Issue 214 /September 2018
AV INTEGRATION IN A NETWORKED WORLD
The future is AVaaS
Managed services and G Cloud
Insight on ISEâ€™s big move
Adding the personal touch
Enhancing the visitor experience through personalisation
NETWORK EFFECT The present and future of networked AV
The next chapter
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o doubt it will take some getting used to - seeing a face that isn’t Paddy Baker’s welcoming an issue of Installation - and for those of you still blissfully unaware - after 11 years, the esteemed editor, and pillar of the AV community, has taken his considerable talents (and legendary suits) to the content marketing team at ISE. While greatly missed, Paddy’s leaving has created the perfect segue to the second biggest announcement ISE has made this year. I am of course referring to the news that ISE will relocate to Barcelona’s Gran Via from 2021. Due to the show’s runaway success, rumours have been circulating for the last couple of years about if the RAI could sustain the show and whether it would mean more halls, more days or a new Duncan Proctor, Deputy Editor venue altogether. firstname.lastname@example.org In the immediate aftermath of the news, it was interesting to talk @install8ion to people from different areas of the industry to find out opinions on the move. Despite the substantial sentimental pull that Amsterdam elicits from those who have attended the show for a few years, the consensus was that Barcelona is the right choice for ISE’s next chapter, both from the perspective of the venue and the city. A slight fear of the unknown after 14 years at one venue is to be expected, but there is also acknowledgement that this move illustrates the health of the industry and there is a great deal of excitement about the development of the show going forward.
Chief executive Zillah Byng-Thorne Non-executive chairman Peter Allen Chief financial officer Penny Ladkin-Brand Tel +44 (0)1225 442 244
‘The hope is that it will provide an opportunity to some of the smaller players in the industry’ The sheer size of the Gran Via means that the topic of ISE outgrowing Barcelona is unlikely to be floated anytime soon. It includes 200,000sqm of exhibition floorspace across eight halls, which will be a welcome relief for those accustomed to wading through the crowds on the first or second day of any ISE show from the last few years. What will also be interesting is how the next couple of ISE shows at the RAI pan out considering current projections have close to 100,000 people attending ISE 2020. The relocation means different things to different parts of the industry, with leading manufacturers looking forward to expanding booths, something that has largely been restricted at the RAI. However, the hope is also that it will provide an opportunity to some of the smaller players in the industry, and those that, for the last few years, have been pushed to the margins during AV’s flagship show. To provide all the details on the decision-making process, we have an interview with Mike Blackman (page 12), where he also elaborates on what the venue change means for the show. Conceivably, could it double in size within the next 10 years?
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14 Special Report: Networked AV 20 Mind the gap
Increasing convergence and interoperability are changing the face of AV networking, but how clear are the choices in terms of solutions and protocols and what new challenges does the current landscape present?
26 What’s the endgame?
We get the thoughts of a cross section of the industry on how networked AV is evolving and look at the impact the growing IT presence is having on products and projects
Rob Lane on the latest meeting space and collaboration trends Spiros Andreou reveals the next steps for integrators looking to embrace AV as a Service David Martens discusses the evolution of enterprise security 14 Interview Electrosonic’s new CEO Jon Hancock provides insights on what integrators will need to do more of in the future to adapt and compete 46 Last Word Jenny Hicks gives a distributor’s perspective on the current changes in workplace technology
12 ISE 2021: moving to Barcelona 16 Show Previews:
IBC2018 and PLASA Show 2018
32 Scottish Submarine Centre, Helensburgh
Visitors are taken inside a Cold War-era submarine using the latest projection mapping and VR technology 34 Stony Brook University, New York This reputable learning institute was in need of a conferencing equipment upgrade to deliver effective communication in its largest conference room 36 Royal Geographical Society, London A vastly improved audio system has been installed in the flagship theatre of this leading learning centre delivering precise sound and reliability 38 Solutions in Brief Including an energy-efficient lighting install aboard the world’s largest cruise ship; a Mumbai concept café audio upgrade; and cityscape projection mapping in a New York City gallery
41 New Products
Contributors: Spiros Andreou, Michael Crimp, David Davies, Jenny Hicks, Rob Lane, David Martens, Ian McMurray Special thanks: Aimee Birch, Gemma Fabian, Anna Skudarnova Cover Image: Thinkstock
28 Visitor attractions
We consider whether personalisation and shared experiences can coexist in museums and visitor attractions and look at the latest tech being deployed to immerse guests
Including Clevertouch, Vision, Apantac and Vaddio
06 OPINION: ON THE AGENDA
Rob Lane All hail the huddle Small is beautiful…
nless you’ve spent the last year or so on a deserted island, you’ll be well aware of the current overused buzzwords in corporate AV: collaboration and huddle. One doesn’t need to huddle to collaborate, of course, but the current trend is certainly to keep things tight, with furniture and AV companies reaping the rewards of the growing demand for techedup huddle spaces. In essence such spaces are smaller meeting rooms meant for informal, ad hoc chats, small team presentations, brainstorming sessions, or videoconferences with remote workers. It was only a few short years ago that a company’s meeting spaces were essentially limited to large conference rooms or boardrooms: ideal for a full-on, 16-person get together, but somewhat barn-like when only hosting a small, two or four-person meeting. Today, two, four or six-person rooms are commonplace, with a less formal, more agile ethos in the way workers meet. Informal, impromptu collaboration is seen as more efficient and creative than the planned, everyone is invited, bore-fest meetings of yesteryear. According to Wainhouse Research, there are now more than 50 million of these huddle rooms across the world – and not all of them are corporate-based. Increasingly they are being utilised in public spaces such as libraries, train stations and museum lobbies, as well as in higher education.
Huge influence Millennials, of course, are having a huge
influence on the use of technology in education, as well as corporations. They expect the latest technology – the best kit at their fingertips – and it’s no coincidence that the rise of huddle spaces across all sectors coincides with the influx of millennials into education and business. This workplace revolution has filtered down to education from enterprise, with higher education establishments reconfiguring the way students and educators interact in lectures and informal/ formal meetings.
‘Global organisations now fully understand the benefits that agile working brings’
creating small, conferencing-ready huddle spaces within these open plan, Googleesque, office ‘villages’. By signing up to the Google way of doing things enterprises have invited playfulness into their organisations, tapping into this latent ability to play amongst employees, helping to boost both ideas and productivity. It’s no coincidence that huddle space design taps into this playful ethos, with bright colours and stylish, Star Trek-like finishes helping to boost the desirability of huddling. Interestingly, although Wainhouse estimates that up to 50 million huddle spaces exist, only a small minority are equipped with more than a table and seating – and such equipment is hardly high-tech: a “standard dry erase or flipchart”, according to Wainhouse.
Increased revenues Wainhouse Research opines that 55% of younger workers are influencing conferencing managers for an increase in video solutions in the workplace, while 75% demand more mobile solutions. Huddle spaces, of course can tick both of these boxes. Today’s workers are able to utilise huddle spaces to more easily conference with colleagues across the globe or with those working locally from home, before walking a few feet to their favourite in-office café hot desk where they can pick up the work thread over a flat white, with or without a colleague. Global organisations now fully understand the benefits that agile working brings, and AV integrators are being tasked with
So it’s hardly a surprise that integrators have realised the huge potential for increased revenues: with so many tech-poor huddle spaces crying out for collaboration technology, there’s certainly a few bucks to be made, and companies such as Harman/Samsung and Polycom have tweaked their technology offerings to fill this gap in the market. What once was seen as a smaller segment of the broader conference and collaboration industries has become a burgeoning industry in its own right. Time to get involved if you haven’t already done so… Rob Lane is owner of Bigger Boat PR. He likes a good huddle and can’t stand large PowerPoint meetings
08 OPINION: ON THE AGENDA
Spiros Andreou The future is AVaaS
Managed services and a more IT-literate procurement process are the next steps for AV integrators
V as a Service has been talked about in this industry for some years now with many integrators beginning to offer managed services to their clients. I think it’s undeniable that the future is in service and support rather than unit sales. Traditional equipment supply and install is breaking down, there’s no margin left, and the barrier to entry is low for new local competitors, so much so that many integrators are now selling kit at near cost to focus on service and maintenance contracts. This combined with another major change in the sector, the ‘IT-ification’ of AV, has meant G Cloud has been coming up in conversations recently. A UK government initiative, the G Cloud framework is designed to make procurement of cloud services easier for public sector bodies – suppliers describe the services they can provide, and buyers simply search the G Cloud catalogue to find the service that best meets their needs.
Huge opportunity As IT continues to invade the AV world, I’m having more and more conversations with CIOs, CTOs and IT managers who are more used to this style of procurement than the traditional AV frameworks, which are overly focused on product. When it comes to engaging with IT departments, speaking their language and working in a way that suits their style is crucial if we are to bridge the gap between how AV and IT operate, and benefit from the huge opportunity the IT sector represents. With the vast majority of meeting rooms now equipped by IT departments rather than AV managers, we believe G Cloud has the potential to disrupt the sector while also offering added flexibility
to the integrator who can target the IT industry without a protracted procurement process and without having to be on tender frameworks where service is still an afterthought. We’ve joined G Cloud 10 with a number of disruptive technologies covering cloud-based
‘We believe G Cloud has the potential to disrupt the sector while also offering added flexibility to the integrator’
digital signage and AV control and management systems. These systems have the potential to transform the industry with their low cost of ownership as well as the added flexibility and reduced risk they offer. Customers will be able to come to market more quickly, and have the flexibility of scaling up or down easily and without massive costs. Should they want to grow their digital signage network anywhere in the world, we’ll be able to grow with them without massive cost or time implications for the customer; similarly there’s no need to invest in a hardwarebased room control solution, when a cloud solution will do the job effectively, enabling the addition and removal of rooms with the click of a mouse. This gives organisations the ability to move campus or office, with just an internet connection needed to control their AV and BMS systems. In the future, I see this trend developing further with more cloud-based AV and packaged solutions offering conferencing, control and
more within a screen to suit meeting rooms, classrooms and many other spaces. AV devices will have AVoIP, collaboration, videoconferencing and more all built in and connecting to the cloud.
Positive outlook All of this suggests a positive outlook for the customer as the industry heads towards its own Blockbuster moment. In IT the focus is on the user experience, making it as easy and intuitive to use devices as possible – think Netflix rather than video rental store. The customer experience is significantly better in the cloud, rather than having to rely on a specialist team to manage and operate a cabinet full of boxes, anyone can access what they need with ease. While there will always be a place for specialists, this will be more in spaces such as theatres rather than in corporates or the public sector. But is the future less rosy for integrators, especially as they’re losing influence when it comes to specifying equipment? There is currently a big gulf between AV and IT solutions and there is a battle going on here that I believe will be won by IT on volume. IT has very different support packages and it’s worth keeping an eye on developments in this area. While the industry will continue to change, integrators that focus on the customer experience, work to ensure that IT understands their offering and evolve their business to a revenue model can be sure of exciting times ahead. Spiros Andreou is service delivery manager at CDEC.
10 OPINION: ON THE AGENDA
The changing face of enterprise security How is the evolution of workplace technology affecting security concerns?
s any integrator and installer will know, day-to-day users of technology in the workplace don’t worry about security all that much. Of course, there are those who do care very deeply about security – IT professionals, facilities managers, integrators and installers. And with good reason – companies are facing more and more security threats every day. In the last couple of years, most largescale international companies have taken a structured approach to security, with policies and procedures clearly being defined and integrated. And in the next few years, security will become increasingly important for SMEs. Data is increasingly becoming the lifeblood of businesses of all sizes, and companies for whom it isn’t business critical are now few and far between.
