Systems Contractor News - December 2020

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Welcome to the DECEMBER issue of

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PEOPLE 24 TECH TALES Investing in outdoor AV is a crucial tactic for hospitality providers to survive the next 12 months, opening up a large opportunity for pro AV integrators. By Scott



26 EXECUTIVE Q&A Anixter’s Debbie Hunter discusses the importance of a global presence. By Megan A. Dutta

SNAPSHOTS 52 AV CENTRAL TO FLOATING HOSPITAL’S OPERATIONS Global Mercy, a new vessel for charitable organization Mercy Ships, is outfitted with the latest pro AV technology thanks to donor companies like PeerlessAV, QSC, and more. By Jennifer Guhl

TECHNOLOGY 54 FINDING THE HEART OF YOUR NETWORK When looking at AV systems where multiple sources and destinations are required, routers and switchers often serve as the core of the network. By Jennifer Guhl

58 PERFORMANCE ARTISTS Audio manufacturers have been working on solutions that meet current and future needs of performing arts centers. By Jim Beaugez


28 | SCN TOP 50 2020


Although 2020 has been an unusual year for business, the SCN Top 50 list has hit a major milestone: we have our first billion-dollar pro AV integrator. By Megan A. Dutta

66 TIPS FOR ADVANCING YOUR AV CAREER While it is critical for most individuals to have a marketable technical skill, there are many professional

48 | 2021 TRENDS

Nobody could have predicted the havoc the COVID-19 pandemic would wreak on the pro AV industry this year. In an everchanging world, pro AV manufacturers discuss current trends in the industry and predict how they will impact 2021 business for integration firms. By Megan A. Dutta

skills that can contribute to an individual’s effectiveness and provide differentiation. By Steve Greenblatt, CTS


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Are You Online? So Are We. 58 Vol. 27 No. 12 December 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 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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DECEMBER 2020 VOL . 27 NO. 12


Looking Ahead to 2021 New years typically begin with an aggressive start for AV professionals. Many of us hit the ground running in Las Vegas in January, wandering the ever-so-crowded halls of the Consumer Electronics Show (CES). We come home for a week or two and then jump on an overseas flight—typically to Amsterdam, but 2021 was going to be Integrated Systems Europe’s (ISE) Barcelona debut. Between those two shows, we’d attend kickoff meetings for new projects and close out the last of our installations from the previous year, and wedge in some time to catch up with co-workers and discuss their holiday travels and adventures. Barely time to breathe. But this year will be a little different. CES will be taking place at your kitchen table, or wherever you attend meetings while working from home. (While some of us have returned to offices, many have not, and it’s still very unclear how the pandemic will affect our work plans this winter.) ISE, traditionally a February affair, has moved to June. With COVID cases surging across the nation, it’s not likely that we’ll be hosting inperson meetings anytime soon. While we all anxiously await the distribution of an effective vaccine so we can safely see our colleagues again,


we’re back to filling our time with virtual meetings, events, and happy hours. Speaking of which, join me for all three on Friday, Dec. 4, at Leveling Up: The Esports and Education Conference and Expo ( If that doesn’t work for you, I’m co-hosting AV Network Nation (www., an online event that takes place all day on Thursday, Dec. 10. I’ll be joined by AVNation’s Tim Albright, as well as an impressive roster of panelists who will be discussing the future of pro AV technologies. Back to filling our time, we should all be using Q1 2021 as a planning quarter because once we are collectively back in business, things will be insanely busy. We’ll be flying from city to city, reconnecting (in person!) with our colleagues, fellow industry leaders, and potential clients. June will bring us both ISE and InfoComm, and the fall will bring an abundance of shows including the colocated NAB Show and AES Convention in Las Vegas in October. So enjoy what could be the last few months of a slowdown and get ready to go full steam ahead into mid-2021!

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News Highlights from SCN Online

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Radius Chicago Upgrades Sound System with d&b chicago, il—Radius,

a 55,000-square-foot multiroom venue, recently tasked Brown Note Production with transforming the building into a modern artistic venue with exceptional acoustics. Brown Note installed a state-of-the-art d&b KSL loudspeaker system using d&b’s ArrayCalc to ensure the deployment would be acoustically successful. The d&b system configuration consists of 11 x KSL (7 KSL8, 4 KSL12) per side for a total of 22, 10 x SL-GSUB, 4 x Y10p loudspeakers for front fills, 2 x Y10p bar area fills, 2 x Y10p under-balcony fills, 5 x 10S-D for the mezzanine and VIP area fills, 17 x D80 amplifiers, 3 x D20 amplifiers, and 2 x DS10 Audio Network Bridges.

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5. Remote Collaboration Essentials 4. Sportsbook Informs and Entertains with Daktronics Video Wall 3. SCN 2020 Products of the Year 2. SCN 2020 Installs of the Year 1. Bose Unveils L1 Pro Portable Line Array Family

Blog bits Now on By Katherine Bell Digital signage is a term that we as AV professionals hear tossed around almost as frequently as “AV.” How many times has a client or potential client said, “I need some AV in my conference room,” which leads to dozens of questions that we use to hone in on what they really want. Digital signage has been going down this path for the past few years, and world events in 2020 are only accelerating the trend.

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Now on By Kenny Kim Back during the Great Recession of 2007–09, households tightened their belts, but there was one particular service they didn’t cut from their budgets: home security monitoring. It was a technology service they couldn’t imagine doing without, primarily because it helped them feel safe during uncertain times. If the recent pandemic has taught us anything, it’s that there are other residential systems now considered mission-critical in the same way.

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Now on By Brigit Jackson Support for dynamic content will be especially important as retail establishments react to the lifting of COVID-19 lockdown measures. The importance of appealing directly to individual shoppers is heightened in the context of greatly reduced footfall as the public continues to observe social distancing and, in some cases, shielding. Retailers will need to rely on engaging, personalized appeals via digital signage to increase sales.



news Avnu Alliance Milan Associate Membership: What It Means for the Pro AV Industry BY KAT IE MAK AL

Earlier this year at the ISE trade show, Avnu Alliance, an industry consortium driving open, standards-based deterministic networking, approved a Milan Module Certification Mechanism to allow manufacturers of professional audio-video modules to test and certify Milan modules through Avnu Alliance. According to the association, by using certified Milan modules, manufacturers can quickly and easily develop professional audio devices built on Milan, saving development time and costs. Now, with the Milan Associate membership, announced Nov. 9, companies can join Avnu Alliance with an entry-level membership costing $1,000 per year in order to validate that products using Milan-certified modules are fully tested and can be marketed with the Milan-certified logo. Avnu Pro AV and Milan founding members Henning Kaltheuner, d&b audiotechnik; Richard Bugg, Meyer Sound; and Genio Kronauer, L-Acoustics, weigh in on the new membership level and how it will support pro AV industry growth. SCN: First and foremost, what are the benefits of implementing Milan into a pro AV system? HENNING KALTHEUNER: At its core, Milan removes the guesswork for manufacturers and integrators trying to navigate the complicated and fast-evolving world of networked AV. Milan is based on deterministic and synchronous TSN Ethernet technology for highest reliability, best audio quality, and easiest deployment of AV networking. Milan devices assure on-time network delivery that is also scalable and flexible, as well as easy to set up and use. Another benefit is that Milan clearly defines what features, functionality, and requirements to include in AV products to make them work with others on the market—there is no more trial and error or guessing. Milan-certified devices simply work together. SCN: Can you share a little bit more detail about the new membership level? What are the core benefits of Milan Associate membership? RICHARD BUGG: We created a mechanism to support Milan module development that will make it easier for pro audio manufacturers to add Milan to their product lines, and now we’re proud to open this entry-level membership that will lower the threshold for companies of all sizes to certify and market Milan devices. Milan Associate members can participate in pre-cert plugfests and get access to Avnu test tools for in-house product testing at a reduced rate. SCN: What kinds of Milan products can you certify with Milan Associate membership? GENIO KRONAUER: The membership allows companies to certify Milan end devices including pro audio end devices, from single loudspeakers and microphones to complex multichannel mixing desks and multiport conferencing systems. These devices may incorporate a small bridge with maximum of two ports per network.

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SCN: What has the demand for Milan been like? How do you see this changing? HK: We’ve had many conversations over the past year with companies from the pro audio market showing great interest in Milan. As the number of connected devices increases and data and network connections quickly grow, AV will increasingly reside on the network and become a bigger part of the overall IT ecosystem. Additionally, we see networking as critical for future pro AV industry continuity, particularly in the uncertain times post-pandemic. Milan is uniquely positioned to keep pace with this dynamic industry. Put simply, manufacturers who implement and certify for Milan can be confident in the protection of their investment with this future-proof IEEE networking standard that has long-term support. This is an important step toward a growing Milan ecosystem. Avnu Alliance’s Certification Task Group is also working diligently to create low-cost test tools and test plans that will streamline the path to certification and market for Milan devices. We now have more membership options, Milan-certified modules are coming soon, and additional methods for easier, less expensive testing are in the works. We expect the Milan ecosystem to grow leaps and bounds with these pieces coming together to support Milan demand.

AV Network Nation Approved for 4.75 AVIXA RUs This targeted one-day event from SCN and AVNation has been approved by the AVIXA independent Certification Renewal Committee to provide learning opportunities for CTS holders and others for their continued professional development. CTS, CTS-D, and CTS-I holders will earn 4.75 AVIXA Renewal Units (RUs) for attending the virtual event on Dec. 10. “The CTS program is the marquee certification in the AV industry,” said Tim Albright, founder, AVNation. “The number of CTS RUs available to our attendees drives the point home that we are committed to providing quality AV education in support of that program.” “The CTS program has been the leading AV professional credential for more than 30 years, and today there are over 13,000 CTS holders around the world,” said David Labuskes, CTS, chief executive officer of AVIXA. “We’re thrilled that the AV Network Nation event has made the commitment to become a CTS renewal unit provider, which will help AV professionals continue to invest in their professional development.” For more information or to register, visit



news el gin , il —Increasing numbers of hospitalizations as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic prompted the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to convert Elgin’s old Sherman Hospital building into an alternate care facility more than a decade after the hospital had closed its doors. The facility’s thick walls prevented cell service in the building, which naturally frustrated the healthcare professionals who work there. Salas O’Brien engineers worked with WilsonPro to install the company’s Enterprise 4300R cellular amplifier solution. Following the installation, there was an immediate improvement in signal.

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Planar is expanding its product security program to ensure that its products and processes satisfy the security requirements of its customers. Planar says product security is an ongoing and increasingly important focus for the company to support government clients and the various commercial markets in which it supplies display solutions. “We are absolutely thrilled to enhance our U.S. government division with two more industry experts [Sandra Kanadry and Kit Shugrue] and an expanded product security program,” said Alberto Reyes, director of U.S. government, Planar. “The U.S. government is a key market for Planar and I trust that these additions will take the support we offer to our customers to new heights. Our new team members and a comprehensive product security program enables us to continue showing U.S. government agencies what sets Planar, our service and our extensive selection of display solutions apart.”

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Planar is amplifying its product security program by increasing its use of cybersecurity design and monitoring experts, as well as driving product security design considerations earlier in the development lifecycle to reduce vulnerabilities for customers. The company is also establishing new processes for safely reporting security concerns and receiving software updates, in addition to more clearly articulating product security design philosophy and threat mitigation procedures. For more information about Planar’s U.S. government solutions and programs, visit or

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news seoul , sout h kor ea—Videogame

developer NCSOFT needed to update the aging AV system in its corporate headquarters to keep pace with the high-performance scene switching and color depths integral to advanced game development and presentation. Youngjun TNC worked closely with NCSOFT to design a single AV system with the power to support the building’s auditorium and convention hall. To do so, they chose Extron’s XTP Systems operated with Pro Series control products.

Atlona Launches New AV Training Certifications As AV and IT technologies continue to converge in higher education and K-12 facilities worldwide, Atlona is introducing two new training pathways to strengthen AV understanding for instructional technologists and systems designers within educational institutions. The AV Education Technician certification sets learners up for success when installing modern AV solutions in educational environments, while the AV Education Designer certification delivers similar benefits for those tasked with planning and designing AV systems for educational applications. “Today’s educational institutions frequently handle their own AV planning, design, and deployment, and they require training resources that align with their distinct needs,” said Roger Takacs, strategic account manager at Atlona, who is spearheading the company’s initiatives in the education vertical market. “Our new training certifications for educational technologists and designers combine the relevant core components of our existing, proven courseware with new content specifically developed around the needs

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of universities, colleges, and K-12 schools.” The new offerings come as AV over IP solutions blur the lines between AV and IT responsibilities, requiring previously distinct staffs to expand their skills and knowledge base. “With technology expanding to include both circuit-based solutions and AV over IP systems, there’s much more to know and learn about,” said Ken Eagle, senior director of global training, Atlona. “IT staff are trying learn more about AV, and vice versa. Our new learning paths provide the foundational understanding they need, then delve deeper into specific solutions and architectures for many educational use cases.” The AV Education Technician certification combines Atlona’s 100-level Foundational AV, 200-level Circuit-Based Solutions, and 400-level Networking for AV courses. Participants in either program also earn AVIXA Certified Technology Specialist (CTS) Renewal Unit (RU) credits on successful completion of the courses. These education-focused certifications are available immediately through the Atlona Training Portal.



