Lexicon, Studer and AMX. In Australia, most of these brands are imported by Jands. The exceptions: Show Technology, as a lighting specialist, distributes Martin; Hills takes care of AKG (in large part thanks to Jands historical partnership with the competing Shure brand); while CMI retains Duran Audio and Digitech (thanks to its thoroughbred guitar chops). Back in October 2015, Harman HQ pulled some global distribution levers. Jands could now include AMX video and control products in a package to customers in hospitality, retail, large venues, touring, and recording and broadcast; while AMX Australia could now distribute Harman pro audio products to clients in the corporate, education and government installation sectors. The message from Harman is clear: it’s not about the brands, it’s about the ‘verticals’. Jands verticals are collectively called Entertainment, while AMX Australia’s is Enterprise. In practice, Australian distribution of Harman product (Martin, AKG, Studer and Digitech not withstanding) is still not crystal-clear from the Aussie customers’ perspective — something Harman freely admits to. There’s likely quite a bit more to play out, you’d imagine. I found one of the sessions at the annual AMX (now AVT) conference particularly interesting. Harman’s Director of Technical Resources, Jamie Trader, spoke of how there is now one central Products Group, which he describes as a ‘bunch of dudes with access to a core of
cool technologies’ that approves new product releases. Fascinatingly, he noted any worthy new product proposal could well end up with any badge from any of the companies in the Harman group, it just depends on the vertical it best serves; the outcome it produces. In a small way we’ve already seen this with Harman’s purchase of Melbourne’s SM Pro. Last year the SM Pro smarts found their way into the Soundcraft Ui mixers and this year into the JBL Nano Patch and M-Patch 2 monitor controllers. How Harman leverages its new Connected Services division sounds pretty darn exciting as well. When acquired, Symphony Teleca had some 8000 employees, mostly software boffins. The principal reason for the Harman acquisition was to shore up its lucrative in-car automation division, a market big enough to have Apple and Google sniffing around. But the Professional Services division is likely to benefit from the Connected Services expertise as well – namely, leveraging sensors, data and analytics to design AV for smarter spaces. AMX is certainly eyeing off Connected Services for its RMS remote management and scheduling system, shifting the emphasis from asset utilisation to space utilisation — bringing IoT sensors into the RMS universe and beefing up the data analytics to understand where and how people are using spaces. AMX also likes the cut of Connected Services’ UI and UX jib: “It’s taking our engineering development and multiplying it by a factor of 100,” observed one happy Harman representative I spoke to at the ISE show. “They have great visualisation, UI and UX resources, so we’ll be using their capabilities.” There’s something awe inspiring about seeing a huge multinational flex its corporate muscle; about seeing unimaginable money and human resources being mobilised under the aegis of a strong leader and a clearly-annunciated plan. Meanwhile, we, as the rest of the industry, have every right to reserve judgement. It’s undeniably awe-inspiring but is it the right plan? Does the plan give brand loyalty enough weight? One thing’s for sure, Soundcraft fans, for example, care as much about Harman as Jif fans care for Unilever – ie. not very much. And Shure wireless diehards, for example, will never switch to AKG in a Harman package deal. Time will tell if the global vision best suits this region. One suspects a few more eggs will be broken to make this Harman omelette. Christopher Holder Editorial Director, firstname.lastname@example.org
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DICENTIS Wireless Conference System 4 design and innovation awards, and counting...
n Demand 2016
Best of ise award
DICENTIS Wireless Conference System â€“ for a truly exceptional meeting experience Combine Wi-Fi, smart wireless management, touch-screen functionality, acoustical excellence and wireless connectivity, and you get the most advanced, flexible and user-friendly conference system on the market. Being wireless, and so quick and easy to set-up and use, DICENTIS systems are ideal for multipurpose rooms, historical buildings and boardrooms where cable clutter is unwanted. Take advantage of the multiple-award winning DICENTIS today. For more information contact us on 1 3000 BOSCH, email@example.com or visit www.boschsecurity.com.au
Apr/May 2016 REGULARS NEWS AV industry and product news highlights from the AV website. Including news from ISE 2016.
INDUSTRY UPDATE News from the AV associations: InfoComm and AETM
TERMINATION Common sensor approach.
FEATURE A STEP UP University of Sunshine Coast’s innovative and AVIA Award winning tiered teaching space.
HIT THE GO BUTTON AptoVision’s BlueRiver chip is finding its way into a first wave of AV-over-IP products.
REVIEWS STUDIO TECHNOLOGIES MODEL 5202 & 5205 Dante-enable audio interfaces.
LESS HISS MORE HUDDLE Beamforming huddle space mic arrays test: Biamp Devio and Phoenix Technologies Condor.
TUTORIAL AUDIO CHECKLIST InfoComm International Education: How to Verify Audio System Performancee.
Highlights from AV News Online
SHURE: CEILING THE DEAL
QSC’S NEW CORE-PORATE AV
LISTENWIFI: STREAM TO PERSONAL DEVICES
One of the stars of the ISE show was Shure’s new networkable conferencing audio solution — Microflex Advance. It’s designed to dramatically improve the audio quality for modern conferencing applications where excellent speech intelligibility is paramount. There’s a range of networked ceilings and table array microphones, audio interfaces, intelligent mixing DSP, and browser-based control software. The ceiling mount solution offers an adjustable pickup pattern with eight lobes that can be defined in three dimensions, and can be flushmounted with ceiling tiles or suspended to avoid fans or ceiling-mount projectors. The table array microphone captures up to four channels of audio from around a desk or conference table and offers an innovative, wholly new 'toroid' (ring-shaped) pickup pattern to reject unwanted sound from overhead, such as ceiling fan or air conditioning noise. Signals from the array microphones are automixed by the built-in Shure IntelliMix DSP. Furthermore the audio signals can be interfaced with a Dante audio network via single standard Ethernet cable connection. Jands: (02) 9582 0909 or jands.com.au Shure: www.shure.com
QSC Q-Sys Core 110f is the latest addition to the Q-Sys lineup of network audio solutions — a new, smaller core built on modern Intel-based technologies and a Linux real time operating system. When combined with the new TSC-7t tabletop touchscreen, the Core 110f delivers a seamless collaboration experience in various corporate spaces. Networking integration is via Q-LAN, which uses IT standard Layer-3 protocols. The Core 110f can coexist with all other data, use standard Ethernet switches, and provide a high level of flexibility and compatibility with AES67 conformity. The TSC-7t can be used as an elegant telephone dialler and/or control a myriad of third-party devices prevalent in boardrooms and meeting rooms — via the Core (no additional components required). Technical Audio Group: (02) 9519 0900 or firstname.lastname@example.org QSC: www.qsc.com
Listen Technologies’ line of ListenWiFi products distribute high quality audio over a wireless network to end users’ smart devices. The PLS-900-24 is a 24 channel wireless audio distribution system for venues like fitness centres, sports bars and cinemas. It distributes up to 24 analogue audio sources via wi-fi transmission using scalable multicast technology. Low latency 44.1k/16-bit audio is delivered to the end user’s own Apple or Android mobile device using the free, redesigned ListenWiFi mobile App when connected to the Personal Listening wi-fi network. The system includes an audio interface, a 2U server for managing the audio channels, and a wireless access point that delivers stereo audio for up to 60 users over 450sqm+. Venues will benefit from a low cost of ownership while enabling customers to receive high-quality audio using their own mobile devices. National Audio Systems: (03) 8756 2600 or email@example.com Listen Technologies: www.listentech.com
EPSON PITSTOP: LASER, LEWIS & L SERIES LCD
simply slugging it out with HP for desktop printer market share. Again, when Epson talks about its bleeding-edge credentials, it points to its ‘wearables’. Epson continues to invest in its Moverio augmented reality glasses, when others, such as Google, have lost their nerve. A new version will be out later in the year. In the here and now, Epson has had a modicum of success with Moverio in the fields of medical/surgery, museums and, here’s the big growth market, drone control. Meanwhile, in the AMG Mercedes F1 garage, you’ll find the world’s most exclusive Moverio product demo. Space is at an absolute premium in the garage but Epson and AMG Mercedes have dedicated real estate for 12 comfy
Nothing focuses the collective attention of a room full of media hacks than the promise of an AMG Mercedes F1 garage tour. Yes, news of a 25,000-lumen laser 3LCD projector product release is mildly diverting — enough to look up from one’s canapés, certainly — but being ushered into motor sport’s holy of holies really is akin to a religious experience for a tech-nerd journo. Epson has again stumped up who-knows-how-many-squillion Yen to be a key AMG Mercedes F1 team sponsor. You might ask how the world’s biggest projector manufacturer could possibly justify such a dizzyingly high-octane hookup. The answer lies in Epson’s aspirations as a technology leader rather than
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chairs that look out over the surgical bustle of the garage. Pop on some gun-muff headphones and a pair of Moverios and a wellspoken young lady from Brackley HQ walks us through the finer points of the AMG Mercedes power plant, pit lane machinations and more, all in glorious augmented reality. It’s a nice presentation, but one can’t but speculate whether it would have the same gravity if presented by an Epson sales drone in Meeting Room U1452 at a tradeshow! Which is more a statement about the magic fairy dust F1 liberally sprinkles on anything it touches than the quality of the product. As for the new projectors? Epson may have come a little late to the laser party but is making
up for lost time with some high brightness lamp-free 3LCD models at the right price. The new L series 3LCD laser projector lineup has the 25,0000-lumen, WUXGA EB-L25000U as its flagship, five models in all down to the 6000-lumen EB-L1100U. The key innovation is the inorganic colour wheel, which helps the L Series range handle the brighter blue laser output and provide a
long-term colour stability. There’s a neat auto-calibration camera on the front of the projectors, which also has a setting for dual-projector edge-blending. Early indications suggest the top-of-the-range 25K EB-L25000U will ship for under A$25,000 which is certainly a realistic price for a lamp-free, low-maintenance highbrightness installation projector. www.epson.com.au/installation
High Lumen Projectors
Designed for Exceptional Performance Epson G, Z and 4000 Series Installation Projectors are powerful performers in virtually all venues including lecture halls, bars & restaurants, houses of worship and more. These projectors utilise advanced display technology such as Edge Blending, 360 degree and corner projection and short throw lenses for flexibility. Features include: • 10,000 lumens and WUXGA resolution for bright, colourful, brilliant images • 24/7 operation for continuous and reliable use for almost any application • Versatile connectivity including HDBaseT • Easy integration with Crestron, AMX and Extron compatibility For more information vistit www.epson.com.au/installation *Compared to leading 1-chip DLP business and education projectors based on NPD data, July 2011 through June 2012. Colour brightness (colour light output) measured in accordance with IDMS 15.4. Colour brightness will vary depending on usage conditions.