Integrating technology Integration and interactivity are also now equally important elements, as ‘standalone solutions’ no longer really exist. Technologies need to integrate with other systems – often from competing manufacturers – with minimal hassle and a seamless experience for the user. It is key for companies to look two or three years ahead and anticipate what future technologies will be needed, so this compatibility can be built into their system design. Companies will need to take into consideration the security challenges these technologies will present. The rise of AI within enterprise environments for example, in the next five to 10 years, has the potential to present a whole new level of enterprise security threats. Even today, there is no longer a separate ‘AV world’ and ‘IT world’. AV devices are run on the company network, whether this is for
management or for technology update reasons, and must comply and be fully acceptable with IT systems. For wireless AV presentation technology, there are methods to ensure that it is secure. If companies use button technology, then they must be confident that the system itself is immune to hacking. When using a softwarebased system, the security will come from the company’s broader IT systems, which need to be robust. And for any wireless transmission, it is important to have security encryption present.
the behaviour of people in a meeting room and what functions they are using. The resolution of tech issues will become far more predictive. AI technology will however present a whole new set of security challenges for companies. Facial recognition technologies will mean that more personal information and behaviour is captured in meeting room environments. Integrators and installers will need to preempt the security challenges around storing this data, by building security into meeting room technology systems and being prepared to advise companies on how
Future enterprise technology When you ask people what technological development will have the most significant impact on future workspaces, AI wins hands down. But at the same time, few really understand the practical changes that we’ll see in our day-to-day working lives due to AI. The current view that AI is an all-changing, seismic event and something to be feared if misplaced. AI technology will more likely manifest in incremental but important improvements. AI has the potential to improve meeting room environments, by making meetings more productive for employees due to the time saving elements offered by virtual assistance. Machine learning will soon detect employees’ presence and behaviour in the meeting room and react to it, enhancing the meeting room experience. Integrators and installers could benefit from AI, as they gain an improved understanding of how meeting room technology is being deployed by staff, by gathering insights and analytics from AI technology about how each room is being used. With all devices interconnected over the network, it will become easier for installers to understand
‘Integration and interactivity are also now equally important elements, as “standalone solutions” no longer really exist’
data will be collected and used by this technology. As data security becomes increasingly critical, peace of mind around security challenges is something that businesses are going to be looking for from both AV and IT systems. The true value of integrators lies in supporting business growth and helping to usher in the smart office of tomorrow, while keeping workplace security as the top priority. David Martens is product security architect at Barco
Movin’ on up Managing director, Mike Blackman discusses the ins and outs of ISE’s move to Barcelona
rom 2021, the world’s biggest AV trade show will relocate 1,000 miles south to Barcelona, after 14 years at the RAI Amsterdam (and 17 years total). The new base for the show will be the Gran Via, which has 200,000sqm of space (almost four times that of the RAI), making it one of Europe’s largest purpose-built exhibition centres. It is capable of accommodating more than 110,000 visitors and 2,400-plus exhibitors inside its eight halls. “We’re at the beginning of a bigger and better journey,” Mike Blackman told sister title AV Technology Europe. “It’s been a long journey since our first show in 2004, and now we’re at the beginning of a new one.” Each year, attendance numbers continue to rise by around 6%, “We’re on 81,000 at the moment, so by 2019 we’ll probably be looking at 85,000, by 2020 that will be around 90,000 and by 2021, we’ll be between 95,000 and 100,000. That’s conservative. “If we look at the floor space, based on our expectations, my honest belief based on where the industry is going and what’s happening and where we see potential growth, I believe within 10 years, we can double the size of the show. We’re at 55,000 net square metres right now and we believe we can double the size of the show
within 10 years.” Even the addition of Hall 15 this year failed to alleviate the problem. “When we decided to put on the big pavilion at the front of the RAI, it filled up straight away,” explained Blackman. “That really caught us off-guard, because we felt we still had space to grow. Sadly, we were faced with a situation that meant we couldn’t accommodate everyone and those smaller stands at the bottom of the list no longer had a space to exhibit. It’s terrible to think you’re turning business away, but we didn’t have any other option. We’ve helped to rectify that by taking another pavilion for ISE 2019, which will accommodate some, but not all of them.” It was this predicament that proved to be a defining moment for ISE in Amsterdam, with the decision to leave decided in April. The RAI was informed of the decision in May. “Ultimately, for us to be able grow and reach the level and potential we truly believe the show can achieve, we needed a bigger venue,” he said. “We matched what they could provide over the next 10 years against what we believe will happen to the show during the same period. What we saw immediately was that the gap between what we needed and what the RAI could provide was getting further apart. We went back to them and asked how realistic
some of their proposals for expansion were, they were honest and told us that they couldn’t make any promises. At that point, we explained that we had to work on our plan B.” Plan B kicked into gear 18 months ago, starting with ISE holding numerous discussions and conducting surveys with selected exhibitors and attendees to get an accurate consensus on the show remaining at the RAI and a possible move away. During this time, Blackman also began visiting and holding discussions with leading venues in cities across Europe to find a suitable replacement. While space was a primary need, there were a long list of others requirements to factor in before a final decision could be made. These included securing the availability and reasonable pricing for hotels, transportation both to Barcelona and getting to and from the show. Blackman concluded: “The RAI have been and remains a great partner for us. I’ve always been straight with them and they’ve always been straight with us. It’s a great city and its really embraced ISE over the years. “We’ll miss Amsterdam, but the long-term future for ISE is in Barcelona.”
14 INTERVIEW: JON HANCOCK, ELECTROSONIC
Colliding markets What was it about Electrosonic that appealed to you? I got a call from a headhunter who talked to me about Electrosonic and I just thought that it was really interesting. I’d been on some of the ride systems we do in the US and I was really inspired by some of the cool things that the company did. One of the things I’d really missed working for a large Indian corporate firm was that you lose the dynamism and the culture of adapting. I really enjoyed the conversations I had with the leadership team, for me it seemed very people-centric. You’ve been in the job about six weeks now, what was your first order of business? For me as a leader joining any professional services business, the first order of the day is meeting the people. I’ve probably spent the last four weeks on the road around all of our offices in the UK and US. I’ve been meeting clients, hearing some of the success stories and getting up to speed with the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead of us.
Electrosonic’s new CEO talks to Duncan Proctor about the consequences of the changing AV/IT landscape and reveals the integrator’s future direction Firstly, could you tell me a bit about your background and the stages of your career up to now. I started my career in retail banking. I then went into professional services 20-odd years ago when I joined Accenture (or Andersen Consulting as it was) and spent a couple of years there earning bootcamp stripes in management consulting and business process change. I left there feeling that I wanted something a bit more and I joined a small management consultancy, which quickly got acquired by an IT specialist consultancy. I really grew my career in
that field, mainly in the enterprise apps space. We ran a UK listed business that when I joined was $100m and when we got acquired was $700m. At the point of acquisition in 2009 I was chief operating officer. I continued in effectively the same role in a much bigger Indian IT services firm. My responsibility at the point I left there recently was for all applications project work in any of our applications technologies. I had 2 or 3,000 people in my world by the end of my time there. I was keen to move from the IT and applications space into the technology sector.
As someone with an IT background coming to AV, have you identified any major issues facing the AV industry? The changes we’ve seen in the AV industry over the last 10 years, I think we’ll see far more changes over the next 10 years. You see some of this in the fundamental technology shifts in the corporate world away from owned IP infrastructure conference systems to hosted conference systems. This year in the entertainment and tech world – less simple projection, more LED. One of the interesting things for me, when I’ve been out meeting people, particularly service engineers, is the conversation now is much more about “well I don’t need a screwdriver, now I need a laptop”. And that’s a fundamental shift for a lot of people. One of the things I hear talked about in our business is that as more devices are IP-enabled, the opportunity for convergence between the industries grows significantly. I think particularly in our services business we’ll see significant change as IT and AV converge. And then I think on the front-end as design of experiences becomes much more integrated between what
you can do with technology in AV, in addition to broader disruptive technologies, I think again that’ll be a huge opportunity for us. AV and IT convergence – do you see the opportunities rather than the threats? I do see it as a huge opportunity. I see the opportunity in the market-facing side of the business. For example in how we innovate and improve the experience for the people, for our customers. I think it presents opportunities to lower cost of ownership through the service business, the after sale service business in particular, as well as in the opportunity for more remote commissioning, etc. It does also present some challenges and I think if you look at IT, the worlds of IT and applications and infrastructure have become much more commoditised over the last 10 years, and continues to be. It’s very hard to sell value. Most of your bid process becomes about cost and I think one of the risks in the AV industry is that it becomes more and more commoditised as IT and AV come together. Expanding on that, how do you tackle undercutting on AV projects? At Electrosonic we see ourselves as a premium provider of both quality and value. And we see ourselves as engineering experts more than anything else – it’s not about the hardware, that is an enabler. In a bid process we’re not afraid to step away and say “the client is going in the wrong direction here, having the cheapest possible solution isn’t the right answer”. This applies not just in narrow AV/projection but also in acoustics, ICT setups, etc. If you choose something with the cheapest price as the buying criteria, frankly you can get an end user experience that is poor. As an engineering-led company, we believe the experience is what matters and if the client is willing to invest to get to the right answer then we are on that journey with them. That’s how we see ourselves and I think you can see it in other industries like IT. My last couple of years in a much more application-centric IT environment had been dominated by the race to the bottom. We won’t be immune to that and we will see pressure around our cost base, around our locations, and how we service clients. You have to find a way to demonstrate the value you bring as an organisation, some clients won’t value that. It’s similar to the supermarket or auto model. You know that premium supermarkets and discounters are different things; you know that some auto brands offer different experiences on the same chassis. As a consumer we know these are different things, and that’s how I view the market and customers have choices to make – some will choose the discounters.
INTERVIEW: JON HANCOCK, ELECTROSONIC With your IT background, do you think that gives Electrosonic a leg-up on some other integrators? I do – I haven’t seen other integrators embrace IT in the same way. Having joined the industry, it’s really interesting from my perspective because the AV industry talks about itself as an AV industry, yet talks about the convergence between AV and IT. And the fact that the AV industry talks about the AV industry suggests to me that actually we haven’t understood what convergence means. Maybe there won’t be something called an AV industry in the future, maybe it’ll be something around experiences in IT.
‘Maybe there won’t be something called an AV industry in the future, maybe it’ll be something around experiences in IT’
With IT being so much bigger than AV, do those in IT understand what AV does? And is that now starting to change? I do think that’s changing, and I think you are starting to see some of the more traditional IT services firms, particularly around videoconferencing and corporate, encroaching on the space that has been traditionally AV. I think in the world of corporate clients you are seeing the AV and IT domains married up. Where in the past it’s been more facilitiescentric, a number of our major customers see AV as being an IT-managed domain. I think that will cause significant change in the industry because it’s more evidence that the markets are colliding when your clients are telling you that effectively AV is a sub-discipline of IT now. That doesn’t affect every client, but we have major financial services clients that now have AV managed by IT providers. When your appointment was announced you talked about taking the company to its next phase of development - what is that next phase? And what are your hopes for the company in the short and mid-term? Six weeks in I’m still on a journey of understanding where the strengths of the business are and how we might leverage opportunity. We are in our planning process at the moment and what I’m fairly clear on is a number of tenets. One of them of course is around the convergence of AV and IT and what opportunities that presents to us. Both in
terms of improved end user experience, but also reduced cost of ownership. The other area we are very clear we need to further expand our footprint is in professional services. As a business we’ve always done some design of systems and then focussed on the integration piece, and historically we’ve had reasonable focus on the service piece but not to the same degree as our competitors. I think we will see much more focus on the professional services end of the business, in the upfront design, representing owners in the implementation and in post implementation services. In the past, professional services represented around 30% of Electrosonic’s business. Our goal is to lead with this practice. And can you think long-term and what is longterm to you at this point? As you know, Electrosonic is owned by a family business and long-term for them is 20 years, which really is quite a long time. We’ll be mapping out the next 3-4 years and investing to go on that journey and we’ll be clarifying that over the course of the rest of this year as part of our strategic planning process now that I’m on board. The other tenets for me are much more about where do we see vertical market growth and where do we see geographic market growth. One of the reasons for having a chief exec come into the group is to say not only in technology terms ‘what is the future?’ but in geography terms and in vertical market terms ‘what’s the future for the business?’ How do you view the AV industry’s move to an experience-creation model? Does it offer opportunities for an integrator like Electrosonic? Absolutely. Not just in the AV domain but in many domains – the way we experience technology is changing and I think that’s an exciting and challenging element for the market. As we look forward I think we will see much more of how we create that experience in some of our markets that haven’t seen that before. We’ve done a lot of work in theme parks in terms of how you create a ‘wow’ experience with your AV capability. Then the question becomes how do you bring that to a more traditional AV world in for example the corporate sector. How does what we do in theme parks enable us to think differently in executive briefing centres or huddle rooms or other interaction points within corporate life.
