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VOL.12 NO.2 |








SPECIAL GUIDE The Tech Manager’s Guide to AV Control



8 CONTROL CONSIDERATIONS Steve Greenblatt believes control system programmers can reestablish their value by taking a software development approach to their projects.



Reliable Transport Alliance’s new protocol for delivering video, and offers a verdict.


With tech managers increasingly under pressure to contribute to business outcomes, the need for meaningful information on how their AV deployments are performing is paramount. To address this, you’ll need monitoring tech that does more than just tell you when systems are down.











An NYC-based app developer was looking for a

While audiovisual technologies are still the “magic,” applying IT acumen in the planning stage will help build efficiencies, no matter where you are in the AV/IT conversation.


Dr. Phil Hippensteel takes a hard look at the Secure



More devices are coming pre-baked with AI, networks are getting faster, and just about everything comes in an as-a-service model, but how will these broader IT trends shape the professional AV industry?


control and source-switching platform that would be as intuitive and powerful as its own offerings, and found a solution from RTI.


AV Technology (ISSN 1941-5273) is published monthly except combined February/March and July/August by Future US, Inc., 11 West 42nd Street, 15th Floor, New York, NY 10036. Periodicals postage paid at New York, NY and additional mailing offices. Postmaster: Send address changes to AV Technology, PO Box 8692, Lowell, MA 018538692



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February/March 2019

vol. 12 no. 2



What will cars be like in 10 years? If you’re not picturing roads full of vehicles driving themselves, you’re missing the big picture—pure and simple. At CES in Las Vegas this January, there were autonomous concept cars galore; in presentations by tech titans like Intel and Qualcomm, the vision of the future was one from behind the rosy windshield of a smart car on autopilot. But what about the places where we spend the majority of our time? As far as headline trends go, it seems as though we’re in something of an innovation lull when it comes to control for our buildings, at least as far as the user experience is concerned. While touchpanel-based systems have essentially been perfected, the general public—which sadly doesn’t embrace technology like we do—is still somewhat timid when it comes to operating them. Voice control came racing in with excitement and promise, but seems to have stalled out. Sure, it broke down barriers to operating technology, but its imprecision and unreliability can sometimes border on farce. In most cases, what we have now is like cruise control: it’s helpful, but requires a good deal of input and adjustment from the user. The goal, as pointed out by this month’s cover story subject, Pete Kolak, should be to get to the built environment equivalent of the self-driving vehicle, where all of a room’s systems, from lights to displays, activate automatically for the person who walks in—no button press or spoken command needed. In theory, it shouldn’t be difficult; we have all of the necessary technology to make it happen, and as you will read in our Meet Your Manager profile (p. 22), it’s already being done successfully, to a degree. What we need is greater awareness to breed demand, and assertive programmers to help bring it about. In the meantime, there are a number of exciting trends driving the refinement of control in its more familiar form, and we run through them in this month’s Tech Manager’s Guide to AV Control (p. 27). Cloud-based approaches are making systems leaner and nimbler, and drastically simpler to program and set up. They provide the ability to monitor tremendous deployments with fine detail, and are beginning to provide the capability of analyzing system usage patterns at the device level. All of these developments are fantastic news for the technology manager; they mean less time spent on repetitive tasks and more time for envisioning improvements. As for the users? As the Internet of Things gradually ties together all elements of our homes, offices, and everyplace else, it’s inevitable that we’ll soon be inhabiting buildings that know us, our preferences, and our habits well enough to just react to what we want—no questions asked. Until then, you’ll have to just keep your eyes on the road, your hands upon the wheel.

VP/Content Creation Anthony Savona Content Director Matt Pruznick, Contributors: James Careless, Cindy Davis, Phil Hippensteel, Carolyn Heinze Managing Design Director Nicole Cobban Design Director Walter Makarucha, Jr. Production Manager Beatrice Weir ADVERTISING SALES VP/Market Expert, AV/Consumer Electronics, Education & Pro Audio Adam Goldstein,, 212-378-0465 SUBSCRIBER CUSTOMER SERVICE To subscribe, change your address, or check on your current account status, go to and click on About Us, email futureplcv, call 888-266-5828, or write P.O. Box 8692, Lowell, MA 01853. LICENSING/REPRINTS/PERMISSIONS AVTechnology is available for licensing. Contact the Licensing team to discuss partnership opportunities. Head of Print Licensing Rachel Shaw, 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 FUTURE US, INC. 11 West 42nd Street, 15th floor, New York, NY 10036

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The Feed

HARMAN’S MOHIT PARASHER TALKS THE RECONSTRUCTION OF HARMAN PRO By Megan A. Dutta “Harman Pro Announces Workplace Consolidation” was the headline heard ‘round the pro AV world in September 2017. “The changes we announced are the culmination of a transformation that the Professional Solutions Division has been undergoing for the last two years to better serve our customers, increase our competitiveness, and accelerate new product innovations,” David Glaubke, director of public relations, global professional solutions, Harman International said at the time. The restructuring plan included new experience centers around the world and “Centers of Competency” around the U.S. to allow the company’s engineers to focus on critical product differentiations instead of requiring them to develop motors, mechanical structures, and other supporting elements. Over the last 18 months, Harman has delivered on its promises to create new products and places. SCN recently sat down with Mohit Parasher, Harman International’s EVP and president, professional solutions at the company’s L.A. Experience Center to discuss the evolution of Harman Pro over the past 18 months. ACQUISITION “We went through a massive change last year, and I’m really glad,” said Parasher when asked about the state of Harman Pro in 2019. “Because, despite that change, we grew our revenue, we grew our profit, we grew order bookings, and so I think we saw really good growth despite all of the disruption.” The changes began—at least behind the scenes—when Samsung Electronics acquired Harman International for around $8 billion in November 2016, with the deal closing in mid-2017. Harman, Parasher said, was creating a lot of pieces of the pro AV puzzle—audio, video, control, and lighting—but was missing the display side of the business, which would bring everything together. The company found that missing piece with Samsung. “As things get connected, there is no better connectivity company than Samsung in the world. [Samsung has] billions of devices out there that are connected either to a network or to something else. That technology and expertise comes in handy for our pro side. The combination of audio, video, lighting, control, and displays is very powerful.” “We were very clear from day one. Samsung was very clear saying


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Mohit Parasher, EVP and president of professional solutions, Harman International

‘This is a business we’re going to invest in and we’re going to grow.’ True to our word, as part of Samsung, we have invested in the business—time, energy, new hires, investing in experience centers,” added Parasher. “We have a plan and we continue to invest. We’re churning out products. We had a pretty decent year, despite all the change, launching some good products that were extremely well-received by the industry.” CREATING THE RIGHT ENVIRONMENT Parasher acknowledged that change can be hard—and that he knows it was difficult for Harman employees, but hopes that by setting a clear direction and vision for the company, the staff will continue to achieve company goals and enjoy working for the company. “I believe that a positive morale depends on if you’re doing something big and purposeful.” He said that first and foremost, companies need to have a well-defined purpose, followed by executing against that purpose and clearly identifying milestones. “As you keep delivering [on your purpose and milestone], it creates a positive morale.” One of the milestones in Harman’s journey was creating its Centers of Competency. Prior to the restructuring, the company’s audio brands were scattered around the country and, according to Parasher, were unable to leverage the full power of the combined brands because the brands were very siloed.

At ISE 2019, Harman’s booth showcased its full breadth of solutions for the pro AV industry.

“There was a huge potential to combine them all and put them in a platform [the Centers of Competency], where it is engineering—not only hardware, but more importantly, applications and software—sales and marketing, aftersales service, tech support, pre-sales,” he said. “We did that in a very fast-paced way. People call it a restructure; I call it ‘reconstruction.’” Part of the reconstruction includes ensuring employees have the tools they need to do their jobs. Parasher said they are investing in an “enormous amount” of cross training. “Peerto-peer learning is much more important— especially on the engineering side—than anyone just sitting and teaching in the classroom. The peer-to-peer learning is the main reason why we consolidated our engineering centers. You’ve got to put the engineers under one roof, on one floor, because what happens when they meet at the proverbial water cooler is very, very important. That’s where the real learning happens, more than some guy teaching a master class on electronics.” Harman has created a large repository of its engineering knowledge—terabytes and terabytes, according to Parsher—on one platform where any of the company’s engineers can

access anything, at any time, and learn from one another. “We created an environment for active learning, rather than just training, because training is one-way. But if you create the right environment, put people under one roof, create the infrastructure for them to easily access the information, we’re creating an environment for learning, which is much more impactful.” With the new centers and learning environment, Parasher believes the company is on its way to successfully managing change for its employees, for the present and the future. “So far, we have the right purpose, we have started on our journey, and we are right on target to achieve what we committed to as a team,” he said. “We believe we have an opportunity and a responsibility—as a team—to transform the pro AV industry. We have this portfolio of products, this great team, a great business channel, and a great owner—Samsung—who is willing to invest. There’s no excuse. It’s a responsibility to get in there and say ‘Okay, what do you think the industry should look like?’ and then we must drive toward that and take our steps one at a time, have our milestones laid out. We started that journey 12 to 18 months ago and I’m very pleased with where we are.”

LOOKING AHEAD Harman has noticed positive results from its reconstruction plan. “We are already seeing the positive impact from the restructuring we completed last year. In fact, 2018 was a record year for orders booked,” Parasher said. “This was driven by our highest-ever year of audio product sales, as well as record growth in sales outside of the U.S. In addition to this record setting revenue, we also drove strong growth in profitability.” That’s the immediate impact, but what does the future bring for Harman Pro? Parasher plans to continue to break down silos within the company. For example, he pointed out that the pro AV industry would be surprised by the amount of technology Harman’s engineers are able to draw from the connected car. “Nobody in the pro industry can afford the thousands of engineers needed to develop secure Linux products. We have access to that, because that development cost was done for our connected car business. We can borrow 80 percent of the work and bring it into the pro industry. The same thing with the consumer side and the services side and from Samsung, etc. So, bringing all these things together is the opportunity.”

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ith the growing belief in the diminishing value of custom AV systems, control system programming and control system programmers are finding their place in the industry being seriously challenged. Despite the fact that the AV integration industry can tailor and personalize solutions to offer a user experience that addresses specific user needs, many technology managers are opting for the consistency, simplicity, value, and ease of deployment found in configured or even closed systems that involve limited or no customization. What is behind this shift in mindset from custom to standard solutions? As complex systems have become streamlined due to the advances

In order for control system programmers to return to prominence in the industry, they need to operate like software developers and focus on how to provide an ideal user experience from the outset of a project.

Big Ideas in technology, the investment in APIs, control modules, and drivers by manufacturers, and the natural simplification of components, the mountains that need to be climbed to make integrated AV systems work are not as steep and demanding as they used to be. On the flip side, new challenges and opportunities are increasing tenfold by the growing number of systems that need to be managed and maintained. In years past, it was a lot for an organization or campus to have more than 200 technology-equipped spaces. Now, such deployments aren’t unusual at all, and the ratio of “hang and bang” systems to custom-integrated systems has also changed dramatically. While custom-programmed systems used to dominate the landscape of an organization’s technology spaces, they are now becoming the minority. The AV industry started out making complex, intimidating technology simpler and easier for users to operate in order to serve specific needs, provide added capability, or offer convenience. While this still remains the intent, the desired result is not always attained. Too often systems are designed, installed, and programmed without really understanding the true needs, desires, and expectations of the users. This is not intentional, but more so a product of the typical approach to AV projects. Control system programming and the role of the control system programmer have been, and in many cases, continue to be a small consideration in the overall outcome and success of a project. While the sentiment grows that control system programming is too complex, too costly, too unpredictable, and ineffective, causing clients to lean in favor of configured or static solutions, is it fair to judge the outcome without taking some responsibility for the result? Upon reflecting on the process of control system programming and likening it traditional software development, significant differences can be identified, and the flaws can be correlated to the growing dissatisfaction of the outcome.

Added care and consideration for short- and long-term support, maintenance, and upgrades are staples in the software development model, and rarely exist in typical control system programming projects. 8

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Typically, an AV project with an integrated system that involves control system programming offers little to no voice for the control system programmer. Often, the project is planned, designed, bid, sold, and scheduled without involving the entity responsible for defining and implementing the functionality. The control system programmer must then assume the role of a technician, piecing together a solution to make the system work with limited understanding of intention and expectations, under the pressure of a project schedule—rather than being a software developer focusing on how to provide an ideal user experience. From a software development approach, the process would involve key steps geared toward planning for the desired user experience. These include understanding the client; exposing, clarifying, and prioritizing needs; and defining user profiles or personas. As needs are identified, expectations are defined, and requirements agreed upon; wireframes, mockups, and demos modeling potential solutions would be presented, reviewed, and ultimately approved using an iterative process of making adjustments along the way based on

client feedback. As the software development process evolves, confidence grows that all parties implementing the solution will address needs, soothe pain points, and successfully achieve the desired outcome.

All throughout, the software developer is involved in discussions with other key parties who can shape the outcome, to ensure that the roadmap is being followed. All throughout, the software developer is involved in discussions with other key parties who can shape the outcome, to ensure that the roadmap is being followed. A key difference in the software development approach versus the traditional AV control system programming approach is that the hardware, system design, and other elements of the system are defined as a result of the software development process,

rather than the other way around, where limitations and constraints in the system design and specification can hamper the ability to carry out the software solution. Additionally, added care and consideration for short- and long-term support, maintenance, and upgrades are staples in the software development model, and rarely exist in typical control system programming projects. Although the shift to less custom-programmed and more configured standard systems is a reality, and control system programmers must up their game and demonstrate added value, the industry is long overdue to consider a new approach to control system programming. By changing the mindset and approach to projects using a software development spin, control system programmers will have the opportunity they need to step up, show what they can do, and earn the respect and prominence in the industry that they had previously held. Steve Greenblatt, CTS, is president and founder of Control Concepts, a provider of specialized software and services for the audiovisual industry.









