Installation 264 June 2024

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Contributors: David Davies, Ken Dunn, Kevin Hilton, Paul Lydon


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SVP MD, B2B Amanda Darman-Allen

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"We investigate how immersive, experiential, and sustainable AV tech is revolutionising the R&H sectors"

Rob Lane, Content Director

The influence of AV technology on the retail and hospitality (R&H) sectors was already being felt more than ever before prior to the Covid-19 pandemic, with hybrid or omni-channel shopping, and immersive restaurants growing in popularity. The aftermath of Covid – as is the case across other sectors, enterprise AV in particular – added rocket fuel to end users’ desire to include more technology in their offers, in order to encourage customers back into bricks and mortar retail establishments, and with extra, techboosted incentives to tempt them to spend their hard-earned and often limited disposable incomes in hospitality environments. Our in-depth look at how immersive, experiential, and sustainable AV tech is revolutionising R&H – and is also having a massive influence on the design and build of retail outlets, bars, restaurants and even hotels – starts on page 18. With InfoComm less than two weeks away (depending on when you’re reading this), we take the time to preview this year’s edition, and AI is set to play a big part across the show floor. Smaller showcase events also feature this issue. Peerless-AV’s annual Showcase, held at Lord’s cricket ground in London – and including a Sharp/NEC-organised, Installation-moderated corporate social responsibility forum – and a press preview ahead of AWE’s annual residential-facing expo at the AWE Show Apartment, in Epsom, saw the unveiling of exciting new AV tech.

Elsewhere in this issue, we look at cyber crime and the importance of security tech in AV; investigate a mini crisis in the festivals sector, following boom times post Covid; and ask why lighting remains something of an unsung hero across audio-video installations, and whether it's actually 'AV'.

This month's contributed insights include the benefits of an optimised lifecycle network; the role of AV and immersive technology in education; growth opportunities for the digital signage industry; the use of AV tech in flexible learning; the importance of acoustics in the home; and the role of software defined video networks (SDVNs) in the AV ecosystem. Our Inside Track interviewee this issue is Annelies Kampert, vice president and general manager, Crestron Europe. 3
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In this issue... 18


6 Install insights

The latest installations, including movies projected onto the Sphere and immersive sci-fi in China from Christie

12 Powering a future-ready network infrastructure

Jay Williams, VP, network infrastructure sales, Wesco, on the benefits of an optimised lifecycle network

13 AV’s growing role in educational environments

Ben Taylor, CEO of Cassette Group on the role of AV and immersive technology in education

14 Immersive experiences & AI in digital signage

Pierre Gillet, vice president, international sales at BrightSign, on growth opportunities for the digital signage industry

15 Enhancing education spaces

Jens Werner, product manager, business communication, at Sennheiser, on leveraging tech for flexible learning

16 Residential spaces: Navigating acoustics

Sergio Molho, partner, director of business development, at WSDG, on the importance of acoustics in the home

17 Cloud bursting: Managing AV content securely

Paul Calleja, CEO, GlobalM, on understanding the role of software defined video networks (SDVNs) in the AV ecosystem



26 40


18 The tech inspiring a new era of immersiveness

Operators are increasingly open to technologies that can blend online & physical retail, present brands in a more immersive way, and help them operate more sustainably, writes David Davies

26 InfoComm 2024: AI moves centre stage

David W Smith looks at the major highlights ahead of this year’s pro AV technology showcase, with AI set to play a big part

30 Festivals in crisis?

Festival season is upon us, but, in the UK at least, there are already signs that the post-Covid boom is on the wane. Kevin Hilton looks at why there have been so many cancellations

36 Peerless hits Lord’s for six with 2024 Showcase

Installation reports from Peerless-AV’s 2024 AV Showcase, which took place at Lord’s cricket ground, London, on 14 and 15 May

40 Pro AV & cybersecurity

From software vulnerabilities affecting APIs to massive state sponsored cyberattacks, it’s not hard to understand why cybersecurity is front and centre, writes Ken Dunn

46 Turn on the bright lights: AV & lighting

Lighting can play as important a role within all aspects of AV as sound and video, so why is it often undervalued in the AV sector? Paul Lydon reports

52 AWE showcases live demos and product debuts

Installationreports from a special press preview ahead of this year’s AWE Expo event for smart home professionals

56 Movers & shakers

Key appointments, including new hires for Kinly, Renkus-Heinz, PPDS, Listen Technologies and IAG

58 Inside Track

Annelies Kampert, vice president and general manager, Crestron Europe, on history lessons, baking, family and friends, the future of AV and plans for Crestron



Installation content writer David Smith rounds up the best of the latest installations, including movies projected onto the Las Vegas Sphere wireless mics from Sennheiser installed in an Oxford college, immersive sci-fi in China from Christie and L-Acoustics bringing ancient Ephesus to life...

Earth Day marked with Exosphere projections

Sphere Entertainment recently showcased a special Exosphere content show in celebration of Earth Day, featuring work from multi-GRAMMY Award-winning Grateful Dead and Dead and Company percussionist Mickey Hart, and filmmaker Louie Schwartzberg. Hart’s and Schwartzberg’s artwork was combined into an 11-minute content show that ran several times throughout the day, projected onto the world’s largest LED screen, the Exosphere, in Las Vegas.

Hart and Schwartzberg were the latest artists to design for the Exosphere as part of Sphere’s XO/Art programme, which features renowned artists’ work on Sphere’s immersive exterior. The Exosphere consists of about 1.2 million LED pucks, spaced eight inches apart. Each puck contains 48 individual LED diodes, with each diode capable of displaying more than 1 billion different colours.

Hart’s piece, entitled Rhythms of the Universe, was a 90-second visual symphony in four phases, each characterised by unique

movements and colour patterns. From gentle undulations and ripples to vibrant colour shifts and morphing shapes, the progression of phases is an exploration of a psychedelic cosmos. Hart, an expert in sound vibrations, uses sound waves and their vibrations to move paint around on his canvases. The paints undergo a metamorphosis, allowing colours to manifest in many ways.

For his six, 90-second Exosphere pieces, Schwartzberg utilised time-lapse photography.

Earth Masterpieces, features coral reefs, ocean views, waterfalls, and desert canyons. A segment on mushrooms features footage of species captured during the making of his 2019 documentary film, Fantastic Fungi


Absen panels create 17-ton LED cube for French stadium

Absen LED panels created a 17-ton LED cube that forms the imposing centrepiece of France’s second-largest indoor arena, the 12,000-seat LDLC Arena in Lyon, the home venue for LDLC ASVEL basketball team. It has also allowed the stadium to transform into a 16,000-seater venue for shows by artists such as Green Day, Justin Timberlake, Eric Clapton, Shaka Ponk and the Jonas Brothers.

The giant cube was designed, manufactured and installed by French event production company Alabama Média. The four 3.9mm Absen LED panels each measures 8m × 4.5m, and the cube is fully motorised and retractable, courtesy of eight GIS D8+ electric chain hoists boasting a 2.5-ton load capacity each, which raise and lower the cube.

As well as the gigantic cube, a secondary independent LED ring, consisting of four 6m × 1m Absen PL3.9 V10 LED panels at its base, completes the structure. The cube can additionally be lowered to the ground and partially dismantled to lighten the load for larger productions and allow for the rigging of other equipment, which also enables the LED panels to be used for events and concerts.

Alabama also installed 200 linear metres of Absen 4mm LED fascia between the lower and upper sections of the stands and two Absen 3.9mm LED scoring screens measuring 6m × 3.5m to relay real-time information to spectators, as well as supplying 37m of FIBAcertified Absen 4mm LED perimeter banner screens at the edge of the court.

Alabama supplied and integrated all video equipment for the broadcast control room, including servers, production and live video broadcast tools. The front-of-house set-up includes a Tricaster 2 Elite video mixer with 2-Stripe control surface, a 3Play 3P1 from Vizrt, and a Lightware MX2-8×8-DH-8DPio-A full 4K matrix switcher.


Sennheiser’s SpeechLine Digital Wireless (SLDW) microphone system was elected by the ancient All Souls College to enhance audio in one of Oxford University’s college’s oldest, most unique meeting rooms. Founded in 1430 by Henry VI, All Souls College is a constituent college of the university, in England, UK. With an almost 800-year history, the aim for the college was to enhance the historic space with a high-quality audio system.

Paul Blaxill, director of IT at All Souls College, said the primary issue revolved around the building’s extraordinary architecture, with many rooms boasting vaulted, intricately carved stone ceilings. Using these beautiful, ancient rooms for modern purposes required adaptation, which prompted them to reach out to local hire company CAV Oxford.

CAV chose Sennheiser’s SpeechLine Digital Wireless, which the company says improves the user experience with integrated DSP, providing EQ and automatic audio level management. The SLDW system works with single button operation. Docking stations for charging have been mounted in a glass-fronted rack unit, with speakers blending into the room with a custom paint job. The charging stations mean equipment can last all day thanks to the 15-hour battery life.

After CAV chose the Sennheiser system, Leisuretec, a Sennheiser distributor since 1990, delivered the system. The team at All Souls College are satisfied with the results. A previously unusable, but beautiful, room has now become a place to meet and discuss.

wireless mics
in ancient Oxford college 7 Eye-popping installations

AI brings cinema pioneers to life for Lyon Festival of Lights

Groupe Novelty provided the technical backbone for the Lyon Festival of Lights’ celebration of the inventors of cinema, the Lumière brothers, projecting images on a huge scale onto the City Hall and 17th-century Museum of Fine Arts surrounding the Place des Terreaux. It can now be revealed the technology used for the festival, from 5 Dec-8 Dec, 2023, came from various sources, including Panasonic PT-RZ21K projectors, Barco UDX-4K32s, Modulo Kinetic servers and Lightware matrix routers.

The installation was created by digital artist Bruno Ribeiro, with a soundtrack by French electronic music producer Rone, CELLULO/D (pronounced “Celluloid”). Ribeiro used modern AI technology to reimagine some of the brothers’ earliest motion pictures, such as giving a Wild Western a cartoon makeover and 1895’s Arrival of a Train at La Ciotat.

The team created a 48m long by 26.5m wide video mapping on the City Hall. To achieve the desired result, Alabama specified six Panasonic PT-RZ21K projectors in dual mode. Six Barco UDX-4K32s, also in dual mode and complemented by a pair of PT-RZ21Ks for the pediment, covered the entire length of the Museum of Fine Arts façade (102 x 29m). Three Modulo Kinetic servers and two Lightware matrix routers completed the video set-up.

Another projection, onto the Fresque des Lyonnais, used video mapping by artist collective Les Allumeurs de Rêves. It brought the 800 sq m painted mural to life, illuminating the illustrations of the Lumière brothers and other famous people, including former PM Edouard Herriot and the Roman emperor Claudius.

Allen & Heath drives tour of McConnell’s Irish whisky distillery

An Allen & Heath AHM-64 matrix processor is at the heart of a new AV set-up at McConnell’s Irish Whisky Distillery, in North Belfast, Northern Ireland, housed within a restored listed building in the historic A-wing of Crumlin Road Gaol. Martin Audio speakers and amplifiers, as well as Ayla interactive touch screens, were also integrated into the meeting rooms and tour elements. The business offers guided tours that explore the colourful stories of Belfast’s distilling past and the history of the McConnell’s brand all the way back to 1776.

The Allen & Heath AHM-64 matrix processor sits at the heart of the AV system, facilitating the management of audio across multiple zones throughout the building, operating different sounds as required for the various tourist attractions. With 64 zone outputs, echo cancelling and audio networking options, AHM-64 is designed for multi-room installations in hospitality, corporate and education environments.

KV2 Audio brings magical soundscapes to Beauty & the Beast

KV2 Audio has provided the sound systems for an Australian revival of the smash hit musical show Beauty and the Beast Sound designer John Shivers has installed the ESR215s as main loudspeakers. He is using two sets as upper and lower systems for most venues, with EX12s flown near the lower ESR215s as infill for the first few rows.

Eye-popping installations

L-Acoustics ‘immerses’ audiences at Italian hip-hop show

Italian hip-hop duo, Coez & Frah Quintale, used L-Acoustics L Series, via L-ISA spatial audio technology, for their national tour in support of their Lovebars album. The show in Florence used a specially designed 5.1 immersive L-ISA audio system. The system comprised ve hangs of two L2 over one L2D, with eight KS28 subwoofers in two hangs of eight own behind the central L2/L2D hang. Twenty-four K2 were used as out- lls, while 14 Kara II on the stage lip provided spatial in- ll. Eye-popping

Christie Pandoras Box powers immersive sci-fi experience in China

Christie Pandoras Box and Widget Designer power the exciting visuals of an immersive entertainment experience targeted at teenagers and young adults, in China. Located at the ZGC Science Fiction Industry Innovation Centre in Beijing, visitors to the Wonderland Science Fiction Exploration Hall are sent on a sci- adventure set in deep space. Divided into two immersive themed experiences, Space Rescue and Space Dinosaur Base, participants engage in speci c tasks and games to successfully complete their missions.

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Daktronics 3-display centerhung set to thrill Blue Devils’ fans

Daktronics has designed a three-display centerhung configuration at Duke University’s Cameron Indoor Stadium, in Durham, North Carolina, the home venue for the Blue Devils basketball team. The new centerhung, featuring three displays wrapping around the structure, totalled 900 sq ft of digital canvas. The main video display measures 11.5ft high by 59ft around, while the lower ring measures 2.5ft high by 52.5ft around. With the greatly improved resolution, the centerhung features approximately 5.5 million pixels, compared to the previous screen’s 415,000 pixels.