16 SHOW PREVIEW: IBC2018
Broadening its scope Michael Crimp, CEO at IBC reveals what to expect from the show’s 51st outing
BC2018 promises to delve into all the new technological developments – and the business implications they present. This is a key factor in the ongoing relevance and development of IBC. It may be an odd thing to say, but in a technological industry it is not only the technologies themselves that are exciting. Certainly there are big things happening; I think we will see big advances in areas like artificial intelligence, 5G and blockchain, not to mention the shift to IP connectivity and software-defined topologies; the convergence of broadcast, IT and telecoms; and the search for new formats, whether that is UHD or virtual reality. For me, the real excitement comes when these raw technologies are put into action. IBC puts these ideas in front of people who can imagine the possibilities and create the applications that transform our creativity and our business models.
in different sectors, or small start-ups with no advertising budget, that may have just the workflow or product or idea that will make a big difference to your business. IBC is a great place for those collaborations to be incubated. This diversity is reflected in the conference programme. While the IBC Conference was founded on technical papers – and they remain absolutely central to the programme – this year they are woven more closely into broader sessions, so that the underlying technology is handled alongside the operational and business implications, putting all sides of the story in the same place. We will see new ideas from
‘The broadening of the industry into adjacent markets also means that there are wildly successful companies you’ve never heard of in different sectors’
Development The last stage of development in IBC was a move away from a purely engineering-based event to one which attracts debate from the creative, operational and commercial sides of media businesses, because amazing technology is meaningless if it doesn’t gel within a workflow or it costs more than it earns. The broadening of the industry into adjacent markets also means that there are wildly successful companies you’ve never heard of
converging markets and emerging technologies from nascent companies as well as leaders from broadcast organisations that are successfully evolving with the new technology available, showing how the underlying technology is handled alongside the operational and business implications. With over 400 expert speakers across six dedicated streams, there will be much to learn and discuss.
What? IBC2018 Where? RAI Amsterdam When? Conference: 13-17 September Exhibition: 14-18 September As well as the conference, we have 15 exhibition halls full of all the players in this rapidly changing industry. We are also seeing exhibitors evolve in the way they tell their stories; it’s no longer about black boxes with blinking lights, and they need to sell less tangible (though no less important) products and services as software or in the cloud – so they are devising clear, compelling and exciting ways to present them. We are expecting more than 57,000 people from around the world this year, and I encourage you all to immerse yourselves in the whole experience. Drop into conference sessions that interest you, or that you know nothing about. Visit the IBC Future Zone, our regular space given over to the hit products of five years in the future. But above all, talk to people. Share your knowledge and experiences, and seize the opportunity to be a part of the big global debate.
18 SHOW PREVIEW: PLASA SHOW 2018
Renewed focus P
Big brands, debuts and the latest tech are heading to London for PLASA Show 2018
LASA Show, now in its 41st year, returns to London Olympia on 16-18 September, providing a stage for the world of events and entertainment technology. Last year marked a return to form for the show with a 23% increase in the number of audio exhibitors and this year that number is set to go up another 18%, showing faith from the industry has been duly restored. Bose, Yamaha, Epson and ArKaos are among the 200 brands exhibiting at the show, along with 48 seminars with 58 expert speakers. And, with last year’s showfloor selling out, extra stands have been released for smaller companies representing all sectors of the industry, from DJ and installation, to worship and education. Many brands will be launching and debuting products in the UK for the first time, including: Allen & Heath, Bose, DiGiCo and Avolites. On what to expect at this year’s show, managing director Peter Heath comments: “It will be the most balanced programme with more audio exhibitors, including the likes of L-Acoustics, joining the already strong lighting and video businesses. We will even have audio demos running throughout the show from a number of loudspeaker manufacturers.”
Sessions Running parallel to the showfloor, a number of industry-leaders and seasoned experts will deliver talks, panels and hands-on training sessions. “Immersive audio is a big topic as are
rigging topics including aerial events, lighting and audio modelling and analysis and audio mixing techniques,” adds Heath. Avnu Alliance representatives Genio Kronauer of L-Acoustics, and Henning Kaltheuler of d&b audiotechnik will present ‘The new application layer protocol for guaranteed future-proof AV networks’, discussing how the Avnu pro AV specifications and certification programme promises deterministic, reliable, and futureproof delivery of networked media. Audio experts Britannia Row Productions are hosting a series of seminars to help both the younger generation and seasoned professionals. They will discuss the future of immersive audio, outline their training courses, run a demonstration of speaker system prediction software, and assist sound engineer Simon Hodge to build a mix from scratch using a multitrack recording. The SoundGirls make their debut at PLASA Show with a future-focused panel looking to bring the audience closer with live mixing apps, immersive sound systems and a new generation of technology. Elsewhere on the programme, Brandon Eckstorm will showcase Vectorworks Spotlight, the ABTT return with updates on Technical Standards for Places of Entertainment, and a panel with the Association of Lighting Designers and the Association of Sound Designers will brainstorm on collaboration. New for this year is a dedicated Rigging, Production and Structures Theatre, which will
What? PLASA Show 2018 Where? London Olympia, National Hall When? 16-18 September offer free-to-attend content throughout the show. The sessions will address topics such as load monitoring, aerial rigging kinematics, automation, simple calculations and working from trusses. For audio professionals, Sennheiser will offer sessions focussing on their Speechline Digital Wireless System, and the Audio Demo Room will be presenting the latest loudspeakers from leading brands including OHM, Shermann, KV2 Audio, Aura Audio and RCF. “Last year’s sold out 40th anniversary is a hard act to follow, but we have strived to remain on the cutting edge of the entertainment industry and are excited to present the very latest technologies and projects of the biggest brands and most influential thinkers,” explains Heath. “We are confident that every visitor will leave with a mind full of inspiration, a book full of contacts and a renewed passion for this exciting industry.”
20 SPECIAL REPORT: NETWORKED AV
Bank Hapoalim in Israel is at the forefront of digital banking and its Innovation Center features a dynamic working space and AV facilities utilising AV over IP
Mind the gap The industry’s gradual drift towards interoperability is making it easier to design futureproofed networks, but increasing levels of traffic and ongoing convergence with IT mean that it’s hardly without challenge, writes David Davies
t can be interesting to chart the development of editorial coverage about AV networks, and in particular the way in which the overwhelming ‘why’ or ‘if’ of 10 years ago has been gradually supplanted by ‘how’ and ‘when’. The desirability of implementing comprehensive networks in any manner of professional install environments – from conference centres to concert halls – has been established to the point where the discussion has invariably shifted towards topics such as (re)configuration, future expansion and network maintenance. But it is arguable that we are now heading into another period of change as AV and IT networks are more frequently converged, and as talk of 1Gb networks begins to be replaced by anticipation of 10Gb or even 40Gb networks in order to offer the necessary bandwidth and ‘futureproofing’. The advantages of placing AV on IT networks can be significant in terms of cost and streamlining network operations, but video brings with it its own (potentially substantial) demands with regard to compression and latency. These are such that, in
many cases, the recommendation is still often to keep AV and IT networks separate.
Basic considerations In terms of planning a network, the first question we should be asking is “what is the most appropriate method of deployment for this client and project – install a dedicated AV network or utilise the customer’s corporate network,” says QSC product manager for installed systems, Martin Barbour. “From an end-user perspective, they are investing millions of dollars in a site-wide network infrastructure that is modern, robust and designed to keep all their IT assets moving forward. Therefore, it can be frustrating when AV specialists recommend or advise the installation of a dedicated AV network, merely to simplify the install process. This has to be weighed against the potential challenges involved with implementing network configurations required to accommodate real-time AV-over-IP on a multi-purpose corporate network.” Discussions with IT professionals and AV
Key Points n A number of manufacturers are taking a protocol-agnostic approach to give the customer greater choice n As network infrastructures have become more complex, a key decision now is whether to opt for a 1Gb, 10Gb or 40Gb network n In corporate environments security is crucial as anything connected to the network could potentially be hacked n With greater convergence no longer about ‘if’ but ‘when’, the need for AV-IT network education is only going to grow specialists can usually be more productive if the proposed AV solution is based on common IT networking standards and solutions such as PTP, RTP, UDP and/or TCP/IP, for example. It is also important for the AV specialist to articulate how the solution will interact with other data on a common IT network, and what special
considerations or configuration may be required to accommodate that solution on the network. For Durai Ramachandiran – who is senior director, product line management for pro voice and audio video distribution at ClearOne – “it is always preferable to have both transport and control in the same network, and preferably in the existing network itself to reduce the installation and maintenance cost. Because of the matured TCP/IP protocols and the availability of advanced codec technologies, we can have both transport and control in the same network.” At least one contributor to this article expressed regret that protocol selection is still such a recurrent topic, wishing instead that we had reached a point where protocols were effectively ‘transparent’ and we could move more firmly onto discussing the benefits of individual network solutions. But we are where we are, and it could be argued that the still considerable number of AV protocols hardly helps matters. Ramachandiran offers a very succinct summary of the issues that continue to inform protocol selection: “The choice of protocol depends on various factors like bandwidth usage by each AV stream, the total number of AV streams required in a given installation, available
SPECIAL REPORT: NETWORKED AV network bandwidth, video quality, end-to-end latency, and interoperability with other devices.” Zach Snook, product manager at Biamp Systems, say that “what needs to be achieved” by the network is invariably integral to the question of which protocol should be selected. “If interoperability is key then certain platforms have more interoperability, and then there are some platforms that have more support [in terms of related products on the market],” says Snook. Ultimately, it comes down to “what are the components [on the network] and which protocol best makes it happen.”
‘The impact of IoT will be significant, but as far as business is concerned, I think the biggest issue is network security’ Martin Finlayson, avsnet
Like many vendors at the present time, Biamp has positioned itself on neutral ground – or as Snook puts it, “we live in the middle in that we try to be as supportive of as many protocols
as possible,” thereby giving the customer the greatest leeway to implement the network solution of their choice. Barbour (QSC) is aware that there is “no silver bullet that solves all problems for all users” and that each networked AV solution “has its own place. Different solutions may suit different markets and applications, and like many things in life there are often multiple suitable options for the task at hand.” Therefore, technology that supports as many options as possible is preferred.
Network ‘pain points’ At the present time – and not surprisingly given the recent expansion in the complexity of, and demands upon, network infrastructures – one of the major decision points constitutes whether to implement a 1Gb, 10Gb or even 40Gb network. Increasingly, in order to support uncompressed network traffic, a 10Gb network is being favoured, particularly for new-build or substantial redevelopment projects. Rob Muddiman, EMEA sales director of AV over IP solutions provider ZeeVee, observes that “if you are talking about a new building then most people would be advised to put in a 10Gb network as the simple fact is that you will never need less bandwidth! No one is going to say
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22 SPECIAL REPORT: NETWORKED AV ‘thank goodness I put in that 1Gb network’ in a few years’ time.” Given that “the cost of bandwidth (i.e network switches) is continuing to reduce in cost,” then it can make even more sense to opt for a more generous network capability. Mark Rogers, product manager of videowall controller, software and hardware company Datapath, notes that video networking can be problematic on a 1Gb network, remarking that “the JPEG-2000 algorithm can be quite difficult and power-hungry. Given that the costs of fibre are coming down, and the price of switches is not what it once was, there can be a strong argument for [opting to implement 10Gb].” All of this is not to say, however, that a careful discussion of “application and budget” should not inform the decision. After all, if you are primarily seeking to run a digital signage network, in which latency is less of an issue, then a 1Gb deployment could well be perfectly sufficient. But if instead it is large volumes of uncompressed video that needs to be put onto a network then a 10Gb network “will give you the scope that you need [as well as] the headroom for future bandwidth requirements”. With a simple single dedicated switch network for video, bandwidth will never be an issue and everything can be switched everywhere. However, within a facility there may be several switches, in which case the network video requirements need to be well-defined in order to keep costs down. In reality requirements may be very different in one area of a building to another, so one of the questions that should be asked is “do you need ‘everything everywhere’?” says Muddiman. “You might need the capacity to share everything on the floors that house the meeting rooms, but you might not need it on other floors.”
