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Welcome to the APRIL ISSUE OF

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MGP 641

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Features: • Full 4K/60, 4:4:4 support on all inputs and outputs • HDMI and DTP2 4K/60 outputs deliver duplicate signals to local and remote displays • Cascade multiple MGP 641 processors to present up to 16 windows on a single screen • 128 customizable presets allow quick saving and recall of window layouts • Auto-layout mode configures window layout based on which inputs have an active signal • Source and output rotation • Video and logo keying

Animated Transitions The window arrangement and background can be stored as a preset and later recalled using a hard cut or animated transition. An animated transition dynamically resizes and repositions the four windows to the location determined by the new preset, with an adjustable duration of 0 to 5 seconds.

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Y O U R I N S I D E R B U S I N E S S R E S O U R C E F O R M O R E T H A N 2 5 Y E A R S / / / APRIL 2021

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THE NEXT WAVE OF VIRTUAL EVENTS One Year into the Pandemic, Virtual Events Are Ready for a Rebirth PLUS Producing Engaging Esports Events

IMAGE COURTESY OF CORY’S AUDIO VISUAL

8 industry insiders 18 Executive Q&A

DVIGear’s Matthew Pulsipher discusses shedding preconceived notions about AVoIP technology.

19 Tech Tales

Lindsay Martin-Bilbrey of Nifty Method shares five things event planners wish AV techs knew.

42 Viewpoint

18

19

42

Alesia Hendley talks about saying goodbye to fear and doubt.

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///////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////// APRIL 2021 // VOLUME 28 // ISSUE 4 ///////////////////////////////////////

CON TENTS

SPECIAL SUPPLEMENT 28 THE INTEGRATION GUIDE TO ESPORTS

Esports presents its own set of broadcasting challenges, but it also provides producers with opportunities that they wouldn’t have with traditional sports. To take advantage of them, however, you have to be able to tell a compelling story.

36

PEOPLE 18 EXECUTIVE Q&A

DVIGear’s Matthew Pulsipher shares why integrators need to rid themselves of preconceived notions regarding AVoIP technology. By Megan A. Dutta

19 TECH TALES

A certified event professional shares the top five issues that event planners wish AV tech teams really knew. By Lindsey Martin-Bilbrey, CMP

SNAPSHOTS 33 ICELANDIC NATIONAL THEATRE UPDATES SIGNAGE

The National Theatre of Iceland needed a digital signage solution that would work in harmony with the building’s unique art deco design—and Peerless-AV delivered. By SCN Staff

TECHNOLOGY 34 THE LATEST IN OUTDOOR AV SOLUTIONS

With a growing demand for outdoor AV spurred by the COVID-19 pandemic, what are the key factors and products integrators need to know about right now? By Megan A. Dutta

FEATURES

36 INTERACTIVE ECOSYSTEM

22

In the post-COVID world, interactive displays must be versatile, IoT-ready, and supremely easy to use. But that’s just the beginning. By Margot Douaihy, Ph.D.

WHERE DOES AV AS A SERVICE FIT IN THE INDUSTRY’S FUTURE?

A clear, unambiguous definition of AVaaS may remain elusive, but as the general public’s familiarity with subscription services grows, so will the potential for integrators when it comes to subscription services. By Mary Bakija

VIEWPOINT 42 SAYING GOODBYE TO DOUBT

The only thing that can hold us back is ourselves. Doubts will arise, but it’s up to us to not let them take control. By Alesia Hendley

26

THE NEXT WAVE OF VIRTUAL EVENTS

DEPARTMENTS

When the COVID-19 pandemic sidelined live events, out-of-the-box thinkers came to the table with solutions to keep the events industry alive by connecting people virtually. By Jim Beaugez

ASSOCIATION NEWS ������������������������������������������������ 16 PEOPLE & REP NEWS ������������������������������������������������ 20 PRODUCTS ������������������������������������������������������������������ 38

Are You Online? So Are We. 22

Vol. 28 No. 4 April 2021 Systems Contractor News (ISSN 1078-4993) is published monthly by Future US, Inc., 11 West 42nd Street, 15th Floor, New York, NY 10036-8002. Periodical postage paid at New York, NY and additional mailing offices. POSTMASTER: send address changes to: SYSTEMS CONTRACTOR NEWS, P.O. Box 1051, Lowell, MA 01853. Subscription rates are US: 1 yr $59, 2 yr $105; Canada: 1 yr $109, 2 yr $205, Foreign: 1 yr $169, 2 yr $325; Single copy price $10. Subscribe online at www.MySCNews.com. Please allow 6-8 weeks for address changes to take effect. ©Copyright 2020 by Future US, Inc. PRINTED IN U.S.A.