news FSR’s Bill Fitzsimmons Dies FSR co-founder and chairman Bill Fitzsimmons died Oct. 25 at the age of 91. He passed away at his home in Boca Raton, FL, after a yearlong battle with cancer. According to FSR, his business partner, dearest friend, and companion Jan Sandri was at his side. “Bill was a gentleman to the core,” said Sandri. “He lived life to the fullest, enjoying the challenges of running a successful business and contributing to an exciting and invigorating industry. But he especially loved being surrounded by family, either those he was related to or his FSR family. Our hearts break with our loss as we mourn the passing of a great leader, friend, colleague, inspiration, and—quite simply—a kind human being.” Fitzsimmons received a B.S. degree from Boston College, an MBA from Babson College, and an M.S. in physics from Tufts University. His early career included positions in the Budd Company and ITT Defense Group’s avionics division, working on both TACAN and LORAN radio navigation systems. He subsequently moved on to sales engineering, where he successfully executed many large government contracts. In his spare time, he designed and built the first control system for the New Jersey Lottery for a friend who owned Charles Maltby Exhibits, and then designed and built the first dissolve systems for Charles Rodriguez at AV Services. Fitzsimmons joined Charles Rodriguez as a partner at AV Services in the early 1970s to pioneer AV integration solutions, working closely with the Wilke Organization and developing pivotal products for use in large AV projects throughout New York and New Jersey. “Bill reasoned that if AV Services needed these products, other com-

Bill Fitzsimmons (left) and Jan Sandri at InfoComm

panies did also,” Sandri explained. “On Feb. 1, 1981, FSR (Fitzsimmons, Sandri, Rodriguez) was launched, with Bill as the product designer/ builder, Charlie as the financial person, and me as the sales component. Our very first customer, other than AV Services, was Ancha Electronics.” Fitzsimmons’ ingenuity continued as he worked on products with Jeff Loether, founder and president of Electro-Media Design, then with Marriott, for which he created the first Ballroom Combining Systems in the industry. He also created large video switching equipment for IBM Classrooms at their training facilities. When it came to electronics, he loved a challenge, and his products have endured for decades. Sandri added, “Active until the end, Bill loved attending the InfoComm shows, which he did every year, talking to friends, old and new. InfoComm attendees will surely remember him as an iconic figure zipping through the show halls on his FSR scooter.” Fitzsimmons handed the reins of FSR to Jan Sandri 10 years ago, when he transitioned to the role of chairman. For the last four years, Fitzsimmons enjoyed a wonderful life in Boca Raton, where he worked on his many hobbies and served as the vice president of Kindness Shared Happiness Squared, a charity that helps children and animals in need. Fitzsimmons was predeceased by his wife Paula and daughter Carol. Survivors include his son William and wife Peggy; son Paul and wife Mary; sisters Carol Fitzsimmons and Paula Fitzsimmons; and best friend Jan Sandri.

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news October Shows More Signs of Recovery Against a complicated backdrop of GDP recovery and additional waves of coronavirus, AVIXA’s Pro AV Business Index shows that global AV sales growth accelerated in October. The AV Sales Index (AVI-S) shows that expansion remained slow, with an increase of 1.9 points, from 51.3 to 53.2. Survey respondents identified a variety of reasons for business change. In the United States, many commenters pointed to election uncertainty, given the survey was conducted Oct. 28–Nov. 3. COVID-19 is naturally a major factor, with many survey respondents reporting difficulties due to rising numbers of cases, though improving conditions in places such as Australia are helping other businesses. “Let’s mention some excellent news: two vaccines have released phase three data indicating strong effectiveness. The end of COVID-19 is coming,” said Peter Hansen, economic analyst, AVIXA. “Given that normal life is now a foreseeable reality even in high-caseload areas, AV businesses should start setting themselves up for long-term success. For live events companies who have been on pause since March, a return to in-person events now beckons. For businesses who survived by making major pivots, start planning on how to restore your shelved capabilities.” The U.S. and the EU released their respective preliminary third quarter GDP numbers in October, both of which showed historic growth— though not enough to offset the even more historic contraction. The EU and the U.S. are now both within a percent or two of their 2020 Q1 GDP levels, but these levels were already down several percent from levels at

the end of 2019. Both regions remain on track for final GDP recovery in 2022 (though the EU is more uncertain for now). This aligns with pro AV, which is also on track to recover its 2019 revenue levels in 2022. China also released its third quarter GDP numbers in October, though the story there could hardly be more different from the U.S. and EU. A strong (though slightly below expectations) third quarter means China’s GDP is actually up 0.7 percent from the start of the year. These positive macroeconomic numbers give strength to AVIXA’s Industry Outlook and Trends Analysis projection of a 2021 recovery for pro AV revenue in China. The pro AV employment numbers show a more mixed bag. In October, the AV Employment Index (AVI-E) showed a small amount of contraction, measuring 2.6 points below the no-net change mark of 50. Looking at the profile of individual responses that comprise the single AVI-E number, the percent reporting no change ticked up again, reaching a level just shy of the payroll stability observed in February. Thus, while the index suggests some contraction, observers should understand that payroll volatility is declining, and staffing levels are stabilizing. For the wider economy, the October U.S. jobs report offered a pair of positive indicators: unemployment declined 1 percentage point to 6.9 percent and labor force participation increased 0.3 percent to reach 61.7 percent.

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news AVIXA Women’s Council Expands Global Presence The AVIXA Women’s Council has added a local group in Hong Kong, increasing the number of local groups outside the United States to seven. Formed in 2015, the AVIXA Women’s Council now has 47 local groups around the world, with more than 860 members. The Hong Kong group is led by Joy Balboa, regional marketing manager for Vega Global, and Heather Li, director of digital workplace solutions for Vega Global. The new group is actively recruiting members and plans to host its first networking event soon. “We are seeing more women moving into AV and IT careers in Asia,” said Balboa, “but there is a lack of platforms in which women can network, advance their careers, and find training. That’s what led us to work with the AVIXA Women’s Council to start a local group in Hong Kong.” “We take pride in the diversity of our workforce and industry. It drives innovation,” added Li. “But diversity can only be successful in an environment that recognizes and values all genders, races, cultures, and all our differences. That is inclusion. It is our joint task to welcome every person into our industry.” The AVIXA Women’s Council groups around the world support women AV professionals in many ways, from hands-on training and preparation for the Certified Technologist Specialist (CTS) exam, to networking, mentorship, and job training. The groups support their local communities through volunteer work with food banks, the Girl Scouts, and other philanthropic organizations. “It’s really motivating to see the support these AV professionals give each other,” said Brandy Alvarado, AVIXA Women’s Council chair. “They want to help women reach their professional goals and take the industry to new heights. The enthusiasm from people around the world who want to get involved shows how eager the AV community is to connect, learn, and make a difference.” To learn more about the AVIXA Women’s Council, visit www.avixa. org/womenscouncil.

AVIXA Names Members to Board of Directors, Leadership Search Committee AVIXA has shared the election results for the 2021 AVIXA Board of Directors and Leadership Search Committee. Martin Saul, CEO of ICAP Global, has been elected secretarytreasurer of the board by AVIXA membership. New board members also include Jatan Shah, executive vice president, chief operating and technology officer, QSC; and Brad Sousa, CTO, AVI Systems. The Leadership Search Committee (LSC) appointed Tobias Lang, CEO of LANG AG, and Alexandra Rosen, director of venture forward for GoDaddy, to AVIXA’s Board of Directors. The committee also reappointed Cathryn Lai, senior vice president and general manager of the U.S., Scientific Games Digital. “Members of AVIXA’s Board of Directors bring their diverse talent and perspectives from around the world to shape the vision of the association and pro AV industry at large,” said David Labuskes, CTS, CAE, RCDD, chief executive officer of AVIXA. “I’m excited to welcome our new board members, who will enrich the conversations, strategies, and pathway forward.” In other LSC election news, AVIXA membership elected Althea Ricketts, associate vice president of operations, global marketing and sales division, Shure, to serve on the LSC. Current chair of the AVIXA Board of Directors Jeff Day has made two additional appointments to the LSC: Flor Lopez, vice president of marketing, Mexico and LATAM, Encore Event Technologies; and Bill Fons, executive vice president, Promotion Technology Group. AVIXA thanks outgoing Leadership Search Committee chair and former chair of the AVIXA Board Joe Pham, and outgoing board members Victoria Dade, Bharath Kumar, and Rodrigo Ordóñez, CTS-D.

Austin, Dallas Claim Top Spots in CompTIA’s 2020 Tech Town Index The Lone Star State shines brightest in CompTIA’s 2020 Tech Town Index. For the second consecutive year, Austin, TX, claims the top spot as the U.S. metropolitan area that offers technology professionals and tech businesses the most appealing combination of opportunity and livability. More than 100 tech companies have relocated to the Austin metropolitan area in the past two years, adding more than 4,600 new jobs. IT job postings continue to grow, with an increase of 19,000 jobs compared with the same period last year. Finally, the Austin metro area remains one of best places to live in terms of cost of living, which is about 4 percent below the national average and the fourth most affordable market among the 20 cities on this year’s index. Dallas ranks second on the 2020 Tech Town Index, up from seventh place in 2019. The Dallas metro area made the jump due in large part to the sheer number of IT jobs available (178,579 job postings last year) and projections of more to come (3 percent growth from 2020 to 2021 and 11 percent predicted in the next five years). Raleigh, NC, San Jose, CA, and Charlotte, NC, round out the top five

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cities for tech. “This year, perhaps more than any other, the tech industry has been called on to keep the country and the world connected, reaffirming the need for a skilled, tech-ready workforce and innovative companies,” said Nancy Hammervik, CompTIA’s executive vice president for industry relations. “These cities, many previous Tech Town Index honorees, are emblematic of the vibrancy of America’s tech community.” To download a copy of CompTIA’s 2020 Tech Town Index, visit www.

tech tales





Outdoor AV Moves the Hospitality Industry Forward T

he COVID-19 pandemic has thrown fastball after fastball at businesses, but perhaps no sector has been dealt a tougher hand than the hospitality industry. Mask mandates, social distancing requirements, occupancy limits, rolling forced closures, and even statewide travel restrictions have all affected people’s ability and willingness to dine out. Through it all, U.S. business owners have strived to abide by local guidance while providing moments of “normalcy” that customers are surely looking for, and it’s become clear that investing in outdoor AV is a crucial tactic for hospitality providers to survive the next 12 months. That’s where the integration community comes into play.

Taking the Indoor Experience Outdoors The first and most obvious solution for hospitality busi- Scott Normand nesses was to move tables outdoors wherever possible. Establishments placed tables on patios, sidewalks, and in parking lots; invested in umbrellas and standing propane heaters; and some even tested futuristic-looking plastic “bubbles” that envelop a single table to offer a degree of privacy and protection from weather. But what about video and music? While it’s easy enough to serve food and drinks outside, the permanently-installed displays and speakers inside a building become essentially useless when everyone has to stay outside. At that point, it’s clear that owners are losing out on some of the benefits of their technology investment, but they still may not consider adding AV outside, or even be aware that it’s possible to create comfortable, high-quality digital entertainment spaces outdoors. With the right technologies, any commercial outdoor space can be digitally transformed to offer the modern bar and dining experiences customers expect. From weatherproof 4K displays and speakers to wheeled mobile displays and tabletop audio selectors, commercial integrators have the knowledge and tools required to help these businesses attract customers. For installation firms, now is the time to reach out to existing hospitality clients to ask how their business is doing and what tactics they are using to attract customers and encourage spending. Recommending the Right Tech No business owner wants to make an unnecessary investment, especially in a turbulent year, so it’s important for integrators to approach the conversation carefully and listen to the business’ needs and expectations before making grand recommendations about luxurious high-tech patios. Depending on the location and the audience, having one display with speakers on a mobile cart could be the ideal solution. For a sports bar, it may

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be appropriate to hang multiple weatherproof displays, or a single video wall display that could be windowed to present multiple live feeds. Live TV—particularly when it comes to major events like the World Series—is huge for sports bars and many restaurants, but audio is even more important and more widespread. Whether your client is a sit-down Italian restaurant, a quick-serve pizza joint, or a beverage-only bar, music is nearly a must-have. Adding music to outdoor spaces may be as easy as adding new speaker pairs to existing distribution networks from inside, or it could involve adding new zones to a multizone system. Knowing that cost is going to be an even bigger factor right now, integrators should be prepared with multiple options at various price points to show hospitality business owners that they are here to help, and not just to land a job. Keeping Everyone Connected The last piece of tech typically required for premium outdoor experiences is a rock-solid wireless data network to support mobile point of sale (POS) systems, enable Media over IP (MoIP) music and video distribution, and provide a fast, reliable connection for guests’ mobile devices. For integrators more familiar with indoor wireless networks, it may help to research the latest outdoor-specific wireless access points and extenders—and gather an accurate estimate of how much bandwidth is required and how many simultaneous users may be active. With displays, audio, and networking all on the table, there are also more advanced solutions, such as tabletop speakers that allow each party to choose their table’s audio source from among multiple options. Whether the client uses a full control and media distribution system or just has one display thrown up on the wall, there are affordable, immediate solutions to bring their traditional indoor experience to outdoor seating areas. Long-Term Thinking As long as the economic prospects of in-person businesses remain uncertain, we must do everything we can to help struggling owners fill their seats and sell their wares so they are still around to help support our businesses when we regain some semblance of normal economic operations. When we think about how deeply the custom integration field is intertwined with the industries it serves, there’s one oft-repeated phrase that really seems to say it best: we are all in this together. Scott Normand is a senior director at SnapAV. Based in Charlotte, NC, SnapAV is a manufacturer and exclusive source of AV, surveillance, control, networking, and remote management products for professional integrators.