INFiLED manufactures 417-ton LED screen for Soundstorm

NFiLED manufactured one of the largest LED screens on the planet for Soundstorm musical festival, in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. It measured 189m wide by 43m high with over 200 million pixels. Organiser PRG custommade the screen using TitanX and Atlas-X panels for the biggest of the festival’s eight stages, the Big Beast. The LED walls weighed 417 tons and were hung over 500 motors.

L-Acoustics L-ISA immersive audio has been used to create a 360° immersive experience at the Ephesus Experience Museum, in Ephesus, one of the most visited cities in Turkey. The city is home to the Temple of Artemis, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, and the Theatre of Ephesus. The Ephesus Experience tells its story in a modern manner, using AV technology.

L-Acoustics certified provider Asimetrik worked with Marshmallow Laser Feast and Willi Klein, application engineer at L-Acoustics, to design a complete 360° configuration that provided an immersive sound experience for visitors.

L-ISA immersive audio brings ancient world of
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Powering a future-ready network infrastructure

Jay Williams, VP, network infrastructure sales, Wesco, on the benefits of an optimised lifecycle network for end users and installers,

To paraphrase an old adage in business, what got you here today won’t necessarily get you there tomorrow. This is especially true when it comes to network infrastructure. The cabling and connectivity capabilities that previously powered your business – or your customer’s business – might not meet your needs five years, three years or even one year from now.

With more devices continually being added to networks, and employees needing to be connected whether they’re in the office, at home or on the go, the network infrastructure is now vital to productivity and business continuity. And greater demand for video connectivity and reliable, always-on collaboration tools can stress a network that’s not built to handle that amount of data.

Thanks to a shift to wired and wireless IP-based technologies, installers are seeing opportunities to expand their business into adjacent areas like building systems and other connected technologies. But with these new opportunities come new challenges, like helping customers plan and build a network infrastructure that can support their long-term technology and connectivity needs.

A key challenge when implementing a network infrastructure is making sure it’s robust enough to support a customer’s long-term connectivity needs. Nobody can predict how technology will reshape work, or how quickly it will do so – consider how many businesses had to pivot to video collaboration tools almost overnight at the outset of Covid. But there are indicators, such as the growth of AI and

prevalence of remote and hybrid work, that suggest a futureready network infrastructure will become more critical. Installers should work to not only understand what customers need today, but also how they anticipate using data and technology in the future. From there, installers can evaluate whether their current network infrastructure is sufficient to handle bandwidth demands and keep pace with the rapid evolution of technology.


Expanding from traditional AV into network infrastructure provides a good opportunity for installers to build on established relationships.

Distribution partners can help installers identify the best solutions to meet customers’ networking needs and help them stay on top of new innovations. Premier distribution partners can also verify how technologies have been proven, either via their own labs and testing capabilities, or through third-party testing like UL verification. Distribution partners can also test and verify the interoperability of new products. Most importantly, expanding their business into the networking side can be a good opportunity for installers to build stronger relationships with their customers. By advancing their role from a cabling contractor to a consultant and trusted partner, installers can help customers address their network infrastructure needs today and be in a good position to support customers again when their connectivity needs inevitably change.

Commentary 12
An extended version of this article is available off-page. Click here Or please visit: MORE ONLINE:

Edtech: AV’s growing role in educational environments

Ben Taylor, CEO of Cassette Group on the role of AV and immersive technology in education, and how it can help to modernise and improve

Is technology being fully utilised in current education systems?

The short answer is no, and I’d go even further and say the way we learn has been outdated for over a century. There have been so many technological advancements that could be used in a school environment, however we are still relying on the same format, which is essentially one teacher sharing their knowledge with a large group. The main difference now is that they use an interactive whiteboard instead of a chalkboard. This style of teaching does not resonate with every student. We all have slightly different ways of learning, with some styles being more effective than others. Utilising new technologies like VR, AR and AI can help cater to those other learning styles and provide tailored and memorable experiences.

What role can new technologies play in modernising and improving education?

New technology in the AV and immersive space can help be a great leveller for all the different learners. Being able to learn in a different way can produce more real-life scenarios for students and thus better prepare them post school. Having more adaptable technology can help offer personalised, competency-based learning models that will empower individuals to thrive in a rapidly changing world.

One of the most exciting aspects of this comes from creating immersive learning experiences that transcend the confines of traditional classrooms. VR, AR, and AI have the potential to revolutionise training by providing interactive, hands-on learning experiences that nurture critical thinking,

collaboration, and problem-solving skills. Imagine a scenario where students can step into a virtual simulation of a real-world work environment, where they can practice their skills and make mistakes without real-world consequences. VR and AR can provide learners with a tangible platform to acquire new skills, thus bringing learning to life in a way that was previously impossible.

What are the main barriers preventing immersive and AV tech from being adopted?

The first and most important barrier to overcome would be changing the minds of those who are reluctant to change. The most senior members of a board or team will already have a set way of doing things. Helping to change their mindset on how tech can improve learning outcomes for their students, while improving efficiencies for themselves will be key to overcoming this. There is a perspective that these types of technologies are here to take people’s jobs, when the reality is that they are here to make life easier.

The cost of acquiring and maintaining the hardware for AV and immersive tech can also prevent a greater adoption. Highquality VR headsets, AR devices, and other immersive tools can be expensive, and ongoing maintenance and software updates can further increase costs. Delivering similar content over web-based platforms, removing the need for specialist hardware, could help to overcome this barrier in certain circumstances.

Additionally, training educators to effectively use these technologies may require additional resources and time.

What are the logistical challenges of implementing these technologies in an education setting?

A challenge will be ensuring that the infrastructure of the educational institution can support the implementation of AV and immersive technologies. This includes having adequate internet bandwidth to support streaming and downloading large files, as well as having the necessary hardware and software in place to run immersive experiences smoothly.

Another aspect to consider will revolve around the technical support needed. AV and immersive technologies can be complex to set up and troubleshoot, requiring specialised technical knowledge. Educational institutions may need to invest in dedicated technical support staff or training for existing staff to ensure that issues can be resolved quickly and effectively.

Is there an appetite for change?

When innovative technology emerges, there often exists a natural resistance to change. However, even with this considered, there has been a promising 80 percent growth rate in extended reality (XR) adoption within the education sector over the past five years, indicating a growing eagerness to embrace this transformative approach to learning.


An extended version of this interview is available on our website. To read, click here

If you’re reading our print edition go to:

Q&A 13

Immersive experiences and AI: Reshaping the DS landscape

Pierre Gillet, vice president, international sales at BrightSign, on growth opportunities for the digital signage industry

The next generation of consumers is characterised by its affinity for technology. That is a fantastic growth opportunity for the digital signage industry. According to industry reports, DOOH advertising revenue is expected to increase by more than 40 percent by 2027 worldwide. This speaks to the exciting potential for rapidly rising demand, as companies across a variety of sectors search for new ways to engage with digitally savvy shoppers.

The other side of the coin is that, in a world where we are bombarded with information 24/7, consumer expectations have changed and the bar for success has risen. Deloitte research, for example, highlights that today’s customers are more loyal to ‘experiences’ than to brands, products or companies. In 2024, it's harder than it's ever been to excite consumers which means brands and their technology providers must step things up a gear.

Fortunately, cutting-edge high-resolution digital output capabilities now give brands the power to transform their visual communications into immersive experiences, transforming public spaces into dynamic digitally enhanced environments that do just that.

The quick service restaurant (QSR) industry is a fantastic example of how these technologies are being embraced in innovative ways to captivate diners, whether that’s through immersive menu systems, in-store signage, or digital entertainment.

In an industry that thrives on efficiency, self-service kiosks and drive-thru screens streamline ordering hassles with

intuitive interfaces. Next, digital menu boards display realtime updates on everything from wait times and order status to limited-time promotions. At the same time, we’re seeing examples of immersive displays that can link to diners’ social media feeds and photos.


These applications are becoming more commonplace across all industries, but the future is even more exciting. Looking ahead, one of the most significant trends shaping the digital signage industry is the integration of AI. This tech is gamechanging, taking the capabilities of signage to the next level, enabling brands to create personalised content based on insights, and share across interactive, immersive displays.

AI will usher in opportunities for QSRs to interact with datadriven, real-time information about customer behaviour. Digital menu boards and self-service kiosks are data goldmines, capturing invaluable insights into customer preferences and ordering behaviours. Using AI, QSRs can harness this wealth of information to drive strategic business decisions, refine menu offerings, and craft targeted promotions that resonate with specific customer segments.

As businesses embrace these trends and collaborate to deliver innovative solutions, they have the opportunity to unlock new avenues for customer engagement and differentiation. The industry is on an evolving journey toward a future where digital signage transforms the way we connect, communicate, and engage.

Commentary 14
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Enhancing education spaces

Jens Werner, product manager, business communication, at Sennheiser, on leveraging technology for flexible learning environments

In today's rapidly evolving educational landscape, the traditional model of fixed classroom configurations is giving way to more dynamic, adaptable spaces. This shift is driven by the need to accommodate diverse teaching methods, support hybrid learning, encourage collaboration, and foster engagement among students. However, achieving fully flexible room usage and optimising communication within these spaces poses significant challenges.

One of the primary obstacles faced by institutions is the inflexibility of classroom layouts. Traditional setups often lack the versatility needed to accommodate various teaching styles and activities. This limitation hampers educators' ability to create engaging learning experiences and impedes the seamless flow of instruction. To address this issue, institutions are turning to technology solutions which offer greater flexibility in room design and configuration.


Advanced audio technology plays a crucial role in overcoming communication barriers and enhancing the learning environment. In large or acoustically challenging spaces, ensuring clear, intelligible sound is essential for effective teaching and learning. Solutions such as voicelift technology provide educators with the ability to project their voices clearly without the need for cumbersome equipment, fostering better comprehension and engagement.

Moreover, the integration of priority zones and exclusion areas within audio systems empower educators to maintain

control over classroom dynamics. By prioritising the instructor's voice and minimising noise from disruptive sources, technology solutions enable educators to create an environment conducive to focused learning and collaboration.

The adoption of camera tracking technology also facilitates hybrid teaching models, allowing educators to seamlessly integrate in-person and remote students into the learning experience. This means institutions can overcome geographical barriers and provide equal access to education, promoting inclusivity and engagement across diverse student populations.


Another critical aspect for enhancing education spaces is brand agnostic integration. With educational institutions often using a variety of AV equipment and systems from different brands and manufacturers, ensuring seamless integration among these technologies is crucial for maximising their effectiveness and usability. Solutions featuring standardised protocols and interoperable interfaces enable different devices to work together harmoniously, creating unified learning environments that leverage the full potential of technological investments.

As the educational landscape continues to evolve, embracing technology-driven solutions will be essential in creating inclusive, accessible learning experiences that prepare students for success in the digital age.

Commentary 15
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Residential spaces: Navigating acoustics


director of business development, at WSDG,

on the importance of acoustics in

the home

Modern life asks a lot of our residential spaces and how we use them has completely changed over the last decade. Acoustic design, traditionally associated with highbrow concert halls and recording studios, now plays an important role in shaping the comfort and functionality of our homes as we work, play and relax in ever more flexible areas –as technology becomes more accessible and AV solutions advance.

Acoustic planning covers two main aspects: isolation acoustics, which includes airborne isolation, noise control, vibration control, and internal room acoustics quality. These key elements keep external disturbances out while maintaining a pleasant sound environment internally.

Managing unwanted noise, sometimes wrongly referred to as ‘soundproofing’, has evolved into a deeper understanding of how sound affects our living environments. Individual acoustic experiences are subjective, but acoustic consultants use scientific, objective measurements, simulations, and computer aided design to assess and address acoustic challenges.

Contemporary homes now also have to accommodate residents' professional, working, creative, and educational needs. We describe these rooms as ‘E-Studios’ –multipurpose residential environments equipped with acoustic, ergonomic, and technical tools to meet those diverse requirements.

Dedicated entertainment rooms within residences like home cinemas, gaming and music spaces bring their own set

of challenges. These rooms require a deep dive into isolation acoustics and internal room acoustics to ensure they are comfortable, welcoming and fit for purpose.

Navigating the acoustic landscape of residential spaces is not just about creating harmonious spaces but also avoiding potential issues. Imagine a luxury penthouse, meticulously designed with exquisite finishes and breathtaking views, ruined by the non-stop rumble of an air conditioner noise coming from the mechanical machine room.

The reality is that fixing these issues can be expensive. Developers could find themselves faced with hefty bills to rectify acoustic mishaps, from relocating noisy equipment to even redesigning entire spaces to mitigate disturbances.


Educating the stakeholders who are involved in the project is key to avoiding costly mistakes. Developers, architects, and homeowners need to understand acoustic standards, guidelines, and the impact of materials on sound transmission. Early collaboration with acoustic consultants can ensure optimal experiences in residential spaces.

Looking ahead, true integration of acoustics into residential design will continue to improve. Advanced sound isolation materials and immersive audio systems, alongside advancements in smart home systems and AI-driven solutions, will shape the future of residential acoustics and empower homeowners with better control and customisation capabilities.

Commentary 16
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Cloud bursting: Managing AV content securely

Paul Calleja, CEO, GlobalM, on understanding the role of software-defined video networks (SDVNs) in the AV ecosystem

Today’s dynamic and innovation-focused AV market is heavily reliant on delivering high-quality experiences. From corporate events and conferences to entertainment or educational settings, organisations also need scalable and secure technologies for both local and international audiences.

In this context, software-defined video networks (SDVNs) are becoming an important tech framework. They work by allowing users to manage and distribute AV content using software rather than traditional solutions that rely more heavily on hardware. The approach has become particularly valuable given the widespread adoption of cloud computing infrastructure and resources across the AV ecosystem.