‘It is always preferable to have both transport and control in the same network’ Durai Ramachandiran, ClearOne
Accordingly, Muddiman says there is considerable scope to save on “network costs and complexity” if the actual requirements are defined well in advance. Invited to identify the primary pain points for AV networks Ramachandiran identifies “network switch selection, network switch configuration, and the AV devices’ configuration for a given project based on user requirements.” But, he believes, “all of these can be reasonably mitigated by following through bestpractices guidelines and training.”
QSC’s brief history lesson on AV and IT networks… “In the past, AV dealt very little with IT,” says Barbour. “They understood the advantages IT networking offers, but didn’t want to get too involved in corporate negotiations with IT departments. So, we threw everything onto a dedicated switch that we could easily manage ourselves. This approach makes things easier as configuration requirements are generally small, which allowed the job to move quicker. “Yet over time, AV systems have grown larger with more audio, and now video traversing the network. This has increased network costs and driven requirement of specialist with network configuration skills. Now the benefit of using a dedicated AV network managed by the AV team, over the potential to leverage professional IT services and a corporate network starts to fade. “But AV was not the only industry to experience this growth in network connected devices. With limited IT support capabilities in-house, suddenly IT is called upon to support not only its core network, but also an AV
Internet of Things impact Given the extraordinary excitement around the Internet of Things (IoT) then some consideration of its possible implications for professional network implementations seems only appropriate. Views on its impact – and the related timeframes thereof – do vary substantially, but virtually everyone is concerned about security. “The impact of IoT will be significant and will come from various areas,” says Martin Finlayson, who is head of visual communications at avsnet. “But as far as business is concerned, I think the biggest issue is network security. The fact of the matter is that stuff is not always ‘buttoned down’ as much as we would wish it to be in the corporate environment. The home does not matter so much, but in the corporate environment it is crucial; [without sufficient safeguards] anything connected to a network could potentially be hacked and turned into a bot to do something else.” Invited to consider whether the security of IoT-supporting devices will have to undergo a step-change, Finlayson agrees that the present situation “will have to change. If the market does not change then regulation [will have to come into play], but the problem is that regulation tends to lag behind the market.” But by drawing on an example from the domestic realm, Finlayson amply illustrates the
network, perhaps a PoS (point of sale) network, and many other separate networks too. “As we begin to work more closely with IT, we need to think about AV in the context of the broader IT world. That includes having conversations with IT at the beginning of a project so that AV-specific requirements can be discussed and factored in to early network design decisions. Then we need to continue to work with IT to verify that AV on a shared corporate network actually makes good business sense for the end-user. This will of course vary by industry and application, but is a good practice for our industry to adopt. While AV over IP solutions often have specific latency and jitter performance requirements from the network infrastructure, it’s important to understand that AV over IP solutions are just data networks and it’s from that perspective that we can help IT understand the needs of a real-time AV system to ultimately produce a seamless system implementation.”
carnage that could be created if IoT devices were allowed to disrupt professional network deployments. “Think about a thermostat being hacked that is found in a million homes around the country, and then if the heating is turned on at the very same time in all of those homes during a high use period in the grid then you would have brownouts,” he says. “The impact on energy supplies [of extensive hacking attempts] could be significant.” Apart from security, the sheer number of potential extra devices to be connected through the network will have implications for management and monitoring. One upshot of this could be a new generation of integrated solutions that offer specific support for IoT devices. As Ramachandiran observes, “all the devices that are connected through the IP network are going to be monitored, managed and controlled through a centralised system. With the continuous growth of IoT and smart buildings infrastructure, this will [give rise to] new integration solutions and services.”
Educational imperative Whatever the desirability (or otherwise) of running AV over IT-oriented networks, there seems little doubt that greater convergence will continue to take place. And in those instances where AV networks are piggy-backing onto
24 SPECIAL REPORT: NETWORKED AV
Biamp supports as many protocols as possible so the customer can implement the network solution of their choice
existing IT networks – and then being managed by IT teams – the dialogue and exchange of information between AV and IT personnel will need to become evermore rigorous. All of which suggests that the clamour for combined AV-IT network education will only grow more acute.
‘We live in the middle in that we try to be as supportive of as many protocols as possible’ Zach Snook, Biamp
Finlayson, for one, is concerned that there is currently “a big gap between AV and IT, and it’s getting worse. So for example, IT doesn’t understand the ramifications of running real-time video [over their networks], and AV is not always good at explaining what is going to happen. Assigning a separate VLAN isn’t going to work – it’s like reserving a lane on the motorway!” ZeeVee is among the manufacturers to be investing in substantial educational efforts in the form of webinars and on-the-ground training.
“We take training related to the design and implementation of AV over IP products very seriously,” says Muddiman, who also highlights the importance of helping distributors to negotiate what is an increasingly complex product marketplace. There may also be a need to reassure AV integrators “who perhaps tried an AV over IP solution in the past and it was not entirely successful, or the client was not completely happy.” Such scenarios can understandably lead to feelings of nervousness and a tendency “to stick to what you know” rather than taking advantage of all the benefits AV over IP can bring. Mark Rogers agrees that there is a need for effective sharing of information and “communication in all sorts of areas”, not least because “each area of a deployment may have specific needs when it comes to streaming and transport protocols, centralised video management and global content security”. Ramachandiran neatly summarises the primary crux of the matter here, given that “AV and IT are merging very fast and the new AV products that are being introduced in the market are supporting IP. AV practitioners need to be familiar with IT, and IT practitioners need to be familiar with AV.”
But like many other observers, Ramachandiran feels this could be great news for service providers and vendors, heralding as it may “interesting new opportunities for business growth, with new products that will address existing and new problems. In addition, such integrated solutions may collect a lot of data which will lead to big data analysis solutions.” Without a doubt it is a singularly eventful time in the evolution of networked systems. The rate of adoption of networked AV from the smallest-scale deployments to the largest concert halls and conference centres has taken all but the most optimistic of observers by surprise. Now as AV and IT networks draw closer together, and as video greatly increases the volume of traffic, the greatest challenge will reside in ensuring that networks remain manageable and flexible – the two ‘base’ requirements that arguably instigated the growth of AV networking in the first place.
www.avsnet.co.uk www.biamp.com www.clearone.com www.datapath.co.uk www.qsc.com www.zeevee.com
26 SPECIAL REPORT: NETWORKED AV
For the second part of this special report on networked AV we’ve got insights from a range of players to understand the current landscape and preview how things will evolve over the next few years.
Audinate In what way does the growing influence of IT alter the deployment of networked AV solutions? At a high level, IT managers want their AV products to function like the rest of the products on their network. This means a number of things… first, products that can be networked on standard IP infrastructure are critical. Next, AV products need to fit into the security framework IT managers have deployed for the rest of their network. Finally, they want the same network management and diagnostic capabilities that are common with other IT products, but are relatively new when it comes to AV devices. Do you envisage any potential problems with AV and IT convergence?
of networked AV projects. During a recent focus group with AV and IT managers, it was clear that nearly every new medium to large scale AV project being considered is assumed to be networked. This represents a big shift from just a few years ago. Second, I think you will see more manufacturers and integrators deliver the tools and features that are important to IT managers. Whether that is enhanced security features or network management software. I do see a lot of development on conferencing. I also see the retrofitting of non-networked technologies with tools like Dante AVIO adapters to bring them onto the network and that’s making the networked universe larger and more powerful.
There is a term called ‘the network effect’, which
I think another challenge with AV and IT convergence is the traditional AV industry learning to effectively communicate with the IT department. Another challenge is fixing the misconception within the IT world, that AV networking relies on proprietary or non-standard protocols. How do you see networked AV projects evolving over the next few years? First, I think the biggest trend will be the proliferation
What’s your vision of the networked AV endgame? To get the best vision of what the AV industry will look like in the future, one just needs to look at the evolution of the IT industry in general. As AV becomes just another system on the network, it’s not a stretch to imagine a world where AV is shaped by softwarebased solutions rather than bespoke hardware, operating in virtualised environments and enhanced by cloud-based services.
basically supposes that the value of a network grows exponentially with each additional node (or person or product) that is added to the network. The network effect tends to create a dominant solution since interoperability is critical, versus a landscape of disparate, incompatible technologies. With Dante’s dominant market share and rapid adoption by the market, I believe that Dante is very well positioned to be that preferred protocol for the AV industry. www.audinate.com
Josh Rush, senior vice president of marketing and products
MiX Consultancy As a consultancy, how easy is it to advise and operate in the current networked AV landscape? As part of our company ethos at MiX we strive to help our clients to create a converged networked environment. While some organisations see convergence as a risk, many clients have embraced this approach and are now seeing benefits in the way they manage and deploy their AV estate. Are more manufacturers designing networked AV products with IT managers in mind? I feel that manufacturers are slowly starting to understand the needs of the client and not focusing on the integrators, however the documentation on deploying devices on a client network is still very much focused on the integrator. A number of manufacturers are now moving to cloud-based models and developing software platforms to enable global enterprises the ability to deploy new systems at a more controlled rate. The majority of this change is being driven by the unified comms strategy within organisations. Do you envisage any potential problems with AV on the IT network?
I think the security element of networks is a high priority within larger organisations. This is an area that is constantly under review, and manufacturers and integrators will need to be certified to work within a client’s enterprise network and the AV industry as a whole will be required to be more regulated. How do you see networked AV projects evolving over the next few years? AV as a service is a topic discussed regularly at the moment but to take it a step further I believe we will see the majority of manufacturers moving away from the traditional ‘black box’ hardware and working on developing software-based solutions. Hardware will have a place for the foreseeable future for larger spaces but software-based solutions will allow certain types of rooms to potentially be driven from a user’s peripheral device, without the need for additional hardware to enable an enhanced collaboration. What’s your vision of the networked AV endgame? I think the future will be a primarily cloud-based deployment for AV services, the majority of
Andrew Emmett, AV consultant corporations are already pushing some of the major IT services to the cloud as it saves on both physical space and overall operational costs. Currently there are many different standards and one of the biggest challenges is interoperability. In this future of cloud/software-based solutions, manufacturers need to work together to continue to develop standards, but also ensuring that they can interact with other IT solutions you would typically see on a corporate network. www.mixconsultancy.com
SPECIAL REPORT: NETWORKED AV
Crestron In what way does the growing influence of the IT department alter the design and deployment of networked AV products? It’s no secret that IT folks don’t want to deal with AV – why? Because to them it is outside their comfort zone, and let’s face it the AV industry continues to want to be AV artists and reinvent the wheel every chance they get. Walk into any meeting space at a university or enterprise campus, and you will most likely find an assortment of various boxes from disparate manufacturers. Imagine trying to figure out what those boxes do. Now many of you might say, ‘well that’s our value add’. This is everything that the IT folks despise, why? Ever look in an IT rack? You will notice one or two manufacturers at the most – they standardise on the network infrastructure. They pick a single manufacturer that they can effectively train on, manage, and scale. Do you envisage any potential problems with AV and IT convergence? Stop thinking about being an AV designer, and start thinking about being an AV architect. We have skills that the IT industry needs, and it’s our job to meet them halfway. They use words like ‘provisioning’, ‘scalable’, and ‘manageable’. All these words mean that products and platforms that truly combine
all three of these terms can be installed quickly, don’t need the highest paid engineer to go to every room for start-up, and after the installation can be managed for the duration of the systems lifecycle. If you are not designing systems to meet these parameters, then I hate to say it, but you are contributing to the downfall of our industry. How do you see networked AV projects evolving over the next few years? And how will you adapt to this? IT departments need our skills, to help you understand; let me use an example of our IT department at Crestron. We use SAP software to manage the billions (yes billions) of components we purchase each year. We have a Mitel phone system (soon going to Microsoft Teams), we standardise on Juniper for our network, use SalesForce for our sales management, and use Oracle for our customer support case tracking. When we need to make changes to any one of the systems listed above, what do you think our IT team does? They bring in specialists in each field. So, we employ a full-time company to make changes for us in SAP, bring a UC company to service our Mitel system, bring in experts to configure our Juniper switches as we grow and scale, and of course pay companies to develop SalesForce modules and
Stijn Ooms, technology director Oracle plug-ins. Guess what? AV is no different – we are a specialty service that must be experts in our field. We must have a deep knowledge of audio and video and user experiences in the conference and meeting space. We need to be experts in how those systems work on the network, and most of all we need to embrace the fundamental expectations of the IT industry: Provision, Scale, and Manage. If we do, we will provide value to the IT industry and continue to grow and develop. www.crestron.com
Snelling As an integrator, how easy is it to advise and operate in the current networked AV landscape? It’s very easy. Everyone’s happy because we’re actually making life easier in many respects – for example, large AV systems with complex routing requirements are much easier to specify and deploy using AVoIP. That always makes clients and partners very receptive.
