AV Technology Europe
AIR TRAFFIC CONTROL GOES DIGITAL AV TECHNOLOGY EUROPE AWARDS VR IN EDUCATION LASER VS LAMP VS FPD? PRODUCT REVIEW
EVERY PIECE OF AV EQUIPMENT IS A DOORWAY SPECIAL REPORT on the ever increasing threat of cyber attacks and how your AV tech could be putting your company at risk
"IT USED TO TAKE WEEKS TO HACK AN ORGANISATION. NOW IT TAKES SECONDS"
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"IT'S NO LONGER A QUESTION OF IF YOUR BUSINESS IS GOING TO BE HIT, BUT WHEN"
The IP KVM People
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12/03/2018 11:28:40 09/03/2018 22:14:50
Michael Garwood, Editor
LOOKING AT THE FUTURE
ello and welcome to our latest issue academia, VR has the potential to transform the way in which children consume and retain information of AV Technology Europe magazine. forever. It’s a hugely powerful learning tool, and not as So, where on earth do we start? It expensive as you might think (page 60). really has been a whirlwind start to Another form of education, for adults this time, was 2018, with major events such as CES being showcased at ISE and could save lives. The (Vegas), Bett (London), and ISE (Amsterdam) all ‘Fatigue Simulator’ from Holovis was designed to coming in Q1. At times, it’s been difficult to see the recreate the feeling of being tired and (spoiler) falling forest through the trees and I’m still having asleep at the wheel on a busy nightmares of getting lost inside motorway at night. It left me the RAI (ISE venue). But getting and many others physically lost at a major event sometimes “VR has the shaken. Am I a safer driver now? has its benefits. You get to stumble potential to Absolutely. It’s hard to imagine any upon unusual and impressive tech/ transform the way business with staff that regularly solutions that you may have get behind the wheel, not previously known little or nothing children consume acknowledging the benefits such a about. and retain technology can provide. A new reality information Bett – the world’s leading Always use protection forever” educational technology show – Speaking of staying safe, as you and ISE, the world’s largest AV will have seen from our front cover, tradeshow, gave me several such we’ve explored the realities of cyber moments. Now, VR is not new, but it’s journey as a attacks on businesses and how connected AV business tool remains in its infancy. However, the equipment (microphones, signage, speakers, IoT) can opportunities (now) and possibilities (future) fill me act as ‘open doors’ to hackers. Our chat with an with excitement. At Bett, I watched in amazement at ‘ethical hacker’ who details how simple it can be to the smiles and unrestrained audible gasps from take control of your life and access your data through hundreds of school children experiencing VR; some various means is one not to be missed. We’ve also perhaps for the first time. As I discovered, they weren’t got an exciting interview with NATS on how air playing games, chasing Japanese cartoon characters, traffic control towers are going digital and miles or riding rollercoasters; they were experiencing life in away from the airports they service, a guide to the the trenches during the First World War. They couldn’t latest tech, and a recap of the first ever AVTE Awards. get enough. They were consumed by it. Whilst books, All this and so much more. videos and field trips will always play a crucial role in I hope you enjoy.
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LAMP FREE LASER PROJECTORS WUXGA / 4K / 8K RESOLUTION 20,000 ILLUMINATION 1-CHIP & 3-CHIP DLP
M-Vision Laser 18K projectors at Tower of David, Jerusalem
1.2MM / 1.5MM / 1.9MM / 2.5MM PIXEL PITCH 2D & 3D LED WALL
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The Visionaries Choice 12/03/2018 11:34:51 01/03/2018 10:46
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AIR TRAFFIC CONTROL
Contributors: Heather McLean, Ian McMurray, Carolyn Heinze, Louise Hutchinson-Chatburn, Evelyn Timson
Traditional ATC towers could soon become grounded as 360˚ digital rooms based hundreds of miles off-site prepare to take off
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VR IN EDUCATION
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AVTE speaks with leading ed-tech companies ClassVR and Veative about the benefits of using VR in the classroom
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LASER VS LAMP PROJECTION Interview: Panasonic discusses why choosing laser over lamp could save your business hundreds, if not thousands of pounds
AV TECHNOLOGY EUROPE AWARDS A look back at our first ever AV Technology Europe Awards ceremony in Amsterdam, including a recap of all the night’s winners and photos
8 Industry Insights
SECURITY SPECIAL We speak to the industry and even a hacker, exploring the risks and vulnerabilities of AV technology against cyber criminals
NEW: PRODUCT REVIEW A real review from a real end user. First look and first impressions of the Yamaha CS-700 all-in-one video conferencing solution for huddle rooms
49 Eye on Recruitment 68 Case Study
50 Tech Guide (ISE Special) 75 Brief Encounter 5
NEC Showcase: LIVE Seeing is believing, but experience is everything
e’ve all been to the exhibitions, hall upon hall of vendor stands. Unless you’ve invested time in pre-planning your visit, you simply don’t know where to start! Time, however, is a precious resource; limited and of great value. The NEC Showcase’s unique formula cuts a cross section through any regular exhibition to reveal its true credentials; it’s an experience. The Showcase experience taps into your senses – touch, taste, hearing and seeing – all fine-tuned with our brains to bring about understanding and interpretation.
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Seeing is believing? Maybe, but experiencing something is wholeheartedly buying into it. So what is it about Showcase that’s so compelling? It’s a collaboration and it’s relevant. By collaborating with other solutions providers, experts in their field, NEC presents total display solutions. Its relevance is delivered through real-life scenarios, staged for applications in retail, transport, education and corporate environments. We might work with four or five partners on any one solution, the end result being a ‘ready-to-deploy’ solution, which can be remastered to fit a similar scenario in the real world. NEC’s displays and projectors, known for their quality and reliability, provide the essential
day. From your grab & go coffee, the commute, your first meeting of the day before lunch... each of these engagements are enhanced through technology. It’s an exciting concept and one which will engage your senses to enhance both your enjoyment and your understanding. Bhupinder Kahlon, IT relationship manager at Heathrow Airport is a regular attendee at Showcase: “NEC is a very flexible organisation, they work with us to find the right solution to fit our needs – it’s a partnership. We enjoy coming to Showcase, it’s a great opportunity to see for ourselves what’s up and coming and to experience first-hand how technology could benefit our customers and passengers at Heathrow Airport.” No other display manufacturer is able to offer all the major display technologies; LCD, LED and projection. This unique position enables us to be technology-agnostic, able to offer a consultative stance with our partners and customers, recommending the perfect-fit solution to virtually any customer installation scenario. Presented side-by-side at Showcase, visitors can witness the pros and cons of each technology according to the needs of the application – like a tech shoot-out. For 2018, we will have an increased emphasis on live working environments – live collaboration, cloud-based working, live streaming and data feeds with live VC links not only across the show but also to other locations helping to bring a realistic working environment to life. Rather than hiding the back-end operation, participating partners will demonstrate the workings of their solution, helping visitors to gain a real understanding of “In an industry visualisation element, whilst our the complexities involved. collaborating partners complete our Our conference programme offers visitors where ROI is best-in-class technology solution. additional value, taking place within the venue business critical, and forming an integral part of the technology It is this clear and transparent demonstration, which is so appealing to showcase. This includes our keynote speakers and we can provide end users. Presented as application roundtable discussions, which highlight some of unlimited specific solutions, visitors can gain a deep the issues facing the AV industry today. understanding of how, why, what, where We are celebrating ten years of Showcase evidence to – and with the experts on hand – who this year; it keeps evolving and continues to suggest time with and when. It’s a source of inspiration attract a broad visitor profile from across for many – the latest technology and Europe. We regularly welcome over 1,500 spent at innovative application usage represents over the two-day event. We understand Showcase is time people the future of AV and how it can enhance the experience effect; it’s what brings people people’s everyday lives. back year after year. well spent” We mentioned time. No doubt a Register for your free entry at precious commodity, but we believe that showcase-nec.com, see the highlights from last time spent at the Showcase is time well spent. In an industry year and enjoy spending time on a worthwhile experience. where ROI is business critical, we can provide unlimited evidence to suggest that time invested at the Showcase will Where? Victoria House, Holborn, London WC1 reap immeasurable returns. Time is a key theme in this year’s When? 16-17 May 2018 Showcase as visitors experience ‘a day in your life’ – a How? showcase-nec.com timeline of interactions as you journey through your virtual Follow us on Twitter @NEC_Display _UK #NECShowcase March 2018
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COLLABORATE TO INVIGORATE
How AV is driving new ways of working and learning
ar from being a buzzword, sharing of content from an individual’s device to collaboration has come to define the projectors, so their content can be discussed by a way we work and, increasingly, the way group in a meeting room, classroom, lecture we learn. In business, working in theatre or huddle space. Not only do those individual or departmental silos is solutions promise to aid collaboration, but they increasingly frowned upon as it is seen as a barrier come with the benefit of wireless connectivity – no to workplace efficiency, while sharing knowledge, more hunting around for HDMI cables, or indeed, experiences and activities – in training rooms or tripping over them. classrooms – is seen as a progressive way to optimise the group learning experience. A better way to share content and ideas Until recently though, there have been some In part, this shift in the workplace has been driven by the demands of the digital economy, an limitations to their broader adoption as each user environment that demands the rapid flow of data, and each room has different requirements – which some solutions weren’t always information and knowledge, in order to act quickly to fastable to accommodate – while pricing models have often moving market, customer or “Collaboration has some been prohibitive to large-scale competitor developments. come to define the deployment. Collaboration underpins this dynamic, and both AV and IT A more flexible – and way we work and, financially viable approach – have evolved to accommodate it. increasingly, the comes from AV collaboration tools that not only offer a Why collaboration is key to way we learn” wireless, cable-free and hassle-free workplace and learning From an IT perspective, we have way of presenting, but are tailored seen the emergence of the data for the needs of each room or user. For instance, the ability to connect eight scientist, while the data itself is no longer for the students’ devices to a projector, is ideal for the elite few within an organisation, but disseminated increasingly popular huddle or learning spaces that more broadly to all departments – and staff – that need it to do their jobs more effectively. are outside of the conventional class room. Meanwhile, in both business and education, we In the business world meanwhile, a similar have also seen the rise of the BYOD model that application can be deployed in any meeting room, boardroom or brainstorm space, enabling meeting sees businesses and students using the laptop, participants to instantly connect their device via a mobile or smartphone of their choice as a work or WiFi connection and start sharing content education device. With some of its solutions – beyond projectors immediately once the meeting host assigns them and interactive touch screens – the AV industry has one of the four split screen projection connections. already engineered products that enable the This means contributing digital content onto the
Holger Graeff is general manager at Vivitek EMEA
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Some boast a standalone operation and external antenna to provide a robust wireless connection, while preventing guests from accessing the corporate network, thus ensuring that network security is maintained. To further facilitate the employee and guest content sharing experience, some solutions have a USB device that plugs directly into the device to stream content effortlessly to the big screen. The USB device is especially convenient for visiting guests, or when colleagues from other offices are on site. Furthermore, as it is driver-free, no trace or residue is left on laptops after they disconnect.
projection screen is fast, simple and affordable, while features like on-screen annotation and capture open up a vast array of creative possibilities in any meeting. Expanding on this AV collaboration concept further, are applications for the boardroom which provide guests with an ad-hoc wireless connection.
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AV will be at the heart of sharing Looking at these solutions, it is encouraging to observe the way the AV industry has recognised how the workplace and learning environments are changing. I am optimistic that we will continue to see more innovation from AV manufacturers in order to accommodate how collaboration is increasingly defining how we work and learn.
“I’m optimistic the AV industry has recognised how the workplace and learning environments are changing”
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Shure believes every voice matters, so with the Microflex® Advance™ Networked Array Microphones, together with the new IntelliMix® P300 Audio Conferencing Processor, you can improve collaboration by providing excellent speech intelligibility and versatile connectivity options. Steerable Coverage™ technology captures audio naturally, while powerful IntelliMix® DSP helps ensure echo- and noise-free meetings. USB and mobile connectivity make joining room systems and collaborating with laptops and mobile devices easier than ever. And together with the P300, Microflex® Wireless delivers elevated audio with best-in-class wireless performance and flexible device connectivity, enabling customisable microphone placement for configurable rooms. The new IntelliMix® P300 Audio Conferencing Processor is now available. www.shure.co.uk
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THE ROLE OF AV IN A DIGITAL WORKPLACE
Why digital transformation is making collaborative solutions more important than ever
igital transformation in the cent) feel they would be more productive if their office had better technology, saying that up-to-date workplace has become a major tech would allow them to do better work with buzzword of late, but in reality it more people. has been happening for around 20 years, ever since email started A staggering 45 per cent of people think that the to replace written documents as the main means technology in their office actually makes it more of communication. difficult to share information. Results also suggest However, digitisation today has started to have that employees are slow to embrace collaborative a real visible impact on the way people want to technology, with over half of executives (57 per work, and their technology preferences. For cent) explaining it is because they ‘don’t example, the use of smartphones in addition to understand it’. laptops and traditional office This highlights why usability programs has created a more should be at the front and centre complex ecosystem of digital tools when any AV solution is designed, “In this evolving and digital sources of information. purchased or implemented. If landcsape, it’s In this continuously evolving workspaces are overhauled landscape, it’s even more without a clear view of how any even more important that workspaces are new technologies will benefit the important that designed to facilitate end user, then businesses won’t collaboration. As teams become achieve anything. workspaces are ever-more virtual, the right AV Evidently something about the designed to equipment can make technology we use in the modern collaborative working easier and workplace is hampering faciliate remove any disconnect caused by collaboration. But is the collaboration” digitisation, creating a new technology at fault or are there element of social interaction. other factors at play? Information sharing is key to collaboration Making sure that colleagues are able to share information and ideas easily is absolutely crucial. Especially when team members aren’t in the same room, or even the same country. Clearly technology has a key role to play here, but are businesses implementing solutions that support the day-to-day needs of end users? Recent research from Sharp shows that more than three out of every five UK workers (64 per
Anti-collaborative habits undermine cooperation Research also revealed that anti-collaborative habits were common, with 41 per cent of office workers experiencing colleagues regularly talking over others during meetings and one third (36 per cent) experiencing others typing or carrying on with their own work during a conference call or meeting. Fifty per cent of people said that colleagues routinely ignore problems with communal office
Angela Townsend is sales manager of Sharp UK
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technology, while co-workers forgetting to share important information was a frustration shared by close to half (46 per cent) of those surveyed. Most of us will recognise these annoying behaviours as part of daily life, however, they can have an impact not only on a team’s productivity, but also its morale. With more people working remotely, cooperative relationships are becoming both more important and more difficult. We need to make sure that the behaviours we exhibit and the technology we implement are designed to facilitate interaction and engagement as much as possible. Making meeting spaces work for you To increase collaboration, businesses do still need to invest in physical meeting spaces, to make sure that the time workers spend in them is as productive as possible. Having network-enabled interactive displays in a meeting or conference room can make a real difference. It means that people can work together on one screen that can be used by everyone. This helps to create an ‘Eyes Up’ meeting where
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everyone can interact with one another. Lots of companies are creating informal spaces where staff and employees can meet, discuss ideas and work through projects. Compact, easy-to-move digital displays can be a key component of these huddle spaces. By having the interactive display connected to your company network, you not only support digital teams by making video conferencing easier, it also makes collaboration easier as you can seamlessly capture and share information. During meetings, people must be able to concentrate on what they’re doing rather than be distracted by the technology, so solutions need to be easy to use and easy to integrate with existing networks and products. If technology is also implemented alongside the right training and support, it allows end users to get the most from workplace solutions. Across Europe, there is a demand for meetings to be more engaging, more inclusive and more productive. As long as technology is made accessible and embedded properly into the working environment there’s no doubt it can hugely improve the user experience.