executive q&a





Think Global, Act Local ANIXTER’S DEBBIE HUNTER DISCUSSES THE IMPORTANCE OF A GLOBAL PRESENCE SCN: What is your position, and what does it entail? What are your responsibilities? DEBBIE HUNTER: I oversee the Anixter global accounts program for companies headquartered in the Great Lakes region. My responsibilities include anticipating and fulfilling the technology needs—including AV and UCC—for some of our largest global customers, and ensuring they receive outstanding support from my team and the channels that serve them. SCN: How long have you been in this position? DH: I started in my current role in January 2020, but I have held various roles within Anixter over the last 19 years. SCN: How has your background prepared you for your role? DH: Interestingly, I began my career at Anixter within our IT organization. This background has led me to take a very algorithmic approach to problem-solving and strategy, which I have found useful throughout my career in helping customers analyze their challenges. When I moved into our sales organization, I transitioned into an inside sales role at one of our local branches. This experience of providing front-line support to our customers helped me embrace an extremely customer-focused mindset to provide our customers what they need, on time and on budget. SCN: What are your short- and long-term goals? DH: Short-term, there is a focus on helping our customers continue to adjust their real estate strategy in response to COVID and its current impact on projects. Long-term, we are looking at the corporate sector’s collaboration technology needs post-COVID and their back-to-work strategies, which can include, for example, more touchless AV technologies and expanded conferencing solutions for both in-office and home-office requirements. SCN: What is the greatest challenge you face? DH: Our customers face a complex environment, trying to scale over a national or international geographic area, either with evolving technologies or high-volume deployments. My greatest challenge is making sure we are prepared to help our customers meet their evolving technology and supply chain needs. We do this by continually looking forward at the impact and utilization of changing products and technologies, and by working with customers to transform their supply chain to enable their pro AV business to scale and deliver over large geographies, consistently and to schedule. SCN: Where do you see the pro AV market heading? DH: With my customers, I am seeing increases in low-complexity, highvolume projects that need to be deployed nationally or internationally. This is increasing the demand for a partner who is truly global to provide supply chain visibility, solution and deployment consistency, as well as

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Quick Bio Name: Debbie Hunter Position: Vice President, Regional Sales Company: Anixter Overtime: In her spare time, Hunter enjoys cooking, playing pool, and spending time with her children.

handle all the challenges that come with large-scale international deployments—from product sourcing and billing currencies to reliable incountry contacts. As Anixter’s global infrastructure has been growing since the 1970s to over 300 locations in more than 50 countries, we are seeing more and more companies turn to us for these large-scale deployments to help them simplify the complex, reduce costs, and keep to schedule. SCN: Are there new initiatives we are likely to see from Anixter? DH: Wesco and Anixter will continue to focus on our integration activities that will bring more products, services, and capabilities to benefit our customers for long-term success with our enhanced product portfolio, expanded expertise, and dedicated customer-first approach. We are constantly reviewing how to help our customers streamline their supply chain by expanding our existing services portfolio and offering our customers even more innovative installation enhancement and project services to simplify and speed AV deployments. This helps our customers drive efficiency, reduce risk, and maximize their profitability and productivity. SCN: How can systems contractors better position themselves to profit from products and/or services you have to offer? DH: Anixter’s expertise in managing global supply chain programs enables us to help our systems contractor customers scale from local to national to global. According to end users, the key drivers are ensuring consistency, managing costs, and meeting timelines—while scaling globally. Anixter’s approach is to collaborate with our integrator partners and the end user to understand their goals; we then map out a program to help reduce cost, drive efficiency, and maintain consistency. One of the many ways we can help our contractor partners is our pre-provisioning of product. Staging product in stock, ready to ship when needed, and only billing when received improves our contractor partner’s cash-tocash cycle and reduces their risk, while helping them take on larger projects that otherwise would require too much capital and space. This benefit is magnified when deploying AV solutions on a global scale, as we can source product in-country or import as needed, stage in our local warehouses, and contractors can work with our in-country teams in the local language, time zone, and currency. At Anixter, we invest in the geographies we support, understanding the local standards, processes, and market needs. In the world of global AV supply chain, there is no substitute for local presence. *



WILL AMOS is now vice president of sales and business development at ALL POINT POS. In his new role, he will be responsible for helping expand the company’s industry presence and growing an already talented and well-established team. Prior to joining All Point, Amos Will Amos worked with pro AV companies including Diversified and Nanolumens, as well as retail-focused experiential firm thebigspace. MEYER SOUND promoted KATRIN RAWKS to director of loudspeaker engineering and hired IANINA CANALIS as application architect, spatial audio specialist. In addition, the company promoted TIM BOOT to director of global marketing and JOHN MCMAHON to senior vice president. Katrin Rawks, Ianina Canalis, Tim Boot, John McMahon, MARC CHUTCZER will Marc Chutczer, Mike Ulrich now serve as vice president of R&D and MIKE ULRICH is now vice president of operations. JOE DUNBAR is now the sales manager for SENNHEISER’s business communication in the Midwest region. Dunbar is responsible for managing Sennheiser’s relationships with systems integration and distribution partners to support the channel. Dunbar was formerly a senior account executive at Diversified and is a 2020 Joe Dunbar member of SCN ’s The Nine. CHRISSY SARA, CTS-I, has been hired by SONY ELECTRONICS’ IMAGING PRODUCTS AND SOLUTIONS – AMERICAS as a sales support engineer. In her new role, Sara will be responsible for supporting Sony’s integrators, consultants, and channel partners in the Midwest territory, with a focus on the company’s AV soChrissy Sara lutions. As a former staff instructor at AVIXA, Sara has a strong background in technical training and education, as well as more than a decade of experience in the pro AV space. BRYAN ABELOWITZ, CTS-D, has been appointed national director of sales for AURORA MULTIMEDIA. The company says he is an integral part of its corporate initiative to build sales of AV over IP, HDBaseT, and IP control categories of products. Abelowitz brings more than 30 years of experience, including having spent two Bryan Abelowitz decades at Electrosonic and one decade at Video Corp. of America (VCA).

Preston Gray

YAMAHA CORP. OF AMERICA has named PRESTON GRAY director of marketing for professional audio, where he is responsible for Yamaha and NEXO professional, commercial, and live sound products, as well as audio workstation tools from Steinberg Media Technologies. Gray will focus on expanding the company’s total

systems approach, providing sound engineers, systems integrators, and designers with unified solutions that cross multiple product segments and create more efficient audio workflows.

Mark DelGuidice

Michael Doolittle

MARK DELGUIDICE, CTS, has joined ATLANTIS PARTNERS as western business development director. In this role, he will be responsible for directing outsourced AV labor for the western U.S., working with integrators in markets including house of worship, education, and military/government. DelGuidice was previously AV services director at MediaCentric Integration. MICHAEL DOOLITTLE has joined OFFICEPRO as vice president of client engagement. He is tasked with expanding the company’s training services for audiovisual systems integration firms. Doolittle spent more than 10 years working on the InfoComm show as director of exposition sales and membership programs.

BRIGHTTREE STUDIOS has added three AV professionals to its team. ELOISE MCCLAINE will serve as business development manager, responsible for buildEloise Mcclaine, Bob Rotto, Adriana Vencato ing architectural relationships in the Midwest. BOB ROTTO joins the company as senior AV consultant; he will handle infrastructure, audiovisual, and system designs. ADRIANA VENCATO, who joins as a CAD operator, will be responsible for 2D and 3D infrastructure drawings. ATLONA, a Panduit company, has promoted DAVID SHAMIR to vice president of product management. Shamir will continue to lead the company’s product strategy while expanding his responsibilities to oversee engineering and product development. David Shamir

David Bromberg

DAVID BROMBERG has joined ANALOG WAY as sales manager for the government sector. Bromberg will be responsible for leading all government market initiatives at the federal, state, and local levels, working in concert with the company’s sales, technical, and execution teams across the nation.

USSI GLOBAL has appointed ANTHONY MORELLI as COO. Morelli will oversee all daily USSI Global business operations and drive global growth strategy for various divisions within the company. Anthony Morelli

HALL RESEARCH has expanded its executive team with the hire of HAL TRUAX and promotion of AJ SHELAT. Truax will service as vice president of sales and marketing and will be responsible for all global sales and marketing efforts. He will also be Hal Truax, AJ Shelat entrusted with growing strategic customer accounts and partner relationships that align with Hall Research’s core business objectives. Shelat, who is now vice president of product, will be responsible for leading product strategy while expanding Hall Research’s technical service team.

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Rob Lane

Future U.S., publisher of SCN and other pro AV magazines, has appointed ROB LANE as editor of Installation. The experienced journalist joins the team after spending more than 18 years as a freelance contributor for several B2B AV titles. All editorial inquiries for Installation should be sent to

scn top 50











he past year has been incredibly unusual for many reasons, but perhaps the most significant and detrimental is the COVID-19 pandemic sweeping the world. Our lives were upended over a few short weeks in March and April and we have yet to reach an equilibrium. Nevertheless, AV professionals persisted. From a boom in UCC technology to rethinking the entire live events business, this industry pivoted and innovated like never before. SCN also made some changes this year. Regarding our Top 50 Systems Integrators list, this is the first year we did not require integration firms to give a specific annual revenue; instead, this year’s Top 50 list is based on a three-year average of revenue. We know the industry has been hard-hit, but we want to celebrate our successes and emphasize how firms overcame (and are still overcoming) challenges. Let’s start by celebrating a huge milestone, one we’ve been waiting to reach for the last few years: we finally have a billion-dollar AV integrator! In early February, AVI-SPL, number one on the SCN Top 50 for many years, and Whitlock, number three on the 2019 SCN Top 50, announced their intention to merge; the deal was completed in early April. This power move created the first billion-dollar AV integration firm on

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our annual Top 50 list. Diversified once again takes the number two slot and is closing in on that billion-dollar mark. Kinly, which acquired AVMI in June of this year, sits in the number three slot, moving up from AVMI’s 2019 ranking as number 11. The Top 5 is rounded out with AVI Systems and Avidex, who take the same spots as their respective 2019 rankings. The 2020 list is very similar to the 2019 rankings, with the exception of New Era Technology rejoining the list at number 12 (the firm did not submit in 2019). There are three ties on this year’s list: Constant Technologies and MCA Communications ranking at 30/31, IDSolutions and Vision Technologies at 37/38, and LightWerks Communication Systems and TSI Global Companies at 39/40. This year, we chose to also include a few integration firms to watch. While they did not make the official cut, their numbers are on the rise and we could see them entering the Top 50 in the next year or two. It’s important to note that all of the SCN Top 50 submissions are voluntary. The information provided comes directly from the integration firms who are willing to publicly share their financials to allow our readers to get a better sense of the size and scope of the industry. *






1 AVI-SPL  Tampa, FL | (813) 884-7168 |  $1,114.0/$1,114.0



AVI-SPL is a global business partner providing strategy, design, integration, monitoring, and support of the digital workplace. This includes unified communications and collaboration solutions, meeting room solutions, education technology, visualization and simulation, operation centers, digital signage, video production and broadcast, and experience environments.

DIVERSIFIED  Kenilworth, NJ | (844) 767-2738 |






Diversified is enabling a digital future—connecting people, technology, and experiences, where and when it matters most. Its global technology solutions are experienced by millions every day. Energizing fans for the big game. Connecting global enterprise teams. Inspiring retail shoppers. Broadcasting the latest news. Supporting crisis management. There isn’t a problem too big or too complicated for its teams to solve.

KINLY  Amsterdam, Netherlands | (973) 585-3000 |




Kinly provides secure and flexible visual collaboration solutions that make it easier to work better together. Its solutions and services include videoconferencing, audiovisual integration, cloud solutions, unified communications, and managed services. The company engages people in a world of possibilities and provides a seamless and reliable experience that enables people to work together, in different spaces and places.

4 AVI SYSTEMS  Minneapolis, MN | (952) 949-3700 |  $260.0/$260.0




Avidex delivers innovative audiovisual and unified communication solutions that enable organizations to collaborate and create and share ideas with technology solutions that are user-friendly, scalable, and serviceable. As a global AV integrator, Avidex creates unparalleled client experiences, from strategic planning and system design through deployment, training, and managed services/support.



Solutionz is a nationwide AV integrator and services provider specializing in custom room design, implementation, and comprehensive maintenance plans. Its services include cybersecurity, AV security, network monitoring, videoconferencing, cloud video, building environments, infrastructure cabling, telecommunications, managed on-site services, grant program services, maintenance services, audioconferencing, and video walls/digital signage.

CCS PRESENTATION SYSTEMS  Scottsdale, AZ | (480) 348-0100 |



AVI Systems offers audiovisual systems integration, managed services, Microsoft consulting, and digital streaming.

SOLUTIONZ INC.  Los Angeles, CA | (888) 815-6128 |




AVIDEX  Bellevue, WA | (800) 798-0330 |






CCS Presentation Systems provides integration, installation, training, and maintenance of audio-video equipment to businesses, schools, and government clients. Products include direct view LED and LCD video walls, largeformat displays, room control systems, interactive collaboration tools, digital projectors, digital signage, audio systems, and more. CCS has more than 350 employees in 11 regions covering 40 states.

FORD AUDIO-VIDEO  Oklahoma City, OK | (405) 946-9966 |




Ford provides design, engineering, project management, installation, and service for professional and commercial sound, video, and lighting systems. Ford also provides network data and security systems design and installation. Ford is licensed as a low-voltage contractor across the United States.

9 SOLOTECH INC.  Montreal, QB | (514) 526-7721 |  $132.8/$306.1




Solotech is a world leader in AV and entertainment technology. The company represents a single source for audio, video, lighting, rigging, control, conferencing, and collaboration solutions. Solotech has been recognized for its expertise in live productions/systems integration, after-sales support, and managed services.

SKC COMMUNICATIONS  Shawnee, OK | (913) 543-7178 |


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SKC designs, builds, and manages technology for business collaboration using AV, video, voice, and wireless technologies to help organizations communicate smarter and faster.

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ELECTROSONIC  Burbank, CA | (818) 333-3600 |




Electrosonic designs, builds, and supports innovative technology solutions that create memorable experiences where people live, work, and play.

12 NEW ERA TECHNOLOGY INC.  New York, NY | (877) 696-7720 |  $96.5/$282.0



Customers worldwide rely on New Era’s seamless blend of solutions and services to work faster, smarter, and more securely in a rapidly changing digital world. Solutions include collaboration and unified communications, data networking, and security and life safety solutions. The company also provides cloud, managed, and professional services.