Quite often the client isn’t aware of the additional overhead required to transport multiple streams across their network. This isn’t uncommon – recently a client asked us to consider full AVoIP for a new-build nearing completion. However, the IT teams advised against it considering they had to increase the network infrastructure to keep up, which involves a significant uplift in costs.
Do you feel more manufacturers are designing networked AV products with IT managers in mind? Probably, however the requirements for IT compliance are well documented/standardised. It’s the AV feature set that is being added to with product development.
How do you see networked AV projects evolving over the next few years? I believe there will be a considerable increase in new build projects and those requiring complex routing where the network infrastructure can be designed from the outset. As the product set matures (and becomes more affordable) I believe we will see AVoIP being deployed more and more often.
Do you envisage any potential problems with AV on the IT network? Inevitably there will be problems, probably incorrect multicast configuration and/or miscalculation of bandwidth/switch backplane capacity. This does highlight the need to provide training so that systems can be properly specified from the outset and the client advised of the potential ‘uplift’ in the spec of their network infrastructure.
What’s your vision of the networked AV endgame? I think that in 5-10 years the majority of AV installs will use AVoIP, with most AV source and display devices including native support for AVoIP negating the need for separate encode/decode devices. I think that AV systems will increasingly be viewed as ‘another networked building utility’ like
Colin Jacobs, technical design manager CCTV telephony etc. Will there be different solutions/protocols/ standards for different scenarios? Initially several formats, whether one will dominate is anyone’s guess probably driven by commercial rather than technical performance. There is a clear division between those systems requiring ‘real time’ transmission i.e. low latency and those that do not, typically signage and VoD.
28 TECHNOLOGY FEATURE: VISITOR ATTRACTIONS
Sarner believes IP technology can help deliver the desired personalisation
Key Points n Millennials are forming an increasing proportion of the population – and they value ‘experiences’ more than ‘things’ n Dynamic media that can be altered in real time in response to visitor preferences/actions is a key technology
Focusing on ‘me’ or ‘us’?
n VR, Big Data, personal devices, RFID and facial recognition are all potential elements in delivering a unique experience to each visitor n Visitor attractions will increasingly combine personalisation with communal experiences
If each of us – rightly – believes that we’re different, that will increasingly have an impact on what we buy – and what we do. Ian McMurray looks at how that’s impacting the AV industry when it comes to visitor attractions
he world’s economies have grown largely on the back of us buying ‘things’ – new cars, new washing machines, new TVs, new phones… However: learned researchers are sensing what could be a fundamental shift, with the rise of the millennial generation – and its preference, not for ‘things’, but for ‘experiences’. In the USA, for example, millennials are on the point of becoming the largest living adult generation – larger even than baby boomers. That phenomenon appears to be replicated worldwide. As such, they’re a force to be reckoned with: there is much talk of an emerging ‘experience economy’. Already, in the AV world, their working preferences are said to have driven the rise of the huddle room. And they may, directly or indirectly, have propelled the rise in projection mapping – done well, a classic example of an ‘experience’. Are the effects of the growing millennial generation yet being felt, however, by the visitor attractions and museums market – a key industry for AV manufacturers and integrators alike – and how are they responding? It turns out: it’s not just about millennials.
“Methods of immersing guests into storylines and narratives have become a staple of the attractions and visitor experience industries,” adds Peter Cliff, creative director, Holovis, an experiential design company. “Even rollercoasters, which have traditionally just focused on the end thrill, are now being driven by story, as guests move through immersive queuing areas that are alive with emerging and immersive AV solutions.” Another widely reported attribute of the millennial generation is its comfort with, and dependency on, technology. It’s taken for granted that technology exists to enhance life – whether that’s business life or personal life. For the most part, that technology is acutely personal –
‘Methods of immersing guests into storylines and narratives have become a staple of the attractions and visitor experience industries’ Peter Cliff, Holovis
Better tools and technologies “I think it has always been the dream of designers to make their experiences more personal for guests,” believes Scott Harkless, chief innovation officer at themed entertainment show control company Alcorn McBride. “What’s changed is that there are much better tools and technologies available that make this dream more achievable.”
whether it’s Instagram or a Spotify playlist. Again, though, it’s not just millennials. A whole generation has grown up not knowing life before mobile phones – and for them, too, it’s personal. Ross Magri, managing director of theme park and visitor attractions visual engineering company Sarner International, sees a challenge emerging
which needs to balance what has often been a mass market experience, with an emphasis on visitor numbers, and the need on the other hand to deliver experiences that are memorable because they are focused on the individual.
A more sophisticated experience “As the more technologically aware younger audience reach adulthood, they are demanding a more sophisticated experience that makes better use of technology,” says Magri. “For the design team, the challenge so far has been throughput, or rather the fact that the more personal the experience, the fewer the number of visitors that can be catered for at any one time. Unfortunately, there is no easy answer and although technology has helped to make this possible, there are still major hurdles to resolve.” The industry seems to agree that these are hurdles that need to be surmounted if the visitor attractions industry is to remain relevant. Harkless alludes to Dale Carnegie’s renowned observation about how magical the sound of our own name is to us. “When people – or attractions – take notice of who we are, we become naturally more engaged,” he considers. “With that in mind, I can’t imagine a better way to make an experience more immersive than to include elements that are personalised for the audience.” Magri agrees, noting how information can be targeted based, for example, on a visitor’s age and interests. He mentions designing media to be more immersive – a point that Cliff picks up on.
30 TECHNOLOGY FEATURE: VISITOR ATTRACTIONS Real-time media “We use real-time media to put guests in control of their journey,” he explains, “unlocking multivariant and personalised narrative experiences depending on the decisions they make or paths they choose to take. This enhances the engagement as people share with their friends what they have discovered, whether in an entertainment or educational environment, allowing guests to work together to unlock more of an adventure’s secrets. “This can also continue away from the physical location, with games or challenges that guests can complete at home to continue their journey,” he adds. “Then, when they return to the original location, the experience will have changed to reflect their progress. This is a great way of encouraging repeat footfall.” Visitors are seeking – expecting – personal experiences, then, and it seems the visitor attractions industry is already responding. Cliff mentioned real-time media – but what are the other technologies that enable that response? Cliff again, who notes the concept of an ‘extended’ experience and the role of augmented reality activated through apps on a guest’s phone. “We’ve evolved this to now use invisible tracking and recognition technologies that facilitate the experience without the guest having to use a device,” he says. “This includes CAD tracking, machine learning, facial recognition, AI, WiFi triangulation and geofencing.” “Touchscreens, VR and RFID are just some examples where technology is helping to personalise the visitor experience,” states Magri. “Other technologies, such as the Microsoft HoloLens, have potential but are not yet ready for the mass market. Looking beyond current technologies, linking visitors to data sets will help further personalise the visitor experience.”
are improving personalisation,” he believes. “First, there are the personal devices used to identify the guest. This includes technologies like smartphones, smart watches, and RFID bands/cards. Second, there’s the infrastructure that stores and accesses information about the guest once they have been identified by their personal device. This typically involves a database that is associated with an account that has information about the guest that can be used to personalise their experience.” “Lastly,” he concludes, “there’s the attraction system itself which utilises the guest’s information to apply personalisation to the experience. As for what that personalisation actually is – it could be anything, such as alternative content, images, sounds, lighting, and other environmental elements. It could also include gaming information like scores, ranking, or completed objectives.” “The sky’s the limit,” he laughs.
More complex In the good old days of a ‘one-size-fits-all’ visitor attraction such as a museum, a few projectors and screens would often do the trick – augmented, by the more forward-thinking establishments, with touchscreens. It seems likely, however, that personalising an experience will make life more complex for those charged with installing them today. “As far as audiovisual experience is concerned, personalisation often involves more dynamic
‘Shared experiences and personal experiences aren’t necessarily mutually exclusive’ Scott Harkless, Alcorn McBride
Embracing Big Data “The likes of Google and Facebook, for better or worse, have fully embraced Big Data,” he goes on. “Whether visitor centres and museums will use data sets to further personalise the visitor experience is yet to be seen, but this would open great opportunities where content could be further tailored to the visitors’ specific interest, knowledge and background.” It’s a similar conundrum to the one faced, if to a lesser degree, by the digital signage industry. The technology to adapt advertising in digital signage, based on age, sex and facial expression, is certainly already widely used – and is not universally liked, with consumers complaining about being ‘watched’. Would they react better to their Instagram or Twitter feed being mined by a visitor attraction in order to provide a ‘better’ experience? Harkless develops the technology theme. “There are three key areas of technology that
content,” says Harkless. “This means our systems need to have more advanced show control that’s able to drive this dynamic content on-demand based on the guest’s personal information. The audiovisual sources also need the ability to access content dynamically and transition cleanly between content.” For Magri, IP is the key enabling technology. “As most AV networks are now IP-based, this allows us to use a standard and well established protocol to deliver the desired personalisation. It also allows for future technologies to further expand on the ability to deliver a more immersive and personalised experience.” On the other side of the coin, tried-and-trusted in-house technologies also have a place. “We use our proprietary visualisation suite RideView to bring all our designs to life in 1:1 scale and in
real-time as we are designing,” explains Holovis’s Cliff. “This takes place in a CAVE on our UK demonstration campus; a five-sided structure where all the walls feature 3D volumetric projection and users are immersed into the expansive data sets by wearing head-tracked 3D glasses. This allows multi-discipline teams to explore the space together, experiencing exactly how the final setting will look long before they would normally be able to in the process.” Just as the consumer world has increasingly eschewed mass market, off-the-peg in favour of custom and bespoke, so too the world of visitor attractions, museums and so on. But: the mass consumer market hasn’t gone away – and nor does it look likely to any time soon. What about theme parks, visitor centres and the like?