“People must be able to concentrate on what they’re doing rather than being distracted by the technology”
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BLUE SKY THINKING FOR AIRPORTS AS DISPLAYS TAKE OFF The sight of air traffic control towers at airports could soon become a thing of the past, as digital towers located off site hundreds of miles away, are set to become the eyes and ears on the ground and on the sky
he Sky’s over the UK are awash with activity. Clouds, birds and of course, planes. Lots and lots of planes. The statistics are quite staggering. In the UK alone, as many as 8,000 planes can take off and land in a single day. Globally, there are between 200,000 and 300,000 flights every day, with approximately 10,000 aircraft in the sky at any given time, carrying 1.2 million people. However, whilst the sky provides ample space to maneuver, landing and taking off is where things can become a little congested, with pilots eagerly awaiting permission to land. Those people are traditionally housed in an air traffic control tower – a sight synonymous with every airport. But times are changing. In 2020, London City Airport – a small but significant airport that transported 4.5 million passengers last year – will become the first airport in the UK to switch from a traditional physical tower to an all digital one.
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“The system has zoom cameras, augmented heads up displays, consolidated information, radar and visual tracking and sound”
More so, that digital tower is situated almost 100 miles in Swanwick, Hampshire with staff (and by extension passengers) relying entirely on what they can see using display and camera technologies. Managing the 10 year contract is NATS, the UK’s leading provider of air traffic control services, handling 2.4 million flights and 250 million passengers in UK airspace every year. Steve Anderson, head of airport transformation at the firm, tells us more. Hi Steve. What exactly is a digital air traffic control tower? On an airfield there are systems that controllers use to manage aircraft, such as radar, voice
How does it compare to an actual air traffic control tower? The equipment is the same as in a traditional tower; voice comms, flight data and navigation aids and so on. The only difference is that the view is provided by a series of cameras instead of windows. communications and landing aids, all of which are fed into the control tower across a local network. The controller uses this information, coupled with what can be seen out of the window, to make decisions and manage the flow of traffic. A digital tower simply takes all of that information, including the view, and digitises it. The controller still has the information they need to manage aircraft, but because the information is distributed over the network, there is no longer any need for the controller to be based at the airfield. Alternatively, we can use the same technology to augment what controllers see and provide them with more capability, but present it to them somewhere on the airfield.
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What are the benefits? The digital tower is often cheaper to build and maintain than a traditional tower; teams of controllers can be based at a centre instead of remote airfields, and the digitised data can be augmented and enhanced to give the controller more tools to manage flights, particularly at busy and complex airports. The system has zoom cameras, augmented heads up displays, consolidated information, radar and visual tracking and sound â€“ so not only does it present the view that a controller needs, but it also displays the relevant data right up in front of them. Imagine looking out of the window and seeing labels on the planes as they fly past, but in greater detail than the human eye can see from a tower.
“In many ways, it’s more resilient and safer than airports that have evolved over time” The control centre is over 90 miles away at the NATS Control Centre in Swanwick, Hampshire. Wouldn’t it be better and safer to have it at the airport? The centre can be anywhere you want it to be including on-site – you just have to make the network shorter. At London City there wasn’t space and they saw the benefits that a resilient facility such as Swanwick could offer them. But technology can of course go wrong. The key component for controllers is the ability to talk to pilots. If the comms fail in a traditional tower, having windows isn’t going to make any difference – so it’s resiliency that matters. The system is designed to be resilient with multiple failure modes, fall back procedures, diverse routes, multiple redundancies and protocols, which mean that the impact of a system failure is minimal. In many ways, because the system has been designed from first principles, it is more resilient and safer than airports that have evolved over time. What about other unpredictable elements, such as weather, wind, birds or something on the runway that shouldn’t be? Using digital cameras doesn’t stop something going on to the runway that shouldn’t, but it can alert the controller and provide them with more information than they would have in a traditional tower, so in many ways a digital tower is better equipped to handle non-standard situations than a full fat tower. The cameras can also track objects as small as four pixels across, which could be an airfield intruder or drone. As for weather, the cameras are fitted with compressed air to mitigate the impact of weather and wildlife so the view remains clear. Why would an airport want to switch to this model? The airport will only adopt the technology if it fixes a problem for them. That can be either operational or financial, but each case needs to be assessed individually. The tools provided to the controller can enhance and augment their view to give them more capability, and the re-use or re-allocation of the space used by the traditional tower can provide financial benefits to the airport – but the big efficiencies come when multiple airports can be managed from a centralised location. At a multiple tower centre the controllers can move between airports and provide a service to a number of airports, so it’s the consolidation of controllers that provides the efficiency. 16
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Tell us more about the technology used There are a number of technology suppliers on the market offering a number of solutions ranging from a camera nest, to multiple cameras distributed around the airport to a single, high speed rotating camera. All of these solutions provide the view that controllers need to manage their specific operation. The screens, which display the live data, can be tailored to meet the controller’s needs and are all scalable in terms of size. Is there an audio element to this? For London City Airport we will we have two microphones located on the mast which provide audio back to the Swanwick Operations Room. This is a key situational awareness tool for controllers as it enables them to hear when an aircraft sets power, has a compressor stall or bursts a tyre, all of which allows them to react quicker to developing scenarios. Do you expect other airports in the UK to follow suit? The media attention surrounding London City Airport has brought this to the forefront and we expect other airports to follow. London City is a very progressive airport and when the need for a new Air Traffic Control facility was identified as part of their airfield and terminal development, they opted to go for a digital solution.
THE UK’S TOP TEN BUSIEST AIRPORTS London Heathrow – 75.7million passengers per year London Gatwick – 43.1m Manchester – 25.6m London Stansted – 24.3m London Luton – 14.6m Edinburgh – 12.3m Birmingham – 11.6m Glasgow – 9.3m Bristol – 7.6m Belfast International – 5.1m Data: Civil Aviation Authority 2016
Are there any other airports that have already switched to a digital tower? NATS has recently welcomed the decision by the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS) to award us the contract to develop a smart digital tower prototype for Changi Airport, which sees 58 million passenger movements per year. Elsewhere in Europe, such as Sweden, there are regional airports already using digital towers. The contingency facility at Budapest Airport has also just received regulatory approval for full operational use. Do you see this becoming the norm going forward? It will certainly be an option for airports to consider in the future but there will always be those airports, which don’t need to go down this route or choose to enhance their operations by using the technology in their current existing tower. Learn more at: www.nats.aero
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AV TECHNOLOGY EUROPE AWARDS 2018
OH WHAT A NIGHT! It was party time in Amsterdam during ISE last month (FEB 7), as the AV industry gathered to celebrate the achievements of the end user community at the first ever AV Technology Europe Awards. Supported by our headline sponsors Exterity and category sponsors Jacobs Massey, hundreds of like-minded professionals, colleagues and friends descended to the Dauphine venue – just a short distance from ISE’s RAI – for a fun night of eating, drinking, networking, dancing and of course, congratulating. If you didn’t make it this time around, here’s a recap of all the night’s winners and a taste of what you missed.
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AV TECHNOLOGY EUROPE AWARDS 2018
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AV TECHNOLOGY EUROPE AWARDS 2018
“Wow what a night! The inaugural AVTE Awards smashed their first event with a distinct high, the mood and feel winning over the crowd. Not to be missed next year!” “Perfect - it was a very well organised and executed event”
“What a great night out in Amsterdam! The AVTE Awards was a fun night spent with great friends and colleagues. Highly recommend entering and attending the awards in 2019” “The people, the mood, the DJ was fantastic and the venue was great too”
“Great venue, friendly staff, good AV (lighting, sound etc.), film crew knew their stuff”
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AV TECHNOLOGY EUROPE AWARDS 2018
2018 ROLL OF HONOUR CATEGORY: Technology Excellence Best Use Of Audio Solutions Winner: London Coliseum, in association with Gareth Owen Sound: Bat Out of Hell Best use of Presentation/Collaboration Solutions Ghent University and Prysm: integration of student-centric learning strategies Best use of Projection/Display Solutions ‘World record’ video wall at The Dubai Mall, Dubai Aquarium & Underwater Zoo Best use of Signal Distribution Solutions Norwegian University of Science and Technology: new teaching spaces on ‘Europe’s largest AV over IP network’
“A great alternative to the manufacturer-dominated award juggernauts. A uniquely refreshing and informal atmosphere. Great DJ set from iAne”
Video Production of the Year Nationwide Building Society: Nationwide Legendary Service corporate video aimed at inspiring internal staff to deliver high quality customer service (nominated by fourtyfoursixteen films) ✦
CATEGORY: Project Excellence Best Small to Mid-Scale AV Project or Event Cambridge University: fundraising event at Banquetting House Best Large-Scale AV Project or Event Bayer: large-scale AV upgrade during relocation of HQ ✦
CATEGORY: Team Excellence: Emerging AV Professional of the Year Darren Waszkinel, Bloomberg AV IT Manager Of the Year Adam Harvey, University of Hertfordshire AV Team of the Year Bloomberg Global AV Team
Very nice feel to the whole process and the evening itself. All guests were in very high spirits”
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Outstanding Contribution Kevin McLoughlin – Royal Society of Medicine and AV User Group
We’ll see you again next year! 21
FEATURE: LAMP VS LASER
A LIGHT BULB MOMENT FOR YOUR COMPANY?
Why spending more could cost you less: Gareth Day, group manager for Panasonic Visual Systems, explains why switching from lamp to laser technology for your projector could save you money
hoosing a projector can be a time consuming and difficult process. There are hundreds, possibly thousands of models in the current market to choose from, each detailing different fancy (confusing) tech terminologies and acronyms to describe what it is they do and why you should buy them. It can be a little bit like choosing a toothpaste. This one sounds good because it offers a deep clean. Great, but this one has crystals! Crystals sound expensive so it must be good. This one has Active Salt? This one has gel. But does it offer maximum whitening? Of course, a good salesman (for projectors, not toothpaste) will help you determine what’s right for you
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depending on the environment it (they) will be used and for what purpose. But there’s still one big thing to consider; go with lamp or laser? For those unfamiliar (in a nutshell), lamp and laser technology are two different forms of light creation – with the latter being the more recent advancement. If budget is key to your decision making, you may instinctively gravitate towards the older and cheaper lamp option. “Typically, lamp projectors have a slightly lower initial purchase cost compared to a laser,” Day, explained discussing how projection has evolved over the years. “Over the years projectors have used a number of different lamps. Pre-2012, it was Xenon lamps, but they didn’t age well. So technology moved on to mercury
FEATURE: LAMP VS LASER
In simple terms, Lumens (denoted by lm) are a measure of the total amount of visible light (to the human eye) from a lamp or light source. The higher the lumen rating the “brighter” the lamp will appear. To give it some perspective, a typical 75-watt bulb used at home gives you around 700 lumens. A laser projector can offer north of 32,000.
> Panasonic’s Gareth Day: the end is nigh for lamp-based projectors
lamps, known as Ultra High Pressure – or UHP for short. These powered probably 95 per cent of all the projectors that were available. We have now made a step change again, moving to laser.” Projected savings So, why would you look at paying more when the spec sheet for a lamp and laser model reads almost identically? The key thing with laser is around the subject of maintenance. Lamp projectors use bulbs, and like any bulb, its performance will gradually fade and eventually need to be replaced should performance levels dip too far or run out completely. Unlike household bulbs bought in Curry’s or Wilkinson’s (for the more price conscious), projector bulbs can be very expensive, with some exceeding £1,000 a pop. Just like the ink cartridge industry, replacement bulbs can soon (and likely will) exceed the cost of the original unit.
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With laser, such issues are largely removed. They don’t use bulbs, so there are no bulbs to replace. Whilst more expensive to buy out of the box, the maintenance costs that go hand-in-hand with lamp have largely been removed. This has the potential to save businesses (depending on regularity of use) hundreds, if not thousands of pounds a year. “Yes, there is a premium in terms of the upfront cost [for laser], but there is no doubt from a laser projection perspective that the cost of ownership is significantly lower to a lamp-based projector,” said Day. “If you have a limited budget and it doesn’t quite stretch to laser, then lamp may be an alternative. However, you really need to consider the total cost of operation and ownership – not just the initial capital purchase.”
DID YOU KNOW? n The first movie projector was the Zoopraxiscope, invented by British photographer Eadweard Muybridge in 1879. The Zoopraxiscope projected images from rotating glass disks in rapid succession to give the impression of motion. The stop-motion images were initially painted onto the glass as silhouettes.
Performance Day explained that a bulb (bought from new) will last just a “couple of thousand” hours, with its optimum quality (light) degrading almost immediately from the first switch-on. By contrast, a laser projector has a standard life of 20,000 hours – that’s over two and half years of constant use – before dipping to around 50 per cent of its level when it was first switched on. “If you were running lamp-based projectors in a relatively high usage environment, they could be running solid for eight hours a day or more,” explained Day. “It doesn’t take long to rack up a couple of thousands hours and you could be changing those lamps once every six months.” You’ve got no fans Another area where potential cost savings play a significant role relates to air pollution. In the absence of a bulb, laser projectors do not generate the same levels of heat as a lamp projector – heat being a major cause for technology failing. Therefore – from a design perspective – laser projectors do not require a cooling fan and by extension an air filter, keeping its innards cool and factory clean.
“Over a period of time you will see a shift away from lamp into laser technology” 23
FEATURE: LAMP VS LASER > When size and surface matter, projectors remain the most cost-effective choice
“The advent of laser technology in many respects is like the holy grail. You go from a position of having to change lamps, clean filters to literally being able to install a projector and leave it there” “Lamps run particularly hot, so they are designed to draw in large amounts of air into the projectors to keep them cool,” explained Day. “Obviously you don’t want to run air into a projector that’s unfiltered, so there are filters in place to keep out all the dust and other forms of debris in the air. “The downside of that is you have to clean them. So, after maybe a couple of hundred hours, you should check to see how clogged the filter is. That could be a simple process or more complex, especially for an installed unit or one that isn’t easily accessible – such as from the ceiling of a museum. All of that ultimately creates a maintenance requirement, which must be taken into account at the time of purchase.” He continued: “The advent of laser technology in many respects is like the holy grail. You go from a position of having to change lamps, clean filters to literally being able to install a projector and leave it there. There are no filters to clean and no lamps to change, so the cost of sending someone to a site to carry out that maintenance simply isn’t there. You just need to install it, put it on the ceiling or wherever and leave it to run.” Lights out for lamp? So, is this the end of lamp projectors? In the long-term, the answer according to Day, is yes. Like any technology, the older models will eventually be phased out, but in the short term, Panasonic is not quite ready to pull the plug on the aging but not quite dead technology. “We’re now at a tipping point,” said Day. “Over a period of time you will see a shift away from lamp into laser technology because of the benefits mentioned. “From Panasonic’s point of view, we are serving different segments of the market and therefore trying to have both lamp and laser projection so we can cater for the demands, depending on where they sit. “If you install a projector in an environment where it’s used two hours a week, then a lamp-based projector could still be the best choice. It also might not be that everyone is ready to make the transition into laser immediately. But laser is the future.”