13 HB COMMUNICATIONS  North Haven, CT | (800) 243-4414 |  $90.0/$105.0



HB’s deep experience is across six key areas of specialization—advanced AV integration, video collaboration, digital signage, broadcast, managed services, and event production—gives the company the insight and ability to create communication environments that drive innovation and growth.

Q&A How has the COVID-19 pandemic impacted your business? Julie Solomon, Chief Marketing Officer, CCS Presentation Systems We have had one simple objective guiding us during these difficult times: keep our customers, vendors, and CCS employees safe. We learned to be flexible and understanding when navigating delays and when emotions ran high. We embraced working from home, provided PPE to protect everyone, installed temperature check tablets in our own lobbies, and learned to celebrate the little things. Marina Gregory, Chief Administrative Officer, New Era Technology COVID-19 and related shutdowns impacted our businesses, particularly in the second quarter. However, through careful management and early action, we were able to maintain a strong business. The true value of our managed services businesses was demonstrated during this time—managed services continued to grow as customers required greater levels of support for remote workforces. Rob Gilfillan, President, Cenero COVID changed the way people worked and interacted nearly overnight. As an essential business, Cenero continued to design, integrate, and support collaboration technology for many clients. However, we were not able to access buildings to complete projects in some instances because of the shutdown of office spaces. We worked with our clients as they switched gears and helped them establish UC collaboration strategies to enable productive virtual meetings.

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IES COMMUNICATIONS LLC  Tempe, AZ | (480) 379-6200 |




IES specializes in cutting-edge AV design and integration services, with a focus on enterprise solutions for room automation, video collaboration, digital media, background music/paging/sound masking systems, and distributed AV infrastructure. IES offers AV design and consulting, AV system integration, commissioning and calibration, digital signage, and control system programming. Additional services include structured cabling, data center integration, life safety, PoE lighting, security, and Wi-Fi/DAS.

15 TRITECH COMMUNICATIONS  New York, NY | (631) 254-4500 |  $78.0/$100.0



Tritech provides audiovisual design, system integration, and managed services.

16 WASHINGTON PROFESSIONAL SYSTEMS (WPS)  Wheaton, MD | (301) 942-6800 |  $76.0/$82.0



WPS is a full-service AV systems integration firm offering AV design engineering, integration, and support services. The company offers expertise in UC, command and control, broadcast, and professional audio systems.

17 IVCI  Hauppauge, NY | (800) 224-7083 |  $72.0/$75.0



IVCi provides standardized and scalable collaborative meeting spaces, unified communications, videoconferencing, cloud-based services, and back-end managed services. IVCi provides AV as a Service through its user-inspired subscription service, EVOLVE, with live support accessible through QR codes. IVCi has also introduced a new esports subscription service, ENGAGE, to deliver turnkey solutions to new and growing collegiate esports programs.

18 CENERO  Malvern, PA | (888) 454-6863 |  $55.0/$55.0


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Cenero is a service-focused audiovisual, unified communications, and IT solutions provider committed to creating exceptional meeting and presentation experiences for its clients.

KEY CODE MEDIA  Burbank, CA | (626) 318-5602 |  $54.2/$54.2



Key Code Media is a resource for audiovisual equipment, installation, and aftermarket support. The company approaches projects with a high-touch customer service focus, ensuring equipment is delivered, installed, and adopted by a customer successfully. It focuses on customer business needs, deploying solutions that work today and into the future, keeping customers ahead of technology trends. (855) 805-4484 11/16/20 2:42 PM






20 ADVANCED SYSTEMS GROUP LLC  Emeryville, CA | (510) 654-8300 |  $53.0/$74.0



Advanced Systems Group (ASG) is a single source for professional audio, high-speed data, video, CCTV/security, and other systems design, installation, maintenance, and managed services that enable sophisticated, high-impact communications. From presentation spaces to broadcast studios to high-speed media storage, ASG brings the best in experience and value.

21 RED THREAD SPACES LLC  Boston, MA | (617) 439-4900 |  $48.0/$280.0




Red Thread Spaces provides complete integrated interior solutions that leverage research, space planning, furniture, and technology that transform clients’ workplaces to support their business goals.

VERREX  Mountainside, NJ | (800) 303-8170 |




Founded in 1947, Verrex is a systems integrator and managed services provider that brings together AV and IT technology infrastructure, devices, and software to create environments and experiences that foster innovation, engagement, and collaboration.


scn top 50 Q&A

What do you predict will be the biggest technology of 2021?

Stephanie Scolari, AV Project Manager, IES Communications The best-selling technology will be digital signage, which hasn’t been exciting in a long time. Because of the global pandemic, new security and health protocols will make signage and wayfinding more digital and more interactive. Digital signage is expected to grow from $31 billion in 2020 to $42.7 billion in 2025, a compound annual growth rate of 7.5 percent, according to AVIXA’s 2020 AV Industry Outlook and Trends Analysis. Rob Gilfillan, President, Cenero In 2021, we will see a shift toward purpose-built rooms designed around a specific UC platform. Meeting rooms will be set up so people in the office can communicate with remote participants using any platform—Teams, Zoom, Webex, and more. We will also see an uptick in workplace management solutions that allow people to view and manage resources. By evaluating analytics about system performance, the number of people in the room, and the type of platform used, companies will be able to accommodate new regulations while also leveraging realworld data to inform future technology decisions.

OfficePro Technical Training can insure your technology deployment is successful, and offers training and implementation services that truly help the End User master a new discipline. We offer Instructor Led (ILT) and Virtual On Line (VLT) Courses in Collaboration Software, Information Technology and Soft Skills. Classes range from multi-day sessions on premise, workshops, on line virtual classes and eLearning. These programs are affordable, support an internal IT staff and make end users successful. Opportunity for Integrators: OfficePro Technical Training has extensive experience and Knowledge of the AV industry. OfficePro is lead by Aaron Udler and recently Mike Doolittle as a VP of Client Engagement; both long-time AV industry professionals. We recognized a gap in the services provided by AV integrators – training and post sales staffing support. We have set out to fill that gap with our services. OfficePro Technical Training currently works with companies on the SCN Integrator top 50 who re-sell OfficePro services as part of their bid packages. There has been a huge uptick in demand for end-user training on UC platforms like MS Teams, Zoom, and Cisco Webex. End-user adoption is critical to client satisfaction and productivity. By selling OfficePro services, integrators create a new revenue stream (that we fulfill) and increase long term client retention.

OfficePro Technical Training allows you to: •

Generate additional revenue without adding expense

Increase and promote end-user technology adoption

Diversify your revenue streams

Assist in client retention

Increase client satisfaction

Provide or supplement support staff


Twitter: @officeprou

Phone: 888-468-3312



Instagram: @officeproinc

Shiro Ando, CTO, New Era Technology The biggest technology of 2021 will be providing secure access to digital assets for location-independent workforces and providing secure collaboration platforms for remote work environments. Jeremy Elsesser, President, Level 3 Audiovisual We predict the hottest technology in 2021 will be virtual reality and the next generation of collaboration platforms, as well as health and safety compliance technologies. Examples of this would be sensorbased automation, touchless meeting room interaction, virtual concierge services, people-tracking, and workplace analytics. John Steineke, Design Engineering Lead, CCS Presentation Systems As businesses continue to deal with employees, students, and faith-based house of worship attendees adapting to a virtual environment, integrators will focus in 2021 on new unified communication system designs. This shift to meet the demand for applications such as Zoom, Microsoft Teams, and Cisco Webex will drive the market for even more USB cameras, UC microphones, and streaming platforms.

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ALPHA VIDEO & AUDIO INC.  Eden Prairie, MN | (952) 896-9898 |




Alpha Video & Audio is a national integrator of broadcast, AV, IPTV, and digital signage solutions that empower organizations to better communicate with their target audience. We help our clients succeed by offering solution sales, system integration, project management, technical support, and creative content services.

24 SPINITAR  La Mirada, CA | (714) 367-2900 |  $42.0/$45.0




Genesis Integration provides AV integration, collaboration solutions, nurse call systems and school communication systems, conferencing software, and virtual and live event services.



Spectra offers audiovisual integration, managed services, audiovisual maintenance, auditorium AV, audioconferencing implementations, classroom AV, boardroom AV, video walls, LED pixel walls, theater integration, digital signage, AV project management, acoustics, AV programming, AV budgeting, and videoconferencing solutions.

CAROUSEL INDUSTRIES  Exeter, RI | (800) 401-0760 |



Spinitar provides the design, sales, integration, and support of commercial AV systems—including HelpPoint audiovisual systems intelligence and its newly launched Cloud Services.





GENESIS INTEGRATION  Edmonton, AB | (780) 455-3000 |  $41.0/$49.0





Carousel is an IT services firm with nearly three decades’ experience providing technology solutions in unified communications and collaboration; systems, video, and AV integration; security, cloud, data center (including business continuity) and managed services. Primary AV integration services include design, implementation, training, break-fix, preventative maintenance, video cloud, monitoring and analytics, network and room assessments, on-site staffing, and adoption services.

USIS AUDIOVISUAL SYSTEMS  Pearl River, NY | (845) 353-9226 |




USIS AudioVisual architects AV solutions for people focused on how we work, not necessarily from where— because the where has become everywhere. Its global technology services company delivers AV, IT, and UCC systems design, installation, and service. Part of USIS, a professional services company with roots from 1924, it provides clients with AV, IT infrastructure, electrical, security, and wireless solutions.

29 DATA PROJECTIONS  Houston, TX | (713) 781-1999 |  $36.0/$36.0



Data Projections is an audiovisual systems designer and integrator providing advanced collaborative technology solutions and support services. Solutions include AV systems integration, AV conferencing/collaboration, unified communications, content management/delivery, interactive technology, and managed services.

CONSTANT TECHNOLOGIES INC.   North Kingstown, RI | (401) 294-7171 |





Constant Technologies (CTI) specializes in mission-critical command and control environments such as cyber operations centers, NOCs, SOCs, EOCs, war rooms, briefing centers, and collaborative spaces around the world. CTI focuses on the integration of 24/7 video wall systems meant to withstand rigorous, round-theclock use. In addition to design and integration, CTI offers comprehensive service and support.

MCA COMMUNICATIONS INC.  Houston, TX | (281) 591-2434 |






MCA Communications provides audiovisual, IT, wireless, and security solutions and services for the education, healthcare, and enterprise markets.

TEKWORKS, A PALADIN COMPANY  Poway, CA | (858) 668-1705 |


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TekWorks, a Paladin Company, crafts and installs technology solutions for companies requiring network cabling, data center, outside plant, fiber optics, audiovisual, physical security, and network services. Through the design-build process, its team is able to identify the latest AV solutions and build sustainable systems that achieve a combination of ultimate performance and value.

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AVDG  San Jose, CA | (877) 554-2834 |




AVDG specializes in engineering and integrating world-class smart systems. It animates strategic partnerships with leading AV and smart system providers and recruits exceptional engineers, designers, and integrators to deploy luxury audio and visual solutions nationwide.

34 LINX MULTIMEDIA  Denver, CO | (303) 574-1552 |  $28.3/$29.3


LINX Multimedia works with its clients through intelligent design, installation, and support of technology that enables a modern workplace. Solutions LINX delivers include boardrooms, conference rooms, training rooms, digital signage, telemedicine, video walls, distance learning, hospitality, large venue, and performing arts integrations.



Vistacom provides design, installation, and service and support for audiovisual, control room, and unified communication and collaboration systems.

LEVEL 3 AUDIOVISUAL  Mesa, AZ | (480) 892-1071 |  $23.1/$26.8




Level 3 Audiovisual’s services include technology roadmap planning, AV assessment and standards development, design/build, program management, project management, systems programming, training and development, third-party testing and verification support, managed services encompassing proactive system monitoring (Pulse IDM), on-demand support via unique QR codes (L3Connect), remote and on-site service technicians.

IDSOLUTIONS  Noblesville, IN | (877) 880-0022 |





With over 20 years’ experience, IDSolutions is an end-to-end video communication solutions provider. IDSolutions delivers tailored technology and infrastructure support to healthcare, education, government, and enterprise businesses across the country. Innovating forward, the company is changing the way customers think about their investments in video communication.

VISION TECHNOLOGIES INC.  Glen Burnie, MD | (866) 746-1122 |





Vision Technologies, a network information systems provider, offers a full range of presentation and interactive visual communication solutions, from collaborative huddle solutions to boardrooms, video walls, and unified communications. Its Integrated Technology Delivery (ITD) methodology reduces change orders and accelerates projects through effective collaboration and design, saving time and money.






LightWerks is a West Coast-based full-service audiovisual and security system integrator. The company specializes in the design, installation, programming, and after-sale support of on-premise and cloud-based solutions. Its mission is to keep its customers educated, trained, and supported so they can continue to thrive at what they do best.

TSI GLOBAL COMPANIES LLC  Saint Charles, MO | (636) 949-8889 |




VISTACOM INC.  Allentown, PA | (800) 747-0459 |  $24.5/$24.5





TSI Global Companies designs and builds people-centric technology solutions that allow companies to achieve greater levels of efficiency and success. Its certified engineers and installers specialize in building audiovisual, infrastructure cabling, security and electrical systems uniquely suited for organizations of all sizes, from Fortune 500 companies to small organizations.

JKL TECHNOLOGIES INC.  Thousand Oaks, CA | (805) 375-5820 |  $18.1/$25.4



JKL Technologies is an information technology solutions firm helping businesses manage, move, improve, and integrate their entire technology infrastructures. It provides a single source of expertise in technology relocations, infrastructure build out, audiovisual design, installation/implementation, maintenance, and on-site support services.

42 TOTAL VIDEO PRODUCTS INC.  Mickleton, NJ | (800) 447-0920 |  $17.9/$19.0

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Total Video Products (TVP) provides high quality of service, technical expertise, and professionalism. TVP is a full-service systems integrator offering AV design and engineering services including installation, support, and maintenance contracts.