Not mutually exclusive “Shared experiences and personal experiences aren’t necessarily mutually exclusive,” explains Harkless. “I strongly believe that the best experiences are the ones we share with people we care about. I’m all for offering personal touches for guests – but this should always be done in a way that they can enjoy with their companions.” He has an ally in Sarner’s Magri: “It’s important to bear in mind, where personalisation is considered, that this does not isolate the visitor,” comments Magri. “Part of the experience of visiting public spaces is to do so within a social environment, and whilst personalisation has benefits, it is also important to balance this against creating a social environment that is conducive for people to meet and share their experience.” Cliff doesn’t disagree. “Our goal is to combine the two, facilitating personal experiences but in a shared space, so guests can share their discoveries with their friends to further enhance the experience for everyone. In the case of a museum for example, the decisions made by each guest can unlock a new piece of information, tailored to their interests. They can then share this discovery with their friends and see what different information they have unlocked to bring the space and artefacts to life in more dynamic ways.” It becomes clear that a progressive shift is taking place, enabled by a range of technologies, to deliver out-of-home experiences that are more immersive and more engaging – because they are designed to appeal to each individual visitor. The thrill of a collective experience won’t be left behind, however. As ever, in almost all things, a balanced approach is the way forward. The AV industry is helping deliver experiences that everyone – not just millennials – can enjoy.
www.alcorn.com www.holovis.com www.sarner.com
32 SOLUTIONS: SCOTTISH SUBMARINE CENTRE, HELENSBURGH UNITED KINGDOM
After compositing and rendering, the inside of the submarine was recreated and projected onto the outside (Picture: Scottish Submarine Centre)
PROJECT OF THE MONTH
Cold War vision The latest projection mapping and VR technology allows visitors to feel like they are inside a Cold War mini-submarine at the new Scottish Submarine Centre in Helensburgh. David Davies finds out more about this admirably ambitious project
ringing the ‘inside out’ is one of the underlying themes of the Scottish Submarine Centre in Helensburgh and in choosing to do this with a Cold Warera submarine they could hardly have selected a more spectacular example. Although the X51 ‘midget submarine’ HMS Stickleback is too small for visitors to get inside, it has been brought to vivid life on the outside through the use of the latest projection mapping technology. The result has been an instant hit with visitors and a major addition to the local tourism infrastructure. But it has been a multi-year journey to get to this point, as chairman and founder Brian Keating can attest. A successful businessman and entrepreneur who is behind several successful golf resorts and hotels, Keating has been resident in Helensburgh for 15 years. He had been aware that there was a gap for an attraction that “honoured the history of submariners in the town”, but the impetus to
take action was heightened by the fact that Helensburgh was “struggling like a lot of small towns in terms of footfall going down”. When he was made aware of the possible availability of a miniature submarine that could provide the heart of a permanent attraction, and told that he “had two years to use it or lose it”, the seed for what became the Scottish Submarine Centre was sown. It was clear that it would have to be housed indoors “because of rust”, so the primary issue then was “how to interpret it and base an attraction around a single artefact. And it quickly became clear that we could use virtual reality and projection mapping to tell a host of different stories with the submarine as the centrepiece.” Once the room – formerly King Street Hall, the annex of St Columba Church – had been identified, there followed an intensive period in which the inside of the sub was painstakingly recreated in the form of CAD drawings, which
Installed Audio n Crown DCi4-1250N 1,250W network amp n Crown DCI2-1250N 1,250W network amp n Crown DCi4-2400N 2,400W network amp n Crown DCi8-600N 6,000W network amp n Crown IT12000-HD amplifier n JBL CBT1000 adjustable coverage line array speakers n JBL CBT1000E LF extension for CBT1000 n JBL CBT70J-1 adjustable coverage line array speakers n JBL CBT70JE-1 LF extension for CBT70J-1 n JBL ASB6128 2 x 18in subwoofer n JBL Control 67HC/T high ceiling pendant speakers n JBL AC18/95 375W two-way speakers
Video n NEC PX803UL-BK 8000 ANSI WUXGA laser projector n NEC NP31ZL Wide Zoom lens
Control n AV Stumpfl Wings Engine Pro Quad server n BSS BLU-160 signal processor n BSS BLU-CARD-IN 4 analogue in n BSS BLU-CARD-OUT 4 analogue out n BSS BLU-DIG-OUT digital out card n BSS BLU-DAN Dante to BLU-link bridge n Extron FOXBOX Tx DVI 4K MM Fibre HDMI Audio & RS232 n Extron FOXBOX Rx HDMI 4K MM Fibre HDMI Audio & RS232
SOLUTIONS: SCOTTISH SUBMARINE CENTRE, HELENSBURGH 33
X51 HMS Stickleback has been brought to life by the latest projection mapping technology (Picture: Scottish Submarine Centre)
About the installer n HI Audio Visual, established in 2004, is based in Glasgow and operates across the UK n HIAV offers bespoke design and installation services as well as on-site support for existing AV equipment n Additional services include: specification of equipment, supply and installation, repair support and maintenance and end user training to ensure the equipment is adopted quickly were then used as the basis for an elaborate computer simulation in which “we photorealistically added to everything, in other words we considered what happened when a specific action was taken, or a button pressed, inside the submarine. We went through the process of compositing, rendering and then threw the projections up onto the outside of the submarine… and it looked fantastic!” Ultimately, it took the best part of two years to create the VR experience for the centre, “although there were gaps [for research and experimentation] as we did not have a reference to work to.” The result of their labours is a process that Keating has dubbed ‘inside out’, whereby the inside of an object can be recreated on its outside via the use of the latest projection mapping technology and techniques. Logically enough, the first ‘story’ to be told is about the X51 itself, providing a broad overview of the boat’s history, how it works, and how it came to be in Helensburgh. Moving forward new content and exhibitions are expected to be introduced to the centre on a frequent basis.
Fulfilling a vision Integral to helping Keating fulfil his vision for the Scottish Submarine Centre has been Glasgow-
based AV supply and installation company HI Audio Visual (HIAV), whose Ken Callen recalls being introduced to Keating at ISE 2015 “and we got on like a house on fire! We have really been talking about and working on the project ever since.” The specification of the latest, most capable projection technology was always going to be critical to the success of the installation. Ultimately, HIAV specified a total of 26 NEC PX803UL-BK 8000 ANSI WUXGA laser projectors, equipped with NEC NP31ZL Wide Zoom lenses. Masterminding a configuration that will be used for a wide variety of visitor-oriented shows as well as corporate gatherings and other possible applications are six AV Stumpfl Wings Engine Pro Quad servers. “We did consider other systems, but the Wings Engine had a number of specific features that we found attractive and useful for this project, and indeed we have been very pleased with our choice,” says Callen. “The backup and support we have received from the company has also been excellent.” Providing impactful sound for the room’s many uses meant that the expectations of the audio system were no less substantial. “We did want to be able to achieve a real clarity of sound, such as for explosions that occur in some of the VR content, and also for different events that may be booked in to take place here,” says Callen. The resulting system leans heavily on the current JBL range, including CBT1000 and CBT70J-1 line array speakers for the main hangs, AC18/95 speakers located under the sub, and a quartet of ASB6128 subwoofers for optimum lowend reinforcement. Crown DCi series amplifiers power the audio system, while processing and signal distribution are courtesy of BSS’ BLU-160 devices running on a Dante network. The fit-out was completed at the end of March, although fine-tuning has continued and
there is now the possibility of adding to the system in the future, not least in the form of a permanent immersive audio processor that would allow the 32-speaker configuration to be used with even greater flexibility.
Experimental applications Now that the centre is up and running, Keating and his team are continuing to explore possible new applications. There have already been a series of screenings of The Beatles’ classic animation Yellow Submarine, while “plays and other cultural events” are on the schedule for the months ahead. “There is a lot of thought and experimentation going into how the space might be used, for example of how music can be mixed with images. Another thing that’s being looked into is green-screening actors into the submarine to interact with the CAD animations we have created. The centre has really captured the attention of artists, musicians and photographers,” he confirms. Perhaps most critically of all, the attraction is also playing its role in the revitalisation of Helensburgh as a magnet for tourists. The centre is “on track” for its initial target of 20,000 visitors per year, and the commencement of the school year in September is likely to deliver a further boost. “We have already received a great deal of interest there,” says Keating, “and we are now working on our programme for 2019.”
www.avstumpfl.com www.bssaudio.com www.crownaudio.com www.extron.com www.hiav.co.uk www.jblpro.com www.nec-display-solutions.com
34 SOLUTIONS: STONY BROOK UNIVERSITY, NEW YORK
ClearOne’s Beamforming Microphone Array 2 addresses the echo issues in the main conference room and provides scalability for future updates
The clear choice Technology operators at this prominent learning institute sought productive conferencing equipment to enable effective communication across its computer science facilities, writes Tom Bradbury
he largest conference room on campus at New York’s Stony Brook University is part of the school’s Computer Science department and was in need of a wholesale communication system upgrade. The department also wanted to add a videowall to its main lobby. John Schappert of Adwar Video turned to ClearOne, knowing that its full array of communication solutions would produce a highly productive conference room and an engaging videowall. The ability to collaboratively communicate, and do it effectively, is of paramount importance in higher education settings. Lectures and presentations ranging from simple board meetings to complex PhD defences are conducted in on-campus conference rooms at universities of all sizes.
Voice capture Peter Ruland, associate director of operations for Stony Brook’s Department of Computer Science, comments: “Academics are not big fans of lapel microphones, as they tend to stand up and move around to talk. One of the challenges in this conference room was that we were having a hard time capturing people’s voices and leveraging the echo cancellation during the videoconferencing of our lectures because of the old setup we had.” Schappert knew ClearOne’s Beamforming Microphone Array 2 product would be the perfect solution for a conference room of this size bringing the communication capabilities of the space up to speed.
“The audio pickup with the Beamforming Microphone Array 2 is super clear,” explains Schappert. “And for a large conference room, with the nature of presentations, with presenters walking around, the 24 microphone elements move the pickup to the participants and reject unwanted noise. These were precisely the issues the department wanted to correct.” ClearOne’s Beamforming Microphone Array 2 features ClearOne’s Acoustic Echo Cancellation and Noise Cancellation technology that addresses the echo issues the large room was experiencing under the previous outdated system. According to Ruland, the ClearOne system’s scalability has also been a major asset and the department’s staff likes the flexibility of being able to add mics when the need arises. Due to the effectiveness of the ClearOne Beamforming Microphone Array 2, the room only required one of the mic set-ups, despite the size of the space. “All the audio problems we were having were solved with just the single installation,” says Ruland. “We dropped it in the middle of the room and it worked perfectly, zero audio issues ever since.” To upgrade the videoconferencing capability in some of the Science Department’s smaller to mid-sized conference rooms, Ruland was also pleased with Schappert’s choice to install ClearOne’s Unite 200 PTZ cameras. It is a versatile, professional-grade, HD video camera, which includes USB, HDMI and IP connections. “We had several ClearOne Unite 200 PTZ cameras installed in some of our other conference rooms,” states Ruland. “This was
Installed Audio n ClearOne CONVERGE Pro 2 128V audio DSP mixer n ClearOne Beamforming Microphone Array 2 n Crown 280A power amplifier n JBL control 26CT ceiling speakers n Lectrosonics SPN812 and SPN16i audio processors n Shure SLX24/SM58 wireless handheld mic system n Shure SLX14/85 lavalier wireless system
Control n ClearOne VIEW Pro Encoder E120 and Decoder D210 n Crestron DMPS-300-C presentation system n Crestron DM-TX-201-C-2G-B-T wall plate transmitters n Crestron DM-RMC-SCALER-C receivers n Crestron TSW-750-B-S touchpanel n Crestron CAPTURE-HD PRO HD capture recorder n Crestron AM-100 presentation gateway n Crestron C2N-IO control port expansion module n Extron MediaPort 200;HDMI and audio to USB scaling bridge n Extron SW2 USB;two input USB switchers n Extron cable cubby 500 BLK
Video n Sony VPL-FHZ65 laser projectors
Accessories n ClearOne BFM2 ceiling mount kit with 12in suspension column n Middle Atlantic AXS-37 equipment rack
SOLUTIONS: STONY BROOK UNIVERSITY, NEW YORK 35
About the installer n Adwar Video is a supplier of pro AV equipment and services, offering design, installation, and full support n The company operates in the education, government, and corporate markets n Adwar Video represents more than 300 manufacturers and specialises in design-build, build-to-spec, and equipment-only sales great as instead of having to use a hard video codec for videoconferencing, these cameras let the user, because they have a USB interface, use Skype, Hangouts or Webex – anything they want really. Again, very flexible and allows us to give users choices.”
