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Issue 221 / May 2019


A standards odyssey

How far along are we?

Better together

PSNI's Chris Miller wants to unite the AV industry

See the light

World's largest church gets LED lighting upgrade

A SENSE OF SECURITY To compete AV vendors must embrace the complexities of networks and data



Brand Editor: Duncan Proctor Group Editor, Pro AV: Jo Ruddock Group Content Director, B2B: James McKeown Graphic Designer: Marc Miller Managing Design Director, B2B: Nicole Cobban Production Manager: Matthew Eglinton


Group Sales Manager: Richard Gibson Overseas Sales Contact - Executive Vice President: Adam Goldstein


To subscribe, change your address, or check on your current account status, go to or email


Installation is available for licensing. Contact the Licensing team to discuss partnership opportunities. Head of Print Licensing Rachel Shaw ISSN number: 2050-6104 Future PLC The Emerson Building 4th Floor, 4-8 Emerson Street London SE1 9DU

Cause for concern


t’s hard to believe we’re already on our fifth issue of the year, we’ve covered an array of pressing topics so far, but none more so than the theme in this edition – security. It’s a universal concern, but generally, unless there’s a major breach, we are blissfully unaware of how close we are to catastrophe. In this issue we look at how the AV world is dealing with the heightened threat and the potential consequences for manufacturers and integrators not up to speed with the latest threats and developments. This is not contained to AV as a recent study by Tanium has revealed that 81% of chief information security officers and chief information officers are compromising on security to avoid disrupting Duncan Proctor, Brand Editor workflow. For people all too aware of the carnage security breaches can create it seems ridiculous that CIOs would make concessions in @install8ion this area, but in fact, compromises are rife across security. As mentioned, you have compromises so workflow isn’t negatively affected; compromises to avoid impeding ease of use and speed; and compromises between price and performance. Security only works as well as the officers implementing it.

‘What’s also evident is that manufacturers still have a way to go to counter the argument that AV equipment on the network is an easy target’

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On the other side of the fence is the AV integrators. It has become clear that they can no longer rely solely on the superior experience they are able to offer as the reason for winning projects. The lead feature in this issue (page 16) explains why integrators need to get comfortable thinking about IT and network security. With cybersecurity of growing importance to organisations and end users, only the forward-thinking, jack of all trades integrators will prosper. Another slightly worrying thought for traditional integrators is the emerging threat from companies like Microsoft and Cisco, who are eyeing up the corporate and education projects that are the staple of established integrators. IT service providers are finding success as they are able to offer something integrators can’t – namely tried and tested security. And security is not a conversation AV manufacturers and integrators can change to divert attention to what they can offer in experience and usability. What’s also evident is that manufacturers still have a way to go to counter the argument that AV equipment on the network is an easy target. While this is generally a point made by IT providers competing for project tenders, somewhat surprisingly one prominent AV manufacturer admitted that AV security is in a weak position today. However there is hope as many integrators are embracing convergence and modifying their offerings to include SaaS and managed services. These are the examples for the rest of the industry to follow as those just doing the same thing they’ve always done will inevitably be left behind.

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May 2019



Special Report AV Security 16 The new imperative

for success Network and data integrity are front of mind for end users when selecting AV vendors. We take a look at how the industry is responding

22 AI: Threat or opportunity?

The possibilities for AI and machine learning are almost endless but it’s important to be aware of the security implications



10 Opinion

28 St Peter’s Basilica, Vatican City

TOA’s Ian Bridgewater reveals the effects IP-based audio is having on the security landscape Amy Cronshaw on the many benefits of being an industry mentor

Ian McMurray, Steve Montgomery, Rob Smith

Cover image: Getty Images

30 German Red Cross Training Centre,

Halle (Salle) AVoIP delivers enhanced flexibility and efficiency

32 Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, London

PSNI’s Chris Miller discusses the alliance’s global development and the challenges ahead

42 Last Word

34 Solutions in Brief

Rob Smith of Shure on the growing trend towards AV standardisation in enterprises

Industry Events


A new LED lighting system has enhanced the splendour of this imposing church

26 AV over IP Special thanks: David Glaubke, Louise Strickland, Linda Tyrrell, Dave Wiggins


14 Interview

06 AV Technology Awards 2019

Contributors: Ian Bridgewater, Mike Clark, Amy Cronshaw, David Davies,


Still at any early stage of the standards journey, we look at the impact of the SMPTE ST 2110 suite

The fan experience is at the heart of this impressive new stadium

Including the world’s largest single room audio system and a flagship store using AV to drive brand awareness

Technology 37 Products

Featuring Holovis VIX Suite, QSC Q-SYS and Clear-Com Freespeak 2 40 Showcase Large-format displays


May 2019

Shortlist revealed From a strong list of entries, we’ve managed to whittle down a shortlist of teams, products and projects for the first AV Technology Awards. Our independent panel of judges are now hard at work choosing the winners. But in the meantime, here’s the entries that could be celebrating on the night

TEAM EXCELLENCE AWARDS Open to integrators, manufacturers, distributors, end users and anyone from across the AV industry, these awards recognise the achievements of people and companies from the past year. Company of the Year 7thSense Design Clevertouch Diversified Maverick AV Solutions NEC Display Solutions Optoma Europe Peerless AV Sahara AV Visavvi Vivitek

End User Team of the Year Royal Exchange Theatre, Manchester Tate Modern, London University of Hertfordshire University of Warwick


TDC at Vivid Sydney




This category recognises outstanding installations of professional AV technologies and solutions across all major sectors in the past year. Corporate Project of the Year Diversified, IBM X-Force Mobile Command Tactical Operations Center (C-TOC)

Real Madrid World of Football Experience

Franken Lehrmittel Medientechnik, Universa Insurance HQ Oblong, JLL NXT Office Panasonic Business/McKeon Group, Allied Irish Bank

Education Project of the Year AVI-SPL and SiliconCore Technology, Klarman Hall, Harvard University CDEC, Goldsmiths University Loxit, University of Manchester Snelling Business Systems, Quadram Institute Visavvi, University of the West of Scotland

Retail/DOOH Project of the Year Garrett Audiovisuais, JNcQUOI, Lisbon Pioneer Group/Play Retail, OPI VR pods Richnerstutz AG & Netvico GmbH and SiliconCore Technology, Zermatt Bergbahnen AG White Light, adidas Retail Experience

JLL NXT Office

Venue Project of the Year Genelec, Basso Club AVI-SPL and SiliconCore, Klarman Hall, Harvard University

TR Audio, 0760 Plus Plus4Audio, Royal Geographical Society Theatre TDC, ICC Sydney for SIBOS 2018

Visitor Attraction Project of the Year Amped Digital, Real Madrid World of Football Experience HI Audio Visual, The Scottish Submarine Centre Holovis, Justice League: A Call for Heroes TVC Technology Solutions, The Flower Bowl TDC, Vivid Sydney White Light, Warner Bros World Abu Dhabi

Basso Club, Genelec


May 2019

TECHNOLOGY EXCELLENCE AWARDS Designed to recognise excellence in innovation for professional AV products and solutions, this category was open to products released between February 2018 and March 2019. Audio Product of the Year Avid Venue S6L Meyer Sound ULTRA-X40 QSC Premium Business Music Solution Shure Microflex Complete Wireless

Display Product of the Year Christie, MicroTiles LED Datapath, iolite 12i infiLED, Easy Rental (ER) Pro series

Pronto from StarLeaf

Optoma Europe, FHDQ130 QUAD series powered by Calibre Peerless-AV, Xtreme High Bright Outdoor Display Tripleplay, TripleSign Digital Signage Platform Meyer Sound’s UX40

ViewSonic Europe’s IFP7560

Collaboration Product of the Year Lifesize, Icon 700 Clevertouch, Pro Series Mersive, Gen3 Pod Starleaf, Pronto ViewSonic Europe, ViewBoard IFP7560 WolfVision, Cynap Pure

Projection Product of the Year Barco, UDX Christie, D4K40-RGB Disguise, OmniCal

Creatron DM NVX

InFocus, IN1188HD NEC, P525UL Panasonic Business, PT-RZ120

Signal Management Product of the Year Atlona OmniStream Calibre, HQPro1000 Crestron DM NVX Luxul AMS-1816P 18-port/16 PoE+ L2/L3

InFocus - IN1188HD - Side Lifestyle Barco UDX

AV Accessory of the Year B-Tech International, BT8310XL

InFocus’ IN1188HD

CIE, 2N Helios IP Verso

Tripleplay’s TripleSign platform

Peerless-AV, DS-VW775-QR Kramer, WP−211T HoverCam Pilot 3

Buy your tickets now Join us at the Millennium Gloucester in London on Thursday 27th June. To book your tickets contact

Sponsorship opportunities To find out more about sponsoring this event, please contact Richard Gibson +44 (0)20 7354 6029


May 2019

Ian Bridgewater Look who’s talking

IP-based audio systems that utilise power over Ethernet are changing the security landscape


hether CCTV alone actually acts as a deterrent, or is simply an inconvenience to those with criminal intent, is a subject of some debate. However, using CCTV in conjunction with voice address technology offers significant advantages, so it’s about time that the benefits of audio were reappraised.

Driving force There have been massive developments in security technology in recent years thanks to the use of IP-based systems – and audio has not been immune from its influence. From logistical and capital expenditure points of view, IP offers substantial savings, as devices can utilise an existing data cabling network infrastructure, rather than relying on the installation of a separate 100V line based system. As well as saving integrators time on-site and therefore creating better margins, IP-based audio technology is compatible with a wide range of other security devices including cameras, recorders and software – thereby ensuring full integration. IP-enabled speakers provide clear, long-range speech for remote speaking in surveillance applications and, as well as enabling an operator to remotely address people, they can also play a pre-recorded message when manually or automatically activated in response to a specific event. Alarms can be triggered based on audio sounds above a specified decibel level and IP audio also provides real time confirmation of an intrusion – providing organisations with an effective way of keeping people, property and assets safe, while avoiding false alarms and the unnecessary deployment of personnel.

Command and control IP-based systems can also help to reduce overheads – take, for example, barrier and access control. Shopping centres often have one dedicated person on site to provide access for deliveries, etc. While this is obviously important from a security point of view, there may well be long periods of time where that operative is doing very little. By using an IP-based video and voice system, a remote monitoring centre is able to carry out this function as part of a much broader range of activities.

‘IP-based audio should be considered an essential part of any remotely monitored CCTV system’

Furthermore, in the event that an intruder is identified, an operative at a remote monitoring centre can issue a verbal warning for them to cease what they are doing and disperse – an approach that has been proven to stop the vast majority of incidents going any further. If this doesn’t work then further action can be initiated, such as deploying manned guards to the scene or calling the police. As each speaker has its own IP address, it can be isolated – so when it is only necessary to communicate with a person, or people, in a specific area, this can be achieved without utilising the entire system. IP audio also has less obvious benefits in terms of ensuring adequate standards of health and safety. For instance, in high density areas such as shopping centres, sports stadiums and even music festivals it can

be used to make announcements that avoid bottlenecks happening.