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43 EKC ENTERPRISES INC  Fresno, CA | (559) 438-0330 |  $16.5/$21.0



EKC Enterprises is a full-service low-voltage integrator. The company specializes in providing AV solutions to the western United States and Texas. EKC has in-house designers, project managers, engineers, and CAD operators to offer a best-in-class experience to meet customers’ AV needs.

44 NEURILINK  Boise, ID | (208) 426-8238 |  $16.0/$16.0



Neurilink offers professional AV design, integration, and support for organizations across the northwestern United States.

45 ELECTRONIC CONTRACTING COMPANY (ECC)  Lincoln, NB | (402) 466-8274 |  $14.5/$25.2



ECC has built a foundation on bringing dynamic solutions to organizations throughout the Midwest. It connects businesses to better experiences using AV, fire alarm, healthcare, and security solutions. Technology is the company’s passion, and its goal is to use innovations to empower organizations for years to come. ECC is an integration firm creating impactful experiences through technology.

Q&A What vertical markets and/or technologies exhibited the most growth for you in 2020? Joseph Yost, CTS, Director of Engineering, CCS Presentation Systems Due to COVID-19 and the requirement that many employees work remotely, CCS has seen huge growth in unified communication solutions. Our partnership with Crestron has made keeping up with this increased demand easy. Whether customers use Teams, Zoom, or BYOD, the Crestron Flex family of products is always the best answer. Brad Peterson, CEO, Level 3 Audiovisual We have seen growth in the use of collaboration platforms and software videoconferencing as it is becoming a requirement for teams to work together. More spaces in the corporate campus are requiring video-enabled systems to connect with vendors and peers, and at-home systems are needing to improve the audio experience with quality headsets/personal audioconferencing devices. Tony Griffiths, CTS, CQT, Department Manager – Tempe AV, IES Communications Data centers, audiovisual, security, and wireless technologies exhibited the most growth for IES in 2020. We have enjoyed an explosive growth in audiovisual in the transportation vertical market, particularly in airport projects. We also saw a sharp rise in mixed use projects consisting of retail stores and residential space in the same building.

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46 GOLDEN STAR TECHNOLOGY (GST)  Cerritos, CA | (562) 345-8711 |  $14.5/$145.2



GST offers IT and AV solutions including hardware, software, and technical services. Its services include design, integration, implementation, and post-project support.

47 SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA SOUND IMAGE INC.  Escondido, CA | (760) 737-3900 |  $11.0/$12.0



Southern California Sound Image offers design, sales, installation, and service of integrated audio, video, and lighting systems.

48 INTERSTATE ELECTRONIC SYSTEMS LLC  Harahan, LA | (504) 729-6111 |  $10.5/$10.5




IES is an audiovisual systems integrator located in the New Orleans area serving the southeastern United States. The company provides design, procurement, installation, programming, training, and after-sale service and support. Its staff consists of certified technicians, programmers, and systems specialists to ensure clients will have the best system possible for their facilities.

APPLIED GLOBAL TECHNOLOGIES  Kennesaw, GA | (678) 594-4400 |  $10.1/$11.9



Applied Global Technologies offers audiovisual design and integration services, managed videoconferencing services, unified communications and IT services, help desk, and maintenance.

50 ITI SYSTEMS  Beltsville, MD | (855) 805-4484 |  $9.4/$9.4



ITI Systems is an AV systems integration company that prides itself on reliability. It provides complex solutions for Fortune 500 firms, federal agencies, high-traffic financial institutions, and elite universities. In over a decade of operations, ITI has never missed a project deadline. Regardless of obstacles, ITI completes the mission.

Q&A How has the COVID-19 pandemic impacted your business? Lisa Hale, CAO, Level 3 Audiovisual Early on, we saw our clients placing projects on hold as the landscape was uncertain. Product delays are a concern but have been minimal. Revenue is down 20 percent, but we made the necessary changes and are financially stable. We’re now working with clients on their technology roadmaps, considering new measures for health and safety. Gilbert Romo, Vice President Sales and Marketing, IES Communications The impact has been more economic than pandemic-specific; our growth will be tempered by our ability to increase the workforce, whether it is a sudden increase or sustained increase. We have a diversified business that encompasses many types of customers and various technologies. Our company has seen our offerings increase as new technologies are being implemented to ensure social distancing and safety measures in the cloud infrastructure space, healthcare, education, warehouse, and public spaces.

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scn top 50 4 Integration Firms to Watch in 2021 These pro AV integration firms didn’t quite make our Top 50 list in 2020, but you should keep an eye on them. We expect their stars to continue to rise over the next five years.

Applied Video Technology Location: Kimberton, PA Average YoY Growth for the Last Five Years: 34.4 percent

Vertical Market Potential: Applied Video Technology sees video production and live streaming systems as its largest growth potential in today’s market. With the need for schools and corporations to easily and quickly share their messages, events, and other communications with students and employees in a remote or hybrid environment, communicating through video can be critically important. IAS Technology Location: Peoria, IL Average YoY Growth for the Last Five Years: 23 percent Vertical Market Potential: Over the past five years, IAS has seen corporate growth due to a booming economy and economic growth in general. However, most recently the company has seen advancement in higher education for distance hybrid learning due to the pandemic. Pivium Location: Phoenix, AZ Average YoY Growth for the Last Five Years: N/A Vertical Market Potential: Pivium has experienced the most growth in experiential spaces such as arenas and event venues. Procraft Media Location: San Clemente, CA Average YoY Growth for the Last Five Years: 35 percent Vertical Market Potential: Procraft Media has seen a temporary shift away from workplace integration projects and over to recording and production studio projects during the last few months. Coupled with some projects in the large-format direct view LED space, their team is encouraged by the content creation market, which they believe will be a huge driver of growth into 2022.


What vertical markets and/or technologies exhibited the most growth for you in 2020?

Jeff Stoebner, President and CEO, AVI Systems In the past year, we have seen the most growth in the education market, fueled by the scramble to adapt classrooms for distance/ hybrid learning.

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2020 trends





business trends

Pro AV Trends to Watch in



OVID-19 wreaked havoc on the world earlier this year, and then continued to do so for the entirety of 2020. Entire segments of the pro AV industry—especially live events—came to a screeching halt in the spring. Throughout the year’s challenges, however, AV professionals remained innovative and steadfast, continuing to find new ways to engage tech managers with pro AV products and solutions. The Ever-Adaptable Industry The world may have stopped when COVID-19 hit hard, but AV professionals did not. They marched forward and took the time to install remote technologies so employees and students could easily collaborate safely through technology. “The biggest trend we see for 2021 is adaptability,” said Chaz Porter, director of global sales at FSR. “With the uncertainty about how the workplace will look into next year, we see the need to provide solutions that give our customers the ability to rapidly change the layout and function of any space while continuing to provide connectivity. At FSR, we are putting our efforts toward products that add configurability to any installation.” Chaz Porter

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Gabi Shriki, senior vice president of the audio-video business unit at Valens and co-founder of the HDBaseT Alliance, agreed. “The 2020 pandemic led to rapid adjustments to our reality and accelerated trends in the AV world that will continue throughout 2021. The need for flexible and adjustable work and learning setups became necessary to facilitate remote and hybrid situations.” Shriki said he’s seen a “significant increase” in the use of cloud-based conferencing solutions like Zoom and Gabi Shriki Microsoft Teams. With livestreaming now part of everyday life in the education and corporate worlds, facilities are in need of network capacity upgrades. “In addition, there is no need for a dedicated AVoIP network,” he said. Netgear has also seen large gains in the corporate and education spaces. “Learning especially is seeing a surge in AV-related reconfigurations to accommodate overflow classrooms,” said Cody Kleven, the company’s business development manager for pro AV. “These learning enhancements allow students to be on premise, maintaining social

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Cody Kleven

distancing, while still viewing the instructor and content in high-quality audio and video. This setup facilitates students’ ability to take part in the learning experience and interact with the instructor and other students in real time—a crucial part of any educational facility.” Unlike Shriki, Kleven believes AVoIP is playing an ever-increasing role in the corporate environment. He said he’s seeing projects come in using AVoIP to increase the number of displays around a facility, particularly in conference rooms and training facilities. “This accommodates social distancing while allowing presentations to be viewed in high-quality audio and video,” he added. Kleven added, “As more information about health- and safety-related policies and pro-

2020 trends

business trends

Chris Merrick

cedures must be communicated to students, customers, and employees, more integrators are using the flexibility of AV over IP to do it.” How people return to work and school still remains to be seen, but FSR’s Porter believes “the workplace will move to a hybrid model where work-from-home employees will return to the office, but not for a full work week. BYOD will continue to increase as employees return to the office.” Going Touchless For the last several years, the digital signage market has been saturated with various types of touch displays designed to enhance and personalize the user experience. From wayfinding kiosks to interactive video walls, information was easily available at our fingertips. Today, though, people are avoiding touching things at all costs. “In education and corporate applications, as well in many others, digital signage is playing an even bigger role now than in previous years,” Kleven pointed out. However, the type of digital signage being installed is changing. With social distancing, video walls are increasing in size to accommodate spread out viewers, and direct view LED displays are experiencing a rapid rise in popularity. “As dvLED becomes the norm, there will be a natural increase in picture quality ... with use cases becoming even more prevalent across corporate, education, government, hospitality, and entertainment markets, which have already come to rely on displays to provide enhanced imagery and communicate important messages that connect individuals, facilitate engagement, provide immersion, share information, and foster collaboration,” said Rich Ventura, vice president of B2B, Sony Electronics’ Imaging Products and Solutions Professional Division. “Further, as we see cost decreases and increased manufacturing and quality efficiencies, dvLED will take on applications typically reserved for the LCD video wall space,” Ventura continued. “With remote production on the rise, we’re also seeing dvLED’s viability growing and expanding into areas including virtual

Clint Hoffman

Gina Sansivero

production. As the industry undergoes a transformation, expect to see even more growth and innovation in this space from manufacturers including Sony.” It’s not just the visual part of the audiovisual industry that needs to be touchless. “The pandemic has altered audio capturing plans for a number of industries—broadcast, sports, government, healthcare, and more—especially as they look for options for ‘contactless’ microphones that don’t need to be worn or handled by individuals or groups. Shure’s array microphones, which are traditionally considered for conference rooms or classrooms, have found success providing quality audio in other professional applications,” said Chris Merrick, director of global systems marketing at Shure.

“The 2020 pandemic led to rapid adjustments to our reality and accelerated trends in the AV world that will continue throughout 2021.” —Gabi Shriki “Looking ahead, the advantages of using this array microphone technology are even more essential, as it provides broadcast-quality sound captured inconspicuously and from a safe distance—whether that’s from in front, from above, or beside,” he added. “The technology provides steerable audio coverage for different rooms and environments.” With Shure’s array mic technology, audio can be controlled remotely, meaning that a technician doesn’t need to enter a space to reposition microphones. This saves time and money, and keeps workers away from hightouch surfaces. AtlasIED has also seen success with touchless audio solutions, according to Gina Sansivero, vice president of marketing and corporate communications at the company. Atmosphere—AtlasIED’s digital audio platform that debuted in July—has become popular with integrators and tech managers because of its ability to be controlled from a user’s personal

What Lies Ahead None of us has a crystal ball to predict exactly what will happen for AV professionals in 2021, but with a vaccine on the way, we can only hope we’ll return to a functioning society with many opportunities for the industry. “We are feeling and anticipating a W-shaped recovery due to the situation that COVID-19 has created,” Clint Hoffman, Kramer North America CEO, stated. “Right now, it feels like we are heading up the middle of that W, but we expect that there might be some renewed challenges in early 2021.” He added that Kramer has an affordable and simple solution to deploy local contact tracing for workplaces and schools that is designed to be effective without compromising users’ privacy. “It is actually very unique in that regard,” he added. “There is no ‘Big Brother’ effect or concerns—just the protection employees and students need and deserve for themselves, their families, and their friends. It provides an effective tool so businesses and schools don’t have to close down completely if a person does become infected.” Hoffman concluded, “I hope that in the second half of 2021 we might start to see a complete return to pre-COVID-19 normalcy in AV. Our fingers are crossed.” *

Learn More About Pro AV Trends at AV Network Nation AV Network Nation, a virtual tech discovery day for the AV community, will take place on Dec. 10. All of the companies featured in this article will be available to discuss pro AV trends for 2021– whether they’re featured on a panel or working their virtual booths. For more information or to register, visit www.

