Y O U R I N S I D E R B U S I N E S S R E S O U R C E F O R M O R E T H A N 2 5 Y E A R S / / / JANUARY 2020
A Rising Tide Lifts All Boats SCN HALL OF FAME 2020
8 industry insiders 22 Executive Q&A
Sonyâ€™s Theresa Alesso talks differentiating value propositions and creating a work-life balance for employees.
24 Tech Tales
Josh Srago defends his claim that 5G will be of no real use to the pro AV industry in the next decade, if ever.
Elizabeth Scozzari discusses the magic of unplugging from technology.
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PEOPLE 22 EXECUTIVE Q&A Sony’s Theresa Alesso talks differentiating value propositions and creating a work-life balance for employees. By Megan A. Dutta
24 TECH TALES
Josh Srago “puts the myth of 5G to bed” and claims that it will be of no real use to the audiovisual industry in the next decade, if ever. By Josh Srago, CTS
SNAPSHOTS 44 EMPIRE STATE OF MIND The Empire State Building Observatory recently debuted the results of a four-year, $165 million renovation, which includes the addition of tech-driven features that enrich a visitor’s vertical adventure and guide the rest of their stay in New York. By Matt Pruznick
TECHNOLOGY 46 MEDIA DISTRIBUTION DELIVERS CONTROLLED PLACEMKAING TECH Most would agree that media distribution is one of the less glamorous aspects of the audiovisual industry. Arguably, however, it’s one of the most important. As the behind-the-scenes mover and shaker, a robust media distribution system does far more than just loop content. By Camille Burch
48 MAKING CONNECTIONS Microphones are essential to the audio signal path, and having the perfect microphone can make or break an event or conference. Read about the latest developments in applications and technology as we pass the mic among the industry’s top experts. By Jim Beaugez
28 | ISE 2020 SPECIAL
Discover what ISE 2020 has to offer for North American professionals—including tips for first-time attendees and a sneak preview of new products from leading manufacturers. By Cindy Davis
VIEWPOINT 58 UNPLUGGING Unplugging ourselves from our devices can give us the opportunity to once again appreciate the wonder of technology. It can also give us a chance to reset and remember the magic of the small things in life. By Elizabeth Scozzari
36 | NINTH ANNUAL SCN
HALL OF FAME
This year’s Hall of Fame inductees are powerful influencers in the pro AV community, but the one thing they share is that, like Rick Astley, they never give up. By Cindy Davis, Megan A. Dutta, and Matt Pruznick
DEPARTMENTS ASSOCIATION NEWS............................................. 20 PEOPLE NEWS......................................................... 26 PRODUCTS............................................................... 52
Are You Online? So Are We. 48 Vol. 27 No. X January 2020 Systems Contractor News (ISSN 1078-4993) is published monthly by Future US, Inc., 11 West 42nd Street, 15th Floor, New York, NY 10036-8002. Periodical postage paid at New York, NY and additional mailing offices. POSTMASTER: send address changes to: SYSTEMS CONTRACTOR NEWS, P.O. Box 1051, Lowell, MA 01853. Subscription rates are US: 1 yr $59, 2 yr $105; Canada: 1 yr $109, 2 yr $205, Foreign: 1 yr $169, 2 yr $325; Single copy price $10. Subscribe online at www.MySCNews.com. Please allow 6-8 weeks for address changes to take effect. ©Copyright 2020 by Future US, Inc. PRINTED IN U.S.A.
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S Y S T E M S
C O N T R A C T O R
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JANUARY 2020 VOL . 27 NO. 1
2020 Reading Challenge
Megan A. Dutta
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As some of you know, I have a passion for reading. Every year, my goal is to read a book every other week—26 books a year. And every year I smash that goal out of the park. Because the year’s not quite over with as I write this, I can’t tell you my total, but I’ll end up close to 40 reads. I go through phases with the types of books I’m reading, but it’s typically beach reads, autobiographies, or thrillers. Because I read so much for my day job, I tend to use my personal reading time as an escape. Just for good measure, I throw some business books in there occasionally when something catches my eye. With that in mind, I thought I’d share a few of my favorite business reads in the hopes that you’ll add them to your 2020 reading lists. 1. Nice Girls Don’t Get the Corner Office by Lois P. Frankel, Ph.D. This book was instrumental to shaping my business persona in my early 20s. After a co-worker read it and highly recommended it, I dove in and discovered many ways I was trainwrecking my own career. (That may be a slight exaggeration but I can’t stress enough how much I have learned from this book.) I’ve gifted it over and over to young people I’ve worked with—and not just young women. Young men can also benefit from the tips and tricks recommended in this guide.
What is your favorite business book?
2. Hitting the Curveballs: How Crisis Can Strengthen and Grow Your Business by Jay B. Myers If you’re a frequent SCN reader, you’re likely already familiar with Myers’ work; he’s often featured in our monthly Viewpoint column. In his second book, Myers shares the story of how his company, Interactive Solutions Inc. (now part of AVI-SPL, after a November 2018 acquisition) chose to not participate in a recession—yes, you read that right. The company’s conscious decision to grow during a downward spiral worked for Myers and his team, and he shares the story and practical tips for entrepreneurs to do the same. 3. Lead Your Tribe, Love Your Work: An Entrepreneur’s Guide to Creating a Culture That Matters by Piyush Patel If you have a strong memory, you may recall me using this book as inspiration for a previous editorial letter. Patel shares his culture-focused principles and, like the other authors mentioned here, gives practical and easily implementable steps you can use to change your business. Woven together with real-life tales, this book will make you reevaluate your leadership style and the culture of your organization. Those are some of my favorite business books—I hope you’ll share yours with me. AV book club, anyone?
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News Highlights from SCN Online
USU Relies on Dante to Connect Instructors with Remote Classroom logan, utah—Audinate
worked with Utah State University (USU) to implement a Dante audio network for the school’s distance learning program. Thanks to the system, students are able to remotely attend live classroom presentations and communicate interactively with instructors with crystalclear audio. This capability is mission-critical for the university in its effort to serve rural areas of Utah, whose students may be unable to travel to campus for instruction. Deploying the latest AV technology, including Audinate’s Dante and Dante Domain Manager, empowered the university’s successful effort to give all students access to these presentations and interactive broadcasts.
* Top 5 Online Stories
View them online at avnetwork.com/scn0120.
5. Atlona Announces Second-Generation Velocity AV Control Platform
4. Dickies Arena Opens with State-of-the-Art Audio
3. Topgolf Revamps Digital Displays in 50-Plus Locations
2. 2020 Trends
1. Top 50 Systems Integrators of 2019
Blog bits Now on avnetwork.com By Victoria J. Ferrari The larger structural shift in IT asset ownership to third-party providers has given organizations access to massively scalable, standardized, and componentized solutions delivered as a service. It’s increasingly common to rely on pay-as-you-use IT solutions, subscribing to functionality without owning the devices and software outright. AV is ultimately heading in a similar direction. None of this is inherently bad for AV, but it does lead to some challenges.
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Now on residentialsystems.com By Henry Clifford There is nothing inherently wrong with the desire to be consistent—after all, no one likes a flip-flopper. But it’s not just about outward appearances. Our tendency to crave consistency has intrinsic value as well. Defaulting to our original stated position means we don’t have to constantly sift through the onslaught of conflicting information coming at us from every direction.
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Now on Installation-International.com By Duncan Proctor The potential the continual evolution of technology in medicine has to improve people’s health and quality of life is tremendous. One exciting development advancing the medical industry is high-quality real-time videoconferencing, which has revolutionized everyday tasks. It’s helping healthcare professionals deliver the best possible care and enabling them to share their expertise with colleagues and trainees.
trends UC SAN DIEGO
news san diego, ca—Instead of setting visitors up to watch local marine life from behind glass, Birch Aquarium at Scripps is allowing visitors to experience life as fish do thanks to a 360-degree virtual reality exhibit built by UC San Diego undergraduates. Visitors to the aquarium will don a mask shaped like one of La Jolla’s local marine animals—a bright orange Garibaldi fish, or a spotted leopard shark, for example. The mask is equipped with a VR headset that lets visitors tag along on a dive into kelp forests off of Channel Islands National Park.
Solutionz Finalizes Purchase of Unified Technology Systems
Vaddio Site Moves Fully to Legrandav.com
Solutionz, a Fernandez Holdings portfolio company and number six on the 2019 SCN Top 50 list, has purchased Unified Technology Systems (UTS). UTS will rebrand under the Solutionz name within the next six months and continue operating in its current footprint throughout Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee. The addition of UTS and its team is intended to strengthen Solutionz’ capability to design, build, and manage technology deployments to current and future clients. “We are extremely excited about joining a successful and fast-growing integrator like Solutionz,” said Barry Goldin, president of UTS and 2018 SCN Hall of Fame inductee. “This synergy will enable us to grow our portfolio, enhance our technical expertise, and offer a broader range of products and services.” Goldin will continue his executive leadership role as president for the Southeast region for Solutionz. Bill Warnick, CEO of Solutionz, added, “The vision Kirk Fernandez established for Solutionz from its inception nearly two decades ago was to be a dominant leader in the space and deliver high-quality solutions to our customers. Unified is a natural fit with this vision. With the financial strength and talent pool of the combined company, our whole is greater than the sum of the parts. We look forward to growing together, learning from each other, and providing our customers an even better experience as a result.”
As of Dec. 2, Vaddio has fully transitioned its website to www.legrandav.com. All of the vaddio.com pages now automatically redirect to relevant www.legrandav.com pages. “With Vaddio solutions now on legrandav.com, customers will quickly see the advantages of faster ordering, pricing information, more powerful search tools, and complete information across several brands,” said Laurie Englert, vice president–customer experience. “Feedback from customers drives our online design to continually improve their experience.” Legrandav.com is already home to the Chief and Da-Lite brands, as well as others. The site also hosts resources including case studies, design tools, ebooks, and training.
Thoughts on Immersive Design from the LiveXperience Symposium BY MEG AN A. D U TTA
During a panel titled “Digital Environments as Today’s Scenic Design” at the LiveXperience Symposium, part of LDI Show 2019, experts gathered for a deep dive into the requirements of today’s immersive designs. Here’s what they had to say: Greg Christy, CEO, Brite Ideas: “Audiences really become distracted these days. Everybody has that thing in the palm of their
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hand that’s pulling at them. Our clients are spending a lot of money to get a message across, and that’s diluted when [potential audiences] are sucked into their devices. Create something that compels them to focus on the message at hand, exciting and engaging them so they receive that message and become a part of what’s going on.” Jonathan Martin, Principal Designer, ShowTec: “It’s important when we use these grand terms about design to understand who does what and how we do things from a different perspective. Our job is to execute on the vision of creative professionals. We want to find ways to surprise and delight audiences to make it worth their time, and in a visually exciting way.” Bart Kresa, Founder/Master Projection Designer, BARTKRESA Design: “Now the whole world is shifting to the experience economy, and it’s a good fit for where we are with projection technology.” Gary Standard, President/CEO, WorldStage: “We do not do the creative concepts—we solve how to get the creative concepts done. We look for new technology that is original, and then [we look into] how we can use and apply it to solve client problems.” Jonathan Martin, Principal Designer, ShowTec: “The art inspires the technology and the technology inspires the art. When we look at things through that lens, it offers us the opportunity to look at space completely outside of ours and drive a moment that’s unforgettable for an audience.”
news LG Business Solutions Recognized as CDW Partner of the Year LG Business Solutions USA has been named a Partner of the Year by CDW. Presented at CDW’s 2019 Partner Summit in Las Vegas, the Partner of the Year Awards recognize top-performing CDW partners that provided exemplary products, programs, solutions, and services to support CDW and its customers throughout the year. “CDW Partner of the Year Awards honor and celebrate the efforts of outstanding partners in support of CDW’s goal to deliver exceptional customer experiences,” said Matt Troka, CDW senior vice president of product and partner management. “We congratulate LG and thank them for their continued commitment to CDW.” “LG and CDW are delivering cutting-edge, purpose-built digital signage solutions that make enhanced customer engagement attainable for any business or industry,” said Clark Brown, vice president, digital signage, LG Business Solutions USA. “We’re honored to receive this prestigious recognition, and I proudly accept this award on behalf of our channel account team, field end user reps, marketing team, product managers, and LG bid desk, all of whom work tirelessly each
day with their CDW counterparts to expand the digital capabilities and opportunities for end customers across various vertical markets. Like the saying goes, ‘Winning is contagious; we all hope it can spread.’” CDW Partner of the Year Awards are based on input from CDW’s sales team and backbone departments such as product and partner management, marketing, and partner finance. Additional selection criteria include growth of the partners’ sales through CDW, overall profitability at CDW, and market strategy alignment.
AES Academy 2020 Announces Audio Presenters and Topics The upcoming AES Academy 2020 at the NAMM Show offers the chance to join the AES for four days of expert presentations and hands-on training from a diverse group of top names in the industry. The NAMM Show and AES Academy 2020 take place Jan. 16–19 in Anaheim, CA. Whether you’re a seasoned AES Convention attendee or new to the industry, AES Academy offers an affordable way to experience some of the many resources that the Audio Engineering Society has to offer. Advance registration pricing begins at a reduced rate of Participants take part in live console $25 for AES members; the non-member rate hands-on training events in 2019. of $150 ($75 for students) includes a full year of AES membership and benefits. AES Academy 2020 at NAMM is set to feature some of the most talented audio engineering practitioners covering a range of educational topics of importance to audio engineers, musicians, and students alike. For one price, attendees gain access to more than 100 topical sessions and events, such as taking part in an audio careers mentoring session with Leslie Ann Jones of Skywalker Sound and mastering engineer Jett Galindo of The Bakery, getting studio production training insights from Produce Like a Pro’s Warren Huart in the Audio Education Academy, or learning studio design from the renowned John Storyk in a Control Room Academy session. Other presenters include famed engineer and producer Sylvia Massy, noted engineer and author Bobby Owsinski, musician and mix engineer Brad Divens (who leads mix instruction at fixintogetmixin), audio engineer for music and film Lenise Bent, AES Academy program director and touring monitor engineer Mark Frink, AES President-Elect and mastering engineer Jonathan Wyner, and dozens more. Another rewarding aspect of AES Academy is its hands-on training, with sessions set to include Allen & Heath dLive, and Yamaha Rivage PM10/PM7 and CL/QL Series consoles. These events are open to a limited number of participants and require separate registration, priced at $25 per session. Visit www.aesacademy2020.com for complete program and presenter information.