Knowledge is power As well as IP, over the last 15 years power over Ethernet (PoE) has revolutionised the way devices are specified and IEEE 802.3bt means that it is now possible to deliver up to almost 100W of DC power over existing data cabling. The power available, combined with the continued reduction in energy required by many devices, is swiftly bringing us to a point where a structured cabling system can be viewed as a power delivery medium as much as a data delivery one. Installation becomes less complex and the process is also quicker due to the need for fewer cables and power sockets to be put in place. This means that an even greater array of security devices, many of which were previously unable to utilise PoE, can now do so, while it also simplifies the maintenance of devices and allows the easy addition of new products as required. Already proven to be highly effective at deterring those about to commit acts of crime and keeping people safe in places such as educational establishments, workplaces, car parks and hospitals, IP-based audio should be considered an essential part of any remotely monitored CCTV system. With a growing number of organisations utilising the power of IP-based audio to meet their security needs, it makes good business sense for installers to get on board now. Ian Bridgewater is director at TOA Corporation UK



May 2019

Amy Cronshaw Making WAVEs

Inclusivity and diversity will make the AV industry a more exciting place to be


he WAVE mentor programme has been an excellent opportunity to meet new people within the industry and to help the next ‘wave’ of women in AV feel strong and empowered. I chose to get involved in the WAVE mentoring programme as I wanted to meet like-minded women and build a stronger AV industry that is more inclusive and diverse. I have found that along with this I have also experienced a new network of support and positivity that is breeding a new way of looking at the industry. I work for a company that has an inclusive and positive workplace environment. It is a refreshing and exciting atmosphere to work in and I feel privileged to work for such a forwardthinking business. By being involved in the programme I hope to spread the positive way of working that macom UK has with others with the hope that more employers in the industry take a similar approach. I am mentoring a young woman, helping

her navigate her current position, plan career progression, set goals and help build a structured approach to achieving them. When we meet up our conversation is widespread and the topics we focus on differ from month to month, covering everything from confidence when presenting to increasing technical knowledge.

‘The most important thing the WAVE mentorship scheme does is raise awareness of a female presence in leadership roles in the industry’

For me the most important thing the WAVE mentorship scheme does is raise awareness of a female presence in leadership roles in the industry. It has provided a platform for passion and enthusiasm for the industry we work in and a route to sharing industry knowledge that may help others.

I have thoroughly enjoyed the process to date, seeing my mentee grow in confidence as we tackle new tasks together month by month. As the programme continues, I hope to see a continued growth in skillsets and selfconfidence that I have already begun to see in the inspiring young woman I am working with. While the focus is on me mentoring my mentee and using my knowledge to assist her, I have found the process has also affected me. My people management skills have developed in a new direction and a fresh pair of eyes has helped me to see things that I have been doing for a long time in a new light, encouraging change in my own workplace practices. A large amount of my day-to-day work is detailed, project-focused tasks or largescale strategic planning. Getting to work on a one-to-one basis with someone who needs guidance has helped me open up my focus and allowed me to look at my management style. I have found the experience enlightening and entirely positive. I am looking forward to continuing to see and hear about the progress of the women in the programme and how they are opening up the AV industry with their ideas and input for years to come. I hope that the WAVE mentoring programme inspires others to work towards encouraging young people to enter the industry by providing more structured support for their progression. Amy Cronshaw is senior consultant, macom UK


May 2019

Better together

Duncan Proctor speaks to Chris Miller, executive director of the PSNI Global Alliance, about the value of uniting all elements of the AV industry and the challenges facing integrators The PSNI Global Alliance has been around for a long time. Can you tell me a bit more about its history and development? On 26 June 1986, a group of forward-thinking AV dealers met in Chicago to discuss concerns about shared business opportunities. Quickly they learned that knowledge sharing and understanding each other’s best practices was

invaluable. The result was the formation of PSNI (Professional Systems Network International). In 2013, with 35 member integrators in North America, I made the radical proposal to turn the North American network into a global powerhouse. Opening the doors beyond traditional borders, however, meant new planning, new resource-allocation and new

research to be done among existing members. It was decided at that time that the organisation remain domestic, but the dream didn’t die. Far from it. Global engagement only increased for PSNI member companies, facing problems of country-specific processes, not to mention cultural differences that can undermine smooth operations. In 2016, it was decided that PSNI would underwrite an exploratory study to determine the viability of a global footprint. The findings confirmed that the timing was right for the expansion of the network to benefit current and future stakeholders.


After a year of research, dedicated resources and recruitment efforts the network lit up the runway with the introduction of 10 new members from around the world, and PSNI Global Alliance was formed. Expanding ever since, the PSNI Global Alliance now represents 170+ offices with coverage on six continents with the belief that we are powerful alone, but unstoppable together. You opened the Supersummit event to the public for the first time this year. How did that go and how did it compare to previous years? Supersummit is the flagship event for the PSNI Global Alliance and a highly recognised conference in the AV industry. Premiering in 2008 as a management conference for peer-to-peer learning, the event has expanded over the years, featuring world-renowned speakers, authors and industry veterans from around the world. Traditionally, Supersummit has been limited to our members and Preferred Vendor Partners (PVPs) who are actively involved in PSNI Global Alliance programmes. This year, however, we wanted to open up a piece of the event to the entire AV community because we strongly believe that the voice of the end user needs to be heard and understood by all; not only to provide a better customer experience but also to raise the professionalism of the entire industry. Putting true AV technology to use, we opened up our end-user panel to the public through Facebook Live and maintained the member-only exclusivity throughout the rest of the event. The results were phenomenal. We were able to have active participation in multiple countries, interact with people inside and outside of our network, and really demonstrate the power of audiovisual communication. It’s something we will likely expand on in the future. What is the aim of the Global Deployment Certification? The PSNI certification programme is the foundation of global connectivity between members. The purpose is to demonstrate that each PSNI Global Alliance member company is committed to excellence and professionalism in all phases of design, engagement, deployment and support of enterprise-wide, multidestination projects and support. End-users can expect a standardised and cohesive alliance approach to their AV requirements. In many cases, the PSNI Global Alliance standard and accountability structure is more comprehensive and accountable than single source companies who approach multi-country projects.  To be certified by PSNI Global Alliance, each member company appoints a minimum of one person to complete a comprehensive timed test that measures competency, understanding of PSNI Global Alliance engagement procedures,


This year’s Supersummit featured Dr. Alan Beaulieu, president and principal of ITR Economics, presenting ‘Understanding the Events That Are Impacting the Global Economy’

flowcharts and process mapping, and utilisation of logistic resources available through the PSNI Global Alliance network. The comprehensive global deployment process was designed by industry technical and sales experts from around the globe and is managed by the PSNI Global Alliance Deployment and Service Oversight Committee, composed of tested and industry credentialed appointees. We also support industry recognised standards as defined by AVIXA.  

‘The expectations of deliverables, time and project constraints coupled with the on-going search for qualified personnel make delivering completed systems sometimes very challenging’

What are your mid- and long-term goals for the PSNI Global Alliance? We will continue our commitment to be ‘change agents’ – supporting our stakeholders and the services they provide to end users around the world. For the past 30 years we have always believed that we are stronger together by leveraging the experience and skills of our members for a better customer experience. Our goals include continued expansion and coverage with the most highly qualified integration partners in the top GDP cities around the world. Our core programmes, research, KPI programmes and training will continue and expand. Development is underway to provide comprehensive global services and subscription options that connect our members and services

to end users around the world. It’s an exciting time to be in the business! What do you see as the major challenges facing integrators around the world in the coming years? Our members around the world report being very busy with projects. The expectations of deliverables, time and project constraints coupled with the on-going search for qualified personnel make delivering completed systems sometimes very challenging.     Additionally, the rising costs of business is juxtaposed with declining product margins and end user expectations. Our members know that to keep up with customer demands while growing profitability, their overall business model will transform with XaaS offerings and managed services. Our members report they are challenged to adapt while managing and maintaining today’s business.   Global companies will require global partners. If integrators and service partners are not aligned with a network of highly qualified and vetted partners, they will be very challenged to stay relevant to those end users. 

PSNI Global Alliance in numbers n Established: 1986 n Number of offices: 170+ offices with coverage on six continents n Affiliate employees: 5,500+ n Global technology partners: 10 n Affiliate partners: 60+


May 2019

Security was key for the Energus Cyber Lab due to the sensitive nature of the application

The new imperative for success

Key Points n Despite the publicity it receives, manufacturers, integrators and end users are struggling to stay on top of the need for security in AV installations

Increasingly, it seems, when they’re selecting AV vendors, end user concerns are migrating first and foremost towards ensuring the integrity of their network and data. Ian McMurray finds out how the industry is responding


here probably aren’t many people still working in the AV industry who remember Brain. Brain was the first ever virus to target MS-DOS – it entered PCs via a floppy disk, infecting the boot sector – in 1986. In 1988 – back in the day when the entire internet consisted of around 60,000 machines – the Morris Worm became the first virus to be distributed via the network, infecting around 10% of those systems. It was little consolation to users to subsequently find out it was an accident… Fast forward to 2018. In the third quarter, antivirus company Kaspersky alone claims to have blocked almost 950 million virus attacks. The company detected more than 300,000 attempts to access bank accounts. Ransomware attacks numbered over a quarter of a million. And those are just three of the many, many threats posed to the security of the world’s computer systems. In the first half of 2018, it’s estimated that some 4.5 billion records were exposed as a result of data breaches. It’s believed that, by 2020, the annual cost of data breaches will reach $2.1

trillion. Accenture estimates that the average cost of a malware attack to a company is $2.4 million. Those are the kind of numbers that keep IT managers awake at night. Today, in its new, network-centric form, in which almost every audiovisual device has some form of network connectivity, the AV industry too needs to be thinking about security, especially as AV becomes more closely aligned with the IT domain – and increasingly mission critical.

Responsibility to the enterprise Launching its Recommended Practices for Security in Networked AV Systems guide just under a year ago, Ann Brigida, AVIXA’s senior director of standards, said: “We have a responsibility to the enterprise whose networks we’re on to make sure our AV systems are not enabling intrusions; that we’ve done everything we can to understand what’s at stake and take steps to mitigate the risk for the entire enterprise. There are many standards and practices that have been put in place through the years to lock down the opportunities for

n EU-wide legislation to create common security standards is in progress – but still thought to be some way from becoming an actionable reality n There are numerous counter-measures that can and should be implemented – but balancing security and ease-of-use remains a challenge n Growing reliance on the cloud, allied to constantly emerging new security threats, is only exacerbating the AV security problem n Their ability to deliver appropriate security will certainly become top of mind for end users in choosing vendors and integrators

hackers and prevent breaches, and many cybersecurity firms provide 24/7 intrusion detection. But most of the standards and guidance deal with the network itself and not the systems being put on the network. That’s why AVIXA worked with subject matter experts to develop a set of best practices to keep the network safe while placing AV systems on it.” It seems that such a guide is much needed. “AV security is in a weak position today,” believes David Martens, product security architect at Barco. “Security has only received the focus it deserves over the past couple of years –

and many vendors are still struggling to get it implemented correctly.” The latter may seem a bold claim – but Stuart Davidson, technical services director at integrator AVMI, sees a similar situation.