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Rich Ventura

mobile device. “AtlasIED has enabled a cleaner, more hygienic approach to control through our Atmosphere platform,” she said. “Authorized users have the ability to manage the audio system to select sources, adjust the volume, and choose zones from their own mobile devices—a feature that is essential when we are doing our best to avoid shared touch devices in the workplace, hospitality venues, schools, etc.”

mercy ships







ith more than 5 billion people lacking access to safe surgical care and 50 percent of the world’s population living near a coast, the charitable organization Mercy Ships uses its fleet of hospital ships to increase access to state-of-the-art medical care worldwide. Transforming lives by serving one nation at a time, Mercy Ships began its work in 1983 with the launch of the Good Samaritan hospital ship, which provided care throughout the Caribbean, Central America, and South America for 11 years. Mercy Ships currently has one ship in operation, the Africa Mercy, which launched in 2007 and provides services throughout Central and Western Africa. With the need for their services continuing to grow, Mercy Ships wanted to build on the work of Africa Mercy, which is able to perform approximately 7,000 interventions a year, and expand their fleet by building another ship of equal or greater capacity. With that in mind, Mercy Ships has taken ownership of the newly constructed 37,000 GRT (gross registered tonnage) hospital ship Global Mercy, which will double Mercy Ships’ current capacity and will offer increased training opportunities for their crews. Over the expected 50-year lifespan of the ship, Mercy Ships estimates Jonathan Dyson that more than 150,000 lives will be improved through surgeries alone. Mercy Ships is able to provide these services with the help of more than 1,300 volunteers from over 50 nations who work anywhere from two weeks to two years, and whose skills and specialties include medicine, operations, AV, and other areas. When fully in operation, the ship will hold up to 950 people. Hospital functions will be contained to decks 3 and 4 and will cover approximately 75,350 square feet (or 1.3 football fields). Medical facilities will include six operating rooms, 102 acute care beds, seven ICU isolation beds, and 90 self-care beds. This area will also include meeting rooms and conference spaces that will help the crew to conduct in-house training sessions. Meeting spaces were designed based on crew feedback and experience. Since the ship is a brand-new build, Mercy Ships has focused on installing the newest technologies on the market. “As a new ship, we were able to design it from the ground up to meet our exact needs instead of retrofitting one,” said Jonathan Dyson, director of enterprise infrastructure for Mercy Ships. The health organization partnered with North Star Engineering, which served as the overall technology consultant for the new ship. The QSC Q-SYS Ecosystem of audio, video, and control solutions will

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serve as the main AV platform aboard the Global Mercy. This networkdriven solution will allow every AV endpoint on the ship to be controlled internally, or remotely from Mercy Ships’ headquarters in Lindale, TX. The platform will help manage the shipwide P.A. system, as well as AV and control for meeting rooms, café areas, hospital training rooms, and the auditorium. It gives Global Mercy the ability to integrate PTZ cameras, microphones, control panels, speakers, and amplifiers through a software-based centralized control interface. Overture by Barco is being deployed to control and manage equipment in the meeting/conference rooms and auditorium. “Improving technology within the organization has always been at the forefront of our minds within the technology group. However, it is a constant balance between being conscious of the funds our donors provide and the benefits we see available in emerging technologies,” said Dyson. These technology integrations provide functional tools to empower the volunteer crew to perform their work efficiently. Technology also keeps the crew connected to those back home and colleagues aboard the ship during their time at sea, helping them collaborate and administer fast and effective care to their patients. “With better communication, our staff is able to work internationally with different offices and support teams, providing much better care for patients who board our ship,” Dyson added. Shipwide P.A. System The ship’s wide area public address system is able to span 11 decks of the Global Mercy thanks to the Q-SYS Ecosystem by QSC. Q-SYS’ Core 510i processor sits at the ship’s AV helm, controlling 20 CXD-4.3Q network amplifiers that in turn power 100 QSC AD-C6T-LP loudspeakers. The crew relies on three Q-SYS PS-1600H paging stations for shipwide communications. The full-featured Q-SYS control engine within the Core processor gives Global Mercy teams complete control of the audio setup, giving them the ability to route audio sources to multiple locations throughout the ship. “QSC is honored to work with Mercy Ships to provide technology— including our Q-SYS software-based audio, video, and control ecosystem—to further enhance the ship’s capabilities and create a floating work environment where users can quickly and easily collaborate,” said Anna Csontos, executive vice president, chief market officer and chief of staff at QSC. “Mercy Ships is a wonderful organization, and we are proud to contribute to such a wonderful cause.”

mercy ships


Conference Rooms The Global Mercy will have 10 conference/meeting rooms, each set up using the QSC Q-SYS Ecosystem. Each room will be configured with NEC displays, QSC PTZ conference cameras, a QSC Q-SYS Core 110f processor, Q-SYS TSC-7w Network Touch Screen controllers, and QSC in-ceiling loudspeakers with Audio-Technica ceiling microphones. These integrations will give the staff the ability to conduct presentations and video calls, and help them connect with staff and experts around the world. Auditorium Giving staff the ability to hold meetings, seminars, and presentations with the entire crew, the 682-seat auditorium will be fitted with a separate audio reinforcement system, but the room will still use QSC Q-SYS Ecosystem. The auditorium will feature an Allen & Heath QU32 digital console, QSC CXD4.3 and QSC CXD4.5 amplifiers, QSC WL3082 Wideline 8 with QSC WL212-sw subwoofer, QSC AP-5102 highpower loudspeakers, and QSC K12.2 powered loudspeakers. The room’s lighting system will include a Martin M2GO HD lighting control console, and Rush MH 6 Wash, Rush MH 1 Profile Plus, and Rush PAR 2 Zoom lights from Martin by Harman. Sony EVI HD-1 cameras will be installed to enhance overall presentation capabilities. AV Gives Back Technology providers including Barco, NEC Display Solutions of America (now Sharp NEC Display Solutions), Peerless-AV, and QSC also chipped in to provide donated and/or discounted products. Mercy Ships relies almost entirely on volunteers and donors to accomplish its mission, according to Bobby Baker, head of corporate relations at Mercy Ships. “For Peerless-AV to be able to help out by donating products that we manufacture was the least we could do to give back to this amazing organization that brings lifesaving medical treatment to those in need around the world,” said Nick Belcore, executive vice president, Peerless-AV, whose company provided over 1,000 mounting solutions for Global Mercy.

NEC Display donated more than 2,000 commercial-grade displays for the vessel that were used in the meeting/conference rooms and auditorium. “Mercy Ships matches NEC’s vision of ‘Orchestrating a Brighter World,’” said an NEC Display spokesperson when the donation was announced. “With this partnership, we’re helping Mercy Ships achieve its goal of bringing hope and healing to those who need it most. The technology we’re providing is all commercial-grade, so it will provide lasting value for Mercy Ships, and in the end will create value for society as a whole.” “NEC has really gone beyond the call of duty with its gift, and as a result of like-minded companies, we are able to bring state-of-the-art healthcare to parts of the world that need it most,” Baker added. “We’re all about bringing dignity to people and giving others the opportunity to contribute in meaningful ways. When you can restore sight to a child with a 15-minute cataract removal surgery, it’s a powerful thing. Our donors make this possible.” Mercy Ships also relies on volunteer AV and IT professionals to keep its ships running. The organization is currently looking for a minimum commitment of three months for volunteer positions including AV technicians and service desk analysts. To learn more about volunteer opportunities, visit Time to Set Sail Mercy Ships expects construction on Global Mercy to be complete this spring, and the ship is scheduled to begin its first voyage in Africa by late 2021. With the focus on technological enhancements centered around overall ship communication and meeting rooms, time will tell if further enhancements will be needed and requested from the hospital and operations units once the ship is up and running. One thing is certain, however: technology plays a foundational role in the mission-driven work of Mercy Ships. Dyson concluded, “Mercy Ships has always been about bringing hope and healing to the world’s forgotten poor. While technology is not a highlight, it provides us with a necessary foundation and vehicle on which we can stand to provide that hope and healing, the ‘leg up’ for those we serve.” * av n / / / / D E C E M B E R 2 0 2 0 / / / / S C N




Global Mercy, a new vessel for charitable organization Mercy Ships, is outfitted with the latest pro AV technology thanks to donor companies like NEC Display (now Sharp NEC Display Solutions) and Peerless-AV.

routers and switchers







hen looking at AV systems that encompass multiple sources and destinations, routers and switchers often serve as the heart of the network. With that in mind, working with the right technology provider to identify what your system really needs can make or break your network installation. “There is more to it than just selecting the correct format and number of input and output connectors. Aspects like switching time, scaling, resolution, latency, EDID-HDCP management, edge device control, and flexibility can mean the difference between something that might barely work and something that truly fits the application,” said Chris Kopin, executive vice president of technology, Kramer. When working with technology providers to select the right product for your AV system, it is important that they understand your expectaThe process can be tions and how you plan to use the system. “Whether overwhelming, so integrators you’re in charge of AV for should ensure they are a small church or school, available to help clients find or a large sports stadium the optimal solution. or concert venue, you can tailor a solution to fit your requirements. There’s no need for a small customer just starting out or run by volunteers to invest in something that goes beyond their means and abilities, and there’s no need for a larger customer to force their workflow to fit a certain switcher or router,” said Bob Caniglia, director of sales operations for the Americas, Blackmagic Design. The speed of the switcher or router, the number of ports, ease of management, and the potential upgrade path are just some of the things to keep in mind when selecting a product. These factors will help determine the right product for the application. It’s easier than ever to customize a system based on the intended use and ensure users have the features they require no matter the budget or size of the installation. “The great thing about the market right now is that there are numerous options out there, so users can create professional, customized workflows more easily than ever before. Gone are the days when the largest, most feature-rich switchers cost hundreds of thousands of dollars. Today, there are powerful, multipurpose, and future-proof options for every budget. You don’t need the largest budget to achieve a high-quality and versatile workflow,” said Caniglia. End users are looking for products that can grow with their net-

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work and capabilities. There are plenty of products on the market that can deliver SD, HD, and Ultra HD through a single unit. Caniglia continued, “Users can work in lower resolutions now while they prepare, and then flip the switch to 4K when they are ready. The ability to handle 8K, which is only used in a limited capacity right now, will also become more important as time goes on and technologies become more advanced.” Live streaming is also an important capability, with many end users looking for products that can help them streamline the process by removing the need for an encoder or the need to connect to a network. The process can be overwhelming for an end user, so integrators should ensure they are available to help them find the optimal solution. Many manufacturers and providers offer a variety of channels to help guide the decision-making process and offer tech support to ensure the solution continues to fit your client’s needs. Routing and Switching Solutions to Consider Integration firms should consider these products—a list compiled by our panel of experts—when looking for AV systems solutions for clients.

Aurora Multimedia IP-24PoE+

With a 24-port PoE+/PoH+ injector to deliver power on a 10 Gb connection, Aurora’s IP-24PoE+ is a good option for any standard 1 Gb or 10 Gb network switch and provides 30 watts of power per port. The IP-24PoE+ complements Aurora’s IPX Series SDVoE AV over IP product line since it is currently the only 10 Gb AV over IP product with PoE. Featuring 750 watts total power, it can also supply power to HDBaseT PoH products and can provide increased power to underpowered PoE network switches.

Blackmagic Design ATEM Mini Series

Looking for something that makes it easy to livestream multicamera productions online? The ATEM Mini switcher offers four high-quality HDMI inputs and can be used for live switching cameras, computers, and game consoles. It features a USB output that operates similar to a webcam, allowing users to connect to any video software. The ATEM Mini Pro expands on the ATEM Mini’s capabilities by providing new hardware that allows direct streaming via its Ethernet connection to platforms like YouTube Live, Facebook, and Twitch. Users can also

routers and switchers


With the ability to connect up to four sources, including servers, DVRs, computers, and media players, the 4K Quad Multiview 4x1 KVM Switch offers multiview functionality that tiles four 1080p hosts onto a single 4K display. Allowing each quadrant to be displayed in its native resolution, the multi-window processor supports 1080p or 4K resolutions through a single HDMI output to a single display. Real-time control allows for the four connected devices to be controlled by a simple mouse keyboard combo. record the stream directly to USB Flash disks, and continuous recording capabilities are available. If your client is looking to take it one step further, ATEM Mini PRO ISO provides a five-stream recording engine that records video inputs to allow the live production to be edited following the event.

Kramer VS-34FD

Is being ready for 8K important to you and your clients? If so, Kramer offers the VS-34FD, a 34-port modular 8K multiformat digital matrix switcher. Featuring interchangeable inputs and outputs, the VS-34FD supports HDMI, HDBaseT, DGKat, fiber optic, DVI, VGA HD-SDI, and analog and digital audio. With the addition of an adapter, the unit is compatible with all existing cards and is ready for 8K when your client’s AV system is, future-proofing with an 8K-ready chassis. *

Hall Research Versa-4K

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If you’re looking for simplicity, Hall Research’s Versa-4K might be an ideal solution. With the ability to be managed through any device with a browser, Hall Research’s Versa-4K empowers users to extend and switch multiple HDMI video and USB data streams to an unlimited number of receivers. Josh Petru, the company’s Central U.S. business development manager, said, “With the Hall Research Versa-4K Video over IP system, the switch is the center aggregated distribution point for the Versa transmitters and receivers. Based on the project, the Versa4K system gives you the versatility of working on the recommended closed AV network or within the customer’s existing network. This allows the platform to operate in a wide range of new or existing networks to distribute video around the room or around the world with ease.” No external network equipment is needed, and advanced features include low-latency video and audio, a video wall processor to expand and split 4K video onto multiple screens, video rotation and flipping (horizontal and vertical), automatic KVM switching, and PoE (Power over Ethernet) support.

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performing arts audio








ven before the COVID-19 pandemic upended the prospects of hosting large gatherings, the performing arts industry faced its share of challenges. As performing arts centers contend with shrinking physical footprints and the growing popularity of multiuse facility design, audio manufacturers have been developing solutions to meet both current and anticipated future needs. But with indoor venues heading outdoors and facility administrators improvising other atypical arrangements in efforts to abide by social distancing regulations, some venues are finding that products already exist that will satisfy their evolving audio requirements. “With the need for high-performing, riderfriendly systems, d&b has made installation

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variants of our mobile systems a standard issue, established several series of dedicated installation loudspeakers, and formed a custom solutions shop that includes not only paint but texture, custom rigging, and weatherization options to suit architectural, aesthetic and environmental requirements,” said Marc Lopez, vice president of marketing for the Americas at d&b audiotechnik. Soundscape may be d&b’s most ambitious undertaking toward that end. The softwarebased audio processing system specializes in room emulation and sound object positioning by creating and modifying reverberation signatures derived from acoustic measurements of “seven internationally renowned performance venues” and loudspeaker placements.

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Momentary—a 63,000-square-foot former cheese factory in Bentonville, AR, that has been recommissioned into a multidisciplinary arts center for visual and performing arts—features a d&b audiotechnik Soundscape audio system.