Highlights from AV News Online
AJA ROVOCAM: ONE CABLE
CASIO: LASER EIGHT
YAMAHA COMMERCIAL UPDATE
AJA Video Systems’ RovoCam is the company’s first compact block camera for industrial, corporate, security, ProAV and broadcast applications. UltraHD and HD imagery is captured with superior Sony optics with built-in 12x optical and up to 20x zoom with Sony Super Resolution Zoom. What sets RovoCam apart from other cameras in its category is an integrated HDBaseT interface supporting uncompressed video, power, stereo audio and RS-232 control over a single Cat5e/6 cable running at lengths of up to 100m. Delivering this much functionality and power with single cable connectivity dramatically simplifies installation, camera setup and footprint requirements. Adimex: www.adimex.com.au AJA: www.aja.com/en/products/rovocam
Last year, Casio launched the Core Series projectors with a 1.1x optical zoom lens, making it much less expensive to purchase an SSI (solid state illumination) projector. Casio is set to expand its affordable-priced Core Series lineup of laser and LED light source projectors by adding three new models featuring a 1.5x optical zoom lens. Five new Advanced Series projectors are also soon to hit (pictured). The Advanced Series models can also be used to power other devices with HDMI terminal connections. The new projectors reach a maximum brightness in as fast as five seconds from power on and have a stated lifespan of up to 20,000 hours. No cool down period is necessary after power off. The Instant Light Control feature allows adjustment of projection brightness using the left and right keys on the projector itself or on the remote control. The same feature on the Advanced Series projectors senses ambient brightness and automatically adjusts the projection brightness accordingly. Shriro: www.casioprojector.shriro.com.au
Yamaha Commercial Audio has unveiled a number of product additions for the installation, commercial and retail markets. The SWP1-Series consists of Dante-optimised network switches. A dedicated Windows application provides network visibility for comprehensive monitoring and control. The R-Series sees the new RSio64-D — an audio interface that can convert between Dante and Mini-YGDAI formats for up to 64 inputs and 64 outputs. Four Mini-YGDAI card slots are built into the RSio64-D, and it supports remote setup from Yamaha’s CL/QL series consoles. The sleek new VXS F-Model surfacemount speakers are ideal for any commercial space, be it a restaurant, retail, or professional environment. The MA/PA Series lineup of four compact amplifiers features efficient and flexible performance, while the MA2120 and MA2030 offer DSP, mixing capability, and a bass/treble EQ. And the new DCH8 controller hub with PoE allows for flexible device layout functioning as a relay device between the host device and DCP series, allowing a combination of star and daisy-chain connections. Yamaha: www.yamahaproaudio.com Yamaha Australia: au.yamaha.com
NEWS IN BRIEF:
Calibre launched its first evercombined video and audio 4K scaler-switchers: HQView620A, HQView625A, HQView630A and HQView670A. HQUltra uses Calibre’s video processing algorithms to deliver superior solutions providing an interface between the worlds of HD and 4K. Calibre HQUltraFast changes inputs in typically a quarter of a second. AV Glue: firstname.lastname@example.org or www.avglue.com.au Calibre: www.calibreuk.com
Technical Direction Company’s (TDC) first multi-purpose mobile outside broadcast vehicle offering full HD broadcast and production facilities has set sail. In collaboration with TDC, the teams from Sony Professional Solutions, Imagine Communications, Riedel, Fujinon, Miller, and Yamaha have assisted to produce TDC HD01, a fully customised ridged facility that has a focus on functionality and comfort. Technical Direction Company: www.tdc.com.au
Sennheiser’s TeamConnect Ceiling is an innovative new ceiling mounted variant of the audio specialist’s TeamConnect fixed-installation conferencing system. Virtually invisible, TeamConnect Ceiling offers a high performing, discrete alternative for installation in medium to large conference rooms where tablemounted systems are not suitable or possible. With innovative beamforming technology that can focus on a speaker’s voice, TeamConnect Ceiling delivers a potentially superior sound and speech clarity Sennheiser: www.sennheiser.com.au
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Videopro executives Jason Derry and Cameron Douglas have joined founder and chairman Shane Leaney, CEO Ian Wright and CFO Jason Sing as shareholders of the Brisbane-based audiovisual company. The ownership changes come as Videopro prepares for an expected 50 percent jump in profit this year, thanks to a renewed focus on services, service levels and operational improvements. Videopro: www.videopro.com.au
DisplayTen’s DTEN Wireless Interactive Display is now available in the region. It’s a top-of-the-line wireless interactive display, bringing a one-click screen mirror experience. This technology mirrors a PC/Mac computer to large 70-inch DTEN screens with one click. No wi-fi set up and software installation is required. It was the combination of simplified one-click experience and reduced ongoing expenses that convinced Adimex to provide DTEN product line to its dealer network. Adimex: www.adimex.com.au DisplayTen: www.displayten.com
DIGITAL LINK PROTECTION
for flawless audio performance
OPTIMISED DYNAMIC RANGE
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PLUG and RECORD
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Highlights from AV News Online
ALLEN & HEATH IN ZONE
ATEN SWITCH & CONTROL
MACKIE AXIS MIX SYSTEM
Allen & Heath has launched two new installation mixers, the GR3 and GR4, designed to be highly configurable and provide simple yet comprehensive control of program audio and announcements for multiple zones in bars, restaurants, stores and other leisure and retail environments. Both the GR3 and GR4 are 1U rackmounting audio mixers, with standout features that include an easy-access mic input on the front panel for announcements and paging, zonal auto-ducking for paging and emergencies, and optional wall plates for remote control. The innovative control layout allows system integrators to manage which controls are accessible for everyday use. Both units have two stereo zones, and an additional two mono zone outputs are available on the GR4. There is individual mix and selectable control of all inputs to zone 1 and 2, and multiple options for configuring mix outputs to zones 3 and 4 via internal jumpers. TAG: (02) 9519 0900 or www.tag.com.au Allen & Heath: www.allen-heath.com
ATEN used ISE 2016 to highlight a suite of new products. The VS1912 is a three-in-one, 12-port DP video wall media player. The VS1912 allows users to design creative video wall displays with overlapping media content and versatile video wall layouts from standard to asymmetrical. Other highlights included the ATEN Control System which allows users without much technical know-how to manage and control any device in a room with its intuitive GUI and iPad control. ATEN’s VM6404H 4K Seamless Matrix Switch is the ‘only seamless switch available’ that delivers scaled resolutions up to 4K@60Hz with 4:2:0 chroma sampling. The VM1600 16x16 Modular Matrix Switch, offers real-time control and advanced management of up to 16 sources and 16 displays simultaneously, through eight interchangeable I/O boards on a single chassis. ATEN: email@example.com or www.aten.com
Mackie has unveiled the Axis Digital Mixing System — a modular solution for professional and installed sound with full Dante integration. It combines the DL32R rack mixer with the recently released DC16 control surface to provide a scalable system with all the benefits of both digital and wireless mixing. With 32 remotecontrollable Onyx+ mic preamps and 16 outputs paired with massive built-in DSP, the system is ideal for medium and large channel count applications. The system relies on Dante for communication between the DL32R mixer and DC16 control surface, enabling additional networking capability for professional applications. CMI: (03) 9315 2244 or www.cmi.com.au Mackie: www.mackie.com
NEWS IN BRIEF:
Marshall Electronics has announced new additions to its range of miniature POV cameras. Widely used by television stations and production companies, Marshall POV cameras offer broadcast picture quality within a small package size. Now, the new CV505 Mini Broadcast Camera and CV345 Compact Broadcast Cameras utilise next generation chip sets, with an audio input for capturing local sound at the camera level. Quinto: www.quinto.com.au
Kramer’s VIA Site Management (VSM) is an enterprise-wide management platform that lets VIA administrators control and configure all VIA devices in a network from a single window. “IT administrators at large companies and SMBs alike can use the VSM platform to easily troubleshoot any VIA device in the network and customise each device for the specific needs of participants,” said Neta Lempert, VP Digital Business Development at Kramer. Kramer Australia: www.krameraustralia.com.au
Studio Technologies introduces the new Model 211 Announcer's Console, designed to serve as the audio control centre for announcers, commentators and production talent. The unit integrates all on-air, talkback and cue audio signal routing into one compact system while still providing plenty of configuration flexibility. For simple installation, standard connectors are used to interface with analogue microphone, headphone, talkback and talent cue signals. Madison Technologies: www.madisontech.com.au Studio Technologies: www.studio-tech.com
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Lightware’s built-in Event Manager feature can perform any user-defined action when a change in device status occurs. So in the case of a status change on the input — for example a new signal or a change in resolution — a responsive action can be defined by the user. The response could be a crosspoint switch, sending of IR or RS-232 commands, or changing the volume, to list a few. Lightware: www.lightware.com.au
JBL has introduced three new Control commercial loudspeakers — Control 23-1, Control 25-1 and Control 28-1. The update brings with it new features, styling and competitive pricing. JBL also says the new speakers have a flatter and wider frequency response and improved coverage for on- and off-axis sound and a higher maximum SPL. New outdoor features include a redesigned grille with improved plating and finish and screwdown input terminals. Jands: (02) 9582 0909 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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Highlights from AV News Online
CHRISTIE APEX LED TILES
GEFEN DEBUTS 9
SONY FILLS PTZ LINEUP
Joining Christie’s Velvet family is the new series of narrow-pitch LED tiles featuring 1.2 and 1.6mm pixel pitches. They’re designed for critical viewing applications like command and control rooms, and surveillance monitoring. The high-impact visuals of the Apex Series also makes them suitable for corporate lobbies, museums, indoor advertising etc. Designed for uniformity and performance, the Apex Series offers increased flexibility with a new slim design, 100 percent front-serviceability, 16x9 aspect ratio, native HD and UHD resolutions and micro adjustments. Christie says its new LED tiles are easy to install, configure, manage and service. The Apex Intelligent Module adds features that make modules ‘plug and play,’ reducing downtime and reconfiguration requirements. Christie Digital: www.christiedigital.com
Gefen premiered nine new signal distribution products at ISE 2016. Leading the way was the GEF-UHD-89HBT2 4K Ultra HD 8x9 Matrix for HDMI which takes advantage of new HDBaseT 2.0 technology to route eight 4K sources to any combination up to eight remote 4K displays over a single Cat5 cable and one local display with HDMI for local monitoring. Gefen also introduces two new extenders that use the latest HDBaseT 2.0 technology, EXT-UHDA-HBT2 and GTBUHD-HBT2 that extend HDMI up to 100m at 4K or 150m at 1080p, using one Cat-5e cable. The EXT-DVIKAHBT2 HDBaseT 2.0 KVM extender also made its debut. It extends DVI, USB 2.0, RS-232 and two-way analogue audio up to 150m over one Cat-5e cable. In addition, the brand previewed the upcoming EXT-UHD600 Series of 600MHz HDMI Distribution Products — a product family that enables AV distribution at full spec of 4K 60Hz at 4:4:4 colour-space, along with HDR support. Amber Technology: 1800 251 367 or email@example.com Gefen: www.gefen.com
Sony’s recent addition of the SRG-120DS brings its PTZ camera offerings in the SRG series to six full-HD options. The all-in-one compact design makes these cameras easy to install in various locations, ideal for use as either a primary or secondary camera. The target market of the SRG camera series goes beyond just the traditional broadcast and security sectors. For example the judicial system has a growing trend of including visual communications such as remote testimonies, video arraignments, virtual prison visitations etc. The SRG cameras are capable of live streaming via IP, and two or more parties can communicate when the cameras are connected to a video conferencing device, making them suitable for this type of application. The SRG cameras also suit the healthcare and education applications. Sony: pro.sony.com.au
NEWS IN BRIEF:
Extron’s Room Agent v1.1 software turns TouchLink Pro touchpanels into full-featured room booking appliances that display a room’s meeting information and availability. With Room Agent, the touchpanels require no programming, as they simply become a client of the existing Microsoft Exchange server. The latest version offers new features including a new Scheduling Activity File for capturing events from each meeting room for convenient analysis and a Check-In button that confirms attendance for the scheduled meeting. Extron: www.extron.com/ roomschedulingvideo
Atlona introduces the ‘first’ HDBaseT-equipped collaboration system providing 4K AV switching, USB and HDMI extension. The two-piece AT-UHD-HDVS-300-KIT system enables a single category cable connection between a conferencing hub and a 4K display with USB camera. The TX unit serves as the conferencing hub, video switch, and HDBaseT transmitter, and the RX decodes the HDBaseT signal and delivers an HDMI signal to the display. Midwich: www.midwich.com.au
Community Professional Loudspeakers has signed an agreement appointing Hills Ltd as its exclusive distributor for Australia and New Zealand. Dan Fletcher, Head of Hills AV: “Community is well known for its high-performance outdoor loudspeakers as well as indoor products designed to be attractive yet unobtrusive. It offers great musical sound quality and clear voice intelligibility, with many Community products ETL certified to meet UL specification for mass notification and voice warning applications.” Hills: www.hills.com.au
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Martin Audio has extended its CDD install series with the introduction of weatherised variants (CDD-WR). CDD5TX-WR and CDD6TX-WR feature a dual cable gland for easy daisychaining of cabinets without the need for external breakout boxes, and also feature a 100/70V line transformer. CDD-WR loudspeakers meet a rating of IP54, and are accompanied by a full range of weather-resistant mounting brackets. Similarly, the CSX-WR subwoofers are suitable for outdoor under-canopy operation and have an IP24 rating. TAG: (02) 9519 0900 or www.tag.com.au
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Hit The Go Button AptoVision hires ex-Crestron gun as its AVover-IP evangelist. First BlueRiver chip-based products hit market.