Surprised “There’s a growing understanding of the importance of security,” he nods. “However, it’s fair to say that we often see major security risks when discussing legacy technology solutions. We’re sometimes just as surprised by a manufacturer’s lack of understanding of the importance of security. It’s important to us to choose to work with vendors and partners who share the same goals and vision that we and our customers have.” “However,” he continues, “major AV manufacturers are also now starting to understand, and are working hard to ensure that standardised and approved security measures are incorporated into devices.” Spiros Andreou, service delivery manager at integrator CDEC, also believes there’s room for improvement – an improvement that, if not executed, leaves the entire AV industry as it is today at risk.

SPECIAL REPORT: AV SECURITY “There are few equipment manufacturers who work with Android systems who take this as seriously as they should,” he says, “and we believe that is why Android systems have failed to penetrate the legal/banking sectors as much as they could.” “We cannot overstate the risks to the market that are presented by the massive IT players coming to compete with the established

‘AV security is in a weak position today’ David Martens, Barco

manufacturers and integrators in the AV world,” he goes on. “Five years ago, it would have been unthinkable to be in a competitive process for a classroom against Sony, Microsoft and Cisco – but that reality is very much upon us. The poor security of AV devices is an argument that


larger IT companies can make that there is no place for them in the corporate – or indeed, the education – world, so the sector must change to face the challenge.”

Clear priorities When it comes to customer security goals, Crestron’s Toine C Leerentveld, who is technology manager, control solutions is clear where their priorities lie. “The security threats that most users are concerned about is getting access to management pages and controlling devices on the network,” he says. “But while this is important, users should also be concerned about how their devices are protected and hardened on the network so that they do not become an attack factor for people to get access to their other devices. Security is imperative; therefore, dealers and integrators should be invested in making sure network administrators can properly authenticate their devices and reduce the likelihood of an attack.” Addressing at least some of that concern, Barco announced in February that its ClickShare wireless collaboration tool had received ISO 27001:2013 certification. However, Martens is

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18 SPECIAL REPORT: AV SECURITY quick to point out that ISO 27001:2013 is not a technical product security certification, but rather confirmation of the security of processes and the work environment in which the product was created – which is no less important (see boxout, page 20). “Buyers can rely on security claims if they are supported by reports of independent parties or certifications,” he advises. “Otherwise, they have to be taken with a pinch of salt. Buyers can always ask for an independent technical penetration testing report, or ask a third party to execute a penetration test.” There is, he goes on to explain, an EU-wide effort to define the EU Cybersecurity Certification Framework under the Cybersecurity Act Proposal. This will be based, he says, on agreement at the EU level on the evaluation of the security properties of a specific ICT-based product or service – but, he adds, it is still unclear how this will affect AV equipment where it converges with some ICT products. Given that the European Commission seldom moves fast, it’s perhaps unlikely that it will happen any time soon.

May 2019

Crestron deployed its secure DigitalMedia NVX technology at chartered surveyors Gordon Ingram Associates

Identification and resolution So, until then, how should those concerns be tackled? AVIXA is not the only organisation to

‘We cannot overstate the risks to the market that are presented by the massive IT players coming to compete with the established manufacturers and integrators in the AV world’ Spiros Andreou, CDEC

have produced a guide. “Crestron has several guides and tools that help harden the network to the level that the customer and their IT department requires,” notes Leerentveld. “In addition to our guides, Crestron has created a Security Audit Tool that integrators can run for our devices, and it will quickly tell them whether or not they are meeting their organisation’s requirements. If the devices do not meet these requirements, the tool will provide resolutions to these issues, securing their network quickly and easily.” Davidson makes the interesting point that there is often a choice when it comes to whether or not a piece of equipment needs to be network-attached.

“The best mitigation is physical segregation,” he believes. “We have to consider the benefits of adding devices or services to a network against the risk. But, where there are sufficient operational or service benefits to be gained from integrating with customer networks, we must choose products that provide the best security.” Davidson goes on to explain how his company considers very carefully the potential risks to customer data.

Basic measures “We’ll always specify suitable equipment that includes security measures such as certificatebased authentication, integration with active directories and the capability to disable unwanted, insecure ports and protocols,” he explains. “We don’t overlook basic measures, of course, such as changing passwords from the factory default and ensuring security updates and patches are up to date.” For Leerentveld, the responsibility must begin with the end user. “AV buyers should first have a very good view of the solution that they want to build, how it will be deployed, who will use it and what are the usage purposes,” he says. “A risk assessment based both on this knowledge and on the security features of the AV equipment that will be deployed, should give a good view on the biggest risks and how to mitigate them. AV buyers or integrators could, for example, limit the physical access to equipment, implement LAN segregation, and so on. In this whole

exercise, knowing the security features of the AV equipment is a very, very important step in the buying/deploying process.” Increasingly, of course, it is the case that what the IT department says must happen is what must happen. As Davidson remarks, manufacturers seeing the most success in enterprise are those who recognise the needs of IT and incorporate them into product design. Learning more about those requirements is key to success. “It’s all about skills and having the right mindset when creating and deploying a solution,” believes Martens. “There are relevant training and certification courses available in the IT/product development area from which AV installers/integrators could definitely benefit – and any AV installer/integrator should get those competences on board as soon as possible.”

Achieving balance The challenge for end users, and the integrators who advise them, is, of course, how to balance maximum security with optimum accessibility and usability? A measure as simple as access control via a user name and multi-stage authentication – sending a code to a prospective users’ mobile phone, for example – can be tedious and frustrating. “While discussing security and convenience, we typically find that the more secure you are, the less convenient your solution is,” notes Leerentveld. “As a manufacturer, it is our job

20 SPECIAL REPORT: AV SECURITY to find the right balance between the two while providing our customers with a secure and user-friendly experience. One of our goals at Crestron is to make sure that our devices do not compromise usability while integrating the level of security that our customers need. Using our Security Audit Tool and Crestron XiO Cloud, integrators can easily deploy devices in a very secure and IT-friendly manner without impacting the end-user’s accessibility.” And, as ever, there is no ‘one size fits all’ solution: much, as always, depends on the application, as Davidson notes. “We must always consider the intended use of the solution or system, and the risk that a breach of security of that system might introduce to other areas,” he says. “If there is no or low risk of a sensitive data breach or impact to unintended services, then security measures can be relaxed – and naturally, this will often

‘Users should also be concerned about how their devices are protected and hardened on the network’ Toine C Leerentveld, Crestron

lead to a reduction in complexity.” A key consideration for many organisations is the provision of guest usage of the network. Visitors need to be made to feel welcome – and where, in the past, the offer of a cup of coffee would mostly suffice, today it is generally the case that that also means providing access to the network. “Guest networks are very popular today,” notes Leerentveld. “For example, every time you visit a company, they either offer you a temporary code or you have to provide an email address, and a sponsor then has to approve your access. Allowing visitors and guests to plug devices into Ethernet jacks to access the corporate network is a security risk. At Crestron, we make sure that guests have

May 2019

Barco’s ClickShare wireless collaboration tool has received IS0 27001-2013 certification to confirm the security behind its manufacturing

their own LAN separate from the corporate LAN to reduce the risk of unauthorised users accessing the network.”

Segregation “The ability for guests to be able to integrate their own devices with corporate AV has been a challenge for a long time in the AV industry,” adds Davidson. “IT tends to segregate employee networks from guest networks, which creates challenges when users of both want to share content wirelessly in a presentation. Devices often do not sit on both networks, and IT can be wary of devices that do.” “Usually, users on the corporate and guest networks each have access to the internet,” Davidson goes on, “and we’re seeing cloudbased bridging technologies being used very successfully to simply and securely bring them together.” And speaking of the cloud… Looking to the future of security in AV systems and installations, it seems the cloud is not going to make life any easier. “The trend is getting devices connected to the cloud for remote access and management,” says Barco’s Martens. “The IP-ification of the AV industry is now accelerating into connecting the equipment to cloud services – which, of course, significantly increases the cybersecurity risks related to

The importance of secure manufacturing In an article published late last year, Bloomberg claimed that embedded computing boards manufactured under contract in China for Super Micro were found to have had a tiny chip – no bigger than a grain of rice, and that was not part of Super Micro’s design – inserted on them. The purpose of the chip was to create a stealth doorway into any network that included the affected boards. Companies that had deployed the affected boards included Apple and Amazon – and, perhaps more worryingly, the CIA, the US Department of Defense and the US Navy.

those deployments.”

Not becoming simpler It is, then, the changing landscape that represents as much of a problem for the industry as the continuing emergence of new threats. “Well-known threats are easy to defend against; protecting your network against unknown threats is challenging,” says Crestron’s Leerentveld. “As a manufacturer, it is our job to be aware of these threats and have a resolution for them as quickly as possible. At Crestron, we frequently review any new threats that are discovered, analyse our product line up to see what products are affected by them – and then we publish ways for our customers to mitigate these threats.” Identifying and planning for security threats in an AV installation, and implementing appropriate counter-measures has, perhaps, become the highest priority for everyone involved throughout the value chain. CDEC’s Andreou is clear on the role of the integrator. “AV systems are seen as a particularly soft target and, as integrators, we understand the trust that our customers place in us,” he says. “We consider AV security to begin with us – screening, certifying and training our staff to recognise social engineering, understand good data handling and support our compliance functions.” Martens puts it succinctly. “All the trends in the market show,” he summarises, “that both on the AV vendor product development side and on the installer/integrator deployment side, security will become vitally important to stay in the market as a trusted partner.”


May 2019 Transport systems have the potential to benefit from AI, with data highlighting when additional traffic lanes need to be opened or when public transport is busy

AI: threat or opportunity? Artificial intelligence is all around us and its influence will only grow stronger. However this raises ever more concerns about security. Steve Montgomery finds out how the industry is responding


e encounter artificial intelligence in our daily tasks when we use talk-to-text and photo tagging technology. We see it contributing to cutting-edge innovations: precision medicine, injury prediction and autonomous cars. By allowing machines to learn, reason, act and adapt in the real world, artificial intelligence and machine learning are helping businesses unlock deeper levels of knowledge and insights from massive amounts of data. It is operating behind the scenes in many mission-critical applications, in the air traffic control sector, for instance, artificial intelligence is being used to help controllers manage aircraft and ground vehicle movements in busy airports and across congested skies. It is trusted and valuable and clearly making its mark. Artificial intelligence will, in most probability, affect all our lives dramatically. Theoretical physicist, Professor Jim Al-Khalili believes that artificial intelligence is a technology that is set to radically change the way we live and will have far greater impact than the introduction of the internet and in a much shorter timescale.