Practically speaking, deploying resources in the cloud to handle video streams and other AV content depends on a range of capabilities, including dynamically allocating bandwidth and the availability of storage and processing power to meet the demands of various AV tasks. At the same time, cloud resources must also be used efficiently to balance performance with value for money.

For example, AV professionals rely on efficient compression techniques to maintain high-quality content whilst optimising bandwidth usage. This is especially important for events, conferences, and entertainment venues where high-quality audio and video are essential for audience engagement. By efficiently managing how these resources are orchestrated and distributed, organisations can maintain operational integrity and performance – even

under varying load conditions – a capability which is crucial for large-scale video deployments.

In addition, AV users increasingly need to distribute content to various locations worldwide, such as multilocation corporate events or global conferences. The ability to scale across multiple endpoint locations ensures that AV companies can reach their global audience efficiently without compromising on security.


Security is now a primary concern for any organisation focused on the effective use of AV technologies. SDVNs give organisations precise control over video content management and distribution, including encryption and geo-blocking, which are key to protecting content from unauthorised access. The technology also enables users to adhere to regional distribution regulations and respond quickly to emerging security risks, which are particularly important capabilities given the growing focus on content integrity, data protection and privacy.

As the volume and sophistication of cyber threats continue to increase, organisations will be under increasing pressure from both the risk of attack and the growing regulatory obligations they must adhere to. In fact, organisations should adopt a mindset where they don’t just prepare for the possibility of AV-related cyberattacks but how often these will occur.


Commentary 17
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FW-98BZ53L 98in

4Kprodisplayis ideal for retail and hospitalitysettings, due to its 780 nit screenbrightness that can’t be missed, even in light-flooded spaces


an uncertain period, operators are increasingly open to technologies that can blend online & physical retail, present brands in a more immersive way,

and help them operate more sustainably, writes David Davies

No one who takes even a cursory glance at the headlines could have failed to notice the adverse conditions affecting retail & hospitality (R&H) over the past few years. The impact of Covid was significant, but in some ways it only served to accelerate existing trends, notably a tendency for more sales – and socialising – to be masterminded from home. In smaller and mediumsized towns especially, where R&H has historically done so much to drive footfall, the myriad streets of shuttered shops tell their own story.

But despite all this, the tone of this latest overview is actually fairly optimistic – especially for integrators. Retail operators in particular have, to a large degree, seemingly recognised that a major sea-change has occurred and they will now be increasingly reliant on virtual sales. In some sectors, like fashion, physical outlets are now more about getting visitors to engage with, and find out more about, the brands. The actual sales part can take place on the move or at home, assisted no doubt by text and email reminders.

Consequently, the importance of technology in retail, and its sector sibling hospitality, is more critical than ever. In this article we’ll look at some of the most significant trends, from the technologies helping to merge the physical and virtual retail worlds, to the immersive displays and audio systems engendering more ‘experiential’ stores and enlivening restaurants, bars and – to a lesser extent – hotels. with immersive tech. And if we are very unlikely to see a return to the retail booms of the 1990s and early 2000s, at least it’s clear there is still a vibrant business for those pro AV companies who are able to move with the times.


Nonetheless, with retail especially, it’s clear that an important divide has emerged during the last few years – principally between those operators with the capacity and/or willingness to invest in new technologies that can help push their brands forward in physical outlets, and those for whom a gradual retreat to online-only sales seems increasingly probable.

“It has been a bit of a strange one,” observes Ross Noonan, technical sales & global marketing manager at The LED Studio, a provider of bespoke and fixed LED displays. “Some physical retailers have really capitalised on the last three or four years, post-Covid, have spent a lot of money on technology, and seem to be doing really well. [Trends include] swapping out

[older video walls] for LED displays, and perhaps singular displays for larger-format displays. Plus we’re starting to see a rise in transparent LED being used in retail. At the same time we are seeing hospitality operators investing in creating multi-activity spaces that are more of an experience.”

Overall, adds Noonan, demand is “increasing in some areas and decreasing in others". Some of the smaller retailers that were buying screens in the past are disappearing, he says. "But it’s not really affecting us as a business in a bad way because, if anything, more people are buying bigger screens.”

Implicit in some of these developments is the incubation of a longer-term view, something confirmed by Nils Karsten, business segment lead retail at Sharp NEC Display Solutions Europe. “The market is challenged by many factors as a result of inflation, unpredictability of external influences, and fair risk assessment for investments,” he adds.

Against this background, however, there is lot of interest for solutions that are sustainable, reliable and future-proof, indicating a hopeful shift away from consumer driven decision-making in favour of a more long-term outlook. "Overall, there is still a good level of demand, but also more pressure on cost," says Karsten, alluding to the second-generation MultiSync ME Series of LFDs. "To address this, more value-driven solutions are appealing to the retail market which deliver professional quality and attractive pricing.”


In conjunction with lower costs making larger screen sizes more accessible to a wider customer base, there is also evidence of a growing maturity about how they can actually be deployed for best effect. This chimes nicely with a trend by some of the larger retailers, in particular, to concentrate their efforts on a smaller estate of more immersive, experiential stores.

“We are seeing an increase in the average size of LED displays in the indoor market, which is due partly to costs coming down, but also because people are starting to understand how to tell artistic stories on large canvases,” says Noonan, who highlights the EDGE series of large-scale displays as being among The LED Studio’s leading product ranges in R&H. “Three or four years ago it wasn’t so common for people to understand how to do the content creation on these screens and get the most out of them,

Feature 19
Above: Sony'sflagship BRAVIA

whereas now you very frequently see really strong storytelling and well-made content that uses the screens very effectively.”

Sven Beinlich, international key account director for retail at PPDS, also pinpoints the increasingly targeted nature of the content being displayed. “I think in the past that some retailers might not quite know for whom they were creating the content, but now they are able to see [who is in store] and play the right content for the right people in the same second,” he says. “And within that, the methods by which retailers approach producing content for those kind of canvases has matured as well, meaning they are able to use them in a more creative and seamless way.”

Managing and optimising display estates effectively is evidently a huge part of achieving a successful endresult. To which end, Beinlich points to the popularity of PPDS Wave, a cloud-native platform delivering integrated applications and services that allow the user to install, manage, update and maintain their Philips professional display fleet devices, including a range of software partners’ solutions that are proven for global use and available for the display manager in the PPDS ProStore.

For Sharp LED’s Karsten, one particular technological trend is helping to make immersive experiences more achievable. “With scalable dvLED becoming more affordable, this technology is allowing much larger displays to implement the immersive experience, and we are finding this a more common requirement, especially in flagship stores,” he says. At least for now, it appears that immersiveness –rather than interactivity – is the overarching objective for many retail projects. “Interactivity and engagement with the client is the utopian ideal,” notes Karsten. “However, whilst the technology is available and capable, the number of interactive installations is fewer that you might think. The greater focus seems to be on impactful large-format displays, increasingly using dVLED for a longer lifecycle, and 3D content is often used.”


Still, some retail brands are keener to engage with interactivity, as a recent and highly innovative project instigated by Van Marcke – the Belgian family business and international wholesaler of brands for sanitary, heating and renewable energy solutions –neatly illustrates. It revolved around the creation of an entirely digital showroom at its lab in Antwerp, where it employed Leyard Europe VEM-series screen walls to allow visitors to create their personalised bathroom. With immersive and interactive installation specialist Ocular actually installing the displays, the resulting space – which is only 80sqm – allows visitors to digitally assemble their ‘dream bathroom’, visualise it in life-size scale, and bring it to life in 3D, with guidance from an interior consultant.

It’s clear that Cris Tanghe, VP product at Leyard Europe, regards this project as an exemplar of what can be achieved in terms of creating experiences that are both immersive and responsive to the growing demand for personalisation. “There is a new generation of retailers that’s focused on having great interactivity with customers,” he confirms, adding that the Van Marcke project shows you can “focus more on prime locations with a small [footprint], and still achieve a lot of success.”

Looking forward, Tanghe characterises R&H overall as “a rising sector” – a state of affairs that he thinks will continue as “more and more digital elements are required in-store, [for example] with flagship stores, interactivity and so on. There is a recognition that [retailers] need those technologies to attract people, and it’s also a bit like a circle because if you see your neighbour having something very flashy that attracts customers, you will want to do the same thing. So I think there is an aspect of retailers boosting each other a bit, which is also good news.”

Although it’s not surprising that visual aspects tend to dominate discussion of immersive retail, several interviews conducted for this article confirmed that all-enveloping audio is an increasingly important part of achieving the desired effect. For instance, Genelec remarks upon an uptick in projects featuring sophisticated sound design and multi-channel audio

Feature 20

playback, including Casino Tampere in Finland –where more than 100 Genelec Smart IP loudspeakers contribute to a “complete sensory experience” – and K-Supermarket Hertta in Herttoniemi, Helsinki, where Genelec 4000 Series installation loudspeakers are part of an ambitious combination of scent and sound design intended to “attract customers and encourage them to linger”.

Sami Mäkinen, Genelec AV sales manager for Finland, suggests that the trend towards more technologically ambitious, experience-type stores began to gain traction during the Covid era. “At that point, retailers started to plan much more carefully when starting any new design or project, with an increased emphasis on quality,” he recalls. “Presented with a massive shock to the system such as a global pandemic, the goal was clearly to attract customers back with a much better overall retail experience. So our job as a loudspeaker manufacturer is to provide aesthetically pleasing solutions with clarity, intelligibility and uniform coverage, so that customers can experience the best possible audio quality as they move around a space.”

These new experiences seem to be increasingly informed by an awareness of the connection between sound and behaviour. “The sense of hearing is our third most dominant sense, and sounds can affect people’s comfort and shopping behaviour in most commercial spaces and environments such as supermarkets, hotels, offices, bars and restaurants," says Mäkinen. "Studies have shown that the right kind of sound environment can increase sales by up to 30% and it also has a positive effect on the work efficiency of employees,” he adds, pointing to the use of Genelec loudspeakers to deliver an arresting soundscape combining “natural sounds and musical elements” at the aforementioned K Supermarket.

The trend towards AV-over-IP – witnessed in so many areas of commercial audio – is also discernible in R&H. Notes Mäkinen: “Our Smart IP networked loudspeakers have been hugely popular in [these sectors] since they combine exceptional sound quality with single cable networked convenience. Powered by PoE and compatible with both Dante and AES67 streams, they can be combined freely on the building’s existing IT network – making Smart IP a really scalable and flexible solution that’s very clean and simple to install.”


Going hand-in-hand with this need for hassle-free but effective audio systems in R&H is a recognition that good sound contributes to overall brand perception. For Stephen Rhead, installed solutions manager UK & Ireland at wireless speakers and sound systems company Sonos, which has registered particular growth in the hospitality sector: “Audio is still seen as a newish technology for enhancing the R&H experience, 21
Left: Installation
hospitality environment
VanMarcke'sdigital showroom utilises LeyardEuropeVEMseries screen walls Above: PhilipsQSeries EcoDesign
of Sonos wallspeakerin

particularly around the bigger hospitality and retail businesses who refresh their environments on a regular basis. The companies that focus on brand image are conscious of how they are represented at every touch point, in their stores or in their restaurants, and technology plays a big role here.”

In the case of Sonos, Rhead implies that home user familiarity plays well for the brand in the professional domain, too. He recalls: “I was in a restaurant which featured a solo Sonos One product. I said, ‘Wow, this single product is filling this entire room’. And why? It was because the owner uses Sonos at home. We know that is often the reason why we are integrated into these businesses, it’s because there is a synergy with user-friendliness. We are very aware of the need for user-friendliness in the retail and hospitality sectors, especially when it comes to staff operation of the products.”

Like Genelec’s Mäkinen, Rhead highlights the role of audio as a contributor to an “overall effect you’re trying to achieve. For example, one idea that we have come across is that you go into a changing room, you are trying on a sundress and suddenly you are on a Maldives beach. You can hear the waves crashing

around you and the sounds of the ocean. This is where the audio comes into its own, providing an immersive background sound that completes the experience. I haven’t seen it yet in reality, but that is what we have been involved in.”


Meanwhile, R&H is a sector that has opened up “pretty organically” for OutBoard, the company behind immersive spatial audio, show control and stage-tracking brand TiMax, which became part of the Focusrite Group – already home to brands such as Martin Audio, Optimal Audio and Linea Research –following an acquisition deal last December. Dave Haydon, OutBoard’s commercial director, suggests that the standalone operational autonomy of TiMax has made it a natural fit for R&H applications.

“Obviously, TiMax is known to have grown out of the theatre environment, but it is unique among spatial audio platforms because of its maturity and sophistication, as well as its multi-faceted featureset, meaning its integrated hybrid of spatialisation, show-control and playback elements can all run themselves automatically, as well as being linked to

Above: Leyarddisplaysat Nike House of Innovation Paris


The emergence and ongoing growth of the use of AV technology in R&H – particularly retail, as retailers work harder to pull people back into store as part of their hybrid offer – has undoubtedly had an impact on the way stores, hoteliers and other hospitality sectors design their bricks and mortar offerings for improved user experiences. Louise Curnuck, designer and leader in creative direction for the built environment, tells Installation that AV tech is having a profound impact on the way that retailers in particular update and launch outlets

The store on the high street has had to adapt so much in recent years. It’s now not just a store, it’s a showroom, a drop off and collection point for online shopping, a brand experience with an alterations or customisation counter, and – often – a coffee bar. The bricks and mortar store has become the support act for the online store. This makes the integration of AV and consistent customer experience more important than ever. Brands can no longer put a TV screen on the wall and tick the digital box.