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Mitsubishi Electric Relaunches Website Mitsubishi Electric’s Visual and Imaging Systems Division (VIS) has introduced a redesigned website (www.me-vis. com) that the company says will make it easier to navigate for faster results. The design features larger images and faster scrolling to make the site easier to use in any web browser. “We are thrilled to launch our new website to our clients, system integrators, consultants, and architects who are looking to understand the breadth of Mitsubishi Electric VIS products and solutions,” said Charles Davis, senior director of engineering and marketing at the company. “Created with the user experience in mind, the site includes many new features to help users quickly and easily navigate the site to find the product information they need.” To access more in-depth product information on the website, an Insider account is required. An Insider account provides several benefits to AV design professionals and access to exclusive technical information.
Hall Research Enters Distribution Partnership with Herman ProAV Herman ProAV and Hall Research have entered into a distribution partnership. “We are thrilled to partner with Hall Research,” said Jeffrey Wolf, co-CEO at Herman. “It is our goal to partner with manufacturers who enable us to deliver more product solutions in order to enhance our value offerings to our customers.” “At Hall Research, we are focused on building partnerships to give our customers valued solutions and great customer experiences,” said A.J. Shelat, vice president of sales at Hall Research. “With Herman ProAV’s unmatched offering of products and services, we can leverage their differentiating value in the commercial AV industry.”
news California State Parks Reaches Milestone in K-12 Digital Access California State Parks has connected more than 500,000 students to state parks via virtual field trips since 2004. The grassroots program known as Parks Online Resources for Teachers and Students (PORTS) engages underserved students by creating equitable digital access to state parks at no cost to schools, teachers, or students. Since 2004, this innovative distance-learning program has provided live interactive videoconference sessions to expand learning beyond the classroom walls. K-12 students from California and around the world connect with live interpretive staff and learn academic content standards within the context of California’s dynamic state parks system. From the mountains, deserts, and beach parks, to urban parks and historic sites, students have real-world experiences with California’s natural and cultural resources while interacting with a park expert in real time. “For many of these students, it is the first time getting a glimpse of the giant redwoods or touring a gold rush ghost town. Our virtual field trips are intended to give students who have limited access to our parks the opportunity to engage with our expert staff and help deepen the learning experience within, and beyond, the classroom environment,” said California State Parks director Lisa Mangat. “By doing so, California State Parks is helping to empower a community of global citizens that will inherit the responsibility of protecting our open spaces and culturally significant places. It is a tremendous effort by our partners and interpretive staff who coordinate with educators to showcase what our unique state parks offer.”
PORTS presentations are individually delivered from one of 20 California state parks to one classroom at a time, providing personalized learning experiences every session. More than 16,000 live videoconference sessions have been presented to students in the past 15 years. Educators who employ the PORTS Program are creating an online community of park supporters. Educators surveyed recently gave the program the highest marks for satisfaction and expressed that the resource is an important way to provide real-world examples of natural and cultural resource concepts for students. This level of success and satisfaction has created a dedicated user base of teachers who return year after year to connect their students to California’s state parks. With the constant onboarding of instructional technologies in the classroom, the number of students provided digital access to parks continues to grow every year. To ensure that resources are provided at no charge to schools, the PORTS Program has created a number of partnerships with nonprofits and private industry organizations that focus on services and resources for K-12 education. Save the Redwoods League, Microsoft Education, Google Expeditions, Smithsonian Learning Lab, Flipgrid, and Zoom Video Communications all play a role in providing PORTS products and services. To learn how schools, classrooms, or organizations can participate, visit www.ports.parks.ca.gov.
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news Legrand Opens New California Distribution Center Legrand, North and Central America (LNCA) has opened a distribution center in Moreno Valley, CA. The new facility, which replaces an existing center in Rancho Cucamonga, CA, will accommodate Legrand’s growing product portfolio resulting from multiple acquisitions over the last two years. At 340,000 square feet, the Moreno Valley complex is more than double the size of the previous facility. It is expected to create approximately 40 new jobs over the
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next three years. From its opening, it will support Legrand’s Electrical Wiring Systems, Building Control Systems, and AV divisions, with the capacity to support additional business units in the future. “As we continue to expand our market presence in North America, both organically and through additional acquisitions, we are constantly seeking new ways to make it easier for our customers to do business with Legrand,” said John Selldorff, president and CEO, Legrand, North and Central America. “The investment in this facility is part of a broader plan to continue streamlining and evolving our operations at multiple company locations across the country.” The new distribution center will be deploying a range of automation technologies designed to improve customer service and logistics, and decrease the time required for an order to be prepared for shipping.
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harrisburg, pa—D&H Distributing recently installed a video wall in the lobby of its new headquarters. The video wall includes 15 NEC UN4551S 55-inch ultra-narrow bezel display panels in a configuration five panels wide and three panels high. The installation uses Gefen 4K AV over IP tools to deliver customizable, simple, and reliable control of the HD content.
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news Pro-AV Business Index Reveals Good News About Employment Pro AV employment is on the rise, according to AVIXA’s Pro-AV Business Index. From October to November, the AV Employment Index jumped four points to reach 61.7, one of the highest marks all year. The AV Sales Index also fared well, increasing just over a point from October and slightly higher than November 2018. While the employment index hearkens good news, the lagging nature of the results is important to consider. Rather than indicating conditions at this moment, the data reflect positive trends over the past couple of months. However, an upward lift here corresponds with overall employment data and suggests continued good health in the pro AV sector, even if hiring may become more challenging. “This month’s employment numbers intensify the business challenge of recruiting and retaining the skilled employees needed to complete quality AV work,” said Peter Hansen, economic analyst, AVIXA. “Companies can keep getting more creative about finding workers, such as partnering with local schools to hire directly. Businesses can also consider getting uncreative: raise salary expectations to recruit the best talent.” More good employment news: The U.S. job market added 266,000 jobs in November, above the expected 180,000 additional jobs and up from the October mark of 156,000 jobs. One small caveat: about 50,000 General Motors workers were off in November because of a strike, so the month-to-month increase is less than it seems. Still, the economy adding jobs at a 200,000-per-month pace shows business remains good despite concerns over slowing GDP growth and the ever-
present trade uncertainty. On the sales front, more than one-fifth of index survey participants’ open-ended responses highlighted that seasonal trends are affecting their business, with an almost 50-50 split between reports of a holiday slowdown and a spending rush to use the last of the 2019 budget. With overall sales results up slightly from October and the prior year, the positives outweigh the negatives, if only very slightly. The Pro-AV Business Index report is derived from a monthly survey of the AVIXA Insights Community, a research community of industry members that tracks business trends in commercial AV. The report actually comprises two diffusion indexes: the AV Sales Index (AVI-S) and the AV Employment Index (AVI-E). In each case, an index above 50 indicates an increase in sales or employment activity. Visit www.avixa.org/AVindex to access the free monthly Pro-AV Business Index reports and learn more about the methodology. For more information about joining the AVIXA Insights Community, visit www.avixa.org/AVIP.
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news AVIXA Releases CTS Exam Guide
AVIXA’s CTS Certified Technology Specialist Exam Guide, Third Edition, now available, provides a comprehensive look at the topics covered in the latest release of the CTS exam. For more than 30 years, AVIXA has administered the CTS program, which is recognized worldwide as the leading AV professional credential. There are three CTS credentials: general (CTS), design (CTS-D), and installation (CTS-I). More than 12,000 professionals hold CTS credentials globally, and more than 2,000 of those are CTS-D or CTS-I holders. “In this third edition of the CTS Exam Guide, we’ve updated and extended the coverage of AV technologies, and at the same time simplified the explanations of difficult technical concepts,” said Andy Ciddor, author of the CTS Exam Guide, Third Edition. “In addition to featuring even more of AVIXA’s ever-expanding suite of AV standards, the guide presents a more global approach to terminology and measurements.” The guide covers all current CTS exam objectives, including how to conduct a site survey, develop an AV project scope, and troubleshoot and repair AV solutions. Each chapter includes best practices, checklists, diagrams, photos, and review questions with in-depth explanations. The new edition features several updates. The guide has been streamlined to better reflect the day-to-day work of a CTS holder. It also incorporates designated sections on AVIXA’s Display Image Size for 2D Content in Audiovisual Systems standard and the Audio, Video, and Control Architectural Drawing Symbols standard. “AVIXA is committed to the education of AV professionals,” said Amanda Beckner, CTS, vice president of learning, AVIXA. “CTS accreditation certifies that an AV professional has the technical skills to perform at a high level. The new edition of the guide offers enhanced features to help prepare people to take their CTS exam and join an elite group of AV professionals.” To learn more about the guide and to purchase, visit Amazon. A set of sample questions will be available through the McGraw-Hill website. Login information is provided with the purchase of the book.
NSCA’s Excellence in Business Awards Nominations Open
AVIXA Names 2020 Board of Directors, Leadership Search Committee Members AVIXA has announced the election results for the 2020 AVIXA Board of Directors and Leadership Search Committee. Samantha (Sam) Phenix, an AV tech executive, has been elected secretarytreasurer of the Board by AVIXA membership. AVIXA members also elected Alexis La Broi, CTS, director of sales, Mid-Atlantic and New England for VER; and Ian Harris, CTS-D, president and principal consultant, ihD. The Leadership Search Committee (LSC) appointed Kay Sargent, senior principal and director of workPlace for HOK, to AVIXA’s Board of Directors. The committee also reappointed Martin Saul, CEO of ICAP Global, to the Board. AVIXA membership elected Cassie Berger, regional sales manager for Shure, to serve on the LSC. Current AVIXA Board chairman Joe Pham, Ph.D., president and CEO of QSC, made two additional appointments to the LSC: Theresa Hahn, vice president of marketing and business development for Verrex, and Mehryn Corrigan, associate director of strategic alliances marketing for Sharp Imaging and Information Company of America. “We are proud to have a diverse and truly global representation of the AV industry on AVIXA’s Board and Leadership Search Committee,” said David Labuskes, CTS, CEO of AVIXA. “Our Board has been a key part of AVIXA’s success over the years, contributing selflessly of their time and expertise. I look forward to this continuing in 2020 with anticipation of great things ahead!”
The NSCA is encouraging systems integrators to apply for its 2020 Excellence in Business Awards, a program that recognizes integrators who address challenges head-on by implementing tactics and strategies to improve business performance in six categories: * Business Performance (establishing methods for accurate job costing, new ways to trim operating expenses, etc.) * Employee Engagement (corporate culture exercises, increasing job satisfaction, etc.) * Differentiating Strategies (implementing new sales strategies, growth strategies, etc.) * Strategic Transformation (entering new markets, increasing RMR, etc.) * Customer Experience (increasing customer satisfaction scores or repeat business, etc.) * Talent Development (cross-training, onboarding, recruiting, career development, etc.) There is no cost to enter and submissions will be accepted through Jan. 17, 2020. Winners, announced on Feb. 2, will receive recognition from the NSCA and coverage in industry publications. For more information or to enter, visit www.nsca.org/awards.
AVIXA Shares Results of 2020 Certification Steering Committee Elections AVIXA has announced the election results for the 2020 Certification Steering Committee. Certification-holders elected six new committee members: Gain Foster, CTS, K2; Rakesh Kumar, CTS-D, CTS-I, Amazon; Christopher Kusek, CTS-D, CTS-I, All Pro Sound; Michael Pedersen, CTS-D, CTS-I, Iowa State University; Rebecca Sullins, CTS-D, CTS-I, LMG; and Justin Watts, CTS, Apple. The AVIXA Certification Steering Committee oversees the development and administration of the Certified Technology Specialist (CTS) program and ensures the credentials meet standards of ethical and professional practice for the audiovisual industry. “The Steering Committee helps serve as the voice of CTS holders,” said Adrienne Knick, senior director of certification, AVIXA. “This committee ensures that the certifications remain the gold standard in the AV industry.” The newly elected committee members join current members Heather Callaway, CTS-D, APG Electric; Lauren Guidry, CTS, Whitlock; and Luke Jordan, CTS-I, Electro Acoustics.
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BY MEG A N A . D UT T A
Outside the Box SONY’S THERESA ALESSO TALKS DIFFERENTIATING VALUE PROPOSITIONS SCN: What is your position and what does it entail? What are your responsibilities? THERESA ALESSO: As president of Sony Electronics’ professional division, I am responsible for the sales and marketing operations of our business, which covers a diverse range of B2B markets including media, corporate and education, healthcare, sports, cinema, and visual simulation and entertainment. In addition, I remain focused on extending Sony’s leadership position, building our business, exploring new opportunities and applications that enhance our core capabilities in the imaging and professional realm, and strengthening our role as a long-term collaborative partner to the customers and companies we support. In my leadership role, I’m dedicated to fostering and advocating for a balanced and inclusive working environment that places value on hard work, while recognizing that our highest achievers do best when they are empowered and trusted to maintain a healthy balance in their personal and professional lives. The current environment we live in means we’re connected 24/7, which presents a set of challenges and expectations, but also provides the flexibility to work in the manner that suits you best. I am also passionate about encouraging diversity in the workplace. Studies show that a more diverse leadership board means more profit and more success—a win/win scenario! SCN: How long have you been in this position? TA: I’ve been in my current role since March of 2019, and with Sony since 1990. And for those calculating, yes, I started while I was in middle school! SCN: How has your background prepared you for your role? TA: I’ve worked for Sony for nearly 30 years in a variety of capacities, beginning as an administrative professional and working my way up. As a woman working at a Japanese company in a typically male-dominated field, I’ve learned to have a thick skin, let my accomplishments speak for themselves, and be the hardest working person in the room. I’ve also realized that you need to recognize and own your strengths. For me, as a female leader, one of those strengths is my ability to listen and communicate with employees. Being a mother has also prepared me because I truly learned the meaning of work/life integration and the importance of balancing the two. SCN: What are your short- and long-term goals? TA: In the short term, my goals include getting closer to our customers, be it end users, integrators, or resellers. When we work hand-in-hand with our partners to better understand their needs, it enables us to develop purpose-built products, solutions, and workflows that address their concerns and make their jobs easier. I also want to further expose people to what I call “the secret side of Sony,” which is the professional business that I oversee. Despite Sony’s omnipresence, we often act behind the scenes, playing a crucial role in enabling the broadcasts of the biggest sports events, bringing vibrant stories to life on the big screen, making your meetings or lectures run seamlessly, and even giving your healthcare provider additional insights. For virtually every professional application, Sony has a relevant solution that can grow with customers. I am so proud to work for a company like Sony, which maintains a leadership position across all of its divisions—from electronics, to music, film and television, as well as gaming, which uniquely enables us to touch on every aspect of the creative entertainment process. We create and deliver
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more entertainment experiences than any other company. This is such a powerful and distinctive story and one that I’d like to continue to tell in the long term. SCN: What is the greatest challenge you face? TA: The greatest challenge we currently face is the transition of our business from traditional “box” products to a hybrid of products and solutions. People often associate Sony with products, but we’ve been hard at work developing quality solutions to work alongside and enhance our product portfolio.