AptoVision CEO & Co-founder AptoVision is Montreal-based technology licensing company, established to redefine the AV signal processing and distribution platform through its BlueRiver chip technology.
Justin Kennington AptoVision Director of Strategic & Technical Marketing Previously the technology manager of DigitalMedia at Crestron, Kennington is widely recognised as an influential technologist in pro AV. He received InfoComm’s Young AV Professional of The Year Award in 2014.
“Ethernet has finally got the bandwidth to transport uncompressed video, that’s unique to our time in history. We’ve now got to a point where 10Gb Ethernet can carry uncompressed video up to 4K”
course, there were still some growing pains but Crestron almost single-handedly moved the market to HDMI and Justin was a huge part of that transition — convincing the industry the products were there and ready. Given that ability and that experience, he is, in our opinion, one of the best people to bring about this new transition, a transition that’s bigger than the HDMI transition. Strategically that’s where we’re coming from. AV: Where are you encountering resistance? Justin: If you ask almost anyone attached to this industry if video will one day move over IP — everyone will respond in the affirmative. Everyone understands that it’s inevitable. Yet on a day-to-day basis it’s easy to say ‘AV over IP is the future’ and ‘we’ll get there one day’ but ‘I’ve got this job today I want to be conservative and do what I did yesterday’. That’s what we encountered in 2008/9 in the transition from analogue to digital. If you asked anyone: would you rather have a digital system? Then the answer, was ‘of course, digital’s great. That’s what I want’. But come time to design and install the system, the same guy may well revert to what he knows: ‘I don’t know how digital works. Let me go with my component video’. I see my job as being a communicator. I want people to understand what’s possible and the
AV: Kamran, what’s AptoVision’s manifesto? Kamran: AptoVision’s aim is to disrupt an US$8b worldwide market for AV signal distribution. We are disrupting it by bringing the technology over to IP. It’s not the first industry in the history of technology that this has happened to but there are major ramifications and some interesting challenges associated with it. Our job is to convince people. We’re not just pushing our technology to OEM manufacturers who are designing some exciting new product, we have to help our OEM partners to sell to the AV integration channel. AptoVision is single-handedly bringing about this transition, there is no other chipset available in the world that’s doing it. AV: So you’re pushing the tech and helping to create the demand. Kamran: That’s right, we’re providing both the ‘push’ and the ‘pull’. We need to evangelise the market to not only move to this paradigm — and that’s already happening — but to be a catalyst for change. AV: Tell me about the appointment of Justin Kennington. Kamran: Justin is the best technology evangelist we could find. If you remember the days of HDMI in pro AV, VGA lasted a lot longer than it should have because everyone was afraid of what HDMI meant in terms of the challenges and the associated technology lagging behind. Then Crestron came in and took the lead with a product for HDMI that actually worked. Of
Gerry Raffaut Managing Director iMAGsystems is a Melbourne-based company and the first in Australia to leverage the capabilities of the AptoVision BlueRiver chipset with a range of ‘Lightning’ video-over-IP matrix products.
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PLETHORA: FULL GAMUT AptoVision has tinkered with its tech to introduce Plethora, the “first fully in-line engine for high fidelity processing of uncompressed audio and video signals”. Available on its BlueRiver NT+ and new BlueRiver 400 chipsets, the Plethora engine is named for the numerous functions it integrates into a single, in-line, zero-frame latency signal processing subsystem. These functions include broadcastquality scaling, visually ‘indistinguishable’ light compression, colour space conversion, frame rate conversion, audio embedding/de-embedding, audio down-mixing and audio re-sampling. Also available on new reference designs for its BlueRiver NT, BlueRiver NT+ and new BlueRiver 400 chipsets: point-to-point HD video signal extension of up to 250m (160m for 4K) over CAT6a/CAT-5e network cabling. AptoVision: www.aptovision.com
benefits of the IP transition. But I also need to be an educator: not necessarily about the benefits, but also how to use it. An installer/designer might understand the advantages but are daunted by the thought of dealing with an Ethernet switch. That’s where some education and training can help. AV: How have the big names in the AV switching game responded to AptoVision? Justin: The large players sell tens or hundreds of millions of dollars worth of traditional and relatively expensive matrix switches. They need to understand that moving their profits to the end point devices and giving up their switch sales to, say, Cisco, is healthy and good for the industry in the longer term. Inevitably, if the large players don’t get on board with this then the small and medium players, seeing an opportunity to not have to design several models of complex matrix switches, will take advantage. They’ll build a few AV-over-IP end point devices, leverage the Cisco solution for the switch and they’ll be the big company in a few years and the entrenched players will be struggling. The hard pill to swallow is when innovation means cannibalising your own products. But that’s the lesser evil compared to having someone else cannibalise your products. AV: The big theme of this year’s ISE was AV over IP — everyone’s doing it. Justin: They’re all dabbling in AV over IP but they haven’t solved the problem of AV distribution, namely, zero latency and no compression in the distribution. The solutions that exist today from the big manufacturers use H.264, JPEG or JPEG2000. These solve a problem of being able to expand from a traditional AV infrastructure into, let’s say, some of your existing IT infrastructure, but it comes with the penalty of latency and of
IMAG SYSTEMS: FIRST IN BEST DRESSED Melbourne-based iMAGsystems has partnered with AptoVision to produce Lightning, an uncompressed, zero frame latency, video-over-IP matrix system using Cat6A. Lightning delivers HDMI video (up to 4K resolution) together with RS232/IR control and gigabit Ethernet over 10Gb networking infrastructure. It is ideal for routing computer video data through venues and corporate facilities using existing or standalone networks. “The time is absolutely right for a product like Lightning,” offers Gerry Raffaut, iMAGsystems Managing Director. “We’re currently seeing interest from dozens of projects — commercial to hospitality, education and beyond — that are all seeing the compelling advantages of moving zero-latency, uncompressed full-definition video to the network. Lightning, with its unlimited scalability, is particularly attractive to larger commercial projects, but we’ve had strong interest from pubs and licensed clubs as well. Yes, we’re harnessing the power of the Blue
no synchronisation. By which I mean, the key to AptoVision technology and why this transition now makes sense is the ability to move sync’ed video data over necessarily asynchronous Ethernet networks. Kamran: This may sound like a counterintuitive statement but we’re not going after the AV-over-IP market, we’re going after the proprietary switch market. We just happen to do it using AV over IP. We’re not going for the H.264 or JPEG2000 market because those applications already exist and they don’t require proprietary switches. So we’re not trying to come in and offer a better solution than compressed high-latency video over IP. For a certain market, compression and latency is acceptable. We’re providing an alternative to the $8b uncompressed signal distribution market and we’re doing it using IP. Justin: The giants of the switching business, like Cisco have R&D budgets larger than most AV companies’ turnovers, so it doesn’t make sense for AV manufacturers to build custom-made switches when there’s this other industry out advancing the state of the art. AptoVision’s products are based around transporting video over 10Gb Ethernet, meanwhile 25Gb Ethernet is coming close to a commodity reality and 100Gb products exist. We want to enable the AV industry to take advantage of the leaps and bounds in technology happening on the other side of the fence so we can move faster. Ethernet has finally got the bandwidth to transport uncompressed video, that’s unique to our time in history. 20 years ago when we had 10/100BaseT Ethernet, that wasn’t enough bandwidth to carry standard 480p VGA quality video. 10 years ago when we had gigabit Ethernet, that wasn’t enough
River chip but iMAGsystems has invested considerably into the control side. Having leveraged the many years of experience on how installers use video-over-IP products. Starting with a blank canvas we designed and engineered an API control box to make it easy for IT and non-IT types to configure and control any number of end points from third-party control systems.” Proudly made in Melbourne, the Lightning API box firmly follows the company ethos of being easy to use and easy to install. iMAGsystems: www.imagsystems.com
to carry 720p or 1080i. We’ve now got to a point where 10Gb Ethernet can carry uncompressed video up to 4K. The AptoVision roadmap and architecture is designed to handle higher speeds but also nextgeneration video technologies as our world moves to 8K. Turns out Ethernet has the bandwidth to handle that and AptoVision’s architecture can easily meet those needs. AV: Where’s your growth going to come from? Kamran: AptoVision allows companies to introduce high-performance AV signal distribution products without having to invest in hardware development. It’s allowing new players to get into these kinda systems at a product level. For example, in Australia, you’re seeing a new company called iMAGsystems coming out with some exciting video-over-IP product, while we announced another nine partners at ISE. At a channel level, the IT channel will become more important. With AV residing on the network, the IT department will take over more of the responsibility of AV and therefore more of the purchasing decisions. That’s where AptoVision is well placed. We have technology the IT guy can understand. Further reading: For more on AV over IP, including Andy Ciddor’s excellent introduction to the BlueRiver chipset (‘HDBaseIP: The Way of the Future?’) and Derek Powell’s exposé on the AMX purchase of SVSI (‘This Changes Everything’) head to www.avapac.net and search on ‘AptoVision’.