To be consistent with the online user experience, the technology needs to be so sophisticated that customers hardly notice it’s there. Where bricks and mortar stores used to take the lead in creating this experience identity, with an online following, many of today's new brands are starting online and then moving into bricks and mortar once they are established. This has changed the way we design, and a lot more needs to be considered than a tangible fit out.

I believe in a holistic approach to design that considers all aspects of a brand experience. We are creating experiences, not just interiors. Like anything, audio-video technology works best when it is considered from concept, and not as an add on, so building strong relationships with designers so that they are truly inspired by the tech from the

get-go, rather than sourcing to solve problems at the end of a project, is key.


Where AV in retail needs to support its primary function in sales, in hospitality the focus can be much more on entertainment, and therefore more immersive. What I find particularly exciting is how technology has allowed for immersive dining where all the senses are aroused to support taste and storytelling. In these projects, the designer’s role is to work between operations, food tech and AV specialists, as well as the usual construction and fit out teams.

This is where holistic design is particularly essential for success and the traditional boundaries of interior design cannot exist. The designer becomes a curator. This is where I’m increasingly using the term ‘creative direction for the built environment’, because there are no boundaries to creating a fully immersive experience.

Louiseboasts15yearsexperienceinretaildesign,and iscurrentlyworkingwitharestaurateurtocreatea newimmersivediningexperienceintheheartof London’sWestEnd.

Feature 23

K-Supermarket Hertta in Helsinki, decidedtospecify Genelec 4000 Series loudspeakersfor 'sensory'audio

lighting and other media systems. It also doesn’t need to be tended day-to-day by a fully-fledged AV engineer; its onboard show-control renders it one of those ‘workhorse’ pieces of equipment that can be left running 24 hours per day, seven days a week for months on end without requiring any kind of attention.”

Haydon points to several recent experiential hospitality concepts where TiMax has been used to “create a very sophisticated soundscape that isn’t just on an obvious loop". Instead, using internal content offsets and triggers it can enable a backdrop that changes itself every few minutes, "which means you can benefit from an immersive environment that isn’t going to irritate the staff!" he adds.


If the ability of new solutions to support immersive experiences in R&H is only becoming more important, it’s possible that even this is outpaced by the burgeoning desire for sustainability. For instance, common to all of the interviews with visual display providers this time around was the sentiment that –with 4K and even 8K now in reach – we are approaching a natural ceiling in terms of resolution, and instead we are likely to see a greater prioritisation (by vendors and customers) of factors such as sustainability and low power consumption.

“I do think the focus will increasingly be on sustainability and technologies that [support that],

rather than pushing towards the next smaller pixelpitch and so on,” says Tanghe. “Having everything that a retailer puts into a store be sustainable, green, eco-friendly and carbon neutral – that’s more where the sector is going.”

For Sharp NEC, Karsten indicates that sustainability is becoming “more critical in the procurement process”, with greater attention given to extended lifetimes and modular SoC (system-on-a-chip) solutions that can be upgraded as future demand requires. “One of our key priorities is sustainable innovation – solutions which reduce resource consumption, minimise waste, and mitigate negative impacts on ecosystems. Examples of our recent sustainable innovation include ePaper [a new technology that consumes a remarkable zero watts of energy when displaying content] and new Flip-Chip SMD dvLED solutions consuming 60% less energy compared to previous generation SMD technology.”

On the back of a stream of recent news stories about retail closures and estate reductions, it isn’t hard to feel slightly despondent about the outlook for R&H. But, even though the margins aren’t always what they used to be, it has remained fertile territory for AV specialists – especially those able to support the more connected, immersive environments many operators are now seeking to achieve. Pro AV has historically resided at the cutting edge, and more than ever that makes it a great fit for retail & hospitality.

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INFOCOMM 2024: 26
David W Smith looks at the major highlights likely to enthral attendees at this year’s Stateside pro AV technology showcase, with AI and digital signage events set to take centre stage

With just weeks to go until InfoComm 2024, on June 8-14, in Las Vegas, Nevada, preregistered numbers of both attendees and exhibitors are ahead of the figures for the 2023 show at the same point in time, according to AVIXA.

At the time of writing, over 30,000 verified attendees are expected, and more than 800 brands will exhibit across the Las Vegas Convention Center campus, in the Central and West Halls. The three biggest exhibitors remain Crestron, LG Electronics, and Samsung Electronics America, each with thousands of sq ft secured. This is a big year, too, for new exhibitors and attendees. There will be more than 160 new exhibitors and brands, and AVIXA predicts that more than 30% of attendees will attend InfoComm for the first time.

Figures for last year’s show already demonstrated a big rise in attendance over the pandemic-affected 2022 edition. In 2023, InfoComm welcomed 29,325 verified attendees from 115 countries and 37% were first-time attendees. On the trade show floor, 700 exhibitors showcased pro AV products and solutions across 358,700 sq ft.

This year’s preliminary figures reveal that the trend to attend in person is accelerating. Rochelle Richardson, CEM, senior vice president of exposition and event services, AVIXA, said: “More than ever, there is a surge in attendees and exhibitors who recognise the importance of meeting face-to-face at trade shows. This allows them to get first-hand experience with products and technologies, forge new connections, gain insights from industry leaders, and simply experience serendipity.”


A rich programme of events awaits attendees across the 10 show floors. Common themes, according to Richardson, include a continued focus on remote and hybrid collaboration solutions, enhancements for video conferencing systems, virtual meeting platforms, and other collaborative tools. But, more than ever, the importance of AI for the future of AV will be at the forefront of events.

“AI will be everywhere and the audience at InfoComm will have the opportunity to experience AI-powered features, including language accessibility, a generative AI photo booth, automated content

generation, and AVA AI, a comprehensive InfoComm guide, powered by OpenAI,” explains Richardson.

AI will also be the theme of the keynote speech at InfoComm 2024, which will focus on the opportunities it presents for AV. 'Everything Has Changed', will be delivered on Wednesday, June 12, at 11am, by Joe Pham, chairman and CEO of QSC. Pham will argue that by integrating AI with the technologies of sight and sound, AV holds the power to generate real-time profound experiences, drive transformative outcomes through data-driven insights, and cultivate more meaningful human connections in a world increasingly marked by disconnection.

There are many other AI-related sessions at InfoComm 2024. Fardad Zabetian, CEO of KUDO, will lead the session, 'Language Accessibility with AI: the Untapped Opportunity for AV Integrators', on Wednesday June 12. Following the rise of AI speech translation solutions, he will analyse how language is the key to unlocking international business opportunities and generating recurring revenue.

Also on Wednesday, Julian Phillips, senior vice president and managing director, XTG, AVI-SPL, will present the session, 'AI and the Hyper-Acceleration of Workplace and Experience Design'. He will share how the convergence of immersive experiences, AI, and AV technologies can revolutionise how we interact, collaborate, and innovate.

Additional sessions on AI will take place throughout the week, including 'Emerging Compliance and Security Concerns for AI', on Tuesday, June 11. Irwin Lazar, president and principal analyst of Metrigy, will speak about how many companies have not yet developed a strategy to ensure compliance and mitigate risk for AI-generated content, such as meeting recordings, user-generated clips, and transcripts. He’ll reveal best practices for capturing, classifying, and storing content and ensuring it is available only where necessary.

The Technology Innovation Stage (C8676) will host, 'Trend Forecast: Navigating AI, Sustainability and Commodification in Conferencing and Collaboration', on Thursday, June 13. Panellists Jane Hammersley, from Blue Touch Paper, Philip Langley of Wesco, and Timothy Mackie, from Yamaha Unified Communications, will explore the multifaceted implications of these intersecting trends. 27

Another focal point of InfoComm 2024 is the abundant programme of events focusing on digital signage, featuring training courses, the D=SIGN conference, workshops, networking events, and a digital signage focused show floor tour .“We’ll also have plentiful opportunities for integrators, designers, content creators, and the entire digital signage community to build their network,” says Richardson.


The spotlight on digital signage will begin with two full-day trainings: 'Digital Signage Certified Expert (DSCE)' on Sunday, June 9, and 'Digital Content & Media Expert (DCME)', on Monday, June 10, presented by Jonathan Brawn, principal of Brawn Consulting.

On Tuesday, June 11, the D=SIGN conference, produced in partnership with the Digital Signage Federation, will feature six sessions, including: 'D=SIGN: AI Primer for Digital Signage', with Jim Nista, creative director, Nista Digital Content; 'D=SIGN: Green Signage, Easier Than You Think', with speakers from Legrand AV, Global Display Solutions, Sony, and BrightSign; and 'D=SIGN: Futureproofing Your Hardware From Day 2 to Day 2000', with panellists from Bluefin International, BrightSign, Nanolumens, Legrand AV, and AVI-SPL.

Also on Tuesday, June 11, the Market Insights Lunch: Digital Signage Forum, hosted by Florian Rotberg and Stefan Schieker, from Invidis Consulting, will provide a global outlook on the DS industry, in addition to a networking lunch.

And on Wednesday, June 12, the Technology Innovation Stage (Booth C8676) will feature a panel of digital signage experts who will explore how interactive digital signage applications can maximise the user experience. They’ll also discuss what’s next for the sector, including green signage and the role of computer vision AI. Panellists include Jim Nista of Nista Digital Content, Michelle Montazeri from Legrand AV, and Jenny Hicks from Midwich Group. Meanwhile, the InfoComm trade show floor will feature more than 100 exhibitors showcasing digital signage solutions.

A popular feature on the expo floor last year was the Trailblazers Zone, a curated destination on the showcasing the latest innovations and technologies from emerging companies and first-time exhibitors. It returns this year and has tripled in size, according to AVIXA. Companies exhibiting include Design Huddle, Domotz, Gowin Semiconductor Corporation, HAVRION, HyLite LED, NewBlue, Treble Technologies, and Vitex LLC.

The education programme will be just as wideranging and instructive. It begins on Saturday, June

8, with 13 training courses and 18 technical workshops, including new courses on AVoIP Foundations and Rendering the Future: Unreal Engine Workflows. “There will be a lot of new education programming at the show, including our AVoIP Foundations course", Richardson comments.

“After offering a version of this course for two years as exclusively an on-demand offering, we're happy to offer it as an in-person class with two experts who can take it even further. Hope Roth and Gain Foster have years of industry experience deploying AVoIP solutions. The instructors are great resources, and an in-person environment will allow learners to delve deeply into the world of AVoIP.”

The education programme continues throughout the week with more than 100 sessions addressing topical issues, such as practical applications of AI for AV technologists, incorporating sustainable practices into each part of the AV lifecycle, and leveraging AV technology to make meetings, events, and experiences inclusive and accessible. Ten education tracks will provide in-depth knowledge in audio, business and project management, conferencing and collaboration, content production

Above: Attendeescanexpect AItoplayabigpartat thisyear'sexpo Right: InfoComm and AVI Systemswillteamup againtopresent InfoCommEsports Live 2.0


and streaming, design and integration, digital signage, diversity and inclusion, enterprise IT, events and entertainment, and learning spaces.

Attendees will also discover how cutting-edge AV has been applied in a series of use cases, across Las Vegas. This year’s lineup includes the Advance Engineering Building and the School of Medicine, at University of Nevada, Las Vegas, Illuminarium, HyperX Arena, Area15, and Atomic Golf.

In addition, the AVIXA Women's Council will host the annual Women's Breakfast, on Thursday, June 13, from 730am to 9am. This event continues to be one of the most sought-after at the show. This year's keynote speaker is Danielle Feinberg, known for her influential role at Pixar Animation Studios. When not involved with Pixar, she mentors teenage girls, encouraging them to explore coding, maths, and science.

The Las Vegas Convention Center is being renovated during the show, but Richardson does not

anticipate disruptions to attendees. The renovation project will make the pre-existing structure consistent with the West Building, which was upgraded in 2021, with the new project expected to be completed by 2025. “We’ve made sure attendees will still be able to navigate the campus with ease by providing enhanced directional signage, transportation services with Central and West Halls shuttles, estimated commute times, recommendations for attendees to manage and maximise time efficiently, LV Loop schedule, use of the mobile app, and introduction of AVA powered by OpenAI to navigate the InfoComm experience from your device,” she said.

She is optimistic that all in attendance, whether old hands, or visiting for the first time, will come away with valuable lessons and insights. “Everyone attending InfoComm this year will have a variety of unique first-time experiences to stay abreast of the latest industry advancements, trends, products, and solutions – on the trade show floor, in education sessions, at networking events, and other functions," she enthuses. "Attendees can position themselves for success in the rapidly evolving AV landscape."

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30 Special report

Above: Shindig,in England'sSouth West,willparty forthelasttime thisyear

Festival season is upon us, but, in the UK at least, there are already signs that the post-Covid boom is on the wane. Kevin Hilton looks at why there have been so many cancellations, what this means for the audio hire and manufacturing sectors and if festivals will survive when they return next year

Optimism can sometimes be misguided. Last year's special feature ahead of the festival season (Installation May 2023) was headlined "Returning to the fields on a sound footing". This highlighted the key role pro audio plays in outdoor music events, but also acknowledged that the live performance scene had come back in force in 2022 and 2023 after disappearing from the event schedules almost completely at the height of the pandemic.

A year on, and that hopefulness has been shaken by a rash of cancellations on the festival schedule, primarily in the two main centres for big open-air concerts, the US and the UK. According to a Bloomberg Research report published on 12 March, "at least" ten American shows had been cancelled, including the Riverbend Festival, which had been running since 1982, and the more recent Firefly Music Festival, founded in 2012.