THINGS TO CONSIDER WITH YOUR NEXT PROJECTOR (LAMP AND LASER): Noise pollution: When installing a projector, it’s important to keep in mind the environment in which it will be used. Operational noise should not be ignored, particularly if being used in a quiet environment such as meeting room where the fan on a lamp projector is distracting. A Sub-30 decibels projector is “ideal” for a boardroom. Throw distance: Projectors are not a one-size-fits-all technology. Each projector and lens will have a minimum and maximum distance in which they can project before the quality becomes impacted, so it’s important to think about where it will be placed and the size of the display required. Speakers: Projectors are not like a traditional TV and do not always include built in speakers. Those that do may not
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FEATURE: LAMP VS LASER
PROJECTOR VS FLAT PANEL DISPLAY? There are many statistics and articles suggesting projector sales are on the decline. In some areas of the market, this is the case. Day explained, sales of sub-5,000 lumen projectors – often used within educational environments, particularly secondary – are on the slide due to schools switching to more affordable displays, which continue to fall in price. However, Day explained sales for projector above 5,000 lumens continue to remain strong when size – above 100 inches – matters. “Generally projection for larger display sizes is significantly more cost effective than a large format display,” Day explained. “There are natural boundaries to install a display. 100 inches is fundamentally the limit on what you can do on a flat panel. The bottom end of the market is definitely moving towards large format displays. The top end of the market, for brightness and size of image fundamentally remains with projection.” 1. Size matters: A FPD can now reach 100 inches and in recent years, prices have declined significantly making them an attractive choice and common feature in boardrooms and meeting rooms alike. However, if your requirements stretch beyond 100 inches, then a projector will likely be the most cost-effective option.
project the sound quality/volume required for the environment in which the projector is used. Light conditions: The engine room of a projector is all about light, therefore it’s crucial to minimise the amount of light pollution between it and the surface projected on. Predictive maintenance: Like any technology, there is a risk of things breaking down. This could be at best an inconvenience. At worst, it could cost your business money. Many projector can now be managed and monitored remotely, allowing the ability to assess any degradation in quality and fix issues on the spot.
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2. Environment: Before investing in a projector or an FPD, it’s vital to consider the environment that it will be housed in first. FPD’s carry significant weight and may be too heavy to mount on the wall – making projector the most likely alternative. Likewise, a projector may be too heavy to mount from a ceiling. In this case, the use of a Short Throw Lens (STL) could be the solution. 3. Shape: Not all walls and ceilings are built to a 90 degree angle. For those being used in more unique environments – where a wall may be curved for example – a projector may be the most appropriate option compared to a display. 4. Portability: Whilst far from being light in weight, a projector can often be more easily ported between rooms compared to that of a fixed display. A projector can essentially be used anywhere with a power supply and something to project on.
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d&b Soundscape. PCR_FP_210x265.indd 1 Soundscape_02_220x290_130318.indd 1
22/03/2018 19:36:25 14.03.18 13:32
AV SECURITY ECURIT Our latest In-Focus special takes an in-depth look at the ever growing threat of cyber attacks against companies like yours “EVERY PIECE OF AV EQUIPMENT IS A POTENTIAL DOORWAY FOR A HACKER TO ENTER” “20 YEARS AGO, IT WOULD TAKE WEEKS TO GAIN ACCESS TO AN ORGANISATION. NOW IT WOULD TAKE SECONDS” “ANY COMPANY WHICH USES DIGITAL SIGNAGE, INTERACTIVE DISPLAYS, VIDEO CONFERECNING, MICROPHONES OR SPEAKERS ARE AT RISK”
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IN FOCUS: AV SECURITY
AV SECURITY: IT’S ABOUT SO MUCH MORE THAN MALWARE There is a saying that anyone who believes something is fool-proof just hasn’t met the right kind of fool. Ian McMurray talks to the industry about how to apply that thinking to the implementation of AV security
t’s Monday morning. You’re standing in the incredibly impressive foyer of your headquarters with other members of your management team, waiting to welcome your biggest customer’s audit team for their annual inspection. Behind you, the state of the art video wall that you installed at substantial expense proclaims: “Acme Finance International welcomes Buston and Hodges”. But, as the customer team walks through your door, the video wall suddenly starts showing what one might call ‘scenes of a sexually explicit nature’. Couldn’t happen? Well, yes it could. It happened at Union Station in Washington DC in May last year, when digital signage screens started showing PornHub videos. Recall, of course, that digital signage is not the unique preserve of out-of-home and retail: few major organisations do not have their own internal networks. In another incident at a Burger King in Southgate, Michigan in February, the fast food outlet’s in-house
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digital signage started playing what was described as a “graphic sex scene”. A father who was there with his two sons at the time reported the matter to the police. However, according to reports, “another man allegedly watched with interest”. Exposed “Failure to take necessary security precautions leaves digital signage networks, for lack of a better term, exposed,” notes Jeff Hastings, CEO of BrightSign, alluding to the stories noted above. “Most digital signage is now connected to pull real-time content, or for the purpose of remote network management. Internet connectivity leaves signage networks vulnerable, and software is the only deterrent that stands in the way of hackers. Unauthorised access of signage networks happens more frequently than you may think – and certainly more frequently than is reported in the media.”
IN FOCUS: AV SECURITY Wolfgang Haunschild, product marketing manager, NEC Display Solutions Europe, agrees. “For me, the most crucial aspect in AV security is to maintain full control over the AV system,” he says. “It has to ensure that no one can access information from internal communication systems like video conferencing or network connected boardroom displays which might include critical company data. It must also ensure that, for digital signage applications, an intrusion into the signage network from external parties is prohibited, otherwise system attacks might take over the signage system and play out different or even harmful content.” No-one encourages this kind of security breach, do they? Or do they? “Recently, I was in a government facility where digital signage was being used in a lobby area,” remembers Rainer Stiehl, vice president of marketing for Europe at Extron. “The wall-mounted display had a small Windows computer behind it that was running the signage. Unfortunately, the PC had a label on it that listed the device IP address, MAC address, gateway address and username/password. This practice likely makes it very easy for a technician to service the device, but it makes little sense from any security perspective.” Physical security In any discussion of the security of AV systems, it’s inevitable that the majority of the focus falls on cyber-security and the potential for problems to arise from, or compromise, any network-connected device. It’s all too easy to overlook physical security. “Effective security policy takes a tremendous amount of planning and coordination,” says Stiehl. “Often, that policy is heavily biased towards using information security tools to protect property and information access. Physical access to devices is by far the most expedient path to a compromise, since nearly every AV device is connected to the network.” Preventing unauthorised access to equipment is certainly one way of minimising the threat of worms, Trojans, rootkits, keyloggers, spyware, ransomware and so on – but it has other benefits. “We were asked to provide streaming services for an important seminar at a high profile university,” recalls Chris Rawden, head of the communications and collaboration team at UK integrator Saville. “Having established there were suitable wall mounted cameras and lectern-mounted microphones already installed, the team arrived to set-up on the day for the show - only to find no cameras and no microphones. The assumption that the cameras were safe because they were located
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<Andrew Hug, vice president, systems engineers, EMEA and APAC at Polycom
<Chris Rawden, head of the communications at Saville
<Jason Fitzgerald, product manager at Gefen
<Jeff Hastings, CEO at BrightSign
<Rainer Stiehl, vice president of marketing for Europe at Extron
high up on the walls of the lecture theatre, and therefore did not require security brackets, proved erroneous, and the assumption was that the installed microphones in the lectern were of no use to any one and therefore never locked away when the room was empty. Saving money on install costs by not specifying anti-theft brackets proved very expensive in this case. Luckily the show went ahead as the team had brought extras as a precaution.” Even lowly remote controls can have a habit of ‘walking’, Rawden notes. “If someone decides to ‘borrow’ it, how do you turn your expensive AV system on just before the board meeting?” he asks. “How valuable is that remote now?” Default passwords And if it’s clear that you shouldn’t stick potentially security-compromising information on the side of a PC, or ensure that easily-stealable equipment is secured, there are other considerations that should be no less obvious. “Users that don’t take the time to modify the default passwords associated with the system put the system at risk,” says Art Weeks, IP product manager at ZeeVee. “Changing passwords doesn’t guarantee that someone can’t access the control system for the AV over IP deployment, but it’s certainly better than leaving the easily guessed defaults.” “Customers must change the default passwords in devices,” agrees Stiehl. “Any password is better than the default one used to initially set up a device. Have a password policy that requires that level of accountability as a minimum.” And then there’s the question of prying eyes. “Residual presentation or collaborative material – for example images, spreadsheets and presentations – left on screens or stored locally should also be of concern,” believes Andrew Hug, vice president, systems engineers, EMEA and APAC at Polycom. “There’s also, during presentations, the concern of restricting and/or controlling viewing beyond the current meeting room.” Beyond that, there’s the whole issue with the BYOD phenomenon. “Security breaches can occur due to anything – from room visitors to remote participants’ choice of connecting devices,” adds Hug. Content encryption “Organisations are increasingly interested in solutions that enable wireless content sharing between devices and AV hardware,” points out Guillaume Oliveira, pre-sales engineer at Sony. “This increase in demand for sharing content with connected devices poses security risks. Now that AV
IN FOCUS: AV SECURITY
<Wolfgang Haunschild, product marketing manager, at NEC Display Solutions Europe
“Often a breach in network security can be traced back to human error”
solutions are being connected to IT systems, it’s time to see additional checks to ensure content is encrypted and there is no risk of network folders being breached.” Rawden adds: “A widespread assumption is that it is OK to connect external devices such as user laptops to a network ad hoc. This is usually down to a lack of understanding to define and fully understand the implications of network connected devices. Without a thorough understanding of the OSI model, it can be extremely easy to compromise the security of a network in blind ignorance.” Securing an AV installation is, indeed, a multifaceted challenge. For Rawden, job one is to try to eliminate mistakes. “Often, a breach in network security can be traced back to human error,” he believes. “Forgetting to update security protocols, or adding a piece of equipment without thinking the implications through thoroughly. Too many users have systems that do not cater for auto updates, usually through an unfounded fear of the system suddenly stopping working. Then there are those who do not have regular maintenance and reviews scheduled. As an integrator, it’s our job to ensure that, where possible, clients are made fully aware of the benefits of regular or automatic updating of equipment security settings.” Jason Fitzgerald, product manager at Gefen, develops the theme. “This may sound cliché or obvious, but the weakest link when it comes to security is simply the lack of either education or diligence,” he says. “Each installation is faced with its own unique set of challenges, but as the convergence of AV/IT progresses, there must be an understanding on both the AV and IT side of the potential risks that are involved with the merging of these two.” “AV signal management has largely resided in a
physical realm where video and audio signals have traditionally enjoyed transport over proprietary and closed systems/devices,” he continues. “The IT world has had to deal with both physical and virtual forms of data that can exist in closed or externally-facing capacities. As these two forces meet, especially in the light of the AV over IP revolution taking place, all facets of how the physical aspects of AV interact with the IT world need to be understood with the appropriate level of security measures taken.” Operating systems That leads to the question of taking advantage of the security facilities available within the underlying operating system. Here, there is some variation in opinion. NEC’s Haunschild is a believer in the prevalent industry standards. “We recommend using the professional security features that are available for common operating systems,” he says. “Compared to proprietary operating systems that are also available on the market, common operating systems provide patches to prevent any breaches of security. For Windowsbased PCs or slot-in PCs for example, all companyowned equipment must be part of a company-wide safety structure with the company’s specific Windows IT client installed to get maximum control over all kinds of security, patches, rights management and software distribution.” “Similarly for Linux-based PCs or slot-in PCs,” he goes on. “Use Ubuntu for the Linux operating system. For the Raspberry Pi Compute Module, we recommend using Ubuntu for the NEC Edition of the Raspberry Pi to ensure maximum security.” BrightSign’s Hastings has an alternative position. “All too often, standard consumer operating systems such as Android, Mac OS, Windows and Chrome are used to drive signage networks,” he
KEY LEARNING POINTS
BEHIND THE WALL
n With the focus on preventing hacking or the insertion of viruses, many aspects of physical security are easily overlooked n Proprietary and industry standard operating systems both have their place, and have pros and cons depending on the application n Systems that prioritise security to the detriment of accessibility and ease of use will rapidly cause user discontent n BYOD is a challenge – especially when accommodating visitors n There is plenty of security expertise in the industry that can and should be leveraged
Spoof SIP dialling of video conferencing systems can occur when organisations place their VC unit on the public internet, and results in the VC unit receiving regular random VC calls. At best this is a real inconvenience to meeting room users, who then mistrust the whole AV environment in the room. At worst, depending on the infrastructure the VC unit is connected to, attackers can reroute international phone calls via the
third party’s infrastructure, racking up very expensive bills before it’s spotted. There is a large shift in the VC industry towards using cloud/ hosted/virtual rooms services, and many of the offerings out there rely on this open connectivity route to use their services. We encourage clients to place their VC equipment behind their secure firewall such that their VC systems remain secure with non-publicly accessible IP
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notes. “And while consumer operating systems solutions are easy to implement and feature-rich, they are notoriously difficult to protect. These operating systems are constantly updated as their publishers add new functionality and bug fixes. Each of these updates creates a new potential backdoor for hackers to exploit to gain access to the network. So, unless network administrators and software vendors are constantly looking for and shutting down these backdoors as they’re created, hackers will find a way in.” “Hardware and software created with the sole purpose of powering digital signage has a significant advantage over consumer-oriented operating system solutions,” he adds. “Proprietary operating systems that are built solely for digital signage far surpass consumer-oriented operating systems in their approach to security. Beyond that, purpose-designed software is also not generally available on the open market for hackers to study.” What other advice does the industry have? Hug is clear on how to begin. “Businesses need to clearly outline and define the applicable legal constraints and data requirements,” he says. “This can differ between industries. For example, an educational institution will operate very differently than a medical institution and so on. Developing the right security blueprint and following it diligently will ensure that for businesses”
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adds Oliveira, “as this allows you to immediately identify issues and take action to solve them.” “Ensure you take the time to design for least privilege and get the applications working with security turned on, not get everything working
TLDR; A NON-EXHAUSTIVE OVERVIEW OF SECURITY APPROACHES TO CONSIDER n Spend the money it takes to secure anything that can be removed n Change default passwords for all equipment n Ensure presentation screens are not visible outside the meeting room n Keep operating systems updated to the latest patch level n Don’t leave passwords lying around n Evaluate the pros and cons of proprietary vs. industry standard operating systems n Strike an appropriate balance between accessibility, ease-of-use and security n Don’t overlook physically securing any asset with network access n Make appropriate provision for BYOD – especially visitor devices n Establish rigorous security policies – and enforce them n Establish job/application-level rights and privileges n Consider undertaking an independent security audit n Think about the appropriateness of VLANs n Design with maximum security turned on – then loosen as necessary n Centralise device control n Get training – and ask the experts!
