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AV Technology Europe

May / June 2019

avtechnologyeurope.com

MEDICAL AV: IN GOOD HEALTH? THE BIG INTERVIEW: JACK LAIDLAW THE VALUE OF VIRTUAL CLINICS MEET THE TEAM BEHIND LA SCALA PARIS BEHIND THE SCENES AT CORE COLLECTIVE

TAKING CENTRE STAGE From tech tours and forums to networking and the latest kit – we roundup everything you won't want to miss at InfoComm 2019

May / June 2019


WELCOME

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CONTENT Group Editor: Jo Ruddock jo.ruddock@futurenet.com +44 (0)20 7042 4073 Brand Editor: Duncan Proctor duncan.proctor@futurenet.com Contributors: Ian McMurray Graphic Designer: Sam Richwood sam.richwood@futurenet.com Production Manager/Executive Matthew Eglington matthew.eglington@futurenet.com Group Content Director, B2B James McKeown james.mckeown@futurenet.com Managing Design Director, B2B Nicole Cobban nicole.cobban@futurenet.com

ADVERTISING SALES Group sales manager: Richard Gibson richard.gibson@futurenet.com +44 (0)20 7354 6029

Jo Ruddock, Group Editor

LET’S ALL BE AV CHEERLEADERS

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MANAGEMENT Managing Director/Senior Vice President Christine Shaw Chief Revenue Officer Luke Edson Chief Content Officer Joe Territo Chief Marketing Officer Wendy Lissau Head of Production US & UK Mark Constance Print ISSN: 2050-6104 Online ISSN: 2052-2401 Copyright 2019

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All contents © 2019 Future Publishing Limited or published under licence. All rights reserved. No part of this magazine may be used, stored, transmitted or reproduced in any way without the prior written permission of the publisher. Future Publishing Limited (company number 2008885) is registered in England and Wales. Registered office: Quay House, The Ambury, Bath BA1 1UA. All information contained in this publication is for information only and is, as far as we are aware, correct at the time of going to press. Future cannot accept any responsibility for errors or inaccuracies in such information. You are advised to contact manufacturers and retailers directly with regard to the price of products/services referred to in this publication. Apps and websites mentioned in this publication are not under our control. We are not responsible for their contents or any other changes or updates to them. This magazine is fully independent and not affiliated in any way with the companies mentioned herein. If you submit material to us, you warrant that you own the material and/or have the necessary rights/permissions to supply the material and you automatically grant Future and its licensees a licence to publish your submission in whole or in part in any/all issues and/or editions of publications, in any format published worldwide and on associated websites, social media channels and associated products. Any material you submit is sent at your own risk and, although every care is taken, neither Future nor its employees, agents, subcontractors or licensees shall be liable for loss or damage. We assume all unsolicited material is for publication unless otherwise stated, and reserve the right to edit, amend, adapt all submissions.

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May / June 2019

Chief executive Zillah Byng-Thorne Non-executive chairman Richard Huntingford Chief financial officer Penny Ladkin-Brand Tel +44 (0)1225 442 244

This year seems to be passing by far too quickly. It feels like I’ve only just recovered from ISE and now the AV world’s attention is firmly fixed on InfoComm. This year’s edition is being held in Orlando and is very much catering to the users of AV technologies so it looks set to be an interesting few days in Florida. One topic that always seems to come up in discussions at tradeshows is the lack of new talent coming into the industry. With that in mind it was my pleasure to speak to Jack Laidlaw from Middlesbrough College about how and why he established the first AV Technology degree course in the UK. Jack is clearly passionate about the industry and has done more than most to raise its profile. However, he’s still very much aware that it has an image problem. Compare AV with the often oversubscribed Music Tech courses and the difference is clear to see. People understand what music tech is and know about the industry they want to work in. Despite the fact that there are much higher levels of competition for jobs in this sector, its popularity never seems to wain. Jack’s advice to level the playing field? To promote the industry to young people

at an earlier stage, foster more links between the industry and educational establishments, and emphasise the many and varied career opportunities available in this exciting and ever-changing industry. I have to agree, this is key to the long-term strength and diversity of the industry; if people don’t know what AV is, how are we going to get them excited about the opportunities within it? The good news is that since the course was launched in the north east, similar initiatives have cropped up in other educational establishments, and there is a growing number of programmes in the industry itself, from apprenticeships to schemes for veterans. For the sake of the long-term health of the industry, it’s all our jobs to be cheerleaders about the great work already happening in AV and the opportunities available for new talent. Not many industries offer the variety of technologies and applications as well as the opportunity to travel the world and break boundaries in the use of tech, so let’s make sure more and more young people at least understand what AV is so they can make informed decisions about their future. jo.ruddock@futurenet.com

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May / June

INVENTORY

Cover Photo Courtesy of AVIXA

Features

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IN FOCUS: INFOCOMM With all eyes set to be on Orlando in June, we take a look at what we can expect from this year’s show, including tips for first timers and ten things you won’t want to miss

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AV TECHNOLOGY AWARDS 2019 The full shortlist revealed

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VIRTUAL CLINICS Tech benefits patients and staff

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THE BIG INTERVIEW Middlesbrough College’s Jack Laidlaw talks about educating the next generation of AV professionals and how the industry is struggling to overcome its image problem

IN FOCUS: MEDICAL AV There are many opportunities for technology to enhance the patient and healthcare professional experience, however the basics need to be fixed before this will be possible

Regulars May / June 2019

CORE COLLECTIVE A high-end gym in Knightsbridge, London, is using AV to create a personalised and integrated experience for guests, with audio playing a key role throughout the venue

PHOTO LONDON In its biggest edition yet, photography exhibition Photo London utilised unique projector technology to display submissions to Gavin Turk’s piece, Portrait of an Egg

06 Industry Insights 40 Tech Guide

MEET YOUR TECH TEAM The team behind art-house theatre La Scala in Paris discuss its recent extensive refurb, which includes the addition of an immersive speaker setup

MEET YOUR INTEGRATOR: REFLEX Andy Read talks about the growing demand for collaborative spaces in corporates and higher ed, and the value in relying on an integrator’s broad experience

44 Battle of the Brands 54 Getting to Know You 5


INSIGHT

The X factor? With its strict requirements and long development cycles, medical facilities can lag behind other areas when it comes to implementing AV solutions. Jones AV’s Ingo Aicher considers whether initiatives such as NHSX could help to change this

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ith 8K technologies and panels experiencing their first push into the consumer market, 4K is just celebrating its successful entry into the operating theatres of the NHS. The last ten years have seen the general cycles for introduction of new technology into the market getting shorter and quicker, however medical AV appears to be a different beast. For obvious reasons, products used in operating theatres need to be specially designed, built and certified; splash proof, optimised for infection control, equipped with medical power supplies, currency leak proof, etc. However, the downside of the regulations and safety precautions are availability of new technology. Long development cycles result in high costs for these low volume, high-end products. This combined with a chronically skint NHS in the UK and healthcare budgets experiencing constant cuts across Europe, means adoption rates of new technology in the OR are far behind what they should be. There is, of course, always an exception to the norm and, like in so many other fields of technology, it is Europe’s early adopter nation Norway. Back in 2008 entire hospitals were equipped with the latest flat panel medical monitors, broadcast-standard video routing systems networking entire OR departments and hospital campuses, fibre links, VCs for telemedicine, edit suites and high-end capture stations for attaching images and video to patient files.

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“Long development cycles result in high costs for these low volume, high-end products” While Norwegians enjoyed the advantages of this new generation of medical HD equipment and the first generation of medical LCD flat panels, the picture in the UK was in stark contrast; CRT monitors on composite and S-Video. Today S-Video sounds somewhat archaic, but in hospitals in the UK it is still very much present. Limited budgets mean that expensive medical equipment has to have a longer life cycle and therefore renewal programmes will take longer or can skip a generation of technology

altogether. This is especially true with integrated operating theatres, where the AV is delivered by market-leading manufacturers such as Storz and Olympus, which commands a premium price. Back in Norway in early 2016, the first 4K integrated operating theatres in Europe got deployed, based on the new Barco Nexxis, uncompressed video over IP technology and Arthrex’s UHD4, the first 4K endoscope on the market. While for the medical world this was quick, you will of course know that by then sales of 4K consumer TVs were about to outperform HD sets. It wasn’t until 2018 that one of these 4K operating theatre systems found its way to the UK. Of course this wasn’t at an NHS facility but at Spire Healthcare’s private flagship hospital in Manchester. As in other markets, technology prices tend to drop a few years after introduction and endoscope and other imaging device manufacturers have started to push more 4K devices into the market at a more affordable price. We can now see the first large NHS sites such as the new Royal Papworth in Cambridge boasting a 4K integrated system, which allows image routing, conferencing, image capture and electronic archiving of images and video with the patient files. Initiatives like NHSX and the need for better patient data management will increase the uptake of new technologies in hospitals in the UK. However, building new hospitals takes a long time, refurbishments are complex and all the factors mentioned before means that the AV in operating theatres will always lag behind consumer or broadcast markets.

www.avtechnologyeurope.com


INSIGHT

Going global Finding integrators that are truly experienced in multi-country and multi-partner deployment and service can be a challenge, which is where PSNI’s Global Deployment certification can come in useful, according to Chris Miller

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ver the past five years, PSNI Global Alliance staff and members have conducted thousands of post-integration service and satisfaction end-user experience surveys. This feedback, combined with the expertise of our members, global consultants and customer experience experts led our alliance to develop a set of precedents for our network, referred to as the PSNI Global Alliance Client Bill of Rights, that our members must adhere to. The first and most important statement being, “We are in alliance with each other. All end-users of all PSNI Global Alliance Members are important to all members.” Today’s end-users have more knowledge at their fingertips than ever. They have certain expectations in quality and service as well as the speed of process and delivery. When you are an end-user with multiple offices around the world, your expectations for audiovisual solutions include versatility, simplicity of use, and must be standardised and supportable across the entire enterprise. Selecting a technology partner can be part art form, part science. Relationships, references, interviews, manufacturer accessibility – all are important and verifiable by end-users or consultants. However, if the project requires engaging multi-country integration and service support, it can be difficult to determine who is capable and can deliver on that promise. Integrators can suggest that they can deliver technology across countries and continents, however, many remain uncertain of the possible risks, product accessibility, pricing variables, and co-ordination with

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“Selecting a technology partner can be part art form, part science” currencies, laws, tariffs and languages that can hinder them. They will ask for references to find partners – likely going with the first or lowest cost partner in the market who is available without doing the diligence necessary when selecting a partner for a project. It’s not enough to find someone who can simply sell or install technology; these clients are looking for a partner who can drive outcomes and standardise on an approach across multiple locations. PSNI Global Alliance has recognised that to keep up with the demands of today’s modern end-user and provide them with the best possible experience when handling multi-site,

multi-location projects, it is important that we standardise on our approach to service and integration across the network. In order to do so, we developed our own PSNI Global Alliance Certification for Global Deployment credential to demonstrate to end-users that they are working with companies who have training and skills related to multi-country and multi-partner deployment and service and tested to a specific achievement level. The certification demonstrates proficiency on communication, process, accountability, deployment, deliverables, service and support. Equally important, it demonstrates to each member that their project partners can be trusted and are equally accountable for the end-user’s outcomes. It’s an ongoing process. We continue to build on it by having members meet throughout the year to discuss the many factors that can and will influence doing business in certain parts of the world. Global experts are brought in to consult with members to help them better understand local, regional and global business concerns. For us, the PSNI Certification for Global Deployment is a badge of professionalism and commitment within the PSNI network and to our respective member offices in over 175 locations across six continents. For our clients, it’s ease of mind that when you are working with a PSNI Global Alliance integrator member, you are working with a heavily vetted integrator who is educated on Global Deployment and has an entire network backing them to deliver that experience. Chris Miller is PSNI Global Alliance executive director

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INSIGHT

Something old, something new Listed and historic buildings can be a challenge when it comes to integrating technology. But, as whitwham’s Andrew Pymm points out, being clear about the end goals can make life much easier

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onsidering updating a listed or historic building’s AV system can appear to be a complex and daunting challenge. However, by working logically through the essential requirements and thinking about how the building and technology will work together, you can achieve a successful install. You need to establish the critical requirements of the system: who is the audience, and how do you meet their expectations?; who will be controlling the system and how do you make their operation duties easy? At first glance, this may sound simple, but some venues need to operate on many levels and talk to varying audiences in different ways. During a recent installation at Winchester Cathedral, we had to consider four main groups of people. From the audience side, there was the worship congregation and venue guests for concerts, ceremonies and presentations. The user’s side of things was wider ranging. Cathedral staff include non-technical operators, through to production company engineers responsible for performances during external events. Both sets of audience groups had the same requirement, highquality audio and video reproduction. However, the control diversity needed more thought to ensure system flexibility for all parties involved. With the end goals identified, you can create an outline of the new systems requirements. Many venues at this point enlist the support of a specialist consultant to help manage the technical aspects of the project. Discussions need to broaden to include

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visit will allow first-hand experience of your working building, plus an understanding of the day-to-day challenges they could face during the project. During this process, they need to have full knowledge of any limitations set by the special consents and any other restriction that will affect their work.