Quick Bio Name: Theresa Alesso Position: President, Professional Solutions Division, Imaging Products and Solutions–Americas (IPSA) Company: Sony Electronics Overtime: Alesso was recently honored by Working Mother magazine for her commitment to work/life balance. She was also named Sony’s Working Mother of the Year by the magazine.
SCN: Where do you see the display market heading? TA: The display market is something we see as an area of growth and opportunity. Sony’s professional lineup focuses heavily on 4K (and beyond) and HDR. We’re also seeing more microLED options. We recognize the market need for all-in-one displays based on a System on a Chip (SoC) infrastructure, which eliminates external hardware, as well as cloud connectivity. There’s also a desire to supplement displays with software to provide a more comprehensive and powerful solution. Of course, Sony is implementing these trends through our latest technologies. SCN: Are there new initiatives we are likely to see from Sony? TA: AI is another area we are embracing and something you can expect more of from Sony, as it infiltrates every market. From tailored recommendations and streamlining efficiencies to providing automation, these technologies can provide faster, smarter, safer, more cost-efficient, and more accurate results. SCN: How can systems contractors better position themselves to profit from products and/or services you have to offer? TA: We strive to be a collaborative partner to the organizations we work with, including systems contractors, and align ourselves with businesses that place the same pride in delivering superior experiences. Sony offers a complete ecosystem of products and services to outfit a project, so we’re eager to support systems contractors’ vision and to work together to identify the right solution and provide appropriate support. Systems contractors should be leveraging the Sony name, which is synonymous with innovation, quality, reliability, and excellence across nearly every consumer and professional vertical and application. *
BY J O SH SRA G O , C T S
The Farce of 5G There has been a slew of articles about 5G over the last several months. Some are touting the coming evolution of wireless technology as the end-all-be-all; others have looked at the technology itself to consider its flaws. I’d like to put the myth of 5G to bed and tell you that it will be of no real use to the audiovisual industry for the next decade, if ever. The Hype 5G has been touted by its proponents— companies like Ericsson, AT&T, Verizon, and even the Federal Communications Commission (FCC)—as a race that the United States must win against China because it will have a significant economic impact on our country and the world. This is true. The U.S. saw incredible benefits as a leader in the evolution of 4G wireless technology. More jobs, more industry, and more development came from the country leading the efforts. What is not true, however, is the description of what 5G will offer to consumers. The wireless carriers have all been promising that 5G will offer transmission speeds of up to 10 Gbps, a significant jump from the 300 Mbps available with LTE transmission. That may technically be true, but those results were achieved in a lab under optimum conditions and with all wireless channels available; they almost certainly don’t reflect a real-world scenario. Rather than focusing on the promised data rate, focus on the promise of “up to.” The other promise of the technology is the improved bandwidth capabilities of 5G over its predecessors. Again, we must look to the fact that this technology is untested and unproven in real-world settings. Wireless Technology There is a finite amount of wireless spectrum available. It has been determined that the wireless spectrum in the United States is owned by the public—that’s right, it is all yours. Only, the government licenses it out to those who wish to use it. Many will likely recall the wireless microphone frequency reallocations that the industry has gone through, twice, in the last decade. The FCC has the authority to determine that spectrum has better uses and reallocate it for those purposes. On Nov. 18, 2019, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai announced that there would be another public spectrum auction for what is known as the C band, or the spectrum between 4 and 8 GHz. This announcement was a big deal for two reasons. The first, which may be less important to some, is the fact that it will be a public auction rather than a private auction. The second, though, speaks to the point of why 5G is not what wireless carriers are saying it is—they don’t actually have the frequency allocation at this point to deploy 5G on a widespread basis. The auction won’t take place until sometime in 2020, which means it’s unlikely that the spectrum will be available for use in the United States for at least another two to three years. The Digital Divide The term “digital divide” refers to the fact that new technology is typically deployed in densely populated urban areas, leaving citizens who live in sparsely populated rural areas at a technological disadvantage. The digital divide is widening and 5G is being promoted
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as the technology that will help close it. However, that promise is a marketing ploy: it is unlikely that rural areas will see widespread 5G deployments in the next decade, if ever. 5G can be deployed using small cell towers rather than building out the large cell towers used for 4G/LTE, which is a much easier solution. The issue, though, is that because of the frequency allocation that 5G plans to use, the density requirements of the towers goes up significantly. The smaller waveform means that it a 5G signal is much more prone to environmental interference, is not able to penetrate walls as well (if at all), and will, therefore, need more frequent repeaters. In a city, it makes economic sense for the wireless carriers to deploy as many small cell towers as possible to serve a large population. However, when you have a dozen customers potentially located over several square miles, the wireless carriers have shown that they are less willing to make the investment because the return just isn’t there. For that reason, 5G will not close the digital divide; it will, in fact, widen it. Further, it is likely that in order to take advantage of the 5G data rates, wireless carriers will charge customers a premium. The digital divide isn’t only a rural versus urban issue—it’s also an economic issue. Lower-income households will be less likely to be able to afford the higher cost of improved data rates, widening the gap between the haves and the have-nots. Don’t Believe the Myth 5G is an immensely powerful enabling technology that, if deployed in a manner that makes it widely available, dramatically pushes the Internet of Things (IoT) and overall communication forward. Faster data rates and more bandwidth allow more people to be connected, more students to get access to information, more job seekers to hunt for employment, and more innovation of connected technology. At the same time, 5G is in its infancy in the United States. The frequency spectrum isn’t available yet. The technology is unproven in the real world. Physics tells us that the technology is going to struggle in urban environments because of the size of the waveform, though availability will be limited primarily to urban areas, leaving the rural ones further behind. The audiovisual industry should watch the 5G evolution cautiously and carefully. There is an immediate opportunity, assuming your company is interested in deploying in-building digital antenna systems (DAS) to overcome the wall penetration issue, but the uncertainty of the spectrum auction and the unproven technology should not be relied on as an available future. Josh Srago is an award-winning technology consultant currently pursuing a JD to assist with translating how changing policies such as net neutrality, privacy, and data security affect commercial communications, smart cities and buildings, and providers of these services. His efforts in industry development have been recognized by several groups, with AVIXA awarding him the Young AV Professional of the Year in 2016, and NSCA granting him the Randy Vaughan Founder’s Award in 2015. He was also included as one of Consulting Specifying Engineer’s 40 Under 40 of 2017.
people jerusalem , israel—KRAMER has named ITZHAK BAMBAGI as its chief executive officer. Kramer says Bambagi has a proven track record of exemplary leadership, having Itzhak Bambagi served in key executive roles at IBM and Digital/Compaq over the past 18 years. worth , tx —ELECTRO ACOUSTICS has expanded its executive team with the promotion of LUKE JORDAN, PMP, CTS-I, and SAM JORDAN. Luke will serve as vice Luke Jordan president and co-steward, while Sam will serve as general manager and co-steward. Luke is now responsible for external activities including achieving revenue targets, keeping up Sam Jordan with market trends, community outreach, and industry engagement. Sam will be responsible for internal activities such as building the EA team, and managing company culture, finance, and overall quality and performance. fort
BELL has joined MCCANN SYSTEMS as senior account executive. Bell will be working with McCann Systems enterprise clients as well as bolsterKatherine Bell ing the Boston office’s project capabilities in meeting customer requirements. jose , ca —ATLONA has appointed two to its sales team: ROBB O’BRIEN has been named regional sales manager, commercial for the Southwest U.S., while PATRICK Robb O’Brien SMITH takes on a similar position for the North Central U.S. region. O’Brien brings 15 years of experience in professional AV sales, most recently as regional sales manager for Patrick Smith Kramer Electronics. Smith is also an AV industry veteran, with 30 years in sales engineering and management, including roles at Visitec and Crestron as regional sales manager. san
phoenix , az —ALICIA BARNES has joined TROXELL-CDI as the account executive for the Southeast Texas territory, based out of Houston. She will work closely with school disAlicia Barnes tricts to provide hands-on consultation and education technology solutions. Barnes was most recently a senior project manager at CX2, and was the technical director for Jefferson Prep prior to that.
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il—LEVIATHAN has added ADRIENNE REHM as associate director of strategic partnerships and BRITTANY MCCULLARS as Brittany McCullars (left) and Adrienne Rehm senior producer. Rehm led marketing for RXBAR’s strategic accounts business, and strategy for the firm’s national and international ecommerce channels. Prior to that, she spent over five years at Herman Miller. McCullars brings Leviathan more than 12 years of experiential marketing and digital production experience in live events and branded environments; she has led projects fusing digital development with technology implementation for clients including AOL, Hilton, Intuit, and Samsung.
RAININGER has joined SOLOTECH as senior business developer. Raininger will be responsible for developing business opporColin Raininger tunities for the corporate sector in the greater Toronto area. In addition, JARAD PESNER has joined the company as senior business developer for its Ottawa office; he will be developing business opporJarad Pesner tunities in the education and cultural sectors in the national capital region. toronto, on —COLIN
ca —In response to increasing momentum for its solutions in North America, RIEDEL COMMUNICATIONS has hired JASON ROSS as Jason Ross sales manager for Canada. Ross joins Riedel from Applied Electronics, where he served for almost eight years as a senior account executive. Ross will be based in Toronto, ON. alameda ,
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ca —RGB SPECTRUM has promoted DANIEL MARCUS to director of North American sales. Marcus previously handled sales in the Southwest region for the company. In addition, BILL ZHU has been promoted to director, international sales, and will be adding responsibility for Europe to his current Middle East and APAC territory management. saint louis , mo —TOBI TUNGL , CTS-D, has been promoted to regional vice president at CONFERENCE TECHNOLOGIES INC. (CTI). Tungl has been with the company since April 2018 and had
>>>Rep News san jose, ca—ATLONA has appointed CODY ASSOCIATES to manage a newly created territory serving western Pennsylvania and West Virginia. The appointment strengthens Atlona’s presence with the IT business community, and provides Cody Associates with its first pure AV manufacturer.
served as director. Prior to CTI, Tungl spent nearly eight years at Bluewater Technologies Group. tampa ,
fl—HERMAN INTEGRATION SERVICES has appointed JEFF GALATRO JR. as vice president–West. He will be responsible for managing operations and the cusJeff Galatro Jr. tomer experience for the West Coast. Prior to joining Herman, Galatro spent six years advancing in the AVI-SPL organization, culminating with the role of regional engineering manager. foothill ranch , ca —
RENKUS - HEINZ has hired new staff to better serve the integrators and end users who rely on its technology. RAMON GUERRERO will serve as Clockwise from top left: Ramon production planGuerrero, Daniel Lee, Konrad ner at the company, Berreth, Tony Freed while DANIEL LEE has joined as mechanical engineer. Both TONY FREED and KONRAD BERRETH have joined the customer service team. santa fe springs , ca —CHERYL
KRASHO has been hired by TANGRAM INTERIORS as senior account executive. Krasho will be responsible for developing new accounts and Cheryl Krasho working closely with the furniture team. Prior to Tangram, Krasho spent more than 15 years working with FMs and IT managers in both the public and private sectors in consultative sales. tn —GREG KOPCHINSKI has joined WAVES AUDIO as live and install product manager. Prior to joining Waves, Kopchinski worked in product management and Greg Kopchinski marketing roles at Bivio Networks and as a principal product manager at Avid Technology, where he assisted in defining the market and product requirements for the VENUE S6L system. knoxville ,
THE BOTTOM LINE
GUIDE TO ISE 2020
Why North American Integrators Should Attend ISE 2020 U.S. INTEGRATORS AND CONSULTANTS BENEFIT FROM ATTENDING INTEGRATED SYSTEMS EUROPE, THE LARGEST SHOW OF ITS KIND IN THE WORLD.
Greenblatt: There are two main reasons I feel ISE provides value—and I’m speaking as a person who’s been a regular attendee of InfoComm for the past 23 years. The first is that it provides a warm, inviting feel that is conducive to business discussions and relationship building. Perhaps it is because I am a U.S. attendee, but it seems like exhibitors and other attendees are more relaxed and apt to have one-on-one conversations and develop relationships. The second is that there seems to be less distraction and competition for one’s time. InfoComm always has an extremely busy schedule that inevitably results in scheduling conflicts involving double or triple booking between education sessions, social events, councils, meetings, and running into familiar faces. As a regular InfoComm attendee, I get very little time to digest and process the whole event. I tend to be in overload mode and almost need to get my information by reading and listening to recaps afterward. Although ISE is much larger and has many more people, it seems easier to navigate the floor, make appointments, have impromptu meetings, process what I am taking in, and still find time to attend social gatherings. How do you expect ISE 2020 to compare to last year’s show? Blackman: Somehow we always manage to make each show bigger and better than the previous one, and ISE 2020 will be no exception. Even though we’re at capacity at the RAI, the extension to Hall 5 is now larger and permanent, so that means we’ve managed to squeeze some extra space onto the show floor. We’ve got some exciting show features, including projection mapping onto the façade of the RAI’s Elicium Building, and a great “VR at ISE” feature in Hall 14. We’ve got a really interesting opening address from Duncan Wardle, the former
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3 NEWBIE TIPS By Cindy Davis My first time attending ISE was the 2019 show, and it was also my first trip to Amsterdam. Planning every minute of my show schedule was enough of a task that I didn’t take the time to research the city. Given that I fancy myself to be a seasoned world traveler, I figured Amsterdam wouldn’t be more challenging than London, Paris, Tokyo, or Seoul. Tip 1. Mind-blowing fact: In the city of Amsterdam, 72,000 people ride bicycles during the typical morning rush hour. Assume that many bikes will be back on the road in the evening. That’s twice the number of private cars. The bike lane infrastructure is more impressive than any roadway in the United States. Clearly marked bike lanes are on the right side of most roads and have their own traffic lights. Be aware that some bike lanes are two-way on one side of the street. Stow your cell phone and pay attention when crossing the street. Look both ways. You are not only watching for car traffic, but throngs of cyclists whipping by at surprising speeds. If their light is green, they are not stopping for you. Tip 2. Really mind-blowing fact: If you want a cup of coffee, go to a café or koffiehuis, not a “coffeeshop.” My colleagues (particularly Megan A. Dutta) got a good laugh at my expense. Coffeeshops in Amsterdam sell cannabis. I never did figure out where to get a cup of Joe, but I now know where I can find Mary Jane. Tip 3. Mind-bending: Based on its illogical and potentially confusing layout, I suspect Dutch artist M.C. Escher designed the RAI Amsterdam Convention Centre before his passing in 1972. (It’s possible.) Enter through Hall 15 to get to Hall 1, then cross over to Hall 2 to get to Hall 13. Hall 14? That’s nowhere near Hall 15. To get to Hall 8, go up the stairs from Hall 14, cross over, then go down the stairs, hang a right and go back up the stairs. I think. Don’t take my word for it—pick up a paper map, download the show app, build in time to get lost between appointments and hope for a coffeeshop to pop up along the way. (There aren’t any in the RAI!)