The situation in the UK is even more severe, with the Association of Independent Festivals (AIF) reporting that, as of 25 April, 34 events had been cancelled. This compares to 2023 when there were 36 cancellations for the entire 12 months. Among those taking a year off are Connect in Scotland, 110 Above, Bluedot (although the main reason given is to allow the festival site to recover from last year's heavy rain), Standon Calling and Neighbourhood Weekender. The 26-year old Nozstock: The Hidden Valley will go ahead, but for the last time, with organisers stating that the financial risks of staging it had "become too great". Shindig (pictured left) will also close this year, although this may have more to do with venue owners, Dillington Estate, in Somerset UK, than revenue issues. Installation was unable to clarify as we went to press.


Things were already looking somewhat pessimistic in February when the chief executive of the AIF, John Rostron, told the Guardiannewspaper that "festivals are falling over." He is no more hopeful now and feels matters could deteriorate further. "We had a benchmark from last year and it is about to be worse than that because it's only April [at the time of interview]," he says. "That would be worrying but it is

more so if you put it alongside the fact that there aren't any new festivals or new people emerging. There is now a net loss, with 161 festivals that have gone since 2019."

To an extent, Rostron explains, the bounce-back of 2022 and 2023 papered over problems that were already there, with promoters dealing with financial difficulties caused by the enforced cancellation of events during the pandemic. "You see that there were lots of festivals last year, attendances were strong and there was broadly a good summer but you don't see what was going on underneath," he comments.

"Things looked good but the reality was quite different, which explains why festivals are falling now even before they start to happen. That's because either their sales have dropped and they're not on target, or the supply chain costs that they budgeted for are coming in above what they expected – or a combination of the two."

As a result, Rostron continues, many promoters and organisers do not have the credit that would enable them to push ahead with their events. "Prior to Covid, sales might have been a bit down, a supplier might say that something would now cost more than had been budgeted for but festivals had lots of credit and knew they could roll through it," he says.

"Festivals always had liquidity, whether that was cash in the bank from previous events or money from investors. Then Covid came and they had no way of generating income but were still running core costs and trying to market their event. They never knew when things would come back and they used up their liquidity and reserves. Some got through, others didn't, and those that did survive took on extra debt through bounce-back loans."

In an attempt to help independent operators survive this year and cope with these various problems, the AIF launched the Five Percent For Festivals Campaign in February. This calls on the UK government to reduce VAT (value added tax) on ticket prices to 20 percent for three years, which it hopes will enable the sector to rebuild and find new income streams.

The cost of living crisis in the UK has also been cited as a reason why ticket sales have fallen but Rostron 31
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points to the world's biggest concert promoter, Live Nation Entertainment (LNE) announcing that 2023 was its most successful year in terms of ticket sales and attendance. The company reported that attendance numbers at concerts and events had increased by 20 percent compared to 2022, with over 145 million people going to more than 50,000 events. This has given a different complexion to the perceived crisis in the festivals market, as does the general opinion that the UK experience is not replicated in mainland Europe. The picture is further distorted by a major international supplier of sound systems for festivals, concerts and other events, Solotech, stating that it is building up to one of its busiest festival seasons.


Console manufacturer DiGiCo kicked off its festival year with Coachella in California. Managing director Austin Freshwater says it is too early to assess how this year is shaping up but early signs are encouraging. "It is difficult for us to compare to last year since we have only one completed major festival so far," he comments, "but the festivals we are working on have strong line-ups and we are optimistic about the coming year."

Similarly, Sennheiser is anticipating a busy run of events this summer. "Festival season this year is looking healthy, with plenty of festivals scheduled,

sold out and ready to go," observes relationship manager Peter Craig. "There is a huge proportion of festivals going ahead, as well as plenty of new festivals and, especially, day events popping up in the past two to three years since Covid, which have grown significantly."

Craig acknowledges that the 2022 and 2023 seasons were "unusual" due to the number of tickets that had already been sold for events scheduled before Covid. Another factor was what he describes as "soaring" production costs: "I was told by more than one festival organiser at the time that these were around 40 percent higher in 2023," he says. "This is due to the availability of kit and consoles, exacerbated by the heightened demand from festivals trying to resume as soon as possible after Covid. However, some festivals benefit from long-term fixed pricing, so we won't see the effect of these increases on some of them until those deals come to an end."


This is not to say there are not severe problems being faced by festival organisers, particularly at the smaller and mid-range level. Craig puts some of the difficulties down to "the extreme financial hardship being suffered by many in the UK", which has affected ticket sales, but says that the market being flooded with "new brands and events" is also taking its toll. "In London alone, I've seen many new events with large

Above: ThePretenders onGlastonbury's Parkstagelast year.Glasto,of course,soldout inminutesagain

Right: WomadOpen Airmainfestival stage,with L-AcousticsL2 systemand DiGiCoSD10 frontofhouse consolesupplied byBritanniaRow Productions


capacity popping up and thriving over the past couple of years," he says.

"There's also a rise in 'indoor festivals', smaller events held in large warehouses. The number of these is bound to compete and clash with the festival roster. The event landscape is a very saturated game and as much as there are many cancelled events, there are also many new additions to the calendar."


Festivals have always had an identity through the style of music and types of artists they present but as Andy Dockerty, founder and director of Adlib, the UK's biggest independent sound system rental company, observes, that is no longer enough: "The festivals that work well have an additional theme, like CarFest, which is as much about the cars as it is the bands."

CarFest was founded in 2012 by radio presenter Chris Evans to raise money for UK charities. In effect it is two festivals, one held in Cheshire in July and the other in Hampshire in August – CarFest South –which will this year feature several stages presenting musical acts – Richard Ashcroft, Johnny Marr, Beverley Knight – along with celebrity appearances, a spa and a food festival.

The trick, comments Dockerty, is finding the right match between different interests that will have something for almost everyone, particularly where families are concerned. Adlib works primarily with biggest festivals, including Leeds, Reading, TRNSMT and Creamfields. And while the company has not seen too many changes at its end of the market,

Dockerty is aware that smaller events are facing difficulties. "It's more the very small festivals that seem to be going," he says. "To me, it's almost identical to the situation with the huge arena promoters and the big gigs versus the small venues. The big events are fine and doing well. Maybe the ticket sales are not going quite as quickly as they would have done in the past but these festivals are still working. But for the really small festivals it doesn't add up or work any more."

The number of festivals in the UK increased substantially post-pandemic due to people's need to see live acts and be out of the house. "People were desperate for entertainment and those that had never been to festivals before went to them,"

Dockerty agrees. "Many festivals appeared and 2022 was the boom year – the amount of stuff happening then was ridiculous. There was still a bit of a bounce from that in 2023 but now we're seeing more levels of realism because there were too many festivals and people have only got so much money and they're more likely to follow the big names than go to a more intermediate festival that might only have a famous name from ten years ago."

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Higher production costs are certainly a problem for festival organisers and Dockerty acknowledges these have risen "significantly" but he points out that suppliers such as PA companies are working at lower margins than ever before. "Even though the cost of production has gone up for the promoter, the actual margin has still gone down for the production supplier," he explains.

"We realise that in the middle of the picture we are the ones going to get crushed. Our expenditure has gone up, partly because technicians are now demanding higher day rates, going up from £250 in 2020 to between £350 to £600. Tracking and transportation have also gone up and the cost of equipment has gone up 40 to 50 percent on average over the last two years with the cost of finance significantly higher as well."


Other hire companies, such as Britannia Row Productions, have moved away from being a main contractor on festivals to concentrate on touring and other types of events. Brit Row, which is part of the Clair Global group, still provides systems for the Womad festival, largely because the crew enjoys the eclectic variety of acts. Other than this, the company supplies control and monitor systems with crew to artists touring festivals through the summer season.

Bryan Grant, a non-executive director of Brit Row, observes that audio, along with lighting, is a "relatively minor" proportion of the overall budget for a major festival, coming below other infrastructure costs such as toilets, trackway, fencing and staging. "Those infrastructure and production costs and the fees for talent become a bigger charge against revenue the smaller the festival," he says. "And opportunities for other revenue streams aren't there, so margins become very tight for these promoters."

Grant draws a comparison between smaller festivals and smaller audio hire companies, both of which often run as cost-effectively as possible with the people involved often doing it primarily for the love of it: "They can probably survive because their overheads and the cost of infrastructure and production are lower."

"They can make a living but as supply companies grow to being mid-size, they have to have more state-ofthe-art equipment, borrow more money, move into a bigger warehouse and employ more people. Festivals of a few thousand people can survive because their infrastructure and overhead is low. The mid-sized festivals have to compete with the bigger ones, with the costs of the artists and infrastructure being a bigger part of the budget. And if the revenue isn't there to support it, they will struggle to survive."

Even with low overheads, very small, community festivals run by volunteers are now starting to find the

34 Special report
Above: HollywoodBowlutilises DiGiCo'sdesksand monitors

Above: Mucky Weekender festival,2022. Theeventisset totakeplaceas usualthisyear,at VicarageFarm, WinchesterUK

going much tougher. Tetfest in the Gloucestershire town of Tetbury started out as a free festival but, as one of the organisers, Sue Sillitoe, explains, it had to start charging for tickets two years ago to cover costs.

"Things like fencing, Portaloos, diesel for the generators and so on have gone up in price dramatically this year and that's why a lot of festivals are suffering," she says. "Plus, people are leaving it later and later to buy a ticket because they are hedging their bets and presumably want to keep an eye on the weather nearer the time. We survive because we keep our costs to a minimum. We don't have to pay for our festival site – a local farmer lets us use it for free. And we have an entirely volunteer staff. The only people who get paid for working are the sound engineers, the security staff and the first aiders."

Pennfest in the Buckinghamshire village of Penn started out at a similar level to Tetfest but grew considerably since starting 12 years ago. This year it was due to have Paul Weller as a headliner but in April the festival was postponed for this year, although the

intention is to return in 2025. Martin Audio is based nearby and its systems have been used at Pennfest. Managing director Dominic Harter observes that although people were saying they were looking forward to it, there is doubt over how many had actually bought tickets.

"The situation is indicative of rising costs across the board, which inevitably have an impact on ticket pricing if the festival is going to be viable," he comments. "But if this then is too high a cost, some events will struggle to sell enough tickets. It's particularly acute in the small to medium festival sector, where the returns are also naturally that much tighter. Arguably you also had over-saturation of the festival market in the last decade, so this is possibly also a natural rebalancing of that equation, where those festivals offering a distinctive perspective and experience can still win out."


Harry Bishop, sound engineer and managing director of hire company H Pro Audio (HPA), which works on a variety of productions including the Chai Wallahs touring venue, comments that the UK has "always had a very healthy boutique/local/small-scale festivals market". However, he says, it is no surprise that people cut back on such events when there is a squeeze on household budgets. "I'm sure the vast majority will bounce back, though," he says. "We've only been affected by two events that have had to downsize but so far none have actually cancelled. This is a correction more than a crisis. I see it as a short-term blip that will repair in a year or two."

Sound engineer and tour manager Tim Boardman agrees, saying what is going on is "an adjustment" for the industry. "A lot of smaller independent festivals came up that didn't necessarily have the backing of some of the large and more established festivals and it seems these are the ones that are failing," he says. "Established independents like Truck, Kendall Calling and Y Not seem to be doing OK but smaller festivals that don't have relationships with suppliers will automatically be charged more by vendors and will struggle or disappear."

Even though this is a reasonable, pragmatic view of the situation, it still sounds somewhat bleak. But festivals have come and gone over the years, with very few running for long periods of time in their original form. Optimism is on hold for this year, but there does seem to be the belief that the outdoor music sector, along with the supporting pro audio market, will survive this dip.

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Installation reports from Peerless-AV’s 2024 AV Showcase, which took place at Lord’s cricket ground, London, on 14 and 15 May

The fourth edition of the AV Showcase, at Lord’s, was the busiest to date with a 20 percent rise in attendance over last year, according to organiser Peerless-AV. Described by one participant as “like a mini-ISE”, this year’s show boasted more than 50 brands on the show floor, an increase over the 2023 edition. There were plenty of product launches and demos, from the likes of LG, and a first appearance for Biamp.

Feedback from attendees was enthusiastic. A typical comment came from Will Hegan, managing director, EMEA, Diversified. “The showcase was a great hit with both our staff and customers," he says. "The show floor was like a mini-ISE, full of key manufacturing partners and technology products. The general buzz around the day and evening event was fantastic. I heard nothing but positive feedback and conversations."

The 2024 AV Showcase offered a number of new features, including morning education sessions with keynotes from Michel Bouman of Microsoft, Greg Jeffreys of Visual Displays, AVIXA’s Ben Barnard and Sarah Cox of Neutral Human. These events were held for the first time in the middle of the show floor in order to draw on the show’s buzzy atmosphere. Sharp NEC also hosted a well-attended Sustainability Forum for end users on day one (see overleaf), with a keynote from Florian Rotburg, of Invidis Consulting,

followed by a panel discussion, also featuring Jenny Hicks, of Midwich and Sheila Egan, of UCL. Another new event in 2024 was a ladies Love2Learn cricket lesson, sponsored by Exertis and Philips. Over 30 female AV professionals learned batting and bowling skills from professional coaches in the indoor cricket academy.