IN FOCUS: AV SECURITY without security and plan to turn it on later,” Weeks advises. “Later never ends up coming, and by then the system has grown so huge that the pain to secure it is many times bigger.” “In an AV over IP system, I’d recommend keeping the video traffic private from the main network,” he adds. “This can be done as simply as adding a new VLAN for the AV equipment. Many customers create a dedicated AV network that is physically disconnected from the main network.” Gefen’s Fitzgerald offers some compelling counsel. “The most important thing is to plan and discuss,” he believes. “In the converging world of AV and IT, discussions on what, how, and where AV is intended to coexist within an IT network are a requirement. In an installation where existing expertise on network topology exists in the form of IT personnel, leveraging and consulting with that expertise will result in ease of installation, ease of operation, and addressing of security concerns. Even in cases where standalone systems are being installed from the ground up, it is almost impossible to ignore the use of networking for control and management of a system.” For any organisation, designing and implementing appropriate security measures to ensure the integrity of its network and data involves some degree of compromise along a continuum that stretches from ultimate ease of access for all at one end to total security at the other. That becomes increasingly difficult to to call in a collaborative world in which not all users of the system will be the organisation’s employees. Trade-offs “The consequence of heightened security is, of course, its impact on use, with complicated VPN and logon scenarios driving a wedge between security versus practicality,” says Saville’s Rawden. “There are always trade-offs,” notes Stiehl. “Decision-makers routinely balance the functional needs of AV devices with the network security policies of the organisation. Having a strong policy, core values and procedures will help ensure that standards are met. Managing and mitigating risk always has an impact on accessibility.” “There is always a trade-off between security, accessibility and ease-of-use,” echoes Hug. “A clear example of this is visitor presentation functionality – where non-staff members are allowed access to display or share content. The question organisations should ask is: how easy is it for visitors to use their own devices to share information with the audience?” “The IT team will usually ensure work to ensure devices belonging to employees and staff are
correctly updated and securely connected in line with the organisation’s security policies,” points out Sony’s Oliveira. “However, visitors will potentially have a trickier user experience when connecting to AV installations. It really depends how the network and IT architecture is set up. User adoption is a major part of the success of any network and anything that stands in the way of that will have a significant impact on take-up and ultimately productivity,” returns Rawden. “This applies to the hardware as well. Make it difficult for people to use and they won’t. It’s that simple.”
“In an AV over IP system, I’d recommend keeping the video traffic private from the main network”
Opportunities and challenges The increasing networkability of AV solutions, in parallel with the growing convergence between IT and AV, is undoubtedly creating significant opportunities – but also important challenges. Security, and especially cybersecurity, is unquestionably one of them. Presentations have always been potentially visible to unauthorised eyes, and AV equipment has long been susceptible to disappearing in unexplained circumstances. It is, though, imperative that, with the focus on network and data security, the basics are not overlooked. But when it comes to the newer challenges, the good news is that AV professionals can – and should – leverage the wealth of experience and expertise that IT organisations, together with vendors and integrators, can bring to the table, such that an unfortunate repetition of those graphic scenes in Washington on Monday 15 May 2017 become substantially less likely. www.brightsign.biz www.extron.com www.nec-display-solutions.com www.polycom.com www.saville-av.com www.pro.sony.com www.zeevee.com
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IN FOCUS: INTERVIEW
“IT’S NO LONGER IF YOUR BUSINESS IS GOING TO BE HIT, BUT WHEN” Think your business is of no interest to a cyber criminal? Think again. As security tightens up at the top, mid-sized businesses are increasingly being targeted. AVTE spoke to Kaspersky Lab, one of the world’s leading software security firms to find out more
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IN FOCUS: INTERVIEW How big is the threat of cyber-crime for businesses today? Business-critical processes and confidential data are being increasingly exposed to cyber threats, with one in three (38 per cent) organisations being affected by malware over the last year. It’s now no longer a question of if your business will – be hit, but when – and how much it will cost. The latest Kaspersky Lab Corporate IT Security Risks survey found that the average cost of a data breach stands at £63K for SMBs and £771K for enterprises, up around 11 per cent from last year.
Most cyber-threats will typically rely on little-known, or unknown vulnerabilities. What should a company do if they’re unsure how secure/protected they are? We recommend conducting a security audit that usually includes penetration testing – a security service which shows various attack scenarios for different types of attackers.
Based on what we’ve seen in the press – is this more of a problem for larger organisations? As military contractors and high-profile enterprises continue to gain awareness and bolster defences, mid-sized and small enterprise companies become the next logical step for targeted attacks. What should they do? Future generations must prepare themselves for waves of increasingly malicious threats perpetrated by foreign agencies, hostile governments, political hacktivists and unscrupulous companies illicitly stealing secrets. Many mid-market attacks can be mitigated or stopped with regular user education and training. Best security practices such as avoiding clicking on attachments and PDFs from unknown or unsolicited sources, doublechecking suspicious emails and regularly changing passwords should be applied frequently. The mid-market must improve its defences to mitigate increasingly menacing threats. Standard firewalls and IDS technology are not enough to block evasive and sophisticated attacks.Complicating matters, many of these technologies are not adequately monitored or updated, lulling end-user organisations into a false sense of security, while giving a free pass to the operators. As a bare minimum, mid-market companies need to have a strong endpoint security agent that incorporates anti-virus, application control, device control and web control.
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“One of the biggest threats to businesses is the people who work for them”
How vulnerable is equipment used on a network? Any smart device is a computer with an OS that controls and operates a technological process. Usually, smart devices are based on the Linux OS and have external network connections via HTTP/HTTPS (standard Web interface), FTP, Telnet or SSH. In some companies, such devices are part of an internal network with other classical computers. In order to keep your network safe, separation is key: any devices that are using network connections should be separated from the main corporate network. Secondly, the company needs to update all software installed on all devices on a regular basis, even the smart coffee machine, and always change the default password. As for industrial control systems (ICS), it is highly recommended to use special security network monitoring solutions to prevent a potentially catastrophic event. What is the biggest threat to security? Against the backdrop of a complex and growing cyber-threat landscape, where 57 per cent of businesses now assume their IT security will become compromised, businesses are also waking up to the fact that one of the biggest chinks in their armour against cyber attack is their very own employees. Fifty-two per cent of businesses admit that employees are their biggest weakness in IT security, with their careless actions putting business IT security strategy at risk.
IN FOCUS: SECURITY
the threats Kaspersky Lab details the most common form of threats targeted towards businesses globally MALWARE
Malware, also known as “malicious software,” can be classified several ways in order to distinguish the unique types of malware from each other. Distinguishing and classifying different types of malware from each other is important to better understand how they can infect computers and devices, the threat level they pose and how to protect against them.
Ransomware is a subset of malware in which the data on a victim’s computer is locked, typically by encryption, and payment is demanded before the ransomed data is decrypted and access returned to the victim. The motive for ransomware attacks is nearly always monetary. The victim is usually notified that an exploit has occurred and is given instructions for how to recover from the attack. Payment is often demanded in a virtual currency, such as bitcoin, so that the cybercriminal’s identity isn’t known. 2017 saw a number of high-profile ransomware attacks – including Wannacry, Bad Rabbit and ExPetr.
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With an APT, cybercriminals target individuals by employing malware to hunt and phish for highly personalised information, which is then used as part of a second attack. From there, the APT relies on individualised often social-engineering techniques to infiltrate an organisation via the end user. During this attack phase, the APT will target a handful of key individuals with known access to the targeted accounts, reeling them in with convincing emails that appear to come from HR or a trusted source. With one careless click, cybercriminals have free access to an organisation’s most precious information without anyone being aware. Once in, the APT employs any number of sophisticated Trojans, worms and other malware to infect the network and establish multiple backdoors on systems that will most likely remain on desktops and servers indefinitely. During that time, the threat moves undetected from one host to the next with protracted stealth that enables it to hunt for its assigned target.
“Devices that connect to the network have the potential to be attacked if they are not properly secured”
IN FOCUS: SECURITY
“With one careless click, cybercriminals have free access to an organisations most precious information”
Zero-day exploits take advantage of security vulnerabilities in software before the vendor has time to address them or even realise they exist – indicating a window of zero days between the first attack and the fix. The result is tantamount to a cybercrime free-for-all. Without fear of reprisal, cybercriminals reap the benefits of executing an attack for which there is no known cure. Malware that targets zero-day vulnerabilities can silently wreak havoc on an organisation, homing in on its > proprietary information, such as source code, intellectual property, military blueprints, defence data and other government secrets used in espionage activities. As the attack unravels, the fallout costs organisations millions in damages related to everything from security infrastructure overhauls to litigation costs and customer attrition – not to mention the untold costs needed to rebuild reputation and regain consumer confidence.
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Distributed Network Attacks are often referred to as Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks. This type of attack takes advantage of the specific capacity limits that apply to any network resources – such as the infrastructure that enables a company’s website. The DDoS attack will send multiple requests to the attacked web resource – with the aim of exceeding the website’s capacity to handle multiple requests and prevent the website from functioning correctly. Left: Xxxxxxxxxx When we talk about cyber crime and viruses, we often xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxxxxxx think of our computers. AV equipment (digital signage, microphones, loudspeakers etc.) are now increasingly being run over a network, how at risk are they from potential threats? Nowadays almost all of this equipment is part of the “IoT” – and devices that connect to the network have the potential to be attacked if they are not properly secured.
IN FOCUS: TOP TIPS
IF IT’S ONLINE IT’S AT RISK Pasi Korhonen, security engineer at Synopsys offers advice on how to keep your AV equipment and network safe
> Pasi Korhonen
AS A LOT OF AUDIO and video equipment is now networked for either content delivery/transport or remote control/administration, if a piece of equipment has an internet connection it becomes a ‘thing’ on the internet, aka Internet of Things (IoT). Consumers should look at vendors’ and installers’ security credentials. For permanent and major installations, projects and businesses should consider risk assessments driven by threat models – how well do we actually realise what could happen? The long-term, sustainable solution would be for the AV equipment manufacturers to keep a keen eye on software security – design with the “internet threat scenarios” in mind, do appropriate testing etc. Increase the software quality and there will be less security issues as a side effect.
Study the ecosystem when selecting gear; different vendors might have varying cultures in security, different attitudes and mechanisms for patching or releasing new software versions. Are there a lot of regular firmware updates for a piece of gear? That might be more likely to indicate a good and timely patching culture than an inferior system. Pro audio has now, for example, digital mixers, which are remotely controlled from a tablet, often with WiFi as the transport. Here, all traditional WiFi security tips apply for building the control networks – for example avoidance of use of default passwords in networking gear, shared credentials, unencrypted traffic.
Network design: because the gear is networked, you need sufficiently good network design. Defence in depth requires enough segregation so that remote control and content delivery are in their own segments, quite apart from normal internet access or office traffic. In an AV network there can be all kinds of devices, such as digital signage and audio players, many of these with a general purpose computer controlling the operation. When cracked, these can be a platform for a Bot – a springboard for getting further into the network and a platform to execute arbitrary code, code which could be used to take control of digital signage or even to mine Bitcoin, sapping performance from your devices or even code to allow an attacker to take control. If networking is kind of a “new feature” for a
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IN FOCUS: TOP TIPS
piece of AV gear, how much threat modeling has the manufacturer done? What kind of assessments have been run against the device? How much security risk is residual in the device? Does the vendor have a security initiative in place?
Denial of Service attack (DoS): If content delivery is based on IP networks, could attackers DoS the broadcast by fuzzing some part of the associated technology stack? – A DoS attack would have a similar effect to a radio jammer. Can you block emergency/crisis communication? Announcements during huge public events? Can you alter the feed, replace content with your own? Launch alarms at a stadium? DoS the security cameras blind when breaking and entering? Kill point-of-sale – devices and credit card terminals at a big event?
Networked mic and camera equipment: If Jim the janitor inserts a network sniffer/recorder in the RJ-45 socket in a closet or if a malicious actor can get onto the shared WiFi network, does he get inside information directly from cameras and mics? Think of how much the EVS operator sees that is
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confidential during an OB – e.g. royalty or heads of state clandestine conversations while mic’d up. That could be very interesting content for an eavesdropper. The idea of a digital music file embedded with something triggering a vulnerability, and then executing arbitrary code, was coined in the automotive industry, but could also be done in networked AV systems. Imagine a playlist from hell – a malicious actor sends a demo to a recording company on an USB. If that is ingested, so is any malicious content. Think malware or code specifically crafted as part of a targeted attack rather than viruses.
The moral: the inputs to any software can be dangerous, and this software should be tested for its robustness at the factory. Always consider the holy trinity of security – what could the bad guys do with CIA (confidentiality, integrity, availability) if breached. A lot of traditional network security advice applies also for AV-related networks. Change default passwords, learn how to patch your systems and devices and design properly (segregation, firewalling, ACLs). Learn more at: www.synopsys.com
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IN FOCUS: INTERVIEW
CONFESSIONS OF AN ETHICAL HACKER Think your company is secure? Don’t be so sure. AVTE speaks to Jason Hart, an ethical hacker with a certain set of skills. Skills he has acquired over a very long career. Skills that make him a (potential) nightmare for people like you
he threats from cyber attacks are reaching epidemic proportions. As I write this, an email with the headline ‘councils hit be 37 cyber attacks every minute’ has popped up on my screen. Surprised? After all, the subject of cyber threats for many is like discussing a life threatening illness or crashing your car. It’s something that happens to other people, right? Maybe. Maybe not. Statistically, the threat levels demand it be taken seriously. Figures from the Online Trust Alliance (OTA), place the number of
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reported cyber attacks on businesses in 2017 as just shy of 160,000 – that’s double the figure in 2015. Combined with unreported cases (quick fixes, embarssment, ransom paid), the OTA puts the figure closer to 350,000 – the population of Bristol. It’s not just small companies either. Many highly successful and highly resourced companies have made the headlines in recent years due to vulnerabilities in their securiy. Equifax, Uber, Verizon, Yahoo, Vodafone, Carphone Warehouse, AA, Deloiite, NHS, Playstation – the list goes on. Hacks come in many different forms. For some
IN FOCUS: INTERVIEW hackers, it’s the thrill and the self-satisfaction of being able to gain access to something they shouldn’t. Some just want to be a nuissance. Take last year’s attack on Union Station in Washington DC for example, when a large advertising display was hacked during rush hour to display pornographic content. Embarrassment aside (and a few difficult questions from children) the hack was harmless – a warning to up their security at worst. On the flipside, some hackers – “the bad guys” – do it for personal gain. A career in targeting your data to use, sell, maniplulate or hold to ransom. Such incidents can cause irreparable damage to a company or an individual (remember all the angry wives after the Ashley Madison hack?) Perhaps the most startling figure is that 93 per cent of all breaches in 2017 could have been avoided by using common and simple security practices. But what are they? Is it as simple as buying and installing a bit of software off the shelf and forgetting about it? Jason Hart is a potentially very dangerous man, possessing the skills and knowledge to cause the kind of damage suggested above. Thankfully, Jason is a good guy. A successful “ethical hacker” now helping companies like yours. He knows how the bad guys think and what it is they want and the methods deployed to go and get it and – crucially – the best ways to stop them.