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ISE 2016: POSTCARD FROM AMSTERDAM
Industry veteran Paul Van der Ent shares his impressions of the worldâ€™s biggest AV show.
Text:/ Paul Van der Ent
eople love the ISE show and I can see why. This year was my first but, of course, I’ve maintained an interest in previous ISE shows and was intrigued to see and hear for myself what all the fuss was about. And I loved it. I like it because of the full range of manufacturers. With some 1200 manufacturers you really feel like you’re talking to the organ grinders rather than the monkeys. At the US InfoComm shows there tends to be more US representatives fronting the stands. I found at the ISE that if I had a technical question I was given time with the engineer. In the US I’ve also noticed they tend to be more technically insular. They know their product but don’t know so much about others in the eco system you’re working in. The Europeans tend to understand the real-world situation their products are going into a little better, rather than assuming you’re going to be spec’ing everything out of their catalogue.
the IT guys will be asking for the better networks rather than the AV guys. And we know that what IT wants, IT gets
SHOOTOUTS: PLAYING NICE The regulations in the US mean you don’t see head-to-head shootouts at tradeshows, because of the fear of being sued. At ISE we saw more shootouts — some good, some bad… and a few were downright scandalous. I saw one shootout where the competitor’s projector was ‘detuned’ while their own products were tricked up to the max (I checked when no one was looking!). If you’re going to run head to heads, c’mon, set the product up as it ships straight out of the box. Conversely, Panasonic did what I consider to be a fair head-to-head in a demonstration room with a four-screen video wall — each screen was factory reset. The aim wasn’t so much to show how rubbish the other products were but the differences between them thanks to different manufacturing methods at a price point.
THEME NO. 1: AV OVER IP
The biggest theme of the show was AV over IP. The move to software, which has been coming in this industry forever, is very clear because IT people can’t get their heads around AV, while AV people have to get their heads around IT. The big players didn’t have anything earth shattering to show in this regard. AMX, Crestron, and Extron are selling proprietary boxes — they have some cross-platform features but they’re still proprietary boxes. Meanwhile, gear using the AptoVision BlueRiver chip are open platform and will sit on the network, on virtual servers, and will be managed by the IT department, because it’s something the IT guys understand. Using AMX as an example, you have to buy the AMX RMS to do all your room management and to build a room booking system, but because the AptoVision guys are already on the network/ virtual server, they’ve already got the ability to connect straight in via Outlook, etc. And they’ve also built reporting and security into their systems. And you’re getting that in the cloud. How good is that?! APTOVISION: 20/20 VISION?
AptoVision is in an enviable position. It doesn’t have to worry about keeping its factory production line ticking over in the background to make money. These guys can sit in a small office in Toronto with a bunch of software developers, and come up with something really good. They don’t have the history of needing to spruik hardware. Maybe the question is: why hasn’t AptoVision shaken the AV industry industry to the core already? In Australia the issue is the network infrastructure. This is where AV and IT need to develop infrastructure together — especially if you’re utilising the streaming model. Bandwidth
AptoVision AV-over-IP tech is finding its way into marketable product, such as the iMAGsystems' Lightning box.
is the biggest issue. Take a school or uni campus with 500 students. How many wi-fi devices are going onto the network at any one time? Lots. It’s a big challenge for small- to medium-sized schools to deal with. The cost of scaling up to deal with the extra bandwidth is significant. You’ve instantly gone from using a network switch that is $3500-$4000, to, if the school wants a good one, something that’s $20-$30,000. And even then, when you talk to the school’s network engineer, they’ll suggest you still need headroom, leaving video over IP only 25% or 28% of the available bandwidth. This is the reason why AV over IP still remains on a separate network or on the VLAN. That’s fine but you still need the infrastructure. AptoVision may have the better technology — uncompressed, no latency video over a standard 10Gb IP network — but we’re still years away from having the IP network infrastructure able to handle that amount of data. Saying that, the extra cost of the better infrastructure will be IT’s problem — the IT guys will be asking for the better networks rather than the AV guys. And we know that, often times, what IT wants, IT gets.
INTERNET OF THINGS
ISE’s opening keynote address was heavy on the significance of AV’s role in the internet of things (IoT); how AV will be essential in making sense of an endless array of sensors and network devices. I think Australia’s internet infrastructure is a choke point. In Europe, America and parts of the Far East, you’ve got the population that warrants investing in the infrastructure. In Australia you’ve got 24 million people, and in a huge space, and the infrastructure is still difficult because of the NBN. If one is to make a comment about the NBN: why didn’t they lay cable in the business areas first rather than the regional areas? At least that way they could have the money and take up coming from business to help pay for the rest of the network. So we have all these great new products that sit on the Internet… now what? The IoT is still very important, but when you’re talking to people at ISE their eyes startle when you tell them ‘we only have ADSL’, or how some of our biggest companies still have links under 10Mbs. Just has a look at VC trends. VC video is often
Lamp-free projection continues apace. Casio has plenty of runs on the board in this space, and used ISE to launch five new Advanced Series projectors.
Biamp Devio: huddle space AV bullseye.
diabolical, but has to be to deal with the available bandwidth. And the market doesn’t much care, so long as they can make the call on their iPad or smartphone. HUDDLE SPACES
The huddle space has become very important, very quickly. Business is looking at its big meeting rooms packed with sophisticated VC and noticing these rooms aren’t getting used much or being occupied by four people rather than 12. So, the big room is being broken down into two or three huddle spaces. The room needs a software codec — such as the Google platform or Skype Business etc — a smaller monitor and, bingo!, you have a quick and cheap way of communicating. Client-facing rooms will remain larger and more impressive but in-house rooms are all four- or five-person huddle spaces. The best huddle space AV box I saw was the Biamp Devio [see our review later this issue]. This was one of the smartest moves I’ve seen from a manufacturer in a long time — they’ve really got that one right. The success of Devio comes with Biamp really addressing the challenges of huddle space AV by thinking: ‘this thing has got to set up really quickly’. They’ve developed a system that has the minimum amount of cabling and a really good piece of audio. People are all talking about 4K video forgetting you can do without video entirely and still run a conference but you absolutely need audio. So Biamp has attacked it from the audio perspective. One of those huddle rooms with a screen shouldn’t take any more than two guys three hours to set up, all with a minimum of cabling and a minimum of tools. That was the Biamp thought process and it’s very impressive. QSC SHAKES IT UP
QSC has been around for years, and has for many years been the leader in the application of DSP and moving audio about in large installations. Rich Zweibel invented Cobranet and heads up QSC’s QSys, with QSys the preferred system in
just about every Disney theme park… Warner Bros Movieworld uses it on the Gold Coast as well. It’s a product that works; it’s enterprise grade. So it’s interesting to see QSC begin to move into the world of SMB, and they’re beginning to rattle a few cages. The reason is QSys provides proper control over audio — it’s a fabulous IP transport system. Now you’ve got companies like BSS making their systems QSys-capable, and that’s a trend that’ll continue. Audio is a very big component of anything we do and traditionally it has not been given enough priority. Saying that, I think this is the first show where I’ve felt that audio has been properly prioritised. LASER BATTLES
It’s been interesting to see the large projector manufacturers frantically releasing lampfree product. Laser projection is still young enough for the jury to be out. I noticed market progenitors, Casio, had a spot on its stand for one of its projectors that was 18,000 hours into its promised 20,000-hour half-life, but mostly we don’t know how long these projectors will last. I think there’s a smaller battle of terminology going
QSC's QSys, long the darling of the large-scale audio install, is hitting the boardroom, with integrators taking note.
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on: ‘lamp free’ isn’t ‘maintenance free’ — the two are not the same, they mean two different things. The lamp-free device means you don’t have to change the globe. But let’s not forget that there are filters that need to be cleaned every so often, so it still requires maintenance. The projectors that are ‘maintenance free’, and I can only point to Panasonic in this case, use a completely sealed unit, so you don’t have to go up and change anything. Universities are probably the biggest customers of lamp-free projection. But if you’re hanging a projector 15m up into a school hall, you really want maintenance-free operation, not just lamp-free. Older laser projection also suffers from colour degradation. You may not need to change the lamp, but you may well need to change the phosphor wheel, or put up with much degraded colour performance. There’s a cost to all this, and warranty implications. BIG DISPLAYS
LG had the standout booth at ISE. LG captured the imagination of everyone with its curved and double-sided OLED displays — everyone was talking about it. LG used very saturated images on its OLED screens… and why not? They look brilliant. But give us a price, we want to buy OLED now! Samsung had its own hall but weren’t as impressive. There was the clear video wall — a nice option… but is it available? It’s amazing how many customers think the world of Hollywood and HBO is reality. ‘No sir, you can’t have a giant transparent wall on which to conduct your investigation, a la CSI.’ Not sure if Samsung is helping our cause of managing expectations or not! As for OLED, let’s just get our hands on it as soon as possible. The biggest problem we have with screens and installing them is the weight and the size of the screen. The first problem with taking a 90-something-inch screen (or even a 75inch screen) into a multi-storey building, is fitting it into the lift. Then it’s got to get out of the lift and around the corner and probably be mounted on a stud wall, which is not going to take the weight and requires reinforcement. Along comes OLED, and I could even use double-sided tape to stick it to the wall. If I don’t want it there I can use removable double-sided sticky tape and put in the next room when required. The weight is akin to hanging a picture on the wall. How does it work in other applications? Clearglass ‘whiteboards’ are popular at the moment — where you ‘write’ on the glass overlay with the screen behind it. OLED will be great for that application. Foyer art is another big area. And I understand LG is planning on releasing OLED screens with a multi-touch overlay as a bundle, which would be very well received.