Considering that the internet has only been around for 30 years or so, this is quite a profound belief. We are only at the very earliest stages of artificial intelligence development. It is not yet fully defined. Even the descriptive term artificial intelligence does not yet have a universally accepted meaning. “AI is fast-becoming a catchall phrase to make whatever you’re doing sound smarter. These days, it is used to describe all manner of technologies from basic automation to the actions of robots in The Terminator,” says Ahmed Helmy, CTO, Avaya International. Even so, it is undoubtedly adding value to industrial offerings and propositions. “The practical uses of AI may not yet deliver all-knowing humanoid robots, but they’re certainly driving value across a range of business functions; and they’re being deployed very widely.”

Forward thinking However, as an industry that is deeply involved in integrating disparate technologies (data, audio, video, collaboration, building services, etc) to create exciting solutions, we must look ahead to understand how artificial intelligence, whatever we

Key Points n Artificial intelligence and machine learning are already impacting many areas of our lives n There is no definitive description of AI and it is only at its very early stages of development n Applications are multiple both in commercial and personal environments n There are opportunities for AV but the major concerns around security will need to be addressed

understand it to mean, can add value to the systems created by the AV/IT system integration community. And we should look deeply into the concerns that the increasing usage of AI will bring to users and system operators. It’s not just the enormous potential opened by AI we must consider; this new technology could present a whole new security threat in the coming years that must be planned for and overcome. Artificial intelligence, or more specifically, the data collection and analysis elements of it, is particularly useful in expanding systems to enable them to operate over a larger scale.


We are beginning to encounter AV installations that interchange data across whole buildings as building management systems combine data from environmental sensors, lighting, presence detectors and HVAC to create intelligent buildings. Other detection systems, such as facial recognition, movement trackers and mobile device detectors are being used to change content and move and manage audiences and customers in public locations: in shopping centres, fast food outlets and stadiums for example, again using artificial intelligence and advanced data analysis. People are becoming far more expectant of technology to track their movements and match their current location into local services. That experience is turning into an expectation and it is spreading to the workplace. “In the office, workers expect their diaries to link to their email accounts and further on to site services within a building,” says Sam Woodward, customer education leader

‘Many routine requests for information can easily be handled by a rule-based chatbot’ Ahmed Helmy, Avaya

EA, Lutron. “Intelligent systems can automate meeting invitations, appointment schedules and reminders, room configuration, lighting and AV equipment setup within a single, rich environment for users of meeting rooms and conference rooms, making it simple for them to use the in-house equipment and enabling them to become more efficient. That’s just the start. Connecting these parameters together and combining them into wider building management systems allows the whole office to be managed so that heating, lighting and power can be automatically and intelligently controlled on a site-wide basis. In addition, finely detailed information can be collected over time and analysed to assess and fine-tune the services in the building, allowing it to be made more efficient and economic.” These types of system are already wellestablished and common, with several multinational organisations, including Honeywell, Schneider and Siemens actively developing and selling comprehensive, all-encompassing, AI-based building controllers. Some AV manufacturers and system integrators are contributing to this environment and participating in programmes to develop new ideas to produce better buildings that deliver greater comfort to occupants and more efficient operation for owners. Applications are everywhere, and boundless. As Yiannis Cabolis, director, technical innovation,

Chatbots have become a key part of the user experience

Electrosonic, points out: “Large integrated smart systems that are relevant to transportation management and advertising can utilise AI’s data analytics capabilities to provide real-time data while anticipating potential changes given the data acquired. We can add and open traffic lanes, open toll-booths, synchronise traffic lights, add or reduce more public transportation at peak times while at the same time profiling those walking, driving or riding on public transportation so we can place the right type of product advertising on billboards and store fronts and provide feedback to local fast-food chains of potential food demands. “These concepts cannot be achieved without artificial intelligence. The sky is the limit if there is a way of communicating the potential ROI for a specific technological investment,” he says. And it will evolve into areas we have only just started thinking about. “If we take this a step further we can extend this data into systems that are utilised when things go drastically wrong, an emergency situation, for example. First responders can be dispatched even before the first emergency call comes into the call centre. The advantages are massive although the deployment and the topology of such a system would be colossal; but it’s where AI can take us.”

Driving development Recent trends for customer support, location and demographic based advertising, and georeferenced imagery have driven the development of the technology. These will lead us into newer application areas in which the AV community can derive benefit from artificial intelligence technology. Cabolis believes that cognitive applications, advertising and branding, point of sale (POS) systems, health and hospitality applications will experience increasing benefit in the future. Already large organisations, including IBM, MS Azure and Google, are investing heavily in creating tools that can access broadcast feed metadata to detect important information and produce breaking news feeds and that can automatically identify relevant sources, hot topics and event-specific content for use in signage systems.

Innovations around AI have turned the chatbot from an annoyance into an integral part of the user interaction experience. Even the simplest bots, so-called ‘rule-based-chatbots’, have come on leaps and bounds. Rule-based chatbots are now able to hold basic conversations using ‘if/then’ logic. “There are more than 300,000 Facebook chatbots in action,” says Helmy. “They are mostly used to automate customer service, online sales and marketing. They communicate with users using a call to action button and they’re proving extremely effective at resolving simple queries. Many routine requests for information can easily be handled by a rule-based chatbot. “Things are moving beyond rule-based bots very quickly with the adoption of ‘real’ artificial intelligence. This is what you see with what we call natural language processing (NLP) bots. NLP assists machines in understanding human language, so instead of the visitor having to navigate through buttons and menus, they can simply have a conversation with the bot in the way they would message a friend. What’s making them even better, though, is the addition of machine learning into the mix. This makes bots optimised for learning about the visitor or user, retaining information on them, and predicting the next steps in a conversation in much the same way that computers pre-fetch data based on previous interactions.” This evolution will take us to the point at which we will be able to converse with bots naturally and use them to perform relatively advanced functions. Control and interaction of AV systems will then become a matter of simply talking to a system in order to get it to do what we want or provide information to us. Artificial intelligence is likely to present us with a whole new security threat in the coming years. Cabolis adds: “With the proliferation of AI tools there will be a whole new vertical that will fall into the IT/AV scope of work to support and resolve security concerns. However the end-user will also have to be aware and educated on how to live in a world rich of AI. We all are aware of our digital/ IT footprint but things can become a lot more


May 2019

Electrosonic recently delivered a 76ft-long ceiling mounted display which, with the use of AI, creates generative content, pulling information from the internet and social media to create media that will never repeat itself, for ESRT (Empire State Realty Trust) in New York

complex. AI’s propensity to misrepresent and manipulate data, interpreting and misinterpreting individual decisions and eliminating human interactions and decision making or control are very real challenges to its capability. “Planning to overcome security concerns will require software to prevent cyber attacks and secure IT infrastructure and data acquisition technologies. Just as major department stores, financial institutions and social networks have recently had major security breaches which led to the exposure of personalised data on the web, artificial intelligence will be no different.”

Gaining recognition Facial and voice recognition certainly make it easier for companies to do business. Apple has proven that with its Face ID technology, and the leading consumer-focused companies are using AI-powered voice biometrics for customer authentication in the call centre. There are natural concerns around security and privacy of facial and voice recognition and companies should certainly be aware of them. According to recent research, 80% of global users believe that organisations are not handling their data securely. But by the same token, they don’t want privacy policies to impact convenience: 74% say they’ll buy more from organisations that make it easier to do business. Users overwhelmingly want convenience; most

say this is more important than price. So while security and privacy should be a high priority, it should not be a barrier to the adoption of AI-based technologies. “Face-detection systems that identify a type of person according to age, sex and ethnicity are particularly useful in the AV industry, particularly in digital signage applications. They enable audience analysis to be undertaken and tailoring of content to match the viewers at that time,” explains Alan Hopkins, director at Visionpoint. “This data is captured anonymously with no personal information or images held or stored and therefore is not subject to current GDPR rulings. However, the differing technology of facial recognition which matches an image captured by a camera to an actual person using a previously recorded profile held on a database is fraught with issues around data protection and privacy. The image has to be captured, encoded and then matched against stored images. That requires highly secure encryption so that images can be transmitted and stored across systems, all covered by GDPR regulations making it a very challenging activity. In addition significant image processing is necessary for these systems and with the current level of computer technology this usually requires fast, expensive graphics cards (GPUs), similar to those used in high-end gaming PCs, which makes it difficult to deploy at an economically-viable level.”

AI assistants are already commonplace and will become more so. In some cases such as in cars, totally hands-free smartphone interfaces are likely to be part of future legislation. Already, voice entertainment interfaces abound at home, in the car and there are some examples at work. Alexa and Siri are driving the growth and acceptance of these types of devices throughout our lives. “Virtual assistants are already common and they’re only going to become more pervasive as their functionalities increase,” points out Cabolis. “Apple’s Siri and Amazon’s Alexa make for great examples. Both are essentially NLP bots. Their AI capabilities include the ability to understand human language in the form of voice and text and give intelligent replies or carry out certain tasks.” We’ll continue to see organisations hone and refine the capabilities of the AI systems already in place today. In the future, data will be collected from a much wider range of different domains and industries, hopefully collected and exchanged on highly regulated platforms. This will securely link enterprises and significantly expand the efficacy and expertise available, thereby enabling organisations to deliver an exceptional level of service.