Videowall Adwar Video was also briefed to fit a videowall in the department’s main lobby as this was a project Ruland admits the department had started a while back, but never quite completed. “For the videowall we used the ClearOne VIEW Pro Encoder E120 and VIEW Pro Decoder D210,” explains Schappert. “They provide such a simple, install-ready set up that delivers excellent video quality as well. Stony Brook wanted this done quickly and we were able to
The department’s main lobby features a new videowall, which can host interactive content using facial recognition
easily meet that demand.” ClearOne’s VIEW Pro is a video processing and management solution for needs ranging from a single videowall to a large video distribution network. “The videowall is also very scalable and we can stream to it and customise the layouts in any way, shape or form we want,” says Ruland. “It is just a really cost-effective way for us to do just about anything we want to do with it. The ClearOne tech is even allowing our research labs to do interactive content using tech like facial recognition and we are streaming that right to the videowall.” Schappert concludes: “ClearOne’s commitment to offering the industry’s broadest
range of solutions, in-depth product support and training, coupled with a string of successful ClearOne installations under challenging circumstances made the decision to spec ClearOne products into the new computer science building a no-brainer for us.”
www.adwarvideo.com www.clearone.com www.crestron.com www.crownaudio.com www.extron.com www.jblpro.com www.lectrosonics.com www.middleatlantic.com http://pro.sony.eu www.shure.eu
SOUND RIGHT WHERE IT’S NEEDED
System designers love the focussed dispersion of NEXO speakers. It gives them the tools they need to achieve perfect coverage in any space. The new ID24 achieves smooth, full-frequency sound and high output from a cabinet measuring just 309mm wide, with a unique, user-rotatable horn providing unprecedented control over HF directivity. With an ‘a la carte’ selection of colours, grilles, directivity and connectivity, and compatibility with a wide range of mobile and fixed-installation hardware, ID Series delivers precision sound, right where it’s needed.
Thinking. Inside the box.
36 SOLUTIONS: ROYAL GEOGRAPHICAL SOCIETY, LONDON
The 750-seat Ondaatje Theatre was revamped to bring audio clarity to the conferences, speeches and lectures that are regularly hosted
Presenting... An audio system catering to presenters of all levels was installed to give this venue a soundscape befitting its status. Tom Bradbury reports
ounded in 1830 in London, the Royal Geographical Society (RGS) is the leading centre for geographers and geographical learning. With over 16,500 members, the venue is home to a collection of more than two million historic items including maps, photographs, books, documents, paintings and artefacts. The society recently decided to upgrade its 750-seat Ondaatje Theatre, which hosts a range of events aimed at providing more information on the world’s people, places and environments. “When we voted to invest in the theatre revamp, the sound system became our first priority,” comments RGS business development manager Luciano Figueira. “Most of the events we host are conferences, speeches and lectures, so we needed a solution that would help the speakers deliver their insights and bring the best in audio clarity, regardless of where the audience is seated in the theatre. “While some speakers are gifted or trained orators, others are more comfortable in the middle of the arctic wilderness than in front of an audience, so we needed a solution that would be flexible and efficient enough to help them share their stories, and grab the audience from their seat. The audio element of the refurbishment became of paramount importance.” The structure of the theatre itself also presented a number of challenges. It features a balcony and large wooden panels across the theatre walls. The RGS turned to Plus 4 Audio to tackle the brief – and they rethought the entire sound system for the theatre before selecting
the audio equipment. “We are close to a number of iconic music halls and auditoriums in London, so we asked them who in their opinion would be the best integrator, and Plus 4 Audio stood out,” explains Figueira.
Extra considerations Understanding the Society’s needs for precise sound and reliability, Plus 4 Audio opted for APG’s new Uniline Compact range. “The sound system had to meet a number of requirements: The Royal Geographical Society theatre welcomes presenters that aren’t always professionally trained, and as a result their speech output can be quite low,” says Plus 4 Audio managing director Stewart Chaney. “The historical dimension of the theatre and its layout were also major considerations. So we needed a sound system that would not only be compact and powerful, but precise and flexible enough to perform flawlessly regardless of the circumstances. We needed speakers that could reach every single person in the room”. In total, Plus 4 Audio specified 18 APG Uniline Compact loudspeakers equally split in an L-R flown line array configuration. Each line array is made of eight UC206N for the medium/ long throw requirements, coupled with one UC206W speaker (dedicated to the front rows) and two UC115B bass speakers. Completing the installation is 14 DX5 coaxial loudspeakers: two of them act as onstage monitors, three are installed in front fill, while the rest are equally spread across the room both under and above the balcony. Both the line array boxes as well as the DX5 situated below and above the balcony
Installed Audio n APG UC206N compact line array speakers n APG UC206W compact line array speakers n APG UC115B compact bass speakers n APG DX5 coaxial loudspeakers n APG DA:50 DSP amplifiers n APG DA:15 DSP amplifiers n DiGiCo SD9 digital mixing console n DiGiCo 32:16 D Rack floor mounts n Sennheiser 2000 series wireless radio microphones n Tascam SS-CDR200 audio recorder were customised in white in order to blend in with the environment. The entire system is powered by two APG DA:50 and four DA:15 DSP amplifiers, allowing for various cabling configurations depending on speakers and impedance load. For the front of house, Plus 4 Audio specified one DiGiCo SD9 console and two DiGiCo 32:16 D Rack mounts, along with a Tascam SS-CDR200 audio recorder. Sennheiser 2000 series radio mics are available for speakers and the audience alike. Plus 4 Audio involved the RGS in selecting the right PA system, and organised A/B tests on-site. “We listened to different loudspeaker brands, but when APG demonstrated its Uniline Compact range, we were immediately sold,” adds Figueira. “The performance was fantastic, and we were most impressed with the bass levels. We first tested the system without any subwoofers and the result was already amazing. A senior representative from APG also took the time to come over, which was most appreciated and gave us further confidence that we were making the right choice.”
www.apg.audio www.digico.biz www.plus4audio.co.uk www.sennheiser.com www.tascam.com
38 SOLUTIONS IN BRIEF
Meeting room tech rejuvenates office When German life science company Bayer relocated its UK headquarters to Reading, it required a fresh approach to meeting room technology. With a goal to rejuvenate Bayer’s working culture, Focus 21 and MiX Consultancy implemented a user-friendly AV upgrade across 60 collaborative spaces. Crestron solutions were specified to provide a flexible and reliable infrastructure for meetings, including: Crestron DigitalMedia, Crestron AirMedia Presentation Gateway, Crestron Fusion and TSW-1052 and TSW-752 touchscreens for flexible workspaces and reliable conferencing. The new office space features a central atrium, where employees have access to a multi-functional area for meetings or recreation, as well as Skype Rooms and presentation rooms. The atrium’s welcome area also features BayerHub digital signage, powered by the
Crestron system. Elsewhere there are dedicated areas showcasing Bayer’s latest scientific innovations.
The centrepiece is BayLab, an area with Crestron controlled projectors and screens for wired and wireless presenting.
World’s largest cruise ship champions energy efficiency
Cultural hub optimises audio Audiotonas, Martin Audio’s Lithuanian distributor, recently installed Wavefront Precision Compact (WPC) line arrays at Jonava Cultural Centre. The venue organises various events, including choirs, street musicians and others. It was decided that eight flown elements per side of the WPC array would provide the best solution. The WPC is an optimised line array featuring scalable resolution. Dependent on the number of enclosures to amp channels, the user has a scaled approach to coverage, consistency and control
compared to a standard line array. The optimised two-box resolution (two enclosures to one amp channel), used at the venue, provides improved audience coverage over splay angles only, offering a compelling price and performance ratio. For low frequency extension, Audiotonas specified 16 CSX118 subs configured for cardioid setup. The system is powered by six iKON iK42 amplifiers.
Royal Caribbean’s Symphony of the Seas is said to be the world’s largest and most advanced cruise ship. It features all new experiences and minimised energy footprint with Elation LED lighting. Elation products are used for all entertainment lighting onboard including the Royal Theater and Studio B, a theatre-in-the-round ice rink. For Studio B there is a lighting rig made up of: Platinum Seven LED moving heads, Artiste DaVinci CMY and graphics luminaires, Proton 3K LED strobes and Colour Chorus 72 LED battens. For the two-deck Royal Theater there is a bevy of Elation lights including Artiste DaVinci and Platinum Seven moving heads, Colour Chorus 72 LED battens, Fuze Wash Z350 LED moving head wash lights, ZCL 360i beam effects, Platinum Beam 5R Extreme and Proton 3K LED strobes.
SOLUTIONS IN BRIEF 39
‘Smart factory’ equipped with immersive meeting space Austrian automotive company Magna Steyr, has undergone an Industry 4.0 digitalised production process transformation. The result is an immersive, smart meeting space within Magna’s production environment that utilises Digital Projection’s solid-state E-Vision Laser 6500 projectors. Magna Steyr’s ‘Meeting Space’ is an example of the Industry 4.0 ‘smart factory’ where cyberphysical systems monitor physical processes and create a virtual copy of the physical world from where to make decentralised decisions. Within the Meeting Space, the 134° curved back wall, transforms into a 730cm long by 200cm high projection surface. Three Digital Projection E-Vision Laser 6500 projectors combine to create a viewable surface. To the
side of the projected area, two 55in LED displays are mounted. All visual and communication technology operating within the Meeting Space
Picture: Mathias Kniepeiss
is controlled via a central 84in touch table, driven by a single dedicated WINGS VIOSO server platform.
Even coverage at Mumbai concept café Munro Acoustics has deployed an end-toend Harman Professional Solutions audio system at the Flea Bazaar Café, a dining and entertainment concept. The 7,000sqft café features 13 separate restaurants, a marketplace for local lifestyle brands and a bar that serves local beers and craft cocktails. Munro Acoustics designed an audio system that would complement the aesthetic of the Flea Bazaar Café and deliver even sound coverage in the highly reverberant venue. To ensure an even, smooth and enjoyable music experience for guests, Munro Acoustics selected a complete Harman sound reinforcement system comprised of JBL VRX line array speakers, JBL SCS Spatially Cued Surround loudspeakers, Crown amplifiers and dbx digital signal processors.
Intricate projection mapping of Lower Manhattan The XI Gallery in New York’s Meatpacking District is a hybrid art install and showroom for architect Bjarke Ingels’ luxury residences and a hotel under construction at ‘The XI’ building a few blocks away. It includes a 33ft-wide model of Lower Manhattan, comprised of more than 10,000 miniature 3D-printed and hand-cut buildings. Technology West Group installed 7thSense Delta Media Servers to bring projection mapping to ‘The Egg’, created by artist Es Devlin. Devlin’s Manhattan is warped and fitted inside
a quarter ovoid shape, using relative scaling tricks to force a unique perspective of the cityscape. This butts to a mirrored ceiling – a motif employed throughout the gallery – completing the appearance of an egg cross-section. The Egg video system comprises seven Barco F80-4K9 4K DLP projectors, fed by two genlocked Delta Infinity media servers, via HDBaseT extenders.
Picture: 7thSense Design
Kit you need to know about
PRODUCT OF Crest Audio THE MONTH Versarray PRO It’s… a powered line array, which will debut at PLASA 2018.
What’s new? The model consists of the Versarray PRO VR112 line array element and the VR-PRO 215 subwoofer. Details: Versarray PRO is designed for use in all mid-sized line array applications including live entertainment, theatres, houses of worship and more. With integrated Dante audio networking, built-in DSP, and flying hardware, the Versarray PRO powered line array delivers premium quality audio in a versatile, networkable package that is easy to set-up. The VR112 benefits from Crest Audio’s latestgeneration Mark III ribbon drivers and proprietary CLEAR FORM Waveguide for crystalline high-end reproduction. The low-end is served by the 12in NEO Black Widow neodymium loudspeaker with dual 4in voice coils, which works in conjunction with Crest’s patented Ram Air Cooling (RAC) design for even greater efficiency and power handling. The compact, flyable VR-PRO 215 sub, also with RAC design, features dual 15in Black Widow Low Rider drivers and delivers full power down to 35Hz and a peak SPL of 135dB. Both elements benefit from 3,000W of available dynamic power. In terms of rigging, Versarray PRO is a fully articulating array thanks to an easy-to-adjust three-pin system on the back, which enables a range of configurations. The result is even coverage and audio quality across a range of applications. Furthermore, Versarray PRO includes Auto-Hang DSP technology, a quick and easy pushbutton control option that allows you to adjust the array according to the number of cabinets in the array, speaker positioning and more. Combined with FlyQWIK hardware, a Versarray PRO system can be accurately deployed quickly and easily, especially when compared to competing systems. As an active system, Versarray PRO features
on-board DSP processing including FIR filtering. Certain parameters may be accessed from the back panel for quick and easy initial set-up, and the whole system may be configured and controlled remotely via a dedicated Windowsbased software utility. Dante network control and audio are delivered via a single CAT5/6 cable, and redundant analogue connections have also been included for reliability.