“It is incredible how many times a new system installation… alters operational perspectives” the building’s architects, cultural and heritage advisors, along with client technical teams, such as IT, facilities and events staff. It is essential to ensure consideration of all aspects and to achieve compliance with special building consent. The process can be lengthy on some sites; some bodies only meet quarterly, so planning and understanding the process can help significantly reduce the project time. With consent reached, you can engage with systems integrators, and start the next part of the process. The first thing that the integrator will want to complete is a detailed site visit. The

Open minds During the site visits, it is very likely that integrators and designers might notice and question things that the venue lives with as part of a working building. No two buildings are alike; having an open-minded approach and listening to good engineering insight could bring about a better project conclusion. Most integrators will discuss various options and highlight the potential expansion of the system so that the venue can react to its changing needs in the future. It is incredible how many times a new system installation after a few months use, alters operational perspectives and the way a building provides technical services. The management of such projects is crucial to the smooth integration of the new systems, especially in larger buildings where there may be other renovation works in progress. Lastly, workflows and project timelines need to be realistic, flexible and be mindful of other elements that can slow down or potentially stop works. The use of temporary systems to cover any downtime can help, and you should try to avoid working to a deadline for a specific event. Andrew Pymm is director at whitwam AV integration

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INSIGHT: ADVERTORIAL

Three ways digital signage improves corporate communications More and more, digital signage is being used in corporate settings to deliver timely, impactful communications that engage and inform staff, visitors and customers, explains Exterity

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xterity has created a free interactive guide that explores the many ways in which an enterprise can use digital signage, and highlighted three key benefits: 1| Increase employee engagement The benefits of increasing employee engagement are widely acknowledged; higher productivity, collaboration and loyalty, as well as the creation of a sense of harmony and community. Strategic placement of signage screens, such as in the cafeteria, office areas, reception and warehouse, can help ensure communications reach the right employees at the right time. Use digital signage to: • Update employees with company news, KPIs, events or HR information • Recognise employee contributions and achievements • Display menus in the cafeteria • Show live news, local weather or traffic updates • Communicate emergency alerts or safety briefings 2| Create a welcoming reception The reception area is the first thing visitors see, and it immediately impacts their impression of your business. Digital

May / June 2019

signage can transform your reception into an inviting, welcoming space by reinforcing your brand and enhancing the visitor experience. Digital signage in your reception can: • Reinforce corporate branding and create a positive first impression • Display personalised visitor welcome messages • Showcase customer references • Display useful information such as guest WiFi, wayfinding, weather and travel • Communicate emergency messaging 3| Enhance the customer experience Digital signage is increasingly common in the corporate and finance sector as part of an integrated customer communications strategy. Businesses can target customers with tailored and up-to-the minute information about their products and

services at HQ or branch office. Signage in customer-facing areas enables you to: • Display eye-catching advertisements at point of sale • Increase sales by showcasing products and services • Promote upcoming events or activities • Integrate social media campaigns

Find out how your organisation can benefit from digital signage. Access your free guide at: www.exterity.com/signage

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AV TECHNOLOGY AWARDS

OUTSTANDING CONTRIBUTION WINNER REVEALED AVIXA’s outgoing chief global officer, Terry Friesenborg, is the recipient of our 2019 accolade

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erry Friesenborg has been instrumental in growing AVIXA from a North America-centric organisation into a truly global one, bringing with him the education, standards and CTS certification programmes that many now expect of their integrators, not to mention the giant that is ISE. We caught up with Terry ahead of this year’s InfoComm Show to talk about the past, present and future of the industry. During your time with AVIXA it’s become more of a global organisation. How did you go about achieving this? It’s been through a concerted effort to grow ourselves globally on multiple fronts. Certainly one is on the trade show side with the launch of ISE, and the launch of our shows in China. We now have 10 trade shows globally. On the other side has also been a growth in our membership; about 35 per cent of our membership is outside the US now, which is a dramatic difference from 20 years ago when maybe 1 or 2 per cent might have been outside the US. How would you say AVIXA as an organisation has changed during your time there? I think it’s changed certainly in terms of the conversation that we have. It’s changed who sits on the board as we actively try to make that representative of our global constituency. It hasn’t changed the focus of what we do as an association. We always try to be the hub of the industry, to be the platform and catalysts for growth in the industry but it’s changed the scope of how we do it. So, as opposed to it being US-centric back when I first started with the organisation as a technician going to training with the National Audiovisual Association, now that seems very provincial and very US-centric. Over the

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past 25 years or so we’ve worked very hard to change that and to truly make us a global platform. Certification seems to have become much more of a focus in recent years. Can you tell me a bit about that? We’ve been doing certification for a very long time, but I think when it really came into focus for us, particularly internationally, was when we committed to become ANSI ISO accredited. That accreditation is, as with any ISO accreditation, not an easy thing to get and also not an easy thing to maintain, but it speaks to the credibility of the certification and the stringent rules under which we operate our certification programme. That really changed how the conversation went when we talked about certification internationally when we could take a look at its credibility and how it sits in the panoply of all those other certifications that are out there. Certainly that growth in CTS, CTS-I, CTS-D has been spurred by that. Initially it took a hit when it become much harder to get it, but I think that that’s been really rewarding in terms of how much it’s grown over the past 10 years – and not just growing in the US but globally as well. You’re also on the board of ISE, have you been surprised by the way that show has grown in recent years? Pleasantly surprised, yes. Surprised is a tough word because that would imply that we didn’t have faith in the fact that it was a good idea. We certainly did have that faith. But 16 years ago in Geneva it was hard to foresee that we were going to have 80,000 people in Amsterdam 16 years later. So certainly we’ve been very pleased with the growth. But I think growth like that comes from an appreciation for the value of what you’re offering. And I believe that value has

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Terry Friesenborg (left) with

AVIXA Benelux account AV TECHNOLOGY AWARDS manager John van Hoop


AV TECHNOLOGY AWARDS

“Because we’ve always been that industry that took disparate parts of technology and put them together for an experience, I think the future is quite bright for us in absorbing and utilising all kinds of technologies coming down the road” grown. If you look at the show it’s by far our most international platform, although the US show has people from over 100 countries attending it. ISE and the accessibility of Northern Europe – and soon to be Southern Europe in Barcelona – has provided a really good meeting place for the industry on a global level. So yeah, we’ve been very, very pleased with the growth. If you’d asked us I think five years ago whether we’d be reading these numbers now we would probably have said no. With the move to Barcelona, do you expect it to kick onto another level with the extra space you’ll have there? Oh absolutely. And that is the motivation to move. We’ve been successful and very happy in Amsterdam, but we simply ran out of room at the RAI. And, as you well know, we built as much extra room at the RAI as you possibly can. We’re moving to a venue that really offers us a place to grow again. We’ve got nearly double the floor space that we have right now as available space, so over the years to grow into that space is going to be great. I think it’s still very accessible in Barcelona. It’s also another desirable spot in Europe to go – and a little warmer, frankly, than Amsterdam at that time of year. We’re looking forward to it. So, yes, I think it’s going to allow us to grow, and I think it’s going to allow us also to bring in other technology sets that are important to the industry. But as you may remember over the years at the RAI we had a sort of incubator where we would launch certain technology sets and that grew. We just haven’t had the space to do that sort of thing. We’re excited about the opportunities that the move is going to present us in 2021. And talking about exhibitors, did you get any resistance at all when you were in discussions about the move? It’s been very positive. Nothing’s ever perfect for everyone but it’s been very, very positive and I think

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a lot of that had to do with the ISE team’s approach to this. I think that we do a lot of surveying of our exhibitors and our attendee base to understand where they would like to grow, to understand what markets they’re looking at and what the accessibility is and the desirability of certain venues. I think it was fairly obvious to most of our exhibitors that we were running out of space and we needed to make a move. And because I believe we listened to them and asked a lot of questions, when we announced Barcelona it was a very positive response. And personally, what have been your career highlights? Well I suppose the highlights somewhat end up being rather trade show-centric with ISE, with the success we’ve had in China – the Beijing show’s now our third-largest show. Certainly Latin South America – we have three shows there. With that said, I think it’s simply been the ability to impact people’s lives. It’s one thing to sit and do this in the States and even Western Europe, but if you look at how meaningful the training that we’re offering and certification has been to people’s individual growth and companies’ growth throughout the world, to me that’s the highlight. Just the amount of people it’s my fortune to get to know, to watch their businesses grow and develop, watch their careers grow and develop; that’s the highlight of what we’ve done in terms of our expansion globally over the past 20 years. Is it possible to pick out one technology that you think has had the biggest impact on the industry or one that’s been the most disruptive? Well the technology trend that’s had the biggest impact over the AV industry has been our alignment with IT, with moving away from the proprietary analogue signals that we used to distribute for years and years to running more and more IP backbone. Certainly I think that’s been the biggest technology shift that we’ve seen in the past decade or so. Are there any technologies on the horizon now that you think could have a similar impact in the future? The crystal ball is always very, very cloudy in my opinion. We’ve looked at AR and VR for years. Obviously hardware expense is coming down, the ability to implement it on a larger platform has changed probably AR more than VR. I think it’s going to be touching us in the next few years. IoT, the ability to have control and communication with things beyond those that we’ve typically controlled in the AV

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AV TECHNOLOGY AWARDS industry over the years, I think has exciting potential. The evolution of flat panels certainly is changing the future of projection; in our projections we see the projector market diminishing being replaced by the flat panel market, other than the high-end applications as we see with projection mapping. So there are lots of trends moving us forward. I think what you see more than anything else is the ability to converge all our traditional kinds of AV technologies with other technologies to create an exceptional experience. I even see robotics getting into our world. I was in a Taiwanese integrator’s office and I was met by a robot. You see that taking the place of the human receptionist, taking us off to the right conference room all under the control of a typical AV control system. Because we’ve always been that industry that took disparate parts of technology and put them together for an experience, I think the future is quite bright for us in absorbing and utilising all kinds of technologies coming down the road.

part of the association as a volunteer in leadership through the board and the officer ranks to actually, I always kind of joke, it’s like Alice Through the Looking Glass, going over and becoming a staff member. That’s something that I think Sarah has in common with me because she is a past board member of the association having been very involved from a volunteer perspective. I don’t know how you prepare yourself for that other than hopefully we’re going to have a lot of time to work together and there’s going to be a great period where I can pass along whatever knowledge I have to her. But it is that shift from being a volunteer leader to being a staff leader; that was what I found the most dramatic for me in moving between the two relationships. www.avtechnologyawards.com

“I think AV is simply becoming ubiquitous” Terry Friesenborg

And in terms of AV in Europe, are you optimistic about the future there and do you think there’s any threats that the region should be aware of? I think AV is simply becoming ubiquitous. Where do you go now where you don’t see it in any sort of public space, either wayfinding applications or advertisements? I don’t think anything is going to slow down the implementation of AV in Europe or anywhere else in the world, frankly. How the markets move, where the channel is, who brings it to the market, all of those things are always in flux because new players come in and older players go out. There’s always a shift to those sorts of things. But, in terms of the overall industry, the future is very bright. You’re retiring at the end of this year. What are your plans? Do you think you’ll stay involved in the industry in some way? No, no I don’t at this point. I’m looking forward to retiring. I’ve been travelling six months out of the year outside the States for the past 10 years. It’s been a thrill and an incredible opportunity. But, at least in the short term, retirement is going to look like getting back involved with music that I loved and haven’t had a chance to do for a long time, play with my grandkids and enjoy life. I’m not looking for a consulting gig anytime soon! And, finally, Sarah Joyce will be taking over as chief global officer at the end of the year. If you could go back, what would you have liked to have known before you took the role on? How different the experience is moving from being

May / June 2019

Terry Friesenborg will receive his award at the AV Technology Awards, held in London on the evening of 27 June. To find out more about the event and to book tickets visit www.avtechnologyawards.com or contact kate.smith@futurenet.com

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AV TECHNOLOGY AWARDS

FULL SHORTLIST TEAM EXCELLENCE AWARDS Open to integrators, manufacturers, distributors, end users and anyone from across the AV industry, these awards recognise the achievements of people and companies from the past year. COMPANY OF THE YEAR n 7thSense Design n Clevertouch n Diversified n Maverick AV Solutions n NEC Display Solutions n Optoma Europe n Peerless AV n Sahara AV n Visavvi n Vivitek END-USER TEAM OF THE YEAR n Royal Exchange Theatre, Manchester n Tate Modern, London n University of Hertfordshire n University of Warwick PROJECT EXCELLENCE AWARDS This category recognises outstanding installations of professional AV technologies and solutions across all major sectors in the past year. CORPORATE PROJECT OF THE YEAR n Diversified, IBM X-Force Mobile Command n Tactical Operations Center (C-TOC) n Franken Lehrmittel Medientechnik, Universa n Insurance HQ n Oblong, JLL NXT Office n Panasonic Business/McKeon Group, Allied Irish Bank