ONCE IN A 10-YEAR SHOW
My parting impression of ISE was it had a lot more design and creativity about it. The Americans don’t mix product too much but the Europeans pick the right product for the right job, and it doesn’t matter what the brand is so long as it is the right product for the application. I’d go as far to say that I think ISE 2016 was one of the most important shows the industry’s had in the last 10 years: the sheer number of attendees, the number of exhibitors, and the ability to talk meaningfully with the exhibitors was awesome. And to return to the key theme of AV over IT: I agree wholeheartedly with the sentiment expressed at the recent AMX/AVT conference. If companies aren’t getting IT staff on board, they’re in trouble. A show like ISE has to reflect how we’re changing as an industry and I believe it does, that’s the feedback I was hearing from international integrators. For example, I chatted to the head of one large integration firm in Europe who had fired all his AV sales people — he now has only IT sales people selling AV. And he has 200 of them on staff. But the key is, they’re getting into clients’ IT departments and talking to the IT guys and walking away with sales that don’t go to tender and don’t go out to quote, they’re just happening because the IT department was happy. As this man said: all his IT guys know how to talk to the CTO and get to the right person. Sure, he has to educate these ex-IT sales guys in the ways of AV and he has to maintain his core group of AV engineers in the background, but he’s having great success. Changing times. Paul Van der Ent’s opinions aren’t necessarily shared by the publisher. If you would like to yell at Paul, email the editor (email@example.com) and he’ll (happily) pass it on.
Client-facing rooms will remain larger and more impressive but in-house rooms are all four- or five-person huddle spaces
LG’s OLED displays (as seen at Seoul airport) were arguably the stars of the show.
LED: HERE’S THE PITCH There was a lot of companies doing really interesting stuff with LED. The pixel pitch size has really come down. The smallest I saw there was 0.95mm, but even at a 2.75mm pixel pitch (an unimaginable figure only a few years ago), well, that’s still pretty impressive. People are doing a lot of architectural features with LED — I noticed plenty in the Euro airports, for example — and using the technology well.
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A Step Up Tiered teaching spaces are commonplace in higher education. But an AVIA awardwinning project has re-imagined how they might function. Text:/ Derek Powell Photos:/ Jason Smith Photography
-SALT isn’t just something you find in the air at the sub-tropical campus of the University of the Sunshine Coast (USC). In this case, we are referring to the University’s Centre for Support and Advancement of Learning & Teaching, which is helping prove that innovation in teaching doesn’t have to come with a million-dollar audiovisual price tag. The University’s Tiered Teaching Space (part of a new Learning & Teaching Hub) took out the AVIA Award for ‘Best Application of AV in Education ($100k – $500k)’ by re-imagining what could be done in a tiered teaching space. Peter Coman, the energetic managing director of InDesign Technologies, worked closely with C-SALT and the architects (Hassell) as well as the University’s IT division to produce the cleverly integrated technology design that provides a new experience for USC students. BURSTING INTO TIERS
This was the first tiered teaching space at USC and the academics were keen to produce a space that matched the ethos of the new Learning & Teaching Hub, which included learning spaces based around simulation suites (for nursing education) and an immersive visualisation suite that featured a 270° projection surface. So while the new space is tiered, with a dual projection wall at the front, it is not at all like a traditional stepped lecture theatre and there are no rows of closely-spaced tablet-arm chairs. Instead, the room is designed around 14 group tables, each seating five or six students. Rather than traditional lecture or tutorial formats, this space is optimised for ‘problem-based’ learning where up to 75 students work collaboratively in smaller groups. SHARING IS CARING
The audiovisual technology is a key enabler here. Students are able to share their work by plugging in their own devices (up to six laptops, tablets or phones) to each table display or work together on the supplied ‘house’ PC. At each desk, a simple pushbutton interface controls a Crestron
Command & Control: The lectern with a fixed PC and laptop inputs; an Elmo document camera and a Samsung Blu-ray/ DVD player. A Crestron TPMCV15 15-inch touch panel provides preview and control. Shure ULX wireless and an EV gooseneck takes care of the audio. (Right) A simple pushbutton interface controls the Crestron HDMD8X1 eight-input HDMI switcher which selects one of the students BYO devices or the house PC. A Crestron matrix switcher integrates all 14 tables with the lectern source and outputs a DM feed to the scaler/receiver at each projector.
HDMD8X1 eight-input HDMI switcher that selects one of the BYO devices or the house PC. The selected source is then displayed on the local monitor and also sent via a DMTX201C transmitter across a twisted pair link to a Crestron 32x32 matrix switcher located in the adjacent equipment room. The matrix switcher integrates all 14 table outputs with the inputs from the academic’s sources at the lectern and outputs a DM feed to the scaler/receiver at each projector. Each of the two projectors are Epson EB-G6900 6000-lumen full HD projectors. These provide quality, high-brightness images even with relatively bright ambient light. A MediaSite capture appliance allows sessions in the room to be recorded using a Panasonic PTZ camera feed along with a selected screen output sourced from the matrix switcher. LECTERN & AUDIO
The lectern is fully equipped with a fixed PC and laptop inputs; an Elmo document camera and a Samsung Blu-ray/DVD player. A Crestron TPMCV15 15-inch touch panel provides preview as well as plenty of space for an elegant and intuitive control surface. Though there are more facilities than a typical USC teaching space, care was taken to keep the control layout to the same style as other rooms, making it easier for the academics to find the functions they need. Scene-based lighting control is available at the touch panel and this is supplemented by simple push button lighting control panels at each entrance door. To ensure effective audio recording of sessions in the room, and to enable real-time interactions, each student desk is equipped with an Electrovoice PC Desktop-18 gooseneck microphone featuring a push-to-talk switch. Incidentally, the ‘PC’ designation refers to ‘polar choice’ as this versatile
unit can be switched between omni, cardioid, supercardioid, or hypercardioid patterns. At the lectern, there’s another EV gooseneck, plus Shure ULX-D handheld and lapel radio microphones and a desktop charger. An Electrovoice NetMax 8000 takes care of mixing, distribution and DSP duties with its 24x8 configuration allowing capacity for future expansion of the system. A pair of Bose FreeSpace DS100SE speakers take on front of house duties, fed by a Crestron power amplifier. Hearing assistance is capably provided by a Williams Sound TX-75 infrared transmitter. SALT ’N’ PATCHBAY
InDesign’s Peter Coman emphasises that the technical design evolved as a collaboration with C-SALT and the University’s IT department. “We worked hand in glove with USC to ensure they were involved in every step of the process; including equipment evaluations and regular design meetings,” he stated. “We wanted USC to be absolutely comfortable and certain about the equipment specified and to have the peace of mind that it would meet their performance expectations.” As with other spaces in the Learning & Teaching Hub, Peter included extensive patch panels in his design for the equipment room. These serve a couple of functions: first, they allow ready access to both the inputs and outputs of the matrix switchers so that tie lines can be used to link rooms in the Learning Hub together. Virtually any source in the building can be patched to a display in any room. Secondly, they allow easy replacement of equipment in the future. While input devices and even matrix switchers may change and evolve, it is likely the structured cabling backbone of the installation will serve several generations of hardware. Speaking of cabling, the rack wiring, installed
by Programmed Electrical Technologies, has been beautifully executed with impeccable looms that are a joy to behold. COLLABORATIVE HABIT
While thoughtful design and careful installation are crucial, the real measure of a project’s success has to be how well it is received by the users. C-SALT’s Dr Ruth Greenaway participated in the development process and is now involved in a research project, which is examining just how the facilities impact the student learning experience. She is enthusiastic about how well the new space has been received by both students and academics. “Students just love it,” she said. “At the moment we have academics jostling to be the ones using it!” Dr Greenaway has used the ‘photovoice’ approach to collecting feedback from both students and academics. She has encouraged them to take a photo of aspects of the room they find helpful in their learning or teaching and add a brief reflection describing how each aspect helped (or didn’t help) the learning process. Using the feedback, she has put together some guidelines for how academics and students can get the most from the new facility. From the overwhelmingly positive feedback, Dr Greenaway is confident about the prospect for more spaces of this kind, pointing out that the University has just agreed to develop a new campus in the growing shire of Moreton on Brisbane’s northern outskirts. She expects many of the learning spaces in the new campus to draw from the experience at the Learning Hub. She summed up the value of the project very succinctly: “We just need more of these rooms — we need more collaboration opportunities for students… That’s the way students learn these days.”