Versarray PRO is said to be ideally suited for pro audio applications requiring high output, flawless coverage and pristine high fidelity audio in a compact, easy-to-deploy package.
Available: Later this month www.peaveycommercialaudio.com
42 TECHNOLOGY: NEW PRODUCTS n Vision VFM-WA2X2v2 and WA4X4v2 Vision has two new flatpanel wall arm mounts, which are both stronger, more manoeuvrable, and lower cost than the products they replace. They are now white to help the brackets disappear against white walls. Both mounts use 2.5mm cold-rolled steel giving increased tensile strength and finer surface tolerance. Both models have a 402mm reach, -2-12° tilt, and 90° swivel adjustment. www.visionaudiovisual.com n Optoma
EH330UST, W330UST and X330UST
It’s… a new collaboration workspace meeting solution
What’s new? Stage is a real-time collaborative workspace meeting solution that gives any organisation the opportunity to collaborate and annotate on shared documents seamlessly within a live videoconferencing environment.
This new range of bright UST projectors is designed for businesses, schools and colleges. The new range includes full HD 1080p, WXGA and XGA resolutions with 3,600 lumens, ideal for teaching or meeting rooms with ambient light. All models have vertical and horizontal keystone and four corner geometric adjustment which ensures quick and accurate installation. This is ideal for uneven walls or where a projector placement is awkward or needs to be installed at an angle. www.optoma.co.uk
Details: Available as standard on the Pro
n Apantac KVM-IP-Tx/Rx
NEC Display Solutions
This second generation KVM over IP extender/receiver set is ideal for applications where multiple local computers need to be accessed from multiple remote locations. Launching at IBC2018, these KVM over IP solutions provide point-to-point extension of HDMI, DVI, or analogue VGA over CATx. Functioning as a KVM over IP matrix, the set provides one-to-many or many-to-many console to server access, allowing for monitoring and control. Users can have concurrent access to a server from several remote consoles as well as from the local console. Server selection is accomplished with configurable hotkeys from a console keyboard or through the management software. www.apantac.com n Vaddio PrimeSHOT 20 Designed for large meeting rooms, lecture halls and houses of worship, the PrimeSHOT 20 PTZ camera includes 20x optical zoom, 1080p video and both HDMI and S-Video output options. It has been described by Vaddio as an ideal replacement camera in systems that have existing infrastructure based on S-Video signals, due to many other cameras originally used in these installs being end of life. www.vaddio.com
Series E-CAP touchscreens, this lightweight collaboration and meeting tool is designed for both on-site and distributed teams, users simply need to open a web browser, enter their pin and start working together. Co-developed and adapted for Clevertouch with NUITEQ, a specialist in the development of human computer interactive software, the aim of Stage is to help participants start a meeting quickly with minimal fuss. To use Stage, there is
no need to download apps or software, saving time and avoiding problems with complex firewalls. The cloud-based collaboration solution is safe, secure and is designed to fit into any organisation.
Available: Now www.clevertouch.com
It’s… the latest and flagship addition to the P Series portfolio. What’s new? This 75in UHD display is designed for mission-critical applications including DOOH, control rooms, transport hubs and retail. Details: The modular, scalable MultiSync P754Q display delivers large-screen visualisation with high brightness output of 650 cd/sqm and anti-reflective screen surface. Like all other display models in the P Series range, the new P754Q features advanced imaging performance, with settings of all relevant visual parameters – including brightness, colour, gamma and uniformity – via the Spectraview Engine for natural images. The P754Q also incorporates NEC’s Open Modular intelligence (OMi), the platform that enables smart connections between source and display, to deliver powerful, tailored and futureproof digital signage. OMi enables users
to deliver content to their display, and upgrade the power of their display by integrating one of NEC’s OPS Slot-in PCs, Raspberry Pi computer modules, or signal interfaces for content feed and computing. For outdoor areas, DOOH advertisers can choose an IP56-protected housing, available as a standalone totem or wall-mounted cabinet.
Available: Now www.nec-display-solutions.com
44 TECHNOLOGY: SHOWCASE
Amplifiers The latest amplifiers meet the increasingly demanding requirements of a range of fixed install environments, prioritising flexible output options and low latency.
Alcons enables minimal latency The proprietary designed Sentinel10 is an amplified loudspeaker controller, featuring a powerful four-channel DSP-based controller with patent-pending Class-D amplifier stages. The four individually addressable inputs accept analogue or up to 192kHz digital AES3 signals, that are up/down sampled to 96kHz by the custom high-end sample rate converters. The future-upgradable DSP engine enables minimal latency during processing of even the most complex (IIR, FIR) algorithms. Features include six-band (shelf/pass/parametric) equalising per channel, factory presets for all systems and system configurations, user-presets, event-logging and extensive system feedback. The four individual Class-D amplifier stages
offer one of the lowest THD in the industry. Together with the two (redundant) switchmode power supplies, the Sentinel10 delivers a total of 10,000W, in a package weighing just over 11kg. The modular design makes for easy ‘in-the-field’ servicing and future upgrades. A Linux-based micro-computer ‘oversees’ and controls all processes. The TFT touchscreen
Yamaha range features three modes The XP power amplifier series includes five models with different outputs ranging from 700W (stereo, 8 Ohms) to 100W (stereo, 8 Ohms). The XP series is an ideal choice for medium-sized facilities such as churches, halls, and banquet rooms, as well as conference rooms and restaurants. All models can operate in three modes: in the stereo mode the two channels are independent; the parallel (dual mono) mode allows a single mono input signal to drive both channels and two independent speaker systems; and in the bridge mode, both channels work together to deliver maximum power. XP amps include high quality circuit design and components and also feature antivibration measures inherited from the top-line PC-1N series. Thanks to EEEngine technology, the XP-series amplifiers are housed in a compact 2RU form factor for install and portable applications. The XP series is equipped with a selection of input and output terminals that make them
suitable for professional sound applications: XLR and Euroblock input terminals, with Speakon and five-way binding post output terminals.
and the multi-colour LED illuminated encoder in combination with tab-based menu structure offer control over the amplifier and processor sections, while reducing the number of wearable components.
New levels of flexibility from Bose The PS604A and PS404A are both four-channel PowerShare amplifiers featuring built-in AmpLink technology. PowerShare amps are said to be particularly well-suited for conferencing using the Bose ControlSpace EX-1280C signal processor with its eight AmpLink digital outputs, or for all kinds of large and small venues where high-quality digital audio is key. AmpLink pipes audio between equipment in racks, with up to 10m cable lengths between connections. Each model offers digital audio transport using standard CAT5 cables and RJ-45 connectors to carry up to 24 channels of 48kHz digital audio. Each AmpLink termination point features a THRU connection for daisy-chaining up to eight devices. The AmpLink addition gives the amplifiers a new level of flexibility where not only can they asymmetrically distribute power into zones as necessary, but the amplifiers can be easily connected to one another and a DSP via AmpLink.
TECHNOLOGY: SHOWCASE 45
Dynacord offers power drive options Launched this year, the IPX series consists of the IPX10:4, IPX10:8, IPX20:4 and IPX5:4 Class-D models. There are three four-channel amps at 1,250W, 2,500W and 5,000W and one eightchannel option at 1,250W. IPX series amplifiers are designed to cover a wide range of demanding fixed install venues, from concert halls and theatres to distributed sound systems in stadiums. The range includes a number of power drive options utilising Dynacord’s Variable Load Drive technology. This allows the available output power of 1,250W per channel to be used at either 4 or 8 Ohms, or via 70V or 100V lines in direct drive mode. An integrated OMNEO interface enables the use of eight channels from a Dante audio network, while remote and supervision parameters run on OCA protocol (AES70), open
for third-party integration. The fully DSP-controlled amplifier and power supply monitors up to 280 parameters simultaneously to assure that even under challenging operating conditions such as mains power fluctuations, the IPX series continues to perform.
Powersoft drives low impedance loads
The Duecanali Series is Powersoft’s twochannel amplifier platform, which includes the Duecanali 804 and Duecanali 4804 models both have optional DSP and Dante for the fixed install market. The 4804 is suitable to a wide range of projects, making it a cost-effective solution for small to medium-sized installations. The 804 represents a lower total power solution for installations in retail, as well as bars and restaurants. The range is completed by the existing Duecanali 1602, which sits between the two latest additions. The range is able to drive low impedance
loads (2/4/8 Ohms) and 70V/100V distributed lines selectable per channel. Furthermore, it provides more than 16 different possible output configurations (Lo-Z, Hi-Z, bridge mode, parallel mode, and combinations of these). The products are available in standard or DSP+D versions, which extend system performance with on board signal processing and Dante digital audio distribution. Both models can be managed with the newly launched user friendly Armonía 2.11 Pro Audio Suite version.
The new Eco Rail technology developed by Dynacord helps to reduce overall power consumption up to 50%, both protecting the environment and significantly lowering the TCO.
QSC lowers TCO The MP-A Series Zone amplifiers from QSC are music and paging amps that offer flexibility and Class-D efficiency, along with low total cost of ownership and switchmode power supply. The range includes the MP-A20V (200W x two channels), the MP-A40V (200W x four channels), and the MP-A80V (200W x eight channels). The MP-A Series was designed specifically for music reinforcement and paging that supports retail, restaurant, hospitality, and other commercial spaces. The multi-channel amplifiers feature FlexAmp Technology, which allows each pair of amplifier channels to deliver up to 400W total power, in any ratio. Integrators also have the flexibility to configure each channel as either low impedance, 70V or 100V, with or without an 80Hz high-pass filter. The MP-A Series also comes in a 1RU chassis, which is ideal for installations with rack space limitations.
46 LAST WORD: JENNY HICKS, MIDWICH
Market forces Collaboration and workplace technology is one of a number of themes at Technology Exposed 2018, Midwich head of technology Jenny Hicks offers insights on what recent changes in this technology space mean for different parts of the industry
How much of an impact does the growing prevalence of ‘plug and play’ endpoints and cloud-based apps have on what distributors/ integrators can offer in the collaboration technology space? The rise of the ‘out of box’ product has had its greatest impact on the manufacturers. While there will remain a niche market for high security demanding single brand on-premise solutions, the reality is that what was a two-man race is now a saturated market with new players appearing every day. Personally I think this is great for distributors and integrators. Now what we can offer is time saving expertise. End users are overwhelmed by the amount of choice and the channel can provide the comparison and experienced-based recommendations to aid their decision. With greater remote working and collaboration, what security and content sharing challenges does this present? Our experience with conferencing and communication platforms for remote working is that their encryption and security features more than meet the demands of most users. With content sharing it is now a common feature of most solutions to include a pass code to ensure only personnel in the room can utilise the display, or in education and training environments we see moderator features. The main challenges come from solutions in the market that have not been tested for mass use or use in close proximity. We often service customers who have invested in technology that when installed struggles to perform due to interference from the same products installed in other rooms. There are some very low cost options out there but at Midwich we chose to focus on solutions suitable for the enterprise. Following 18 months of exciting launches in collaboration products, what technologies are you seeing increased demand for now? The demand for software-agnostic hardware is definitely on the rise, particularly popular are
the discreet solutions like the conferencing soundbars with integrated cameras. Wireless presentation devices are very popular and the ability to stream or share video is becoming increasingly important to users. What we see in the use case demands is that users regularly want to allow the use of multiple soft codecs. They may wish to utilise multiple VC softwares in-house and allow for a uniform experience across all of them. We are starting to see overlay softwares and presence technology in development that will give this single user experience regardless of the cloud service used that will answer this demand. What can visitors expect from Technology Exposed 2018? We will be very much on trend this year with lots of audio and video solutions for the huddle space, LED, and AV over IP solutions among the bigger, brighter and louder traditional AV products, and a chroma key broadcast studio. In addition, we have a special guest exhibitor who has created VR, AR and 360° video experiences for some of the UK’s most prestigious brands and visitor attractions. Visitors can talk to them about how these immersive experiences can fit any application or industry, learn about the hardware requirements and how to gamify a brand. Jenny Hicks is head of technology at Midwich
‘The main challenges come from solutions in the market that have not been tested for mass use or use in close proximity’
Network effect. The present and future of networked AV.