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EDUCATION PROJECT OF THE YEAR n AVI-SPL and SiliconCore Technology, Klarman Hall, Harvard University n CDEC, Goldsmiths University n Loxit, University of Manchester n Snelling Business Systems, Quadram Institute n Visavvi, University of the West of Scotland RETAIL/DOOH PROJECT OF THE YEAR n Garrett Audiovisuais, JNcQUOI, Lisbon n Pioneer Group/Play Retail, OPI VR pods n Richnerstutz AG & Netvico GmbH and SiliconCore Technology, Zermatt Bergbahnen AG n White Light, adidas Retail Experience VENUE PROJECT OF THE YEAR n Genelec, Basso Club n TR Audio, 0760 Plus n Plus4Audio, Royal Geographical Society Theatre n TDC, ICC Sydney for SIBOS 2018 VISITOR ATTRACTION PROJECT OF THE YEAR n Amped Digital, Real Madrid World of Football Experience n HI Audio Visual, The Scottish Submarine Centre n Holovis, Justice League: A Call for Heroes n TVC Technology Solutions, The Flower Bowl n TDC, Vivid Sydney n White Light, Warner Bros World Abu Dhabi TECHNOLOGY EXCELLENCE AWARDS Designed to recognise excellence in innovation for professional AV products and solutions, this category was open to products released between February 2018 and March 2019. AUDIO PRODUCT OF THE YEAR n Avid Venue S6L n Meyer Sound ULTRA-X40 n QSC Premium Business Music Solution n Shure Microflex Complete Wireless

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AV TECHNOLOGY AWARDS

With the first AV Technology Awards just a few weeks away, here’s the shortlist of people, products and projects that will be vying for success on the night

DISPLAY PRODUCT OF THE YEAR n Christie, MicroTiles LED n Datapath, iolite 12i n infiLED, Easy Rental (ER) Pro series n Optoma Europe, FHDQ130 QUAD series LED display n Peerless-AV, Xtreme High Bright Outdoor Display n Tripleplay, TripleSign Digital Signage Platform COLLABORATION PRODUCT OF THE YEAR n Lifesize, Icon 700 n Clevertouch, Pro Series n Mersive, Gen3 Pod n StarLeaf, Pronto n ViewSonic Europe, ViewBoard IFP7560 n WolfVision, Cynap Pure PROJECTION PRODUCT OF THE YEAR n Barco, UDX n Christie, D4K40-RGB n Disguise, OmniCal n NEC, P525UL n Panasonic Business, PT-RZ120 SIGNAL MANAGEMENT PRODUCT OF THE YEAR n Atlona OmniStream n Calibre HQPro1000 n Crestron DM NVX n Luxul AMS-1816P 18-port/16 PoE+ L2/L3 AV ACCESSORY OF THE YEAR n B-Tech International, BT8310XL n CIE, 2N Helios IP Verso n Peerless-AV, DS-VW775-QR n Kramer, WP−211T n HoverCam Pilot 3

May / June 2019

SPONSORSHIP OPPORTUNITIES To find out more about sponsoring this event, please contact Richard.gibson@futurenet.com +44 (0)20 7354 6029

BUY YOUR TICKETS NOW Tickets are selling fast, so if you want to join us at the Millennium Gloucester in London on Thursday 27 June contact kate.smith@futurenet.com to reserve your space

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THE BIG INTERVIEW

Steely determination After becoming aware of the lack of young talent entering the AV industry in his local area, Jack Laidlaw, BSc Music Technology & BSc Audiovisual Technology Programme Leader at Middlesbrough College, decided to do something about it – create the first AV Technology BSc course in the country. Jo Ruddock finds out more

How did the course come about? We were looking for something new to do and it occurred to us that there was a Venn diagram of job opportunities and things that we were able to deliver in terms of the staff that we have and the resources that we have, and where we saw the biggest area of growth over the next few years. Right in the middle of that Venn diagram happened to be AV technology. We were hearing evidence from local AV

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companies in the north-east of England that they were finding it very difficult to recruit enough staff, which seems to be reflective of what’s happening nationally as well. Since I’ve met various people from AV recruitment companies it seems to be a national trend rather than just a regional thing, whereby there’s far more work than there are people available to do the work. That was all the

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THE BIG INTERVIEW motivation we needed really to make the course happen; but then, of course, you’ve got to be realistic about whether you’re able to deliver it. We’re quite lucky in that we’ve been delivering Music Technology for nearly 20 years and we’ve got fantastic studio facilities. We also have just validated a Digital Video Production programme, so AV takes some elements of Music Tech and some Digital Video Production Media-type stuff. We throw in IT programming and projection mapping and then it becomes an Audio Visual Technology Programme. Did you need to invest in any extra kit to make the course viable? We did. We bought some additional projectors because we need multiple projectors to do interesting multi-projector projects. We invested in some new cameras as well. What challenges did you face setting up the course? We didn’t really face any issues in setting up the course. We got backing from our HE office – which is essentially part of our college which is in charge of HE – straight away because they could see it was an area of growth as well. We developed a course and it was validated by the Open University, so graduates come out with a Bachelor of Science degree with Honours from the Open University. It was all relatively straightforward. The issue we’re having now is that no one really knows what AV is. On a broader level, since I’ve started to speak to prospective students about this, I’ve discovered that they don’t know what it is. So we’re working very hard to get that message across. How are you doing this? At the minute what I’m able to do to promote the course is to speak to students internally. We have a marketing department here whose responsibility it is to market the course to students outside of the college. On top of that I’m speaking at various different conferences. [AV recruitment firm] JacobsMassey is also promoting the programme on its website, and that’s about as far as I can go at the minute. It’s becoming apparent that it’s beyond the scope of my role to address the lack of information on a wider scale in terms of what the AV sector is. I can educate the students but I can’t teach everyone in the country what AV is. We’re doing what we can but we have noticed that people don’t know what it is. To contrast it with Music Technology, for example,

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THE RECRUITER’S COMMENT We have teamed up with Middlesbrough College as a Key Partner to promote their BSc (Hons) Audiovisual and Digital Media degree course. It’s the first recognised degree in Audio Visual Technology and we therefore took the opportunity to present career options to the students.  Supporting new talent coming into the professional AV work space is crucial to the long-term development of our industry. Jack and Rob [Bullard] have written a BSc (Hons) in AV Technology which can assist any person seeking a career in AV. That’s why JacobsMassey supports it. It’s a great new initiative and we wish them every success as the course develops. Graeme Massey, JacobsMassey

Music Tech recruits very healthily. There’s a lot of interest in it – it’s got the word music in it so people know what that is and they can picture a recording studio and that sort of thing. But, when you compare Music Tech to AV Tech, in terms of the direct path to industry there’s such a massive imbalance because there are so many opportunities in AV technology. At any one time, there’s got to be over 100 open vacancies on various different recruitment websites; there’s nothing like that for Music Tech. There are plenty of opportunities but there isn’t an obvious website that I can send graduates to and say ‘go on there, you’ll get a job’. And yet the interest in the courses from a student perspective is completely imbalanced the other way. So there’s something really, really wrong about that. It seems as if people in AV are aware of it, but how do you address it? I spoke at the recent AVIXA Diversity Council event and a lot of the discussion seems to come back to that point that the industry had an awareness issue. The course is fantastic, we love it, we think it’s fit for purpose, I can say with 100 percent certainty that our graduates have very good opportunities for jobs and that’s where you need to be in this day and age, especially considering the fees that they’re paying. It’s just getting them here – that’s the challenge.

Students benefit from links with local AV companies as well as the expertise of the Middlesbrough College team

You have six students so far. Is there scope to extend this in coming years? It depends who’s interested in doing it. We’ve got the capacity to deliver about 20 students per year; there’s three years on our degree. We would be able to deliver to 20 in year 1, 20 in year 2 and 20 in year 3, so 60 in total, but it’s getting them interested and getting them here.

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THE BIG INTERVIEW Also we deliver the course but we’re based in a college and there’s a reason for that and for why this course hasn’t been delivered anywhere else, and that’s because it costs a lot of money to do it. You have to have the resources and you have to commit to run. Whenever you start a new course, particularly with something like AV Technology, which has never been developed anywhere else, it’s going to be low numbers to begin with and you have to have a management culture which is comfortable with that. In a bigger university they wouldn’t run any programme with six students because they want volume and they would be less

likely to commit to the amount of resources. A couple of similar courses have popped up since we started so people are paying attention. I think the focus for the AV industry needs to be on getting the word out about the jobs, because it’s one thing to say that there’s this course you can do, but really the attractive thing about the AV sector should be the opportunities and the fact that once you’re trained in AV it’s a global language, you can go anywhere in the world with it because it’s needed everywhere. The opportunities are growing and the workforce is shrinking.

KIT LIST Middlesbrough College is an Avid Authorised training partner with three 200-level qualified operators and one Avid Certified Instructor. It is also home to a wide array of kit across its studios, labs, theatre, media suite and broadcast studio. In addition, students have access to Nitelite’s inventory, which includes an L-Acoustics K1 system and HDL20a mid / tops and SUB 8006-AS active subs from RCF. Additional kit includes: Studios • Apple MacPro-hosted Avid Pro Tools HDX (64-bit) systems • Two Avid S6, three Avid C|24 and one Raven mixer/controllers offering 96 simultaneous audio tracks at 196kHz • PMC two6two reference loudspeaker monitors • Genelec Monitoring in 5.1 • TC Electronics MC200 • Black Lion Audio Seventeen • 24 channels of Audient ASP800 pre-amps • Pro Tools 2019 ultimate • Apple Logic X • Propellerheads Reason • Cycling 74 Max MSP • Ableton Live Suite • Plu-gins from Avid 200, McDSP, Sonnox Elite Bundle, Native Instruments, Slate Digital and Izotope

Theatre • Panasonic PT-RZ570BEJ DLP projector • Yamaha QL1 mixing desk and LS9 mixing desk • Nexo PS 15 FOH mid/tops, LS1200 FOH subs, NX242 signal processor and PS 10 monitors • Zero 88 Leap Frog 96 lighting console • Avolites Titan One Software Lighting Console Dongle

Labs • Two Windows based (i7), one Mac based (i5) • Audient iD14 interfaces • QLab • Pro Tools • Reason • Ableton Live with Ableton Push at every workstation • Max MSP • Avid 100 level, McDSP and Sony Oxford plug-ins are designed to mirror the studio software provision as closely as is practicable • Roland Phantom X8 and V-Synth GT

Time-Based Media Broadcast Studio • TXC vision mixer for local recording or streaming  • ceiling mounted rig with KinoFlo fluorescent lighting  • Dedo tungsten spots connected to patch bays via DMX to a lighting desk in the control room • HDSDI and XLR feeds are connected via patch bay to the control room’s mixing desks. • The entire studio is connected to the college’s Hazel Pearson Theatre for the live broadcast of performances • It can house a chroma key setup for full body asset capture as and when required

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Media Suite • 21 machines running i7 processors, 16GB RAM and NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 6GB graphics cards, double-monitor displays for proper NLE technique • Each is installed with the full Adobe CC suite and OBS with VPT8 and MadMapper to be installed in early 2019  • An Editshare XStream EFS 300 64TB media server is being ordered for next academic year

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THE BIG INTERVIEW

In the first year they also take a context module which makes them aware of what they’re doing on a broader basis, so the history of AV and where it might go in the future. Their assessment on that is verbal and an essay so thay have to learn to speak to people as well as write. There’s also a programming module in in each year. Year 2 again features research modules where students choose their own topic, there’s a networking module, another live sound module – this time design and control, post-production audio and post-production video and some projection mapping. The first year looks more at capture while the second year focuses more on editing. In the third year, they do advanced projection mapping and a self-study project – by then they will be looking to specialise so the student chooses this. There’s also a career module where we get industry

“The attractive thing about the AV sector should be the opportunities and the fact that once you’re trained in AV it’s a global language, you can go anywhere” Has the IT-ification of AV had an effect on student awareness of AV as a potential career? From our student point of view that’s a positive because we teach them fundamental processing skills and they can easily transfer those skills over to other areas once they graduate. They’re skills that are ever-more useful in different disciplines. What does the course itself cover? It’s a three-year course. In the first year they get fundamentals of audio technology and fundamentals of video technology – they also do a module on lighting design and multimedia playback, using Avolites and Cuelab, respectively. There’s a live sound installation module in year 1 as well so they get used to setting up live sound reinforcement solutions. They also have a contextual module because when we were speaking to people in industry when we were developing the degree – the whole degree was informed by industry as we wanted it to be as industry-relevant as possible – they told us that they were interested in having people who were able to communicate both in writing and verbally, so we test them on that every year.