Why? Blackman: Because it is the world’s largest show in this sector, ISE has become a key date on manufacturers’ product development calendars. Also, it is the first Steve Greenblatt major professional AV exhibition of the year. As a result, hundreds of new products debut here, a good four months before InfoComm. ISE is one of a global series of shows owned or co-owned by AVIXA. To keep up to speed with the latest product launches, you need to attend more than one of them.
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Mike Blackman COURTESY ISE
BY CINDY DAVIS There’s still time to buy your plane tickets to Integrated Systems Europe 2020 (ISE), which runs Feb. 11–14, 2020. The show takes place in the RAI Amsterdam Convention Centre in the capital of the Netherlands over Valentine’s Day. What’s not to love? We asked Mike Blackman, ISE founder and managing director, and Steve Greenblatt, president of Fairfield, NJ-based Control Concepts, why North American integrators and consultants would want to travel to Europe when the InfoComm show is only four months later and much closer. For a point of reference, many North American industry professionals already attend ISE. Just over 4 percent of the 81,000 who attended ISE 2019 came from the United States or Canada.
For more information, go to: www.iseurope.org.
increasingly colored by those in the IT world. The ways we interact with integrated systems are changing. Voice and gesture control continue to gain popularity, and 5G networks, the Internet of Things, and edge computing are helping to deliver greater levels of connectivity and sophistication in integrated systems. AV over IP is ubiquitous, with installations migrating from dedicated infrastructure onto the network. Uptake of cloud services is more prevalent, enabling “as a service” in many areas.
What differences do you see between InfoComm and ISE? Greenblatt: Aside from the fact that there are some vendors who exhibit only at one or the other, the attendees as well as the personnel who exhibit are different. Additionally, ISE provides a combination of commercial, residential, and digital signage solutions, while InfoComm focuses primarily on commercial AV. Although everyone can appreciate the wow factor of InfoComm, ISE seems more subdued, which results in less distraction. ISE feels more business-focused. For those in the United States, InfoComm paints the picture of the entire industry and is a can’t-miss event for everyone who is invested in an AV career. ISE can be more about business owners, executives, and key personnel building relationships and identifying opportunities for the future.
What are the highlights in this year’s education/training? Blackman: We’re hosting 13 conferences this year—our biggest offering ever. We’re looking to cater to the increasing number of vertical sectors that our attendees work in and serve. All the conferences that took place during ISE 2019 are returning for 2020, along with some new ones. Our new Control Rooms Summit is chaired by Peter Prater of the International Critical Control Rooms Alliance and is already generating a lot of buzz among potential attendees. AVIXA will run its free FlashTrack sessions again. On the residential side, CEDIA will run a four-day education program, which this year includes a Cybersecurity Workshop and a Design & Build Conference, as well as free CEDIA Talks on its stand.
What technology trends do you see as the show develops? Blackman: Trends aren’t easy to spot on the floorplan, as many of our Technology Zones are limited by the size of the hall they’re located in. This results in some exhibitors who would ideally be in one of these zones exhibiting in a generic area instead. This is something that our move to Barcelona in 2021 will address. We have an influx of new exhibitors every year, keeping the show fresh. Among the new names at ISE 2020 are Dell and Netgear, as well as established AV brands such as Anixter, Axis Communications, Cedar Audio, Funktion One, and PSNI Global Alliance. I think the biggest overall trend is that developments in the AV world are
Do you have any tips? Blackman: With six Technology Zones, 15 halls and 1,300 exhibitors to choose from, you need to be selective. The ISE website and our various printed and online guides are excellent sources of information that you can use before the show to ensure you can zero in on the exhibitors, technologies, and solutions you’re most interested in. Don’t try to fill every minute of your schedule. Allow some time for unexpected discoveries. Also, the arrangement of the halls in the RAI can take a little getting used to. So make use of our wayfinding screens and our mobile app. *
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head of innovation and creativity at Disney, who will be talking about how businesses become more creative by tapping into the latent capabilities of their people. This will be our last edition of ISE at the RAI Amsterdam before we move to Barcelona in 2021. We’ve put together a Hola Barcelona! Lounge with information about the ISE 2021 and our new host city. On the last day of the show, we will host a special event in the Forum, also called Hola Barcelona!, that will look forward to the move to Catalonia while also giving us the opportunity to reflect on where we’ve come from, and thank Amsterdam and the RAI for everything they’ve done for us.
AtlasIED Will Showcase a Variety of Innovative Mass Communication and Audio Solutions at ISE 2020
Strategically Hidden Speaker
AtlasIED, a global electronics manufacturer providing comprehensive audio, mass communication, and security solutions for industries including transportation, corporate, education, and healthcare, will highlight several innovative systems and products at ISE 2020. Featured are AtlasIED’s well-rounded GLOBALCOM portfolio of products, as well as its new IED570C-H Digital Communication Station with HighDefinition Touchscreen, new enhancements to its IPX Series of IP Endpoints, and discreet, architecturally friendly Strategically Hidden Speakers (SHS).
IPX Series of IP Endpoints
AtlasIED Products at ISE 2020 GLOBALCOM.IP Many transportation facilities often use separate systems for communications: paging, emergency notification, and entertainment. Configurations like this are often not integrated well, which makes them inconvenient to use and expensive to maintain. AtlasIED’s GLOBALCOM. IP series of products eliminates the inconvenience and expense by utilizing two protocols in a single, robust platform: AoE and VoIP. With Audio over Ethernet (AoE), audio signals are distributed over Ethernet cables instead of traditional wiring. With WAN Enabled Voice-Over IP (VoIP), voice communications travel over the Internet, not traditional telecommunications connections. Through these protocols and an extensive selection of interoperable GLOBALCOM products, AtlasIED unifies information technology (IT) solutions, emergency notification, and professional audio into a seamless, scalable, all-in-one solution. IED570C-H Digital Communication Station AtlasIED’s new IED570 Digital Communication Station allows the transportation community to update their legacy button mic stations with the newest intuitive, high-definition touch screen. Fully programmable via the touch screen, the IED570 mic station eliminates the need for transportation personnel to use physical buttons to unlock codes to start the boarding sequence. Each sequence can begin automatically, and gate personnel can see a preview of the boarding process on the screen. The touch screen is also designed to initiate announcements, messages and pages with the GLOBALCOM Series Announcement Control Systems.
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IPX Series of IP Endpoints A proven solution for mass communications, AtlasIED’s IPX Series of IP Endpoints has been upgraded with new enhancements and capabilities, offering greater benefits to any facility that needs an effective, efficient means of providing audible and visual notifications of general paging and emergency messaging. The IPX Series of IP Endpoints includes IP speakers and visual displays. The announcements can be broadcast across the entire facility or directed at specific zones. Both the speakers and displays are available in a variety of models to accommodate specific communications requirements. Strategically Hidden Speaker AtlasIED’s SHS line of speakers is designed to blend in with a building’s architecture, making them less noticeable to the naked eye. The discreet design of the SHS is achieved by an Adaptive Lens Technology, a new patented waveguide form. When installed flush with the ceiling surface, only a 3-inch-diameter lens and a micro trim ring are visible, yet the SHS is able to deliver 180-degree dispersion of audio that’s highly intelligible—essential for effective communications in transportation complexes. ISE 2020 attendees can see the entire AtlasIED lineup of professional communications, security and audio solutions on Stand 7-N190.
Black Box Products At ISE 2020 At ISE 2020, Black Box will showcase reliable, high-performance solutions for modern IP-based and 4K AV visualization and distribution. The company will highlight its extensive portfolio of products and its ability to tailor highly individual pro AV systems, informed by decades of experience and backed by an extensive international team of skilled application engineers.
SDVoE ALLIANCE CONTRIBUTING MEMBER Black Box has joined the SDVoE Alliance to help the industry achieve true network AV without sacrificing performance or functionality. As a new SDVoE member, the company is playing an active role in educating and informing the market about the benefits of SDVoE network architectures.
iCOMPEL Digital Signage Platform
Black Box will demonstrate how its iCOMPEL interactive digital signage platform with system-on-chip technology empowers users to build eye-catching signage, stream content from websites, and visualize
timetables, events, and wayfinding or emergency messages. Users can easily play, upload, and share images, presentations, videos, and audio media files on any HDMI screen. The platform supports 4K UHD/ HD and simplifies the creation and playout of HTML5-based content. To facilitate updates and system management, iCOMPEL allows for remote device management and configuration and provides on-screen diagnostics and error alerts.
Black Box MCX Multimedia Management System
The new Black Box MCX multimedia distribution and management system takes advantage of SDVoE and modern 10 GbE infrastructure to allow AV and data payloads to exist on the same IT networks. Through advanced chipset technology, common control APIs, and interoperability, SDVoE technology ensures zero latency and uncompromised video while offering significant cost savings, along with enhanced system flexibility and scalability. While enabling truly converged network AV, Black Box MCX ensures almost zero latency, instantaneous switching, bandwidth efficiency, and high-quality video and audio. MCX simplifies and accelerates the process of consolidating AV and data on a single network, enabling organizations in virtually any industry to reduce network management time and costs, as well as total cost of ownership. Rather than deploy an entirely new network, users can take advantage of the softwaredefined solution to leverage existing infrastructure for delivery of better-quality audio and video, which can translate to greater customer satisfaction and faster time to revenue.
Radian Flex Software-Based Video Wall Processing Platform Radian Flex is a fully software-based video wall processing platform that delivers future-proof flexibility and scalability for digital signage, corporate, education, and mission-critical visualization applications. The intuitive software from Black Box makes it easy to display highquality content from multiple sources across multiscreen display walls in any imaginable configuration. Users simply add, move, resize, and change content on the Radian Flex interface, and those changes are reflected in real time on the target video wall, distributed visualization system, or other display devices. Radian Flex supports an unlimited number of inputs, screens, and endpoints. Users can easily daisy-chain monitors to display hundreds of H.264 and VNC video streams across multiple screens. Integrated SmartFrame technology ensures perfect picture quality and automates optimal placement of content on screen with minimal setup. The platform’s robust video engine supports 4K 60 fps video up to an industry-leading resolution of more than 1 billion pixels, paving the way for future 8K resolutions and beyond.
Black Box Emerald Unified KVM Platform
At ISE 2020, Black Box will highlight its Emerald Unified KVM platform, which provides the exceptional flexibility and network security essential to state-ofthe-art KVM extension and switching. The low-latency, high-performance Emerald 4K and Emerald SE transmitter-receiver pairs connect workstations with remote computers and servers over distances up to 10 kilometers over single-mode fiber, or even farther over IP, while the Emerald Remote App facilitates convenient anywhere, anytime access without the need for additional hardware receivers. With uniquely robust capabilities for reliable extension and switching of video, audio, USB, and serial signals across any number of physical and virtual servers, Emerald lowers users’ cost of ownership and helps them preserve existing IT investments.
“ISE is such a great platform for showcasing sophisticated AV visualization and distribution solutions, and we look forward to highlighting an array of industry-leading products. In addition to highlighting our award-winning Emerald family of unified KVM-over-IP solutions, we’ll feature advanced video wall and digital signage solutions with the robust feature sets and performance essential in control rooms and other mission-critical deployments.” —Jonathan McCune, Director of Product Management, AV and Infrastructure, Black Box
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SDVoE Alliance Stand 1-F40
Traditional matrix switch-based design using HDBaseT — 22 devices required
Video Wall Processor
SDVoE-based systems are a far better solution than those based on HDBaseT. SDVoE requires fewer devices, costs less, and most importantly, meets the performance and bandwidth requirements of today, and into the future.
Zero latency delivery
No image artifacts
Unified audio, video, and control
Video & Audio
Flexible off-the-shelf switching infrastructure
Number of devices
Built-in video walls
Built-in image compositing
Multi-vendor interoperability guaranteed by API
SDVoE design – only 12 devices required Video & Audio
The two diagrams to the right compare a traditional HDBaseT matrix switch design with an SDVoE-based approach. Both systems are designed to meet the same requirements: switching of multiple inputs, extension, a 2x2 video wall, one multi-view display and KVM control over sources. The SDVoE system design is very streamlined, requiring only half the number of devices of a traditional approach. This dramatic simplification of system design is one of the major advantages of SDVoE. Not only do SDVoE systems employ fewer devices than HDBaseT systems, but because they use off-the-shelf Ethernet components, they result in lower cost designs, especially as system requirements scale-up in size. Often, an SDVoE system design results in a system budget cost savings of 30% to 50% over an HDBaseT design.
Switching, Extension & Processing
Comparison: SDVoE vs. traditional HDBaseT system design
Pro AV education in the palm of your hand The SDVoE Academy mobile app lets you work at your own pace, anytime and anywhere, to discover how simple it is to enjoy the ﬂexibility and scalability of Ethernet while beneﬁtting from the performance of a matrix switch — 4K video without compromise, without latency, and without image artifacts. There’s even a track that leads to SDVoE Design Partner certiﬁcation. sdvoe.org/academy av n etwork.com / / / / J A N U A R Y 2 0 2 0 / / / / S C N
SCN Hall of Fame 2020 B Y M E G AN A . DU T T A
Each year when we are poring over our SCN Hall of Fame nominations, we tend to find one quality all the recipients have in common. This year’s Hall of Fame inductees—all powerful influencers in the pro AV community—share the trait that, like Rick Astley, they never give up. The challenges they face have been large, and, at times, may have seemed overwhelming, but they all persevered and rose to the occasion, leaving a trail of achievements in their wake. There’s John Laughlin, who purchased a two-employee firm and grew that into a multi-million-dollar integration empire. Then we have Sandi Stambaugh, who has worked her way up at Synnex and lifted as she climbed, empowering her employees and the greater AV community to create their own successes. As we honor this impressive group of audiovisual professionals, I encourage you to look inward and decide what will make you, our SCN readers, successful in your own lane. Whether it’s inventing the next pro AV innovation, becoming an AV marketing rock star, or being the world’s best boss, you can do it. Believe and achieve like this year’s inductees did and you might find yourself in the SCN Hall of Fame one day.