But the main focus was, of course, the technology on display. Installation toured the show floor, sampling some of the innovative kit. LG Electronics, for example, launched its Micro LED signage solution, known as the LG MAGNIT All-in-One. Built for corporate meeting rooms, the 136in model features LG’s Micro LED technology and a 1.56mm pixel pitch. MAGNIT All-in-One is compatible with the LG One: Quick Share wireless screen sharing solution, as well as with the webOS platform. Robin Fulford, senior manager, general sales, LG, said: “The micro LED gives us better colour uniformity and brightness. So, if you used an Excel spreadsheet, the whites would be a lot better than with conventional LED. It also boasts an IK rating because of the resin over the LED. With conventional LED, you can’t touch the pixels as you can damage them. But the resin makes them more robust. With a 1.5mm gap between pixels, the sweet spot for

Above: Morethan50 brands,including Peerless-AV, attendedthis year'sevent

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this screen would be corporate banks, or pharmaceutical companies, as a replacement for video walls.”

Fulford says the LG MAGNIT boasts a failover feature, which enables the display to detect the available input signals and automatically change the source when the current signal is disconnected.

“You set your primary and secondary sources," he says. "So if you put an image as a JPEG onto the web aware system, and set that as your secondary source, and set HDMI as your primary source, when HDMI is disconnected, it reverts to the JPEG. It could display information about how to use the product, or an environmental message, rather than just having a blank image. And then, as soon as somebody reconnects the HDMI, it automatically switches back. That way, you've got a constant image on the screen.”

Among the more eye-catching innovations on show were ePaper screens, such as the Sharp ePaper 13in and 25in Class diagonal displays. As a more sustainable digital alternative to paper posters, they are designed for applications requiring static content with regular updates, such as POS promotions, menu boards, allergen and nutritional information in retail and hospitality environments, timetables, or check-in and gate information. They also feature an integrated System on a Chip (SoC).


On the first day of the event, Sharp/NEC organised a sustainability forum, to discuss the question: ”To what extent is CSR [corporate social responsibility] transforming the procurement process in real-world scenarios?” Sharp/NEC invited three expert panellists, who responded to questions about how they go about making sustainable purchasing decisions, with Installation's David W Smith moderating. The event was well-attended and a lively debate ensued, involving audience participation at every stage.

The three panellists were Florian Rotberg, managing director of Invidis Consulting, one of Europe's leading publishers for digital signage; Sheila Egan, AV design principal for teaching and learning spaces at UCL, and Jenny Hicks, group head of market intelligence for Midwich. Rotberg, a thought leader on green signage, presented his keynote speech remotely. He spoke about how to take purchasing decisions that achieve the lowest possible environmental impact, addressing both technological advances and sustainability standards.

Following Rotberg’s wide-ranging presentation, Installation posed a series of questions to the three panellists. The key themes explored included: the panellists’ roles and the solutions they deploy; how sustainability steers their purchasing decisions; how they understand the meaning of data when manufacturers often measure things differently; and what they believe is the true value of sustainability standards. Answers focused on explaining personal experience, rather than defining precisely how to go about sustainability. A picture emerged of the practical complexity of taking decisions in the real world, with many constructive solutions being proposed. Egan stressed that purchasing decisions should be taken holistically to avoid shortsightedness; Hicks was enthusiastic about the value of recycled products, pointing out that some standards penalise companies for being more “sustainable”.

For more on the Sharp/NEC forum and the company's sustainability ethos, please click here or copy and paste the following link into your browser: 37 Report

Jack Wilders, senior solutions architect, Sharp NEC UK, explained: “If I pull the plug on it now, and even with the plug connected, it's consuming zero watts of energy. There are a number of micro cups, which are cyan, magenta, yellow, and reflective white, and sit below the surface. When it's electromagnetically charged, they come up above the surface and create an image. It’s similar to an Etch a Sketch, where you shake it and all the magnets go back below the surface. When you draw the image, they come back to the surface. Once disconnected, the display could run for about two years before starting to fade.”

Sennheiser, more known for audio of course, has moved into the AV bar market with all-in-one devices for small and mid-sized meeting rooms and collaboration spaces. On display were the TeamConnect Bar S, which features four microphones and two speakers, and TC Bar M, which has six microphones and four speakers. Sennheiser partnered with Image Engineering, an independent test laboratory, to ensure the video quality could match its speciality, the audio. The 4K Ultra HD camera is enhanced by AI features like "Autoframing" and "Person Tiling", enabling remote participants to see everyone in the room clearly.

Shure showcased its new Microflex Advance MXA901 Conferencing Ceiling Array Microphone, following the launch of the MXS902 last year. The

MXA901 is 13.5in diameter and scalable from small to large meeting spaces, with one or multiple arrays. It is designed with Single Zone Automatic Coverage Technology, which covers a 20ft x 20ft space.


NOWSignage, a cloud-based digital signage platform, was at the Peerless event to discuss its advances with AI. Amy Marie Williams, head of customer success, says the company is the first CMS partner to have fully integrated an AI application, in this case ChatGPT.

The AI pulls product information instantly onto the brand’s product database and makes product recommendations based on a customer’s interaction with digital signage.

“The ChatGPT’s language processing ability allows users to engage in a conversational way," says Williams. "One example of how it could help is by making it easier to ask about any dietary restrictions associated with specific products, or about allergens. It means customers can make informed decisions and it shows how AI can integrate with retail and hospitality to create better customer service. We’ll be announcing a number of AI innovations over the next few months.”

Peerless' annual Showcase certainly fills an expo gap, whilst the industry prepares for InfoComm. We look forward to attending next year!

Above: ThefourthAV Showcasewas thebusiest editionyet

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From software vulnerabilities affecting APIs to massive state-sponsored cyberattacks, it’s not hard to understand why professional environments across the board are placing a greater emphasis than ever on cybersecurity, writes Ken Dunn

Let’s face it: 2023 was an exceptionally bleak year in many, many ways. But there’s no doubt that the worsening impact of cyber-crime – in terms of range and impact of attacks, and their financial cost –was among its least welcome aspects.

A few statistics for the UK should help illustrate the scale of the problem. According to research issued by internet service provider Beaming, businesses in the UK suffered a total cost of £30.5bn as a result of cyber-crime during 2023. Underlining the extent to which the challenge is expanding over time, this figure is 138 percent higher than the £12.8bn cost estimated for 2019. Of the 1.5m businesses falling victim to some form of attack, there is particular reason to be concerned about small companies employing between 11 and 50 people registering the steeping rise in victims (+42 percent) and costs (up 396 percent!) between 2019 and 2023. Plenty of AV businesses fall into that size bracket. And while ransomware, DDos and API (Application Programming Interface)-related attacks, and many other types of cyber-crime are having a massive impact across sectors, a more – so to speak – vintage form of illegitimate activity is still responsible for the most business victims in the UK: phishing. Again according to the Beaming study, this form of attack claimed 679,000 business victims during 2023.

With state-sponsored actors and organised crime groups (OCGs) contributing to the cyber-threat, it’s

arguably more important than ever that pro AV companies take the necessary steps to ensure their operations and interests – and those of their customers and partners – remain protected.


Bearing in mind the critical nature of APIs to so many areas of pro AV equipment and installation, a new State of the Internet (SOTI) report issued by cloud computing company Akamai should offer particular cause for pause. Entitled Lurking in the Shadows: Attack Trends Shine Light on API Threats, the research highlights the array of attacks targeting APIs, with key findings including the fact that 29 percent of overall web attacks targeted APIs from January through December 2023. Commerce is the most attacked vertical, accounting for 44 percent of API attacks, followed by business services at nearly 32 percent.

Steve Winterfeld, advisory CISO at Akamai, says: “Whilst I don’t think anybody should be surprised, I do think a lot of people will find this to be a wake-up call [whereby they realise that] we need to make sure we have the same level of maturity as we do around our traditional sites.”

As to the key stages involved in companies achieving greater resilience against API issues, the first is that “you need situational awareness of the environment, and this can get complex if you have a hybrid environment with

Special report 40 41 TheAkamaiSecurity and Network OperationsCommand Center(SOCCand NOCC)

different groups working in different clouds or with different infrastructural capabilities". The second aspect is situational awareness of what data is on there, explains Winterfeld. "Some of that will depend on the business model, as well as the sensitivity of the data that makes it into privacy concerns.”

In terms of its own solutions, he describes the Akamai Connected Cloud as a “massively distributed edge and cloud platform, [which] puts apps and experiences closer to users and keeps threats farther away".

Winterfeld adds: “It’s a distributed platform and then we can add things to it like denial of service protections or specific API protection capabilities.” He also highlights Akamai’s domain protection – “so if somebody’s scraped your domain and trying to fake that out there, we are able to determine that and alert you to it” – and its “ability to provide expertise, [be that] engineering expertise, threat hunting for our segmentation, threat-hunting with regard to API, etc.”

The impetus to enhance “situational awareness” is also a theme of Installation’s interview with Aaron Leiker, vice-president of operation centres at Haivision, which provides real-time video streaming and networking solutions to sectors including defence, government and public safety.

Surveying the overall cybersecurity environment, Leiker says that the scale, range and variability of the

cyber-threat out there is "ever-expanding, and I think we should expect that to continue at this point". He continues: "Cybersecurity was always important to financial institutions, government customers and so on, but now you’re seeing the same sort of cybersecurity practices and profiles being adopted by, for example, municipal police departments or small- and medium-sized businesses.”


When it comes to pro AV solutions being incorporated into critical environments such as control and operation centres, Leiker says there are still too many instances of AV products being built with the assumption that security is going to be taken care of by something else or through isolation, and that’s no longer good enough. "[In some cases] it could be that the manufacturer of a product doesn’t know what it is doing ‘under the hood’ – the supply chains and the building of any product are quite complex.”

Haivision’s response to this unfortunate state of affairs has been multi-faceted. One continuing policy has been to conduct “in-depth reviews of our own supply chains and vendors, possibly making some hard decisions to break up with certain vendors who don’t take [security] as seriously as we do". The company also continues to take a holistic approach

Haivision video wall technology in Cobb County’sReal-Time CrimeCenter(RTCC)


that means its technologies can facilitate a secure, global common operating picture – essential for collaboration in complex environments like global security operations centres and public safety operations centres.

Meanwhile, the 2021 acquisition of visual collaboration systems developer CineMassive, which is now operating under the Haivision banner, has, according to Leiker “significantly bolstered our position in the security industry, particularly concerning visual collaboration solutions for mission-critical environments”, where customers are likely to be viewing some of their most sensitive data.

This in turn has surely informed the evolution of the Haivision Command 360 visual collaboration software platform, which allows response teams to make real-time decisions by centralising all video, data, communication and visualisation sources into a fully secure, multi-site video wall solution.

“We take a particular posture with the Command 360 product, which is to make sure that it fits directly into any sort of cybersecurity profile that an organisation is looking to maintain, [so for instance] the audio-video system doesn’t become the weak link,” explains Leiker.


The impression that, increasingly, virtually no professional environments risk taking a relaxed approach to cybersecurity is further underlined by Scott Norder, chief operating officer of RGB Spectrum, a leading designer and manufacturer of video processing, display and control solutions whose latest products include the Zio 4000 standalone and video-over-IP wall processor.

“Our perspective on cybersecurity is essentially rather holistic, and in part it’s because of the types of questions we routinely get from customers about their environment, equipment and personnel,” explains Norder. "This means that we evaluate our internal cybersecurity activities, as well as our supply chains, product development process and the cybersecurity features of our products."

With customers in areas such as defence and government, the need for an all-encompassing approach is unsurprising. “If you are working with, for example, the US military then there is a requirement that there be no non-US persons involved in the development or production of a product, so there can be [no back-door to a hostile actor]," he says.

"And when you really start to think about all the things that go into a product and how you make sure that you are preventing any extraneous back-doors from showing up, [you have to consider] everything from the selection of the components to the pedigree of the companies and even some of the sample code. That requires looking very carefully at your supply chain for hardware and software 43
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Haivision video wall technologyutilisedat Maersk's Network OperationCenter

development, [as well as] meeting the many cybersecurity specifications that are typically required in utilities, banking, finance and so on.”

In the US, at least, the process of compliance is given welcome definition by the NIST SP 800-171 standards for safeguarding sensitive information on federal contractors’ IT systems and networks. Norder indicates that there are undoubted benefits to an approach that means US military networks are physically isolated for differing security levels and typically therefore segregate bad actors at the perimeter of these networks. "It is paradoxically easier to support the cybersecurity standards of the military than to meet the often stricter needs of different vertical markets where their networks are more readily available to public access and socially engineered intrusions.”

With a worsening geopolitical situation in which attacks on essential non-military facilities – one need only think of the escalating fears over nuclear power plant security since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine – seem increasingly probable, no one is

taking any chances. “There are lots of customers who may have never had a cyber attack at one of their control centres but are still prepared because they know it could be them the next day,” says Norder. “They look out across the industry and see what could happen if, you know, a bad actor attacked a water purification plant and either took it down or messed with the chemicals being added to the water, therefore creating a real human risk.”

Across the board, he says, “so many entities have really taken it to heart that they need to harden their cybersecurity environment" – and they have done so – often becoming among the most secure organisations in the US.

So, even if it’s hard to be cheered by the overall security threat, there is still scope for positivity thanks to a significant step-change in awareness and willingness to act by customers regardless of sector. That will have to be maintained as we pass through evermore uncertain times, so regular security reviews and ‘stress-testing’ should always be at the very top of the priority list.

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44 Special report


Lighting can play as important a role within all aspects of audio-video as sound and video – particularly live production – so why is it often overlooked in the AV sector?

Paul Lydon looks at how this very creative discipline is now shining brighter and what technologies are pushing it further

Within AV, an important and longer-established element of video’s partnership with sound is lighting, as summed up in the older phrase son et lumière – although this has predominantly been used to describe outdoor presentations with a light show projected onto a historic building.