May 2019

ClearOne VIEW Pro encoders and decoders were installed in this global hedge fund’s offices

A standards odyssey The publication of the first standards in the SMPTE ST 2110 suite was widely hailed as a milestone in the adoption of IP-based media networking. But, although important, it is only one dimension of an expanding standards landscape, writes David Davies


he past 15 years have witnessed a phenomenal transition in the professional AV world as more and more end users have discovered the benefits of embracing fully networked environments. This transition has been assisted by the introduction of a number of standards initiatives that both ease the development of new products and provide reassurance for end users stepping into this brave new world. Most recently, these efforts have yielded the SMPTE ST 2110 standards suite, which specifies the carriage, synchronisation and description of separate elementary essence streams over IP for real-time production, playout and other professional media applications. Although much of the media attention to date has focused on ST 2110’s role in the broadcast industry’s move from SDI to IP, SMPTE also alludes to applications including theme parks, museums, large-scale digital advertising in public places, and live event production, including show control, image, sound, video displays and pyrotechnics. The phased publication of standards in the suite began in December 2017 and is ongoing, but at least one aspect of the group will be very familiar to pro AV users since the audio element is based on the AES67 standard. First introduced in 2013 and most recently updated in 2018, AES67 enables a certain degree of interoperability between existing IP-based audio network technologies. Matthew Goldman, SVP technology of MediaKind

and past president of SMPTE, offers a succinct summary of the strengths of ST 2110 – and the pre-existing ST 2059 standard for synchronising video equipment over an IP network – in terms of encouraging adoption of IP-based operations. “First and foremost, [there is] worldwide support for a single, common solution for the carriage of real-time professional media over IP,” he says. “The importance of global support cannot be overstated and enables the economies of scale that the broadcast and professional media industry requires to remain competitive and offer the kind of services that consumers want. Of course, we only have said support because of the benefits that the SMPTE ST 2110 and ST 2059 standards suites provide: many multiples of streams supported in the same physical media; flexible association of streams into desired groups of media; the leveraging of internet protocols, commodity server hardware and IP/Ethernet switches; being agnostic to the specific media format carried within; preserving inter-stream synchronisation; and providing reliable stream delivery.” Noting the “extremely positive response” to ST 2110, Goldman stresses the underlying principle of leveraging “as much as possible off of best-in-class existing standards and specification, hence the use of the underlying internet standards from the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) and Ethernet and time protocol standards from the IEEE. The AES invested a tremendous amount of effort into defining an all-IP method for professional audio, and

the SMPTE standards group determined that it met the criteria, with only a few tweaks required. The benefit to the install sector is that a common audio standard is used, which simplifies operations and staff training, and improves stability (due to its more substantial industry penetration).” But Goldman is also keen to address “the most common misconception” around ST 2110 – namely, that it provides everything that is needed for an “all-IP” infrastructure. Rather, it should be seen as an “essential part of the ecosystem, providing the mechanism for the delivery of real-time professional media streams over IP. However, in order to realise the true benefits provided by all-IP, many other standards and specifications are required. For example, auto-discovery and registration of new devices and logical media processing functions, connection control and management, and security.”

Keeping an open mind Given that the standards landscape for pro AV is likely to remain fluid for some years yet, the challenge for many vendors is to both adopt standards as and when it is possible or useful to do so, while ensuring the inclusion of features that differentiate their products and help make the lives of integrators as stress-free as possible. David Chiappini, vice president of research & development, Matrox Graphics, explains: “We have been an early adopter and supporter of the technology, demonstrating some of the earliest working boards on 25GigE and being a major


contributor at each of the AIMS [Alliance for IP Media Solutions] interoperability sessions in the past several years with our Matrox X.mio3 and Matrox X.mio5 family of network card products.” In February it was announced that Chiappini had been appointed chair of the new AIMS Pro AV Working Group. The purpose of this new group is to define an open standards approach to IP-based media in the pro-AV world, with the group set to evaluate and recommend existing standards and specifications from AES, AMWA, VSF, SMPTE, IEEE and IETF that have already been broadly adopted by the media and entertainment industry. The group, says Chiappini, has been “tasked with promoting the adoption of one set of media over IP protocols for the professional AV and installed systems market. Currently, its efforts are focused on addressing pro AV market-specific features including security, HDCP support for protected content and I/O control.” Chiappini explains that out of this effort will emerge a single set of open standards and specifications specifically for AV over IP that: enables seamless transport of video, audio and data; includes both compressed and uncompressed streams; covers control, management and realtime applications; and delivers applications that are secure and reliable with ultra-low latency.

Cautious enthusiasm In general, the mood among other vendors who spoke to Installation for this feature was one of cautious enthusiasm for recent standards efforts, albeit with the ability of their solutions to offer valuable additional features and ease-of-use frequently expressed. ClearOne president and CEO Zee Hakimoglu says that the company has “a rich history of balancing industry standards along with its own technology. For example, on the audio side we have a number of Dante-equipped products, and this works alongside our own P-Link connections. There is a place for both in a single solution.” The company’s VIEW solutions operate over standard Ethernet, but have been engineered in such a way as to make them “very easy to configure and to give reliable, predictable performance. So far, no video over IP standard allows us to create a similar, seamless experience that our customers need.” Nonetheless, Hakimoglu describes ST 2110 as “interesting because it is already being used by broadcasters, so we know it’s reliable. It’s also helpful that the audio side uses AES67, so it is easy to connect to many professional audio products.” Rob Muddiman, EMEA sales director of ZeeVee, says: “In a general sense, we support efforts towards standardisation since it eliminates confusion and promotes the interoperability of components in a given system.” But continued educational outreach is critical to

‘To realise the true benefits provided by allIP, many other standards and specifications are required’ Matthew Goldman, MediaKind

the adoption of AV over IP, implies Muddiman. “The larger integration companies have fully embraced AVoIP, in many cases because their customers are demanding it, and smaller firms need to get onboard – or be left at the station. The industry has come a long way in the last year, and there’s now a lot of education being provided. Once integrators are ready to accept it, I think they’ll find ample opportunities – from manufacturers, distributors and our industry associations – to get what they need.”

Standards and solutions Audinate has been at the forefront of the networked AV movement for many years. In February the company achieved a significant new milestone with the launch of its Dante AV integrated audio and video networking solution, with the Dante AV Module supporting one video channel and eight bidirectional channels of uncompressed Dante audio. “When we looked at the video over IP market it was very fragmented, with a wide variety of solutions with various bandwidth limitations, codecs, architectures and features,” says Joshua Rush, Audinate’s vice president of marketing and product management. “We thought there was a


real opportunity to provide a unified solution for the industry like we have done on the audio side, and that is the role of the Dante AV Module.” Dante is compatible with AES67. Rush remarks that “in general the various standards initiatives have been beneficial in that they provide a low-level path to interoperability between products that use various protocols. The challenging part has been educating integrators and end users about what these standards do and don’t do. Often times people assume that one of these standards will just automatically do everything that Dante does, but we’ve put considerable time and investment into making Dante more than just a base level way to route audio and video streams. Things like plug and play discoverability, native device naming, control software and now management tools like Dante Domain Manager all combine to make it very easy for customers to install and use Dante.” As current and forthcoming standards achieve greater traction throughout pro AV, the need for vendors to offer significant features above and beyond the base level will remain acute. But many have already showed their credentials here to winning effect, and in general terms there is no doubt that accessible and concisely explained standards programmes are emboldening end users and accelerating the transition towards fully IP-based operations.

The state of AV over IP adoption The SDVoE Alliance is a non-profit consortium of technology providers collaborating to standardise the adoption of Ethernet to transport AV signals in professional AV environments, and to create an ecosystem around SDVoE technology allowing software to define AV applications. “We’re seeing the start of the familiar ‘hockey stick’ adoption curve,” says SDVoE Alliance president Justin Kennington. “Three years ago only the most ardent early adopters were moving to AV over IP in important installations. Today the value of AV over IP is widely understood, and we see designers starting to build with the advantages over a matrix switch in mind. From an SDVoE perspective we see pronounced adoption in the markets where matrix switch performance used to dominate – including high-end graphics (training centres, control rooms), public venues

and even digital operating theatres. But we’re also seeing adoption take off in installations that value the flexibility of our solution, which a matrix could never deliver – higher education and interactive spaces are examples.” A key SDVoE priority for this year is education, remarks Kennington, following on from the recent introduction of free online educational platform the SDVoE Academy. “Since launch we have gained over 1,000 members and created 19 courses, with one new course per week scheduled through 2019. Topics range from SDVoE-specific platform training, to general knowledge, video signals and networking.”


May 2019


Some 780 custom LED luminaires have been installed in the basilica


See the light After almost 18 months in the planning, this imposing church can now be enjoyed in all its glory thanks to the installation of a new LED lighting system, Mike Clark takes a look


t Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City is one of the largest and most important Catholic churches in the world, visited by about 27,000 worshippers and tourists a day. The imposing sacred building is 190m long, the three aisles have a width of 58m, the central nave measures almost 46m at the highest point of the vault and the main dome is about 137m high. The Basilica also contains the largest mosaic in the world, with an area of approximately 10,000sqm, which, along with its numerous other marvellous works of religious art, now shine in new splendour, thanks to an innovative digital lighting system by Osram. A total of 780 custom LED luminaires were developed and manufactured for the project at Osram’s plant in Wipperfürth, Germany, equipped with 100,000 light-emitting diodes from the firm’s Regensburg factory and a ‘smart’ Osram lighting management system that was custom-built for the project. The illumination was digitally simulated in advance, enabling it to be implemented without any complex on-site test installations being required at the Vatican.

At present, the exact specs of the fixtures and control system are under wraps imposed by the Vatican, but the 780 luminaires are formed by three types of units: two flood models illuminating the vaults and a spot fixture illuminating the floor of the Basilica on special occasions. Of the floods deployed, the majority are used to illuminate the main vaults at a height of 40m and the others (at a height of 24m) to illuminate the smaller vaults (octagons and small cupolas); the highest units installed are at a height of about 110m and the lowest at approximately 12m.

Shining light As well as the mosaic and stucco decorations of Michelangelo’s Dome (completed by Giacomo della Porta in 1590), towering above the majestic baldacchin, the centre nave and the Chapel of the Pietà, which contains what is probably the world’s most famous sculpture of a religious subject (carved when Michelangelo was 24 years old, and the only one he ever signed), other wonders also able to be admired by the thousands of worshippers and visitors who flock to the Basilica are the decorations of the Clementine Chapel and the Chapel of Saints Michael and Petronilla.

Installed Lighting n Osram custom flood and spot fixtures

Video n Sony HDC-4300 4K/HD cameras n Sony XVS-8000 video switcher n Sony PWS-4500 live production server With the new LED light, for example, the mosaics in the domes of the side aisles can now be seen down to the smallest detail. Numerous works of art previously shrouded in semi-darkness now shine in all their glory and, thanks to the new lighting concept, details that have never been visible before in the 500-year history of St Peter’s Basilica, details that even art experts were unaware of, can be seen, without disturbing reflections, in all their splendour and beauty for the first time since construction began in 1506. The actual installation of the lighting fixtures on the cornices and the upper part of the trabeation (the construction system using beams/lintels and posts) was carried out by the Department of Technical Services of the Governorate of Vatican City State (headed by Reverend Rafael García de la Serrana Villalobos), meticulously following the strict regulations and measurements to be respected when such a historical building and its priceless artwork are involved, and also making important recommendations on the project. “This project involved collaboration between the Technical Services of the Governorate and Osram. Together, they made up a unique team

that succeeded, thanks to all its experience, in implementing the huge and unique project,” says De La Serrana Villalobos. The church, which covers an area of around 22,000sqm, can be quickly and easily adapted to predefined lighting scenarios thanks to the smart control system, also realised according to the precise requests of the Technical Services Department, and comprising two remote consoles located in areas of the Basilica under the surveillance of security staff. The Department is also responsible for the creation or modification of the cues programmed on the control system, according to events held in the Basilica, and in co-ordination with the Master of Ceremonies for Papal liturgical celebrations and the Fabric of St Peter’s. The origins of the Fabric of St Peter’s, the body currently managing all aspects of the Basilica, with respect to the preservation and decoration of the building and behaviour of employees and pilgrims entering the church, date back to 1523, when Pope Clement VII appointed a permanent committee of 60 experts with responsibility for building and administering the basilica, reporting directly to the Holy See.