Marika Aquino B Y ME G AN A . DU T T A Marika Aquino got into AV in college during a work-study program where she spent four years setting up and troubleshooting AV equipment in classrooms at Babson College. “At the time, I had no idea that there was a wealth of career opportunities in the field or that I would end up in the industry again many years later,” she reminisced. After she received a B.S. in Management Information Technology from Babson, Aquino got a job working in project and program management at John Hancock Financial in Boston. Around this time, she says, career paths in project management were “new and just starting to take shape.” It was during this time that she got to know Lee Ginsberg, who would later become her business partner. Within a few years, Aquino’s project management department at John Hancock was outsourced to IBM, where she spent the next 13-plus years building a solid project/ program management career working on complex IT projects for clients in the finance, insurance, and retail industries. At some point, Aquino realized she was experiencing burnout and needed a change. She reached out to her old friend Ginsberg, who was serendipitously
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making a big move, opening AV and IT workforce solutions provider TierPM. “Cultivating and fostering strong teams, exercising flexibility in my management approach, and my passion for mentoring and championing paved a path for me to move into my current role in helping to lead TierPM,” Aquino said of the job change. Now one of three managing partners at TierPM, Aquino worked closely with Ginsberg and others to make the new venture successful— and to ensure the company was supportive of its employees and innovation. “We have a tightknit company,” she said. “There is a strong and established sense of teamwork and having each other’s back. We foster the ability for our employees to bring new and fresh ideas to the table to help the company find and develop innovative solutions for our clients.” Needless to say, she champions her employees and others in the industry enthusiastically. This outlook comes from personal experience, where others have done the same for her—pushing her to take risks, go outside her comfort zone, and believe in herself. And it’s not just those in the industry who have encouraged her; Aquino is both motivated and inspired by her daughter, Fiona. “I want her to see that for whatever
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life throws her way, any lesson learned is an opportunity to find new paths and solutions on her journey to becoming who is she and realizing where she wants to be,” Aquino said with a smile. Aquino is helping to make the pro AV world a better place for young women like Fiona by supporting diversity in the industry through various AVIXA councils. “I, as well as all of TierPM, am really passionate about supporting/championing not only more women coming into the industry, but diversity in the industry,” Aquino said. “We continue to look for creative avenues to help raise awareness that there are great opportunities and career paths in this industry for women.” With Aquino’s friendly demeanor, ability to grow her business, and passion for networking, she will surely succeed in recruiting diverse populations into the industry. “I am grateful to have gotten to know so many amazing people in this industry who continue to inspire me every day. We have so much new talent in the industry—let’s take the time to help educate them and provide opportunities for them to find a career path and build their network, like others have done for us,” she concluded.
hall of fame
B Y C I ND Y D A V IS To say ClearTech founder Christina De Bono is driven is an understatement. Down the street from the company’s Pasadena offices is the Rose Bowl Stadium, where you’ll often find De Bono training for a triathlon she will swim, bike, and run in 2020. This upcoming competition only punctuates the many 100mile rides, time trials, and races De Bono has completed. The company was launched in the back of De Bono’s house during the 2009 recession. Ten years after its inception, technology integration and managed services company ClearTech has grown to a team of more than 25, with 16 full-time employees. “I always had the philosophy that we want to do everything we can to build a lifelong client,” she said. “We want to understand who they are, what their needs are, what their issues are, and how we can make them more successful at what they do 365 days a year.” De Bono learned from entertainment clients the necessity of zero tolerance for downtime—
Steve Greenblatt B Y MATT P R U ZN IC K The confidence to take a leap of faith—the readiness to jump from comfort to uncertainty when an opportunity arises—is what separates those who are remembered from everyone else. It’s why so many in the AV industry know Steve Greenblatt’s name. The son of a businessman, Greenblatt grew up learning from his dad the merits of entrepreneurship. But with strengths in math and science, in high school he found a calling in physics. “The lightbulb just went off, that this is something I really love,” he said. “I knew at that point that engineering was something I wanted to pursue.” He enrolled at Lehigh University, where he studied electrical engineering. Not set on any particular application for a career, he kept an open mind after graduation. That’s when he discovered a medium-sized technology company that was hiring: Crestron Electronics. “It was a tough job market and they gave me an offer,” Greenblatt said. “They were local to where I grew up, and I took it.” Greenblatt started out doing control
an objective that is applicable to all markets ClearTech serves. For example, in higher education, “Critical to student success is having their classrooms up and running 100 percent of the time,” she said. “We found a real niche where clients always needed someone to help them replace projectors, fix broken cables, or do upgrades.” Relay Race Teams Searching for guidance on running the business, De Bono joined NSCA, the National Systems Contractors Association, in 2015. She said, “As it turns out, NSCA has the cookbook of all the aspects you need to run your own business.” De Bono attended an NSCA conference about how to pivot companies toward becoming service businesses. “I took it really seriously,” she said. “I went back and met with the whole team, and we agreed to launch a formal service program and service business that would be separate from our integration business.” By the end of 2016, ClearTech had built out its managed services program. The company was honored by NSCA in 2017 with an Excellence in Business Award for its strategic
system programming for Crestron, which he said had only about 100 employees at the time. “They needed in-house programmers to work on projects because there weren’t that many people who understood how to program their systems,” he said. “They needed people for when integrators couldn’t do it themselves.” This custom programming work suited him well, and eventually he came across a golden opportunity. “I saw a real demand for programmers, and I wanted to do programming on more of a personal basis,” he said. “I wanted to do something where I could offer myself to clients, to be able to invest in building relationships and figuring out how to do things more customized, more suitable to their needs.” At the age of 26, Greenblatt took his leap of faith: he left Crestron and founded Control Concepts. “I benefited from the fact that I didn’t know what I was getting myself into,” he said. “I took the chance on doing it because I was confident in my skillset and I had people I was comfortable working with. The business side of it was completely learning on the job. I think that if I knew what I was getting into, I might have been more nervous about it.”
transformation. “Then I was elected to the NSCA board,” continued De Bono. “It has been the greatest privilege of my life to serve on this board, which is made up of incredibly successful and dynamic members. NSCA has done so much for our industry.” De Bono is also active with the AVIXA Women’s Council; she works closely with the Los Angeles group. “One of the big focuses is reaching out to the next generation of women to provide education opportunities for careers in our industry,” she said. “We recently hosted an educational program in partnership with Pasadena City College’s STEM program.” ClearTech is committed to helping the community as well. “I am particularly concerned about our world being sustainable in the future,” she said. She volunteers with the Commission on Voluntary Service & Action (CVSA), which is dedicated to serving people in need of systemic solutions to economic, social, and environmental problems. Future “Our industry is going through a lot of transition right now,” said De Bono. “I don’t think that the future, even in the next three to five years, is going to look like it is today.” She added, “As an industry, we are going to have to change our business model or we’re not going to be viable in the future.”
But his instincts paid off, and he found steady work. Control Concepts grew, and he began hiring employees to help handle the volume of customers. Eventually he was forced to make a difficult decision. “I had to switch gears and say that I could no longer do programming and run the business at the same time,” he said. “I had to choose one.” Greenblatt decided to become a full-time business manager, despite reservations that the longer he spent away from the hands-on side of the job, the harder it would be to go back if he wanted to. “But I found my passion in running a business and working with people, and still keeping my head in the technical side of things, even though I don’t do it,” he said. Control Concepts continues to excel in the niche market of independent control programming, recently surpassing $1 million in revenue for the first time, and Greenblatt is committed to continually bettering both the business and himself through his involvement in organizations, and by simply listening to people. “My favorite thing is the people and the passion they have for what we do, and also the relationships that you build,” he said. “There’s just this camaraderie and support system, and a real sense of belonging in the AV community.”
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Christina De Bono
hall of fame
business trends Paul Harris B Y MATT PRU ZN I C K Some people were born to be engineers. Some people were born to lead businesses. Paul Harris was born to do both. Growing up in Staten Island, NY, Harris got hooked on technology from a young age. At 9 years old, he was programming games on his Commodore VIC-20 personal computer; by 13, he had created a circuit board. “Some people are born baseball players and basketball players, and I guess electronics and technology came easy to me,” Harris said. Around the age of 16, Harris invented a method for digitally printing custom t-shirts using a camera, a computer and capture card, and a Xerox printer with dye sublimation ink. Sensing commercial potential in this, he founded his first company, DigiTrans. “I started off doing it at events and fairs,” he said. “Here I am, this teenage kid with a computer, a graphics card, the right paper and press machine, and I’m making t-shirts with people’s images on it. It was not only my first lesson on how to own a business, it was my first lesson on what commodity means.”
He ended up selling the company midway through his time at DeVry University, where he studied electronic engineering, and put his entrepreneurial pursuits on the back burner for a few years. Shifting his focus to engineering after graduation, he found a job in the audiovisual industry, working for a company that designed video walls. From there, he made his way to Mountainside, NJ-based integrator Verrex, where he worked for two and a half years as a control system programmer. “[Working there] had a very large influence on how I conducted myself and how I built up my company going forward,” he said. “I got to understand the needs of the end users, and I got to understand the industry as a whole. It became a guideline to what products I wanted to build later on.” In 1997, he left Verrex to start Aurora Multimedia, which opened its doors in 1998. Initially, the company was just doing AMX and Crestron control system programming for other integrators. “We were basically writing code for very large projects for all the large integrators in the Northeast,” he said. “We were doing tons and tons of work.” And in that
work, he discovered a market need for small-room control systems. Around 2001, Harris created the WACI—or Web Accessible Control Interface—based on web standards and languages, and Aurora began its journey as a manufacturer. Along the way, he invented numerous products, including a device that uses PoE to power HDBaseT, and a device that enables real-time multi-image rotation, so video walls can run in portrait mode. “We patented the original concepts for that; that was one of our great inventions,” he said. “I’m proud to say that a lot of these things—some of them big, some of them little—originated from our company.” Aurora has grown into one of the most recognizable brands in the industry. From its facility in Morganville, NJ, its team does the majority of assembly work on its products, which ship around the world—and Harris is not even close to being finished innovating. “I really like working on things that no one’s done yet,” he said. “That’s the type of engineering I like. I want to do something different. I want to rock people’s worlds.”
“Building a company that is healthy and that helps employees afford things [like the ability to invest in their children’s education or buy their first home] is the biggest motivator.” —John Laughlin
John Laughlin B Y ME G AN A . DU T T A John Laughlin, CTS, is a problem solver. His ability to fix processes and improve businesses is, after all, what got him into the pro AV industry in the first place. Laughlin had a friend working at Conference Technologies Inc. (CTI) who asked him to join the company to help fix some business issues. Laughlin agreed to help for six months. He didn’t know it at the time, but he would be there a lot longer than that—he now owns the company and is CEO and president. CTI was founded in 1988 by Dennis and Jane Woodhouse as a privately held audiovisual firm. At the end of his first week there, Dennis Woodhouse asked Laughlin what he thought they should change. “I told him to fire everyone but the two people who were actually doing work. He said we couldn’t do that, so we set up some easy rules instead, starting with the workday running from 8 to 5.” Laughlin and the Woodhouses instituted new processes and worked to change the culture. People who were not a fit eventually
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left, and those who were willing to change and grow with the company stayed. “The CTI culture is by design,” Laughlin said. “We work to foster an environment of collaboration and education, and [to be] a place where people want to be a part of something.” Laughlin, an entrepreneur at heart who says he’s had side hustles since the third grade, always wanted to own a business. “I told Jane and Dennis that the only way I’d stay was to earn sweat equity as a partner, and I knew eventually they would want to retire,” he reminisced. “I started in 1997 and earned 5 percent ownership each year. By 2008, I was able to buy them out, which was timed right with their retirement.” Laughlin continued to grow the business with the Woodhouses over the early 2000s. In 2001, CTI made its first acquisition, in Kansas City, KS, and the team learned to run a multicity operation. Two years later, they added a Memphis team, followed by Omaha, and the list kept growing. “We have had a few years of acquiring multiple companies since then,” he said. “It has been a steady and strategic approach, and that has helped us adapt. Because with growth comes new challenges
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to navigate while ensuring everything stays on course.” During this growth process, Laughlin managed to maintain the company’s positive culture, in part because of his personal motivation and collaborative nature. “I am not motivated by money,” he emphasized. “Building a company that is healthy and that helps employees afford things [like the ability to invest in their children’s education or buy their first home] is the biggest motivator.” “Collaboration is a big part of CTI’s culture, as is the emphasis on relationships and involvement in all the industry organizations that help it advance,” he said. Laughlin, who serves on the board of directors for the PSNI Global Alliance, added, “It is equally crucial to our growth to be involved in industries outside of AV for different perspectives and educational opportunities that foster collaboration.” Laughlin’s greatest collaboration is, indeed, outside of the office—he credits his wife, Mary, with much of CTI’s success. “She has been my rock through all the highs and lows and believed in everything we have set out to accomplish together. Her contribution is immeasurable and her name absolutely belongs on this Hall of Fame honor next to mine.”
hall of fame
B Y C I ND Y D A V IS The story of how Indianapolisbased Sensory Technologies grew to become ranked 27th in the SCN Top 50 in 2019 starts with a match made in heaven. Add some business chops, great partnerships, and a willingness to address weaknesses, and it’s little surprise how this former mom-and-pop shop has grown into an industry titan. During Anne Sellers’ early career, she created and managed several companies, and was an accountant for various firms including Ernst & Young. At the same time, husband Andy Sellers worked for Indiana Bell in video production and integrating audiovisual equipment into systems that transmitted over telephone lines. When his department at Bell closed, the husband and wife team launched Visual Science, an AV integration company. “In the beginning, it was all Andy,” said Anne Sellers, managing principal of Sensory Technologies. “All I did was keep the books, answer the phone, and do deliveries.” As it was for many companies, Sept. 11, 2001, was a turning point. “For three weeks,
the phone didn’t ring,” said Sellers. “Andy was the engineering and the ops guy. I was the person who said, ‘Unless we can get X, Y, and Z done, we will never succeed.’” It was at this point that she became managing principal. To take their business to the next level, they realized they needed to fill a key role. “We were fortunate to know our weaknesses, and we needed a salesperson,” said Sellers. “I don’t think it’s overstating it to say God sent us Derek Paquin, who later became our partner.” In 2006, Sellers brokered a deal with Markey’s Audio Visual and formed Sensory Technologies. Today, Sensory Technologies has six offices in Indiana, New York, and Illinois, 170 employees, and an estimated revenue of nearly $43 million in 2019. It Takes a Trade Group Sellers credits industry organizations such as NSCA, PSNI, and AVIXA for helping to provide guideposts. “Lots of people can build a rack,” said Sellers, “but you have to know how to run a business to make it successful. The NSCA
looks out for and helps teach its members the patterns of success in this arena.” Another group that has provided strength for Sellers is the PSNI Global Alliance, which comprises integrators, manufacturers, distributors, and service partners. “I always felt that when we were invited into PSNI, it was like we were in the National Honor Society,” said Sellers. “It is an honor to be among them.” Sellers credits AVIXA for providing a venue and platform to meet peers, teach standards, and learn about technologies that will shape the offerings of Sensory Technologies. Mentoring and being in involved in organizations where she can give back is important to Sellers. She has spent time on several boards, and recently joined the board of directors at PBS affiliate WFYI Indianapolis. Future “We are in a changing industry, and we have to pay attention to what the future is going to look like,” said Sellers. “Our equipment is becoming more network-based, so we need to hire people with these skills,” she said. “And we are just beginning to sell AV as a service. That is where the opportunity is,” she added.