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Jack Laidlaw alongside Jamie Moore, managing director, Nitelites and Jason Reeves (lecturer) at Nitelites’ warehouse

professionals to come in and talk to students about their routes to the industry and what they would advise. There’s an immersive audio module that looks at audio for surround and AR/VR, and there’s a live multimedia production module and an interactive AV installation module where we teach them how to make different computer systems talk to each other. We’re trying to develop the artistic side as well as the technical side. It’s unique really in that it’s an Arts-focused degree but it’s a genuine route into industry and they’re quite hard to find. So you worked with local AV companies to put the course together? We did – Nitelites we have really good links with and R&B Group help us out. They’re continuously involved, so our students use their resources – they go to Nitelites from time to time and work in their warehouse. The beauty of that is that they’ve got access to equipment that we could never afford, so they’ve got £2 million worth of line arrays in their warehouse that the students can go and hear and set up. They also get to meet the professionals and that’s how you get work.

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IN FOCUS: INFOCOMM 2019

UNIVERSA ATTRACTI 22

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IN FOCUS: INFOCOMM 2019

InfoComm returns to Florida for its 2019 edition, bringing with it a packed seminar schedule and the latest AV technology. Jo Ruddock picks out some of the highlights

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unning from 8-14 June, InfoComm 2019 is set to welcome more than 40,000 attendees and 1,000 exhibitors to the Orange County Convention Center. In line with organiser AVIXA’s ongoing efforts to attract end users and designers, there’s much to see and do at this year’s show, with specific education tracks for verticals including retail, education, events and hospitality. As Dan Goldstein, chief marketing officer at AVIXA, explains: “We've got a big focus this year on two vertical markets that we haven't traditionally focused a lot of education content on and that is retail and hotels/hospitality. This starts to take us more into areas like digital signage, content creation, audio programming, interactivity – perhaps different kinds of interactivity than you would get in a corporate or education environment.” Sessions to look out for in the hospitality sector include ‘Using VR to Help Train Your Hotel Staff’, ‘Making AV Equipment ADA Accessible for Hotel Meetings’, and ‘How Starchitects and Mega Developers Have Reshaped Hospitality AV Design’. AVIXA will also share the latest insights from its Hospitality Market Intelligence Reports. If you want to immerse yourself completely in the hospitality vertical, InfoComm also offers the invitation-only Hospitality Executive Experience, where industry leaders will receive access to seminar sessions in the Hospitality Track and exclusive networking opportunities, as well as flights and accommodation at the show.

Shopping around Retail technology is another key focus at this year’s show, with a wide range of technology designed to enhance the customer experience set to be on the showfloor. Manufacturers of digital-out-of-home messaging, interactive touchscreens, atmospheresetting lighting, augmented reality, digital wayfinding and audio will all be in Orlando. In addition, the education track designed specifically for retail

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IN FOCUS: INFOCOMM 2019

FIRST-TIME VISITOR TO FLORIDA? As the largest pro-AV event in North America, it can be difficult to know where to start if you’re visiting for the first time, so why not attend the First Timer’s Orientation sessions on Tuesday at 11:00 and 14:00. In these free, fun and interactive sessions, InfoComm staff will give you a visual overview of the Exhibit Hall, essential education sessions, places to eat (and rest!), networking events, and more. Oh, and there's prizes, too. Registration is not required, but is recommended as the sessions fill up fast. 

“Every vendor at InfoComm has something they are experts at” professionals and those working in retail technology projects offers multiple opportunities to learn, discuss projects and meet like-minded professionals. Highlights of this extensive track include, ‘Visual Recognition in Retail Store: Targeting Experiences to Every Shopper’, ‘Interactive Content and Experiences in Retail’ and ‘Retail Self-Service: Creating Intuitive Experiences for Customers’. Sessions aimed at the education sector will follow one of two formats – case studies highlighting how institutions solved their edtech challenges or those that focus on design in higher education and learning environments. Case study topics up for discussion include ‘Creating the Next Generation Classroom’, ‘Strategy and Success for Active Learning Classrooms’ and ‘Pedagogically-Driven In-House Learning Space Design and Build’. The designfocused sessions will cover everything from choosing the right display and network/device security through to Designing the Simulcast Learning Environment.

More than 40,000 people are expected to attend this year's event

David Venus, PixelFLEX LED

Conference: June 8-14 Exhibit hall hours: Wednesday June 12: 09:00-17:00 Thursday June 13: 09:00-17:00 Friday June 14: 09:00-16:00 InfoComm will be held in the West Concourse of the Orange County Convention Center (OCCC) in Halls A-E.

www.infocommshow.org

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IN FOCUS: INFOCOMM 2019

SHOW HIGHLIGHTS End Users’ Tour  Wednesday, June 12 08:00-09:00 Enjoy a sneak-peak tour of the show floor before it opens that will highlight products and solutions for end users. Whether you manage AV systems for corporate, higher-ed, healthcare, hospitality, or retail spaces, you’ll be able to discover the technology you're looking for. This tour is not for systems integrators or distributors – it is specifically geared towards the end users of AV products. The tour will meet at the AVIXA booth and begin promptly at 08:00. Tech Managers Forum and Reception Wednesday, June 12 Orange County Convention Center By invitation only Forum: 16:00-17:30 Room W331 The Tech Manager Forum kicks off with a presentation of the updated AV IT Guidelines and a panel discussion around the items addressed in the guidelines. Reception: 17:30-19:00 Room W340 Continue the discussion over drinks while you network with other tech manager professionals. Live Events Forum and Reception Thursday, June 13 Orange County Convention Center By invitation only Forum: 15:00-17:00 Room W331A The forum kicks off with a pre-networking reception with complimentary beer and wine. Then, attendees will hear a series of mini-Ted Talks centered around the building blocks of the event experience from industry experts,  and a moderated panel discussion with industry experts.

May / June 2019

Justin Kennington president, SDVoE Alliance

David Venus chief marketing officer, PixelFLEX LED How many times have you attended InfoComm? Four What advice would you give to people attending for the first time? The show floor is large and there is a ton of technology being showcased. As someone who has attended and exhibited, I recommend going into the show with an overall agenda of what you are looking to see and learn. I also recommend you look at booths of all sizes. Just because a booth is smaller doesn’t mean there is less value in what that the exhibitor has to offer. Every vendor at InfoComm has something they are experts at, so make sure you ask the right questions to potential new partners. You will quickly learn what companies are there to build a long-term relationship versus those looking for the quick sale.

What are you most looking forward to at this year's show? Officially? Hearing from more than 20 SDVoE member companies on the SDVoE 20/20 stage, where topics will range from ‘the matrix transformed’ to case studies, to network designs. Personally? I’m looking forward to the SDVoE members-only networking event and the private race track we have reserved.   What advice would you give a first-time visitor to Orlando? First-time visitors to Orlando might want to book extra time and bring the kids (or not) to visit some of the myriad theme parks – SeaWorld, Universal, Disney, or my personal favourite Legoland. First-time InfoComm attendees should definitely take advantage of all the educational opportunities offered by manufacturers and industry associations including the SDVoE Alliance.    

What are you most looking forward to at this year's show? I personally always look forward to seeing what vendors are showcasing, but the most enjoyable part is meeting new people as well as rekindling old friendships. It’s one of the great things about our industry as a whole.  

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IN FOCUS: INFOCOMM 2019

Ten things not to miss Time can be tight at tradeshows so we’ve rounded up a selection of must-do events and activities

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AV TECH TOURS The ever-popular Tech Tours are returning to InfoComm with attendees being given the opportunity to enjoy a behind the scenes visit to the Orlando Science Center and the University of Central Florida. At the Science Center, the lead exhibit tech will guide you through the museum's exhibits and its use of technology and audiovisual equipment. At the University of Central Florida (UCF), you’ll be able to tour the vast campus to see the newest classroom designs and other high-tech spaces. As you explore UCF, you'll discover how they keep up the pace of continuous improvement while centrally managing it all. These tours sell out every year so make sure you pre-register as early as possible.

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AVIXA WOMEN'S COUNCIL NETWORKING BREAKFAST The AVIXA Women’s Council, a global community for supporting and empowering women in the AV industry, will host its annual breakfast event on Thursday June 13, with keynote speaker Christine Schyvinck, president and CEO of Shure. At the breakfast, Schyvinck will discuss attracting and retaining women in the audiovisual and technology industries. Schyvinck said: “At the Women Council’s breakfast, I’ll talk about how to get young women engaged in the AV industry, and I’ll also talk about diversity overall in the workplace.”

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EMERGING TRENDS DAY Analysts, integrators, end users and technologists will examine the forces impacting pro AV, from internet protocol and disruptive audio and video, to unified comms and collaboration and its impact on how companies work. IP is expected to feature heavily throughout the day, which will also include an exploration of the shifting world of display technology and discussion around how UCC has become more about workflow than technology and what that means for integrators and users. Emerging Trends Day is Tuesday June 11.

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CENTER STAGE Situated in booth 3161 in the Exhibit Hall, Center Stage will play host to a wide array of speakers throughout the show. Conversations are designed to explore the role of AV in creating a better-designed world, with subjects covering everything from creating immersive experiences for esports arenas through to supporting and connecting student communities with AV. Free to attend, Center Stage will welcome representatives from big firms and brands, such as Gensler and Google, and creative studios, such as Vita Motus and Quince Imaging.

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IN FOCUS: INFOCOMM 2019

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AV CAREER DAY Friday June 14 is AV Career Day. Taking place in rooms W311A, W311B, that day will host students, educators and community organisations for a day of exploring AV careers. The day is made up of several components: speed networking sessions; an AV Tech Challenge where students get to explore the trade show floor; and AV skills practice sessions where students get hands-on training.

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BART KRESA SVIATOVID If you didn’t see the world premiere of this at ISE in February, make sure you don’t miss your chance to enjoy award-winning master projection designer Bart Kresa’s new sculpture, Sviatovid. Inspired by both a ninth century Slavic deity and a medieval sculpture of the same name, Sviatovid is a 15ft tall faceted totem.

DIVERSITY IN AV RECEPTION Held on Friday 14 between 13:00 and 14:00, this free to attend event is designed to promote AVIXA’s aim of ensuring everyone feels welcome in the AV industry. Taking place on the AVIXA booth, pre-registration is not required. AVIXA’s Diversity Council will also be hosting a panel discussion on unconscious bias in room W309AB on Tuesday at 15:00.

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AVIXA FOUNDATION 5K WALK/RUN If you fancy a more exhilarating start to your day on Friday June 14, AVIXA is hosting a 5K walk/run at 07:00. All proceeds will go to the AVIXA Foundation, a non-profit organisation operated by AVIXA. The Foundation has recently begun developing global campaigns and programmes to increase the awareness of AV as a career and develop the next generation of AV professionals, while fostering enablement of potential workers through skills training, scholarships and school support. Pre-race registration is $35, the onsite price is $45. Discounts are available for teams, students and children – the event is family friendly and you don’t need to be an InfoComm attendee to participate.

May / June 2019

AUDIO DEMO ROOMS Running from Tuesday to Friday, more than 20 audio manufacturers will be demonstrating their latest equipment in the Audio Demo Rooms. Located near Hall D in rooms W221, W222, W223, W224, W225, W230, W231, W232 and W240 of the Orange County Convention Center, the rooms will feature demonstrations from d&b audiotechnik, K-Array and L-Acoustics to name just a few, offering the opportunity to hear the kit in action away from the noise of the showfloor. Sessions are free to attend.

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TIDE CONFERENCE Combining technology, integration, design and experience, the TIDE Conference provides an opportunity to share the stories behind engaging interactions for entertainment, museums, events, brand launches and retail environments that weave content, space and technology into incredible customer experiences. Speakers lined up for this year’s event, which is held on 11 June, include Jeff Day, president, North of 10 Advisors, Srinivas Rao, chief creative instigator & founder, Unmistakable Media and Mary Franck, senior interaction designer, ESI Design.