Zone 1

Zone 2

Zone 3

Zone 4

• 4 stereo line and 2 priority MIC/LINE inputs with matrix routing to 4 amplifier outputs • 2 priority inputs with different priority level for paging or other audio source to override stereo line inputs • Each priority input has input gain level, mute sensitivity and mute hold time adjustments • 4 channels of 250W Class-D amplifier at 70V/100V • Independent DSP preset selection per each channel and 50Hz HPF for speaker protections • DSP preset selections include general EQs, TOA speaker EQs and X-over settings to be used with subwoofers • Each output channel also has auxiliary line output to deliver audio to other audio systems for scale expansions • Up to 4 wall mount remote control, WP-700 can be connected to control the line input selection and output volume • Browser-based smart device control (Q2 2018) • 100-240V universal power supply

OPTIONS WP-700 Wall Panel Remote

• Wall mount remote control, WP700 can be connected via CAT-5 straight LAN cable to control the F E B R U A R Y / line M A input R C H selection 2 0 1 9 | and av ne two r k .co m output volume of each output



Big Ideas

SRT: A TECHNICAL LOOK By Phil Hippensteel


he SRT (Secure Reliable Transport) Alliance is publicizing its new protocol as a good way to deliver video. I decided to take a hard look at it and see if the marketing is backed up by a solid technical design. I think it is. SRT is intended to transport video over IP networks with many of the good features of adaptive bit rate (ABR) video but without some of ABR’s negative features. Here are some of the basic facts about ABR video: • It’s based on the IP level four protocol TCP. • While it can overcome lost packets, lost packets can significantly increase latency and slow throughput. Lower the throughput too much, and the video stalls (buffers). This is partly because a sender does not get an explicit NAK for a lost packet. In practice, over the internet, the sender can detect a lost packet only after dozens or several hundred additional packets have been transmitted. • TCP uses a technique called slow-start (the transmission rate is gradually increased) to

detect the maximum threshold a connection can support. Unfortunately, for bursty traffic such as ABR, it wastes bandwidth. • Using TCP makes it sensitive to traffic levels in the opposite direction. Specifically, if you saturate the uplink, ABR performance on the down link will deteriorate significantly. • ABR video nearly always uses HTTP. Consequently, it becomes sensitive to the efficiency of DNS. • ABR does not natively support encryption. That needs to be added with SSL/TLS. If you watch Netflix, Apple TV, or YouTube, you are probably satisfied with the ABR on which they are based. Note that Chrome users will not be using ABR; rather they use QUIC to view Netflix and YouTube. QUIC was developed by Google with some of the same design guidelines as SRT. Here is what the SRT designers decided to implement in SRT:

• The layer four transport protocol is UDP (used in voice and videoconferencing). This automatically eliminates some of the negative features of TCP transport. • Acks contain a receive rate and estimated link capacity. This increases the likelihood of even delivery. • Packet delivery is time stamped. • Error resilience is significantly enhanced by using FEC (forward error correction). • Encryption is built in and based in AES-CRT, a widely accepted method. • Slow start is not used. There are some other non-technical reasons I like SRT. One is that they have committed to a draft RFC to appeal to the internet community. That’s imperative if you’re going to win the support of the IT community. Second, they have a powerful marketing message with their demonstration video, which is available on the home page of Some major players have already implemented SRT besides the originators Haivision and Wowza. Some of these include Matrox, Cogent, Marshall, and Teradek.

SRT is intended to transport video over IP networks with many of the good features of adaptive bit rate (ABR) video but without some of ABR’s negative features. 10

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Device-Level Data Trends in AV monitoring and management By Carolyn Heinze

With tech managers increasingly under pressure to contribute to business outcomes, the need for meaningful information on how their AV deployments are performing is paramount. To address this, audiovisual systems monitoring and management technology has moved beyond signaling when systems are down, or when they’re about to fail. These days, systems analytics is getting more granular, and even those manufacturers that aren’t considered developers of monitoring and management tech are integrating at least some kind of analytics capabilities into their offerings. “Everybody from service providers to manufacturers—even display manufacturers—are now selling analytics capabilities within their toolsets,” said Brian Fichter, vice president of video operations at Carousel Industries, an AV/IT design, inte-


gration, and managed services provider headquartered in Exeter, RI. “Support and proactive reach down to the device level in audiovisual is key to being proactive instead of reactive when supporting these systems.”

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AV design, integration, and managed services company is establishing an as-a-service model for Symphony, its own proprietary monitoring, management, and analytics solution.

As is the case with many business functions, AV monitoring and management has moved to the cloud, enabling those organizations who no longer need or wish to maintain on-premise solutions to streamline their efforts in this area. Last year, Crestron Electronics, headquartered in Rockleigh, NJ, introduced its XiO Cloud platform to address the demand for cloud-based deployment, management, and monitoring, and technology manager for enterprise software Brian Donlan noted that solutions like these enable tech managers to spend little to no time worrying about

server maintenance and patching; in making better purchasing and agement, and analytics solution. Tim Riek, senior rather, they can narrow their focus deployment decisions. To attack vice president of service operations at the firm, to what’s happening with their AV this challenge, Donlan urges tech noted that AVI-SPL is establishing an as-a-service systems. managers to ask themselves: what model for Symphony, similar to other cloud Donlan also points out that problems are we trying to solve offerings that tech managers are accustomed to. (seemingly) disparate AV devices with our AV monitoring and man- (Symphony is also available as an on-premise are starting to be managed on, agement technology? “Because solution.) “I would encourage tech managers to as he puts it, “a single pane of there’s a lot there, and every con- take a look at the different consumption models glass, instead of two things in versation that I have with people that are available, depending on what their prefthe room being managed through about what monitoring and man- erence is,” he said. “There are new consumption this one [system], and three other agement means to them can go models coming available [that are tailored] to how things in the room being managed Brian Fichter, vice president in a different direction,” he said. [tech managers] handle ongoing support.” and monitored through this other of video operations, Carousel Some organizations define this As AV monitoring and management continues thing, and they’re all talking dif- Industries in helpdesk terms: information is to evolve, Donlan predicted that these systems will ferent languages—and all of these being fed from rooms, live, back increase their application of AI to identify patterns different tools have to be handled separately,” he to the helpdesk to enable supthat may not be readily apparent illustrated. Tech managers, unsurprisingly, want port staff to service end users in to human beings. He uses meeting this to happen in one location only, and develop- real time. Others want to know room scheduling as an example, ers are responding. what equipment has failed (or where a space on a certain side of There has also been a shift toward what Donlan is going to fail) so that they may an office complex may be less in terms “out-of-the-box monitoring and manage- respond as soon as possible. And demand during specific hours of ment,” whereby the need for custom program- then there are the organizations the day—not because of techniming post-installation is significantly reduced. that may wish to delve deeper cal problems, but because of the He said that this helps organizations avoid the into usage statistics in order to building’s siting. “It may not show dreaded scenario in which, a year after an AV shape future purchasing decisions. up directly as much of a pattern if deployment, the person in charge of collecting “Different platforms are going to you’re just looking at the informamonitoring and management metrics realizes that support different combinations of tion, but the system might be able the system hasn’t been configured correctly, and those things differently—there are Tim Riek, senior vice president of to identify that this space is on the that vital information doesn’t exist. “With a shift strengths and weaknesses across service operations, AVI-SPL side of the building where the sun to systems that are just doing that automatically, different sets of technology. It’s is rising, and you need to put in that are just gathering everything—because storage very important to start at the beginning [and] look shades and adjust the heating and cooling to make is cheaper these days and things can go up into the at what, specifically, monitoring and management it comfortable for people to actually meet there,” cloud—it makes that situation a lot less likely to means to them.” he illustrated. “It’s able to see these patterns and occur,” he said. AVI-SPL, an AV design, integration, and man- pull them together so that you can take those But it’s one thing to know that the data is going aged services company headquartered in Tampa, actions to make a more comfortable and effective to be there when you need it; it’s quite another FL, offers the Symphony Managed Services collaboration space.” to determine what metrics will actually assist you Platform, its own proprietary monitoring, manCarolyn Heinze is a freelance writer/editor.

Data Deluge AV monitoring and management systems may be collecting more and more infor-

Brian Donlan, technology manager for enterprise software at Crestron, offered

mation, forcing tech managers to determine what data is actually useful to them.

this advice: “I always like to look at things as far as the actions that I can take, and

“[One] thing that we see really frequently is you’ve got traditional AV systems

then work backward from there,” he said. “What are the inputs that are going to

monitoring and management tools deployed but never really optimized or config-

be available in this room? What limitations can be made on who’s booking these

ured to enable beneficial use—they’ve put the software on the server, the server can

spaces? How many rooms can do video calling, versus audio calling, versus just

access the technology, but it gets flooded with non-beneficial information which

presentation? Identifying where you’re going to be making purchasing decisions,

ultimately leads to it being turned off,” illustrated Tim Riek, senior vice president of

how you’re going to be able to help your users, and then pulling that exact data is

service operations at AVI-SPL. Developing a plan for what information is actually

the path that you need to take.”

useful helps to prevent data overload.


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The IT Factor Exploring IT trends and how they might influence pro AV. By Margot Douaihy

Technology is becoming more porous, seeping into every aspect of our waking lives. Even our sleep (or lack thereof) can be tracked and logged into a FitBit IoT dashboard. It’s Moore’s Law in the machine learning era. Open-source, stackable technologies are democratizing innovation, though the big tech brands are still standards bearers. More devices are coming pre-baked with AI, networks are getting faster, and just about everything comes in an as-a-service model—but how will these broader IT trends shape the professional AV industry? To unpack this question, scan the CompTIA 2019 Industry Outlook, which contextualizes the dynamics shaping the $5 trillion global technology industry. While the CompTIA report does not address audiovisual systems specifically, it is clear how developments like ambient computing will influence AV and UCC designs and implementations. 2019 COMPTIA INDUSTRY OUTLOOK STUDY CompTIA, the world’s largest trade association for


the technology industry, conducts an annual state of the industry research study to provide insight and direction for those working in the business of technology. The 2019 findings suggest a marketplace on the threshold of profound change, while simultaneously searching for new business approaches. Here are 12 key trends explored in the study:

With ambient computing, the whole room will become an immersive, intuitive technology experience that extends far beyond the need for touchpanels. COMPTIA’S KEY TRENDS FOR 2019 1.  Cloud, Edge Computing, and 5G Form the Modern Economic Infrastructure 2. IoT and AI Open New Possibilities in Ambient Computing 3.  Distributed Technology Models Challenge Existing Structures

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4. Stackable Technologies Supercharge Digitization Efforts 5. Business of Emerging Technology Prompts Sales Channels Reinvention 6.  H yper-personalization Takes Customer Experience to Next Level 7. Partnerships Bridge Gaps in New Tech Ecosystem 8.  Persistent Tech-Worker Shortages Fuel New, Creative Solutions 9.  Digital-Human Models Begin to Shape the Workplace of Tomorrow 10.  Technology Professionals Take the Lead in Anticipating Unintended Consequences 11. High Tech Increasingly Transforms Low Tech 12.  Global Tech Hubs Put Spotlight on the Ingredients for Innovation (Courtesy of CompTIA— it-industry-trends-analysis) Jim Hamilton, CompTIA’s vice president of member communities, is excited what the 2019 Industry Outlook suggests for business growth. “Think about the development of the steam engine or the combustion engine, and how electricity and water contributed to the industrial revolution. Now we have the cloud, edge, and 5G—ingredients that will contribute to the next industrial revolution,” he said. “It makes for a

fertile environment for innovation and for businesses to thrive.”

things that are pertinent to the experience at home and work,” Hamilton said. To that end, systems integrators, tech managers, and room designers will need to think more critically about people’s behavior, consider new interfaces, and safeguard against negative side effects. What’s more, as rooms become smarter and technology becomes less intrusive, users are demanding the flexibility to collaborate everywhere, via any interface. To specify solutions that can complement the “always on,” increasingly ambient culture, explore how soft codecs, remote participant support, and integrated audio can help organizations stay nimble and grow.

CREATIVE SYNTHESIS While “the next big thing” usually makes headlines, Hamilton said the current technological landscape is more about the adjacent possibilities that “come from the maturity of tech, the various advances in different sectors, and how you can tie it all together. It’s about the ability to build strategic solutions and leveraging different pieces.” AMBIENT COMPUTING One of the key trends featured in the CompTIA report is how IoT and AI are opening new possibilities in ambient computing. With smart lights, for example, users can access and control lighting via apps. Automation took smart lighting to the next level. Add to that AI and IoT, and smart lights will soon automate themselves. This is the promise of ambient computing. Similarly, rooms will start to “learn” and respond to user behaviors and patterns. With ambient computing, the whole room will become an immersive, IFP AV Tech Ad.pdf 1intuitive 12/11/2018technology 9:45:37 AM experience that extends far beyond the need for touchpanels.

Jim Hamilton, vice president of member communities, CompTIA

“Ambient computing will use AI and algorithms to learn your age, your occupation, when you’re in and out of the house, and all of the

MONITORING AV LIKE IT IoT, AI, and other emerging technologies permeated Integrated Systems Europe 2019 in Amsterdam. But no trend was as popular as AV over IP and the integration of “IT-friendly” features. Phil Marechal, VP business development and product management, Yamaha Unified Communications, sees the benefit of the AV industry embracing both IT-related concepts and IT-based technologies. “There are a number of IT-based technologies that are starting to become popular, and AV is

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observes that “in virtually every industry, IT professionals are fighting to stay ahead amid the rapidly evolving data security threat landscape. Network and security departments are making continuous improvements to their network design and data centers to help combat this constant threat.” He added that when tech managers need to protect data with enhanced firewalls and anti-virus software, “it’s even more critical that you have fast, reliable, and diverse network connectivity to support your AV and IT initiatives.” One method of staying proactive, according to Simmons, is to move away from a single, centrally located data center to a multiple-location approach. This allows organizations to be better prepared to respond to and recover from security threats, natural disasters, and equipment failure.

Andrew Simmons, enterprise strategic business consultant, Midco

Phil Marechal, VP business development and product management, Yamaha Unified Communications

working toward understanding and building best practices around them,” he said. One example is the proliferation of networked AV, including IPTV and real-time AV over IP. While there are many approaches, including AVB/TSN, Dante AV, and AES67, more time-sensitive networking technologies are increasingly specified for AV deployments where scalability is required. He added that, at Yamaha, the team considered various IT-based technologies for some of its new products. The CS-700, for example, features a networking technology called SNMP, a network management protocol that is common in switches and large deployments. SNMP lets users create different thresholds for alarms, and it will automatically notify a network center that a condition is occurring in a piece of equipment that may need to be addressed. In other words, it is a type of proactive monitoring. “Ours is the only audio/video soundbar technology designed for huddle rooms that has SNMP nibs built right into it,” Marechal said. “You can have 10,000 of these all over the world and constantly monitor them in the background like you might monitor a router, switch, or another critical piece of IT infrastructure.” With more IT-centric deployments, Marechal believes AV stakeholders will be better positioned to ensure reliable performance quality of service. But to unlock the potential of IT-friendly AV, organizations large and small must diversify their talent pools. “AV is certainly understanding the impact of IT,” Marechal said. “Some integrators are

starting to build practices right inside their organizations, hiring networking professionals to provide additional value-added services for configuring networks and understanding how networks need to be designed to support video protocols and audio protocols.” Myriad manufacturers offer IT-related training modules. AVIXA, ZeeVee, Matrox, Kramer, and others provide AV-over-IP certification courses.


PROACTIVE SECURITY TO SUPPORT AV As more AV content and feeds become digitized, ultimately moving onto the enterprise or campus network, technology managers must be just as proactive about security as their IT counterparts. The new era of cybersecurity will benefit from needs assessment, enhanced firewalls, robust software to detect security threats, strategic vulnerability audits, and security analytics. In his role as enterprise strategic business consultant, Midco, Andrew Simmons is strategic about security. Midco (Midcontinent Communications) works with large organizations, partnering with their IT leadership on delivering IT products and services to meet their ever-growing bandwidth and technology needs. Midco is one of the leading network and technology services providers in the Midwest, with an expansive, independently owned fiber network throughout the region. The firm delivers internet, network services, and data center services to communities large and small, both inside and outside of its footprint. From his day-to-day work in the field, Simmons

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FACING THE FUTURE What is clear from the CompTIA report is that IT trends encompass more than the technical infrastructure. The interplay of technology and the evolving economic climate is contributing to what many consider the “fourth industrial revolution.” The cloud, edge computing, the ability to process data quickly from any source, boosted by lightning-fast 5G, and security threats all present challenges and opportunities as we march into the brave new world. UX will become more important as IoT and AI help design powerful experiences at work and home. While traditional integrators and managers may specify less hardware, they will need to be more creative about the models and methods of delivering exceptional outcomes. Margot Douaihy is a writer, storyteller, and frequent contributor to Systems Contractor News and AV Technology.