Congratulations to CTI’s President
on your induction into the SCN Hall of Fame! With gratitude for your support over the years, John & Beth Ivey and the entire AtlasIED family.
hall of fame
business trends Sandi Stambaugh B Y ME G AN A . DU T T A Sandi Stambaugh wants you to succeed. Yes, you. Her genuine investment in the well-being of the pro AV industry and the people in it is obvious from a mile away. “I truly have a strong passion for helping our customers and vendors excel,” said Stambaugh, who is vice president of product management at Synnex. “Seeing the growth a customer or vendor experiences because of a service we put in place or a strategy we helped them execute on motivates me to push harder, do more, and, ultimately, be better.” Stambaugh got her start in pro AV in late 2008, but by that time she had already been with Synnex for more than five years, working in product management. Stambaugh and the Synnex team had been collaborating with AV manufacturers for years, and were selling “somewhat casually” to traditional AV integrators and dealers. “We researched the market, spent time trying to understand where we could make a difference, invested in a team, and formalized what is now Synnex VisualSolv,” she said. Flash-forward a decade: today, Stambaugh
Paul Zielie B Y C I ND Y D A V IS A N D M A RG OT D O U AI H Y , P H .D. Some people make an impression. Then there’s Paul Zielie, consulting solutions architect at AVCoIP, a titan of AV/IT expertise. There’s no name that carries more integrity. If you’ve had a discussion with him, you’ve experienced his unique perspective and probably marveled at his capacious mind tackling complex problems from multiple angles. Zielie is passionate about AV, IT, control, workflow, and methodologies, and he strives to make connections to help tech stakeholders understand the bigger picture, free of illusory buzz or industry hype. Trusted Mentor, Author, and Advisor Zielie’s incisive mind is impressive, but what makes him truly exceptional is his generosity and dedication to mentorship and accurate industry reporting. For the past 20 years, he has guided engineers, designers, journalists, and media professionals to a more nuanced understanding of AV and IT. Zielie is willing to help anyone who wants to learn the intricacies of the most complex topics in this ever-morphing industry.
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creates, develops, and executes strategies that enable integration firms and manufacturers to advance pro AV, digital signage, physical security, collaboration, and device mobility. In terms of day-to-day responsibilities, Stambaugh and her team handle vendor management, business development, solutions design, and reseller/integrator engagement and enablement. With a lot resting on her shoulders, Stambaugh credits the company with supporting her in executing her futureforward visions and growing business. “I think that having held various roles during my tenure at Synnex that span from sales to product management has allowed me to bring a unique perspective to my business,” she said. “My career progression, as well as Synnex’s approach overall, has enabled me to see things from a big-picture perspective. The result is that I’m passionate about this industry and committed to helping our company as well as our customers’ businesses grow and excel.” For the past six years, Stambaugh has been recognized for her hard work and dedication and has been featured in CRN ’s Women of the Channel. “I feel lucky to be recognized alongside so many incredible lady leaders who are doing great work in the channel,” she said.
But Stambaugh’s commitment isn’t just to the industry through Synnex and the channel—she currently serves on the Digital Signage Federation Board of Directors. Stambaugh was first elected in 2016. “I was excited to have the opportunity to give the channel—and distribution—more of a voice in the advancement of digital signage,” she said. Stambaugh was re-elected in 2018 and continues to enjoy giving back through the forum. “The DSF board is a group of amazing professionals who work tirelessly to create educational tools, develop standards, overcome obstacles, impact policy, enable the network, and really just fill the needs of the membership as it relates to advancing digital signage.” As for the future, Stambaugh plans to continue her people-first mentality to help grow the business and her brand. “Distribution today is not what it was ten, or even five years ago,” she concluded. “In a constantly evolving market, our focus is on enhancing services, investing in tools, and developing better enablement practices for our partners. Selling connected solutions and advancing a cohesive and immersive customer experience is not easy. The people in our VisualSolv group and at Synnex overall want to help our partners cut through the chaos, drive efficiencies, and focus on what they do best! Our passion truly is on enabling the success of our partners or, as we like to say, our friends.”
In addition to his day job and a continuing quest for outstanding craft beer, Zielie is a volunteer faculty member with AVIXA, for which he has written coursework and taught many classes. His extraordinary commitment to education was recognized in 2015 with AVIXA’s Educator of the Year Award. Zielie said he teaches because, “first, this is a very underserved community in a rapidly changing field, and second, because I derive a great deal of benefit from the students asking questions. I’m learning from the students because there’s a vast field of experience out there.”
D.C., to evaluate an IT contract and select the vendor. “It turned out that they had put me in charge, and my first pro AV gig was a $2 million integration,” he said. He spent the next six years building command and control facilities all over the world. “Because of my IT background, I also took over designing and implementing VTC infrastructure, which led me to my specialty in unified communication,” he added. Zielie became known to the AV industry during his tenure at AMX, Harman International as the manager of enterprise solutions. Today, through his company AVCoIP, Zielie consults with AV manufacturers to bring their overall product portfolio into compliance with current IT standards and practices. “I specialize in problems concerning security, scalability, operational maintainability, and interoperability,” he noted.
Rooted in IT and AV Even with his engineering acumen, Zielie is pragmatic. “I believe that technology should act in service of a business goal—not an end in itself,” he said. While in school, Zielie worked on the technical side of his college radio station, building studios and operating production equipment. He parlayed that experience into IT work after college, when IT was “a really new career field,” he reflected. During the 1990s, while working for Raytheon, Zielie was sent to Washington,
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Challenges Ahead The AV industry is in its infancy with regard to true convergence with IT, so you can expect to see Zielie on the circuit, educating, consulting, and bringing his signature rigor to industry conversations. *
BY J EN N I FER G UHL
One of the showpieces of the Edition Hotel is the 500-seat Paradise Club, for which the Clair Solutions team designed and installed audio, video, lighting, and control systems, including a stunning starburst LED ceiling and various other architectural lighting pieces.
Integrating for the Hospitality Experience H
otel developers are constantly on the lookout for ways to stand out from their competition, creating experiences guests won’t be able to resist Instagramming. Many developers look to technology integrators to provide industryleading solutions that will improve the overall guest experience. Not surprisingly, the concepting and development process is rarely an easy one. “Major hotel brands have a high standard to meet and are required to upgrade their technology every seven years to maintain their standing,” said Megan Zeller, business development director, Peerless-AV. “To meet this need, hospitality clients are looking to integrators to ensure they are receiving their solutions in a timely manner. For integrators, though, this becomes a challenge, as many hospitality venues do not have additional storage space on site to house the new units, thus causing integrators to schedule delivery and install for the same day, or planning
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installations in phases.” It’s an integrator’s job to frame expectations, sketching out a picture of what the client can expect to accomplish based on their budget. Zeller added, “The most pressing challenge for them revolves around managing client expectations. Customers [hospitality venues] are seeking the most cost-effective solutions available, not necessarily focusing on the requirements set forth by the corporate brand. Highquality solutions that are commercially rated tend to be more expensive and require a larger knowledge base to install. It often falls on the integrator to address all parties involved and deliver a solution that meets all requirements.” Hotels are actively looking for creative ways to interact with guests at every touch point, which provides integrators an Mike Kosla
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opportunity to create a new kind of interactive digital media network within every space of the hotel. “Hotels are looking to broadcast hyper-local information both in rooms and in public areas, giving guests the ability to check the weather, book restaurant reservations, and access local transportation information,” said Mike Kosla, vice president, hospitality at LG Business Solutions. This opportunity to engage begins as soon as guests walk through the door and continues in all the public spaces of the hotel, including the lobby, meeting spaces, and areas designated for food and beverage. Some of these custom solutions include interactive technology that is able to follow guests from the moment they enter the venue. “Hotels are implementing interactive kiosks for
business trends in with the hotel’s design.” Flexible signage options allow integrators to enhance the overall aesthetic while still providing vital information they need to share with their guests. When guests check in to their rooms, they are often greeted by a sophisticated suite of technologies that enhance their experience and provide personalized services and information. “In the guestroom in particular, hotels have created fully connected experiences where everything can be controlled through the guest’s keycard,” explained Zeller. “For example, lighting and air conditioning/heat turn on and off using smart room technology that tracks when a guest enters or exits their room. Not only does this provide a comfortable environment for the guest, but it is also a sustainable practice—an important focus for many major hotel brands and their guests.” Hotels will benefit if they personalize the guest’s experience from the moment he enters his room. Customized room experiences may include “a personalized welcome screen appearing on the TV as guests enter the space, and the ability to connect their personal accounts to stream through the room’s devices,” Zeller continued. “Guests can use the passwordprotected network and stream content through a range of services such as Netflix and Hulu to watch their favorite programming. Any private information that the guest enters will be usable throughout their stay and will then be removed as soon as they check out. For hotels, providing guests with all the luxuries of home is a major focus point, and with advanced technology, they can do it.”
Peerless-AV showcased this integration in partnership with Celebrity Cruise Line, integrating custom Ultra-Stretch mobile kiosks in Celebrity’s cruise terminal in Ft. Lauderdale, FL, that provide critical information to passengers as they make their way through the terminal and board the ship.
Beyond the comforts of home, guests want access to information and services with a quick click of their remote. Kosla explained, “In-room televisions can show content specific to the property. Displays with customization functionality give guests a personalized welcome, while allowing them to book tickets to on-property events, secure reservations, and contact guest services.” Providing these services seamlessly is a huge undertaking for integrators, who must find the most appropriate content delivery method for every environment. Kosla continued, “In the room, installers must deal with physical topographies and their ability to deliver content. Hybrid solutions pushing content over RF and Wi-Fi/Ethernet may pose issues with content delivery. Plus, they are often tasked with integrating energy management systems, IoT solutions and hotel solutions platforms.” When guests leave their room, the hotel hopes to keep them engaged on the property with world-class amenities, entertainment offerings and restaurants. Integrators today are often tasked with turning formerly singleuse rooms into multifunctional premium performance spaces. “Nightclubs are now also live performance spaces, which places additional demands on the club audio systems,” said Jan Luszczek, systems designer for Clair Solutions. Clair Solutions partnered with D3, Fisher Marantz Stone, and hotelier Ian Schrager on the Times Square Edition Hotel in New York City, providing services including the implementation of performance-quality sound reinforcement systems, the planning and installation of broadcast wiring throughout the hotel, and the integration of IP-based Crestron interfaces. One of the showpieces of the Edition Hotel is the 500-seat Paradise Club, for which the Clair Solutions team designed and installed audio, video, lighting, and control systems, including a stunning starburst LED ceiling and various other architectural lighting pieces. Hotels are embracing the use of a variety of spaces to provide premium entertainment opportunities for their guests. Luszczek said, “Bars and restaurants, lobbies, pools and upper end suites are being sold for events and groups. A presidential suite can be turned into a corporate party complete with live DJ and sophisticated video distribution.” Opportunities will continue to grow within the hospitality space. Integrators must be on the same page with developers to help complement their overall strategy. Kosla added, “The key for integrators is to learn about their customers, and make sure the property and brand strategies are considered and augmented by technologies.” As hotels continue to redefine their spaces and offerings, the opportunity for creative integrated technology solutions will continue to expand. *
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wayfinding, allowing guests to locate attractions on the property and receive personalized routes to get there,” said Zeller. “If the kiosk includes a camera, it can [tie the guest’s image to data collected about them] and start providing customized experiences, such as making recommendations about spots to visit on the property or offering coupon codes for a store that the guest Megan Zeller seems to favor.” Peerless-AV showcased this integration in partnership with Celebrity Cruise Line, integrating custom Ultra-Stretch mobile kiosks in Celebrity’s cruise terminal in Ft. Lauderdale, FL, that provide critical information to passengers as they make their way through the terminal and board the ship. Another area of focus for hotel developers is integrating technology into the space’s overall design so the technology complements the décor rather than competing with it. With custom solutions potentially turning into show-stopping additions, technology integration is considered much earlier in the architectural design process. “In lobbies and public areas, a major challenge for integrators is integrating displays without disrupting the architectural intent or flow. Historically, design has had to ‘work around’ technology. Fortunately, as display technology has become more visually stunning, it’s evolved into a critical part of the design itself,” said Kosla. “For example, ultrastretch displays decorate pillars with signage and content, and offer elevated wayfinding capabilities. Meanwhile, curved OLED displays blend with architectural curves, or create their own shapes, seamlessly weaving
empire state building
BY MA T T PRUZN I C K
Empire State of Mind R
ising a majestic 1,250 feet above the heart of Manhattan, the Empire State Building is one of the most powerful symbols of New York City and among the most recognizable buildings in the world. As such, an almost overwhelming number of tourists pass through its doors each year—some 3.5 million—to make their way up to its famous observatories. To make the experience for these visitors as impressive as the structure itself, the Empire State Building Observatory (ESBO) is currently debuting the results of a four-year, $165 million renovation that includes the addition of tech-driven features that enrich the vertical adventure and guide a visitor’s stay. These technology appointments were carried out through a collaboration between AV integrator Diversified and creative digital studio Squint/Opera. “Managing the technology integration of the Empire State Building’s reimagination project was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” said Travis Heitchew, enterprise program manager at Diversified. “To bring modern and experiential exhibit technology to such a historic and iconic symbol for not only New York City but the entire world was a tremendous undertaking.” Holly Houghton, head of production at Squint/Opera, noted that the observatory’s new technology embraces the fact that the Empire State Building is often a visitor’s first stop when they get to New York City. “With this experience, visitors can orient themselves to the city and find unexpected places that they can go visit for the rest of their time.” When guests arrive on the 80th floor, they come upon a series of Planar touchscreen kiosks. Powered by data from destination marketing agency NYC & Company, they serve up activity suggestions for tourists based on their length of stay in the city and their interests. “At the end, they can either email it to themselves, scan a QR code, or just take a photo of it, and walk away with recommendations for 10 places to go that you never would have thought of,” Houghton said. From there, visitors pass informational displays featuring content such as a video about the design of the lighting systems that bring the building’s crown to life at night, as well as a massive 10-foot-tall, 3840x2700-pixel Leyard and Planar LED wall showcasing some of the best photographs of the Empire State Building from recent years. Directional pendant speakers in these areas provide audio while keeping noise bleed low. Guests then progress to a circle of viewfinders, much like the ones located on the outdoor observatory deck on the building’s 86th floor. Inside each is a 360-degree video shot in a different location throughout the city, including Grand Central Terminal, Central Park, and the Brooklyn Bridge. Using accelerometers and spatial audio, the viewfinders enable visitors to pan through immersive representations of city landmarks visible from the building. “The idea is that visitors come here, go through the museum and galleries downstairs that tell all about the building, then you come up here to the 80th floor, this is your first view,” Houghton said. “This is your first opportunity to take a breath and look around. You’re technically still in line for the elevators to get to the 86th floor, but no one knows it.” The experience doesn’t stop after coming down from the 86th or 102nd floor observatories, either. Their descent leads them back to the 80th floor, where self-service kiosks help them find and purchase photos from their visit. According to Squint/Opera, the kiosks include facial recognition technology to locate each guest’s picture quickly. Lastly, a series of interactive touchscreen kiosks with Planar displays and Intel RealSense cameras provide a parting treat for visitors. Displaying a dense mosaic of social media-tagged photos from the top of the building, users’ silhouettes are rendered live on screen in pointillist style—with nighttime images making up the dark parts of their body’s outline. When touched, the displays magnify areas of
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A 10-foot-tall, 3840x2700-pixel Leyard and Planar LED wall showcases a selection of some of the best photographs of the Empire State Building from recent years.