EQUIPMENT Control 3x Crestron Cameo keypads 1x Crestron 15-inch touchscreen 14x Crestron 10 button keypads 1x Crestron CP3 processor 1x Crestron 8-port Cresnet hub 3x Takex PIRs Switching 1x Crestron DM 32x32 matrix 3x Crestron DM scalers 17x Crestron DM transmitters 14x Crestron 8x1 HDMI switchers Video 2x Epson G6900 projectors 1x Panasonic HE60 PTZ camera 1x Dell PC 15x Dell 23-inch touchscreens 14x Lenovo Tiny PCs 1x Elmo P30HD visualiser 1x Samsung BluRay 1x Mediasite lecture capture Audio 1x ElectroVoice N8000-1500 DSP 1x Crestron 3x210W amplifier 2x Bose DS100SE speakers 1x Williams TX75 IR transmitter 5x Williams IR receivers 15x ElectroVoice gooseneck microphones 1x Shure ULXD Dual-channel receiver 2x Shure ULXD Wireless transmitters 1x Shure SBC200 charger 1x Shure WL185 microphone Power 1x Crestron 16-port DM power supply 1x APC SmartUPS 5000kVA UPS 1x APC bypass switch 1x APC 24-port 16Amp power rails w/ temp and humidly 3x Hallam 8-way horizontal power rails Infrastructure 1x Cisco 8-port PoE+ switch 2x ADC Krone 24-port patch panels ADC Krone Cat6A STP cabling Extron HDMI cabling 1x 45U rack 3x Custom floor boxes 1x Bluegum lectern Lighting Control 1x Crestron DIN-AP2 1x Crestron DIN-DALI-2 1x Crestron DIN-8SW8 1x Crestron DIN-PWS50 1x Crestron DIN-distribution block InDesign Technologies: 1300 468 478 www.indesigntechnologies.com.au
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Industry Update AV CALENDAR
SET YOUR BENCHMARK: GET CTS CERTIFIED The 2014 AV Market Definition & Strategy Study has revealed that in 2016, the Asia Pacific market is to become the largest AV market in the world with a 36.5 percent share. The trend is increasingly shifting toward a service-based model, especially in Australia where customers are willing to pay for high-level services. As a result, there is a strong need to train and provide highly skilled AV individuals who have developed sufficient professional expertise to perform AV-related trades and job roles. No academic higher education programs currently exist to cater to aspiring AV professionals, unless one includes media or broadcast engineering studies. These related disciplines however seem to only touch a small percentage of AV technology. Gaining in-depth expertise of how to conduct general AV management, or how to design or integrate complex audiovisual systems that suit your clients’ needs and budget, provides individuals and AV companies with the self-confidence and ability to perform their clients’ projects. It also increases clients’ confidence in the provided services. The InfoComm Certified Technology Specialist (CTS) program aims to set the bar for pro AV-related professions worldwide by defining what good AV knowledge should be comprised of. InfoComm specialises in audiovisual education and has administered the CTS program for over 30 years. With now 10,000 CTS holders registered, the CTS program is recognised worldwide as the leading AV professional credential. The program provides independent evaluation of AV knowledge and skills through written assessment. CTS candidates are offered free practice exams and other resources that help them prepare for the exam. Obtaining a CTS certification will equip them with the necessary credibility among customers and colleagues. By proving that their professional skill set is at a demonstrated level of experience, they will be able to open doors to exciting career paths and increase their value. “Studying for the InfoComm CTS – General certification has helped me achieve in-depth AV knowledge. I am able to put these skills to use on the job every day,” says Mikhel Pulk, CTS, AV integrator. “I am honoured to be a member of the InfoComm CTS community and look forward to delving into the InfoComm CTS-I program to get a deeper understanding of AV system integration.” CHOOSE YOUR EXPERTISE FIELD InfoComm offers three types of certification: CTS – General (CTS), CTS-D – AV - System Design Specialisation, and CTS-I – AV System Installation Specialisation. All three certifications are ANSI accredited under the International Organisation of Standardisation (ISO) and
the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) ISO/ IEC 17024:2012. A Certified Technology Specialist (CTS) is capable of performing general technology solutions tasks, such as the creation, operation and service of AV solutions, as well as conducting AV management activities that provide the best audiovisual solutions for the client. A Certified Technology Specialist – Design (CTS-D) is an AV systems designer who has demonstrated the necessary knowledge to assess clients’ needs, designs AV systems, prepares AV design documents and collaborates with a team of AV professionals to develop AV systems. A Certified Technology Specialist – Installation (CTS-I) is able to install, troubleshoot and maintain audiovisual systems by following specifications, schematics, codes and safety protocols. INCREASE YOUR VALUE & GAIN RECOGNITION Successful CTS candidates are entitled to use the CTS, CTS-D or CTS-I post-nominal, which will signify that they have: • Achieved a mastery of required AV knowledge and skills • Demonstrated their capability to apply these skills and knowledge in the workplace • Made a commitment to adhere to a strict code of ethics and conduct as well as to continuous professional development (CPD) Developing and proving solid AV knowledge plays an important role in building a competitive advantage of a company through its people. Thus it can be said that individual AV professionals and AV companies with CTS professionals on their team show commitment to excellence, competency, experience and ethical behaviour. For more details on the InfoComm CTS program, visit infocomm.org
InfoComm Las Vegas, June 7-10 www.infocommshow.org Integrate Sydney, August 23-25 www.integrate-expo.com InfoComm India Mumbai, September 12-14 www.infocomm-india.com PLASA London, September 18-20 www.plasashow.com AES Los Angeles, September 29–Oct 2 www.aes.org/events LDI Las Vegas, October 17-23 www.ldishow.com SMPTE Hollywood, October 24-28 www.smpte.org InfoComm Middle East & Africa Dubai, December 6-8 www.infocomm-mea.com
Audio Checklist How to Verify Audio System Performance
InfoComm International has a vast range of educational resources available. For more information regarding InfoComm in this region contact Jason York at firstname.lastname@example.org
ou developed an audio system for a client which took many hours to perfect. You step back, gaze upon your masterpiece and nod in satisfaction. You’re finished, right? Not so fast. Before you can hand over the system to the client you need to verify that its performance meets requirements — and doing so involves more than just the system itself. Not only do you need to test the system, but you should also verify that the project is in compliance with industry norms. How do you do that in an organised and sequential manner? Needless to say, no two audio systems are the same. There are many different aspects which might require verification, depending on the installation. Here are just five items which might need your attention: EMERGENCY SYSTEM MUTING
Making sure that a muting system works properly is key, should the need to use it arise. Proper testing of such a system typically occurs at three stages of the project: the pre-integration phase, the systems integration phase and the post-integration phase. Verifying a system in the second and third phases usually entails some kind of simulation and checking to see if the audio system mutes on command. BUZZ & RATTLES
Buzzing, rattling and other annoying noises impact the quality of a sound system experience. To check for audible rattling you need to simulate the conditions which may trigger it and operate the system at 3dB below the onset of distortion. The same can be done to test for buzzing, but without playback or reinforcement. The system either passes or fails your test. REVERBERATION
Reverberation time (RT), or the time it takes the sound pressure level of a particular frequency or frequencies to decay by 60dB, is an important measure of sound performance in a space. It’s vital you properly evaluate the reverberation in a room early in the project, because correcting the issue after building works are complete is almost certainly going to be costly. Different factors
affect reverberation, such as room materials and their placement. Testing reverberation time requires an impulse noise, and an SPL meter with RT capability or a specialised RT analyser. Depending on the location, it should comply with one or more standards. ACOUSTICAL AMBIENT NOISE
Whether you’re in a conference room or a large venue, ambient noise is a big factor in the AV experience. Too much ambient noise can greatly affect the effectiveness of your sound system. Ambient noise can include sounds from neighbouring rooms, HVAC systems or outside noise. AV equipment itself can be a source of ambient noise. To ensure accurate analysis, tests should be performed under normal operating conditions. HVAC systems should be operating normally, with windows and doors opened and closed to replicate different scenarios. With the sound system muted, analyse the noise using an SPL meter and/or spectrum analyser. Report the results and compare them with the recommended noise criteria. MIC PHYSICAL ALIGNMENT & PLACEMENT
When setting up microphones be mindful of their actual placement. Unlike the items listed above a formal test isn’t required here, but it is something to think about. To determine if your microphone placement is ideal ask the following questions: • Are the microphones in the locations specified in the system documentation? • Are the microphones close enough to the sound source being captured? • Are the microphones aimed in the proper direction? • Is the proper microphone type used in the right location (e.g. cardioid, omnidirectional)? • Are the microphones aimed away from loudspeakers — and at a proper distance — to avoid feedback? • Are ceiling microphones installed in a lownoise environment where the desired sound (speech, music) is louder than the background noise? UP TO STANDARD
These are just five things to verify before an audio system is really ‘complete’. The InfoComm International standard, ANSI/INFOCOMM 10:2013, Audiovisual Systems Performance Verification includes 31 verification items pertaining to audio systems including areas such
as capturing, processing, and reproducing sound; audio signal management; acoustic environments; and loudspeaker operations. Of course, the audio system is often just one piece of a complete AV installation. The standard includes 160 verification items in total. To help you navigate and implement them InfoComm volunteers have published the Audiovisual Systems Performance Verification Guide. It includes even more guidance on the five audio items discussed here. The guide ensures functionality and performance in accordance with a system’s project documentation by outlining the verification reporting process from start to finish. Download it from http:// www.infocomm.org/cps/rde/xchg/infocomm/ hs.xsl/35975.htm today and make sure your AV systems — including the audio systems — are operating at peak performance.
Studio Technologies Model 5202 & 5205 Dante Audio Interfaces Text:/ Brad Watts
n less enlightened times, moving audio signals from one place to another involved weighty looms of copper cabling. Copper cable has its downsides, however. There’s a restriction in just how far one can go with copper without losing fidelity. It’s also carries inherent noise issues, and, over larger distances, capacitance concerns and electromagnetic interference can creep in. It’s also bulky, and consequently heavy. And have I mentioned the price? It’s a commodity — traded on exchanges just like silver and gold. Copper has had its day for audio transfer. In our more enlightened times, we disperse high quality audio over already established ethernet IP networks — over standard Cat5/6 cable and optical fibre. This can be done over kilometres, with thousands of channels suffering next to zero loss of fidelity. A number of systems have appeared during the last few years; some proprietary, and others based on ‘open systems’. One proprietary system which has all but cornered the market is Audinate’s Dante. Since its inception a mere eight years ago, Dante (Digital Audio Network Through Ethernet), has become a go-to standard for the audio install industry, and is quickly making its way into the studio and live sound markets with approximately 150 hardware companies licensing the technology — SSL, Yamaha and Mackie, to name but a few. MODEL BEHAVIOUR
One such licensee is Studio Technologies. The company primarily services the audio and broadcast industry supplying fibreoptic transport, intercom and IFB interfaces, announcer consoles, and monitor control systems.
Two Studio Technologies devices have landed on my desk: the Model 5202 line and headphone audio output interface, and the Model 5205 audio input interface. Both units are ruggedly built using 1.5mm steel casings and can be bolted into place using the optional mounting kit. Unfortunately, I can’t find provision for a rackmounting kit, although the optional mounting kits could be bolted onto rack shelves. They’re both quite small — 10.7 x 4.3 x 13cm — small enough (and light enough at 350gm) to carry as a backup and testing interface. These devices require power over ethernet (PoE), so will stipulate either a dedicated PoE injector, or connection to a PoE-endowed switch. Both are classed as ‘very low-power’ devices (≤3.84W). Four LEDs on the rear of each unit show PoE, Sync, Link/Act (signifying an active connection to a 100Mb/s network), and SYS to signify the unit’s awareness of a Dante network. Network connection to the devices is via Neutrik EtherCon RJ45 connectors. Audio connection to each is via the equally-bulletproof Neutrik XLR connectors. MODEL 5202: OUT
The 5202 interface sounds very good, and handles up to 24-bit/96k data. Dynamic range is stated as ≥100 dB (A-weighted). Suffice it to say, these specs will cover the intended uses admirably — as a general-use set of audio outputs or for testing audio-based networks. The front panel sports seven-segment LED meters and a 3.5mm headphone output jack — this can also be used as a two-channel unbalanced line output and is mirrored on the rear of the unit as a 6.5mm jack. As mentioned, the balanced outputs are good ol’ Neutrik XLRs. Both headphone and
line out levels are adjustable at the front panel via push-in/push-out potentiometers – simply set your level then push the pot so it recedes into the front panel – avoiding inadvertent alteration of the output levels. MODEL 5205: IN
The Model 5205 is for audio input. The unit will accept line as well as mic level signal. The electronically balanced mic preamps are a very ‘honest’ sounding design, with a frequency response covering up to 40kHz when sampling at 96k (20kHz when at 48kHz). THD+N figures are impressive, at 0.0001% (40dB gain) with a dynamic range of 114dB (again, A-weighted). Phantom 48V power is selectable for each channel, with a nice blue LED signifying status. these buttons also allow you to lock the unit’s settings — hold down both 48V buttons for two seconds and the unit’s settings will be locked — hold down again to unlock. Setting gain levels (and 48V) is via the front panel with simple miniature pushbutton, one button for up, the other for down. These provide plenty of tactile feedback with a solid ‘click’ when prodded, and six-segment LEDs depict the gain setting for each channel. At the middle of the front panel are left and right, eight-segment LEDs for output level. These show modified VU-style ballistics, as one would prefer when setting microphone levels. All settings are remembered by the unit when power cycled. Should you be running multiple 5205s, you can identify each unit via the Dante Controller app – hitting the ‘Identify’ command will make the selected 5205’s VU LEDs present a short ‘throbbing’ light show. The 5205’s features aren’t set in stone — a USB port at the rear is for
upgrading the firmware, and Studio Technologies point out future upgrades will add remote control for all functions. TOOL KIT
There’s little to fault with either of the Studio Technologies units. They’re small enough to be kept in your toolkit, and small enough to hide among installations, both out of sight and away from prying fingers. Both operate via power over ethernet and the almost comprehensive control via Dante Controller software (bring on remote control please) make the 5202 and 5205 devices compelling solutions for multiple scenarios. Add more-than-adequate sonic integrity to the mix and you’ve got a Dante portal for every occasion.