‘The project demonstrates just how history and high tech can be combined in the best possible way by using the right expertise’ Olaf Berlien, Osram Licht AG

SOLUTIONS: ST PETER’S BASILICA, VATICAN CITY 29 Osram LED technology has been used in multiple spaces around the Vatican

a special light has been cast on this important location – thanks to the new illumination,” says S.E. Cardinal Giuseppe Bertello, president of the Governorate of the Vatican City State. “The Basilica’s new lighting system fits in perfectly with the requirements for worship, prayer and celebration, particularly when the Holy Father is in attendance. At the same time, this ‘intelligent’ illumination has also allowed us to achieve another purpose: to be able to admire the architectural beauty of the Basilica,” says H.E. Cardinal Angelo Comastri, Archpriest of the Vatican Pope’s Basilica of St Peter.

Wide appeal Easy on the eye As well as the luminaires being perfectly integrated into the architecture, thanks to their lines and compact dimensions, the LED illumination’s high spectral quality and efficient photometric distribution has significantly reduced glare and also enables worshippers to read without straining their eyes. Thanks to their efficiency, the number of luminaires has been significantly reduced and, used with the digital control system, energy savings of up to 90% have been achieved compared with the old lighting. “We are very proud of this lighting masterpiece in St Peter’s Basilica,” says Olaf Berlien, CEO of Osram Licht AG. “The project demonstrates just how history and high tech can be combined in the best possible way by using the right expertise. More than 500 years of history are now being bathed in digitally controlled LED light.” “This project provides a significant service, both to art lovers and those coming on pilgrimage to this symbol of Catholicism. We are pleased that

The new lighting system also improves worldwide TV spectators’ viewing experience of transmissions from the Basilica, now and in the future, as it enables television broadcasts from St Peter’s Basilica in VHD 4K and UHD 8K without any flickering or bias noise. Vatican Media had already run 8K tests at the 2018 Christmas Mass in St Peters and the latest additions to its 4K facilities was an upgrade to its OB-8 truck, including Sony HDC-4300 4K/HD system cameras, XVS-8000 high-end 4K/3G/HD video switcher for IP and SDI and PWS-4500 live production server with IP technology. Prior to the project for St Peter’s Basilica, LED technology from Osram had already ensured a dramatic change in worship and visiting experiences in several other key Vatican locations: the Sistine Chapel, St Peter’s Square and Raphael’s Rooms. Inaugurated in 2014, Osram’s lighting for the Sistine Chapel (which is more than 500 years old, with the first mass held in 1483), which hosts some of the world’s most important paintings, including Michelangelo’s frescoes and works by famous artists of the Middle Ages, involved the

installation of a total of 7,000 individual LEDs unobtrusively installed in the architecture. Illuminance (around 50-100 lux) is much higher than before (previously 5-10 lux) and the system illuminates brightly while conserving the true colours, integrity and detail of wall and ceiling art. Pre-set lighting scenarios are programmed and selected according to celebration needs. Two years later, Osram was commissioned for the 48,000sqm St Peter’s Square, which hosts up to 400,000 visitors. A sustainable lighting concept with 70% energy saving that avoids light spill is ensured by 132 LED floodlights unobtrusively integrated into the architecture to ensure ‘Day bright’ 120 Lux for events, or ‘strolling’ lighting under normal conditions. In 2017, the four rooms known as Raphael’s Rooms, which formed part of the apartment situated on the second floor of the Pontifical Palace chosen by Pope Julius II della Rovere and his successors as their residence, were also illuminated by Osram. The system was designed to illuminate and conserve true colours, integrity and detail of wall and ceiling art, which was created by Raphael and his school between 1508 and 1524. Osram is also technical partner of the first permanent show in the Eternal City, staged in Via della Concilliazione, mid-way between St Peter’s Square and Castel Sant’Angelo. ‘The Last Judgement. Michelangelo and the Secrets of the Sistine Chapel’, is a 60-minute multimedia nine million euro show to discover the Sistine Chapel, produced by Artainment Worldwide Shows with the scientific consultancy of the Vatican Museums.


May 2019

It is now possible to stream video from a practical room to any classroom


Heart of the matter


AV over IP has delivered multi-room flexibility and improved efficiency for this first aid training centre, finds Tom Bradbury



n Germany, citizens must be trained in first aid as a prerequisite to obtaining a driver’s licence, and many occupations also require employees to take such courses. The German Red Cross (Deutsches Rotes Kreuz) offers first aid training to the public in many cities across the country. The Red Cross Training Centre in Halle (Saale), Germany combines practical, hands-on first aid training with classroom instruction. Students learn life-saving techniques in the classrooms and then practice them on sophisticated medical mannequins, followed by debriefing sessions to discuss their performance.

From islands to interconnectivity Until late 2018, the centre’s four classrooms and two practical rooms had functioned as disconnected islands from an audiovisual perspective. Each space had a legacy projector connected to a computer via a long HDMI cable, with no interconnectivity between the rooms. Audio consisted simply of low-end speakers connected to the computers by USB. Two computers running software from Nordic Simulators combined with the medical mannequins to simulate emergency rescue

scenarios while capturing video from H.264based cameras, but the lack of multi-room video distribution made debriefings cumbersome and constrained them to the practice rooms. The Red Cross initially set out to improve the centre’s audio capabilities, but as the project moved forward, the scope was expanded to include upgrades to its video systems. The organisation wanted the ability to view any source from any room, enabling them to flexibly reallocate room utilisation as spaces filled up or to show the same content across all six rooms during special events. Systems integrator em&t GmbH proposed a networked AV approach as the ideal solution for the centre’s goals. “With an AV over IP system, we can stream the video from a practical room to any classroom of the instructor’s choice, so they can change which rooms they’re using for instruction and debriefing each time as they wish,” says Pirmin Punke, system designer, em&t GmbH. “One student group in a classroom could be watching another group doing hands-on rescue simulations, after which the group from the practical room can go to yet another classroom to debrief and discuss what they just did. A good debriefing is timecritical and they must do it immediately after the

(All Atlona) n AT-OMNI-122 and 121 OmniStream decoders n AT-OMNI-112 dual-channel OmniStream encoders n AT-OMNI-111 single-channel OmniStream encoder n OmniStream 311 and 324 USB-over-IP adapters n AT-OMNI-232 dual-channel OmniStream audio bridges

n Shure MXA-910 ceiling array microphones n Bose Panaray 302 loudspeakers and XA 190-HZ

Video n NEC 55in E556 monitor n Iiyama Touch 24in monitors and control system screen n Vaddio RoboSHOT 12 HDMI PTZ cameras

About the installer n Based in Halle (Salle) em&t GmbH offers a wide range of services, including planning, rental and installation n Past projects include a vocational training centre, BFW for the Blind & Visually Impaired in Halle and a multi-zone audio system for Vattenfall in Cottbus hands-on simulation. The goal was the possibility to centralise the recording system without the need to move the laptops around, or to require more licences on more computers.” em&t GmbH recommended an IP-based solution over a traditional circuit-based architecture because of the inherent scalability of networked AV. “With HDBaseT or traditional


systems, your expandability is limited by the size of the matrix you first choose,” says Punke. “With the IP networking approach, if the customer decides to connect another room or add more cameras, it’s not a problem.” The breadth of Atlona’s OmniStream AV over IP platform made it the ideal choice for the Red Cross project. “We were able to pick exactly the right OmniStream product for each aspect of the installation,” explains Punke. “There are videoand-audio models, audio-only models, and unlike other brands we looked at, there are dedicated USB models, which are important for remotely controlling the simulation computers. The OmniStream line also integrates easily with the centre’s Crestron control system.”


Instructors and control room staff communicate via Shure microphones

From the ground up With no existing infrastructure connecting the rooms, the first step in the deployment was the installation of wiring and switches for the AV over IP network. em&t GmbH then converted one of the facility’s storage rooms into a central control room featuring one 55in NEC E556 monitor showing four split screens, four smaller Iiyama Touch 24in monitors, and one Iiyama Touch 24in control system screen. Four dual-channel AT-OMNI-122 OmniStream networked AV decoders, two dual-channel AT-OMNI-112 OmniStream encoders and one AT-OMNI-111 single-channel OmniStream encoder are used in the control room to send and receive signals to and from each classroom and practical room. In addition to camera feeds from the practice rooms, the video output from the Nordic medical simulation system is integrated into the AV over IP architecture and streamed to selected classrooms for debriefing. Each classroom is equipped with an OmniStream 121 decoder, as is one of the two practice rooms, allowing it to be flexibly used as an extra debriefing space. Two workspaces in the control room each feature two Iiyama monitors for each workspace, one keyboard and one mouse, with OmniStream 311 and OmniStream 324 USB-over-IP adapters enabling users to remotely operate several computers in the control room. This allows one or two users to operate all computers; depending on the training scenario, there might be one

Atlona OmniStream USB-over-IP adapters enable users to remotely operate several computers in the control room

operator and one instructor, or only one user managing everything. Switching the video feed also switches the USB connection between five connected computers. One user can be controlling the medical mannequin and simulation of the emergency scenario across multiple computers, while the other manages video recording and inserts markers into the Nordic software’s timeline for subsequent reference.

Low latency, high quality The low latency of the Atlona OmniStream platform is essential in ensuring that the networked AV approach does not interfere with the first aid training goals of the centre. “Timing is critical when a rescuer is performing emergency first aid, and teaching the hands-on techniques requires the same precision,” says Punke. “When a student is practicing on the mannequin and others are watching the video, the teacher must give instructions at just the right moment on what actions to take and to correct any mistakes. Otherwise, the students will not learn the right timing.” Low latency is also important for remote control of the centre’s Vaddio RoboSHOT 12 HDMI PTZ cameras, of which there are two. “If there is too much delay, you will never find the correct shot,” explains Punke. “You will have moved or zoomed the camera too far before you see what you’ve done.” OmniStream’s uncompromising quality has also proven ideal for the detailed nature of the centre’s visual content, particularly the output from the Nordic simulator systems. “The graphs of heartbeats and other medical characteristics have a lot of fine lines, which could become blocky or distorted with heavy compression,” says Punke. “We don’t have that problem with

OmniStream, as there’s no visible difference between the networked AV stream and a direct HDMI connection.”

Audio upgrade The Red Cross Training Centre also features a complete audio system independent of the video infrastructure, allowing instructors and students to communicate between the classrooms, practical rooms and control room. Again, em&t chose an IP-based approach, deploying Atlona’s AT-OMNI-232 dual-channel OmniStream audio bridges to distribute audio over IP using Audinate Dante technology. Instructors and control room staff can communicate intercom-style using Shure desk microphones, while Shure MXA-910 ceiling array microphones capture sound in the practice rooms. Bose Panaray 302 loudspeakers and XA 190-HZ round out the installation at the end points; each room features two speakers and one amplifier.