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IN FOCUS: MEDICAL AV

Healthcare systems: fit for purpose? Nanomedicine, telehealth, diagnosis via AI, virtual clinics, 3D-printed organs: these may be among the attention grabbers in healthcare technology – yet in many countries, emergency surgery is required when it comes to basic digital infrastructure. Ian McMurray finds out about an initiative designed to address the problem in the UK

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IN FOCUS: MEDICAL AV

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arlier this year, the UK government published a policy paper – “The future of healthcare: our vision for digital, data and technology in health and care”. Among other things, it noted that “the state of online services, basic IT and clinical tools in health and care is far behind where it needs to be. Despite much good practice and some pockets of excellence, for many people – patients, service users, carers and staff – we still need to sort the basics. Technology systems used daily across hospitals, GP surgeries, care homes, pharmacies and community care facilities don’t talk to each other.” It was followed a few months later by the announcement of NHSX. The announcement reiterated the theme. “Currently, much NHS technology relies on systems designed for a pre-internet age. Patients are not getting the care they need because their data does not follow them round the system. Change has been slow because responsibility for digital, data and tech has been split across multiple agencies, teams and organisations. NHSX will change this by bringing together all the levers of policy, implementation and change for the first time.” Among its stated goals are setting standards – developing, agreeing and mandating clear standards for the use of technology in the NHS, the UK’s government-managed healthcare service, and ensuring that NHS systems can talk to each other. Harmonisation The overarching goal of NHSX, then, appears to be the interoperability that is a natural outflow of standardisation. That goal will, of course, be primarily achieved via the harmonisation of the NHS’s allegedly chaotic IT systems. However, with the growing integration of audiovisual solutions within the IT network, it is inevitable that this substantial change in policy will also have an effect on AV suppliers – in areas such as conferencing/ collaboration, education, digital signage, IPTV and much more. That assertion is borne out by Brad Grimes, who is senior director of communications at AV industry trade association AVIXA. “According to our most recent Industry Outlook and Trends Analysis, the market for pro-AV products and services in healthcare was approximately $2 billion worldwide in 2018,” he notes. “We are projecting 10% growth through 2023, making healthcare the fastest-growing of the markets we track.” But what of those currently operating in the space? Pure AV, for example, is an integrator specialising in the healthcare market and an approved supplier on the NHS Shared Business Services (SBS) framework.  “If this new body can bring a renewed focus on digital transformation in the NHS and on standards to support compatibility and interoperability, it should only increase the opportunity for our services within the healthcare sector,” believes the company’s group sales manager Aidan Crowe. “The technologies and advances within the AV marketplace over the past two to three years, notably around flexible working and communication have a lot to offer NHS staff and patients. However, the complex structures in place within the NHS mean that those potential benefits are slow to be realised.”

May / June 2019

New frameworks Crowe is not alone in his enthusiasm. “We understand that one of the objectives for NHSX will be reforming procurement – helping the NHS buy the right technology through the application of new procurement frameworks that support these standards,” says Kiran Sanghera, manager, product managers, VI [Visual Instruments] business at Epson. “This will definitely benefit our business as Epson is able to provide solutions to healthcare that allow staff to make patients their priority. These days, it’s all about seamless workflows, faster communication and quicker connectivity, which Epson can deliver on, as our devices are built around end-user usage scenarios and job efficiency.” “Uniformity and compatibility are very valuable,” adds Olivier Vanovermeire, chief medical officer, who acts as a consultant to Barco’s healthcare business, which offers what it describes as high-precision display systems for a broad range of healthcare disciplines, including radiology, mammography, surgery, dentistry, pathology, point-of-care and clinical review imaging. “They save a lot of time and money in staff training – and staff can more easily move around,” Vanovermeire continues. “It is the same with implementing standards in communication and data exchange: in radiology, for example, we are spoiled with the DICOM standard, but in other segments, the data flow is sometimes challenging between different software packages.” He goes on to note his belief that NHSX is primarily about cost saving – in itself a worthwhile goal for an organisation that seems to be perpetually cash-strapped and lacking adequate resources. “Budget will always be a barrier to technology adoption,” says Crowe. “Whether the development of NHSX brings with it access to more money remains to be seen. To help, we increasingly offer OPEX payment models – away from the restrictions that CAPEX can face. The offer of a complete solution with embedded service and support wrapped within an OPEX payment structure can enable investment in much-needed technology and solutions where upfront budget is simply not available.” Learning from industry Availability of funds isn’t the only barrier, however. “The close relationship between higher education institutions and training and education in healthcare is helping to reduce fear in the introduction of technology,” Crowe continues. “As education and industry demonstrate the benefits that technology such as remote and home conferencing and collaborative technologies bring to workflow, time and resource; healthcare organisations have witnessed this, and are ready to see how they too can deploy these solutions to be smarter and more efficient in their working practices.” Sanghera picks up on the theme of education and learning. “When training comes into the picture, the need to make learning as effective as possible is at the forefront of healthcare challenges,” she claims. “Better engagement with the learning

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IN FOCUS: MEDICAL AV

Royal Preston Hospital commissioned Pure AV to revamp a lecture theatre to substantially improve video and audio facilities

audience, remote connectivity from different locations locally or on a global platform, collaborations during training sessions and making them interactive and easy to remember are all pivotal elements for successful teaching environments to help increase productivity and efficiency.” NHSX focuses on interoperability, in which the network will play a vital role. Pierre Josling, marketing executive at RGB Communications, which represents Atlona in the UK, sees that as pivotal. “Key to many AV installations in the healthcare market – now and in the future – will be enhancing and improving the network IT infrastructure,” he says. “So much of the new technology utilises a robust network – AV over IP,

KEY POINTS • According to AVIXA, healthcare is the fastest-growing AV market it tracks • The NHSX initiative is designed to create standards-based interoperability between disparate healthcare systems • NHSX has yet to announce how it will leverage the knowledge and experience of IT and AV suppliers • It is expected that NHSX will learn from the experiences of commercial, education and other governmental organisations • Major initiatives like NHSX create opportunities for AV manufacturers and integrators

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IP meeting spaces all require a reliable network. Part of this process is making sure that you bring on board the internal IT network team so that they feel comfortable with any new technology.” Network interoperability is only one of the challenges that the NHS faces, however. “Another is the adoption of new technology once implemented,” says Crowe. “It’s crucial, in an environment in which every penny is hard won – often through charitable donation – that we help our healthcare clients realise a good return on investment. We achieve this through the design and delivery of solutions that are simple to use, ensuring that even the most complex of systems is designed with a user interface that encourages logical, straightforward usage and control. We work alongside staff responsible for the management of equipment to provide and develop training for both support staff and end users, and we ensure access to robust support mechanisms, so that should an issue occur, there is a quick and easy route to resolution.” Benefits, not technology Josling sees another challenge. “It’s vital that those involved focus on the benefits of any technology, rather than just on the technology itself,” he affirms. “As part of the tendering process, healthcare organisations need to have a focus on maximising the benefits – saving time, saving money, improving quality and so on.” Sanghera also sees the importance of time. “Time is definitely a scarce resource when it comes to healthcare: better care means dedicating more time to patients,” she says. “All our solutions are designed with this in mind: for example, we offer laser display solutions, which is our ‘fit and forget’ technology that eliminates the need for maintenance.” It is, of course, early days for NHSX. Even so, it is perhaps startling that, thus far, there has been little – if any – mention of the role of suppliers in helping to set the direction (other than a passing reference to working with “the wider digital economy”). Given their knowledge of what’s possible and feasible, it’s surprising their involvement has not – yet – been solicited. So what would the AV industry say to those responsible for the design and delivery of NHSX? Pure AV’s Crowe is clear. “Listen to the trusts and CCGs [Clinical Commissioning Groups], understand their challenges and work with them to create and provide clear guidance,” he declares.

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Simulation is becoming an increasingly important part of medical professional training, as with this suite at BlessingRieman Hospital, for which Atlona provided connectivity infrastructure

NHSX’ RESPONSIBILITIES NHSX has a number of key priorities, including: • Setting national policy and developing best practice for NHS technology, digital and data – including data-sharing and transparency • Setting standards – developing, agreeing and mandating clear standards for the use of technology in the NHS • Ensuring that NHS systems can talk to each other across the health and care system • Helping to improve clinical care by delivering agile, user-focused projects • Supporting the use of new technologies by the NHS, both by working with industry and via its own prototyping and development capability • Ensuring that common technologies and services, including the NHS App, are designed so that trusts and surgeries don’t have to reinvent the wheel each time • Making sure that all source code is open by default so that anyone who wants to write code for the NHS can see what is needed • Reforming procurement – helping the NHS buy the right technology through the application of technology standards, streamlined spend controls and new procurement frameworks that support its standards

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From a supply perspective, work with proven integrators and manufacturers. Don’t re-invent the wheel. The technology and experiences from other industries and market sectors in recent years all offer a source of learning and present clear examples of how and how not to use and deploy new technologies and services.” Environmental impact Sanghera turns to a theme that is increasingly preoccupying the AV industry. “It should be compulsory in any new framework that the focus is on environmental impact: all new adopted technology must demonstrate that its footprint is as low as possible,” she believes. “Meeting your sustainability targets through IT choices; saving on power; reducing waste; eliminating the need to manage complicated collection and recycling programmes – all these elements should become an integral part of any new technology requirement.” For Crowe, NHSX is very much to be welcomed. “It sends a message that technology is to be embraced and encouraged. By bringing in teams and individuals from outside the traditional NHS sector, NHSX is giving itself every opportunity to be current, educated and at the forefront of technology use and deployment, instead of behind the curve. This will work well with the move to the cloud for wide area network communication delivered via the new HSCN (Health and Social Care Network).

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IN FOCUS: MEDICAL AV

Already, we see trusts and organisations looking for ways to update from the traditional methods of communication and embracing technology; they should now have the support to deliver these changes in a structured way.” “Of course,” he adds, “we need to wait and see whether the promise we see on paper translates through to real action on the ground.” “NHSX has the potential to support, and perhaps accelerate, the activity we already see in cloudbased communication,” adds Crowe, “as the move from N3 [the NHS network from 2006] and HSCN [which was announced as replacing N3 in 2017] drives NHS bodies to take a refreshed approach to video and audio communications. We have already seen a change in direction from traditional videoconferencing networks and endpoint connections to solutions such as the StarLeaf Cloud for example, with its proven and secure interoperability with existing N3 network endpoints, new cloud-based and client services such as Skype, Teams, Zoom and so on.” Virtual services “NHSX initiatives also have the potential to open the door for widescale adoption of virtual clinics and other virtual services which at present trusts are experimenting with,” he goes on. “This will bring increased opportunity to engage in the development of patient-facing solutions alongside our current activity focused on the internal healthcare workplace in MDT [Multi-disciplinary Teams], clinical skills, training and administrative spaces.” “In the last few years,” Crowe concludes, “we have seen double-digit growth in our revenue from within the healthcare sector and, despite continued pressure on NHS budgets, we expect to see continued demand for our services within the healthcare market.” Sanghera adds: “The objective is clear; it’s about promoting a better use of technology to save time for doctors and nurses that can be spent with patients. New attention to cost-effectiveness is also pivotal and will create new opportunities for every modern technology provider.” Improve and modernise “More and more public and private healthcare providers are facing the need to improve and modernise the solutions they offer to patients,” Sanghera concludes. “We are investing more resources to make Epson able to answer to those

May / June 2019

market needs, with dedicated internal staff and committed partners who allow us to expand our healthcare footprint.” For Vanovermeire, the ultimate objective could not be clearer. “With the aging population and the rising need for healthcare in developing countries, the healthcare market is still growing,” he says. “There are always budget restrictions, but the money will be spent more on tools, equipment and software that raise efficiency, increase quality – with the bottom line being improved patient care. Improved patient care is, and must be, the end goal.” As AVIXA’s Grimes noted at the outset: growth in the healthcare market is expected to out-strip growth in all the other markets that his organisation tracks. “The healthcare market presents a great opportunity for professional AV,” echoes Grimes. “From telemedicine, to build outs of new types of healthcare facilities, to visualisation solutions that new and existing facilities require, there is growing demand for AV in healthcare. That said, healthcare is a unique market, much like government, with incumbent solution providers, industry-specific regulations, and other factors that AV integrators and technology managers need to understand and navigate if they’re to meet the demand that we see coming in that sector.” Any kind of transformational initiative creates opportunities – and NHSX is unquestionably such an opportunity. AV manufacturers and integrators serving, or planning to serve, the healthcare market in the UK, as well as those responsible for managing in-house AV facilities in hospitals and surgeries around the country, will do well to heed Grimes’ advice as the impact of the NHSX initiative becomes increasingly felt.

From the top: David Venus, Kiran Sanghera and Aidan Crowe

“Uniformity and compatibility are very valuable, they save a lot of time and money in staff training - and staff can more easily move around” Olivier Vanovermeire 33


IN FOCUS: HEALTHCARE AV

The value of the virtual clinic Dan Boddington, systems engineer at StarLeaf, discusses how patients and medical staff are benefiting from live digital diagnosis

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ppointment pain points and diagnosis downtime are serious inhibitors to quality healthcare. The need to cut waiting times and improve quality medical consultations is essential to relieve the pressure on an overworked healthcare service. Traditional medical care models often no longer cater adequately for patient needs today due to insufficient on-site facilities, a chronic lack of IT resources and the proverbial predicaments of unreliable public transport. Consequently, high rates of non-attendance at appointments result in rising costs on emergency services and potentially poor patient health outcomes. When clinical staff are hampered by inefficiencies, how can technology dramatically improve doctor-topatient communications?