● Cyber crime damage costs to hit $6 trillion annually by 2021 – double that of 2015 ● Cyber security spending to exceed $1 trillion from 2017 to 2021
● Ransomware costs UK/EU businesses £71m in downtime during 2016/2017
● Average ransom demand from hackers was between £350 and £1,407 during 2016/2017
“If I go back 20 years when I was doing this stuff, it would take me four or five weeks to gain access to an organisation. Now it would take me seconds”
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Hi Jason. How does one become a hacker? I’ve always had a very in-depth curiosity of technology, but also to break technology. My parents would buy me a remote control car for Christmas and within three hours, the remote would be in pieces and I’d be trying to make it faster or do things it wasn’t designed for. That’s how my mind has always worked. What do your skills allow you to do? I can go into any organisation of any size and very quickly identify any risks or potential ways that the bad guys can gain access. People think the hackers out there have immense sets of skills. That’s not true. Some of them are very articulate and extremely smart, but what they actually do is look at an organisation and look at the relationship between the technology, people and process and expose weaknesses in those three areas. I call it ‘situational awareness’. The problem we have today is most organisations think they’re secure. They may be. But unless they look at the risks holistically across technology, people and process, that’s where they fundamentally break down. The bad guys have the ability to look at the situational awareness and from there they can expose and compromise them through their weaknesses. Just how difficult is it for a hacker to gain access to a company’s data? Every breach we see today is mainly around confidentiality, such as gaining access to confidential information of an organisation. An example would be compromising someone’s password, gaining access and downloading information. So, the confidentiality has been compromised. We’re in the connected world, so things are being connected to the organisation and to your home and that absolutely includes AV equipment. By things being connected to the network there’s a potential door for a bad guy to gain access to and control the wider business. Has this made it easier? Absolutely. If I go back 20 years when I was doing this stuff, it would take me four or five weeks to gain access to an organisation. Now it would take me minutes or seconds to do because an organisation’s footprint is so much bigger. It’s on premises, it’s in the cloud – it’s everywhere. Talk me through the process. You’ve identified me and AVTE as a target, what now? For me, I’d start with doing a bit of digging on you. It would be very simple. I have your email address
IN FOCUS: INTERVIEW
“The world is reliant on passwords. If we remove the need for a password, we remove 80-90 per cent of every breach that occurs. Every major breach that occurs starts with the compromise of a username and password”
BIO: JASON HART Jason is CTO, Data Protection at Gemalto, a world leader in digital security. He is a former ethical hacker that has at one time worked with many of the FTSE 100 companies to test their defences and point out their vulnerabilities.
already and if I didn’t, I’d be able to find it or work it out quickly. I know who you work for, so I’d be able to find some form of digital footprint online. Very quickly I’d be able to automate that (looking at other sites such as Facebook and Twitter) and find out your hobbies and interests plus potentially some family linkage as well. Everyone’s password is unique and almost always has a meaning to them. So the probability is your password is linked to a family name, an interest or a hobby. That would be my starting point. Once in, the second step I’d take is to quickly map your email address to any other associations online you use it for. Accounts such as Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google and all the usual suspects. I can quickly establish the relationship between your email addresses and your online accounts. From there, I can create a profile of you as an individual and look at your business associations and your business life. We call that cross-pollination. From there I have enough information to start conducting direct attacks against you without you even knowing. For example? Now I have some understanding of your life, I could send you an email from a fake account, which you would believe has come from a family member or someone you work with and trust. It could ask you to check something via a familiar link, which you have no reason to doubt is genuine. That link
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“Anything that’s connected to the web and not been secured properly has the ability to be taken over and controlled by an unauthorised person”
would take you to a site you use and will willingly enter your email (which I already have) and your password. You’ll get either a failure message or a redirection to the real site itself. You might just think you entered the details incorrectly the first time because after I’ve captured your details, I can send you to the actual website second time around. Unbeknown to you, I’ve been the man in the middle and I’ve captured your information. Now I can start taking control of your life. I just need to profile you, get some information, which I can then use to conduct account takeovers and use your identity to do other forms of attack. Over a gradual period of time, I could take control of your life, but more importantly, I’d go for your business and use it as a proxy to go after other employees or family members that may have a higher net worth or a bigger profile. It’s a daisy chain. Using the data to continually attack. You can do this against any organisation, no matter how big or how small. You make it sound easy. It can be. You have a physical device and for me, getting access to that physical device is very hard. However, I’m certain your laptop has relationships with services in the cloud, whether that’s Google Drive, Hotmail and so on. So with that, the risk exposure of your laptop has opened up. Twenty years ago, I’d have needed access to your machine. To get access to you username and password as a bad guy can be very easy. Ninety per cent of it starts with identifying a username and password. So, what’s the alternative? There are ways of preventing this. The world is reliant on passwords. If we remove the need for a password, we remove 80-90 per cent of every breach that occurs. Every major breach starts with the compromise of a username and password, so why not eradicate passwords and replace them with one-time passwords? In the event of a bad guy capturing a password that he or she believes you’re using, it immediately becomes invalid.
IN FOCUS: INTERVIEW This technology exists. People sometimes portray security as a black art. It’s really not. It should be at the forefront of every individual. It doesn’t need to be complicated. How should a company assess their security? As an organisation, regardless of size, you need to ask yourself “if a breach was to occur, what data would give you the biggest pains?” The bad guys want data. So as an organisation, you need to look at the different types of data you have. Secondly, where is that data? Is it on your phone? Is it in the cloud, in a server? Thirdly you need to look at people. Who’s accessing that data? By doing that you’re creating a very high-level risk assessment. You cannot apply security or mitigate risk unless you have clear visibility of those three different pots. When you have that visibility, you can start drawings maps, linking them together. This is what the bad guy does. Once you’ve done those very simple process maps, you have to ask what type of risk you’re trying to litigate. Is it a confidentiality risk? Is it availability or integrity? That’s as complicated as security gets. How can you be secure if you don’t understand what it is that you’re trying to prevent?
CYBER INCIDENTS DEFINED AS:
■ Access to a system or device and its data, ■ Extraction, deletion or damage to any form of data, ■ Disruption of availability and/or integrity of any ■ Business operation, ■ Activities causing financial or reputational harm.
“The connected world is changing things for the greater good, but at the same time it’s allowing the attack surface to be bigger for the bad guys”
Is there such a thing as a typical target? People have this belief they’re of no value to a bad guy. That’s a total misconception. A lot of the time, there are high profile targets, but a bad guy will attack anyone. They might do it for selfgratification; they don’t always do it for money. They do it just because they can. What people don’t realise is for many attacks, is that a persons data is potentially already out there in the wild. So those usernames and passwords have already been captured and being monetised and exchanged. So all I have to do is take these email addresses and passwords and find out what other relationships that person has with other online services. As we know, your password is very common and almost certainly used across most of your other accounts. You may change the number at the end or add a capital letter here and there, but that’s easily discovered.
“Anyone with digital signage, uses digital displays, does video conferencing, uses a microphone and has speakers are all potentially at risk” 44
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Specifically for AV, what are the biggest threats or risks we should be aware of? As mentioned before, every piece of equipment that’s connected to a network is a potential doorway for a hacker. Anyone with a digital display, or does video conferencing, uses microphones and has speakers are potentially at risk. Think about all the information displayed on an interactive whiteboard? Your entire business strategy might have been outlined, containing highly confidential information. That whiteboard is recording everything electronically and storing it on a computer and that computer is backing it up to the cloud. If I was a bad guy and could access that information, the ramifications could be enormous. What about a lawyer or a legal council using forms of AV technology, such as conference calling? What if I could find that conference calling system online and listen in to the calls without them even knowing? The change and transformation that AV brings is fantastic, but it’s all a potential proxy for the bad guys to get into an organisation. What would your final advice be? If you’re putting in new AV equipment, don’t connect it directly into your network. Create a separate network or VLAN that is firewalled off. So in the event that it is compromised, it doesn’t allow the bad guy to go straight into the normal network of the business. Creating an element of segregation is very important. Secondly, if the AV device needs to connect to the outside world, make sure that any default passwords are disabled and more importantly, ensure that multi factor protection is enabled. Thirdly, make sure that you know who, when, why and where they’re accessing your AV. A and finally, make sure that any data that is being created by a device, that the appropriate security controls, such as encryption and key manager are applied. You can find out more about Jason Hart, including videos on how simple it can be to access unauthorised information by visiting: www.jasonhart.co.uk
IN FOCUS: DIGITAL SIGNAGE
JUST HOW SAFE IS YOUR DIGITAL SIGNAGE? AVTE gets the thoughts of James Keen, group marketing manager at video streaming and digital signage software provider Tripleplay, on how a lack of understanding could be putting your company at risk
>Above: hackers taking control of vulnerable public digital signage is on the rise
“Understanding the risks associated with AV technology is a problem, absolutely”
There seems to be very little written about the subject of AV and security. Why is that? The cynic in me thinks the AV industry ignores security out of convenience, some because they don’t pay it enough attention, some because they can’t solve it and some because they don’t care enough. AV tech was generally seen as secure. It wasn’t networked, so there was no need to consider security. With the dawn of IP however that has dramatically changed. The world of online espionage, hacking, illegal streaming and, what I like to call, ‘digital graffiti’ has forced many AV technology companies to rethink; but not all. Is there still a lack of understanding? Understanding the risks associated with AV technology is a problem, absolutely. While there
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are some very visual and obvious challenges the industry can understand, there are others they don’t. We’ve seen a number of instances of window digital signage systems being hacked and displaying adult materials in public spaces, digital graffiti, which people understand; it’s a hack and a delinquent with a PC. However, there is also risk of allowing digital signage system administrators seeing and using certain content within a CMS, or a disgruntled employee using the system to show a finger to their boss on their final day; understanding user management, having a system that supports workflow management and ensuring digital signage systems are inaccessible from outside of a corporate network can help with this. When it comes to IPTV the security concern comes from the content owner, be that Sky, Dish,
IN FOCUS: DIGITAL SIGNAGE Foxtel or Mediacorp; they want assurance that an employee cannot re-broadcast the streams you are distributing on a corporate network to the World Wide Web. They also want to ensure the content is only accessible from where and when it should be; so having an IPTV solution with full content management platform with DRM, geo-located access and control of downloads can really help. For me, it isn’t a surprise that the AV industry doesn’t understand this, IPTV is a bit of a new thing to many. IPTV is and always has been more IT than AV, and getting more heavily so; the industry is moving away from the appliance/black box approach and moving more towards software, which brings with it further need for enhanced security and encryption. Despite some of the horror stories in the press around cyber attacks, do you think the subject is being taken seriously enough? I think most of the proper IPTV and digital signage vendors are taking cyber security seriously, those who deal with large scale enterprise clients. But with 1,000 plus digital signage software solutions in the market I’d be surprised if all of them were particularly interested in security. How big and how real is the threat? Vulnerability starts the minute a system is connected to the public internet and then only if the network firewall is not configured correctly. I wouldn’t say any solution is infallible, but some are more robust than others. Hacks aren’t very frequent, in my six years with Tripleplay I can’t recall anything other than a disgruntled IT employee sabotaging a digital signage deployment when nobody closed down his network access after being sacked. Most of these systems are off the radar of hackers as there is little they can learn from them and little damage they can do. Obviously you get the occasional public display of hacking on digital signage screens, but that is because a hacker sees the screen and thinks ‘I wonder if I can get into that’ rather than sitting at home thinking ‘I need to hack some digital signage’. Would you say every company is a potential target for a hacker? From an AV perspective it just seems to be visible, public display environments that are targets. AV isn’t a widely known industry and its solutions generally fly under the radar. From a hacking perspective it would either be public displays and a mischievous computer whizz or a top level government job; either way, shouldn’t affect the masses.
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Do you have any examples of where AV security has been compromised in digital signage and IPTV? From an IPTV perspective, we’ve not seen much yet publicly but have heard tales. There is the risk now with the introduction of bring your own content with apps connecting to smart TVs that in densely packed hotels users can share adult materials to in-room smart TVs of other guests. That is of course, in hotels where the establishment has taken a shortcut and not implemented a robust IT-based system. What’s your advice to readers that use digital signage in their business? Solid IT systems are priority one, AV systems that standalone from the IT network are vulnerable if they have an internet connection, so protecting those behind the company’s IT systems adds a layer of protection. Once that protection is in place your AV solution should also have its own in-built security, encryption and protection; so doubles down from a network perspective. Then, at the endpoint level, devices need to be encrypted too and should not allow a feed to be extracted; for example a HDMI output from a digital signage screen. Beyond that, human risks are always a problem but again, much of that can be ring-fenced with the right systems and the right policies. Nothing is 100 per cent fail safe, but you can be ‘more’ safe with some solutions than others. Is it possible to be attacked without knowing and how can they check? Cyber-attacks by their nature are secretive and hard to spot, except when somebody emblazons pornography across a 60ft screen in a train station. However, the way IT systems monitor and log data you can generally tell if something has taken place or is currently taking place. Again though, this is an IT solution, many AV manufacturer solutions do not provide the ability to see if your system is being remotely accessed, monitor system login attempts, provide reports on access or backup settings so a client can quickly reset and reload content.
> James Keen: threats to digtal signage are rare but do happen – beware of disgruntled employees
Digital Signage: Public display hack, replacing on-screen content with ‘problem’ content. Prevented using non-windows based systems, isolating from public internet and having a robust firewall.
IPTV and Video Streaming: Staff member illegally re-broadcasting TV content or internal materials; live sports for example. Prevented using DRM and HDCP.
IPTV and Video Streaming: Illegally capturing streamed video and redistributing. Prevented using DRM and HDCP.
IPTV and Video Streaming: Accessing content that they shouldn’t, sensitive commercial materials, operations or legal counsel sessions. Prevented with User Access Rights Control systems.
Anything else you’d like to add? AV managers and technicians must embrace IT and they must embrace security. The industry is fast moving away from its traditional hardware base to a software industry and with that comes an intrinsic requirement to be secure. You will never have your product installed on the network if it does not adhere to corporate IT security polices and standards; start planning for it now.
SAVE THE DATE!
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EYE ON RECRUITMENT A selection of the latest movers and shakers from across the AV industry, plus some top tips from leading AV recruitment firm, JacobsMassey
Christopher Lewis Pinsent Masons
Senior AV Services Technician Hi Christopher. Congratulations on your new role! What attracted you to Pinsent Masons? I worked as senior technician at the Wellcome Trust for eight years, and was a bit nervous about leaving to progress. Pinsent Masons is an international law firm, which really came across as a unique corporate organisation that placed a lot of emphasis on staff being able to evolve. What will your main responsibilities be in your new position? I support the team alongside the AV manager to continue to deliver the high level of service to all clients, which the team are already doing so well, and look to see what aspects can be improved both for the organisation and the team. I’ve been with the organisation for a few months and the team have been amazing welcoming me and I am really enjoying being part of such a knowledgeable team. What trends and changes have you seen in the AV industry over the past five-years? Clients are starting to realise how important technology is to ensure a meeting takes place. As AV technology changes it allows us to be more creative and deliver an innovative experience to clients. Finally, what’s the best part of being part of the AV industry? It’s nice to feel like you’re part of something that is always evolving. Thanks to groups such as the AV Cultural Forum you can share knowledge with others within the industry and see that you are all on the same path to make AV better than it already is.
“I am really enjoying being part of such a knowledgeable team”
Thom Goossens, Crestron Crestron has appointed Thom Goossens as its new regional sales manager for the Netherlands. Thom joins Crestron having spent 11 years at Canon – most recently as business development. His focus will be to help Crestron increase market share in the Netherlands. Michaela Hirsch, Peerless-AV Michaela Hirsch has been appointed Peerless-AV’s new sales manager, Germany. Michaela has more than 20 years of AV solutions sales experience having held various sales management and business development positions.
Insight: Graeme Massey ‘As we all recover from the whirlwind that is ISE we now look to the next quarter. The permanent recruitment needs of AV companies, organisations and end users remain high. Be mindful that in your recruitment processes the ‘counter-offer’ is ever present. Ensure that when you are short-listing, select talent seeking genuine career progression as opposed to a simple salary up-lift.
Share your recruitment movers and shakers with AV Technology Europe If you have recently made a new appointment and would like he or she to be featured in our ‘Eye on Recruitment’ page, please email our editor Michael Garwood: firstname.lastname@example.org
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THE TECH GUIDE
A SELECTION OF THE LATEST AV PRODUCTS AND SERVICES NOW AVAILABLE Panasonic
PT-RQ22K Product type: 3-Chip DLP Solid Shine laser projector Target market: Large venues and live events. What’s new? It is the first 4K, 21,000 lumens laser projector from Panasonic
NEC PH Series laser projectors Product type: RB laser projectors Target market: Higher education, corporate and large venues What’s new? Designed to meet the demand of large venues that seek premium, cinema-quality projection at an affordable lifetime cost, these new projectors use the latest advances in RB laser light source technology to bring new brightness levels and high resolution, combined with low operational costs for a range of applications and venues. Details: Presentations to very large audiences require a huge visual canvas on which to deliver an eye-pleasing and easy-to-read visual experience – often 10 metres or even more. NEC’s new PH Series projectors respond to these needs with true 4K imagery and super high brightness for perfect viewing experiences even in demanding light conditions. The PH3501QL delivers 40,000 centre lumens, while the PH2601QL features 30,000.