How You Look at IT Planning AV deployments from the IT perspective By Margot Douaihy More AV devices are ported for IP. More feeds are migrating to the enterprise network. More AV systems are software-driven. Convergence is a done deal, right? Not quite. There are still growing pains when it comes to deploying AV at scale. While audiovisual technologies are still the “magic”—from mesmerizing 4K to immersive audio—applying IT acumen in the planning stage will help build efficiencies, no matter where you are in the AV/IT conversation. WHAT DO IT MANAGERS WANT? All content, all access, all of the time—this is the mantra of Millennials, the dominant contingent of today’s workforce. Gen Z, born approximately between 1995 and 2005, will demand even more bandwidth and the latest tech tools at work. Expect more video-driven communications to support the pervasive meeting culture. Video and connectivity need to be “everywhere,” even outside, explained Tim Maffei, senior director of IT at EVERFI, a fast-growing edtech software company. “That’s where relying on a traditional conference phone, a big TV, or projector won’t cut it.” According to a study from Gartner Research on Millennials and technology, “Millennials are more likely to use higher-end technologies in their personal lives, so it’s no surprise that they have a more positive view of IT strategies that encourage the use of personal devices at work.” The demand for uber-connected, latest-andgreatest personal tech applies to AV as well, and IT directors need to support it all. “Some employees want lav mics and wireless handhelds. The next thing you know, you are scaling up, tech wise,” Maffei said. At EVERFI, the computer—once the central tool of the workday—UCC, and other AV


Harman recently announced that its AMX Acendo Core Collaboration System integrates natively with the Zoom Meetings service, as do AMX Modero G5 Control Panels with the Zoom Rooms Controller app.

technologies all “fall under IT,” he said, and it can be hard to distinguish between IT and AV. While some observe the separation of AV and IT teams and workflows, Maffei is “experiencing the opposite: pro AV being a required service from IT as a result of the proliferation of videoconferencing and UCC.” Whatever codecs are chosen by IT directors, they have to be easy for all staff members to use. While it might seem like an obvious point, keeping the end user in mind will save time and service hours in the long run. The same rule applies for AV. LEVERAGING THE EXPANSION OF IT PRODUCTS, CLOUD As Sam Recine, sales director, Americas and Asia Pacific at Matrox, sees it: “The number-one thing being attached to existing AV infrastructures already in place is high-quality, low-bitrate encoders. It’s hundreds of millions of dollars of hardware and software from hundreds of different manufacturers.”

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He explained that the area of converged infrastructure is the one where end users themselves have (often) leapt ahead of AV service companies. AV companies are still too suggestible to the traditional AV hardware suppliers and they have not sufficiently leveraged the expansion of IT products, broadcast products, and cloud services. “It can be tough for an AV company when it shows up with a high-bandwidth, high-cost, proprietary hardware approach to a problem, and the end customer knows about 30 different ways to solve the same problems using approaches that are far more scalable and help enable new applications.” Case in point: “Matrox was at ISE 2019, and we had our VP of R&D running an AV-over-IP interoperability demo from multiple different manufacturers in the AIMS booth,” Recine said. “We also had AV-over-IP, IP-KVM, and IP Video Wall products on demo in our booth and in dozens of our OEM partners, using different brands. But the hottest item (most leads) from the show was our cloud recorder that mates with the Panopto Enterprise Video Management Cloud Platform.

This is for lecture capture and other enterprise communications applications.” Creating libraries of content is a value to originators of content such as universities, large corporations, and the ilk. Services like Panopto create a private YouTube-like interface for intelligently searching through thousands of hours of curated content assets.

the network the latest patches. Kramer Control is another cloud-based control and management solution that lets IT/AV managers deploy, control, monitor, and support AV systems, infrastructures, and any third- party devices. It is scalable and has no single point of failure. Similarly, at ISE, Harman announced an alliance and product Biamp’s forthcoming SageVue 2.0 release provides technology managers with tools to offering between AMX and Zoom administer the Biamp equipment efficiently, the capability to work in strictly controlled FAST CONFIGURATION Video Communications. Available IT environments, and a customizable user interface (UI) to ensure the most important One perennial issue with IT teams is information is visible to each user. now, two new solutions integrate that there’s no downtime. If an AV the AMX Acendo Core Collaboration system is too cumbersome, requires too many what it means to manage Internet Protocol-type System and the Zoom Meetings service, as well as manual updates, or it locks a facility into a siloed data, how to assign ports, how to lock them down AMX Modero G5 Control Panels and the Zoom system, chances are it won’t make the final equip- for security, how to manage bandwidth, and Rooms Controller app. Crestron’s XiO Cloud lets ment list. That’s why companies like Harman, how to allocate in a software-defined way. These AV pros remotely update millions of devices in the QSC, Utelogy, Crestron, and others collaborate are concepts that are relatively new to AV teams. same time it takes to update one, and implement with IT vendors to create interoperable paths Where AV professionals still have the edge, accord- security fixes in minutes. XiO Cloud also lets tech between AV and soft-codec solutions. For example, ing to Recine, “is in the expertise in acoustics, aes- managers audit logs of every change from the at ISE, Biamp announced that its Tesira confer- thetics, user interface design, and personalization cloud for more efficient diagnostics. encing solutions are now certified for use with of applications for target use cases.” Hangouts Meet hardware, meaning that its digital AV professionals hold insights about what KEEP LEARNING signal processing (DSP) will work easily with people may bring into a room and try to connect, One of the reasons traditional AV integrators may Google. The company also introduced a deploy- how people might behave with an interface, and not have adopted IT best practices is a matter of ment tool that streamlines configuration. what exists already in terms of management by AV education; they may not have realized pertinent processors. Optimization is important; there are resources are available. More manufacturers are myriad drivers that exist from Crestron, Extron, hoping to bridge this gap by offering IT skills and AMX by Harman that are not as familiar to the training and encouraging the recruitment of new IT teams as the AV professionals. Sharing knowl- types of talent into AV firms—from networking edge and best practices will make deployments of experts to cybersecurity leaders. any scale more efficient. There’s another reason to stay responsive to IT “The best outcomes are the ones where IT trends and nurture IT relationships, according to people and AV people recognize each other’s Joe Andrulis, executive vice president, corporate strengths and leverage those strengths, and that’s development, Biamp. “Pro AV is moving to the not a subordinate-type thing,” Recine said. network, and if you don’t have a great relationship with the IT department that controls it, your REMOTE MANAGEMENT odds of winning big enterprise pro AV sales are in The demand is growing for software-based AV serious danger.” systems that give managers centralized conRecine believes that work groups can be given trol and robust remote access. the tools to collaborate together BenQ’s MDA (Multiple Display and take advantage of specialAdministrator) software, for ized skills; it is a powerful way BENQ example, simultaneously and to assimilate knowledge. “It’s To maximize the deployment flexibility of its products, remotely manages multiple like what our students hear in Crestron collaborates with IT vendors to create EVERFI displays via LAN or RS-232, school,” he said. “The best thing interoperable paths between AV and soft-codec solutions. which can save managers time you can learn is how to learn, BIAMP ACKNOWLEDGING STRENGTHS on adjusting individual units because you’re going to be learnGARTNER RESEARCH: The Biamp and Google example underscores the via remote monitoring, scheding for the rest of your life.” “MILLENNIAL DIGITAL need for synergies. This transcends the hardware uling, email alerts, and on/off Margot Douaihy is a writer, WORKERS REALLY DO and software discussion, too. At the fundamental control from a single location. storyteller, and frequent contribuDIFFER FROM THEIR ELDERS” level, IT professionals bring value to an organiza- Cloud-based automatic firmware tor to Systems Contractor News and MATROX tion because they understand data. They know updates will feed every display in AV Technology.



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MeetYour Manager

JUNIPER NETWORKS’ PETE KOLAK SHARES HOW HE STANDARDIZED AND MAINTAINS CONFERENCING SYSTEMS FOR MORE THAN 40 OFFICES AROUND THE WORLD. By Matt Pruznick AV over IP is the way of the future. It’s all you hear in the industry. So, to start a job at a company that was outfitting its enormous headquarters with fully end-to-end networked AV systems sounds like the ultimate thrill, right? Perhaps it would be in 2019; but six years ago, for a pragmatic industry veteran like Pete Kolak, it was a prescription for managerial migraines. “I was working at Adobe when this role popped up,” said Kolak, senior manager of conferencing services at Juniper Networks, an international networking company based in Sunnyvale, CA. “Everyone in the Bay Area knew that Juniper was doing this giant upgrade with all this networked AV, where everything you plugged into and every destination was encoded and decoded on the network. I almost didn’t apply because that sounded like a total nightmare to support.” But he decided to tackle the task anyway. “I get onsite and I’m looking around and looking at everything, and basically every signal—input and output—is encoded, sent on the network, and sent back, and that can cause some latency,” he said. “There were a lot of challenges, and the tremendous amount of traffic on the network from the AV equipment actually helped Juniper improve their switches.” Over his first three months on the job, he and his team worked tirelessly to stabilize the AV programming and settings on the AV gear, to get to a point where it was manageable enough to start on an overhaul plan. A SOLID FOUNDATION When he joined Juniper in June of 2013, Kolak had amassed more than 15 years of experience in managing communications technology, so he had a solid foundation of how to engineer reliable systems— and how to fix them when things went awry. He started at a company called Turn-Key Operations, managing its telecommunications, specifically its Madge Teleos switch-based system. From there, he joined Blue Shield of California as its conferencing services lead, where he handled the design of audio conferencing, videoconferencing, video production, and data collaboration for the entire enterprise.


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Pete Kolak, senior manager of conferencing services, Juniper Networks

It wasn’t until joining Adobe as its conferencing services engineer in 2010, however, that he became fully immersed in the world of IT. “Network was a huge jump,” he said. “More than half of my career I was working in non-IP-based environments. IP was a challenge because I knew telecom, and trying to troubleshoot a network with a network team, trying to use the same verbiage I used to use with the telecom people—it was different. It was a struggle and it took a while.” Kolak eventually gained a mastery of it from hands-on learning. “I had to work really closely with the network team to understand how it worked,” he said. “It was just trial and error, and troubleshooting, and learning what they did to fix things over time, and learning what to ask for when you saw the same problems arise.” A GOLD STANDARD At both Adobe and Blue Shield, part of Kolak’s responsibilities included developing standards for the companies’ AV systems. Once he was able to get enough of a handle on the network at Juniper, he sat down with his engineering team and for-

mulated a plan to simplify and standardize its communications system on a set of three basic room configurations: presentation only, audio conference rooms, and videoconference room options. Along with this, he established a hybrid AV distribution system, where audio and video were routed locally unless it made more sense to send them over the network. “We kind of turned it back to almost a standard-type room connection, where the video in the room is just in the room and not going on the network, because of latency issues inherent in IP transport,” he said. He has since been working to incorporate this standard in Juniper’s roughly 500 rooms across some 40 global offices. About 25 percent of them are equipped for videoconferencing, and the rest are a combination of presentation and audio. All of the larger, videoconferencing-enabled rooms feature Crestron control and touchpanels, Samsung monitors—most in a dual-display configuration—Polycom video-

conferencing equipment, Shure microphones, QSC amplifiers, and Crestron DM matrix switchers in rooms that need them. The other room types follow the same basic

We started out by designing the biggest room, then stripping pieces out to make it a smaller room, so it’s basically the same flow and function. configuration, just scaled back. “We started out by designing the biggest room, then stripping pieces out to make it a smaller room, so it’s basically the same flow and function,” he said. There are also some non-standard rooms, like event spaces and huddle areas, which are only equipped with a Polycom Trio phone for

one-touch Skype dialing and a wall-mounted display. Particularly important for Kolak was that these spaces remain flexible in terms of software ecosystems. “We use Polycom videoconferencing because we wanted to stay agnostic from any one technology that’s out there,” he said. “I don’t want to be a Zoom room or a Google Hangout room, because you never know—one day people could decide that they hate Skype and they want to go to [Microsoft] Teams, or they want to go to Zoom. I don’t want to be nailed down to just one technology, otherwise if anything changes, it could be an expensive change instead of just a backbone change.” DISAPPEARING ACT Kolak said that one of his initial goals when restructuring Juniper’s conferencing spaces was to make them automatic. “When I talk with people, nobody ever wants to control the

Of Juniper’s 500-odd conferencing rooms around the world, roughly one-third are in the company’s headquarters in Sunnyvale, CA.

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cameras, pressing buttons, joining conference calls, things like that,” he said. “So, we invented an autonomous conference room: you walk in, the room turns on, you plug in your monitor, and it shows your content. If a call is scheduled, it automatically joins it; when you leave the room, everything turns off automatically.” All of the three standard rooms operate this way, with occupancy sensors triggering the LCD screens to turn on when participants enter. “You know how it takes about five to 10 minutes to start a meeting a lot of the time?” Kolak said. “At our company, it’s about 10 seconds. The rooms auto-route the video content when you plug in, and in some cases, it will auto connect you into the meeting you have scheduled if you desire, or you can do a one-touch join into your meeting as well. When you leave the room, the system shuts off.” Beyond saving time, he believes that minimizing interaction with technology is key for maximizing utilization. “Making the technology disappear is actually more comfortable for the customers,” he said. “We might think it’s really cool; I would love to show everybody under the hood how everything works. But most people, when you walk in our rooms, you just see furniture, microphones, and monitors on

the wall—that’s the extent of how we showboat our technology.” TEAMWORK Departmental collaboration is important for Kolak’s work at Juniper. His team is part of the IT department, so he says he gets along really well with its other staff members. One division is the network team, to which conferencing services’ work is closely tied. “We are a network company, and we have to work closely with them to make sure things are profiled, and if a device falls offline, to find out why,” he said. There is a unified communications team, and Kolak works with them to oversee the operation of the company’s Polycom equipment, troubleshooting issues with call drops, static, and things on the line. “We also work very closely with the accounts teams, with the email teams, to get everyone to create accounts,” he said. In addition, Kolak said he maintains a working relationship with the company’s vendor programmers to ensure their code is universal for all conferencing room types. “I want to make sure that our code isn’t overly complicated, but is able to have things switched on here and there to make it work with any room type,” he said. “Every couple of weeks, I’ll get together with our

programmer remotely and just make sure we’re doing the right thing and keeping our code up to date.” DAILY DETAIL Even with a conferencing system as carefully engineered as Juniper’s, things invariably go wrong—and getting them back in working order occupies a lot of Kolak’s time on a daily basis. “You’re chasing network things, things falling offline,” he said. “We do a lot of ‘Why did this device fall offline?’ troubleshooting and trying to get to root causes. A lot of times it’s the device; a device will fail, or a device will just fall asleep.” Staying on top of security is key for every internet-connected enterprise, and Juniper is no exception. Because most of the AV devices now use dedicated switchers, the risk of intrusion is minimized. Wherever possible, encryption is used. “Our Shure microphone signals are all encrypted, we also obviously have password protection on all of our devices around the company,” Kolak said. Juniper uses AVI-SPL’s Symphony to keep tabs on how everything is operating, and to ensure no unauthorized activity is taking place. “We monitor our equipment’s health to see if something’s offline, and everything has to be remotely accessible, so we can log on to see IMAGES: DANIEL BOOT

The standardized videoconferencing room setups at Juniper include dual Samsung displays, Polycom videoconferencing equipment, Shure microphones, and Crestron control.