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The wider screen The Health and Social Care Information Centre in England recently published data revealing that 1 in 50 patients (65,590 of 3.5 million) who missed an appointment failed to attend three or more further appointments within three months. Clinicians are concerned for the welfare of those people who serially miss appointments because their health may continue to deteriorate and, consequently, they are potentially putting themselves at greater risk by non-attendance. In addition, estimates indicate that the cost of missed UK general practice appointments (GP community-based family medicine) can total over ÂŁ150 million per year. The debate over disruption to critical diagnosis and quality consultation has raged for many years. Research has shown that conducting ‘virtual’

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IN FOCUS: HEALTHCARE AV consultations enables medical staff to seamlessly conduct a diagnosis without the need for patients to actually be in the presence of the doctor. At the heart of a virtual clinic is secure video conferencing, instant messaging and smart meeting room systems that simplify communications complexity for a life-changing experience. Benefits to using intuitive technology include limiting the patient’s need to travel to a hospital resulting in improved patient satisfaction, reduced stress levels and maximised clinician time. Providing patient-centred video healthcare to communities offers enormous scope for national health services around the world to eliminate unnecessary repeat consultations, difficulties in logistic on-site attendance, delays in diagnosis and prescription orders. For example, offering a patient with mobility issues the option to receive a virtual consultation at their local GP rather than travelling many miles to a distant specialist is now possible with quality video conferencing, video calling and instant messaging, all operated securely by cloud-based solutions that are easy to use. Last year’s ‘Beast from the East’ weather event in the UK was a classic case in point, when many doctors and nurses could not travel to hospitals to meet and discuss patient priorities. Through the use of video conferencing, isolated medical staff and support teams, including IT, were all able to operate remotely and join their colleagues by simply connecting online and meeting via intuitive video conferencing. The use of superior picture and sound quality enables doctors to provide high levels of service and securely share medical documentation, such as scans, files and clinical information. When patient care requires urgent attention from specialists, video conferencing and instant messaging significantly help time sensitive incidents – accessed anywhere and from any device. In addition, the virtual training classroom enables medical lecturers to widen their audience and communicate in real-time and extend the value of their service to any part of the world. On-site meeting room systems set up in clinics, hospitals and surgeries can also be installed for quality room video conferencing along with various audio and control options that seamlessly connect to other multiple trusts running a variety of different technologies – a compelling combination of flexibility, reliability and security. With integrated easy-to-use solutions, doctors and physicians are better enabled to serve more patients in one day of clinical practice and improve levels of consultation satisfaction. A good example is antenatal care,

May / June 2019

where conducting virtual appointments could save heavily pregnant women from making long, tiring trips to the hospital. In touch with technology Boosting health service capabilities improves the quality of lives and provides the opportunity to scale services and sustain patient relationships. According to the World Health Organization, nearly 2 billion people across the world are expected to be over 60 years old by 2050, a figure that is more than triple what it was in the year 2000. With growing communities and an increasingly ageing population, virtual clinics offer a future where advanced video adds value and enhanced, on-premises prognosis offers more room for better patient care.

A MIXED PICTURE In the 2019 Global Health Care Outlook from Deloitte, virtual health was shown to benefit both patients and doctors, but a number of barriers remain. Some 64% of consumers point to convenience and access as important benefits of virtual health. Physicians’ top benefits include improved patient access to care; improved patient satisfaction; and the ability to stay connected with patients and their caregivers However, a number of barriers to implementation were also identified, including complex licensing requirements, the high cost of the technologies, reliability/errors and privacy and security.

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CASE STUDY

Core values

A new high-end fitness centre in west London uses technology to provide a personalised and integrated exercise experience. Jo Ruddock finds out more

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ore Collective is a one-stop shop for all things fitness, offering everything from a wide selection of classes to nutritious food and high-end changing facilities. Its new location in Knightsbridge is no exception and the focus here continues to be on quality throughout. Building on the success of the original South Kensington fitness centre, Core Collective joined forces again with London-based automation specialist Knektd and the exclusive sales agent for Crestron in EMEA, Technological Innovations Group (TIG), to specify and install a comprehensive Crestron control system in its Kensington location. With a focus on providing high-quality fitness classes alongside integrated technology – the reception area, changing facilities and both workout zones benefit from leading technology. Like its South Kensington counterpart, the Knightsbridge facility features premium Crestron technology to improve the workout experience. Jason de Savery, founder of Core Collective, comments: “Having done a great job on our first gym in Kensington, it only made sense for us to bring the Knektd team in again. They’ve once again provided an outstanding service and a quality installation, we look forward to working with them again on our next gym in St Johns Wood.” All of the building control and AV throughout the gym is based on Crestron technology, including

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in-wall touchscreens, Crestron Mac-based apps, Saros and Vector speakers and audio amplification via Avia DSPs and amplifiers. The lighting is all powered by Crestron mains, switched, DMX and DALI DIN lighting modules. The second branch of the fitness chain has achieved a stunning setup for its members, with plans in place for the third facility to open in the coming months. Feel the burn The Kensington location contains two fitness suites: a velocity room for high intensity energy training and a yoga studio to host a variety of classes. Throughout these areas, power yoga, TRX, and Lift & Row sessions are hosted. The velocity room features the newly released Crestron Vector speakers which are designed to deliver accurate audio and speech reinforcement. Using the Crestron Avia DSP, the audio is synched so the trainers can use their wireless mic systems – ideal for fitness instructors to deliver high-energy classes. Amplification is delivered by a Crestron Powersoft amplifier. The Crestron technology helps to energise the sessions, with instructors making use of highquality audio and signal processors to deliver crystal clear workout instructions. Wireless microphone devices link with the system to provide

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CASE STUDY

flexibility for the trainers, and the setup prevents instructors being restricted by the system. “After the success of the first Core Collective, choosing to implement a Crestron solution again was an easy decision for us,” comments Shaun Wilson, director and founder at Knektd. “It was important to be able to offer the client a high-quality audio system that could adapt depending on the class and trainers, allowing them to focus on delivering a great class.” A holistic approach The Yoga studio is equally equipped to provide an advanced setup, with Crestron Saros 8in pendant speakers providing smooth audio. The slow, relaxed atmosphere of a yoga class benefits from these discreetly integrated in-ceiling

speakers, which are complemented by ambient lighting. The system links the changing facilities to the workout spaces, which starts the Core Collective experience before the class. Integrated speakers prepare members for the session ahead and contribute to maintaining an energised atmosphere following the session. As the system is used by multiple people – instructors, gym employees and receptionists – it is essential that all of the lighting and audio is easily adjustable for them on a single familiar and easy to use interface. With this in mind, the entire lighting and AV system can be controlled via the in-wall Crestron touchscreens. This means light and audio levels and presets can be easily managed by any employee. www.crestron.com www.knektd.co.uk

A KNECTD WORLD Knektd Ltd specialises in bespoke audio visual, home automation and entertainment solutions for prime and super prime residential properties in London. Clients include private individuals, interior designers, architects, building contractors and property developers. Services offered include home automation, lighting, HVAC integration and networking.

“Choosing to implement a Crestron solution again was an easy decision for us” Shaun Wilson, Knektd

May / June 2019

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CASE STUDY

artist Portrait of an

Now in its fifth year, Photo London is bigger than ever, with artists such as Gavin Turk adding a new dimension to the show. Jo Ruddock headed to Somerset House to see what all the egg-citement was about…

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ince its launch in 2015, Photo London, an annual photography event held at London’s Somerset House, has gone from strength-tostrength. The 2019 edition welcomed 114 galleries and displayed work from 440 artists, making it the largest event hosted at the former home of the UK’s HM Revenue and Customs. Michael Benson, founder director of Photo London alongside Fariba Farshad, described the event as “a celebration of the past, present and future of photography” and the wide array of art on show certainly supported this comment. A particular highlight of this year’s exhibition was Gavin Turk’s Portrait of an Egg. In addition to a giant bronze sculpture of an egg displayed on the River Terrace, Turk also invited the public to share their own images of eggs to be displayed on the walls of the Great Arch Hall in Somerset House, alongside another of his sculptures. Turk explains: “I intended the installation to be a presentation of over 1,000 images from artists who voluntarily responded to the brief via social media – ‘portrait of an egg’. It’s a truly immersive experience – a 360-degree display with four large screens. All

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images dissolve into each other resulting in a dreamlike film that is projected in a room around a giant bronze egg. To achieve such a timeless experience, it was essential for the installation to use the latest projector technology.” Wide appeal As the project grew in popularity and it became clear that printing would not be an option, Turk turned to Canon in order to find a more suitable solution. “Once we knew that there was going to be a large number of submissions, we started discussing which projectors would allow us to create the best possible experience at the event,” he explains. “We needed projectors that were easy to install, lightweight and compact enough for us to install discreetly, yet powerful enough to project around the entire room.” The solution was to use four Canon XEED WUX6600Z projectors in low-level enclosures that sit below the projected image. This unobtrusive setup is possible thanks to Canon’s RS-SL06UW lens, which has lens shift of 75%+, allowing visitors to appreciate the artwork without the projectors getting in the way. This setup was particularly helpful at

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CASE STUDY

Somerset House as it would not have been suitable to fix projectors to the ceiling for a temporary exhibit. Turk adds: “The images fill the four main walls within the Great Arch Hall in Somerset House – a room capable of holding 200 guests. To achieve such a large and seamless projection, the use of powerful, high-brightness projectors such as the XEED WUX6600Z was integral to ensure the images are displayed in rich, true-to-life colours even in ambient lighting conditions. These projectors produce such high resolution and vivid images that it feels like you are looking at original printed works.” Colin Boyle, European projector marketing specialist at Canon, explains: “The key reasons behind Gavin choosing this projector are that it’s bright, it has excellent image quality and he can use the lens shift capabilities of the RS-SL06UW to get

the results he wants without distracting from the art work. This lens is unique to the market, there aren’t any other lenses out there that can do this, with both the short throw distance and the angle of lens.” Turk is quick to recognise the impact that technology has had on art, enabling artists to reach and interact with more people and create more engaging and immersive installations. “Projecting the works allowed us to make sure this was a truly democratic piece of art, that brings together the perspectives of people from across the globe. We wouldn’t have been able to involve so many artists and portray their work in such high quality if we didn’t have top projector technology. Simply gathering such a volume of artwork would not have been possible without social media.” www.canon.co.uk

“These projectors produce such high resolution and vivid images that it feels like you are looking at original printed works” May / June 2019

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TECH GUIDE

THE TECH GUIDE

A selection of some of the latest AV products and solutions now available to the market and a deep dive into some more established tech

QSC Q-SYS This issue, we get in-depth, real world insights on QSC’s flagship DSP/control platform from Tim Robinson, installation design at Adlib Audio

What environments do you typically install Q-SYS? We use processors from several manufacturers to address different client requirements, with Q-SYS as our top-tier installed DSP. As such, it has made appearances where one might expect, such as bars, restaurants and corporate meeting rooms, but also in some more unusual places such as royal palaces, or anywhere else where we need to do something a bit clever. It is a highly scalable solution: our smallest Q-SYS installation uses just a Core 110f with no inputs (audio comes from the built-in multitrack player) and eight analogue outputs, whereas network peripherals can be attached to make systems of a size limited only by the network architecture or the capacity of the Core (the smallest of which supports 128x128 channels). Why do you specify this product over competitor offerings? As a standalone DSP, Q-SYS is very good, but so are many systems by other manufacturers. Where it really starts to shine is in its ability to act as a combined DSP/control platform, whereas most, if not all, competitor solutions would require separate, fully-featured audio and control platforms to deliver the same functionality. The fact that it can do almost everything one could conceivably wish for in the audio domain is quickly

taken for granted as one delves more deeply into using it to provide a seamless interface for the entire AV system. What are the most impressive elements of its feature set? Although a relatively new feature, the Block Controller has undoubtedly saved us days (if not longer) of scratching heads or poring over a code book to locate an errant character in a script. It makes scripting simple things extremely fast and makes scripting more complicated things less daunting, safe in the knowledge that one can revert to good, old-fashioned hand-coding if trying to do something especially esoteric. What elements of the feature set make your job easier? One of the great joys of using Q-SYS is the comfort that comes from knowing that when, inevitably, the client changes

the specification at the last minute, or says “Ooh, can you make it do that..?”, the answer is almost always “yes”, even if that means spending several hours thinking about how to code it. If an updated version of this product was to be released, what upgrades would you like to see? Updates are regular and often include exciting new features and/or support for new hardware. In terms of audio processing features, there is little left to do, although native Dante support and a ‘cheap’ wall plate controller, to sit beneath the comprehensive touchscreen range, are things on the wishlist, in bold, underlined in red ink. The ever-growing arsenal of QSC-managed plugins for third-party products is only going to make one’s life easier as it develops. www.adlib.co.uk www.qsc.com

WHAT IS Q-SYS? Q-SYS is a software-based platform built around an open IT-friendly ecosystem. It features Intel processing combined with the robustness of a Linux operating system and the interoperability of IEEE networking standards. This IT-centric layered approach allows QSC to migrate the Q-SYS platform to other Intel platforms as they introduce new, faster chipsets, and to other off-the-shelf hardware. Furthermore, its use of IT standard protocols makes the Q-SYS platform highly extensible for future IT functions and platforms.