Details: The PT-RQ22 comes in the same compact dimensions and is armed with the same 21,000 centre lumens brightness as the PT-RZ21K series, but it is equipped with 4K+ (5,120 x 3,200) resolution. Features include a dual light engine, and it can switch to a backup video signal instantaneously if the primary source goes down. Others include a Quad Pixel Drive and 240Hz real motion processor, heat-resistant phosphor wheels and a single-cable 4K Digital Link connection, making it compatible with the newly launched Panasonic 12G-SDI interface boards, as well as the full range of 3-Chip DLP Panasonic lenses. To keep total cost of ownership down, the projector is equipped with a shielded optical engine with heat-pipe based cooling, eliminating the need for an air filter. It means the whole projector is able to operate with no maintenance over extended periods, even in dusty environments. Available: Summer 2018 Where can I buy? Visit the where to buy page at: https://business.panasonic.co.uk/visual-system Price: POA
Available: April 2018 Where can I buy? NEC approved resellers Price: POA 50
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Mezzanine Series Product type: Immersive Visual Collaboration Solution Target market: Large enterprises
Connect Spark Converters Product type: IP video converter Target market: Corporate, education, entertainment, gaming, government and sports What’s new? NewTek Connect Spark products are IP video converters. The units deliver video on IP source to any standard network via WiFi or standard Ethernet cable. Connect Spark devices provide 3G SDI or HDMI conversion up to 1080p 60 with loop through. In addition to video conversion to IP, the devices provide tally support and remotely record MP4 to an SD card or USB drive. Recording is controlled through a web interface available for devices including mobile phones, tablets and laptops. Details: Existing customers can now take advantage of a number of new features through software upgrades free of charge. These include multi-camera virtual pan tilt zoom (PTZ) capability, multicast support, ability to connect across networks and improved audio. Virtual PTZ capability allows users to determine areas of interest within the entire video frame, zoom in, save those areas as presets, and then transition between them smoothly like a PTZ camera.
What’s new? Mezzanine has introduced a new ‘PoP’ Picture on Picture feature which automates the size and position of the video conferencing feed in a connected work session, so that collaborators always have the best content sharing experience. Mezzanine has also been updated to include integrations with popular ecosystems like Microsoft Exchange and Skype for Business. Details: The Mezzanine Series is a scalable range of immersive visual collaboration solutions which can adapt to any size of workspace. Ranging from the 200 Series (two screen), which is ideal for smaller ideation or huddle rooms, to the 650 series (six screen) for creating larger collaboration war-room environments. Mezzanine connects teams into a shared workspace to engage in truly collaborative work and presentations, facilitating; simultaneous multi-user, multi-screen, multi-device, multi-location immersive visual collaboration. Mezzanine is operated in-room via a gestural interface, allowing participants to manipulate shared content across the screens using a wand. Remote participants can also move, save, edit or annotate content, within the shared workspace, from their connected device (phone, tablet, laptop). Available: Now Where can I buy? For reseller details visit: www.oblong.com/partners Price: POA
Available Now Where can I buy? Visit the where to buy page at: www.newtek.com/where-to-buy/reseller-locator Price: POA
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Lifesize App Product type: Cloud-based collaboration platform Target market: Small and mid-sized businesses with office locations in several markets and large enterprises with office locations worldwide What’s new? The new re-architected Lifesize app Datapath
Datapath Hx4 standalone wall controller Product type: Display wall controller Target market: Small to medium-sized, high quality display applications What’s new? Brand new product Details: Capable of running a single 4K HDMI source across four HD outputs in ultra-high definition, the Hx4 brings power and allows creativity for any digital display configuration. A single HDMI1.4 input provides four HDMI1.3 outputs, allowing numerous creative possibilities and the ability to rotate crop, upscale and mirror content. Each output monitor can take its input from any region of the output image as all of the cropping, scaling, rotation and frame rate conversion is handled by the Hx4 hardware. When used with Datapath’s powerful Wall Designer applications software, the Hx4 can represent any arrangement or configuration of the source image. Datapath’s Hx4 has a single Ethernet connection, which can be used for status monitoring and complete control of the hardware. A flexible REST application programme interface is also supported to allow third-party software integration. Supplied with a three-year warranty.
Details: The Lifesize app is a cloud-based collaboration platform that delivers HD audio, web and video conferencing, providing an effortless meeting experience with enterprise functionality, reliability and security. The app includes a new user interface and features including smart matching search to deliver easier navigation and more flexible communication and collaboration. It offers enhanced flexibility with powerful moderator controls and permissions, and a consistent experience for participants and guests across the web app and desktop client. The app also provides document or screen sharing, one-click recording, sharing and autopublishing, and one-to-one or group chat over any device, at a much higher quality than any other solution on the market today. It can be accessed directly through Google Chrome or Internet Explorer 11. With its turnkey capabilities, easy to use and maintain, without requiring extensive IT involvement. Available: Now Where can I buy? www.lifesize.com/en/partners/ locate-a-partner Price: Free trial available
Available: Now Where can I buy? www.datapath.co.uk Price: POA
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DU9800Z Product type: Single chip laser projector. Target market: Large venues.
Radiance LED Product type: LED display Target market: Rental entertainment and installations (including retail, broadcast, command and control, visitor attraction, house of worship) What’s new? The new Radiance LED from Digital Projection delivers unmatched brightness and colour performance to tackle all lighting conditions in venues and seamless custom configurations: no bezels interrupting the image, endless image size and resolution possibilities, whilst offering 3D capability. Details: Engineered to create bright and vivid imagery in venues with close and/or long viewing distances, Radiance LED is a 3D capable LED panel solution which delivers high quality colour saturation and contrast in nearly any indoor ambient light condition. Built on a native 16:9 aspect ratio, the individual Radiance LED panels provide seamless building blocks for creating custom resolutions in various shapes and sizes. To suit a wide array of applications, Radiance LED is available in pixel-pitch configurations of 1.2mm, 1.5mm, 1.9mm and 2.5mm, and can achieve full HD 1080p imagery at display sizes from 110 inches (diagonal) and Ultra-HD 4K at 220 inches. Radiance LED features a thin installation profile, wide viewing angles and silent operation due to its fan-less panel design providing a dynamic display solution for a wide variety of environments.
What’s new? The DU9800Z is Vivitek’s brightest single chip laser projector to date, offering 18,000 ANSI Lumens with a native WUXGA 1,920 x 1,200 resolution that delivers an impeccable standard of colour and detail. With 20,000 hours of laser light operation, this projector far exceeds the average lamp-based projector. Details: The DU9800Z offers a new Constant Brightness feature to help reduce blending maintenance with customisable brightness. Equipped with a smart sensor, the DU9800Z continuously measures the light output and adjusts the illumination accordingly to maintain constant brightness. This innovative feature therefore reduces the need for installers to recalibrate the projector regularly. It also includes advanced thermal management technology from Delta, while also offering a unique sealed optical engine design. The design features a liquid cooling base and enables better cooling airflow. This ensures greater robustness as it eliminates any negative dust impact as well as quieter operation. The DU9800Z’s operation is kept very stable and is ideally suited to 24/7 operation with low user intervention. Available: Now Where can i buy? www.avmltd.co.uk/products Price: €24,990 excluding VAT
Available: Now Where can I buy? Digital Projection network: www.digitalprojection.com/emea/contact/ Price: POA March 2018
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Cassette Product type: LED display Target market: Street furniture, DOOH, digital signage
PL553 – 55 inch 4K 1.8mm Bezel Video Wall Display Product type: Video wall solution Target market: Retail, corporate and education What’s new? The PL553 is the video wall solution optimised for the highest image quality and easiest content management. It features a 4K screen which has been engineered with an ultra-narrow 1.8mm bezel gap and daisy chaining technology, to create a seamless viewing experience. The PL553 is also equipped with simple, hassle-free USB plug-and-play content scheduling system. Details: The BenQ PL553 includes an ultra-narrow bezel design at 1.8mm, which means video wall installations are free of visual distractions and offer a seamless viewing experience. Users can create and manage content using BenQ’s X-Sign software, as well as instantly playing multimedia content from a USB flash drive. To increase versatility, each PL553 display comes with the Open Pluggable Specification standard, which enables users to insert optional modules into the display to expand connectivity and connect multiple displays. Colour calibration is also easy to complete, as users can unify video wall colour profiles with a controller PC to eliminate colour irregularities and complete full calibration for the whole video wall.
What’s new? Absen Cassette is the world’s first product engineered to slot directly inside existing poster-based advertising housings. Operators and advertising space owners can simply remove the existing lightbox and replace it with a high brightness LED display. Absen Cassette can use existing power, incurs no cost to replace the housing, and critically, reduces complexities with planning permission and onsite works. Details: Absen Cassette gives customers an alternative to LCD display solutions, providing a higher level of visual performance through higher brightness and contrast, and critically delivering significantly higher uniformity over time. Cassette is a 1,000 x 1,750mm LED panel with integrated modules, adjustable for existing housings or available with new purpose built housings. To ensure maximum operational stability and performance the Absen Cassette benefits from the integration of Absen’s HBB (High Brightness Black) technology, with ultra-high contrast black LED diodes and ultra-high 3,500nits brightness. A unique shadow mask system further enhances visual contrast and guarantees clear display performance outdoors, even in direct sunshine. Available: Now Where can I buy? Absen Europe’s partner network: www.absen-europe.com/partners Price: POA
Available: Now Where can I buy? http://business-display.benq. com/en-gb/index.html Price: POA
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Vision Exchange Product type: Interactive collaboration solution for active learning and content sharing Target market: Work-group based environments which require content sharing, such as education and corporate
LG and Cisco Spark Product type: Video conferencing – collaboration. Target market: Corporate, government, boardrooms and commercial office space. What’s new: Fully integrated system, intelligent framing, analytics in diagnostic mode, voice and face recognition. Details: Seamless integration is at the core of LG and Cisco’s latest partnership; a collaboration which aims to simplify the meeting experience. LG’s Professional UHD Display Series integrates with Cisco Spark’s Room Kit Series enabling an automated set-up and installation. This means that when you enter the meeting room, motion detection wakes up the Cisco Room Kit, LG Display and Cisco Touch 10 to produce a welcome message. When the meeting starts, the correct HDMI port is automatically detected: so you can focus on the purpose of the meeting and use the touch-panel to seamlessly bring in external participants. The automated installation also enables optimised display parameters for Cisco video - devised so frame rate, colour and resolution are all fine-tuned for a dynamic, sensory collaboration experience.
What’s new? Sony’s Vision Exchange is a costeffective, dynamic and flexible solution to cover various teaching space and meeting room needs. It is designed to facilitate active learning, enabling users to share their content, such as, multimedia presentations with others on to their respective screens and has the ability to bring in other participants at remote locations to join the discussion as required. Vision Exchange ultimately transforms workspaces, such as teaching rooms and meeting areas, by encouraging creative discussion and knowledge exchange. Details: Vision Exchange allows individuals to wirelessly share content from a laptop, tablet or smartphone to participants’ screens. This works by giving individuals the ability to control content with intuitive drag and drop controls that encourage collaborative discussions. For education, it changes the environment from a “one way teaching” platform to an “interactive and collaborative active learning” platform for everyone, meaning groups can brainstorm and work collaboratively – encouraging deeper student engagement and understanding. For corporate environments, Vision Exchange offers a Remote Communication option where participants can share content from their own devices as well as annotations overlaid on images or whiteboard description in real-time. Available: Now Where can I buy? Sony partners pro.sony.eu Price: POA
Available: Now Where can I buy: www.lg.com/uk/business/ find-the-dealer Price: POA
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Yamaha CS-700 No bias and no financial motivation. In our first in a series of real reviews from real end users, Julie Berry, IT and AV support officer at University of Huddersfield gets her hands on and gives her thoughts on the newly launched and newly delivered all-in-one video conferencing system â€“ the Yamaha CS-700 <Do the huddle! The CS-700 is specifically designed as an all-in-one unit to equip huddle rooms with high quality audio, video, and screen sharing capability
At the University of Huddersfield we have been transitioning to Skype for Business for the last couple of years. As a result of this we have been fitting out rooms so that they are Skype for Buisness (SfB) ready when they are refurbished. Our refits commonly involve a Logitech C920 camera along with Audio-Technica boundary mics in the ceiling, which has worked perfectly well for us, but we always felt that there must be something better out there. We looked at a
couple of other products that were close but not quite what we were looking for. The Acendo Vibe was very close but with the controls on the side we didnâ€™t feel that it was quite as intuitive as it could be and was a bit on the pricey side. The Crestron Mercury was good too but lacked a camera and you would still have cables dragging across the table when you linked up additional mics. One of the problems that we encounter is that people agree a specific time for a video
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<The Yamaha CS-700 features a 120 degree ultra-wide angle camera to help capture all meeting participants in one field of view
conference and then find that there are no suitably equipped rooms available at that time because they are being used for normal ‘physical’ meetings. What we wanted was a portable option so we could transform any room into a video conferencing room. So when I went to the LTSMG conference (The Learning and Teaching Spaces Managers Group) at the University of Hertfordshire in November (2017), I saw the Yamaha CS-700 on display. We have been using a Revolabs FLX UC500 mic/ speaker combination with great results and the CS-700 appeared to use the same technology but with an added camera and the controls now clearly visible on the front. An added bonus was that Yamaha were demonstrating it attached to a screen on a trolley, which is exactly what we had been thinking of doing ourselves for the portable option. It looked perfect for us. When I got back to the office, I spoke to our integrator Roche AV to get a price (£900 + VAT) and decided to buy one. Unfortunately as this was such a new product they were not actually available yet so I would have to wait for a month or two. So I waited. And I waited until eventually I saw a tweet from AV Technology Europe - it was finally available in the UK. I called Roche and it arrived the next day – Valentine’s Day. Not quite a bunch of roses, but who am I to complain? The device was securely packed and came with everything I would need to connect it to an office. There was a mounting to screw into the wall and the instructions showed how the bracket to hold it easily snapped in. You can have it installed and working within half an hour of opening the box. As I was just testing it, I laid it on the table, connected the USB cable to my laptop, connected the power and I was ready to start. Within SfB I selected the CS-700 for the audio and video source and made a call to a colleague in our office. Everything worked perfectly straight out of the box. I set up a table so that it would
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“What we wanted was a portable option so we could transform any room into a video conferencing room” seat approximately six people. The camera took in the whole table and could easily accommodate a larger table if required. The camera was of a good quality and produced a decent picture. There is even a camera shutter for privacy if that is a requirement. The audio quality was excellent. Without any tweaking whatsoever my colleague could clearly hear what I was saying whether I was right next to the device or at the far side of the room about six metres away. The CS-700 picked up everything and it sounded great at my end too. On the front of the device there are audio and video mute buttons, which glow blue when muted. It is possible to connect your mobile phone via Bluetooth, which can be done easily by the usual method of pairing, or you can use NFC
FEATURES: • USB audio and video support • Beam forming microphone array • Four speaker elements • Ultra-wide angle camera with 120 degree field of view • Integrated SIP interface for Call Manager integration • Dual display HDMI screen share capability via DisplayLink interface • Remote Management support
“The device was securely packed and came with everything that I would need to connect it to an office”
to connect quickly. I connected my phone and made a call. The CS-700 mic and speakers automatically kicked in but I was a little surprised that the phone’s camera is still used instead of the CS-700’s. Nor could I find a way to get the CS-700 camera to be used via Bluetooth, but I don’t think that will be an issue for us at all. I then connected the CS-700 to our network and was able to easily control things via the web interface. It is a nice touch to be able to control remotely but the device will work just as well without a network connection. On the bottom of the CS-700 there are three screw holes so that tripods can be attached if required instead of the wall fixings. This will be ideal for us for the portable solution. Drawbacks? It would be nice to be able to use the CS-700 camera with a mobile phone. Whilst it is easy to press the buttons on the front of the device, some room layouts may make it awkward to do so and I think that a remote control might be a useful addition.