Even though it is not specifically highlighted in the abbreviation ‘AV’, lighting is still there playing a key role in creating either a spectacle, an atmosphere, or even just working in concert (no pun intended!) to ensure the video aspect of AV is easy on the eye; think of the importance of basic LED lighting in a boardroom, for instance.

Concerts and large-scale performance events, as well as corporate presentations, deploy lighting extensively, while theatre and, to less obvious but no less effective extent, museums and other public spaces such as restaurants rely on them to create a sense of place or a background ambience.


Although lighting may be somewhat overlooked in relation to sound and video, while still being part of the overall production or installation, those working closely with the technology are, as would be expected, convinced of its importance. "It's the forgotten part but frequently the subtle part," comments Sebastian Bückle, chief sales officer of Astera LED. "Flashy video effects and booming immersive audio are apparent to an audience; they're frequently used for a 'shock and awe' effect. But with lighting, when it's done well, it is something you don’t consciously notice but you feel it in your bones."

This is because, Bückle explains, lighting deeply affects emotion and mood: "It reveals and conceals,

setting tone and expectation. A production can get by without flashy video or audio, because good storytelling can carry the load. But without good lighting, that storytelling will always be severely impacted. Lighting is discrete but still incredibly important."

Astera LED produces a range of luminaires that includes Fresnels for performance and film applications but also tubes, panels and bulbs that are used in theatres and at events as well by filmmakers. Bückle makes the point that theatrical lighting is "much more nuanced", giving the example of a 2023 Shakespeare in the Park production of A Midsummer's Night Dream in Singapore that used NYX bulbs to emphasise the magical and mischievous nature of the play but also produce a 'cityscape' effect.


Ryan Hindinger, market manager for concert, touring and live experiences at ACT Entertainment, agrees that lighting might sometimes feel like the unsung hero of AV but sees its impact as undeniable. "While audio and video often steal the spotlight – and budget – lighting is what ties everything together and makes the rest work," he says. "It sets the mood and enhances the overall experience. As the industry continues to recognise the importance of holistic AV design, lighting is gaining the attention it deserves. It's not been forgotten, it's just that the best lighting designs are so seamless you might not realise how vital they are until they're not there."

ACT Entertainment's lighting systems are used extensively for concerts and live events but, says Hindinger, other areas in the AV market are also utilising the latest techniques. "On the installation side, LED fixtures and control systems are being used prolifically in museums, retail and hospitality spaces," he outlines.


The2024Mayday 'mother of all raves' in Dortmund's Westfalenhalle featuring102GLP JDC2 IP fixtures 47

"Offices and public areas are also increasingly adopting smarter lighting systems that integrate with other building management systems for energy efficiency and customisation. For live work, there's a lot of technology being deployed to ensure every experience is new and inspiring."


At systems integration company Marquee AV there is some acknowledgement that lighting can be seen as "a poor relation" but also the view of lighting as creating the "wow factor" in the theatre or at a live concert. This carries over into other types of installation, a good example of which is the recently opened Sexy Fish restaurant in Manchester's trendy Spinningfields dining and shopping district. Reviewers have commented on its aesthetic as much as the food, as the lighting works with the decor and Damien Hirst sculptures to create a distinct look.

Stacey Tough, a director of Marquee AV and project manager for Sexy Fish Manchester, outlines that the lighting installation is based on an Avolites Titan PC suite and Quartz lighting desk, with the latter receiving commands from the house lighting system over a KNX backbone. "

We also have dual DMX control paths: one via IP/ Art-Net and one using standard DMX," Tough explains. "All the LED to the columns in the restaurant were provided with custom removable panels housing decoders and power supplies because each column as its own requirement. There are two moving heads: Ayrton Diablos are used where the illumination of the artwork is like a frame and Chauvet Rogue R2X Spots for where there is no framing."

Chris Ferrante, chief executive of Ayrton, jokes that perhaps AV should be expanded to either LAV or AVL to incorporate lighting and give it equal billing with audio and other visual technologies. He observes that post-pandemic there was an "incredibly aggressive" two to three year period that is now beginning to cool off, although competition between the leading manufacturers remains high.

"This has resulted in a more complex and confused space," Ferrante comments. "The lighting business is very regional in nature and some regions, such as the Middle East, remain on positive growth trajectories. In this climate it is essential to remain at the cutting edge of technology with a focus on innovation."

Agreeing that the AV lighting market is "being driven by technological advancements", Simon Barrett, head of GLP UK, says there is particular demand for "even higher quality fixtures" that also offer efficient energy consumption. "The idea of environmental impact and energy efficiency is on everybody's radar, at every level of the supply chain," he


Sonyvisualisesthe'officeof thefuture'–lighting essential!

Feature 48
SexyFishManchester featuringalighting installationby MarqueeAV

observes. "It's becoming more of a requirement that what we offer is more sustainable and has a lower environmental impact than other fixtures."

Barrett adds that in the live sector LED technology has now advanced to the point of offering high output and quality as well as high power. "Before, there was always a compromise between output and quality but technology has advanced to the point where the output is now high enough for us to be able to offer high quality as well. With greater efficiency we no longer have to push LEDs to their limit, which allows us to have a much higher quality of lighting. There is also a massive move towards IP [ingress protection]-rated fixtures for outdoor use. We now have suppliers that won't buy anything unless it is IP-rated. We have two IP-rated products, the impression X5 IP Maxx and impression X5 Bar 1000, and will release another soon after showing it in prototype form at Prolight + Sound."

With the dominance of LED, Barrett feels that the previous leading technologies, HMI and tungsten, have a "very limited part to play nowadays", partly due to both having poor energy efficiency and problems in obtaining replacement lamps. The lighting team at Marquee AV agrees that LED is dominant today but with tungsten and decorative lighting still having a niche.

Sebastian Bückle at Astera LED also sees LED as likely to continue to dominate the market for

commercial applications but feels there is still room for other illumination formats. "LED provides equal or better effects at a lower cost in a more efficient manner," he says. "But lighting is an art form and, like any art form, it's not always the outcome but the process that matters. Because of this there will always be a role for traditional lighting forms."

Bückle continues that the growth of live production is now putting greater demands on lighting manufacturers to deliver both control and responsiveness. "Having seamless coordination from a remote point is crucial, which we provide through our TITAN LED engine," he says.

"Automation and remote and wireless control are –to an extent – expected in a lighting system now. All our lights have been developed for wireless DMX connectivity, with the TITAN offering the ability to have different ways of grouping and coordinating those lights."


Ryan Hindinger of ACT Entertainment views automation and remote control as "revolutionising how we interact" with lighting systems. "Solid-state, networked controllers, like those from Visual Productions, enable cloud-based control for lighting in all types of spaces, from offices to theme parks," he says. "The trend is towards systems that can be monitored and controlled from anywhere, providing greater efficiency and responsiveness. For live experiences, one of the most exciting developments is the widespread implementation of real-time tracking systems such as zactrack, which allow for lighting, audio, video and scenery to react to where actors are on stage and change for different set pieces."

When it comes to lighting formats, Hindinger sees LED as "the star player", not only because of its energy efficiency but also its longevity and versatility. "However, other technologies like HMI and tungsten each have a niche," he says. "HMI lights are favoured for high-intensity output in film and television, while tungsten’s warm glow is cherished for certain theatrical applications. Decorative lighting often incorporates a mix of technologies to achieve specific aesthetic goals. So, while LED far and away leads the pack, there’s still a place for the classics."

In the field of stage performance, Aryton's Chris Ferrante confirms that LED continues to be dominant. "In fact, we have only ever developed solid state-based lighting fixtures in our over 20 years of existence," he says. "Metal halide fixtures remain in circulation, although in much smaller quantities now and I would expect them to disappear in the next few years. The most recent development has been the successful deployment of laser phosphor light sources in stage lighting fixtures." 49

Andrea Bocelli’s North American arenatourfeaturing Ayrton HuracánLT and Zonda 9 FX fixtures

This new form of light source is based on the principle of shining blue light from laser diodes onto a spinning wheel coated with yellow phosphor. Among the leading developers of this technique is Dr Shuji Nakamura, who invented blue LED technology. Current products based on this include the Ayrton Cobra moving head, which features a laser phosphor light source in conjunction with a LED engine.

"We finally have a source that enables proper/ concentrated beams of lights, previously accomplished by short arc lamps," comments Ferrante. "The interesting element here is that this newly deployed tech is redefining our impression of the beam. What we once thought was a beam is being replaced by what is actually a beam."

Also, Ferrante does not see lighting technology changing for the AV market in particular. "There will, however, be a continued focus on increases in efficiency while at the same time reducing size and weight. In addition, the clear trend of creating single units that can tackle the broadest number of markets will continue, in addition to making all products weather and dust proof."

Now that the 'new' technologies of LED and wireless control are firmly established in lighting, Sebastian Bückle sees the future more about the creative application of them rather than just the technology itself. "Manufacturers will have to start thinking like lighting engineers," he says. "They're

not just selling technological tools but sources of creative potential. Thinking differently about how and why lighting is applied to a situation will shape product development as much - or maybe morethan incremental technical advancement."


Ryan Hindinger's take is that the future of AV lighting is all about smarter and more integrated systems. "Expect to see more connected, datadriven lighting solutions that adapt in real-time to changing conditions and user preferences," he concludes. "Advances in wireless technology will make set-ups even more flexible, and sustainable practices will drive innovation in eco-friendly lighting products. As immersive experiences are sought by broader swaths of the market, lighting will play an increasingly crucial role in crafting these environments, pushing the boundaries of what's possible in AV design."

Lighting in the creative arts has always been about more than just making sure people can see clearly what is going on. It can be creative in itself, and that capability is certainly being given freer rein by the power of not just the luminaires – LED in particular – themselves, but also the means of controlling them.

What's clear, overall, is that lighting is as much a part of AV as are all of the visual elements of audio-video. No lighting, no installations!

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50 Feature
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Installation reports from a special press preview ahead of this year's AWE Expo event for smart home professionals, which took place over two days at the AWE Show Apartment, in Epsom, Surrey, UK

Amedia briefing, a day prior to AWE Expo on May 14-15, presented three inspirational rooms showcasing AV set-ups at different price points. For well-heeled individuals, the upgraded full home cinema kit in the Reference Cinema space could be in budget at £75,000, but most customers are said to lean towards the slightly more affordable upgraded set-ups in the Performance Cinema room, where the complete display would be around £45,000. Also on show was AWE’s brand new Music Room, showcasing solutions ranging from a few hundred pounds, to £50,000. In this room, various products from Bowers & Wilkins, Sony, and Classé, can be integrated into any Denon HEOS wireless multiroom audio system, providing the flexibility a lot of clients now desire.

“We’re always upgrading the building as it’s in the nature of our industry that everything is always changing,” says managing director Stuart Tickle, whose great-grandfather founded the company nearly 90 years ago. “It makes it harder for the integrators, or retailers, to keep pace. Even when the product doesn’t change, the software does. The goal of AWE Expo is to show what our capability is and to demonstrate to integrators what they can do for their clients.”

For the customers, getting the chance to see the set-ups in action is invaluable, he says. “When you're talking about spending a few thousand pounds you can probably buy online. But as soon as you talk about spending £5,000, £10,000, £50,000, £100,000 … a quarter of a million, you really want to sit in it and drive it first."

The slightly more modest of the two cinema rooms, the Performance Cinema, featured the latest Bowers & Wilkins ISW-8 12in, in-wall subwoofers, powered by new CDA-2HD amplifiers. The Marantz Cinema 50 provided upgraded processing and Dirac Live calibration, with power from the Marantz AMP 10 amplifier. The set-up was completed with a 3.34m-wide Adeo fixed FramePro RE screen with VisionAcoustik acoustically transparent fabric, combined with Epson’s EH-LS12000B true 4K laser projector.

“This is the entry level set-up and it’s by far our most popular home cinema solution," says Danny Cavie, AWE technical director. "It costs around £45,000, but it’s very flexible. Clients can scale up, or down. We’ve installed £20,000 of bass, with £5,000 worth in each corner, but most customers won’t go for that level and will cut the costs of the bass by, say, £10,000.”

When the full combination of sub-woofers is installed, the bass sound actually outperforms the higher-spec Reference Cinema room, Cavie says. Hearing the crashes and growls of the cars in the rain-soaked Batmobile Car Chase sequence, from the 2022 film The Batman, as The Penguin tries to escape, was a pretty visceral experience for Installation, it has to be said! “There’s a lot of bass in those sequences and it’s very exciting with this system. Technically of the two rooms, the Performance Cinema is even better for low frequencies,” adds Cavie.

The AWE team has also installed Dirac in the Performance Cinema, but opted not to add it to its more high-spec counterpart. “We’ve not included

Above: Ahallwaywas dedicatedto Bowers&Wilkins loudspeakers

52 Report

that in our Reference Cinema room. When we did the tests of the two rooms, we found that that room still sounded better without Dirac as it was built so well. If you try to artificially correct something, you actually end up making it worse,” Cavie says.


In the Reference Cinema space, the showcase included a 4m-wide Adeo MovieMask LR screen with Reference White fabric and side masking. Driving the audio was the high-end AV amp and processor, the Marantz AMP 10 & AV 10, which powered 15 channels. Four Bowers & Wilkins CDA-2HD amplifiers were powering CT-SW15 15in subwoofers and CI800 Diamond Series speakers. Also on display were the complete range of Sony home cinema projectors, including the powerful GTZ-380, which provides 10,000 lumens of brightness with a 100% DCI-P3 colour gamut.

“Bowers & Wilkins speakers are the reference for cinema," explains James Drummie, AWE product manager. "Most big budget movie scores will be mixed and mastered at either Skywalker Sound, or

Abbey Road. And if that’s the case, they’re going to be using B&W speakers. The great film composer John Williams, even when he’s not at Abbey Road, will take his own B&W speakers with him."