Building on success The German Red Cross’ satisfaction with the OmniStream installation in Halle (Saale) has the organisation contemplating future options. “They really love the system,” says Punke. “They started with a small and basic system and quickly recognised the possibilities and lack of limitations as they grew. Post-installation, they saw no false promises and started to think about other locations. The key benefit of this system: it just works.”


May 2019

The stadium standardised on Harman audio throughout

Installed Audio

To dare is to do More than a decade in the making, the new home of Tottenham Hotspur football club and the NFL in London has taken the fan experience to the next level, writes Jo Ruddock


ccording to Tottenham Hotspur chairman Daniel Levy, the intention behind the creation of a new stadium on the site of the old White Hart Lane in north London was to “design and deliver a stadium for our supporters and visitors that is truly exceptional.” Once inside the 62,062-capacity venue, it’s safe to say that this has been achieved. The fan experience is central to the stadium with the club’s head of technology Sanjeev Katwa claiming that “tech has enabled us to meet the experience fans want”. New technology is visible as soon as you get near to the site, with external wayfinding and digital signage screens from Daktronics surrounding the huge venue. Even the turnstiles have been rethought to provide quicker, more comfortable access. Katwa calls it “a huge leap in technology, from the access system through lowlevel turnstiles to the cashless system within the stadium, which offers a better experience for the customer, and the high density WiFi that offers the fastest speed of any stadium in Europe.” Once inside, an IPTV network allows different content to be shown on different screens – of which there are almost 1,800 throughout the

site, including the Daktronics wayfinding units, six large screens in the bowl – with two screens in the South Stand measuring 325sqm, making them the largest in any stadium in Western Europe – and numerous 29in to 98in LG displays. In the bowl itself a great deal of time went into creating the right atmosphere for sport; the need to cater for concerts and live events also influenced the choice of audio system. The stadium standardised on Harman throughout. This includes JBL Control 60 pendant speakers in the media centre, and AC16s and CBT speakers in the auditorium, which is used for press conferences. The latter is complemented by a Daktronics direct view screen. In the bowl there’s a brand new Harman setup, the JBL VLA-Compact loudspeaker system, used here for the first time in Europe. The intention was to maintain and enhance the atmosphere while also ensuring the audio was suitable for speech, safety and music reproduction and performances. This involved a holistic approach between consultants Vanguardia and architectural design firm Populous, who looked after everything from the acoustics of the bowl through to sound system design.

(All Harman) n JBL VLA-Compact loudspeaker n JBL VLA-C2100 loudspeakers n JBL VLA-C125 subwoofers n JBL AWC82 all-weather loudspeakers n Crown DriveCore Install amplifiers  n JBL Control Contractor speakers n Soundcraft Vi2000 console n JBL LSR 305 reference monitors

Video n Daktronics LED displays Ryan Penny, senior business development manager, large venues, EMEA at Harman says: “Having the new system in the bowl, it was certainly a challenge to deliver that system to the client’s specifications and to the quality they needed. From all reports so far their expectations have been met.” In total, the Harman solution comprises around 4,000 speakers, including 156 JBL VLA-C2100 loudspeakers, 54 JBL VLA-C125 subwoofers, 196 JBL AWC82 all-weather loudspeakers, 140 Crown DriveCore Install amplifiers, and more than 3,500 JBL Control Contractor speakers. Audio is mixed on a Soundcraft Vi2000 digital console and monitored via JBL LSR 305 reference monitors. Penny adds: “We’ve been very lucky to work with a fantastic client, who have had the vision and the design experience to really see the opportunities to maximise the use of the technology, to pull ideas from other industries and other venues.” Katwa concludes: “We’ve changed tech in stadiums – I think it’s the best venue in the world.”


May 2019


Royal Albert Hall debuts d&b sound solution Driven by a vision to provide its audiences with life enriching, unforgettable experiences, the Royal Albert Hall in London has installed the world’s largest single room audio system with over 450 individual loudspeakers from the d&b audiotechnik range. The Olivier Awards served as the showcase for the system’s coverage and flexibility, significantly enhancing the overall listening experience inside the auditorium. The audio network runs over a DiGiCo Optocore fibre loop with redundant Dante network over Ethernet. Amplifier control is via the DS100; all amplifiers are d&b – a selection of the installation-specific 10D and 30D, with the D20 and D80 touring amps for the V-Series and subwoofers. Monitors include M4

wedges, with E6 and E5 loudspeakers. While tiny custom coloured 4S loudspeakers deliver

sound discreetly to all 140 boxes around the historic auditorium.


Christie delivers unmatched cinematic performance Christie RGB laser projectors and Vive Audio sound solution have been installed at Cinemex, the ‘world’s largest pure laser multiplex’ in Mexico City. The Cinemex Market ARTZ Pedregal multiplex has fitted each of its 23 auditoriums with Christie’s CP2315-RGB and CP2320-RGB 2K-resolution offerings, bringing impressive levels of brightness, colour, and contrast to create an “unmatched cinematic performance” for mainstream auditoriums. In addition, all auditoriums are equipped with the Christie Vive Audio cinema sound solution. The installation includes all the Cinemexbranded experiences with each installed with its own Vive Audio configuration.


Victorie music club finds the right balance Podium Victorie hosts a wide range of classic and contemporary bands from around the world. Following a recent relocation to Alkmaar, the club’s owners decided the time was right to upgrade the entire sound system. A Clair Brothers system, demonstrated by The Audio Specialists, was chosen. The key in the new venue was to find the right balance to deliver a level of acoustic quality concertgoers and performers alike would appreciate.

The main system install includes a Clair Brothers i212 line array supported with infill kiT series and in the smaller venue by several kiTCurve+ loudspeakers and subwoofers, along with 1AM and 1.5AM floor monitors. To complete the install, The Audio Specialists selected Lake D Series amplifiers and a Lake LM44 for additional processing, and Midas Pro X Series consoles for FOH and monitor positions.



Virgin Hotels opts for maximum flexibility with DSP solution In February 2019, Virgin Hotels opened the doors to its second location, in San Francisco. Chicago-based Audio Integration Services (A.I.S.) was brought onto the project to select and install an audio DSP that could successfully oversee a total of five background music systems as well as multiple DJ sources. To allow for maximum flexibility, Virgin Hotels needed the DSP solution to be able to accept DJ sources from event spaces located on three of the hotel’s 12 floors. Having recently been introduced to Xilica’s next-generation Solaro FR1 DSP Frame, A.I.S. CEO and president, Matt Edgar realised that this could provide the bedrock of the hotel’s audio processing capability.

With an innovative design that uses fieldswappable cards rather than a conventional fixed I/O DSP chassis in order to afford system designers and integrators maximum flexibility, the Solaro FR1 offers 16

user-configured card slots. I/O options include analogue input/output, AES/EBU, GPIO, Dante and AEC, with a maximum of 32 audio channels and 64 GPIO channels in the 1U chassis.


Westfield deploys 250 displays Global shopping giant Unibail-RodamcoWestfield has completed the installation of more than 250 bespoke digital display solutions inside its two London-based shopping centres; White City and Stratford. The displays – 170 in White City and 80 in Stratford – were designed and built by Trueform. A range of 49in, 55in and 75in digital 4G connected 4K displays – each incorporating interactive digital advertising and touchscreen functionality – have been installed. The units utilise combinations of both Samsung and LG open frame displays with Trueform’s own Fusion smart technology climate control engines, which feature remote diagnostic and repair capabilities, utilising Broadsign on Windows 10-IOT platform.


Volvo’s flagship store utilises latest AV to grow brand awareness Volvo has unveiled its flagship dealership, located on New York City’s 11th Avenue ‘Auto Row’, with the goal of building a brand awareness centre to attract passersby. The showroom features a 5x7 panel videowall, a VR vehicle design room, five zones of audio and an advanced ClearOne VIEW Pro IP-based video delivery solution that enables custom video sizes and remote management. Another crucial requirement of the project was

reliability and remote accessibility, particularly since the integration firm, Broadcast Systems, is located 2,000 miles from the job site in Florida. The video distribution solution uses a single ClearOne VIEW Pro E120 Encoder to send signals to 35 ClearOne VIEW Pro D210 decoders, one for each panel on the 5x7 videowall. The ClearOne VIEW Pro PANORAMA software and CONSOLE software allow operators to manage displays of any shape, size or resolution.


Kit you need to know about


It’s… a new software ecosystem designed to improve product design, review and creation, connecting all operations and bringing them to life in the virtual space to save time, cost and enhance accuracy.

What’s new? The VIX Suite comprises seven modules, of which VIX Cube, VIX Build and VIX Assist were launched in mid April at the Industry 4.0 Summit and Expo in Manchester. Details: At the show, visitors experienced VIX Cube, a two-stage data validation process against the Class A surface data and the production tooling geometry. Within a tracked space, Machine Augmented Reality brings the CAD model to life and allows engineers to explore the real-time visualisation and accurately tag surface data with comments. High accuracy is claimed to be guaranteed due

to the geometrical data integrity. Comments are instantly collated into a database and automatically sent to the respective teams to action. Global teams can collaborate in realtime by logging into the same data sets and annotating in tandem. VIX Cube has been designed to replace physical engineering cube models by bringing the dataset to life virtually. This can create cost savings of approximately £690,000 per vehicle programme, with a 13-week time saving,

rivets, holes and flanges. This increases the ‘right first time’ ratio, avoids rework calls and enables the user to see if they have built in accordance with the signed off design intent. Bespoke applications are created for each assembly line as a fully manual or automated solution. The VIX Assist module augments virtual data over physical products, machines or parts to access interactive tutorials for service and maintenance. This saves time instead of trying

and the accuracy of the data is enhanced with no room for misinterpretation, as it is tagged directly against the CAD underly. Once the final model has been agreed, the data is transferred into the VIX Build package. This is a virtual manufacturing tool that uses augmented reality to overlay CAD data on to physical parts to verify tooling, sealant and anti-flutter applications and the position of

to locate the physical manual, reduces the mean time to fix and can escalate problems in real-time from the device, alerting a specialist engineer instantly.

Available: Now


May 2019

QSC Q-SYS Following the introduction of this feature last issue, we get in-depth, real world insights on QSC’s flagship DSP/control platform from Tim Robinson, installation design at Adlib Audio What environments do you typically install Q-SYS? We use processors from several manufacturers to address different client requirements, with Q-SYS as our top-tier installed DSP. As such, it has made appearances where one might expect, such as bars, restaurants and corporate meeting rooms, but also in some more unusual places such as royal palaces, or anywhere else where we need to do something a bit clever. It is a highly scalable solution: our smallest Q-SYS installation uses just a Core 110f with no inputs (audio comes from the built-in multitrack player) and eight analogue outputs, whereas network peripherals can be attached to make systems of a size limited only by the network architecture or the capacity of the Core (the smallest of which supports 128x128 channels).