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“The audio quality was excellent. Without any tweaking whatsoever my colleague could clearly hear what I was saying whether I was right next to the device or at the far side of the room”
< Live, loud and clear: The CS-700 in action
FINAL VERDICT A great product at the right price. I don’t think you could want more from a video conferencing system without making it too complicated. The clarity of the audio is excellent and the wide angle of the camera incorporates the whole meeting. Highly recommended. Rating: 5/5
CONSISTENT AND RELIABLE Laser technology helps universities to control budgets and plan for the future
y 2020, 74 per cent of all 5,000 ANSI lumen installation projectors will be laser light source based. The case behind this is compelling – laser offers reliability, consistent brightness, long life and minimal maintenance adding up to an undeniably low total cost of ownership. What’s more, once it’s installed, you don’t even need to think about it for another 20,000 hours of operation! Compare two equivalent projectors, one laser-based (NEC PX803UL) and one lamp-based (NEC PX750U); over a period of 20,000 hours, an operational cost saving of more than €13,000 is possible. Alongside this, the initial purchasing price of a lamp vs laser based models is remarkably similar. Universities have in the past been forced to allow a considerable budget toward lamp replacement and in a resource stretched sector this is increasingly difficult to ring fence. Additionally, often located on high ceilings in lecture halls and auditoriums, projectors are very difficult and costly to access for maintenance. With no lamp change and no filter cleaning required, neither of these resource-sapping issues need be part of the TCO equation any longer. Many universities are already enjoying the benefits of laser; at the University of Bath, NEC laser projection is utilised across a large part of its general teaching areas to standardise its quality offering to staff and students and reap the benefits of compelling TCO credentials. The long-term reliability and predictability of laser means that whatever they specify now, will still be performing in the same way in five years’ time. The university deliberately chose laser because it provides a consistent platform, one which allows them to change the way they consider the total cost of ownership in their teaching process. Its long lasting consistent performance means they can more effectively plan for their future requirements. Meanwhile, teachers and students also benefit from laser’s consistent brightness performance. Delivering teaching material with perfect image quality and natural looking colours, laser offers students an eye pleasing viewing experience.
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“Delivering teaching material with perfect image quality, laser offers students an eye pleasing viewing experience” viewing experience ’
Lecture halls and auditoriums are often flooded with light keeping students stimulated and motivated, yet laser projection delivers impressive rich colours in high resolutions and vivid brightness making the content clear to view even in the brightest ambient light.
Jon.email@example.com Jon Garaway, education account manager at NEC Display Solutions, talks about the benefits of laser projection for education users.
VR IN EDUCATION
VR IN THE CLASSROOM IS NOW CHILD’S PLAY VR presents an unparalleled opportunity to raise engagement and increase knowledge retention for students of all ages, through personal experience. Michael Garwood gets immersed > Above: sch0ol children having an out of this world experience thanks to VR
“The only source of knowledge is experience” Albert Einstein
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IT’S SUGGESTED by experts that the average person remembers only 10 per cent of what they read, 20 per cent of what they hear and 30 per cent of what they see. For a teacher, such figures demonstrate the magnitude of their task in educating a class full of children – each with varying abilities, interests and (most painstakingly) attention spans. However, figures suggest a whopping 90 per cent of people remember things they experience. Of course, a school classroom remains the primary location for learning – with field trips, locally and internationally not possible (or financially feasible) on a regular basis. Imagine the time and expense of taking a group of kids to see, say, the pyramids in egypt, to accompany what they’ve been learning in history class.
It’s perhaps little surprise, that VR and AR technology/software is becoming increasingly popular within academic circles, removing such obstacles/barriers, whilst retaining the experience. “We believe VR/AR has the potential to be a standard tool in education and could revolutionise the way in which students are taught for the both the K-12 segment (pre college) and higher education,” Goldman Sachs wrote in a recent report. Lucrative The market is certainly responding. Figures from analyst’s IDC forecast that global revenues for the AR/VR market will increase 100 per cent or more over each of the next four years, with spend on AR/ VR products and services expected to soar from
VR IN EDUCATION $11.4 billion in 2017 to nearly $215 billion 2021. Whilst not dominant, education is expected to represent a sizable chunk of this figure. For those of you that visited Bett 2018 in London this January, it was clear that VR is a technology on the rise, and one resonating well with children (and adult journalists). One of the most prominent and busiest stands at the show belonged to AVANTIS – a specialist in educational technology for over 20 years (see box out) – who was showcasing the benefits of its ClassVR solution. “The whole point and purpose of VR is providing people with an experience,” Huw Williams, marketing director at AVANTIS, explained to AVTE “It’s drastically different to watching a video, because you’re able to decide what and where you look.” Primed and ready ClassVR, launched at Bett 2017, has been built to offer a new form of learning in the classroom, providing – so says Huw – a more immersive, memorable and (crucially) fun experience. The market has been well primed. For VR and AR over the past 12 months has become increasingly embedded in the lives of many children and adults through gaming applications. For example, Nintendo’s AR Pokemon Go smartphone app took the world by storm in summer 2016, with downloads topping 752 million to date. That’s more than twice the population of the US. Sony Playstation’s SPVR gaming system also launched during the same period, with latest sales surpassing two million as of December 2017. Accessibility to VR headsets are also now readily available, starting from just a couple of pounds for the most basic. The same can be said for content. Websites like YouTube now have “thousands” of 360 videos available, whilst Apple’s App Store and Google Play have many, (often free) apps available for download. You can even make your own if you have a 360 camera. Harnessing the appeal of a new technology in VR and bridging the gap between fun and learning, was the driving forced behind why AVANTIS entered the VR space. “We know the key thing within education with VR is that it increases engagement exponentially,” he explained. “Kids want to use the technology and are engaged with what they are seeing. It really increases knowledge retention and with that,
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KNOW YOUR HEADSETS Cardboard The most basic form, in which a smartphone is attached to act as the screen. Costs a few pounds
WHAT IS VIRTUAL REALITY (VR)? A computer-generated simulation of a three-dimensional image or environment that can be interacted with in a seemingly real or physical way by a person using special electronic equipment, such as a helmet with a screen inside with controls on the side or a using a remote, and/or gloves fitted with sensors. WHAT IS AUGMENTED REALITY (AR)? A technology that superimposes a computergenerated image on a user’s view of the real world, thus providing a composite view.
we’re seeing better outcomes (grades). We have some fantastic case studies on how VR has helped students and seeing classes achieve better results by retaining the information.”
Standard (no controls) An upgrade on cardboard but tend to offer the same levels of functionality. Some include Bluetooth controllers. Prices start from around £10.
Shell shocked As a case in point, the AVANTIS stand provided visitors with the opportunity to experience life in the trenches during the First World War (WW1). During the show, hundreds, if not thousands of people were able to don the bright orange headsets (manufactured by AVANTIS) which include an inbuilt HD screen, processor, controls and speakers. For the WW1 scenario, ClassVR was able to create an immersive and realistic experience of what life was like for soldiers on the frontline, with the sound of bullets, explosions and even rats adding to the horror. Another example discussed by Williams, was for a year one class of five year olds were taken on a tour of the solar systems, including trips to the Moon and Mars, with the headsets used as space helmets “The possibilities really are endless,” said Williams. “You could see by the reactions and the time in visitors spend on the stand that they‘re deeply engrossed in what they’re experiencing. Would they feel the same way from just looking at a book, or a slide or video? It really is a revolutionary way of learning.”
VR IN EDUCATION
Controlled freedom One of the key obstacles AVANTIS wanted to overcome in the two years of R&D before launching ClassVR, was the ability for teachers to retain control of the class, without removing the freedom that 360 provides. The platform gives tutors the ability to see through the eyes of every student, offering them guidance (individually or collectively) to ensure they are seeing and learning about what is intended. They can even “leave a trail of breadcrumbs” to help guide students to a point of interest. “The technology is new, but it’s not that new,” explained Huw. “VR has been around for the best part of five or six years and used in a number of different guises. Until now, it’s been a very insular experience. So we looked at it and thought how does it translate to a classroom environment and how do we make it a collaborative experience? “It’s difficult enough to lead a classroom of 30 children, when you can make eye contact. When they’re wearing a headset covering their eyes it can be very difficult. So it was incredibly important they have that control and that’s where we differentiate. “The real power of what we have is our ClassVR portal, which enables a teacher to see the headset in real time and deliver experiences collaboratively to each. That way they can see what the children see through these headsets and control the experiences they are having. “You can select an area of the image and it will guide the headsets to it. We call it dynamic points of interest. So, for example, if you were looking at a 360 degrees image of the pyramids, you could select an area of that image and it would create a breadcrumb trail to all the headsets, to guide everyone to it. Then the teacher can articulate and talk more about it.” Content As mentioned previously, VR content is available on mass. ClassVR provides 520 educational video’s and images as part of the package, but is an open platform, allowing you to add content yourself from sources, such as YouTube and those created yourself. Williams explained how one teacher went on a trip to Japan and used a 360 camera to take images and record footage of historical artifacts, which were used as part of a lesson plan. He added the complexity of using ClassVR is minimal, with images and videos simply added
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Advanced (with controls ) Upgrade on the standard, will often be more comfortable, clearer lens, sensors and advanced control options
Premium Fully integrated display(s), processor, audio speakers (headphones), microphone, motion sensors and advanced controls. Prices from £300
(dropped) into its cloud hosted platform where teachers can create a lesson plan. Content is then transferred wireless to the headsets. “We understand it needs to be simple,” said Williams. “From working in education for so long, we’ve learned that this needs to be a portal that teachers can use, not just techies.” VR for all AVANTIS is eager to ensure ClassVR is universally accepted and not exclusive only to the privileged. He explained costs have been kept to a minimum where possible by manufacturing its own headsets and only including relevant functionality.
VR IN EDUCATION
BEYOND EDUCATION The opportunities for ClassVR stretch far beyond simply the classroom environment. Williams explained how one user case for its headset saw an elderly lady with dementia and confined to a nursing home, was able to experience her grandson’s wedding in Italy, without leaving her chair. “She couldn’t make the trip, so the care home gave the family a 360 camera, they placed it in the ceremony and did a 360 video footage. They brought it back, put it on the headset and the grandmother was able to sit there and experience it as if she was there. She went through the same emotions as if she was there. You can’t put a value on that.” He added: “We’re an education company, but we’re seeing incredible interest outside of the education industry as well. We’re seeing nurseries all the way through to universities and adult training centres. There really is no age limit.
“We believe VR/AR technology has the potential to be a standard tool in education and could revolutionise the way in which students are taught” “We understand education and we understand price points,” said Williams. “We need to make it as affordable as possible. “For our headsets, we specified the componentry that’s in them to make sure they’re appropriate for schools. It’s not the high-end device you’ll see like the HTC Vive or the Oculus Rift, which needs to be tethered to a £2,000 PC. What we’re looking at is an appropriate device for the classroom that gives the best experience and at the best price for students and tutors.” Packages There are two ClassVR packages available, both of which provide everything required to get started. For £2,249, you get eight headsets and the charging components (including a carry case on wheels), or for £7,999, you get 30 headsets. There is also a subscription fee for an annual license to the ClassVR Portal, which costs £249 for primary school and £499 for a secondary school. That gives you access to all of the content, all of the updates and the ability to upload your own content using cloud storage. A four-hour onsite training option is also available for £499. “We package everything that a school will need to
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MY EXPERIENCE OF THE TRENCHES The feeling as I placed the headset over my eyes drew comparisons to a few summers ago, when I leapt out of a boat to go scuba diving in the red sea. In a heartbeat I had gone from one world to another. Rather than coral reefs and exotic fish, I was faced with an almost claustrophobic feeling as high muddy walls suddenly enclosed me. The sound of gunfire and explosions near and far above my head, rats vocally rushing by and the murmur of others. Whilst not perfect, I was immersed and wanted to learn more.
implement VR,” Williams explained. “They won’t need to get different pieces from different places as we provide everything. “If you broke it down and considered eight mobile phones and plastic headsets, Bluetooth clickers and a charging kit, it would cost more than that. Its very reasonable and nowhere near what we’ve seen invested in tablets and displays. He concluded: “What we need to do is show schools the benefits. Its not one per classroom or for every class. It’s a shared resource for the school. It makes it more affordable. We know it’s tough out there, but we believe in the product and we are confident that it can help every child at every level in education. VR is in its infancy, but is absolutely not a fad.”
VR IN EDUCATION
“VR FILLS A NEED THAT EXISTS” AVTE chats with Dave Dolan, a teacher and director of product management at Veative VR for his views on VR and the value it provides FORMED IN 2016, Veative VR is a global provider of education technology and digital learning solutions, using immersive technologies. The company, like ClassVR, launched its VR offering at Bett 2017, adopting a similar philosophy in providing affordable, practical and interactive immersive learning modules for learners all over the world.
<Dave Dolan: the virtual world provides students with unforgettable moments and memories
Why should a school invest in VR now? We hear from some teachers, before they give this a try, that this is a fad, and that VR will come and go like so many previous technologies. However, once a teacher uses this device, they get to understand the benefits and imagine the possibilities. The largest benefit, and the reason VR is here for good in the education space, is that it fills a need that exists, and which cannot be filled in others ways. This is the ability to truly comprehend an obscure concept by immersing students into that realm virtually, allowing for those eureka moments teachers love. What are the biggest benefits? Teachers can only take students so far in understanding ideas and concepts. Visualisation and the experiential part of learning is tough for a teacher. That’s where we step in. We never want to
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“Teachers can only take students so far in understanding ideas and concepts” replace a teacher or become the main mode of content delivery. The teacher is too important to be pushed aside. But there are some things the VR can do that a teacher cannot. Take photosynthesis as an example. We can take a student into a plant and get them to sense what it is to be chloroplast. We can take a student within centimetres of a working engine, to see the combustion cycle. We enrich the learning process by allowing students to experience processes and gain a deeper understanding of concepts. Is VR purely about experience? Providing experiential learning is very good by itself, but if you are going to align yourself with education, you had better understand the realities of classrooms around the world.
VR IN EDUCATION
“The largest benefit, and the reason VR is here for good in the education space, is that it fills a need that exists, and which cannot be filled in others ways” provide the hardware, or a school can invest in getting their own. Once the hardware issue is taken care of, we are a content provider, first and foremost. Each student will have their own account, which is absolutely necessary as we also provide analytics to schools on usage, assessment scores, proficiency with respect to cognitive domains, and so on. We aren’t just about showing flashy items in a cool device. We are very much about education, and connecting students with concepts via higher order thinking.