AWE has toned down the performance of the GTZ380 from 10,000 lumens to 8,000 lumens. But it’s still a mightily impressive set up, both aurally and visually during sequences of Lady Gaga singing in A Star Is Born and Tom Cruise blasting off in his fighter jet in Tom Gun: Maverick. “What's different compared to any other home projector is the way they create DCI-P3 colour," Drummie adds."There are a few projector manufacturers that can hit DCI-P3, but all of the other ones get to that level using colour filters.”

When choosing between the two rooms, budget and space are naturally enough the primary factors, Drummie explains. A client’s location may be a clue to what the installers go for. “They’re more likely to go for the Reference Room if they’re from the south east than other parts of the country. If someone has that much space to fill, it’s likely the Reference Cinema is absolutely within budget,” he says. “We get a few footballers and the like, but the bread and butter customers for home cinema are semi-retired business people whose kids have left home and they have spare cash to spend.”

Budget may still be a factor, however, and AWE helps the installers decide what are the most important factors for their clients. This involves asking a lot of questions to determine priorities, Drummie explains. “It could be as simple as ‘what do you watch the most often?’, in order to work out the shape of the screen. Clearly if they say ‘all sport’, you’re not gonna put a CinemaScope screen in. If it’s a dedicated cinema room, and you want the absolute best, you’re going to want a masking screen and to match the aspect ratio.”

He adds: “What’s more important? The picture, or the sound? If it’s the sound, is it the spatial factor? How many speakers are needed to make it real and create impactful, immersive dynamics? Or is timbre the key factor. We’re using a fantastically musical speaker. But you can steer around and play with the budget. You don’t always need six speakers in the ceiling and nine around. You could drop the latter to seven and put two in the ceiling.”

Flexibility was key, too, in the Music Room, which featured a range of wireless set-ups driven by HEOS, as well as wired solutions. Three different displays were on show to journalists. The first half of the showcase included the Denon Home 350 multiroom audio speaker and a 603S2 Hi-Fi demonstration.In the second half, there was a demo of a 600 series 5.1 system, a pair of 703S3 B&W speakers paired with a previously unseen Marantz amplifier. Finally, there was an experience with the Bowers & Wilkins 803D4 53 Report

Diamond series, featuring the Classé Delta preamp, two Bowers & Wilkins CDA-2HDs, a DB1D subwoofer, and a Denon DP3000 turntable.

“We take the customers on a journey in the Music Room from £600 speakers to £46,000 displays playing the same track on the same app,” explains Paul Mott, director, AWE. “The goal of the room is to deliver multi-room audio with a variety of products for different types of users. Some may want highend audio, or a simple solution for their kitchen.”

The products on show in the Music Room used to be scattered in various places around the AWE Show Apartment, but this year, for the first time, the team decided to create a dedicated space for audio. “For most of the clients, it’s a luxury thing. Whether it’s a study, or a library, people have rooms dedicated to audio,” comments Mott.

Increasingly, however, there is a tendency for clients to want more flexible set-ups and spaces. They may not want to separate audio and home cinema rooms, but use modern wireless technology to create more integrated 'Entertainment Spaces'.

“Before, clients would use Denon’s wireless HEOS system on its own. Now it’s become part of other products," adds Mott. "You have all the simplicity of use with that device, but now you can plug it into a Blu-ray player and listen to jazz. Or watch Sky TV through it. So it’s no longer separate. Marantz, Denon and Classé are using that platform for their products, whether they’re high-end hifi, or goodvalue home cinema amplifiers, You’re still benefiting

from simplicity and ease of use. They’re become driven by amps and ease of control. And that’s a family-friendly development."


Announced at the press day was a new distribution deal for AWE with Stealth Acoustics, which is synonymous with flat radiating invisible, or hidden, architectural speaker solutions. Its first model was released in 2003 and at AWE Expo, visitors were able to get a first look at the new eighth generation of LineaRadiance invisible speakers. “Invisible and discrete speaker solutions is a growing marketplace, and one in which AWE has been keen to offer a classleading solution for," says Tickle. "To be frank, our no-compromise approach meant that we have had to wait patiently for the right partner and product, and Stealth Acoustics’ new Gen 8 models with a 17-year warranty offers just that for our customers."

Aside from the three showrooms, there were several special displays in the Main Apartment at AWE Expo: the Denon, Marantz and Bowers & Wilkins Area; the LG Area; BPS Area, featuring the Phoenix Blade Pre-Built Bespoke Race Simulator; and the Living Room, including the Hisense 120L9 Laser TV, boasting a 120in ambient light rejecting screen. Other spaces included the Boardroom; the Gallery with invisible audio technology, featuring the pre-launch preview of Stealth Acoustics products; and the Comms Room, displaying the “brains and power behind the show apartment”.

Above: Anarrayof Epsonprojectors wereavailableat AWEExpo

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KINLY has announced the appointment of Mark Faugstad as product and business development manager – immersive collaboration. Faugstad has worked in the virtual, extended, and AR industry for the past 15 years. During his time in the sector, he has held a variety of senior management positions at Dreamtek, Vision3, and White Light.

Based in the UK, Faugstad will report directly to Simon Watson, global head of innovation. In his new role Faugstad will drive Kinly’s product innovation strategy. This includes engaging with industry thought leaders, vendors, and research bodies, to gather data and report on emerging trends and opportunities. Faugstad will also collaborate with senior leadership to set priorities, create business cases, and define targets for new products or solution developments.


RENKUS-HEINZ has added two new team members: Joe Kaveney, pictured, assumes the role of industrial engineering manager, and Andrew Gizara joins as electrical engineer. Kaveney brings a wealth of engineering expertise to his new role. His diverse career spans from earning a US patent in the solar industry, to implementing approved processes in the aerospace sector. Alongside his professional accomplishments, Kaveney has a lifelong passion for music.

Gizara is a prolific inventor with more than 20 US and foreign patents. His career spans decades in the fields of scientific instrumentation, AI, computers, networking/ telephony, chips, and aerospace. The move to RenkusHeinz marks a return to his first passion – audio electronics, where his fascination began in his early teens through experimenting with building audio kit.


IAG (International Audio Group) has announced that Danny Clarke, a veteran of the pro audio sector, has joined their Pro team as regional sales manager. His goal will be to increase sales in the sectors that are traditionally targeted for the Wharfedale Pro brand, both professional and amateur musicians, as well as corporate customers from superclubs to shopping malls.

With over 25 years of pro audio business experience, Clarke brings a wealth of experience to IAG and the group’s portfolio of professional brands. He will work closely with Nick Williams, global sales director, to support current Wharfedale Pro business partners and to develop new market opportunities.

“With so many new products shipping... and with a future roadmap that is sure to answer customer needs, I’m eager to engage with our partners,” he said.


ONEMEDIA has appointed Scott Pollard as account director. Pollard brings over 20 years of experience in the pro AV channel to onemedia, with roles including technical director at True Colours, project director at Midwich and, most recently, regional sales manager (UK & Ireland) for Mersive Technologies.

Pollard will also be responsible for working with onemedia’s systems integration partners and audio visual consultants, to design solutions using onemedia’s portfolio of AV and workplace products and services.

Pollard said: “From my past roles, I know them [the onemedia team] very well and, as well as reuniting with some highly respected industry leaders, it’s great to get the opportunity to expand onemedia’s ‘in room’ technology offering, following the recent announcement of the company’s distribution agreement with Rethink AV.

Latest appointments
Stay in the loop with the latest appointments, top hires, and promotions from across the AV industry…


SNA DISPLAYS has hired Barbara Barry to lead its sports division. Working out of the company’s New York headquarters, Barry joins the leading LED display manufacturer with an extensive career in collegiate and pro sports digital signage, having supported organisations such as the Los Angeles Lakers, Cleveland Cavaliers, Houston Rockets, Pittsburgh Penguins, Baltimore Orioles, Tennessee Titans, Seattle Seahawks, Orlando City Soccer Club, Arizona State University, and Penn State University.

Joining as director of sales, Barry said: “I relate to people at every level of business and management, and the goal is simple: build trust and cultivate long-standing relationships. I’m most excited to apply my knowledge of and passion for the service side of the sports industry to a sales role at SNA Displays.”


PPDS, exclusive global distributor of Philips’ products, has promoted the experienced AV engineer Jan Van Tieghem to its new director of technical sales support. Based in Ghent, in Belgium, with an EMEA remit, Van Tieghem’s AV career spans more than 20 years, 15 of which have been devoted to supporting Philips Professional Displays.

He will now lead support teams across all PPDS product ranges – digital signage, including ePaper, interactive displays, videowalls, dvLED, and professional TVs – located in the company’s innovation centre in Ghent, Belgium, and throughout all regions in EMEA.

Van Tieghem’s responsibilities will include supporting B2B sales activities, working with new and existing partners for final validation of new software releases on all product platforms.



, a company in the audiovisual systems and technology integration industry, has announced that Daniel McKenzie CTS, DMC-D4K has joined as director of technical operations. McKenzie will be based out of the company’s headquarter location in Broomall, Pennsylvania, and will serve as the technical operations lead for Visual Sound’s three business units and industry-specific solutions teams. McKenzie has over 25 years of audiovisual industry experience.

He said: “It’s an exciting time to join Visual Sound as it continues to grow its capabilities and expertise across a diverse industry base. I’ve always admired Visual Sound and its focus on delivering creative, sophisticated, and dependable solutions for clients. I was also attracted to the leadership’s vision for the future, and its relentless focus on customer and end-user experience.”



CORPORATION has promoted Mikey Shaffer to senior sales director. Shaffer leads the Listen Technologies sales team and is the primary liaison for dealer channels, regional sales managers, independent manufacturers’ sales representatives, and distributors in North America. She will report to Listen Technologies president and CEO Maile Keone.

“Mikey demonstrates strategic prowess and effective team leadership with authority and decisiveness,” said Keone. “She is a champion for Listen Technologies sales and channel partners, and a tireless advocate for accessibility. We are delighted to promote Mikey to senior dales director at Listen Technologies and know she will continue to support our sales reps and partners and contribute to our organisation’s ongoing success.”

Latest appointments 57


Annelies Kampert, vice president and general manager, Crestron Europe, on history lessons, baking, family and friends, the future of AV and plans for Crestron

Where do you hail from and where do you reside?

I was born and raised in Belgium, lived 30 years in the centre of Brussels and had the opportunity to grow up in a vibrant and multicultural environment. Currently I live near the city of Mechelen, a picturesque Flemish town roughly midway between Brussels and Antwerp, about 20 minutes drive from Brussels International Airport.

How did you get into AV?

Almost by accident. I have a very strong interest in history, and the impact of human behaviour on the past and future. So, after I received my master’s degree in European History, I started working as a history teacher and enrolled in the private sector soon after, working in HR and recruitment. That is how, after several years, I got in touch with the AV industry, not as a technician or an engineer, but hired as an HR manager at Crestron in Europe, in 2012.

What do you do for kicks in your spare time? Any favourite sports teams or pastimes?

Although I love my job and the day-to-day challenges that come along with it, I make it a habit to dedicate the majority of my spare time to my family and friends. I like to do something completely different to change my mind, developed a huge passion for baking and drawing and can completely lose myself in reading. The best pies and best books end up in the office, to share with my colleagues.

How do you feel the AV industry has fared post-Covid and with today’s crises and supply issues?

As everybody adapted to hybrid work, the importance of AV and control and video conferencing became clearer to everyone. Everybody needs to collaborate, remote or in person, and needs to be able to share content. The industry has returned to a steady product flow into warehouses and out to customers. Some individual components continue to have longer than usual lead times, but that is not affecting our ability to build and ship products. At the same time, the world continues to be impacted with economic and geopolitical challenges that everyone is dealing with.

What are your thoughts on its future?

In the long term, we expect a focus on integrating AV and UC technology in the building management system. The sky's the limit there. For example, you book a meeting with an external visitor. When they enter the parking lot, their licence plate is recognised, and wayfinding directs them to their parking spot, past the reception desk towards the correct meeting room. At the same time, you get an alert that your visitor has arrived so you can walk to the meeting room, that is exactly at your preferred temperature, with your preferred brightness. HVAC isn’t in overdrive since the blinds automatically closed because the sun was shining on the windows. And of course, the message on the display is welcoming your customer, ready to share content with one click. That combination of IoT and AV and UC and control and automation all working together, that’sthe future of AV.

How’s business at Crestron?

World politics, inflation and other uncertainties made customers want to pause or push out some projects, but we're starting to see that many of those projects are beginning to move forward. The second half of this year, I expect to see even more of that. Nobody else has the ability to combine video conferencing, audio, video distribution content and sharing and collaboration with control and remote management and monitoring in the way that Crestron can. Moving forward we are convinced that our solutions, technology and focus on innovation will continue to play an important role in many businesses and markets.

Any exciting news you’d like to share?

There are some exciting products in the pipeline that answer the three essential needs of our customers: collaborate and share content; at scale; including the possibility to control other aspects of the room. And at InfoComm, we’re going to announce that we’re expanding the capabilities of our control system to be able to run on third-party video conferencing systems. That way customers can take advantage of the investments they’ve made and combine that with the very best control system.

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To me it‘s all about creating a reliable and technically safe work environment for my customers as well as my teams.

Artist Intercom allows me to provide intuitive workflows and to onboard new team members swiftly.“


Professional and reliable live communications. Seamless integration of Riedel‘s SmartPanel and Bolero wireless intercom. Easily scaling from 16 to 1024 ports with flexible licensing.

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