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MORE INFO Madison Technologies: 1800 00 77 80 madisontech.com.au Price: 5202: $1040 ex GST; 5205: $1310 ex GST Pros Solidly built Respectable audio quality Reliable Dante Cons No rackmount kit Bring on remote control
• Industry News • Comment
Less Hiss, More Huddle Beamforming Microphone Arrays Want better results from huddle space VC sound? Reach for a smarter microphone. Text:/ Derek Powell
ideoconferencing (or VC for short) was once the domain of experts. Videoconference endpoints (or codecs) cost tens of thousands of dollars and were connected by dedicated data lines. Codecs were housed in special-purpose rooms rented out at hundreds of dollars an hour and were generally staffed by expert operators who ensures the experience was worth the asking price. Then came Skype. Skype took all the complex functions of coding and decoding video (formerly handled by dedicated hardware) and implemented it all in a software package that could run on an average desktop PC. Skype made things easy by using the computer’s existing monitor and speakers, and either its built-in camera and microphone or a webcam.
Skype opened the floodgates to videoconferencing for anyone, everywhere. Now anyone sitting in front of a laptop could use the internet and check-in with the wife ’n’ kids, even nan and pa could make it work provided they too had a PC with a camera, speakers and a mic. The sound was pretty scratchy and the picture was jerky but, hey, it was free! It didn’t take long before business and education wanted in on the action. Instead of expensive videoconference rooms, they wanted to connect from wherever they were — from classrooms, meeting rooms or the desktop. So along came a flood of new software that took the basic Skype experience and beefed it up with content sharing, multi-way conferencing and more. A swarm of vendors provided solutions
such as WebEx, Go-to-Meeting, Vidyo, Zoom and many more that allowed real videoconference interactions with little more than a laptop or a PC and webcam at each end. Eventually, even Microsoft couldn’t resist throwing its hat into the ring. It acquired Skype and built its own PC-based videoconferencing solution, which eventually turned into Skype for Business. KNOW YOUR LIMITS
Laptop-based videoconferencing is great, provided there’s only one or two people gathered around at each end. But plonk your laptop down in the office ‘huddle space’ with half a dozen people round the table and things can quickly get ugly. Cameras aren’t an issue – webcams are cheap and now even PTZ cameras come in a handy
plug-in form. But nothing cruels a VC faster than bad sound. Up close to a laptop, the built-in mic does a fair job but if you’ve got a full table of participants, it simply won’t cut it. MEETING ROOM MIC OPTIONS
On the Table: Desktop VC mics have been around a while but with Devio’s beamforming array they’ve got a lot smarter. Also Look At: Shure’s MXA tabletop solution.
A purpose-built videoconference room might well have a gooseneck microphone with a PTT switch for each participant. It works well, but only if people remember to push the button and the unit does take up a lot of valuable space on the table. It is well suited to council chambers or the UN but a little clunky for most boardrooms and meeting rooms. The next most popular option would be PZM (or boundary) mics on (or built into) the table — preferably with an auto-mixer to open up the microphone in use and shut down the others to keep ambient noise down. Hands down the biggest problem here is people dumping a sheaf of papers on top of the mic because they didn’t notice it was there, or didn’t recognise it as a microphone. The least obtrusive solution to audio pickup in a boardroom or meeting room is to use an array of microphones mounted on the ceiling. Using a ceiling mount gets the mics off the table so they can’t be accidentally covered up, moved to the wrong place or otherwise abused. It also (in most cases) keeps the microphone reasonably equidistant from each participant. The best solutions I have used so far involve a microphone array coupled to a dedicated DSP. The unit constantly monitors the soundfield to determine who is speaking and their location with respect to the array. Having worked out where that participant is located, the DSP then combines several of the microphone elements at once to simulate the beam-shaped pickup of a highlydirectional shotgun mic. This will optimise the pickup from that participant’s location and, by switching some elements out of phase, reject spurious sound from other directions. While the best of these are very good indeed, they are large, expensive, and require significant skill to install. Microphone arrays are ideal for a boardroom, but too expensive and complex to use for the average meeting room or huddle space. Until now. Audio solutions for huddle spaces, especially audio-for-PC-based videoconference devices, are leaping into the market from every direction. From this constellation of choice, we’ve decided to take a closer look at a couple of recent arrivals that approach the conundrum from two different directions. DEVIO: TABLING INTELLIGENCE
Off the Table: Using a ‘soundbar’ form factor, Condor gets the beamforming mic array off the table and the cables off the floor.
Biamp, well known for its reliable and costeffective DSP solutions, has entered the fray with a carefully thought through huddle space solution called Devio. It’s more than just a beamforming microphone. Devio aims to provide an ultrasimple connection solution so you can bring your
BIAMP DEVIO VITAL STATS Biamp Devio Beam-forming Conference Microphone Neat appearance – big enough to be noticed but small enough to fit compact spaces Very natural sound quality with good presence and superior echo cancellation One-connection solution (USB) for BYO device connection to room infrastructure Could do with better isolating feet on microphone unit Price
$3,399.00 inc. GST (RRP)
Hills Ltd Phone: 1800 720 000 Website: www.biamp.com/products/devio/index.aspx
USB 3.0 Video out and Audio In/ Out (to PC) 2 × USB 3.0 (for additional peripherals) 1 × USB 2.0 (VC Camera) Devio DTM-1 Microphone (Cat5/6)
Audio Line Out Speaker Output (20W) 2 × HDMI Out (Monitors)
Ethernet Analogue Telephone In/Out bridging jack
Dimensions (mm) [W×H×D]
Microphone: 56 × 130 × 121 DSP Electronics: 46 × 284 × 175
Microphone: 0.27 Electronics: 0.93
laptop from your desk to a huddle space (or a small- to medium-size meeting room) and plug in just one cable to connect up to the camera, display, microphone and speakers. What’s more, its core audio technology was developed right here in Australia. Though I suspect it is not widely known locally, Biamp has an engineering, design and support office in Brisbane which is responsible for both the Vocia and the Devio product lines. It’s quite a story and we’ll be bringing you more on this facility in a future issue. After an impressive demonstration of Devio by the development engineers at the Australian engineering facility, AV Asia Pacific obtained a production unit for review. UNBOXING DEVIO
Opening up the compact Devio carton reveals the CS-1 processor unit, along with a neat undertable mounting clip and a power brick; the six-sided DTM-1 microphone unit itself; a couple of adaptor plugs for the speaker and phone interfaces and a USB3 A-type to C-type patch cable. After examining the compact, pyramidshaped microphone unit, I admit I had to go searching online to find out where to connect it. Though no clue is given in either the quick start guide, the brochure, or the datasheet, the bottom plate simply pops off by hooking a finger through the opening in the baseplate and giving a tug. It is ridiculously simple once you know how. Inside there are a pair of RJ45 sockets with a couple of handy wire guides that should ensure the bend
The Devio system includes the CR-1 electronics unit and one or two DTM-1 beamforming microphone units.
radius of the cable isn’t exceeded as you thread it through to the side exit hole. You’ll need a cat5 patch cable (up to 15m is supported) to hook up to the CR-1 processor, where the DSP is located. Once plugged in, the three green LEDs on the microphone light up reassuringly. Following the setup guide, I connected a powered speaker (my trusty Yamaha MS101) to the back panel RCA outputs on the CR-1 and plugged in a Logitech webcam to the front panel. Up to two room display monitors can also be hooked up to the HDMI outputs. The CR-1 is designed to act as a central connection point for all the audio and video components installed in the meeting space. And it has another trick up its sleeve. With the right drivers, you only need a single connection from your laptop to connect video and audio in/ out. Using DisplayLink driver software and a USB3.0 connection you can send video to up to two displays across a single USB cable – along with the webcam input and the all-important microphone in, and far-end audio out! With the USB cable hooked up to my laptop, it took only a few moments for my PC to identify the CR-1 and pronounce itself ‘good to go’. Checking the Windows Sound Control Panel, I found Devio listed under both the playback and recording tabs as an ‘Echo Cancelling Speakerphone’, so I set it as the default communication device under both tabs. The next task was to initiate the auto setup which required casting around for a paperclip to activate the recessed micro switch on the back
panel. The auto setup took a minute or two and started with an announcement enjoining me to ‘please be quiet’ while the system played a series of chimes, followed by a couple of bursts of white noise as it set the microphone and speaker levels for optimum reproduction. After a minute or so, the voice came back, reassuring me that ‘auto setup was successful and complete!’ [hopefully announced in our best Brisvegas accent — Ed.]. RIGHTIO: TESTING DEVIO
I then opened a videoconference session to another conference room and conducted some listening tests using both speakers and headphones. I tried a couple of different codecs before settling on standard Skype as being probably the most representative. The main testing session was carried out with a broadband connection measured at better than 30Mbps (up and downlink) to ensure we had no artifacts due to restricted bandwidth. With the single DTM-1 microphone unit placed in the centre of the table, the quality of voice reproduction was immediately obvious. Devio uses six of its eight elements to form three 120° directional beams that cover the full 360° around the table, zeroing in on any participant. The other two elements provide height information so Devio can aim its beams upwards for a standing presenter or down for seated participants. By listening carefully with headphones, the transitions between beams as different participants spoke (and even when they stood up), could just be discerned but were never obtrusive or obvious.