Why do you specify this product over competitor offerings? As a standalone DSP, Q-SYS is very good, but so are many systems by other manufacturers. Where it really starts to shine is in its ability to act as a combined DSP/control platform, whereas most, if not all, competitor solutions would require separate, fully-featured audio and control platforms to deliver the same functionality. The fact that it can do almost everything one could conceivably wish for in the audio domain is quickly taken for granted as one delves more deeply into using it to provide a seamless interface for the entire AV system.

What are the most impressive elements of its feature set? Although a relatively new feature, the Block Controller has undoubtedly saved us days (if not longer) of scratching heads or poring over a code book to locate an errant character in a script. It makes scripting simple things extremely fast and makes scripting more complicated things less daunting, safe in the knowledge that one can revert to good, old-fashioned hand-coding if trying to do something especially esoteric. Other things, such as a built-in multitrack audio player/ recorder are great, even just as commissioning/ tuning aids if they’re not used in the finished system. The USB audio interface is extremely handy too, appearing to devices such as an

‘Where it really starts to shine is in its ability to act as a combined DSP/control platform’

external, PC-based background music player as a soundcard, negating the requirement to rely on the player’s noisy onboard 3.5mm output.

What elements of the feature set make your job easier? One of the great joys of using Q-SYS is the comfort that comes from knowing that when, inevitably, the client changes the specification at the last minute, or says ‘Ooh, can you make it do that..?’, the answer is almost always ‘yes’, even if that means spending several hours thinking about how to code it. Special mention must also go to the dedicated Q-SYS support team who are, in my experience, second to none and, thanks to their global offices, available 24/7.

If an updated version of this product was to be released, what upgrades would you like to see? Updates are regular and often include exciting new features and/or support for new hardware. In terms of audio processing features, there is little left to do, although native Dante support and a ‘cheap’ wallplate controller, to sit beneath the comprehensive touchscreen range, are things on the wishlist, in bold, underlined in red ink. The ever-growing arsenal of QSC-managed plug-ins for third-party products is only going to make one’s life easier as it develops. And Q-SYS’s ability to handle video which, when launched, was limited to videoconferencing cameras, is now growing to support more flexible presentation options and this is an area to watch. As a Q-SYS Developer, one is given a few sneak peeks at things which may appear in the future and some of them are game-changing.


Clear-Com Freespeak 2 Chris Austin, technical sales manager at Autograph, delves into the feature set and use cases of Clear-Com’s wireless communication system

What are the most impressive elements of its feature set? I love its flexibility. People generally all communicate in group ‘partylines’, but it can also do sophisticated point-to-point calls while simultaneously routing in programme feeds of the show. All of this can be changed on the fly, so as soon as someone identifies a need it can be satisfied without interrupting everyone else.

What elements of the feature set make your job easier?

‘I’m a firm believer that as the technology we use gets more complicated, it shouldn’t get more intimidating’

What environments do you typically install the Clear-Com Freespeak 2 system? We frequently install this into theatres and venues such as concert halls and conference centres. Used behind the scenes by anyone who needs to communicate clearly in a busy production but without being tethered by a cable, it’s become the industry standard where safety matters above all else.

Why do you specify this product over competitor offerings? Clarity and low latency are important areas in which Freespeak 2 excels, but it also has very good dynamic range, so it’s particularly good at separating voices from the background noise in loud environments. It was the first of its kind to have multiple intelligent transceivers, so you can cover incredibly large or complicated buildings that traditional RF can’t.

All of the setup and configuration is done from a very easy web interface, so there is no software to download or problems with having the wrong version installed. It even works on a phone. Its very fast to learn so customers soon gain the confidence to tailor it to exactly how they want it. I’m a firm believer that as the technology we use gets more complicated, it shouldn’t get more intimidating.

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


May 2019

Large-format displays With 24/7 usage, multi-touch technology and high-quality visuals, the latest large-format displays have a wide variety of applications

New size format from NEC Particularly suited to corporate presentation and digital signage applications, MultiSync C651Q 65in represents a new size format for NEC’s LFD series, which is reflected across all its ranges. The display features a modern and slim design with UHD resolution and a professional haze filter, while industrial-grade components

mean it is suitable for mission-critical 24/7 operation. Connectivity interfaces including HDMI 2.0 x3 and DisplayPort 1.2 x2/daisy chain option offer future-proofing, and an integrated USB media player supports various image video file formats. The design and construction features unique thermal protection and robust metal housing.

High-level visual quality delivers accurate and consistent colour rendition with the integrated SpectraView engine and remote management via NEC’s NaviSet Administrator 2 for reduced maintenance efforts and cost.

High-end range for impactful signage The SQ1 is a slim, lightweight range that includes the large-format TH-98SQ1 and TH-86SQ1 models. It supports HDR and provides 4K high quality images at 500 cd/sqm The series is suited to digital signage particularly in retail, education, museums and corporate spaces. The screens are designed for 24/7 usage and have a new 12-segment colour management feature and six picture modes, enhancing the flexibility of potential image adjustment. This enables changes to colour tone, density and brightness parameters individually for red, green, and blue, as well as cyan, magenta and yellow. The SQ1 is capable of both portrait and landscape display including a tilt installation of up to 20°; the range features several connectivity and setup options for ease of installation. A new multi-screen output feature allows a single panel to be split in to four quadrants, or two picture by picture variants or one of four picture in picture effects. It’s possible to build a

large-screen videowall of up to 100 screens in 10 x 10 configuration. It has a built-in 4K USB media player which eliminates the need for external playback devices and allows for the remote updating of content. A failover and fallback function immediately switches the system to alternative signals if the main video signal is interrupted. The series is equipped with a next generation

function slot which is suitable for the new Intel Smart Display Module and enables signage to be operated with a third-party built-in PC. It also features a 4K USB media player with playlist editing function, making it flexible and adaptable for different environments.



Planar goes large with 100in display The Planar EPX Series is the first commercial grade 100in, 700-nit, wide colour gamut LCD display on the market. It is designed with commercial-grade features to meet the requirements of retail and corporate digital signage applications. It is also suitable for control room settings requiring multi-source viewing capability. The EPX Series offers 4K resolution and 24/7 operation to support extended use. 4K@60Hz support is available via HDMI or DisplayPort, delivering smooth, jitter free video performance, and High-bandwidth Digital Content Protection (HDCP) 2.2 compliance comes as standard, allowing users to play copyrighted material. Offering a standard OPS slot for integration of compatible hardware and multi-source

viewing capability of up to four connected sources, the Planar EPX Series provides users in control room or corporate applications the opportunity to view multiple sources simultaneously in picture-in-picture, dual, or quad layouts.

The Series is mountable in portrait or landscape and is also available in a multi-touch version.

Flexible technology to enhance teaching Launched in October 2018 and officially presented to the UK market at this year’s BETT Show, the ViewBoard S IFP2710 is an interactive touch display designed primarily to support group learning activities. According to ViewSonic it is best-suited to educational environments looking to improve student development by promoting increased interaction and group discussions in the classroom. Designed to eradicate issues such as the requirement for back-facing teaching; shadows impacting the student experience; and the writing accuracy of touch-based panels, the ViewBoard S IFP2710 has three key features. These are ergonomic design, which allows for 180° horizontal swivel as well as the ability to lay the display flat for interactive group discussions; a multi-touch screen for up to 10 people; and complementary myViewBoard software (ViewSonic’s cloudbased digital whiteboard technology)

embedded into the display, allowing teachers to access and save files directly in the cloud and annotate presentation content with a wide range of multimedia options. The ViewBoard S IFP2710 is open source, which means installation is simple, and the

display can co-exist with a school’s current setup – which may include a larger secondary display at the front of the classroom.


May 2019

An enterprising approach to AV A recent addition to the Shure team, Rob Smith discusses a number of trends across enterprise AV and also offers advice to those businesses looking to invest in AV solutions


ell us a bit about your background in the AV industry. I initially worked for a small AV company for about 17 years, ultimately becoming a director. I then moved across to Electrosonic and became general manager for the service business, after which I started working for HB Communications and opened up their EMEA operation. So I had around 25 years of AV experience before moving to Shure. You joined Shure relatively recently – what attracted you to the company? I’d been a customer of Shure’s for years, so I was well aware of the brand, products and reputation. An opportunity arose to be part of the company following the reorganisation, which interested me. The final thing that persuaded me was the atmosphere at the head office in Waltham Abbey – as soon as I stepped through the door for my interview, I could sense that everyone was enjoying their work and could feel the positive atmosphere. That clinched it for me. Since then, I’ve visited many of the 30+ Shure offices across the world and it’s the same positive atmosphere in every office, which is really cool.   What products are currently proving the most popular at Shure? The Microflex Advance Array microphone range – we’re building them as fast as we’re selling them – they’re that popular, particularly in the UK. There’s also been big interest in Microflex Complete and Microflex Complete Wireless since they were demonstrated at ISE. Microflex Wireless is particularly popular in Central

London with all the wireless congestion. Stalwarts include Shure ULX-D, which continues to grow and Axient Digital, which has been great for Shure; its applications are limitless. There’s been a recent push towards standardisation of AV kit across many large organisations. What benefits does this offer end users? Standardisation of AV equipment offers the end user the same audio and video clarity and performance, whether the meeting takes place in London, Tokyo or anywhere else in the world. Coupled with that, the old model of supporting AV systems doesn’t work in an enterprise deployment model, where you have to standardise the rooms and put in remote monitoring and pick products where you’ve got a manufacturer that can support them globally. You can’t have a niche product, only available in

Brazil, and try to deploy that globally. It just wouldn’t work. What advice would you give to businesses investing in AV? Look for a company that understands the nature of the AV business and engages with it, through a good partner network or global presence, or companies working in a niche which they pretty much own. Companies working to the old ‘general’ AV model just won’t survive in the future. The IT/ AV convergence has happened; that’s the world we live in, and you need to identify a company with a knowledge and understanding of both markets.

‘The IT/AV convergence has happened, and you need to identify a company with a knowledge and understanding of both markets’

Outside of work, how do you like to spend your time? My wife and I spend a lot of time travelling, which is something that we both really enjoy. We also like going for walks, too.   Finally, tell us something about yourself which might surprise people… Before the AV industry I spent 10 years in the RAF as an avionics engineer working on Tornados. However the only time I’ve been in a helicopter was when the RNLI had to rescue me after falling out of my boat…! Rob Smith is Shure’s senior director, integrated systems sales


Profile for Future PLC

Installation 221 May 2019  

A Sense of Security - To complete AV vendors must embrace the complexities of networks and data.

Installation 221 May 2019  

A Sense of Security - To complete AV vendors must embrace the complexities of networks and data.