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Smaller rooms include just a Polycom Trio phone and connections to a wall-mounted display.

if somebody’s changed a password or sending it something.” In addition to overseeing all of the devices and infrastructure, Kolak also does a lot of customer support work, providing employees with instruction on setting up calls, scheduling meetings, and making sure they know how to use rooms properly. REFRESHING With roughly 40 global offices in every region, from EMEA, to APAC, to the U.S., Juniper has a lot of rooms to outfit with technology—so making sure it’s all up to date can be challenging. According to Kolak, there wasn’t a strategy for refreshing it when he came onboard. So, he came up with one himself, based around a five-year schedule. “I went to the director who was here before me who was in charge of the engineering team, and said ‘Hey, I just did inventory of all of our equipment around the world. And if you were to replace it with the current standard at the time, you would need X million dollars. You divide that by five, and you just do that much every year, and every five

years you cycle back.’” He received approval for this plan three years ago, so the first cycle is not yet complete. “We still have some APAC sites to refresh, and a couple sites here in the U.S. We’re almost done, then we’ll be starting over.”

I want to make sure that whatever we’re doing, we keep everything as consistent as possible. DOING IT RIGHT Kolak’s number-one piece of advice for technology managers? Stay consistent. “That’s something I’m kind of crazy about,” he said. “I want to make sure that whatever we’re doing, we keep everything as consistent as possible.” But keeping things simple isn’t so easy. Kolak said that one particular challenge he faces is pressure to pursue the latest technology, which isn’t always better. “That’s the hardest thing in my career and in my whole life: You

would think that everyone would be onboard with being consistent, but even my engineers on my own team will see something bright and shiny and get interested in it,” he said. “And I’ll have to ask, ‘How does that tie into what we’re doing? What does that fix or replace?’ So just running to do the next greatest thing, it’s really hard to maintain standards.” To help prevent such misguided diversions from the established order, Kolak urges technology managers to work closely with upper management and make sure you’ve communicated your vision and plans with them. Finally, when developing standards, Kolak believes there should be clear objectives in mind. “What are you designing your standards for, and why are you even making them?” he said. “For example, we came up with a list of things we’re trying to accomplish with our standards—things like making sure that the meeting can start as quickly as possible.” So what’s next? Kolak is open to moving more AV resources back to the network in the future—as long as it makes things simpler, and doesn’t deviate from his core objectives.

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Editor’s Note: The 1Gb vs 10Gb discussion is an ongoing conversation in the professional AV industry with many points of view. This column represents one voice in the conversation. Tech managers: do you have a different opinion? Are you using 10Gb? Please share your perspective with us by tweeting @AVTechnologyMag.


rofessional AV integrators need to realize that the debate isn’t about 1Gb versus 10Gb; it’s really about the continued migration away from the matrix switch to a nonproprietary distribution platform utilizing standard Ethernet connections—and without giving up any of the advantages that HDBaseT originally offered, such as the ability to distribute uncompressed video with sub-millisecond latency. In looking into customer requirements, one should always evaluate if there is an opportunity to utilize existing infrastructure, be it coax, category cable, fiber, or a wireless network. In previous magazine stories, it has been stated that Cat-5e is the most prevalent category cable infrastructure installed today. That may be true, but we need to recognize when and why the characteristics of that cable were deployed. The thinking at the time did not, and could not, take into account the present-day demands on network infrastructure, and while Cat-5e may be acceptable for some current applications—and therefore should be utilized where possible—it is difficult and almost impossible to see any instance where it would be installed today. To create an AV-over-IP solution that delivers the same performance of a traditional matrix switch, the best interests of the customer are served with a 10Gb infrastructure, at minimum. In fact, in numerous conversations at the ISE exhibition, integrators and end users indicated new infra-

Some attention in the 1Gb versus 10Gb debate has also been focused around cost; the attention needs to be directed at the per-port cost differences between IP and HDbaseT. 26

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The Drill Down structure deployments are moving rapidly to 40Gb. The point here is that choosing an old technology to deliver today’s (and tomorrow’s) AV applications just doesn’t make sense. This is clearly evident when looking at the applications already being deployed by integrators over 10Gb across multiple verticals that drive interactive displays in museums, video walls in large corporate environments, and real-time medical procedure observation at hospitals. Some attention in the 1Gb versus 10Gb debate has also been focused around cost; the attention needs to be directed at the per-port cost differences between IP and HDbaseT. In larger deployments, IP-based solutions provide for a more cost-effective, flexible, and easier installation than HDbaseT. As integrators, you have to consider all of the options that will meet your customer’s needs. At ZeeVee, we work closely with integrators and end users to ensure they understand the factors that will lead them to choose a 1Gb or 10Gb network for their AVoIP applications. Finding the right solution for each customer is the win-win scenario on which we’ve been successfully building our business for more than a decade. Bob Michaels is president and CEO of ZeeVee, Inc.

ZeeVee works closely with integrators and end users to help them to choose a 1Gb or 10Gb network for their AVoIP applications.




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Editor’s Note [by Cindy Davis]

STRAIGHT FROM THE SOURCE From full audio, video, and room control systems with far-reaching cloud applications, to solutions that offer control and monitoring of specific in-room systems, “AV control” has morphed, converged, and redefined what lives on the network. The AV Tech Manager’s Guides are more often written as analysis, but in this Guide to AV Control, we decided to ask AV/IT manufacturers and solution providers to share their insights, opinions, and product roadmaps. Businesses wouldn’t thrive if there were only two choices, two voices, or two valid opinions—or even two correct ways to achieve the same goal. Given the format of the Guide, we did not challenge the statements presented; instead, we want to provide some food for thought as you plan for your next refresh, retrofit, or new build project. We’re introducing you to each of our interviewees to provide context. If you haven’t met these folks, we recommend taking a moment to reach out, or book an appointment at the InfoComm Show, which is just around the corner (June 8–14 in Orlando). You’ll find you have a lot in common and have a great deal to learn from one another’s point of view. We hope you find value in these perspectives.

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Table of Contents Introduction......................................................................................................................................................................... 28

FEATURES THE STATE OF CONTROL..................................................................................................................................................29 STUDIES IN CONTROL........................................................................................................................................................ 35 CONTEMPORARY CONTROLLERS.................................................................................................................................... 38


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Digital Guide to in Education Signage

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The State of Control Industry leaders share their perspectives on the latest trends in control, and where it’s going next. By Cindy Davis There are a couple of common themes among the interviews in this Guide. First and foremost, everyone is steadfastly passionate about delivering the best possible solution, and they all agree on the following: AV control needs to be simple to deploy, manage, and use. In an attempt to be impartial, perspectives are presented in alphabetical order by company name. Comments have been edited for space. ATLONA Innovation always precedes adoption. There is a perception that everyone will jump on new products that signal a new trend, when the reality is that the market needs time to digest and learn. This happened with HDBaseT, which took three to five years to take hold. This cycle is repeating with AV over IP. The market has been flooded with new AV over IP products over the past two years, and the industry is just beginning to really grow comfortable with everything that is changing is

this networking world. This why we have spent a significant amount of time focused on training and education initiatives around our OmniStream AV-over-IP line and Velocity IP-based control platform, as well as networked AV in general. Atlona built its reputation on the small-space system. In the past, control was considered a luxury for these spaces, and often not necessary. This mindset is beginning to shift. Velocity offers single-room configurations with dedicated proces-

Ken Eagle earned his IT chops as an IT manager at Oakland University. For more than 20 years he has been immersed in the AV industry as a highly regarded educator. He is the director of training and technical sales at Atlona, where he has worked for more than five years.

T H E T EC H N O LO GY MANAGER’S GUID E TO AV CONTROL | F E B R U A R Y / M A R C H 2 0 1 9 | av ne two r k .co m


AV CONTROL “What we are seeing now that is really picking up is the whole concept of managed services. The monitoring part is moving outside.” —Jan van Houtte, Barco sors and touchscreens for single-room systems. However, these can still be quickly and easily scaled to serve new rooms as they are added. It’s also a base component of our All-IP Meeting Space for single rooms, which can also quickly scale as an organization’s needs grow. There is a lot of flexibility built into these small systems. Looking specifically at control, Velocity was the first system of its kind to bring enterpriselevel control to the IP network. Velocity’s intrinsic redundancy, simplified deployment and scalability, and common programming across multiple rooms and spaces are just some of the features that make it ideal for enterprise-level control. Velocity’s cloud architecture is inherently scalable, and does not require immediate rollout. A smaller-scale system with dedicated Velocity processors can seamlessly transition into a cloud license once 500 devices are exceeded on the network. From there, the growth opportunities are limitless. AURORA

Do you know Paul Harris, CEO and CTO of Aurora Multimedia? If you don’t, pull up a chair and triple the amount of time you allotted to chat with him. For the past 20 years, he has been responsible for developing and driving the company’s product innovations. Watch for Harris to be an industry disrupter—it’s on his roadmap.


We’ve been doing control probably for over 17 years of our 21 years in business, and made the first control engine which was a web accessible control interface. It evolved over the years, and we sold unlike anybody else, but it never really took off because people had dedicated a lot of time and money into their systems and their code learning. It’s hard to convince integrators and others to move onto another system. The downside to that is they’re very locked in, and their choices become limited and very scary if anything ever happens between that relationship. That’s what a lot of the livelihood for control is based on. That’s something that we’re going to change. We created ReAx (every action has a reaction), the industry’s first non-proprietary IP control based on AV/IT industry standards. The first objective was to use all web standards. We’re using Node.js as its core for service-side Java Script, and the webpages are HTML, HTML 5. Between those two, that’s what most of the programmers out there know these days, and you can’t get a better pool of programmers then having web programmers. It’s a lightweight engine that you can run on Linux, Windows, or Android. It’s a very portable engine not limited to a proprietary box. The development undertaking is minimal, and the gains of what we’ve done are tremendous. We’ve already developed a WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) tool for the interface, which will convert into HTML 5, as well as something that you’ll run into the Node.js and make the Java Script out of it that will give the coding capability. Even our competitors can use our tools to make the coding for their stuff. We’ve made modules to get it to market quicker. So why use ReAx? It’s not because we’re another control system. The biggest difference is that we’re going to create a ReAx organization comprised of founders, contributors, and adopters. We are going to give parts of our technology and contribute it into the organization independent of Aurora. We’re going to allow our competitors to use our technology. Think of us like Google: ReAx is Android. I want somebody from every sector [in the ReAx organization]: residential, commercial, dis-

Jan van Houtte’s user experience program management and software development background led him to his role as the product director for Barco’s Overture and weConnect education products. He has worked out of the company’s Belgium office for more than three years.

play manufacturers, lighting manufacturers, and sound manufacturers. I want a little bit of everybody, so that they can have input into how this standard evolves from the foundation. BARCO A big driver in the control space is about creating a good user experience. But if you look beyond control, what if something goes wrong? What if a device is unplugged? It will ruin the whole experience of the user in that room. In fact, Barco’s Overture started from the monitoring point of view, where we designed software that is able to monitor all the devices. If you can monitor devices, you can talk to them, and you can also control them. A server is a server, it’s in a central location and with any web browser you can create a user interface to talk to that server. The Overture software-based solution is very scalable. You can have a small server, a virtual server, or a cloud server. With alternative approaches like ours, there is no proprietary hardware in the room, it’s all going to the network. We always look to how we can make the product as easy as possible to deploy over the full width of the enterprise. Overture has three main new features: Excel ingestion gives you the ability to have a huge Excel file and add hundreds of rooms and devices at once in a matter of minutes; it allows aggregation of data, so in a matter of seconds, you can

F E B R U A R Y / M A R C H 2 0 1 9 | av ne twor k. c om | THE TECHNOLOGY MANAGER’S GUID E TO AV CONTROL

AV CONTROL say, “I want to see how many ClickShares are in sharing status on this or that floor.” Then you can visualize the data on a graphical dashboard; and for in-room control, we give users an easy way to customize which control elements, buttons, sliders, and which functionality they want to have controlled on the panel. We go from in-room control, to automation, to monitoring and remote control. The first way to do this is in-house: you have the IT or the facility team who can proactively take action remotely instead of waiting for calls when something is wrong. What we are seeing now that is really picking up is the whole concept of managed services. The monitoring part is moving outside, and you have a third-party who is managing AV equipment for multiple customers. BIAMP Where I see the industry in general, and the things that we keep on top of all the time, are what I call SEEE: The simplicity, efficiency, effectiveness, experiences, and connectedness. People don’t care anymore about the sort of complex magic that we used to talk about before.

If you don’t know Rashid Skaf, you must be new to the industry. Known for strategically growing AMX through product innovation and acquisitions, Skaf sold the company in 2014. After a brief transition, he became a senior advisor at private investment firm Highlander Partners where he led the purchase of Biamp and assumed the role of president, CEO, and co-chairman. While Skaf won’t tip his hat to a specific roadmap, we know that the industry should hold onto its hat, because what comes next is sure to be a wild ride.

That’s the AV of old. Now, the response is “I want it to be simple.” That’s why I love our new crowd mics, for example. It’s the thing that you have in your pocket. It is the reason why I love our EX-UBT Bluetooth and USB audio system, because I can use Zoom or Skype for Business or Teams, or whatever I have in my pocket is my control. That is my control system, and I connected to my device that’s in the room and I make my phone a peripheral to what’s there. It is a control system. All the speakers and microphones all become those things that are in the room. It used to drive me nuts in my last job. You walk into these conference rooms and you see the control system, and you see a white piece of paper next to it telling you how to use it. If you have to have a white piece of paper, then it’s too complicated. We’ve been talking about that forever. We’ve overcomplicated things and we’ve got to simplify it back down to its essence. What do people really want? I want to make a Zoom call, or a Skype for Business call from here on my phone. Make that happen for me. I don’t want to touch anything else. I don’t want to know how anything else works. I don’t care how this room works. My phone is my universe. I know how this works. Everything is there. The cloud is everywhere, literally and figuratively. Our SageVue management system can be managed through the cloud. My view is that whether it’s in the cloud or in a personal cloud, which is called your network, it doesn’t really matter. It’s whatever’s most efficient. All of our systems will have cloud components to them as we move forward. All these products that we came out with are from the same engineering team we had the year before, and the year before that. That’s a brilliant team. Now that we’re making it simple, they’re able to move faster and do more things. Our customers are our integrators, our consultants, and our end users. Ultimately, our goal from a company perspective is that we’re making sure that we’re making things simpler to install, making it simpler to manage, simpler to buy, and simpler to use.

From his work at the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute CogWorks Laboratory to the more than seven years in R&D at Crestron, technology manager of enterprise software Brian Donlan is developing the roadmap for the company’s IoT, cloud, and data analysis products.