In developed countries, we’ve seen that many schools are trying to attend to the needs of immigrant populations, and overcome some of the language issues. Why not allow for selfdirected learning in a student’s first language, then have them redo the exercise in the target language? And in less-developed countries, there can be issues with budgets that don’t allow for physical labs, such as biology, chemistry and so on. VR can help. We’re seeing that budget private schools in India have learned that they can afford to have VR in the school, which can replace expensive physical labs. What is the process for a school to get started with VR? The main challenge is the hardware. We can
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“Budget private schools in India have learned they can afford to have VR in the school, which can replace expensive physical labs, thereby reducing the financial burden”
What about training for students and staff? Is it difficult to use? For digital natives, it is a fairly simple, intuitive process. Teachers sometimes take a little longer, but it is easier than most expect. How about costs? If you’re going to make it available to, and obtainable to every student worldwide, the pricing had better make sense. What it boils down to, for the content, is approximately $1-2 per month, per student. That’s it. This gets you full access to a growing library of STEM modules, which currently is closing in on 500 modules, the largest such library of interactive, educational content for the VR in the world. Some will tout higher numbers, but these consist of 360 images or videos, tossed
VR IN EDUCATION
into a VR device. This is disingenuous as it has very little to do with true, educational needs.
Is VR a universal technology, or one more for private schools? We have partnered with NISA (the National Independent Schools Alliance) in India, to roll out VR to their member schools. NISA is an alliance of over 50,000 low-cost, budget private schools, servicing approximately 20 million children. So no, this is most definitely not just for the elite schools. As teachers ourselves, we see the power of this technology as a great equaliser. Next month, some VR headsets will reach a slum school in Kenya, which we have previously been working with. Students there will leap ahead of many of the top, private institutions around the world. This really is a great democratiser. How far has the technology evolved and where do you see it going? We all know we are still in the infancy of this technology. VR will cause a significant shift in language learning, as scenario-based situations can
be exploited. Voice recognition will play a very large part in that field. Not since recorded audio made its way into language classes has there been such a paradigm shift, as that which VR will cause. You can now walk through an airport virtually, answering questions from airline staff, immigration and security personnel, before you leave home. This ability to prepare for moments of interaction with speakers of other languages can remove barriers, with anxiety and stress high on that list of things we would like to ease. The future of VR is bright, but it is important to nail down the usefulness of this technology, and to not be thrown off by the flash. VR opens up many possibilities, and obviously not just in traditional schools. Specialised training, such as for medical procedures, is already happening. Difficult and dangerous job training can greatly benefit from doing these tasks virtually, while gaining skill and ‘time in task.’ The virtual world creates a safe environment for learning, so if you make a wrong incision, or set off an explosion in a power plant, VR offers second chances that life often doesn’t. Learn more at: www.veative.com
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Enhancing Communications Everywhere
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NEW TECHNOLOGY FOR INCIDENT RESPONSE AT YORKSHIRE WATER Yorkshire Water called on Saville – one of the UK’s most experienced providers of AV equipment – to utilise new technologies to enhance the way it responds to incidents. Here’s how it achieved its aims > New digital video collaboration facilities for the Incident Room at Yorkshire Water
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orkshire Water is an award-winning water supply and treatment company servicing most of Yorkshire and parts of Lincolnshire and Derbyshire. At its headquarters in Bradford, the company engaged Saville Audio Visual to provide a new technology solution to help deliver superior incident support ensuring the provision of essential services during challenging circumstances. With a full complement of cutting edge technology the incident room is a key component in the successful management of all sorts of emergencies including flooding, burst pipes and pollution events. These essential services are aided by a new incident vehicle that can be deployed across the territory which is fitted with comprehensive video communication equipment that links back to the incident room.
Video wall To provide maximum, flexible display facilities, Saville designed a 4x3 video wall housed in a bespoke media wall cabinet curved around two walls. To ensure perfect fit and alignment, the video wall housing was subject to a meticulous offsite assembly and testing process before delivery and installation on site. Featuring a touch user interface control, the system incorporates 12x 47 inch screens and a matrix switcher delivering video content from multiple sources. Sources include a video conferencing codec, wireless laptop screen sharing connectivity, multiple system PCs and auxiliary HDMI table connections, all connected via a 16x16 matrix processor. An interactive 86-inch touch display, also housed in the curved cabinet, is provided in addition to the
“It is essential we are able to deal with incidents as swiftly and completely as possible” video wall, allowing real time annotation of content that can be shared over the VC link. The video wall configuration is managed via a master video processor, providing a number of options, including content in full 16:9 aspect ratio on the 3x3 section of the wall, individual content on any screen or any number of windows in widescreen 16:9 format.
Audio Careful attention has been paid to the importance of the audio elements within the system so the video sources have audio de-embedded from the native HDMI signal. These signals are then run to a digital DSP presentation mixer and the video conference audio is linked into a dedicated VC audio processor. These processed audio sources are fed to a line amplifier powering four strategically placed ceiling speakers. The system is tailored to the room acoustics with a number of pre-set audio levels to match different applications and room usage scenarios. Video conferencing The VC system’s automatic camera is installed within the media wall. The system outputs dual
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HDMI video to the central processor, enabling both incoming video and live content to be displayed on the video wall. The VC system is fully featured for both multisite and Skype for Business usage. With numerous operational scenarios that involve capturing audio from participants located in different areas of the room, four specialist ceilingmounted vertical array microphones are used, enabling consistent high quality audio pick-up with no feedback. Speaking about the new facility, Steve Roper, service delivery centre manager said: “It is essential that we are able to deal with incidents as swiftly and competently as possible and the new incident room with its state of the art technology will really help us achieve this. This new technology will provide us with better site visibility, instant access to shared information and improved communication channels, resulting in increased response efficiency and ultimately customer satisfaction.”
> Interactive screen combines with vertical array microphones and auto tracking camera’s for interactive collaboration
www.saville-av.com 0370 606 1100 firstname.lastname@example.org
MEET YOUR INTEGRATOR
MEET YOUR INTEGRATOR: SNELLING BUSINESS SYSTEMS In our latest instalment of ‘Meet your Integrator’ AVTE visited Norfolk-based integrator Snelling Business Systems to learn more about the company, the current trends being seen in the market and some words of wisdom to end users. Joining us was MD Tony Wise, group technical director Kevin Madeja, business development director Steve Royans and design manager Colin Jacobs
“Integrators have access to better pricing on products as well as warranty covers”
Hi everyone. To kick things off, tell us a little about Snelling Business Systems. Tony: We started operations in 2000, as the commercial AV division of the Snellings Group, which continues to operate in the consumer electronics retail space. The name, however, goes a long way back to 1954 when the first radio and TV sets began to find a place in living rooms. We started operations with four staff, one vehicle, and a major University was amongst our first major clients – a working relationship we have maintained as the appointed sole-supplier for over a decade. Today we are 50 people strong, specialising on design, integration, installation and managed services to the corporate, education and public sector. Over 70 per cent of our business comes from repeat clients. What’s your geographic reach? Tony: We’re headquartered in Wymondham,
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Norfolk and maintain a presence in Westminster and Reading as well. This allows us to support our clients, who are spread widely across the UK. A large proportion of our client base has traditionally been concentrated in London, the east and the south. However, our business plans for 2018 aim at securing a more uniform coverage with focus on growth in the midlands and north. What trends are you seeing in the current business market? Steve: Less boxes! Minimalistic design and integration that eliminates intrusive boxes and cables within the space. In fact, clients insist on the more accessible applications in the market that can achieve the same functionality without the need of hardware. Having hosted solutions also allows an external provider to deliver and maintain the service without impacting on the client’s own infrastructure. Focus has also moved to remote control and
MEET YOUR INTEGRATOR
< The Turing Lecture Theatre at the Savoy Place, London
management of AV equipment. More end users have networked equipment as a standard specification so they can be more proactive with management and reporting. To further improve efficiency and user experience, system types are more standardised throughout the estate. Toby: Always being connected. The office space is no longer the only ‘workplace’. Remote working has earned its popularity incredibly fast. The ability to have all your office needs at home or on the train, at a coffee shop and offline if they had to on a laptop/phone is saving companies and individuals precious time and money. Are you seeing any change in attitude from businesses towards having good quality AV? Toby: With every project, the basic expectation is a fully functional system that meets the project objective. It must be reliable, easy to operate and straightforward to maintain. Kevin: While the appetite for high quality AV technologies has continued to grow exponentially, the cost-per-system has reduced over time. Democratisation of technology has driven price reductions in the consumer market and it seems natural to expect these reductions to follow in commercial AV even though the system integration is more complex than a home system. Steve: There will always be a need for the conventional understanding of ‘main meeting room/ boardroom’. While the concept of these physical spaces is here to stay, it’s how they are being used and controlled that is changing. For example, a
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“More end users have networked equipment as a standard specification so they can be more proactive with management and reporting” large boardroom, which is used twice in the year by the c-suite. Rather than leaving floorspace to waste with infrequent use, organisations are thinking about ways to encourage more frequent, productive use of the space. This has also prompted rethinking what we understand of conventional design and layout, with AV infrastructure configured to change and adapt to the user in each such setting.
What’s hot in AV right now? Steve: AVoIP, cloud-based control, unified communications, fine pitch LED and intelligent buildings are all huge growth areas. Kevin: Agreed. Cloud-based services and TP/IP streaming of AV is also being heavily adopted. What are the biggest obstacles/frustrations you’re seeing in the industry? Steve: There are certain products widely available 71
MEET YOUR INTEGRATOR
on the market that focus on having unnecessary functionality but don’t align with how a user would naturally interface with the product. This defeats the very purpose of bringing technology into any given space. Kevin: From a technology point of view, the advent of IoT, further strides in unified communications, development of cloud-based services, the improvements in the performance and cost of AV streaming technologies has made systems design and integration more challenging for AV integrators. For example, no longer is the audio-visual solution a standalone system – it must now work in the TCP/IP environment as well as in the conventional HDMI, HDBaseT environment. AV integrators must now address the long awaited coming of IT to AV. This isn’t an impediment, but requires integrators to think about skills and in-house expertise to not only respond to these changes, but excel in addressing them too. Why should end users go through an integrator and not attempt to do things themselves? Kevin: Primarily, the role of a specialist AV integrator is to provide high quality images and sound for use by a pre-defined group of people/individuals. As such, even when the under-pinning technology undergoes changes, such as going from HDMI to HDBaseT to TCP/IP, the fundamental requirements of the end user remain the same. AV integrators are well versed in their specialist role to translate the users requirements into a system that utilises appropriate technology to meet these requirements. Steve: Having the integrator (either direct or working alongside an AV consultant) at the table from the start makes a strong case. That’s because AV integration is central to any refurbishment/new-build project, often taken for granted despite forming a significant cost to the project spend. Our approach seeks to start early with full involvement in the architectural, fit-out and M&E design. This allows us to ensure that designs won’t throw practical incompatibilities with AV integration design much later into the project. As a result of this approach, clients have successfully avoided
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“AVoIP, cloud-based control, unified communications, fine pitch LED and intelligent buildings are all huge growth areas” cost overruns, missed deadlines, and a logistical nightmare for all parties involved. Colin: Risk. While some organisations are lucky to have more than capable resources in-house to carry out the design and installation, the question boils down to whether resources are fully trained and certified to carry out the functions that an AV integrator specialises in carrying out on time, within budget, and very importantly, with safety for all parties involved. Integrators will also have access to better pricing on products as well warranty covers. What are some of the biggest mistakes made by end users when it comes to AV? Toby: The customer is never wrong. However, it isn’t uncommon to find instances where customers find they have been misled to opt for the wrong solutions. Clients will have a good understanding of what they want to achieve and the end results to aim for, but they can also be incorrectly sold a product that can result in negative outcomes. Often this happens because the enabling works required for the product weren’t fully considered right at the start, and therefore the end user can only partially reap the benefits the product can offer. Kevin: The easiest mistake is to assume what can be done at home with consumer electronics can be replicated with an enterprise level deployment.The significance of paying ample attention to achieving high-quality audio quality is not always valued, despite its importance in successful communication and collaboration outcomes for the end users. Colin: Not consulting a professional, which is often the case when budget is a constraint. An AV consultant or an integrator with consulting experience can help the client conduct feasibility studies, distil feedback from end users to arrive at actionable insights. Learn more by visiting: www.snellingbiz.com
ISE 2019 SAVE THE DATES
S TAY C O N N E C T E D
60 SECONDS WITH: Birgit Jackson Commercial director Sharp Visual Solutions
When did your career at Sharp begin? I’m relatively new to Sharp, I only joined in Spring last year. I was aware that they were doing some really exciting things in AV because I joined from a display competitor, NEC. It’s a brand I’ve always liked, I actually had a Sharp stereo growing up and of course a calculator. How has the company evolved during this time? Sharp received investment from Foxconn in 2016 which has meant we’ve been able to speed up our portfolio development. This has helped us to bring products to market faster and to invest more in R&D. We’re now fulfilling ambitions previously put on hold. Sharp is back.
smaller sizes – 40 and 50 inch – for huddle spaces and they are selling well too. If you add a BIG PAD for huddle you can turn any office area into a meeting room. We also recently launched a 4K 70 inch version. They are so easy to use. In designing BIG PAD we focused a lot on delivering a pen-onpaper experience, so that writing on the display has a similar feel to using a pen and paper. It’s accurate and it’s reliable. This takes away a lot of the fear “It’s a brand I’ve people have about using a always liked, I technology. People trust it.
actually had a Sharp stereo growing up and of course a calculator”
How has your portfolio evolved? We now have far more to offer the mainstream signage market. At ISE we launched two new smart signage display ranges with easy content management via System on Chip. We have also added more partners to our software partner platform, so we offer a full range of choices from independent signage software developers. We can now offer a complete package for every level of project. What products are proving the most popular at Sharp today? BIG PAD, our interactive display range, is very popular – especially with corporate customers. BIG PAD is, as the name suggests, big, but we added
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What advice would you give to a business investing in AV? There are lots of benefits to adding a display to your meeting areas. However, not all displays are made the same, so it’s really important to test a variety of products. Think about how you’ll be using it and what you need it to do. Test the display with the people who will be using it. If people aren’t comfortable with technology then they won’t use it, so get their support from the beginning. Outside of work, how do you like to spend your spare time? Spending time with my family, yoga and running. I also really enjoy good food – which makes the running important! Finally, tell us something about yourself, which might surprise people? I actually studied physics at university, which always surprises people because I’m an engineer who ended up in marketing.
CREATION. CONSUMPTION. DELIVERY
20TH & 21ST JUNE 2018
GRAND CONNAUGHT ROOMS, CENTRAL LONDON TRANSFORMING THE WAY WE CREATE AND DELIVER CONTENT TO BETTER ENGAGE OUR AUDIENCE MediaTech 360 is a two day summit bringing together content owners and providers alike to discuss the application of emergent technologies, their impact on business strategies, and where the opportunities and challenges lie as the marketplace evolves.
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@mediatech360 16/03/2018 16:04
Power to perform XY-3b Make an impression with the XY-3B, designed to deliver a coherent & natural sound for large venues and outdoor events.
We are exhibiting at Prolight + Sound 10-13th April, 2018. Find us in Hall 3.1, Stand A81 & A91.
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22/03/2018 21:19:40 20/02/2018 16:09
EVERY PIECE OF AV EQUIPMENT IS A DOORWAY. Special report on the ever increasing threat of cyber attacks and how your AV tech could be puttin...
Published on Feb 8, 2019
EVERY PIECE OF AV EQUIPMENT IS A DOORWAY. Special report on the ever increasing threat of cyber attacks and how your AV tech could be puttin...