Displaying a dense mosaic of social media-tagged photos from the top of the building, users’ silhouettes are rendered live on screen in pointillist form—with nighttime images making up
images, so guests can look for their own posts. “What began with the new observatory entrance that opened in August 2018 is now as we intended: a fully educational and immersive journey that connects visitors from around the world to their emotional connections to the ‘world’s most famous building’ and helps them design their entire visit to New York City from the center of it all,” said Anthony E. Malkin, chairman and CEO of Empire State Realty Trust. “The completed Empire State Building Observatory elevates our guests’ experience, from our new entrance to the dramatic and exciting new 102nd floor. At 88 years young, the Empire State Building remains the icon of innovation, aspirations, and dreams, and is the vibrant ancestor of all tall buildings around the world.” *
media distribution players
BY C A MI LLE BURC H
Media Distribution Delivers Controlled Placemaking Tech M
ost would agree that media distribution is one of the less glamorous aspects of the audiovisual industry. Arguably, however, it’s one of the most important. As the behind-the-scenes mover and shaker, a robust media distribution system does far more than just loop content. “Media distribution contributes to placemaking by controlling lighting and audio cues, moving scenic elements, fountains, smoke machines, and more,” said Eric Cantrell, vice president of business operations at Medialon. “Transforming spaces is an important way of engaging audiences and clients.” In evaluating the system capabilities of a media distribution platform, there are a number of important technology considerations. It’s also important to consider service offerings within the context of media distribution. Technical Considerations Should Map to Use The first step in assessing a system is getting a clear understanding of how the system will be used. Does it have to run 24 hours a day with no downtime, or will it run only during work hours? Who will be responsible for configuring and maintaining the system, and what is their
“Grabbing an audience’s attention and holding it for more than a second or two means serving up creativity.” level of expertise? What kinds of devices will be tied to the server, and how many? Scott Falso, director of marketing with NowMicro, said that long product life cycles help to future-proof your selection. “Look for products that have been tested to perform for 24/7 operation,” Falso said. “Look for devices with validated thermal requirements and compatibility with leading content management systems [CMS] and ad serving platforms.” Selecting these kinds of universal systems means that if an organization makes a change in one aspect of their technology, the media player should be robust enough to accommodate and update, giving it a longer useful life. Falso explained that commercial products should have three- to five-year product life
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NowMicro’s Fanless IoT media player is a robust solution designed for use in rugged environments.
cycles, allowing customers to maintain continuity with their IT assets. As long as the end user carefully thought through current and possible future needs when choosing the media distribution platform, it should be able to accommodate growth. Cantrell references some of the technical challenges that must be addressed. “Features like content management, failover management, synchronized playback, playlisting, and scheduling become big challenges when working with lots of digital canvases that are all telling one ‘big’ story,” Cantrell noted. “That’s where show control systems like Medialon come into play. Sometimes it just takes a more robust solution to consistently deliver the desired result.” How Media Distribution Is Changing Cantrell explained that consumers have become really good at filtering out advertising. Given the way ads have infiltrated every aspect of our lives, people are paying less and less attention to messaging. “Grabbing an audience’s attention and holding it for more than a second or two takes creativity, and the off-the-shelf tools are typically built for standard deployments: rectangles,” Cantrell said. “Consumers are tired of rectangles; they stopped paying attention to them ages ago. Unusual display shapes, projection on objects that transforms them, and immersive multi-display content are what grab audience attention now.” Atypical environments are becoming “placemaking” digital media environments serving up exciting content. Some examples are Tom
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Bradley International Terminal at Los Angeles International Airport, MGM Macau, The Jewel at Changi Airport, and Dubai’s City Walk by Meraas. The nuanced and layered technology on display is unexpected and atypical, so it grabs a visitor’s attention. Purpose-Specific Media Distribution Purpose-specific applications—live events or digital signage, for example—often have considerations unique to them. “Digital signage is a tricky thing,” Falso said. “It requires thoughtful consideration of all elements, from IT assets like media players and screens to content design and viewer metrics. In terms of products, NowMicro’s Fanless IoT player is a beast for digital signage. It features quiet performance and dependable performance in environments that call for a rugged solution.” For museums, themed attractions, or concerts, the ease of use of a product like Medialon makes it extremely versatile. Medialon media players control and coordinate all the various playback, routing and switching tasks, as well as manage playlists and schedules, and handle redundancy. The UI is intuitive. With a few days of training, a robust system can be up and running. An Interesting Future for Media Distribution Cantrell predicts that interactivity using gesture, posture, gait, facial expression, and emotion recognition will soon be taking over the digital signage space. Going forward, the challenge will be figuring out how to scale up a personal experience of interactivity with a
media distribution players
The AOPEN DE34505 is one of five models that comes ready to distribute Signagelive content. The partnership REV Plas_1pg TVBox SCN_RESI_2020.qxp_b 5/06 1pg IN BOX/BLDR 12/10/19 11:58 AM Page 1 between AOPEN and Signagelive, announced in October, will also offer a subscription model.
single screen to a shared group interactive experience on a large-scale canvas. “I’m excited to see how these technologies will mesh with creative minds to make spaces interactive, engaging social experiences,” Cantrell said. The future is also sure to see more strategic partnerships. Alliances between hardware providers and cloud-based software companies are already starting to crop up. AOPEN, a hardware manufacturer that specializes in small-form-factor computing devices, has been working on a bundled digital signage offering with partner Signagelive, a global software leader in the digital signage industry with a cloud-based platform. The companies’ combined strengths deliver enterprisegrade content management platforms devised specifically for the digital signage industry. The partnership also offers a subscription model and can handle global deployments with a one-stop shop. “It is vitally important to clients and integrators to know that they have a reliable solution from proven vendors,” said Aferdit Qesku, sales director at Signagelive. “This is exactly why both the Signagelive and AOPEN technical teams have gone through rigorous procedures to approve these devices, in order to cater to the different use cases of the digital signage industry.” Look for more of these types of partnerships: companies with two different skill sets coming together to provide a one-stop offering. The landscape for media distribution is sure to take some interesting twists and turns in the months and years ahead.
F O R F LU S H -TO -T H E - WA L L M O U N T I N G O F L E D , H I - D E F T V s
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And a cable entry device with slotted or brush cover to organize your low voltage cable bundle. • NEW WORK Box screw-mounts to stud RETROFIT Mounting wing screws pull box against wall • Non-metallic box with paintable white trim plate, optional covers available 4-GANG TVB613
Patented. Other patents pending.
Between technology that is rapidly ramping up, the advent of a service-oriented business model, and the constant demand for new applications, there will be much to keep up with. Fortunately, there are proven systems in the marketplace that are true workhorses when it comes to media distribution. *
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BY J I M BEA UG EZ
Making Connections NEW MICROPHONE AND APP DESIGNS CONNECT ATTENDEES AT CONFERENCES AND EVENTS.
Looking Up hat passes for audience The app-based Crowd Mics engagement at your concept also keeps traditional average megahardware microphones out of sight conference often looks only slightly and out of mind at conferences more exciting than an airport and events. Other manufacturers security queue. are following that trend in smaller We’ve all seen it: Attendees footprints and finding that the best shuffle across a ballroom floor to way to go is up. a few microphones placed around “Manufacturers [are] looking the venue, then line up and wait at the best way to capture speech for their turn to ask the panelists a without drawing attention to question. Not only is it inefficient, the solution,” said David Marsh, but the setup can discourage timid director of sales at Audix. “Our people from sharing valuable M70W ceiling microphone is able insights. to provide the customer with a very And now that more than 75 sensitive microphone that blends percent of Americans today are into the room environment, which walking around with a suitable is the best of both worlds.” communications device in their The M70 uses the company’s pocket, it’s also unnecessary. Micros series technology, designed “The most ubiquitous piece of to deliver high sensitivity and hardware today is the smartphone,” low noise. With a footprint of 3 said Joe Andrulis, executive vice inches in diameter, the M70 can be president, corporate development installed as a flush-mount ceiling at Biamp. “People are not only Biamp’s Crowd Mics empowers audience interaction by turning smartphones into microphone to capture speech comfortable using a mobile device, wireless microphones. CrowdMics comprises two apps—one for event attendees and the other for moderators—and a small, preconfigured hardware host device, the without drawing attention from the they’re also savvy and literate ATOM. The ATOM serves as the central connection point between the attendee and main event. The ability to aim the about how far those capabilities moderator apps and the room’s AV system. element up to 45 degrees makes it extend to meeting their needs. flexible for installations. floor to audience members in the queue to In the event space, we’re capitalizing on that Shure recently commissioned a study speak by pressing a button in the app, or allow familiarity with our Crowd Mics solution.” by tech research firm Illuminas that found attendees to text their questions. The Crowd Mics system allows up to 1,000 two-thirds of business conferencing users “A moderator or presenter doesn’t have audience members to communicate directly named audio as the most crucial contributor to look out into the audience and see who with presenters or moderators without to meeting success. Participants in the study has their hand raised,” said Andrulis. “It leaving their seats. If someone wants to reported hearing the phrase, “Can you hear streamlines event management, so the focus ask a question, they can raise a virtual hand me?” in most or all virtual meetings. is on what truly matters: the interaction.” through the app. Moderators can open the “In professional conference spaces and Social media, Andrulis added, is events, the default solution is to place reshaping the conference and event microphones on the meeting table, and these landscape. solutions are often adequate,” noted Chris “Nowadays there is an expectation to Merrick, global marketing director, integrated have an elevated degree of interaction systems at Shure. “That said, there are other between presenters and audience options to consider for better audio quality. members. However, it’s exceedingly Where applicable, integrators are considering difficult to deliver an expertly moderated ceiling arrays more and more.” event that adds excitement and value for With Shure’s MXA910 ceiling array the audience using traditional microphone microphone, the conference room mic is technology.” located overhead, out of the way and virtually Options like strategically placing out of sight. The latest version incorporates multiple stand-mounted microphones or IntelliMix DSP, a collection of processing passing a wireless mic when an audience features that includes acoustic echo member wants to speak, he said, “are not cancellation, noise reduction, and auto mixing. only time-consuming but also awkward. “Solutions like this provide the tools Additionally, audience members might be needed to deploy a room standard at scale— unfamiliar with or fear using a mic, which whether it’s hundreds of rooms with a small often results in moderators struggling to Biamp Crowd Mics in use at SCN’s AV/IT Summit in August. AV footprint or tens of rooms with a huge hear them.”
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Audix M65 microphone
AV footprint—all across multiple locations,” said Merrick. “Management at scale allows teams to better understand where they need to proactively address issues and respond to them remotely.” Sometimes Simple Is Best Despite these innovations, there are still plenty of applications where a desktop-mounted microphone is the best audio solution. When the New York State Assembly in Albany recently began renovations to update its voting machines, which are stationed at each delegate’s desk on the Assembly floor, modernizing the audio system was also a top priority. Since the delegates stand when addressing the Assembly, the client needed something unique and low profile. They quickly ruled out pull-up style and gooseneck microphones with retractors, citing past failures. Audix stepped in to help and developed the M65 microphone. With its rigid-tube design and slim profile, the M65 accomplishes the main objective of the project: to source a durable, dependable microphone that wouldn’t distract visually or get in the way of the 170 lawmakers who use them. But the Audix team took it a step further. “To integrate the M65 with the voting consoles, we designed a socket swivel that allows for fluid, quiet, and consistent
When the New York State Assembly in Albany began renovations to update its voting machines, which are stationed at each delegate’s desk on the Assembly floor, modernizing the audio system was also a top priority. Since the delegates stand when addressing the Assembly, the client needed something unique and low profile. Audix stepped in to help and developed the M65.
240-degree rotation with a 40-degree pivot.” Now when Assembly members stand to speak, they simply raise the microphone on its swivel. When they’re done, they lower it quietly back to its resting position, flush with the desktop voting machine. Modern Technology in Historic Spaces There are some installations where integrators aren’t allowed to drill holes or disturb the physical structure due to historical significance, or where hard-wired microphones simply aren’t efficient. “Today’s government and corporate offices, hotels, and education centers—even those with architectural significance where drilling holes isn’t an option—are increasingly being asked to act as multi-use spaces,” said Merrick. “Integrators and technology managers are in search of dependable wireless audio solutions that can meet the constantly changing demands of 21st-century meetings
With Shure’s MXA910 ceiling array microphone, the conference room microphone is installed overhead, out of the way and virtually out of sight. The latest version incorporates IntelliMix DSP, a collection of processing features that includes acoustic echo cancellation, noise reduction, and auto mixing.
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without being sidetracked by the harsh realities of meeting venues.” Shure developed the Microflex Complete Wireless System for use in historic buildings and rooms with flexible seating, such as typical conference and event spaces. The package contains just four components—an access point, conference unit/microphone, battery, and charging station—so non-technical staff can set it up easily and accommodate lastminute changes in attendee requirements, seating layouts, or room locations. Neutralizing audio issues before they can sideline a conference or event is possible thanks to the continued partnerships among clients, integrators, and vendors. “Companies put forth extensive resources for lighting, seating, and displays,” Merrick added, “but none of that really matters if attendees can’t hear one another, or if a presentation is disrupted due to audio issues.” * Shure developed the Microflex Complete Wireless System for use in historic buildings and rooms with flexible seating, such as typical conference and event spaces. The package contains just four components—an access point, conference unit/microphone, battery, and charging station—so non-technical staff can set it up easily and accommodate last-minute changes in attendee requirements, seating layouts, or room locations.
technology Leyard VS Series LED Displays The What: Leyard and Planar announced the launch of the Leyard VS Series, a full-featured series of rental and staging LED video wall displays built for easy assembly and transport, adaptability to diverse environments and fast serviceability. The What Else: At less than 62 pounds per square meter, the Leyard VS Series is a lightweight yet rugged solution designed to meet the needs of today’s fast-paced rental and staging industry. The series supports single-person installations with magnetic points that hold the LED cabinet in place as it is being installed, along with integrated ratcheting cabinet locks to easily secure cabinets together. It comes with integrated corner protection and an anti-collision bottom edge to prevent damage as cabinets are moved around. The Leyard VS Series offers a flexible design that can be adapted to a wide variety of rental and staging environments. The displays can be hung or stacked to form video walls of nearly any size. In addition, curved designs can be achieved at different angles. The Leyard VS Series supports universal modules for stress-free serviceability. The displays also include swappable power supplies that can easily be removed and replaced. The Bottom Line: Offered in 2.5, 3.9 and 4.8 millimeter pixel pitches, the Leyard VS Series is aimed at rental and staging professionals who assemble video walls for events, concerts and mobile studio backdrops. The LED displays address the real-world requirements and feedback from customers who desire a lightweight, simple design that is quick to assemble, tear down and transport—but also rugged enough to withstand wear and tear.