CRESTRON One of the big things that we wanted to do with XiO Cloud was, “Okay, we’re going to send this data out natively, directly from the device.” It’s built into the front mirror. If there’s new functionality released for a Flex system or something, you get a front-row upgrade to it; that also includes new data that’s getting sent up to XiO Cloud. But then that data that’s getting sent to XiO Cloud is also context rich. So, you know that there is a display connected to the Mercury device, and that display has all these different properties associated with it. The system is intelligent enough to know that they’re all connected; that is all information that is related to each other in some way. And then, at the same time, it’s also standardized. The display information that is getting sent up from the Mercury is also going to be the display information that’s getting sent up from the AM-200 and AM-300, and the display information that’s getting sent up from a DM system. Now that all that information has that context, it can be analyzed across the different hardware. The hardware that’s actually connected doesn’t matter because the information about the space is the same. Now we’re able to bring in that intelligence,

“My view is that whether it’s in the cloud or in a personal cloud, which is called your network, it doesn’t really matter. It’s whatever’s most efficient.” —Rashid Skaf, Biamp

T H E T EC H N O LO GY MANAGER’S GUID E TO AV CONTROL | F E B R U A R Y / M A R C H 2 0 1 9 | av ne two r k .co m


AV CONTROL and we can do that processing on data that’s the same across all of these different platforms. Whereas, with Fusion, it’s something that has to be custom programmed frequently, and you’re likely to run into situations where if you didn’t think of it ahead of time, if you didn’t provide sufficient context, there’s a code change that has to be made, or things may just not line up completely across these different installations. The next thing announced for XiO Cloud is the ability to manage programs that are custom deployed through XiO. We’re still bringing in some of this context-rich functionality to it. A big one being that we will be able to upload a custom program to XiO and say, “I want that deployed to all these different spaces all over the world.” And now, I noticed there’s something wrong with that program, I upload a new version of it to XiO. XiO knows where that’s deployed already, so it’s going to say, “Okay, you put in that new version, do you want to upgrade everything all at once?” So now, everything stays in line. We’re able to leverage XiO’s ability to view everything all at once to keep even the custom programming world easier. We’re working with an initial set of partners right now to bring their devices into XiO Cloud so that they act natively like the Crestron devices do today. One of the big pushes for us right now is making sure that we can support a total ecosystem. EXTRON Some customers and integrators are still on the

With 27 years at Extron, director of product marketing Joe da Silva has touched nearly every aspect in the company’s product development chain and market strategy. With roots in engineering technology and connection to the customer, da Silva provides an in-depth perspective.


fence about AV over IP. Key concerns center on quality, latency, and bandwidth consumption, as well as control and security risks. Recently, Extron introduced the new NAV Series, a no-compromise pro AV-over-IP platform that addresses these concerns. NAV systems utilize Extron’s patented PURE3 codec to deliver groundbreaking performance with real-time, visually lossless video at resolutions up to 4K60 with 4:4:4 chroma sampling and ultra-low latency. PURE3’s Intelligent Selective Streaming (ISS) leverages low motion content to achieve extremely low bitrates while maintaining visually lossless performance. Most AV-over-IP systems pose a security risk, as control signals are typically sent in unencrypted cleartext over the network. NAV systems work with Extron Pro Series control, which feature a Secure Platform Interface that ensures all commands are encrypted from touchpanel to endpoint. Furthermore, all video and data streams are encrypted with SRTP (Secure Real-Time Transport Protocol), and 802.1x authentication is supported, requiring that all devices are approved before network access is granted. Extron collaboration technology supports the modern workspace by creating meeting rooms that are easy to use, schedule, and manage remotely. Our new HC 400 Series combines video switching, scaling, signal extension, and system control into transmitter and receiver pairs that seamlessly integrate with a variety of room configurations. Monitor, support, and report on all of your collaboration spaces throughout the organization using GlobalViewer Enterprise, a powerful networked AV system management solution. We have developed the technology to integrate with the leading UC solution providers, providing a one-touch user experience for conferencing, collaboration, and control. Through our partnerships, we can extend Extron control capabilities to spaces that use Zoom, Cisco, Logitech, and many other popular providers. FSR Over the past 18 months, we have seen a significant increase in the use of control systems in smaller presentation spaces ranging from school systems all the way to corporate workspaces. We have also seen an uptick in the number of control projects that include networks as part of the connectivity. These systems are networked for both control and room monitoring, and remote diagnostics. In the coming year, we will continue to con-

“Over the past 18 months, we have seen a significant increase in the use of control systems in smaller presentation spaces ranging from school systems all the way to corporate workspaces.” —Chaz Porter, FSR

If you’ve ever seen a demo by Chaz Porter, director of global sales at FSR, I’m betting you coveted those products not only for your offices, but home as well. Porter has been with the company for nearly 12 years and can show you how to hide any cable and connect any device.

centrate on small space control and will soon be offering advanced options including cloud-based integration through a cooperative partnership. This significant development will give our users the ability to perform remote diagnostics and control from anywhere in the world and also enable us to add voice control through cloud-based systems like Amazon Alexa. Although it will be likely be another year before we see the widespread use of voice control, we recognize the importance of adding this capability to our products to keep our customers ahead of the curve. HARMAN (AMX BY HARMAN) We’ve been doing control for a long time here, and it’s all about simplifying the experience for the user. It’s not control for control’s sake; it’s making all the things you want to do with the

F E B R U A R Y / M A R C H 2 0 1 9 | av ne twor k. c om | THE TECHNOLOGY MANAGER’S GUID E TO AV CONTROL

AV CONTROL bring in a touchpanel and some programming. It gives you a tiered solution. We’re doing way more automation down at the product level, sort of looking at the use case and trying to find a default behavior. Allow for some alteration of that behavior via web pages, and then you can augment that with control programming if you need to do something a little bit different.

Paul Krizan joined AMX in 2007, and for the past nine years has been the product manager responsible for the AMX video and control product lines. His mission is to simplify the user experience.

technology easy for a non-technical user, or a person who doesn’t even know how the system was put together. Historically, that control required programming or some effort to get things to talk and work together. Over the last few years, one area where we’re working to address small spaces. We can build automation right into the product so that it doesn’t require programming. We recently released a series of small switching products for meeting spaces, active learning environments, and similar spaces. With these switching products, when you plug a source in, it can automatically turn the display on. If you plug another source in, it will automatically switch to that source. When you unplug it, it will go back to the one before. This is an out-of-the-box experience. For example, when you plug an HDMI into our Acendo Vibe, it will turn the display on, because it assumes that, because you plugged in, you mean to show some content. We recently upgraded the firmware to do presence detection using microphones, and it will turn the display on proactively. And all of that is being done without any programming. In fact, it doesn’t even require configuration most of the time. You pull it out of the box, you plug it in, and it’s ready to go. The beauty of it is that you get an element of automation for a small space. But if you want to offer users a richer experience or some options to have multiple sources connected, and switch between them, that’s when you might need to

KRAMER ELECTRONICS The enterprise is a major focus of Kramer Control. As far as we see it, scalability is one of the biggest requirements across the enterprise space. If a system can scale easily without driving the cost up unnecessarily, you’re more than halfway there. Kramer Control Reference Spaces provide the ability to scale infinitely, without being a budget breaker. If you want to start with a single room, and then quickly add and deploy more rooms, it’s as easy as 1-2-3. Add in the simplicity of deploying Kramer’s AV-over-IP solution, and you have a winning combination that can scale to as large as you need it. All without redoing any of your work as your systems grow! Kramer has the advantage of being fairly new to the control market. We don’t have old habits and architecture to worry about, so that led to Kramer Control being born in the cloud. From creating, managing, and programming systems, to updating, controlling, and supporting rooms remotely, it’s all part of the ecosystem that is Kramer Control. Of course, there is still on-premise hardware needed so that the control of each space will always work,

For more than 11 years, Brian Morris has been gathering data gearing up for the cloud. He is the control product manager, U.S. for Kramer Electronics. Just get him started talking.

no matter if the internet connection is there or not. Kramer Control thrives in the small-space market. No need to buy a massive control processor that does a bunch of things that you’ll never use. Kramer Control brains are not over-engineered, and have just the right number of bells and whistles. The fact that Kramer Control is cloudbased makes it super easy to program and deploy systems without taking too much time or effort.

Who wouldn’t love to sit down and talk to a graduate of The Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts with a degree in sound technology? That’s just one of the many areas of expertise for Martin Barbour, cloud product manager at QSC

QSC At QSC, we believe that cloud solutions can bring tangible benefits to AV users by providing a catalyst to modernize the way AV systems are designed, developed, deployed, and managed. While the proliferation of cloud services within our consumer lives is still relatively young, the way that we consume those services has taken root quickly. This makes it very easy to overlook the profound impact it has had on the way that we interact with, receive notifications from, and manage functions of devices we rely on every day. It’s important to remember those benefits we are accustomed to are not broadly accessible in the pro AV space. While we are slowly starting to see solutions appear, there are very few AV providers who have adopted cloud services. QSC has been hard at work building the Q-SYS Ecosystem to leverage robust, secure cloud technology to improve the experience for our customers—design and commissioning engineers,

T H E T EC H N O LO GY MANAGER’S GUID E TO AV CONTROL | F E B R U A R Y / M A R C H 2 0 1 9 | av ne two r k .co m


AV CONTROL “While the proliferation of cloud services within our consumer lives is still relatively young, the way that we consume those services has taken root quickly.” —Martin Barbour, QSC AV support staff, and end users. The Q-SYS Reflect platform will enable QSC to provide complete AV system management and monitoring tools using a single modern web user interface, accessible from anywhere in the world. During ISE, QSC demonstrated Q-SYS Reflect Enterprise Manager, illustrating its capability to dramatically simplify the management and monitoring of the Q-SYS Ecosystem, as well as thirdparty devices being used on the network. UTELOGY Scale, scale, scale! We continue to hear end users talk about wanting more flexible and scalable collaboration environments. They want to do more with less. With that, we see a continued transition from the old, traditional AV world to a much more IT-centric platform to address the delivery of video and unified communication (UC) services. We see a need to add control and automation to other enterprise solutions such as Cisco Touch10, and WebEx Board integrations talking not just to the peripheral WebEx Room Kits, but other

Are you a member of the Machete Club? What? It’s the all-welcoming gathering of AV/IT industry friends of Utelogy at trade shows ideated by company co-

room peripherals like HVAC, lighting, motion sensors, other enterprise applications, PCs, and much more. We also see the need for integrated enterprise management and analytics. With video and UC becoming part of a standardized toolset for workspaces, companies are looking for a higher, enterprise-grade control platform that also addresses other key concerns like security and high availability. It’s fair to say that AV control is still largely project driven, with a focus on new, extensive capital plans; however, these new IT-centric platforms will allow for an easier transition, should companies want to move away from traditional proprietary control to open platforms. We’re seeing the biggest area of growth in small spaces like huddle rooms. Organizations are looking for cost-effective ways to deploy these at scale. They’re looking for tools that allow them to “copy and paste,” rather than having to build every room individually. Most organizations have now established a level of standardization for their rooms, and this is meant to speed up deployment and provide operational efficiency. With the global AV market expected to grow 4 percent CAGR through 2022, but control slated to grow 11 percent CAGR over that same period, how do we reconcile less control in the smaller rooms with that huge growth in control? We see enterprise application integration, automation, smart scenarios, automated troubleshooting, and self-healing being a big part of this growth. YAMAHA UNIFIED COMMUNICATIONS If you think about whether it’s installed AV products, or whether that it’s the AV products that go into a room today, it’s more than an audio and video system. When we sell to large corporations, and they buy hundreds of units to equip their rooms today, we have to work together with an IT department there. One of the things that the IT department is likely going to tell you is that

For more than 11 years, Holger Stoltze has been the director product management at Yamaha Unified Communications (formally Revolabs). His unique perspective might stem from his PhD in computer science.

they need to be able to manage all of these rooms without high overhead. If they suddenly have hundreds of huddle rooms with equipment, they cannot have to go to these rooms when somebody calls in and says, “Room 1234 isn’t working right now. I can’t get audio out of the system.” Because room 1234 might not be in the same building; it might not even be in the same city as the IT helpdesk that is taking that call. What we are seeing is that the IT departments absolutely are looking at how they can manage these systems remotely. And that requires the management, the administration over the network, and requires a network connection in the product. Some ask if it’s better to have a proprietary solution versus an open solution. In our products, we have gone with more of an open solution. That is where the open-standard SNMP traps (Simple Network Management Protocol) come into play. The audio and video’s just one part of what IT does; they’re also managing the servers, and the network infrastructure, the telephone system, and whatever else. And these IT helpdesks are already using a tool (SNMP traps) to manage all of these components. Adding another tool—a proprietary tool—does not fly very well with them.

founder and president, Frank Pellkofer. He is known for seeing opportunities and developing partnerships and relationships. Want entry to the club? The password is: call Frank.


“We continue to hear end users talk about wanting more flexible and scalable collaboration environments.” —Frank Pellkofer, Utelogy

F E B R U A R Y / M A R C H 2 0 1 9 | av ne twor k. c om | THE TECHNOLOGY MANAGER’S GUID E TO AV CONTROL


Studies in Control Case studies of recent deployments By Cindy Davis

UBER’S CLOUD Anyone responsible for deploying and managing AV/IT for a company with a global presence has firsthand experience with the pitfalls of exporting and importing equipment. Not only can product licensing, standards, and compatibility be an issue, but basic infrastructure such as power prove unreliable. Global AV growing pains haven’t eluded Uber. In 2017, the company reported a presence in 65 countries and more than 600 cities, with 16,000 employees, and it hasn’t stopped expanding. “We used USB cameras and microphones to stay agnostic and build with speed at good price points,” said Mohammad Sigari, Uber’s senior AV engineer. “In a limited test environment, we even tried our own version of Endpoint Management Team to manage all the conference rooms via our PC endpoint.” Using hardware solutions from specific manufacturers proved problematic. “If we need something in India, South Korea, or even in Brazil, and if the manufacturers are having supply issues or that product doesn’t have the right licensing, it becomes an issue,” Sigari said. “We can’t build at the pace that our company is looking to build, so now we have to look beyond that manufacturer.” TESTING THE CLOUD Uber has standardized on Zoom’s cloud-based videoconferencing. “One of the biggest pain

Uber’s Austin Reisman, AV systems engineer and Mohammad Sigari, senior AV engineer, have deployed videoconferencing and cloud-based AV control in offices on every continent.

points was how to deploy and manage the system,” said Austin Reisman, AV systems engineer at Uber. “The way the system was set up, it needed a lot of signing in, a lot of credentials, a lot of downloading applications and configuring, which all needed to be done onsite with a person.” More than a year ago, Sigari and Reisman tested Crestron’s XiO Cloud before its official release. “We needed an enterprise management tool, and XiO was able to check off a lot of boxes.”

One of the most attractive features of XiO was its ability to remotely deploy and manage Uber’s Crestron Mercury and Crestron touchpanels to 40 Zoom Rooms in primary locations around the world. “XiO Cloud allows us to connect a Mercury device or touchpanel without us needing to be there,” Reisman said. “It has allowed for a close to touchless deployment.” XiO pushes down the profile and configuration to the Mercury, and the device is automatical-

Data Drives Decision Making Uber’s AV/IT team utilizes analytics from Zoom dashboards and Crestron XiO Cloud interactive dashboards. “Zoom

Crestron’s XiO Cloud dashboard

reports on the peripherals that are attached to it, and provides uptime meeting reports,” Reisman said. “We use the XiO dashboard as a monitoring tool and for understanding how heavily the room is being used, which helps for space planning and workplace teams.”