“Soundscape elevates the engagement and experience for an audience while also providing a huge amount of versatility for a performing arts space to accommodate artistic and acoustic requirements for a wide range of programming,” added Lopez. It accomplishes this “through precise aural localization, reverberation enhancement, and spatial immersion,” with the idea of making “every seat the best seat in the house” by “evolv[ing] and adapt[ing] to new challenges that a performance space may have.” The system has found a home at venues like the Momentary, a 63,000-square-foot former cheese factory in Bentonville, AR, that has been recommissioned into a multidisciplinary arts center for visual and performing arts, culinary experiences, festivals, and artistsin-residence. Icelandic electro-pop group FM Belfast and Australian singer-songwriter Courtney Barnett are among the artists who have performed there. “Pop/rock acts realize there is an amazing amount of headroom for an impactful show due to [Soundscape’s] object-based mixing format,” he said. “Sound designers have detailed creative control and flexibility for a theatrical production, while choral groups and symphonies can perform in a lush concert halllike environment.”

performing arts audio

technology Meyer Sound’s Constellation offers an elegantly simple way for venues to transform architectural acoustics to provide optimal sound across a wide spectrum of environments. Constellation is able to control reverberation time, early reflections, and other factors vital to the sonic clarity, warmth, and resonance of a space.

and handle the relatively lower-capacity needs d&b audiotechnik’s latest entry in the perof the Greensboro Symphony. forming arts center market is the just-released “The symphony would have preferred a 44S flush-mountable loudspeaker. Loaded 1,600-seat symphonic concert hall, but [nearwith two-way dual 4.5-inch drivers and dual by] Guilford College’s Bryan series and Broad1.25-inch dome tweeters, the unit can be inset way series were selling double that number,” into stages or stairs for front fills, or surfacesaid Matt Brown, managing director of the mounted into the ceiling of an under-balcony Greensboro Coliseum Complex that includes area. The low-profile 44S is designed to be the center. “We needed to acoustically accomvisually unnoticeable but deliver impactful and modate both. That led to a thorough education consistent fill-in sound for the main sound on electroacoustic technology,” which led them system. to Constellation. Pierre Germain, design manager for the In a world transformed by the COConstellation solution at Meyer Sound, VID-19 pandemic, Germain said the noted a trend away from building large challenge musical ensembles face is concert halls in favor of medium- and having to play farther apart from each small-sized multipurpose venues that other because of social distancing predates COVID-19. He cited the rules. “Constellation can help musiMeyer Sound Constellation as a solucians hear each other better through tion for these venues, “as it can create Kevin Kimmel the use of our electronic stage shells,” the acoustics of larger rooms, such as he said, while “audience areas can concert halls and large churches, not benefit from Constellation’s Audience to mention optimizing the acoustics of Enhancement, [which] makes the room venues for jazz, drama, soloists, and sound bigger [and] provides the audismall ensembles.” ence with the feeling they are among a Constellation integrates loudspeak- Marc Lopez larger group of people.” ers, microphones, and digital processing Kevin Kimmel, a systems application in an algorithmic approach to controlling engineer at Yamaha, noted a related reverberation time, early reflections, need for these downsized performing and other factors vital to the sonic clararts centers: a smaller area calls for a ity, warmth, and resonance of a space. more space-conscious audio solution. “Working alongside traditional pas“The demand for more advanced techsive acoustic treatment,” he said, “Con- Pierre Germain nologies at performing arts centers has stellation allows end users to change been on the rise, as well as the ongoing dea room’s acoustics at the touch of a button, mand for a smaller footprint at FOH,” he said. instantaneously, to suit various types of perThat trend led Yamaha to create the Rivage formances, such as a longer reverberation time PM3 and PM5 mixing consoles, which are for a choral group, or short reverberation time smaller in size than the PM7 and PM10 but for a piano recital.” carry the same mixing capacity. Each model in Constellation lets venues reconfigure the the lineup is outfitted with free low-latency acoustic environment for each performance, plug-ins that don’t require an external comwhether they’re hosting symphony perforputer or server. mances and opera or touring shows such as “This allows for a small footprint and gives the concerts and Broadway musicals. It’s currently mix engineer and sound designers a huge palette used in 140 installations, including the largest of tools to accomplish the growing demands of deployment at the Steven Tanger Center for live sound,” said Kimmel. “Products with a smallthe Performing Arts in Greensboro, NC, which er footprint allow more seats to be sold.” was designed to host touring performances

In addition, Yamaha’s MTX and MRX series of matrix processors help meet the need for control and connectivity throughout a venue. “They’re ideal for programming background music, announcements, and power cycling, as well as enabling local wall controllers and iPad control in rehearsal rooms,” he added. No matter how long the COVID-19 pandemic lingers, its effects are already obvious and significant. Kimmel noted that performing arts centers of all sizes will most likely have smaller budgets in the foreseeable future and will need to make those audio dollars work extra hard. “Products like these, with smaller footprints but still loaded with features, make it possible to have a FOH system double as a portable system for auxiliary rooms and outdoor events,” he said. Venues that open with capacity limitations and distanced seating arrangements, Lopez added, will require a consistent audio experience, even sound coverage, and balanced tonality throughout the entire audience area. “For venues that can offer performances outside, Soundscape can provide an audio experience that simulates the acoustics of an indoor venue.” *

At just over 5 inches tall, the d&b audiotechnik 44S can be placed where most loudspeakers can’t: balconies, stage lips, trade show booths, and stairs—even flushmounted in the ceiling, walls, and soffits. An intelligent waveguide and baffle design create a smooth horizontal dispersion down to the lower frequencies while being tightly focused vertically.

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Yamaha’s RIVAGE PM series includes five consoles, two DSP engines, two I/O rack units, and two network protocols. Any of these components can be combined to create systems to suit a wide range of application scales and budget requirements.

new products


technology Yamaha ADECIA Ceiling Audio Solution

QSC NV-32-H Network Video Endpoint

The What: Yamaha Unified Communications is now accepting preorders for ADECIA, a family of communication products designed to be installed easily and to work together seamlessly to provide a complete and customizable communication solution for any enterprise or meeting space. Comprising the multi-beamforming RM-CG ceiling array microphone and RM-CR audio processor, as well as Yamaha’s PoE switches and VXL Series line array speakers, ADECIA is expected to ship in the first quarter of 2021. The What Else: ADECIA enables organizations to overcome implementation, configuration, and room acoustic challenges by providing all the equipment required for a successful installation with the highest audio quality. Every component of the system, from the microphones to speakers as well as the required networking and communication equipment, automatically integrates thus reducing time, costs, and installation complexities, according to the company. The Bottom Line: The complete solution immediately detects all components of the system and optimizes them for the room environment, accounting for the location of speakers and microphones, reverberation, and echo behavior. Setting up a room is done through the system’s configurator in four steps. With USB, Bluetooth, Dante, and analog connections, this flexible system can fit a variety of enterprise or meeting spaces.

The What: QSC’s NV32-H (Core Capable) native network video endpoint for the Q-SYS Ecosystem allows users to toggle between two modes to change functionality. Core Mode transforms the device into a fully capable Q-SYS processor with local HDMI switching capabilities, while Peripheral Mode supports network HDMI video distribution over standard AV networks. The What Else: Core Mode offers a fully-featured audio processing engine for the Q-SYS Ecosystem, including 32x32 network audio channels, eight AEC channels, one VoIP softphone instance, and optional support for software-based Dante. As with the rest of the Q-SYS processing portfolio, it features a robust software-based control engine allowing for simple control integration for native Q-SYS devices and third-party connected devices. As the NV-32-H (Core Capable) is specially intended to support inroom video collaboration spaces, it also offers an integrated 3x2 video switch for locally-connected HDMI sources. This feature represents time savings and cost efficiency for small to medium-sized meeting rooms and classrooms that require easy toggling control between in-room inputs (PCs, BYOD devices, document cameras) and outputs (multiple displays or projectors), as it removes the need for a standalone switching device and costly integration requirements. Peripheral Mode toggles the device into a multistream network video endpoint for HDMI video encoding/decoding for video distribution for the Q-SYS Ecosystem. This mode allows video distribution needs within larger collaboration spaces to strike a balance between quality, latency, and network efficiency. The Bottom Line: In either Core Mode or Peripheral Mode, the NV32-H (Core Capable) offers simplified integration for web conferencing applications like Microsoft Teams Rooms, Zoom, and Google Hangouts Meet. This device acts as a plug-and-play access point for USB delivery of Q-SYS audio and conference room cameras.

AVI-SPL Symphony 5.0

The What: AVI-SPL Symphony is a user experience management application for collaboration technologies. Symphony simplifies user engagement and improves meeting success. This multi-tenant cloud-based application helps users easily monitor and manage meeting rooms and devices. AVI-SPL says that version 5.0 “further advances the application’s leadership position as the most inclusive, single-pane view for audiovisual and unified communications and collaboration (UCC) technologies.” The What Else: Features include monitoring, control, scheduling, ticketing, and analyzing of the supporting collaboration technology estate and meetings within an organization. New features in version 5.0 deliver improved meeting searches, filters, and controls, as well as identification of critical meeting participants for priority support. As well, the updated product establishes a platform for sustainable, real-time incident remediation. Symphony 5.0 features a user-configurable workflow engine compliant with the Business Process Model and Notation (BPMN) standards. Its graphical drag-and-drop interface encourages comprehensive, activity-based controls that enhance remote production capabilities and create operational efficiencies. The Bottom Line: With this release, AVI-SPL Symphony is now available as an on-premise offering to complement pre-existing managed service and public cloud subscription options. This new licensing model ensures that Symphony can be deployed and operated in the way organizations require.

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Hall Research ECHO Extenders

The What: ECHO is a family of extension products from Hall Research that enables a single HDMI 2.0 source to display remotely at up to eight different locations using HDBaseT technology. The What Else: HDMI resolutions up to 4K UHD (4K60 4:4:4) can be extended up to 230 feet, while resolutions up to 1080p can be extended 328 feet over a single Cat 5e or Cat 6 cable. The ECHO family supports HDCP 2.2 and 1.4 content protection, as well as HDR10 high dynamic range video. In addition to HDMI extension, the ECHO family extends RS-232 serial data, and bi-directional IR for control of remote devices. All senders include a local HDMI output, EDID routing control, de-embedded analog audio, and Power over Cable (PoC) to power remote receivers. The ECHO-4S and ECHO-8S have built-in HDMI splitters to extend a single video to four and eight receivers, respectively. Additional features include RS-232 and IR loop output for daisy-chaining senders, and digital Toslink audio de-embedding. The Bottom Line: The ECHO-RX2 receiver has a built-in HDMI splitter for connection to a secondary display, RS-232 and bi-direction-

new products

technology tion, PKI Authentication, SSH, SFTP, HTTPS, and TLS. With Crestron’s XiO Cloud management platform, IT teams can efficiently manage these assets at scale. Other features include HDR10+ and Dolby Vision support, integrated

Plas TV Box SCN.qxp_Layout 1 11/10/20 10:50 AM Page 1

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




Lowell Manufacturing ESP Series Pendant Speakers

The What: Lowell’s new line of pendant speakers, the ESP Series, is engineered as an acoustic match to Lowell’s ES Series of recessed ceiling speakers, using the same drivers and transformers that provide intelligibility for speech and full-frequency response for music in a new form factor. The What Else: The ESP pendant speakers feature an integral bracket assembly that’s ready to hang from cable or pipe, but they also have threaded insert points to add a U-bracket for wall- or truss-mounting. Acoustically- and aesthetically-matched speakers in recessed, pendant, and surface-mount formats enable integrators to achieve the same sound quality throughout a building, no matter the type of architecture. The Bottom Line: ESP Series speakers are available with a 6.5-inch 50W coaxial driver, 8-inch 120W coaxial driver, or 8-inch 150W coaxial compression driver. The durable ABS plastic ported enclosure (black or white) has a pleasing tapered profile and is tuned for extended bass response. It features a magnetic-mount top cover that clicks into place to hide wiring connections and rigging hardware, streamlining the overall appearance. The ESP Series is set to begin shipping in January.

The What: Crestron has introduced five HDMI switchers covering a broad range of sizes and applications, including 4x1, 4x2, 4x4, 8x4, and 8x8, with support for 4K60 4:4:4 at 18 Gbps. The What Else: These switchers offer features and capabilities demanded by IT professionals who are tasked with managing dozens, hundreds, or even thousands of rooms. They feature enterprise-class security features, including 802.1x, Active Directory credential management integra-





CED135 with brush cover

The job looks great. Plugs and connectors stay inside these Listed boxes without extending past the wall. Available in 2-, 3- and 4-gang styles for retrofit or new work. Each offers power and/or low voltage in one or more of the other openings. There’s a box to fit nearly any application! TVBU505


And a cable entry device with slotted or brush cover to organize your low voltage cable bundle. • RETROFIT Mounting wing screws pull box against wall NEW WORK Box screw-mounts to stud • Non-metallic box with paintable white trim plate, optional covers available


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Crestron 4K60 HDMI Switchers



Made in USA Scranton, PA 18517 800/233-4717


al IR for control, and de-embedded analog audio output. When used with an ECHO-1S, the power supply may be installed at either sender or receiver—whichever is more convenient.

new products


technology display control via CEC (no programming or control system needed), audio de-embedding, and auto-route and priority routing (HD-MD4X14KZ-E, HD-MD4X2-4KZ-E). The Bottom Line: This lineup of HDMI switchers is designed to deliver the latest video standards and bring peace of mind to IT and information security professionals with enterprise-class security features and XiO Cloud Service integration.

depth and texture for an incredibly immersive effect. Employing a widecolor-gamut color filter and optimized LED backlight phosphors, the display reproduces improved gradations of red, blue and green in the pixels. This allows it to deliver brilliant clarity and is perfect for environments that require exceptional detail, including corporate lobbies, showrooms, museums and video production. The 8K display is available on a special-order basis and orders may be placed immediately.