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TECH GUIDE

CLEARCOM FREESPEAK 2 Chris Austin, technical sales manager at Autograph, delves into the feature set and use cases of ClearCom’s wireless communication system

What environments do you typically install the ClearCom Freespeak 2 system? We frequently install this into theatres and venues like concert halls and conference centres. Used behind the scenes by anyone who needs to communicate clearly in a busy production but without being tethered by a cable, it’s become the industry standard where safety matters above all else. Why do you specify this product over competitor offerings? Clarity and low latency are important areas in which Freespeak 2 excels, but it also has very good dynamic range, so it’s particularly good at separating voices from the background noise in loud environments. It was the first of its kind to have multiple intelligent transceivers, so you can cover incredibly large or complicated buildings that traditional RF can’t.

can also do sophisticated point-to-point calls while simultaneously routing in programme feeds of the show. All of this can be changed on the fly, so as soon as someone identifies a need it can be satisfied without interrupting everyone else. What elements of the feature set make your job easier? All of the setup and configuration is done from a very easy web interface, so there is no software to download or problems with having the wrong version installed. It even works on a phone. It’s very fast to learn so customers soon gain

the confidence to tailor it to exactly how they want it. I’m a firm believer that as the technology we use gets more complicated, it shouldn’t get more intimidating.

If an updated version of this product was to be released, what upgrades would you like to see? It would be great to see more external IO on the base station, for linking into wired systems or bringing more feeds in. You can never have enough IO! www.autograph.co.uk www.clearcom.com

What are the most impressive elements of its feature set? I love its flexibility. People generally all communicate in group ‘partylines’, but it

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TECH GUIDE

6000 Series Capsules

DPA Microphones Product type: Pro-audio microphone capsule Target market: Live events, theatres, presentations

Collaborate Space Enterprise

Clear-One Product type: Collaboration platform Target market: Larger corporates What does it do? Described as a powerful audio and video conferencing application with a full suite of collaboration features, Collaborate Space includes everything for online meetings, including scheduling, messaging, integrated file sharing, whiteboarding, annotation, meeting minutes and more. It unifies multiple users, via audio and video, with the ability to make calls to landlines and mobile phones. Users can create searchable, persistent private and public channels, organised by topic, which can include agendas, notes, messages, documents, whiteboards, audio and video recordings, and more. Said to have a user-friendly interface, it runs on any device – mobile, desktop, and all ClearOne Collaborate Live room systems.

What does it do? Incorporated into the d:screet CORE 6060 and 6061 Subminiature Microphones and d:fine CORE 6066 Subminiature Headset Microphone, DPA’s new microphone capsules are 60 percent smaller than the company’s existing 4000 series, at just 3mm. Developed using new CORE by DPA microphone amplification technology, the capsules reduce distortion and increase dynamic range. What’s new? Not only has DPA reduced the size of its microphone capsules but it has also introduced a lightweight, one-size-fits-all headset, the 6066. This attaches over the ears for maximum comfort and has a three-point spring mechanism to help grip below the ears and to the side of the head for added security. With a fully adjustable boom, it is very easy to fit and has a redesigned 90-degree cable attachment that allows the cable to run down the wearer’s back, so it can’t be seen. Perfect for? Quick turnaround events as the lavalier and the headset are quick and easy to affix to performers, significantly reducing setup and prep time. Available: Will be introduced at InfoComm More info at: www.dpamicrophones.com

What’s new? The on-premise Enterprise version has all the functionality you’d expect from a full-featured cloud collaboration app, with the increased security and full enterprise control associated with on-premise platforms. Perfect for? Larger organisations that want all the benefits associated with a dedicated, on-premise collaboration server. Available: Now More info at: www.clearone.com

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TECH GUIDE

Conference Room Ecosystem

Stem Audio Product type: Conference audio system Target market: Corporates ZG9 Series

Sony Product type: 8K display Target market: Retail, corporate What does it do? One of 20 different displays in the latest lineup of Sony’s Bravia Professional Displays, the ZG9 features a built-in TV tuner with 18-hour operability and support for Android 8.0, which speeds up the installation process for third-party APK files and includes an app autolaunch feature. This creates more options to customise each display and reduce the set-up time for end users by having applications (such as a conference call software) launch automatically as soon as the display is switched on. Furthermore, the new remote firmware update function means software updates can be centrally pushed onto each display via IP. What’s new? The ZG9 is the first-ever Sony 8K Bravia Professional Display. It is available in both 85 and 98in, and offers high picture quality, including detail, colour and contrast with High Dynamic Range (HDR). The ZG9 is powered by the custom-built X1 Ultimate chip, engineered specifically for processing 4K and 8K images. The chip features a dynamic contrast enhancer, Super Bit Mapping HDR and Precision Colour Mapping with the ability to automatically detect hundreds of objects and enhance their quality.

What does it do? A tool-box of five networkable products that can be mixed and matched into any meeting room, alleviating the major pains currently experienced by IT professionals and everyday users. The Stem ecosystem includes three audio devices, Table, Wall and Ceiling, which can be mixed and matched and work in tandem with Stem Audio’s Control and Hub. What’s new: Stem is introducing new technologies into its conference audio solutions. This includes the integration of deep learning in neural networks to improve echo-cancelling, de-reverb and noise cancelling algorithms. Stem has discovered new methods for optimised microphone placement and beam design to enhance beamforming performance. It also redesigned the traditional approach for measuring voice clarity, implementing a proprietary combination of multiple industry standards. Perfect for? Anyone who requires a complete meeting room solution with a focus on high audio quality. Available: Now More info at: www.stemaudio.com

Perfect for? Anyone wanting to create eye-catching displays while reducing their energy consumption. Available: Soon More info at: www.sony.co.uk

May / June 2019

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BATTLE OF THE BRANDS

Sign of the times Digital signage can be a powerful business tool but software that’s simple to use and flexible can make the difference between a solution that attracts viewers and positively impacts RoI and one that simply blends into the background

DIGITAL SIGNAGE has become ubiquitous in a number of markets in recent years, so much so that a static screen will no longer create an impact with many viewers. Whereas once screens in a retail store would have been an attractive novelty, now digital signage is appearing everywhere from education to visitor attractions. As their reach has grown so has the demand for content that is unique and engaging, and in turn interactivity and personalisation have become central to many digital signage strategies. When integrated as part of a holistic content

Company: NoviSign Solution: Signage Studio Sell it to us: With NoviSign’s Online Studio Editor, users can create media-rich digital signage content. This is possible with the range of drag and drop widgets available in the online editor, which is specially designed for users with little graphic design experience. In detail: Digital Signage Editor includes a number of features to balance usability and functionality – such as a customisable template library, advanced scheduling capabilities and widgets for Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. Users can also create and manage new playlists, manage a single display or hundreds. Elsewhere, admin controls enable multiple users and media can be stored in the cloud media library. NoviSign supports Windows, Android and Chrome OS. The monthly package is fully hosted and includes 10 file conversions, 100MB file size and 500MB of storage, and performance reports. Price and availability: Available now for a free 30-day trial, after which software packages are $20 a month per screen

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strategy, digital signage can add real value, boosting brand recognition, encouraging sales and building customer loyalty. This added value is enhanced by the analytics tools that are now able to capture viewer information in real time and respond with tailored messaging, an area that is only expected to grow in importance. In the future expect AI and machine learning to hone this targeted messaging further. Also, look out for Digital Experience Platforms (DXP) which combine features including a CMS, document sharing or personalisation tools to provide customised content.

Company: embed signage Solution: Digital signage software Sell it to us: This software offering is said to be quick to learn and powerful to use. embed has included an extensive list of functionality, designed to empower the user and provide control over the content from a variety of devices. In detail: The software offers complete control over content playback, including conditional playback on playlist items, zones and pages in layouts. You can also set rules for an array of criteria, such as weather and device connectivity. With the embed signage layout builder you can design a single layout for multiple device resolutions and orientations. Pages, zones or specific content items can be made interactive by using the drop down selection tools in the layout builder. An unlimited number of users can be added with user-specific permissions for hierarchical management of the digital signage network. Price and availability: A 28-day free trial is available now, after which it’s £118 per registered device.

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BATTLE OF THE BRANDS

Company: Xibo Solution: Xibo Content Management System Sell it to us: Xibo Content Management System is the centre of the Xibo platform and includes a number of features to make authorising content quick and simple. In detail: The CMS is divided into four main feature sets; layout design, content scheduling, network management and user access control. Within design, the user can create layouts for all of their design ideas,

Company: BrightSign Solution: BrightSign BSN.cloud Sell it to us: BrightSign BSN.cloud is a robust player-management platform driven by BrightSign OS 8.0, the commercial-grade operating system purpose-built for digital signage. It offers BrightSign customers simple provisioning and setup options. and a robust set of network management tools. It provides secure and scalable networking options for end-users, integrators, network managers and DOOH operators. In detail: BSN.cloud consists of three clouds. At the base level, the Control Cloud subscription is included with every player, offering simple provisioning and setup options and real-time data about player health. Large-scale rollouts are simplified via new options for automatically setting up large groups of players simultaneously. Smallscale rollouts are streamlined with a new on-screen setup process using QR codes for easy player setup via mobile phone. The other two clouds within BSN.cloud are the Management Cloud and the Content Cloud. The Management Cloud is a data-driven cloud service that delivers a complete set of digital signage network management tools to the end user. At the highest level, the Content Cloud adds the media library and content feeds, schedules, presentation management and content distribution tools.

May / June 2019

split the screen and drop in widgets to show video, images and text. The widgets integrate content from third parties to keep displays fresh and up to date. Templates can be created for a smooth workflow and any finished creation can be saved for reuse later, to share with others or to present consistent corporate branding. Content can be scheduled for one-off, repeating and always-on events. Each schedule can be given a priority so that the user can be sure messages are shown at the right time, alongside complementary layouts. For network management, all displays on a network can be seen in real-time with status monitoring. Diagnostic and proof of play information is collected from each display, so that managers know content has been shown. Display groups also help to organise displays into logical sets, then schedule and report on them – creating a hierarchy that best reflects an organisation. Xibo’s built in user authentication system keeps content safe and secure, ensuring that only authenticated users have access. Enterprise users can use ‘single sign on’ via SAML for integration with an existing user directory. Users can be added to one or more groups to effectively organise and grant system access. In addition, the CMS allows user permissions to be assigned to all user content to control exactly who is allowed to add/edit and delete those items. Price and availability: Free to download and available now

Appspace, Carousel Digital Signage, Creative Realities, Diversified, Four Winds Interactive, Mvix, Reflect Systems and Signagelive are just a few of BrightSign’s partners in the process of using BSN. cloud APIs to integrate their software with the BSN.cloud management platform. Price and availability: Control Cloud is included with every BrightSign player at no additional cost. Pricing for the Management Cloud and the Content Cloud has yet to be announced. Available late June 2019.

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MEET YOUR AV TEAM:

La Scala La Scala Paris, an art-house theatre in the French capital, reopened in 2018 after a complete renovation and remodel, including the addition of an immersive speaker setup. Jo Ruddock catches up with Frederic Biessy, owner and CEO, and Olivier Even, technical manager, to find out more

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You’ve recently invested in an immersive speaker setup, what was the thinking behind that? Frederic Biessy (FB): We wanted to build a system that would be able to adapt to any live show and any concert – even the most acoustically and sonically challenging. Our meetings and exchanges with IRCAM were also a key factor in transforming La Scala into a facility with unique acoustical specifications. The hall’s acoustics and sound reinforcement system are at the core of our project, and it makes La Scala even more than a concert hall. To bet on the success of a multidisciplinary performance space implies that, in every domain, the tools are the most demanding and the most adapted to the quality and the demands of the artists invited to perform there. All the artists who have performed at La Scala in the past four months have confirmed that their needs were met. What factors do you have to consider when investing in new technology? FB: Our purpose was to invest in new technology that matches the current research of the artists who will use it. We did not want to create a technological

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MEET YOUR AV TEAM place to be at the forefront of technology itself, but to be at the service of creators. It requires an investment that can and must evolve when needed. It must be transformable and modifiable over the years

Thierry Coduys, HOLOPHONIX

What other changes did you make during the recent remodeling? FB: It is the artists who are the origin of the needs of the performance space. Each modification of the system must be put at the service of an artistic work or a research work. This is how we changed our system during our last festival with IRCAM: Intégrales. What other key AV technology do you use for your job? Olivier Even (OE): The demands in terms of video are growing significantly. We frequently welcome creations needing temporary video installations within the Scala’ entrance hall. We are also working with software dedicated to sound synthesis and real time spatialization, for special projects, including sound generators and sound spatialization software developed under

INNOVATIVE AUDIO La Scala Paris is the first theatre in France to combine a variable acoustics system, built with modular two-sided panels – which are both absorber and diffuser – and an extremely sophisticated immersive sound system utilising 172 loudspeakers,” explains Thierry Coduys, chief technology officer, HOLOPHONIX, who was intimately involved in the creation of the HOLOPHONIX processor. Spread around in a hemisphere shape, enveloping the viewers and adapting to the geometrically shaped building – all while controlling the technical and aesthetical constraints in the Grande Salle, the new sound reinforcement system at La Scala Paris uses 172 speakers designed and built by Amadeus. The audio setup has been largely inspired in its philosophy by the system installed within IRCAM’s variable acoustics hall (called Espace de Projection) for research on high-end sound field recreation systems, including Wave Field Synthesis 2D and Ambisonics 3D sound. This IRCAM space features nearly 339 Amadeus speakers. Some speakers – especially those fixed on the two upper catwalks – were designed specifically by Amadeus for the La Scala. The speakers installed on the first catwalk are set 6.5m from the ground, with the front panel slanted, while the coaxial transducer is aimed naturally at a 30 degree angle to get an optimal overlap in the listening area sweet-spot; on the second catwalk, the front panel of the speakers are tilted at 45 degrees.