T H E T EC H N O LO GY MANAGER’S GUID E TO AV CONTROL | F E B R U A R Y / M A R C H 2 0 1 9 | av ne two r k .co m


AV CONTROL ly provisioned. It also allows the team to see and monitor device status and health, pushes firmware upgrades, and provides interactive reporting dashboards to help make decisions based on usage. “XiO has allowed us to standardize a configuration across multiple offices, which is a top priority when you’re dealing with every corner of the world,” Reisman said. Once you have a configuration set, you can deploy it to as many devices as you want at the same time. “There should not be more than two steps,” Sigari said. “You should be able to either log something onto an account, or you should be able to plug it in, and then it should start autoprovisioning itself.” Sigari looks back to when manufacturers sug-

gested it take only 10 minutes to provision a device. “Multiply that by 40 conference rooms around the world, and that’s a long time,” he said. “But that’s in our past.” LOOKING AHEAD Sigari and Reisman look toward XiO Cloud to be an inclusive solution. “During conversations with Crestron, we told them we are looking to integrate third-party peripherals as well,” Reisman said. Currently, Crestron’s XiO Cloud does not integrate with third-party devices, but that is soon to change. “We are working with some partners to integrate XiO functionality into their devices,” said Brian Donlan, technology manager, enterprise software at Crestron. “Some companies are

using an SDK we’ve built to allow third-party devices to connect directly for monitoring and configuration like a Crestron device.” There’s more than one way to unity in the cloud. “Our other path for third-party devices is to leverage new functionality we’re building for Virtual Control that will allow it to monitor and send up data on third-party devices, even if they’re not built to connect to XiO Cloud,” Donlan said. “In either case, we don’t intend for XiO Cloud to be exclusive to Crestron devices for very long.” For Sigari and Reisman, XiO Cloud has passed the litmus test. “In the year-and-a-half we’ve been using it, we haven’t had any issues and we’re definitely at a point where we are going to invest.”

host PC to the Q-SYS Core. The use of a driverless Q-SYS I/O-USB Bridge meant that Q-SYS audio processing was available for all Zoom communications, including software-based acoustic

communication,” Gordon said. “This is the perfect opportunity for us to showcase and tout our culture, so providing a seamless experience for the users in these spaces was crucial.”

SCALING UP More than a thousand of the world’s leading brands trust Medallia Experience Cloud (SaaS) customer service platform. A recent relocation of the company’s global headquarters to San Mateo, CA prompted the need to consolidate global infrastructure, and scale up AV systems. Hamilton Gordon, global head of AV and collaboration at Medallia, implemented and standardized on the Q-SYS Platform from QSC to scale across small and large meeting rooms throughout all of its facilities. DRIVERLESS USB INTEGRATION WITH ZOOM The Q-SYS web conferencing solution allowed Medallia to integrate Zoom within the larger gathering spaces by providing a bridge from the

“Q-SYS was so easy to implement, especially for Tier 1 IT admins who didn’t have extensive backgrounds in AV.” —Hamilton Gordon, Medallia echo cancellation (AEC), improving intelligibility, regardless of the room in use. “We put a large emphasis on our ability to encourage effective

SOFTWARE-BASED SCALABILITY The large meeting spaces at the new San Mateo campus were designed around a Q-SYS Core 110f processor, outputting audio into a SPA260 60-watt dual-channel amplifier connected to six AcousticDesign Series AD-C6T ceiling-mount loudspeakers. Audio distribution for its AES67enabled room microphone inputs and line outputs over the Q-LAN network happened on standard NETGEAR network switches. “Q-SYS was so easy to implement, especially for Tier 1 IT admins who didn’t have extensive backgrounds in AV,” Gordon said. “Being node-based is a huge advantage. It’s very similar to working with digital audio workstations, and that made designing systems very approachable. Q-SYS Designer Software follows the same intuitive input to output signal flow, which was a no-brainer and easy to teach.”

San Mateo, CA-based Mediallia recently implemented and standardized on the Q-SYS Platform from QSC to scale across small and large meeting rooms throughout all of its facilities.


F E B R U A R Y / M A R C H 2 0 1 9 | av ne twor k. c om | THE TECHNOLOGY MANAGER’S GUID E TO AV CONTROL

AV CONTROL EMBRACING AVaaS As more facilities transition to AV-over-IPbased systems, the benefits of the AV as a Service (AVaaS) become increasingly apparent. At the Anaesthesia Associates of Massachusetts’ new office space in Westwood, MA, a 30-person conference and collaboration room is now equipped with videoconferencing and an IP-based foundation that provides operational flexibility, standardsbased reliability, and ability to scale across a WAN or VPN as other conference rooms Anaesthesia Associates of Massachusetts relies on cloud services are added. company GreenPages for remote management, analaysis, and “The end goal was to provide system scal- troubleshooting of its AV systems. ability, high levels of uptime, and centralized management,” said Nick Melin, president of AV/IT to remotely manage, analyze, and troubleshoot consulting firm AudioLogic, which performed the systems. meeting space design and installation. “With IT convergence, the AV devices become Melin and his team integrated an all-IP meet- components of a living system that is maintained ing space solution with four core elements across and adapted to a company’s changing requirevideo with Atlona’s OmniStream AV-over-IP plat- ments,” Melin said. form, audio with Dante networking, digital signal AudioLogic developed a network segmentation processing with Symetrix’s Radius AEC, and con- plan to support separate VLANs. One subnet was trol with Atlona’s Velocity system. This left cloud created for OmniStream and Dante traffic, while services company GreenPages well positioned VoIP traffic, including Skype, was assigned to a

Atlona Velocity

separate subnet. Audio for the room also utilizes the IP backbone and incorporates a digital signal processor. Dante-based audio components work with OmniStream to provide a seamless audio integration. Shure MX396 microphones are connected to the AT-OMNI-232 audio interfaces and routed over IP to a Symetrix Radius AEC audio DSP. The all-IP meeting space is tied together with Atlona’s Velocity networked control platform. The architecture uses a Velocity AT-VGW-250 Gateway control processor to manage all Atlona and third-party components in the ecosystem, with iPads utilized for the control interface. Velocity will also be used on the AVaaS layer for monitoring purposes, according to Joshua Dinneen, president of digital transformation, GreenPages. “We can map the dependency that each component has on others across the AV and IT ecosystem,” he said. For the Anaesthesia Associates of Massachusetts, AVaaS with Atlona’s OmniStream and Velocity solutions provides robust flexibility for now and in the future.


New features: • Custom interface design • Dynamic video wall configuration • Macros and conditional logic

AV control without programming T H E T EC H N O LO GY MANAGER’S GUID E TO AV CONTROL | F E B R U A R Y / M A R C H 2 0 1 9 | av ne two r k .co m



Contemporary Controllers The latest control products from top manufacturers AMX BY HARMAN MODERO G5 The new AMX Modero G5 Touch Panels draw on the best features of the Modero X and Modero S control panels, as well as the G5 and G4 processing engines. The new models simplify ordering, support, and technical updates by offering customers a software-configurable choice of control or room scheduling functionality. The new touchpanels are available in tabletop and wall-mount models, with 7-, 10-, and 20-inch screen sizes. The new Modero lineup supports the unique and widely ranging interface needs of corporate, education, government, hospitality, and large-venue customers.

ATLONA VELOCITY V 1.5 Atlona has unveiled a significant new software upgrade for the company’s Velocity IP-based AV control and management platform. Taking Velocity’s mantra of “Simplified AV Control” to a new level, version 1.5 enables integrators to create fully customized graphical user interfaces from the ground up, while adding new flexibility to video wall operation for end users. Velocity’s unified platform includes Velocity Cloud, a centralized online resource for remote configuration, monitoring, and service; Velocity Control Gateway, an IP-based control processor with automatic failover; and Velocity Touch Panels available in 5.5- and 8-inch screen sizes.

AUROROA REAX ReAX is a non-proprietary IP control based on AV/IT industry standards, providing interoperability of not just protocols and structure, but the actual code itself. IR libraries, macros, and more can all be shared and organized in a single location at the organizations’ website. ReAX server-side operations is based on JavaScript. A new, small ARM processor option board (IPE-REAX-1) has been created to add ReAX to


Aurora’s new HT Series HDBaseT product line, VLX Series 1G AV over IP, and IPX Series 10G AV over IP.

BARCO OVERTURE Barco Overture not only enables easy setup through configuration—no programming required at all—but also allows for remote control and monitoring of all connected devices in a meeting room, classroom, or lecture hall. Unique benefits include remote troubleshooting, in-depth device monitoring and scheduled room preparation. IT/AV managers can use Overture to increase their efficiency with remote monitoring and troubleshooting, automatic alarms in case of issues, and in-depth insights into device and room usage analytics. Overture with Neets’ keypad solutions makes controlling AV functions easy. Participating in meetings is as simple as clicking a single button.

BIAMP SAGEVUE 2.0 Biamp is expanding the capabilities of its SageVue browser-based monitoring and management platform with the forthcoming SageVue 2.0 release. Enabling powerful, flexible, and effective systems monitoring and management for networked Tesira and Devio devices, SageVue provides the capability to work in strictly controlled IT environments. A customizable user interface (UI) ensures the most important information is visible to each user. SageVue 2.0 sends configuration updates to Tesira systems, automates maintenance by scheduling events, monitors policy compliance and offline activation workflows, and features support for Windows Server 2012 and Windows Server 2016. The 2.0 release of the SageVue platform will be available Q2 of 2019.

CRESTRON DM NVX Crestron’s DM NVX technology transports ultra-high-definition 4K60 4:4:4 video over standard gigabit Ethernet with no perceptible latency or loss of quality. Leveraging standard network switches and Cat-5e UTP wiring, the DM-NVX-352 delivers a solid, high-performance virtual matrix routing solution that is both economically advantageous and infinitely scalable for any enterprise or campus-wide 4K content distribution application. Professional

F E B R U A R Y / M A R C H 2 0 1 9 | av ne twor k. c om | THE TECHNOLOGY MANAGER’S GUID E TO AV CONTROL

AV CONTROL onboard scaling, plus support for HDR10 and HDCP 2.2 ensures the ultimate in picture quality and compatibility for all of today’s varied media sources. With all-new Pixel Perfect Processing technology, the DM NVX networked AV solution delivers a flawless image every time.

EXTRON ISS 608 The Extron ISS 608 is an eight-input seamless switcher for the dynamic presentation of HDMI and DisplayPort content. It supports resolutions up to 4K60 at 4:4:4, and features advanced Vector 4K scaling technology. To enhance use in live environments, it provides multiple seamless transition effects, an independent preview output, and intuitive front-panel operation. Logo insertion, video keying, and PIP capabilities complement primary content, and audio de-embedding simplifies integration. Matrix Mode adds automatic, seamless transitions to matrix switchers with HDMI outputs.

FSR FLEX-LT Flex-LT is a self-contained control system that has a vast number of features and an economical price point. The Flex-LT mounts in a wall or sits on a desk and presents the user with an easy-to-use and understand color touch screen. Through the touchscreen, the user can choose what source is being displayed, change the volume, control the various sources, turn lights on and off, raise or lower the shades or screen, and much more.

HALL RESEARCH CNT-IP-264 The CNT-IP-264 turns Hall Research’s FHD264 Video-over-IP distribution system into a web-based virtual matrix switch with user friendly and configurable GUI. The CNT-IP-264 also acts as a universal controller, where users can create virtual buttons to send RS-232 or IP commands to control third-party devices. The controller has two serial ports and can also send commands through the RS-232 ports on FHD264 codecs. The controller includes a clock that lets users schedule actions, such as creating a button on the GUI to turn the projector on and off, or create a schedule to turn all projectors on or off at certain times of day.

KRAMER CONTROL Kramer Control is an enterprise-class, userfriendly, cloud-based control and management solution providing IT/AV managers a way to control, monitor, and support AV systems, infrastructures, and any third-party devices. Kramer leverages existing IP network infrastructures, and its distributed, cloudbased architecture is highly scalable. Set up

your control system, modify and extend it from anywhere without the need to be onsite. The intuitive drag-and-drop builder allows you to install, configure, and modify your control system without any prior knowledge in programming.

Q-SYS CONTROL Q-SYS Control from QSC offers a reimagined, software-focused control paradigm including full-featured contemporary programming tools, drag-and-drop visual programming capabilities, as well as flexible and scalable management and monitoring capabilities needed for today’s enterprise.

RTI RTiQ The RTI RTiQ Intelligent Remote Monitoring Solution can be configured to monitor an entire control ecosystem using an RTI XP control processor. Users can monitor the status of devices from anywhere in the world and receive email and text notifications if a failure occurs. This helps identify the cause of the issue and allows custom actions to be triggered to restore the failed system or component. Customizable actions include anything the control system is capable of: rebooting devices, running macros, or sending commands. RTiQ reduces system downtime and eliminates the need for service calls to address simple issues such as locked-up components.

UTELOGY U-CONTROL Utelogy is a software platform that delivers nonproprietary AV control, management, analytics, support, and document storage. U-Control is the interface that delivers Utelogy to users, enabling them to easily collaborate. It connects the user to devices and applications to deliver rich and productive collaboration. Built on common web technology standards, U-Control enables ubiquitous access for users through any web-enabled device with a screen, including any computer, tablet, or smartphone.

YAMAHA CS-700 Yamaha’s huddle room solution optimizes audio, video, and collaboration capabilities in a simple wall-mounted unit that is easy to install and deploy. It features an adaptive beamforming microphone array, four Yamaha speaker elements for improved audio intelligibility, and a wide-angle HD camera. Users can connect to an organization’s chosen UC platform using a single USB, eliminating the operation of disparate video, audio, and collaboration components. An integrated network management system allows IT staff to deploy and remotely manage each unit from one location.

T H E T EC H N O LO GY MANAGER’S GUID E TO AV CONTROL | F E B R U A R Y / M A R C H 2 0 1 9 | av ne two r k .co m



AV in Action



or a startup app developer in New York, creation stems from communication and collaboration. Designed around that concept, the company’s new Manhattan office consists of a large open area featuring two zones. One is a dual-facing working space with employee desks, and the other is a meeting area with auditorium-style bench seating. To inspire a creative mood, background music floats throughout from a Sonos Connect wireless receiver. Optimized for videoconferencing, the office’s meeting area is equipped with an Epson G7400UNL projector, 120-inch Dragonfly motorized projection screen, Nearus PTZ web conferencing camera, and Shure MXA910W ceiling microphone array. A Mac Mini provides web-based conferencing apps, and sources for sharing including an Apple TV, cable set-top box, and laptops or mobile devices via a Barco ClickShare wireless presentation system or an RTI VWS-21T wall-plate HDBaseT video transmitter. For company-wide videoconferences, the office’s two zones can be combined, with audio extended into the working space and content shown on its two Samsung 4K LED displays. From the planning stages, one thing the company was clear it

Optimized for videoconferencing, the office’s meeting area is equipped with an Epson G7400UNL projector, 120-inch Dragonfly motorized projection screen, Nearus PTZ web conferencing camera, and Shure MXA910W ceiling microphone array.

didn’t want with its high-tech setup was a dedicated employee in charge of running it. Therefore, operating the system had to be so intuitive that anybody could quickly start a scheduled or on-the-fly videoconference, select a source, and share it to the projection screen and the rest of the displays if required. For New York-based integrator Mattera Design, the key to achieving this level of simplicity was to incorporate a control and automation system; that is, if they could get the company on board with the idea.