Bose L1 Pro Portable Line Array Family

Shure MV7 Hybrid XLR/USB Microphone

The What: Bose’s L1 Pro portable line array family consists of three portable P.A.s—the L1 Pro8, L1 Pro16 and L1 Pro32—and two modular subwoofers, Bose Sub1 and Sub2, for use with the L1 Pro 32. All of the systems offer built-in multichannel mixers with EQ, reverb and phantom power; Bluetooth streaming capabilities; and access to the complete library of ToneMatch custom EQ presets. The What Else: RaceTrack woofers integrated into the L1 Pro8 and L1 Pro16 deliver powerful bass without the bulk. The most portable model, the 38.9-pound L1 Pro8, sports a C-shaped line array behind the grille, built around eight articulated 2-inch neodymium drivers. It offers 180° horizontal coverage with wide vertical dispersion. The 53.7-pound L1 Pro16 ups the ante, featuring a J-shaped line array of 16 articulated 2-inch neodymium drivers. While it, too, offers 180° horizontal coverage, it also has tight vertical control on top, and wide dispersion on the bottom, helping it to cover audiences whether set up on the floor, an elevated stage and even off to the extreme sides in medium to large venues. The L1 Pro32, the flagship of the line, can be used independently or with the Sub1 and Sub2 modular subwoofers. Unlike the L1 Pro8 and L1 Pro16, the L1 Pro32 doesn’t have a shape to its line array; rather, it is a straight line with 32 articulated 2-inch neodymium drivers and the highest SPL over distance in an L1 ever. The Bottom Line: These three portable P.A. systems are designed to deliver flexibility for a wide variety of styles and audiences, and provide a solution for creators reintroducing live music and sound experiences into venues and online platforms.

Sharp 8M-B120C 120-Inch 8K Professional Display

The What: Sharp Imaging and Information Company of America has debuted 8M-B120C, a 120-inch class (diagonal) 8K Ultra HD Professional LCD display for commercial applications. The What Else: The 8M-B120C offers full-array LED backlighting with 2,048 zone local dimming technology, a 3,500:1 contrast ratio, and up to 600 nits brightness (HDR: peak brightness 1,500 nits). The display provides continuous operation for up to 16 hours a day and is embedded with 70-watt multispeaker audio system (10W + 10W + 10W + 10W + 15W+ 15W). It comes with flexible installation and connection via a single HDMI cable and a LAN port that allows it to be connected to a PC. It can also connect to four PCs via video cables to show content on one large screen. In addition, it comes bundled with a floor stand and wall-mounting brackets. The Bottom Line: The 8K monitor packs in 33 million pixels, four times more than a 4K panel, creating vivid image quality and realistic

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The What: As people flock to live streaming and podcasting—and continue the new norm of recording music at home—in the wake of self-isolation, Shure has seen an opportunity to release its first hybrid XLR/USB mic: the MV7 Podcast Microphone. The What Else: The dynamic mic is designed to suit the needs of all types of creators, whether entrylevel or experienced. Shure’s Voice Isolation Technology ensures that the microphone’s pickup pattern focuses on the vocals, pushing it to the forefront of the recording regardless of the environment. Auto Level Mode helps achieve consistent output levels by automatically adjusting gain in real time to compensate for changes in the user’s vocal level and mic position. Setup time is streamlined, too, thanks to the MV7’s integrated touchpanel, which allows the user to swiftly adjust gain, headphone volume, monitor mix and mute/unmute, plus an option to lock custom settings. Shure’s free desktop app, MOTIV, gives control over a range of preset modes. Mic instance can also be adjusted depending on how the user is positioned in relation to the MV7 via MOTIV. The MV7 is certified by TeamSpeak, significant for gamers. The Bottom Line: As the MV7 is an XLR/USB hybrid dynamic mic, its compatibility is extremely versatile. Plug into an audio interface for high-quality recording with the XLR output when recording for a new track, podcasting, radio shows, gaming and voiceovers. Alternatively, hook the MV7 straight into your laptop with USB-A and USB-C connectivity, and even into your phone when on-the-go recording is required. A pleasing number of Android devices will be able to connect straight into the MV7, but iPhone users can purchase a separate Lightning adapter.

TEKVOX Room Mics Booster Pack for Videoconferencing

The What: TEKVOX’s 710BPRoom_Mics is a drop-in booster pack designed to add a system of microphones to a new or existing AV system. This booster pack consists of a fully integrated system of array microphones for capturing clear audio in any room, plus an audio digital signal processor (DSP) for performing automatic echo cancellation and mixing. All ceiling microphones come mounted on clear Plexiglas plates for easy installation and high-quality sound pickup. The What Else: The Room_Mics booster pack includes connections for an instructor’s wireless mic, a desk- or podium-mounted mic, and six high-quality, ceiling-mounted array microphones for students. Each array microphone picks up sound in a wide arc for consistent sound from anywhere in the room. The Bottom Line: All microphones are connected to the DSP, which dynamically adjusts, filters, and enhances room audio so everyone is heard, loud sounds are dampened, and any noise or echo is eliminated. A USB connection routes audio to and from a videoconferencing PC (not included) for full-room integration. Once adjusted, filtered, and mixed, the mics are routed to an audio amplifier to be played over the room’s speakers.

new products


technology West Pond MX-200CC Channel Creator The What: Facilities use private TV channels to inform, entertain and engage community residents. The channels may display signage content, live events, recorded media, educational content and similar programming. West Pond’s MX-200CC follows in the footsteps of the MX400CC Channel Creator and creates private TV channels that are visible on each resident’s television in a facility. The What Else: West Pond’s MX-200CC features a video server to create playlists and schedule playback of stored files, and a media library to store recorded media for future playback. MX-200CC comes standard with 32 GB of SSD storage that may be expanded to 1 TB. The MX-200CC can be managed from anywhere using any device via an internal Web UI. The MX-200CC may be placed on a shelf or wall-mounted, but otherwise is comparable to a similarly equipped MX-400CC rackmount unit. If a facility is limited in space and does not need to expand beyond the basic MX-400CC hardware inputs, the MX-200CC may be right for that installation. The Bottom Line: The MX-200CC by West Pond features a oneyear FlexDM remote service, software support, and hardware warranty. List price for the MX-200CC is $3,695.

Premier Mounts LFC Line

The What: Premier Mounts’ LFC-L largeformat mobile cart, which supports the largest LCD commercial display sizes, allows these oversized displays to be moved from room to room. The What Else: LFC-L is built to support flat panels and touchscreens up to 98 inches in size and weighing up to 300 pounds. Manual height adjustment allows for the display to be set at intended viewing height, while a mobile nesting base allows for easy storage. The display can be mounted in portrait or landscape orientation. “These solutions were built based on industry data that shows average screen sizes for commercial displays are growing exponentially year after year. We at Premier Mounts have seen the demand increase for mounting solutions involving large-format displays, and our products are built to last as more native 4K resolutions and interactive touchscreens begin making their way to market,” said Curtis Rose, Premier Mounts marketing director. The Bottom Line: The LFC line is packaged in one single carton for simple delivery to a project site and features a strike and setup similar to traditional Premier Mounts dual-pole carts and stands.

Modulo Pi Modulo Kinetic with XR Capabilities

The What: Modulo Pi has added Extended Reality (XR) capabilities to Modulo Kinetic, its integrated media server solution. Designed with the needs of pro AV users in mind, the new version of Modulo Kinetic upgraded with XR features will make the production of virtual and hybrid events easier, according to the company. The What Else: The XR features in Modulo Kinetic address the need for virtual and hybrid events in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic and physical distancing guidelines. New features include an enhanced

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chroma keyer, improved embedded 3D engine, and camera tracking support for the Panasonic AW-UE150, Stype, and Vive systems. Based on these new capabilities, pro AV professionals will be able to produce virtual events featuring background replacement, extended reality, augmented reality, and scenic extension. These technologies help enrich the elements usually encountered in physical events with immersive 3D environments, 3D objects, animations, and the ability to switch scenes, contents, and cameras. The Bottom Line: The Modulo Kinetic platform embeds all necessary tools to produce real-time virtual sets: previsualization tools for real-time 3D study, simulation and VR; a 3D environment and userfriendly 3D engine for real-time generative content; an improved chroma keyer, powerful 2D real-time compositing tools; a timeline sequencer; and a nodal editor to add interactivity in a show.

Blackbox KVX Series KVM Extender Kits

The What: Black Box has introduced six KVX Series KVM extender kits, each providing control over a remote server or computer from a local workstation with one or two screens. Black Box offers three copper and three fiber KVX Series extender kits to provide support for DVI, 4K HDMI, and 4K DisplayPort connections. The What Else: In addition to extending KVM signals over distances up to 328 feet over Cat-x cable or 18.6 miles over fiber with an SFP connector, the plug-and-play KVX extender kits from Black Box also allow users to connect a display at a remote location for local monitoring. DVI KVX models support 1920 x 1200 at 60 Hz video and legacy VGA interfaces via an adapter. DisplayPort KVX models support up to 3840 x 2160 at 30 Hz UHD video. The dual-head KVM extender includes DisplayPort/HDMI mixed inputs to support dual HDMI displays at 3840 x 2160 60 Hz UHD video. EDID emulation supports different resolutions and eliminates display compatibility issues. Along with extension of USB 2.0, analog stereo audio (speakers and microphones) and serial signals, all six extender kits feature two additional video ports on the transmitter to enable monitoring of the computer in a data center or equipment room. PC connection cables are included in each KVX Series extender kit. The Bottom Line: The KVX extender kits feature pricing and functionality that address the requirements of design, graphics, video production, and software development. Allowing users to control systems that are remote or physically inaccessible due to location, environment, or security measures, they serve as a convenient solution for office connectivity, server management, remote monitoring, process control, or medical and industrial device control.


viewpoint Tips for Advancing Your AV Career B Y ST E V E G REENBL A TT, CTS


n technology industries like ours, the majority of learning and skill development takes place in technical areas. Whether it is to master installation techniques, become trained in the latest hardware, develop proficiency in the newest programming language, or amass certifications of competency in areas of technical expertise, aspiring to become an AV professional and advancing your AV career typically involves a concentration of industry knowledge, mastery, and non-theoretical attributes.

While technical aptitude is critically important for many roles, the value of professional skills in addition to technical ones demands consideration. A well-rounded individual with a blend of skills both within and outside their core competency or technical area of expertise has a greater likelihood of success than a one-dimensional candidate. The value of basic business skills such as effective communication, organization, time management, people management, and customer service should not be overlooked, no matter the role or the industry. Within the AV industry, roles like design, installation, and programming require technical competency. The lack of a technical resume would be a limiting factor, no matter the depth and maturity of a professional skill set. However, roles like project management, sales, marketing, administration, and operations may place less emphasis on technical knowledge and more on professional skills and business acumen. In all cases, soft skills stemming from professional development enhance one’s ability to succeed. Possessing soft skills will increase an individual’s value to their company, improve opportunities for career advancement, and provide a point of differentiation. On the flip side, the absence of soft skills and professional development can limit one’s ability to grow, advance, and achieve their true potential. The impact of professional skills for technical roles such as programmer, designer, or technician can be easily demonstrated in a variety of everyday situations. For example, someone who is a subject matter expert has the ability to engage with a client and solidify a relationship on a different level than a project manager or salesperson, but if that expert lacks communication skills or confidence, the company would be ill served by sending them on client meetings. However, if that same individual were equipped with the necessary professional skills to excel in these situations, they could contribute significant added value for the client and organization. Another common type of worker is the technical specialist, who tends to be a perfectionist because it suits the nature of their work. While this trait may contribute to a quality product, it can come at the cost of time management, which can lead to inefficiencies, missed deadlines, and cost overruns. Understanding how “perfect” can be the enemy of complete, and the impact that delays and lost time have on the health of a business are critical to avert crises. Failure to understand and appreciate this situation will likely lead to delays and undesirable outcomes. Lastly, technical experts tend to be highly focused on their work. In their preoccupation, they may discount the importance of company culture, interpersonal interaction, or general business needs, and may be perceived as aloof by others. While these failings may not seem like a big deal given the individual’s technical contributions, they can have a significant impact on the health and success of an organization, as well as the attitude of clients and prospective team members. Ultimately, if technical expertise is the cornerstone of the business, it is important that those in technical roles demonstrate leadership and have a hand in defining the organization’s identity. Those in technical roles who

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can appreciate how their role impacts others and the importance of supporting team members in sales, marketing, operations, and areas outside of their own will find that they make a positive impact. Those who don’t can be a distraction and detriment to the team. Technical experts may consider others in an organization with less technical aptitude to be less effective. They also wouldn’t want to be doing their jobs—a list that includes positions in project management, sales, marketing, operations, and human resources, to name a few. Success in these roles relies more on having skills in interpersonal dynamics, organization, people management, creativity, and customer service than deeply technical abilities. Just as those in nontechnical roles benefit from working knowledge of the technical aspects of the AV industry and how it pertains to their position and organization, technical experts need to understand the value and importance of business knowledge and soft skills. In the end, no individual should be considered exempt from being multi-faceted, having business training, and pursuing professional development.

“While it is critical for most roles in the AV industry to have a marketable technical skill that adds value for both an employer and a client, there are many professional skills that can contribute greatly to an individual’s effectiveness and provide as much of a differentiator as a niche technical skill set.” While the path to technical expertise in the AV industry may appear daunting, the steps to obtain knowledge and credentials are fairly definitive. The recipe for developing technical expertise includes specific curricula, training, reference material, and resources geared toward industry designations or certifications. To hone professional skills, however, the roadmap is much less clear cut, relying on a formula of informal education, independent study, word-of-mouth learning, and trial and error. Without specific guidelines for pursuing professional development, it is important to be resourceful and learn from others. While it is critical for most roles in the AV industry to have a marketable technical skill that adds value for both an employer and a client, there are many professional skills that can contribute greatly to an individual’s effectiveness and provide as much of a differentiator as a niche technical skill set. Although mastery of professional skills can be a lifelong journey adorned by many forms of instruction, instructors, and learning experiences, it is critically important to incorporate it in a success plan. Being aware, understanding business basics, proactively pursuing knowledge, and taking responsibility for growth in professional development are the first few steps toward achieving success. Steve Greenblatt, CTS, is president and founder of Control Concepts, a provider of specialized software and services for the audiovisual industry.