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PHOENIX CONDOR VITAL STATS Simplifies cabling with all VC equipment in one location and no cabling to conference table Produces consistent, intelligible speech from all participants Room acoustics can limit performance Contact
Madison Technologies Phone: 1800 00 77 80 Website: www.madisontech.com.au
$2,668.60 inc. GST (RRP)
Speaker In (Analogue) Audio In (from monitor) Optical
USB (audio-only to PC) Audio Out (Optical)
Speaker Out (loop from Speaker In)
Ethernet (control and SIP)
6.4cm diameter, 122cm long
Devio could also handle speech from two directions, or rapid fire back and forth across the table, by activating two beams at once, so intelligibility was never compromised. Biamp’s echo suppression (that also features in other products such as Nexia and Tesira) was absolutely faultless. Once the auto setup had worked its magic, the result was true duplex communication between both ends of the VC — even when both ends spoke at once, there was no level ducking typical of less sophisticated echo cancellation algorithms. With the microphone relatively close on the tabletop there was an excellent presence to the sound and the wide frequency response ensured very natural-sounding speech. Devio even has the ability to add a second microphone, daisy chained from the first, to handle longer tables or more participants. The only weakness I could find was that mechanical noise transmitted through the table into the mic a little too easily, with every vibration clearly audible. The DTM-1 has a rubber nonslip base but it is too thin to provide much in the way of isolation. CONDOR: SOLUTION OFF THE TABLE
There’s no doubt the optimum position acoustically speaking for a smart VC microphone is right in the middle of the action, on the meeting room table. But it’s equally certain that it’s not always possible to achieve when you’re using a laptop or a PC as your VC appliance. Inevitably the main display in a meeting room is mounted on the wall, while the table is in the centre of the room. This means running camera and video display connections across the floor from the laptop to the display (tricky when the USB webcam connection and the HDMI video cable both need to be as short as possible) or figuring out how to run microphone
The Phoenix Audio Technologies Condor MT600 comes with brackets to allow mounting on a wall or a stand for mounting on any flat surface. The 15 microphone elements in Condor are configured to form a beam in one of seven different directions.
cables across to the table. An ideal solution would see the monitor, speakers, camera and microphone all closely mounted on the wall with the laptop or a PC placed on a credenza underneath. That allows for all the camera, monitor, speakers and microphone connections to be neatly out of sight and not snaking across the floor. Of course, having all the VC components in one place also enables the room to operate with different furniture settings. The table could be removed or folded up while the room is set with, say, 20 chairs in theatrestyle or with desks and chairs classroom-style and retain full two-way sound. Phoenix Audio Technologies, a Californian company specialising in audio solutions for conference rooms and huddle spaces, has devised a neat and effective microphone solution that keeps all the equipment in one location, simplifying installation and eliminating cable clutter. The Condor MT600 is an elegant one-box, beamforming microphone array with all the necessary audio connections for PC-based video or audio conferencing built right in. The 15-element microphone array very much resembles a television soundbar in appearance and is roughly cylindrical at a touch over 1200mm long and 64mm in diameter. It comes with hardware to allow the microphone bar to be installed on the wall or a shelf, typically right below your wallmounted videoconference monitor. That positioning makes good sense for a videoconferencing situation. Typically, during a videoconference, everyone faces the screen so they are all addressing the microphone directly, albeit from a greater distance than if the microphone were in the centre of the conference table. It does, however mean the background noise in the space and the room acoustics play a bigger part in sound quality. Condor won’t provide the same ‘presence’ as on-table microphones, but the
on-board electronics do a good job of reducing the level variations from participants at the front/ back or peripheries of the room. UNBOXING CONDOR
The Condor comes in a neat 1250mm-long triangular package that opens to reveal the microphone bar itself plus a number of accessory boxes holding the mounting hardware, a power supply, the main USB connecting cable and an optical cable. After fitting the two clip-on table stands, the microphone was simply placed on a shelf below the monitor and the supplied USB cable plugged into the test laptop. Condor powered up directly from the USB cable and after a moment or two chimed and flashed its front panel LEDs to indicate that all was well. As recommended in the user manual, I connected an analogue RCA output from the rear panel of the unit to my trusty amplified speaker. Finally I selected the Condor as both speaker and microphone on the laptop Windows Control Panel. The speaker duly responded and a clap in front of the microphone showed as input on the control panel metering. With the setup complete, I initiated a videoconference to check how it sounded. The Condor analyses incoming sound to determine where the talker is located and selects the best ‘lobe’ from the seven fixed patterns available to reduce the effect of ambient noise and reverb. The built-in DSP also implements a number of algorithms to provide noise cancelling, echo cancellation, AGC and a ‘dereverb’ feature. Operating in concert, the DSP certainly improve intelligibility. The test room was set in typical meeting room fashion with a 10-person meeting table lengthwise in the room and the monitor, webcam and microphone on the short wall at one end. From this room (which is acoustically
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In the Air: ClearOne entered the beamforming mic array market early with a top-flight offering. It performs well in the ceilingmount position so beloved by architects but can also be table mounted. Ceilingmount units are better suited to more primo boardroom situations due to the cost and complexity of the install. Also look At: Beyer, Shure and Sennheiser have all put their hat into the ceiling-mounted beamformer ring.
better than typical, being commendably quiet and relatively dead), the maximum range tested was around six metres and the closest seating position was around a metre from the microphone. STRETCHING WINGS: TESTING CONDOR
On test, the same person moved around the room and spoke from the front and back and on each side of the central table. Condor dutifully selected different lobes (indicated by progressively lighting up different LEDS on the front of the microphone) and the processing did an excellent job of keeping both the sound level and the intelligibility quite consistent. Switching between lobes isn’t instantaneous, however, so it doesn’t handle two participants speaking at once (or back and forth in quick succession) quite as well as more elaborate systems. Testing from a different, and much livelier, meeting room highlighted the influence of room acoustics. The sound was a lot more open which meant a little more attention was needed on the part of the far-end listener, but the sound remained remarkably even in level side to side and front to back of the room. The processing kept intelligibility acceptable even from the furthest positions, though it was noticeable that the bandwidth was being restricted somewhat
for the further seats while sound from participants at the closer end of the table was definitely more natural. Echo cancellation in both tests was very good, with no trace of echo at either end. Some ducking was evident when both ends spoke at once, so duplex conversation was just a little restricted. For a baseline comparison with the way most laptop VCs operate, I switched to the webcam’s built-in microphone which was sitting on top of the monitor at the same distance from the table as the Condor. The difference was nothing short of astonishing. While speech from all positions was still audible, it required a significant concentration effort to understand what was said from anywhere more than halfway down the table. Any side chatter or noise from other participants rendered every third or fourth word unintelligible. HUDDLE UP: CONCLUSIONS
Professional microphone coverage at each end of a video or audio conference session is the single best thing you can do to improve a meeting’s productivity. While nearly any other solution is better than simply using the webcam microphone, you should carefully consider exactly how the space is used before deciding on which of the many competing systems suits your application and the way your users work.
Devio is a well featured and beautifully engineered solution for small to medium meeting spaces using PC or laptop-based videoconferencing. It is easy to use and provides close to ideal audio pick-up from participants all around the table. Installation is flexible and simple, allowing for either a ‘house’ PC (or Mac) or a BYOD laptop. The use of USB3.0 as a primary connection is a stroke of genius that eliminates several connector and cable issues at once. Devio’s ability to handle video output as well as audio input via a single USB connection makes it a standout for BYOD situations and easily justifies its asking price. If you can’t cable to the meeting room table, or if the furniture needs to be rearranged for different sessions, the wall-mounted Condor MT600 provides a viable and very neat alternative for a small to medium meeting space. While necessarily lacking the presence of on-table microphones, Condor does a respectable job of providing consistent levels and good intelligibility from all participants, wherever they are in the room. Though Condor provides a SIP dialler and a network connection, it doesn’t handle video, making it a little more suitable for meeting spaces with a fixed PC.
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Termination Common Sensor Approach Text:/ Graeme Hague
V sensors? I’ve got one. It’s in the car port and when I arrive home at night the sensor is supposed turn on a light. What really happens is that I park the ute in pitch black, get out of the car and bash my shin on the towbar, then I do these weird star-jumps and wave my arms in front of the sensor to determine if the stupid thing is working, which plainly it isn’t. Unless, of course, the neighbour’s black cat wanders within a 100m of the sensor anytime after 3am and the damned light turns into a full Pink Floyd concert rig. The reason sensors are so popular is because we don’t want to do anything for ourselves. We want sensors to look, listen, see and think for us, so we don’t have to make any effort. Is it possible we might take this attitude too far? If we let our five basic senses of sight, hearing, touch, smell and even taste be completely substituted by an electronic equivalent, could anything go wrong? Don’t be silly: take off the al foil hat, close the door to that worst-case-scenario bunker and lighten up a little. This is awesome stuff. Think of the potential. MOTION SENSORS: BOGGED DOWN
Motion detectors have long replaced snoozing security guards, making it supposedly impossible to trespass anywhere without being ‘seen’ (apart from my bloody car port). Motion sensors already turn on lights, open gates and occasionally trigger those blowing, hand-drying things in restrooms. With miniaturisation we can put sensors inside the bar fridge to catch that bastard who didn’t bring any beers to the barbecue, or discreetly install one in the toilet to reveal who’s using more than four sheets. The latter is ecological, planetsaving sensor design. Important. Sound sensors come in the form of microphones, of course — and I’ve come up
with yet another brilliant invention (one day our editor is going to recognise my genius). The technology is already available to recognise voices and sounds to trigger desired actions. So I’m working on a ‘television commercial sensor’ that listens to your telly and as soon as an advert comes on, the sound is automatically muted. You’d have to program the undesired content into the sensor first — a sort of convolution reverb impulse for breakfast cereal commercials — but that won’t take long given how frequently networks cycle the same adverts. The end result? You’ll never have to press a Mute button again. That’s real progress. [Okay, genius, there might be something in that — Ed.] TOUCH SENSORS: FOOD FOR THOUGHT
Touch sensors are everywhere. They’re so commonplace you need to think outside the box to come up with unique touch sensor applications — like floor-mounted pressure mats in the queues of fast food outlets. We could seriously tackle the global obesity problem by sensing customers who are overweight and when they reach the head of the line, the digital signage for anything over 500 calories is blacked out. Loud alarms could go off with flashing red lights, and to identify the culprit properly maybe some of those big, pointyfinger hands they use at the football could drop out of the ceiling? Sensor technology plainly has unlimited potential in the health sector. A taste sensor is where things get personal — and we’re not talking about the kind of ‘taste’ that prompts the wearing of Hawaiian shirts or long, white socks with sandals (mind you, that sort of automated alarm system could have a hell of a lot of merit). Instead, imagine being able to capture the taste of absolutely the best food you’ve ever eaten. Like those sausage sizzles out the front of hardware stores on weekends. A bit
like having your DNA sampled or fingerprints taken (how do you get the ink off, by the way?) a sensor could record that fantastic taste and apply the data to your next meal. Rather than needing messy cooking instructions and food processors, you select a menu that includes the aforementioned sizzled sausage sample and simply press ‘Cook This’. Dinner is served perfectly, thanks to sensor technology that’s accurately detected taste. Ingenious. OLFACTORY, OLD SPICE
Smell... now we’re getting tricky. Yes, sensors can detect unwanted chemicals in the air to protect against hazardous gases, but what about actual bad smells? A sensor that’s triggered by unacceptable levels of body odour could be invaluable in certain office workspaces. Gone would be the need for tact, diplomacy and subtle hints like dumping a packet of urinal disinfectant tablets in someone’s briefcase. Instead, the smell sensor with exacting proximity parameters sets off an alarm whenever some smelly bastard walks past — the message is well and truly delivered without a need for any awkward conversations or anybody being embarrassed by some ‘frank’ discussion about hygiene. This is where sensors contribute to providing a harmonious workplace, boosting the economy. As always, I’m open to offers of financial support to develop these ideas. Or maybe we can cut a deal to fix the bloody sensor light in my car port. Graeme Hague is his ideal weight, has the personal hygiene of the Old Spice Man, is parsimonious with his loo roll usage, loves TV, hates ads and accepts all major credit cards.
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