For company-wide videoconferences, the office’s two zones can be combined, with audio extended into the working space and content shown on its two Samsung 4K LED displays.


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“Originally, our client felt a control and automation system would be too cumbersome and difficult for employees to understand and use; instead, they wanted to rely on handheld remotes and the manual switching of sources,” said Joseph Mattera, owner of Mattera Design. “We explained that RTI control would require absolutely zero tech savviness on the part of users. The company offers a variety of commercial products that bring everything together into one seamless system that is incredibly intuitive and simple. Furthermore, control can be completely customized using RTI’s Integration Designer APEX programming software. After hearing this, our client was all in and quickly came up with a list of desired features.” On the company’s wish list was employee control over the office’s technology using nothing more than an iPad mini. In addition to source and display selection, volume control, and other basic functions, employees needed the ability to start meetings with a single button tap, which would turn on the projector, lower the screen, and enable the ceiling mic array. For the PTZ camera, the company


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wanted pre-configured scenes that could easily be selected for different speaking and seating scenarios. Finally, employees needed to easily extend videoconferencing audio to the working zone. To deliver all of this functionality, Mattera Design built the control and automation sys-

“Our client was amazed that everything they thought they knew about automating a videoconferencing system was wrong.” —Joseph Mattera, owner of Mattera Design tem around RTI’s XP-8v control processor, with source switching powered by the company’s VHD-8 HDBaseT video matrix switch, VTX-T HDBaseT transmitters, and VTX-R receivers. The single processor is controlling the Epson projector, Nearus camera, Sonos Connect, a Clearone Converge SR1212 digital audio

matrix mixer, and the VHD-8 switch via RTI drivers; the projection screen using relays; and the two Samsung displays with RS-232. Employees have control over every aspect of the office’s technology using the RTiPanel app running on an iPad mini, which is wallmounted in a LuxePort wall station. In addition, Mattera is monitoring the status of the XP-8v processor and connected devices using RTI’s RTiQ intelligent remote monitoring solution. The company receives email and text notifications that alert them if a failure occurs, and they can restore the failed system or component using a virtual dashboard. “In the end, our client was amazed that everything they thought they knew about automating a videoconferencing system was wrong,” Mattera said. “RTI has completely blown away all of their expectations. They love the intuitive control and the fact that we can provide one-touch functionality for virtually any action they require. In fact, they like it so much that they will soon be adding a Lutron RadioRA 2 lighting system, and the office’s three small huddle rooms are already prewired for future connection to the RTI system.”



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COLMEX UPGRADED AN AUDITORIUM WITH A FULLY AUTOMATED DIGITAL SYSTEM, WITH EXTRON TECHNOLOGY SERVING AS THE BACKBONE. By AV Technology Staff l Colegio de México AC (ColMex) is a social science and humanities research and teaching university in Ciudad, Mexico. To keep pace with evolving methods of instruction and technology, ColMex upgraded technologies across campus. The project included the Digital Education Program, PRED, an AV and multimedia development unit whose function is to provide digital and interactive productions, such as academic interviews, videos, short courses, and full MOOCs. A goal of the project was to upgrade the AV system within the divisible Alfonso Reyes Auditorium with a fully automated digital installation. It needed to be easy to update in the future to support the 4K video resolutions provided by their new broadcast servers. Also, the new twisted pair cable infrastructure was to remain in place as the AV sources and display devices were replaced over time. To achieve this versatility, Asesores y Consultores en Tecnologia SA de CV (ACT) installed Extron XTP Systems, ShareLink 250 Series Wireless Collaboration Gateways, SMP 111 H.264 streaming media processors, and a Pro Series control system for centralized AV control. “ACT and the university team went through a rigorous process of evaluating solutions from the leading AV manufacturers,” said Cesar Centeno Arriaga, engineer at ACT Group. “Extron’s XTP Systems with Pro Series control provided the best mix of products, capabilities, and flexibility for ColMex’s divisible auditorium.”


AUDITORIUM FEATURES AND AV NEEDS Each side of the divisible auditorium provides three display devices: an HD projection system, a 48-inch flat panel display, and a confidence monitor. The two pre-event lobbies and the shared control room include 55-, 48-, and 32-inch displays, along with multiple monitors. System requirements included AV connectivity for digital devices and support of HDMI, 3G‑SDI, and wireless transmissions. Content from HDMI sources would be converted to 3G‑SDI for ingestion by two NewTek TriCaster TC1 production systems, which output video resolutions up to 4K. Two independent videoconferencing systems plus a 12‑microphone audio system would be part of the installation


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AV in Action as well. To support PRED, ColMex wanted the ability to stream and record sessions simultaneously, and the switching system had to be easy to control in all room configurations. CONVERGENCE OF DIVERSE FORMATS Working together, ACT and the university chose the Extron XTP II CrossPoint 3200 32x32 digital matrix switcher. Its built‑in technologies and modular design enabled configurable support of various source signal formats. If future upgrades were required, switching cards and displays would be swapped out, while the XTP II frame stays in place. ColMex was also impressed that the XTP II platform is capable of supporting the data rate requirements for 8K video formats. The frame is configured as 24x24 with a mix of HDMI, 3G‑SDI, and XTP CP twisted-pair input and output boards for local and remote signal distribution. “The modular design and hot-swappable features of the XTP II CrossPoint matrix switcher make it easy to support, and the 50Gbps backplane

will let us keep the core of the system in place when we upgrade sources and displays in the future,” Centeno said. An Extron XTP CP 4i 3G‑SDI input board supports both TriCaster systems. XTP CP twisted pair input and output boards support connected devices and feed content to the Christie D13WU HS DLP projectors and the other display devices. Extron XTP II CP 4o HD 4K PLUS output boards provide video and audio signals to the production and streaming systems, and the XTP II CP 4i HD 4K PLUS input and output boards enable connection of the two videoconferencing systems, as well as future HDMI sources that output 4K60 at 4:4:4 chroma sampling. To feed the TriCaster production systems, two Extron DSC HD‑3G A scalers convert HDMI to 3G‑SDI. HDMI signals are also sent to the two Extron SMP 111 Streaming Media Processors to fulfill PRED’s requirements to stream/record content and videoconferencing feeds simultaneously. To support wireless connectivity, an Extron ShareLink 200 N gateway is

assigned to each room. With the XTP II CrossPoint matrix switcher’s 50Gbps digital backplane and included technologies such as SpeedSwitch, the installation provides the required system functionality and expandability. The capabilities to switch mixed formats and transmit signals long distances over the twisted-pair cable infrastructure, as well as support 4K video resolutions and higher, gave an optimized approach for ColMex. AUDITORIUM SIGNAL EXTENSION Fourteen XTP T HWP 101 4K decorator-style wall-plate transmitters enable HDMI signal extension over XTP to the matrix switcher from the PTZ cameras and computers on the stage and at the back and sides of each divisible space. The wall plates also support connection of auxiliary source equipment. Extron CPM101 one-gang mounting frames with MAAP modules offer microphone connectivity. An Extron XTP SR HD 4K receiver mounted on each projector lift scales content to the projector’s 1920x1200 native resolution, and its integrated relays simplify control of the projection screen. To support the confidence monitors and the various displays in the lobbies, an Extron XTP R HD 4K receiver is installed with each. The XTP II CrossPoint matrix provides remote power for transmitters and receivers over the shielded twisted-pair cable. Also, RS‑232 insertion from the matrix switcher’s Ethernet control port enables remote management of the videoconferencing systems. ACT replaced the existing cable infrastructure with Extron XTP DTP 24 and STP20 cabling to ensure signal quality and performance over the long distances between the control room and remote endpoints. For local AV connectivity, the design utilizes HDMI Ultra and HDMI Pro cable assemblies. DIVISIBLE SPACE REMOTE CONTROL With the Extron Pro Series control system, all AV sources and display devices are monitored and controlled from the central control room, as well as from a remote location. An Extron TLP Pro 1022T 10-inch Tabletop TouchLink

Each side of the divisible auditorium provides three display devices: an HD projection system, a 48-inch flat panel display, and a confidence monitor.

Pro Touchpanel assigned to each side of the divisible space share an IPCP Pro 550 IP Link Pro Control Processor mounted in the rack with the matrix switcher. The touchpanels and control processor communicate via Ethernet. Secondary points of control are two Apple iPads and the wireless system. Two of the control processor’s eight RS‑232 ports enable management of the projectors and its eight relays enable a technician in the control room to operate the projector lifts. This, combined with screen control via the XTP scaling receiver’s relays, significantly streamlines room setup. The remaining RS‑232 and bidirectional control ports, four Flex I/O connectors, and the port for connecting an eBUS button panel are reserved for future system expansion. The IPCP Pro 550 control processor includes Extron LinkLicense, which enables the addition of more powerful capabilities to Extron control products. Two of the benefits to ColMex include simplified deployment of BYOD gear and easier operation with the Extron Control app, which was downloaded to the support staff’s iPad tablets. Rather than incurring a cost to license each member of the support team, LinkLicense for User Interfaces allows all authorized users to monitor and operate the auditorium installation from remote locations. PROGRAMMABLE CONTROL Global Scripter, Extron’s feature-rich IDE (Integrated Development Environment), was used to program a flexible control system that can recall and enable different system operation modes, depending on room configuration. The control system is programmed to monitor a sensor on the divisible wall. When the wall is open, the room is in the combined mode and source signals can be routed to one or more displays. Each side has independent control of its designated sources and display devices when the wall is closed. This functionality impacts the use of the audio system and each videoconferencing codec. The audio DSP is set to recall presets established for each operational mode and provides control of audio levels as needed. A VoIP mode is controlled through the Extron control system as well. This Python-based programming also enables control of two digital recorders, one assigned to each side of the space.

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NOW SEE THIS Sites Worth Watching

The Goods

Protean Products for Problem-Solving Tech Managers BOSE CONTROLSPACE EX The What: Bose Professional is expanding its ControlSpace EX range with two new processors optimized for conferencing rooms (EX-440C and EX-12AEC) and a high-powered, general-purpose digital signal processor (EX-1280). The What Else: With an open-architecture, all-in-one design, the ControlSpace EX-440C conferencing signal processor facilitates highquality microphone integration and audio processing for smallto-medium standalone meeting rooms. With 12 acoustic echo cancellers (AEC), 16x16 Dante connectivity, and flexible signal processing, the ControlSpace EX-12AEC conferencing signal processor provides a robust expansion of control options and capabilities tailored for conference rooms using the ControlSpace EX-1280C processor. The ControlSpace EX-1280 is a robust digital signal processor equipped for general-purpose audio processing applications. The Bottom Line: ControlSpace Designer software simplifies the setup process for all three processors with intuitive drag-and-drop programming and conference-specific software tools that help reduce installation time and on-site errors. These new models are compatible with Bose Professional’s line of Dante endpoints and end-user controllers— including wall-mount and mobile device control using ControlSpace Remote.

CRESTRON DIGITALMEDIA The What: Crestron debuted its newest additions to the DigitalMedia product family at ISE 2019. The new products include a DM NVX encoder and decoder with POE+ support, and DM NVX encoders/decoders with Dante audio networking.


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The What Else: The DM-NVX-E30(C) and DM-NVX-D30(C) are encode or decode-only units that support HDMI connectivity and analog audio. Compatible with all other DM NVX products, they deliver flexibility for basic endpoints when only video and audio are needed, and feature the company’s new Pixel Perfect Processing. With the new DM-NVX-352(C), the DM NVX product line now bridges the digital audio and video worlds. The DM-NVX352(C) offer the same feature set as the DM-NVX-350(C), while eliminating the need for complex third-party analog audio devices that receive or transmit AES-67 or Dante audio. Now supporting 4KZ (4K60 4:4:4 HDR), the new DM-RMC-4KZ-SCALER-C provides a one-box interface solution for a single display as part of a complete DM system. The Bottom Line: Crestron’s new DM NVX encoder and decoder with POE+ support, and DM NVX encoder/decoders with Dante audio networking are designed to provide integrators and end users with additional system design flexibility and functionality.

SAMSUNG QLED 8K The What: Samsung Electronics is working to transform the global digital signage market with the launch of its QLED 8K displays at the Integrated Systems Europe (ISE) 2019 in Amsterdam. The What Else: Samsung presented the new 82-inch QLED 8K Signage, which combines the market’s highest resolution with Artificial Intelligence (AI) upscaling technology for immersive viewing experiences. The AI upscaling technology in commercial displays will help to capture the attention of potential customers; for store owners and advertisers, this means more content production at lower costs and lower resolution, but higher resolution display in 8K quality. Similar to its

8K TV counterpart, the QLED 8K display delivers enhanced black color presentation through local dimming and Quantum Light Control. The display also features HDR10+ along with 4,000-nit peak brightness and provides 100-percent color volume. The Bottom Line: The new signage’s slim design, at less than 40mm deep, enables easier installation, and allows it to blend into nearly any environment in portrait or landscape mode. With a resolution of 7,680x4,320 pixels, individual pixels in an image become nearly imperceptible to the human eye.

SONY REA-C1000 The What: Sony has launched its first Artificial Intelligence (AI)-based Edge Analytics solution, the REA-C1000, which allows users to create video content in real time, without the need for specialized training, additional staff, or equipment. The What Else: The compact and lightweight REA-C1000 uses AI-based video analytics technology to analyze the input it receives from connected cameras and automatically extracts the object in focus to combine it with other images in real time on a GPU (Graphics Processor Unit). This technology, using motion/face detection and color/shape recognition, effectively makes the REA-C1000 the brain of any connected camera and AV setup, allowing education, government, and corporate organizations to create professional content that keeps audiences engaged. The Bottom Line: Leveraging Sony’s imaging expertise and its heritage in camera development, the REA-C1000 will support 4K/HD input and output, and will be able to connect directly to Sony’s PTZ cameras, including its range of XDCAM camcorders, which are widely used within the broadcast industry. Additionally, with HDMI network connection, the REA-C1000 can integrate into various common AV setups involving either multiple displays, large-screen projections with monitors, or even live-streaming projects.

The What Else: The new 30,000-lumen laser projector, the Epson Pro L30000U, is a high-end installation laser projector. The new 9,000lumen laser projector joins the Pro L1000-Series, which range from 6,000 to 15,000 lumens. These projectors are designed for permanent installations as well as rental and staging. They produce bright, detailed, high-contrast images with defined shadow details. The minimalist, discreet design and quiet fan noise ensure these new projectors fit into a wide variety of environments. The Bottom Line: The new range of Pro L projectors are Epson’s most compact interchangeable-lens laser projectors. These models, complete with 4K enhancement, HDBaseT, and wide lens shift, are designed for large-venue usage, from visitor attractions to higher education, museums to corporate meeting rooms. The new Pro L projectors will be available Fall 2019 with pricing announced prior to launch.