May / June 2019

Three speaker ‘antenna’ systems are fixed under every balcony as delayed systems. Each ‘antenna system’ is made of 12 Amadeus PMX 4 coaxial speakers, evenly distributed over the whole width, with an inter-source distance of 1.25m. A frontal high power line array system is also part of the global system. It is made of 18 Amadeus DIVA M² speakers, a new model in the Amadeus product range. Several speaker configurations are used at La Scala: the main L/R is made of 2x9 DIVA M², the L/C/R is a 3x6 DIVA M² setup, and a multi-diffusion setup consists of a 6x3 DIVA M². The HOLOPHONIX poly-algorithmic processor offers a quasi-unlimited number of busses (or ‘spatializers’), and each one can run an embedded spatialization algorithm, including Higher-Order Ambisonics (2D, 3D) Vector-Base Intensity Panning (2D, 3D), Vector-Base Amplitude Panning (2D, 3D), Wave Field Synthesis, Angular 2D, k-Nearest Neighbor, Stereo Panning, Stereo AB, Stereo XY, Native A-Format Ambisonics, Native-B Format Ambisonics and Binaural. In the Grande Salle, three Wave Field Synthesis (WFS) spatializers are used to precisely drive each delayed speaker ‘antenna’ system under the balcony, according to differentiated spatial positions. A Higher-Order Ambisonics 3D bus drives the speakers installed as a ring around the audience, on the first and second level catwalks and on the ceiling. A Vector-Base Amplitude Panning (2D) bus drives the loudspeakers placed at the balcony level, behind the audience.

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MEET YOUR AV TEAM

BEHIND THE SCENES AT LA SCALA PARIS La Scala Paris has re-created itself with a complete renovation and remodel, which started in the spring of 2016 and opened two years later in 2018. During the renovation, the theatre consulted many of today’s top artists in every discipline to help create a platform for their creative productions. Many of the artists came to visit the theatre and helped model the performance space. Inspired by the extraordinary story of the theatre’s location and its artistic direction, many of the artists who visited created a La Scala programme – and became ‘La Scala Paris residents’; their creations will be shown throughout forthcoming seasons. As many artists cannot express themselves completely in conventional front-facing stage performance spaces, La Scala Paris’ large hall was designed as a result of a dialogue with them. It hosts scalable tiers, created by scenographer Richard Peduzzi and built by CETA (Bergamo) and BL&F (Padova). The designers and builders started from a model created by designer Giorgio Armani for his

own movie theatres, then adapted its principals to La Scala Paris. The theatre’s mobile tiers can be split, and are controlled electronically with a joystick; they enable several setups, to better serve any form of scenic creation and artwork – frontal, bi-frontal, tri-frontal, quad-frontal, etc. These audience tiers are complemented with seating in two balconies and side passageways, hosting around 100 seats in each of the two levels. In the frontal version setup, the large hall has a capacity of 560 seats, expandable to accommodate up to 750 people. This modularity of the space – which takes less than 45 minutes to modify its configuration – led to the design of a technical platform adapted to the hall dimensions (15m width, 25m depth). The platform allows for the deployment of any rigging system, for audio, lighting and video, regardless of the demands presented by stage directors, choreographers, conductors, video makers and artists.

“We did not want to create a technological place to be at the forefront of technology itself, but to be at the service of creators” Frederic Biessy 48

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MEET YOUR AV TEAM

Max/MSP programming environment, using technologies designed at IRCAM Institute for the spatialization side. How big is your technical team? OE: There are three permanent members in the technical staff. Myself as technical director, a general director and a lighting director. We mainly work with temporary show business workers (intermittent du spectacle in French) who all know the venue very well. What functionality is it crucial for you and your team to provide? OE: High technical skills in terms of audio networking, speaker system tuning and new spatialization techniques are needed in order to make such a system work in an optimal way. Good human skills are also very important. We always have to be close to the artists, to listen to them in order to meet their desires. What’s a typical day for you? OE: It is very difficult for me to answer such a question… as each interaction with the performers for a specific production is different. We welcome a lot of different shows including theatre, dance, circus arts, music, and visual arts. Some companies or troupes come with a very dense

May / June 2019

scenography, including a lot of sets, accessories and highly technical requests. What are some of the most common challenges you face? OE: Offering the best sonic setup to each type of project or creation is a challenging aspect of our work. We can offer tens of configurations thanks to the quantity of speakers that we have, paired with the quasi-infinite way of using HOLOPHONIX. Finding the most appropriate, matching the user demands is a great challenge. Do you typically go via an integrator/ distributor for AV installs or are they handled in house? FB: Wealth arises from exchange. We need outside help but we also have to regularly work internally to improve the system. For me, both are necessary. What’s your favourite piece of AV kit – past or present? OE: We feel all excited by the newest HOLOPHONIX system installed by Amadeus. It is something new, distinguishing and exciting. We figure among the three first main theatres in Paris that have installed such a revolutionary sound spatialization system. Its quality and adaptability help us daily to push our limits.

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MEET YOUR INTEGRATOR:

Reflex Andy Read, sales and marketing director at Reflex, discusses the ever-growing need for more flexible spaces and the importance of utilising an integrator’s knowledge and experience

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stablished in 1983, Reflex is a full-service AV integrator offering everything from technical design, project management, installation and support. It works across multiple verticals, including education, corporate and the public sector. What’s your geographic reach? We cover the UK but concentrate on London and the Thames Valley. In the higher education sector, we work closely with many of the leading universities in London and right along the M4 corridor to Cardiff. On the corporate side, most of our customers have head offices around London and the Thames Valley but we support regional offices across the UK. You mainly work across higher education, public sector and corporate. Are you seeing any particular trends across those sectors? In all sectors we are seeing the effects of more agile and collaborative working practices driving the need for more and more flexible meeting spaces with the ability to enable remote participation.

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MEET YOUR INTEGRATOR In the higher education sector we see the same requirements for meetings and also the introduction of collaborative teaching facilities both to further engage the students in campus and, in conjunction with improved streaming techniques, to increase the efficiency and quality of sessions for remote participants. What projects are you particularly proud of? Many, recent examples including: a consultant-led project for a global management consulting company based in Canary Wharf; a complete new university building fit-out in London featuring several unique collaboration solutions; and a giant teaching laboratory using AV over IP to enable up to 12 lectures to be delivered to 240 students simultaneously in one open space. What technologies are hot in the corporate sector right now? The ready availability of high-quality video conferencing platforms on laptops and tablets has driven up the demand for high-quality and flexible USB camera and microphone solutions. Improved collaborative software is continually increasing demand for interactive flat panel displays, and the constant re-division of office space has created high demand for sound masking systems.

Increased performance and reducing prices of AV over IP systems are making them increasingly interesting for organisations wanting to build-in future flexibility. A dramatic change in price-performance of indoor LED has now triggered the start of a trend towards high resolution LED walls being used in larger presentation and meeting facilities that would previously have used projection. And what’s your favourite and why? I like the new miniature VC cameras with integrated microphones that use AI to maintain the best-framed image regardless of the room or audience size. But, having been involved with large screen display since the original CRT projectors, my favourite technology has to be indoor LED; I think it will eventually transform the large screen display market in the same way that plasma/LCD did 20 years ago.

“LED will eventually transform the large screen display market” Andy Read

Are you facing any particular challenges in the industry? Nothing new, there are always some companies prepared to quote for work at unsustainably low margins which undermine the value of the integrator’s role.

Higher education is a key focus for Reflex; recent clients include Imperial College London and London Metropolitan University

May / June 2019

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MEET YOUR INTEGRATOR

This immersive 360-degree dome at Brunel University offers a state-of-the-art learning space

Has the role of an integrator changed in recent years? Not really; the range of technical knowledge required has increased further on the IT/networking side but the fundamentals of understanding customer needs, system design, project management, installation and on-going support remain the same. Are you seeing more demand for managed services? In certain sectors where pressure has been put on headcount, we are seeing an increased demand for system monitoring as well as preventative and reactive maintenance services. Why should end users employ an integrator rather than attempt to go it alone? We believe an integrator’s broad experience is not something a user can generally replicate. System designs can often introduce hidden pitfalls with product operation and interactions that are not easily predicted from specifications. Installations can also be physically challenging and require a high level of co-ordination with other parties, which is difficult to manage without the experience gained through management of many previous AV projects. At Reflex we complete hundreds of projects each year; it’s just not possible for a user to build up the same level of experience and exposure to new products or to leverage the same level of expert support from the equipment manufacturers. At the end of the day, engaging a good AV integrator should result in a better final solution while saving the user time, money and a great deal of stress in the process.

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What are some of the biggest mistakes made by end users when it comes to AV? At the design stage – trying to cater for too wide a scope of user’s perceived requirements rather than focusing on the essentials, resulting in overly complicated systems that are hard to use and risk losing the trust of the day-to-day users. In the fulfilment stage – in any new build or refurbishment project, not allowing enough time after the builders’ works have completed for full commissioning and user training on new systems. Finally, what are Reflex’ plans for the future? We are seeing continual acceleration in the way that communication and collaboration is being used to develop and improve efficiency in working practices. This, in turn, puts ever changing demands on the functionality of meeting and teaching spaces. We see a bright future in continuing to offer our customers the high level of flexiblity and service they expect from us, while continually adopting new technologies and evolving innovative solutions to help them meet these challenges.

REFLEX Established: 1983 Head office: Reading Target markets: Education, corporate, public sector Market reach: UK Website: www.reflex.co.uk

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Q&A

GETTING TO KNOW YOU

Getting to Know: Colin Farquhar, CEO, Exterity

Tell me a bit about your background in the AV industry. Prior to founding Exterity, I served as the European marketing director at remote access and network technology company Shiva at the point where it was acquired by Intel, and as product manager with IndigoVision, an early pioneer in Internet Protocol video technologies.

Demand (VoD) and in-house produced video. The IP network can reach a wide range of devices including TVs, laptops, tablets, video walls and digital signage screens, to name but a few. It enables the easy addition of new TV and video sources for delivery to users anywhere there is a network connection and does so without video degradation, making it is quicker and less expensive to extend a system.

You co-founded Exterity in 2001. What are the biggest changes you’ve seen in the AV sector since then? I founded Exterity in 2001 with Mike Allan, our chief technology officer to this day – the year the dotcom bubble burst. At that time, many organisations were relying on large-scale RF cabling systems to distribute TV content around buildings – something we believed to be an expensive, inflexible and unsustainable solution. We recognised that video streaming over Internet Protocol Television (IPTV) had the potential to be the future of TV and video content distribution around buildings. Over the past 18 years, possibly the biggest surprise was just how fast IP has risen from challenger to the dominant technology for AV content distribution. Another change was how much the AV industry has shifted from hardware to software solutions giving the opportunity for easier integration between systems.

You’re also active in the hospitality, and stadium and venues sectors. What trends are you seeing here currently? AV technologies are growing rapidly within the hospitality sector as tech-savvy travellers demand entertainment experiences that match their home set-up. More innovative hotels are turning the in-room screen into a single platform for a range of communications and services, including mailbox messaging; room service food and beverage ordering; spa, baggage pick-up and more. In the stadiums and venues world we are seeing a growing number of organisations recognise that financial success is more than just what happens on the pitch. Increasingly, fan engagement within the facility is a critical part of the overall experience and return on investment. For example, ParisLongchamp, the world-famous horse racing track is using both IP-based video distribution and digital signage to provide a wealth of branding, advertising and operational benefits and opportunities that are difficult to replicate via traditional means.

Your focus is on IPTV and digital signage solutions. In simple terms, how would you explain what IPTV is? IPTV describes the distribution of video content over an IP network. In the professional AV world this is typically the same network used by organisations to carry their other business IT services such as email and telephone calls. The content can include terrestrial and satellite television and radio, Video on

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Outside of work, how do you like to spend your time? My father was a builder and made sure that we were all very practical, so if I need to relax, I take on a DIY job at home. Sounds great, but my wife complains that I take twice as long as a qualified tradesperson to get jobs done.

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Profile for Future PLC

AVT Europe 10 May/June 2019  

Taking Centre Stage - From tech tours and forums to networking and the latest kit - we roundup everything you won't want to miss at InfoComm...

AVT Europe 10 May/June 2019  

Taking Centre Stage - From tech tours and forums to networking and the latest kit - we roundup everything you won't want to miss at InfoComm...