Datapath Arqa KVM-over-IP System
The What: Arqa is a visually lossless KVM that runs on a 1Gb network with simple and cost-effective networking hardware. The What Else: The Arqa KVM system uses an optimized video-over-IP transport technology that reduces latency and provides instant control. Datapath reports that rigorous testing reveals no difference between operating a PC via Arqa versus having the connection direct to a local desktop. The convenience and benefits of KVM control are becoming increasingly necessary to control room architectures as security concerns increase and AV/IT teams aim for a more streamlined management process. Using Arqa, maintenance teams can have all PCs housed in a single location—saving time and desktop real estate, as well as keeping hardware secure. “Operators tend to interact with multiple sources or applications simultaneously, which are often hosted remotely for a number of good reasons,” said Mark Rogers, Datapath product manager. “Obviously, being able to respond quickly during a crisis is critical, meaning the latency and responsiveness of their video system is a key factor. With encoding technologies like H264, PCoIP, or RDP, the latency can be too high or the quality too unpredictable, so these are not good choices where real-time control is concerned.” The Bottom Line: Arqa is designed to provide the convenience and benefits of KVM control with reliability. With near-zero latency and visually lossless video transmission, Arqa brings numerous benefits to both end users and integrators.
The What: Atlona, a Panduit company, is shipping a compact display controller that automates smaller meeting spaces in a streamlined configuration. The 4K/UHD-ready AT-DISP-CTRL provides users with plug-and-play operation for meeting spaces that lack AV switching,
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while also eliminating the need to manage handheld remote controls during lectures and presentations. The What Else: DISP-CTRL detects connection of a source device with an active signal and automatically sends a control command to power the display. The controller automatically changes the display power state based on HDMI device connection or disconnection, enabling display control, volume control, and input selection without a remote control. DISP-CTRL can deliver pre-stored or userprogrammed display control commands through TCP/IP, RS-232, IR, or CEC. Additionally, the controller includes EDID and HDCP management features, and can be powered locally or through Power over Ethernet (PoE). DISP-CTRL is HDCP 2.2-compliant and supports 4K/ UHD video at 60 Hz with 4:4:4 chroma sampling, as well as HDMI data rates up to 18 Gbps. In addition to standalone functionality, the DISPCTRL can be used in conjunction with an HDMI switcher to control a greater number of AV sources. For additional control power, the DISPCTRL offers a comprehensive selection of display drivers from Atlona’s Velocity AV control system database, enabling menu-based configuration of device settings, display device driver selection, and the ability to program control commands. The Bottom Line: Designed with smaller meeting spaces in mind, DISP-CTRL offers integrators and tech managers simple configurability and management through its built-in GUI, with two Ethernet ports to support simultaneous LAN access and IP display control.
Panasonic AW-UE4 PTZ Camera
The What: Panasonic’s ultra-wideangle AW-UE4 compact 4K pan/tilt/zoom camera is now shipping. The What Else: Designed with a single-cable solution for video transmission, camera control, and power supply, the unit supports Power over Ethernet (PoE) and can be used as a USB camera powered from a computer. The AW-UE4 features operability through RTMP (Real-Time Messaging Protocol), compatibility for direct upload of video to livestreaming services such as YouTube Live and Facebook Live, and is able to meet the needs of other live production implementations. The camera supports 3840 x 2160/30p 4K video output and a variety of other formats for use in a wide range of environments. Its ultra-wide-angle lens enables the transmission of wide-angle footage from even the smallest installation spaces. The AW-UE4 includes a digital zoom that enables magnification up to 4x. Expanded images can also be manipulated for pan and tilt-like effects to capture images from a variety of angles. The Bottom Line: With a 111-degree field of view and capable of video output through three interfaces (HDMI, LAN, USB), the AW-UE4 is well suited for large or small areas, from huddle spaces and lectures/ meetings to esports production.
Eiki EK-818U, EK-812U 1-Chip DLP Projectors
The What: Eiki International has announced two WUXGA large class 1-chip DLP projectors: the EK818U and EK-812U. The What Else: These WUXGA (1920 x 1200) resolution projectors support 4K content and HDR. The EK-818U provides 9,500 lumens brightness and a 100,000:1 contrast ratio, while the EK-812U offers 8,200 lumens and a 100,000:1 contrast ratio. Both models carry an IP5X Dust Ingress Test rating and include a 20,000hour laser light source. The projectors offer a wealth of connectivity
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technology options that provide greater flexibility in terms of signal access and control. For access on a LAN, these systems provide RJ-45 connectors for both HDBaseT and Ethernet. The projectors support RS-232C (9-Pin D-Sub) control, offer an input for a dedicated wired IR (infrared) remote, and include a USB Type A connector that enables them to operate over the network with a Wi-Fi dongle. Additional connectivity for the EK-818U and EK-812U includes both HDMI input and output, 3G-SDI (on a BNC connector), a DVI-D input connector, and VGA I/O. Both projectors offer a range of flexible installation options including 360-degree free orientation (vertically and horizontally), geometric correction capabilities, portrait orientation, and six optional lenses. The Bottom Line: With support for 4K resolution and HDR, these projectors are well suited for digital signage, auditoriums, large conference rooms, theaters, houses of worship, and other large-venue applications.
Yamaha UC Intel Unite Integration
The What: Yamaha Unified Communications’ CS-700 Video Sound Collaboration System and USB speakerphones now integrate with Intel Unite, a customizable wireless collaboration solution. From the Intel Unite app, users can efficiently control Yamaha audio and video products for more seamless meetings and greater productivity. The What Else: The Intel Unite solution comprises an Intel Core vPro processor-powered hub that communicates with the app for PC, Mac, or tablet devices and a small server component that orchestrates and manages the solution across devices and hubs throughout the network. From the Intel Unite app, users can mute products and control the unit’s volume and camera zoom, alongside the platform’s other capabilities. The app is available now for all mobile devices and operating systems. The Bottom Line: The Intel Unite solution is designed to simplify the meeting experience through a central, user-friendly management
1_3p enclosure box.qxp_WIRE BUSHINGS 1 4 pg 7 09 12/10/19 11:35 AM Page 1
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platform engineered to integrate with a business’ chosen UC system and meeting technology. Yamaha’s USB audio and video products, together with the Intel Unite solution, give organizations a complete system that’s ready to transform the participant experience without adding to IT’s heavy workload.
Visix Connect v3.8
The What: Version 3.8 of Visix’s Connect meeting room sign offers expanded administrative controls, more on-screen features, and UI workflow and design enhancements. The What Else: Connect room signs show schedules and allow bidirection al booking from Microsoft Exchange and Office 365, EMS Platform Services, Google Calendars, and Live25 by CollegeNET. The interactive touchscreen lets users book, start, extend, end, and cancel meetings at the room sign. The on-screen UI has a variety of professional space management features including drop-down calendars, room availability search, and administrative PIN controls. Each sign can show a logo, image playlist, room number, and resource icons, and meeting participants can report issues with any room resource right at the sign. When designing or editing room sign screen layouts, administrators can now configure whether private meeting details for Exchange calendars, such as meeting title and organizer, are shown, hidden, or overridden. Calendar account workflows have a new “Location” field that lets users describe where the room is physically located in the facility. The Find Available Rooms option on room signs can now display location, capacity, and availability time columns, as well as a booking button. The Bottom Line: In version 3.8, UIs for both the room sign device and Connect Room Manager application, which manages configuration and playback options, have been updated with a host of new features and workflow enhancements. Visix customers with a support subscription receive software updates at no charge, and can request the 3.8 update online.
Analog Way Aquilon RS alpha
The What: Analog Way has added the Aquilon RS alpha to its LivePremier series of 4K/8K live presentation systems and video wall processors. The What Else: Aquilon RS alpha offers eight seamless HDMI 2.0 inputs, four HDMI 2.0 outputs configurable as single screens, edge-blended widescreens or scaled auxiliary outputs, two dedicated 4K multiviewer outputs, and up to four 4K or eight HD freely assignable mixing layers in a 4RU chassis. Aquilon RS alpha’s modular design allows users to swap I/O cards to accommodate a variety of connectivity arrangements to match the source and display requirements. Like all products in the LivePremier range, Aquilon RS alpha combines industrial-grade construction and real-time 10-/12-bit 4:4:4 video processing power compliant with HDR and pure 4K60 on each input and output with ultra-low latency. With the native Dante audio routing capability, up to 64 channels of audio can be embedded or de-embedded over a Dante network. Aquilon RS alpha is controlled by an HTML5-based user interface that simplifies configuration and operation through features such as live program/preview workspaces, multi-operator collaboration, keyword search, and multi-language support. The Bottom Line: With eight 4K60 inputs and four 4K60 outputs, Aquilon RS alpha offers the same core features as its larger siblings in the range and helps deliver uncompromising presentation experiences to high-end staging and premium system integration.
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ad index COMPANY
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B&H Photo/Pro Audio
Yamaha Pro Audio
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AV…42, 43; PSNI Global Alliance…29, 38, 39; Sensory Technologies…39;
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Synnex…40; TierPM…36; Unified Technology Systems…12; Vaddio…12;
Verrex…38; WorldStage…12; Yamaha…14; Zoom…15
viewpoint Unplugging B Y E L IZA B E T H SCO Z Z A R I
orking in the AV industry has opened my eyes to so many new and exciting things. From the car to the kitchen to the workplace, technology is being integrated into almost every aspect of our lives. For someone who has been in the AV world for only a little over a year, it’s amazing—and sometimes a little jarring—to see just how much there is to learn and understand. However, a good challenge has never stopped me, and through the support of some pretty awesome folks, I’ve been able to build up my knowledge base. mixed brownies will always come out better than when I use the fancy Within the first few months of working mixer. at Control Concepts, I got my fourth fish My chocolate cake recipe turns to a dense, chocolaty-fudge brick tank, an upgraded 55-gallon home for my without my mixer, but my brownies get tough and chewy when they’re goldfish. The goldfish would finally get not hand-mixed. a reprieve from his predatory roommate, Similarly, we have to find a balance between enhancing life with who would then have a 20-gallon tank to himself. As a rehomed fish technology and forcing a technology-driven life. tank, it came with a filter, a light, and the rocks for the With so many educational and occupational bottom—everything a fish keeper could need, minus “Unplugging ourselves tools that teach students and enhance the the timer, a luxury item to turn the lights of the tank on and off without requiring me to perform a gymnastic from our devices can give workday, it is easy to get tied to them. At least us the opportunity to once a month, usually around the third week, my routine to get behind the tank to do it manually. Before my company closed for the holiday break, I once again appreciate the boyfriend and I review the calendar ahead: birthday had received a smart plug as a gift. By installing an app wonder of technology.” parties, volunteer work, work commitments, family obligations, local events, housework ... that and pairing the plug to my mobile device, I gained the list is practically endless, too. By the time we’ve ability to control the fish tank light from the comfort coordinated schedules, figured out exactly how many hours we can of my couch. But the technology kick didn’t stop there. By downloading stay at one event before making it fashionably late to the next one, the IFTTT (If This Then That) app, I was able to set up parameters for we’re already exhausted and looking forward to next month, when the smart plug, making the lighting completely automated. By the end things won’t be as busy. But next month comes and there are more of the first week, I was looking into what else I could use with a smart birthdays, more volunteer work, more work commitments, more, more, plug, perhaps even overhauling my kitchen, appliance by appliance, into more! a smart kitchen! Who cared that the previous week I had been afraid of If I’ve heard it once, I’ve heard it a million times from friends, the technology. coworkers, and fellow members of the AV industry: “I don’t know how The year before, I had finally gotten a KitchenAid mixer that was to make more hours in a day.” Everybody seems to need more time! more technologically advanced than hand-mixing things. To date it’s With the use of various apps, like the Apple and Google calendars, we one of my favorite appliances—a smart kitchen was definitely feasible. can keep track of our commitments. We can plan ahead and schedule While taking out the ingredients for brownies, I was still thinking accordingly. Video platforms like FaceTime, Facebook Messenger, about my smart kitchen and how it would help during the holidays. Zoom, and Skype allow people to connect all over the world, eliminating The key to making brownies is to not over-beat the batter. Placing my missed opportunities to meet and the time spent in traffic, airports, or, mixing bowl on the butcher block next to my fancy mixer, I hand-mixed worst of all, airport traffic. We can send emails, texts, and messages my brownies to the proper consistency before getting them into the that arrive in an instant. oven. In the educational world, students and teachers exchange their Like the old fluorescent bulb in my kitchen, the light slowly came on, personal devices for laptops equipped with programs to complete a thought dawning on me. As much as I was loving the new technologies their assignments, make learning easier and more accessible, and I was learning about—apps that create automation, interactive displays, help teachers track their students’ progress. With our smartphones programming for sound/DSP work, the attached to us by an unseen gravitational force, it is nearly impossible concept of cars being controlled with to miss an email conversation, social media notification, or group text. 5G signals ... the possibilities seemed For the majority of us for the majority of the time, we are connected to endless—I realized that at the end of the world. the day, my handFor all the good technology can bring to the table, it’s important to remember to leave the cellphones, the laptops, and the smart devices off the table during meal time. It’s okay to leave them on the nightstand and take a break from the wireless world as you unwind for bedtime. Unplugging ourselves from our devices can give us the opportunity to once again appreciate the wonder of technology. It can also give us a chance to reset and remember the magic of the small things in life, without looking through a camera or staring into a screen. If you really find it hard to unplug, I’m sure there’s an app for that. Elizabeth Scozzari is the executive assistant at Control Concepts in New Jersey. She is an avid reader, writer, baker, procrastinator, fish mom, and dog mom; her short stories are available at www. shockinglyme.com. Scozzari can be found on Twitter at @EAnnie21. BOBLIN/GETTY IMAGES
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Systems Contract News - January 2020