LIFESIZE MICROSOFT TEAMS The What: Lifesize has added native integration with Microsoft Teams, designed to allow companies to add 4K videoconferencing capabilities to their existing Teams chats and workflows. The What Else: By adding Lifesize to Microsoft Teams, users get the same workflow they’re familiar with for scheduling and joining meetings from the Microsoft Teams app. They can join Lifesize meetings with a single click from the meetings tab in the Microsoft Teams app; use chat commands to instantly create and join Lifesize meetings from the chat interface in Microsoft Teams; and enable Lifesize for Microsoft Teams in specific channels or all of their Microsoft Teams channels. Meetings created via Lifesize make it easier for customers and partners to join meetings, and increase the adoption rate and improve user experience in the Microsoft environment with best-in-class video and audio call quality and interoperability. The Bottom Line: One of the major benefits for companies that standardize on Microsoft applications for everything from email exchanging to word processing is the streamlined workflow and interoperability of programs. The Lifesize integration with Microsoft Teams adds highquality videoconferencing inside and outside an organization from within the Teams application.

EPSON PRO L SERIES The What: Epson has debuted a new range of compact, interchangeablelens Pro L laser projectors. In addition, Epson is introducing new 9,000and 30,000-lumen laser projectors.

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AUDIO-TECHNICA ES954 The What: Audio-Technica has begun shipping the ES954 Hanging Microphone Array, which is designed for huddle rooms, conference rooms, and other meeting spaces. The What Else: When controlled by the AudioTechnica ATDM-0604 Digital SmartMixer, the four-capsule microphone array provides 360-degree coverage through virtual hypercardioid or cardioid outputs that can be steered horizontally and tilted vertically. When using the ATDM-0604 Digital SmartMixer, the graphic interface enables control of the width and orientation of each virtual polar pattern, which may be steered in 30-degree increments, with a tilt function accommodating differing ceiling heights or users that are sitting/standing. The ES954 Hanging Microphone Array features a permanently attached 1.2-meter (4-foot) cable with locking grommet enabling easy microphone height adjustment. UniGuard RFI-shielding technology offers rejection of radio frequency interference (RFI). The package includes a Plenumrated AT8554 Ceiling Mount with RJ45 connectors and push-type wire terminals for simple, secure installation. The ES954 connects to the mixer over a pair of shielded standard Cat-5 cables. The Bottom Line: Intended primarily for videoconferencing applications, the ES954 may be used singly or in multiples to capture every person speaking in a room, with the total number of channels restricted only by the capacity of the mixer or DSP device controlling the system.

SHURE DESIGNER 3.1 The What: Shure has launched the newest 3.1 software release of its Designer System Configuration Software application, designed to help ensure professionals are equipped with the latest solutions to design remotely and collaborate effectively. The What Else: This new version of Designer supports an expanded portfolio of Shure products, including Microflex Advance MXA910 Ceiling Array and MXA310 Table Array Microphones, P300 IntelliMix Audio Conferencing Processor, and ANIUSB-Matrix USB Audio Network Interface. With Designer, AV professionals can better determine the suitable device type and count remotely when creating configurations. Additionally, users can import floor plans to design audio coverage, create Dante routes, and reuse room templates. Designer was developed to better visualize and implement installations. As one single tool, the software enables smooth synchronization in real-time with audio routing between Shure networked products. It empowers AV professionals to better determine the suitable device type and accurate microphone count without physically being in the space. The Bottom Line: Designer provides users with one tool to design


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and commission system installations, enhancing the performance and usability of Shure products, while reducing onsite configuration time.

UTELOGY U-MANAGE The What: Utelogy launched an all-new version U-Manage, the platform’s management, monitoring, and analytics portal, at ISE 2019. The What Else: As a core part of Utelogy’s centralized approach to deploying and managing AV systems, the new features of U-Manage include redesigned user interface and navigation; Managed Service Provider portfolio overviews and individual customer views; customized dashboards to display system information in a visual manner; data filtering by location, date, time, and device; extensive report library including asset reports, firmware, warranty, utilization, and more; configurable alerts and notifications; and rest APIs and data connectors to expedite third party development including BI platforms. The Bottom Line: U-Manage is designed to provide enterprise-wide visibility to rooms, equipment, issues, performance, and usage. It tracks all connected devices and delivers insights on those devices and the system as a whole, to enable more informed support and investment decisions to optimize the performance of rooms, real estate, and equipment. The Utelogy platform is vendor-agnostic, and allows organizations to centrally manage its entire AV infrastructure for better efficiency, cost savings, and improved uptime.

EIKI TRT LEDPOSTER The What: Eiki International is now distributing TRT LED displays as part of its comprehensive range of projection and signage solutions. The What Else: Used individually or as part of a multiscreen cascade, the TRT LedPoster screen features a high 2880Hz refresh rate and 1,200 nits brightness, which is three times brighter than comparable LCD display panels. The TRT LedPoster provides a 160-degree viewing angle both vertically and horizontally, resulting in more accurate color reproduction. Each TRT LedPoster has a screen size of approximately 190cm by 60cm (74.8 by 23.6 inches) and is viewable from a distance of 20 meters (65 feet). Available in two models—P 2.5 and P 1.9—the TRT LedPoster displays carry a respective dot pitch of 2.5mm and 1.944mm (0.0984 inches and 0.0765 inches, respectively). The Bottom Line: Suitable for hanging, wall mounting, base standing, bracket standing, and other creative installations, the new TRT LED display panels are well suited for use at convention centers, shopping malls, meeting rooms, airports, gas stations, supermarkets, and clubs/restaurants, as well as command and control centers.


ZEEVEE ZYPERMX2 The What: ZeeVee introduced the ZyPerMX2, a two-channel IP encoder for distributing two independent HD sources over IP networks employing 1Gb or faster switches. The What Else: The new ZyPerMX2 encodes and distributes HD video content up to 1080p at 60Hz and supports both multicast and unicast UDP and RTP encoding, making it a cost-effective solution for most corporate and commercial HD video-over-IP applications. Integrators and end users can communicate directly with the encoder using the built-in web server that provides full access to configuration parameters, control, and other features. Once connected to the network, the IP settings on the encoder can be configured automatically by a DHCP server or can be entered manually in static mode. The Bottom Line: The ZyPerMX2 can also pass through up to four channels of embedded audio in Linear PCM, MPEG-1 Audio Layer 2, and other formats, making it a suitable AV distribution solution for churches, stadiums, and other public venues that need an affordable long-distance audio solution. Built-in PoE capability provides the option to eliminate the need for additional remote electrical outlets to complete projects.

AUDINATE DANTE AV The What: Audinate has launched Dante AV, an integrated audio and video-over-IP solution for manufacturers. The What Else: Dante AV is designed to solve problems of networked video and audio synchronization, utilizing a single network clock for sub-microsecond accuracy. With Dante AV, audio and video signals are independently routable in a single interface using the Dante Controller software. Manufacturers can also take advantage of Dante API to customize their management user interface. Dante AV solves time alignment issues and eliminates the need for audio de-embedders in applications such as sports bars, live events, and multi-zoned AV systems for tight lip sync everywhere. The Dante AV Module supports one video channel and eight bi-directional channels of uncompressed Dante audio. The Dante AV Module is well suited for manufacturers creating 1Gb video-over-IP products and includes Dante control, transport, and synchronization. The Bottom Line: Dante AV is a complete integrated audio and video networking solution designed to bring to video all the benefits of Dante’s audio over IP solution: discovery, ease-of-use, and integrated control. Dante AV enables complete interoperability with more than 1,600 Dante-enabled audio products already on the market.

The What: ClearOne has announced the immediate market availability of COLLABORATE Live, a series of four video collaboration solutions designed to provide a complete video collaboration experience for any size room. The What Else: For large boardrooms, auditoriums, conference rooms, lecture halls, courtrooms, training centers, and telemedicine facilities, COLLABORATE Live 900 delivers a professional-quality collaboration system solution featuring a combination of video components integrated with advanced audio DSP technology. COLLABORATE Live 600 is a video collaboration system that delivers clear, full-duplex audio for medium-sized conference room environments. The COLLABORATE Live 300 system is engineered for users looking for a complete small-room and executive office video collaboration solution. Rounding out the product line is COLLABORATE Live 200, a new video collaboration system with ultra-wide angle video capture, critical for viewing all conference participants in huddle spaces and smaller room environments. The Bottom Line: COLLABORATE Live is designed to empower users to collaborate in any size room environment, with high-quality audio and video, interactive whiteboard, presentation, recording, streaming, and cloud connectivity.

IDK IP-NINJAR/DANTE AUDIO BRIDGE The What: The SDVoE Alliance and IDK Corporation have announced a new product that links Dante audio networking technology with the SDVoE ecosystem. IDK’s new IP-NINJAR/Dante Audio Bridge (model: NJR-AB08DAN) transcodes audio signals directly between the SDVoE and Dante protocol environments. The What Else: Audio signal transport is enabled from NJR transmitters to Dante devices and from Dante device to NJR receivers. Each NJRAB08DAN can receive up to four audio streams from IP-NINJAR transmitters outputting up to eight channels in Dante protocol. Additionally, each bridge can accept up to eight channels of audio from Dante sources, outputting IP-NINJAR (SDVoE) protocol in up to four audio streams. This feature enables Dante audio embedding on HDMI signals and de-embedding through analog audio outputs at IP-NINJAR receivers. The Bottom Line: The bridge eliminates third-party converters and processors, which enhances system design flexibility while streamlining architecture, eliminating interoperability guesswork, and optimizing reliability.

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cators provide clear visual cues for indicating current talk and mute state, and RF interference suppression prevents interference from mobile phones and laptops. The Bottom Line: These microphones support conference rooms, education spaces, and a variety of professional use cases that can benefit from great sounding conference audio capture in large- and medium-sized rooms and over the web.

1 BEYOND AUTOTRACKER 3 The What: 1 Beyond has begun shipping the 1 Beyond AutoTracker 3 camera, the latest version of the company’s presenter tracking camera. 1 Beyond AutoTracker cameras use a combination of motion and facial detection, and require no mats, lanyards, or any other external hardware for operation. The What Else: The new AutoTracker 3 camera will most notably feature Power over Ethernet (PoE+) and a new software manager in addition to improved tracking and higher quality wide-angle camera. With the addition of PoE+, the AutoTracker 3 camera can now be controlled, powered, and monitored over a single network connection, making installing the camera simpler as fewer cables need to be run. The AutoTracker 3 camera also comes with the new 1 Beyond Camera Manager software which is able to control multiple cameras across subnets of a network and allows up to four camera streams to be viewed simultaneously. The Bottom Line: Hundreds of universities and corporations have adopted the AutoTracker camera as their standard for lecture capture, videoconferencing, training, and many other applications due to its design, which eliminates the need for camera or system operators.

JUPITER CATALYST XL The What: Jupiter by InFocus has debuted its new flagship Catalyst XL display wall processor, featuring ultra-fast bandwidth and data transfer, high memory capacity, 4K and 8K capture board technology, and realtime document and video annotation capability. The What Else: The processor can power up to 48 displays and a maximum of 156 4K IP and direct inputs, with a density of processing power that allows for fewer input/output boards to reduce an installation’s hardware footprint. Catalyst XL is available with a four-channel HDMI input board capable of ingesting resolutions up to 4K per input, and which can be synchronized for 8K capture. Using point-to-point technology, Catalyst XL offers bandwidth at bidirectional speeds of 15.8GB/s PCIe Gen 3 x 16 that enables direct data sending without needing to go through system memory. Next-generation DirectGMA technology enables the processor to maintain frame synchronization while handling high-speed data transfer from the capture board to one or more GPU boards. The Bottom Line: Catalyst XL is designed to support enterprise as well as mission-critical, 24/7 operations that require video quality and uptime, both for single video wall installations and those on a corporate network with multiple connected video walls.

AKG CBL SERIES The What: Harman Professional Solutions has introduced the AKG CBL Series Boundary Layer Microphones, available in two coverage patterns to support a variety of meeting space sizes and shapes. The What Else: Featuring talk/mute controls and screw terminals, the CBL Series is designed to be easy to install, easy to use, and make meetings sound great. Both models include bright, easily identifiable LED cues for meeting participants to indicate current talk or mute status. Key features include multiple form factors, so users can choose from dual or triple element to meet the requirements of any installation; a low profile that minimally disrupts the table surface; screw terminals to simplify installation; and a touch I/O that allows users to change talk and mute state simply by touching the mic. In addition, LED ring indi-

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How It’s Done




roper AV design is a balancing act. Designers must evaluate and weigh the goals and needs of the client carefully. Many clients come with ambitious expectations and leave it up to the designer to help bring their vision in line with their budget. Choosing the right AV equipment for the job requires open communication with the client, clear goals, and more often than not, managing expectations. BUDGET DEMANDS Some clients know they have a low budget and are fine with that. The designer must take extra care prioritizing where the money in the project needs to go. On the other end is the “Best Design” scenario, where cost is no object, and the maximum functionality can be engineered. AESTHETICS AND RELIABILITY Some clients will want to pay particular attention to the aesthetics of the design. While the functional demands are still a concern, the client may want the visible components and the user interfaces to seamlessly blend with the environment or to have a particularly high-tech feel. Other clients, such as those in military and Network Operations Centers (NOCs), will put the greatest emphasis on the serviceability and reliability of the system. If systems fail for any reason, they need to be brought back online with minimal effort in the shortest time possible. SCALING TO ROOM SIZE AND DEVICE DEMAND


The design of an AV control system is largely driven by the needs of the user and the number of components that require control. Wall-mounted pushbutton controllers are ideal for single-display systems with a limited number of sources. They offer simplified control through an easy-to-operate interface, thanks to their fixed arrangements of well-labeled buttons. For more complex systems, control processors provide Ethernet-enabled control and are available in a verity of sizes. They are designed to work with touchpanels and button panel user interfaces. Control processors should be able to manage, monitor, and control AV devices, such as projectors and audio processors, using a standard Ethernet network. In addition, they should support web-based remote diagnostics, AV resource management, and support. For larger rooms or rooms that share resources, look for customizable, integration-friendly button panels that are designed to share a common control processor. In these applications, multiple button panels could also be linked together by a single proprietary or Ethernet cable that carries both power and communication. Deciding whether to use a button panel or a touchpanel comes down to three basic factors: budget, number of devices to be supported, and level of control necessary. Button-based user interfaces work well for applications that have limited functionality and that require more cost-effective solutions. They function well as replacements for a display’s handheld IR remote, provid-

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Extron offers a range of control solutions suited to nearly any kind of AV system design.

ing user-friendly control for power, volume, and input selection. Touchpanels are better suited for applications that require more functionality, or a more aesthetically pleasing control interface. Touchpanels are also ideal for larger systems that require interactive feedback from the control system. Effective use of graphics on the touchpanel can be used for corporate branding and added aesthetic appeal. Some systems may benefit by using a combination of touchpanels and button panels when more granular control is desired. NETWORK CONNECTIVITY FOR WEB CONTROL Web-based resource management provides a powerful, flexible way to manage, monitor, and control equipment like projectors, displays, monitors, media players, and other devices using a standard TCP/ IP network. Remote helpdesk functionality provides a number of time-saving tools for technicians, including the ability to easily navigate between rooms, manage each system with multiple tools, remotely interact with the control products using visual representations, and see system notifications all within one view. Joe da Silva is the director of product marketing at Extron Electronics.


Profile for Future PLC

AV Technology 112 - March 2019  

Global Sensations. Juniper Networks' Pete Kolak On Standardizing An International Company's Communications.

AV Technology 112 - March 2019  

Global Sensations. Juniper Networks' Pete Kolak On Standardizing An International Company's Communications.