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®

editorial Dealing with Difficult People

Megan A. Dutta

Follow Me Online megan.dutta@futurenet.com twitter.com/scnmag twitter.com/meganadutta @scnmagazine

irritates me, I find that it’s more of an internal trigger (although this isn’t always the case). Does something about their behavior mimic something I don’t like about myself? If the answer is yes, I need to go home and work on myself. If no, then I try to recognize behavior patterns from the other person so I can According to a survey of more than control my own emotions when I see that 1,100 workers, roughly 80 percent of they’re about to engage in behavior that employees will experience moderate to triggers me. While reflecting, I also try severe stress as a result of working with to see the other person’s point of view. a difficult coworker, boss, or subordiThis method isn’t necessarily solutionnate. Psychologists Alan A. Cavaiola, driven, but it does help me empathize Ph.D., and Neil J. Lavender, Ph.D., conwith the other person and perhaps unducted the survey and discuss its impliderstand them better. cations in their book, Toxic Coworkers: Another solution is to limit interacHow to Deal with Dysfunctional People tions with the person, whether they be on the Job. a coworker or a client. I like to do this by We’ve all been there—sometimes sending overly detailed, clear emails for things are complicated and it takes a the task at hand to minimize the need for team to figure out how to fix a problem, follow-up emails, meetings, or phone and sometimes things are easy in that calls. It’s also wise to know when you’ve it’s clear who is causing problems for the reached your interaction limit with the team. We all have that one person who person and send in a substitute when makes things incredibly complicated necessary. I’d gladly thank a coworker when the situation doesn’t warrant it. (If with a Starbucks surprise when he or you’re lucky, it’s just the one person.) she takes one for the team and handles a At home, it’s easier to deal with difsituation for me. ficult people. You can choose who you Lastly, I simply remind myself that not want (and don’t want) to spend time everyone is a match. Some personalities with. But in the office, that’s darn near will clash until the end of time, and you impossible. You usually can’t just avoid just have to be okay with that. Not evthe person who inspires dread every eryone is going to like you and you’re not time you see their name pop up in your going to like everyone, but if inbox or on a conference call Tweet Us you can manage to deal with invite. So how do you handle How do you deal with difficult people with grace, it? difficult people? you’re ahead of the curve. Often when someone

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APRIL 2021 VOL . 28 NO. 4

FOLLOW US @scnmag @scnmagazine CONTENT

VP/Content Creation Anthony Savona Content Director Megan A. Dutta, megan.dutta@futurenet.com Content Manager Katie Makal Contributors Mary Bakija, Jim Beaugez, Margot Douaihy, Carolyn Heinze, Alesia Hendley, Lindsey Martin-Bilbrey Group Art Director Nicole Cobban Art Editor Rob Crossland Production Managers Nicole Schilling, Heather Tatrow A DV E R T ISING SA L ES

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Meyer Sound Spacemap Go Intensifies Auditory Excitement at AREA15 las vegas, nv—“The Portal,” a 360-degree projection-mapped video experience at Las Vegas’ AREA15 art and entertainment complex, is supported by immersive audio enabled by Meyer Sound’s Spacemap Go spatial sound design and live mixing tool. The overhead Meyer Sound system comprises 12 ULTRA-X42 loudspeakers in a 3x4 grid pattern. Deep bass is augmented by two 750-LFC low-frequency control elements, while the GALAXY 816 Network Platform, originally specified only for loudspeaker processing, now also accommodates Spacemap Go’s spatial sound mixing. “The Portal” was initially conceived as a large meeting and event space with a unique ambience that could compete with the posh hotel ballrooms on the Las Vegas Strip, but with a boost from Spacemap Go, it was transformed for the pandemic into an immersive experience that supports appropriate distancing between visitors.

* Top 5 Online Stories

View them online at avnetwork.com.

5. Van Gogh Alive at the Dalí Creates Multisensory Experience

THE DALÍ MUSEUM

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For more on these stories, visit avnetwork.com.

4. Bose Partners with Barco to Offer Complete Meeting Solution 3. Samsung Debuts 75-Inch Flip Display 2. CTI Acquires AVNation 1. Michael Shinn, Noted Young AV Professional, Dies

Blog bits Now on avnetwork.com By Andi Simon When people encounter change, their brain’s default is to essentially say, “We don’t do that.” The brain is trying to be helpful, keeping people comfortable in their normal habits, but in the process it’s creating barriers to progress that people need to overcome, whether in business, personal development, or life in general.

8 SCN

Now on residentialsystems.com By Henry Clifford Your ability save clients time by designing, installing, and servicing simple technology solutions will remain one of your most important services for years to come, but the technology you’ll be required to maintain is changing by the day. Businesses that rely exclusively on transactional sales are going to watch their margins shrink. Without a complementary services approach, you won’t be around to see 2025, let alone 2035.

/ / / / A P R I L 2 0 2 1 / / / / a vne t w or k.com

Now on Installation-International.com By Charlie Neuner Certain activities are hard to re-create remotely. When you can’t bring employees safely into the classroom or workplace, virtual reality experiences help bridge the gap. Far more than videoconferencing software, VR has the power to make individuals feel physically near one other—and offers organizations a powerful tool for safely navigating the challenges of lockdown.


trends

news

Integrated Systems Europe (ISE), which was due to make its Barcelona debut this year, is being replaced by ISE Live & Online, a series of twoday in-person events taking place in Barcelona, Munich, Amsterdam, and London throughout June that will be supported by an online component powered by Cisco. “We have reached this decision following extensive discussions with our exhibitors over the last few months, and more explicitly, these last 10 days,” said Integrated Systems Events managing director Mike Blackman. “All along there has been a clear demand for a four-day ISE show in Barcelona in June. However, uncertainty surrounding the pandemic and international travel remains, which means we are unable to run ISE 2021 in its traditional format. Our exhibitors have made it clear that there is a desire to get the industry together, but on a local level. In response, we are targeting Europe’s key markets across the AV sector and aim to deliver a quality audience who want to meet potential suppliers and existing customers, and network with their peers.” The schedule for the regional events will be: * June 1–2, Fira Barcelona * June 8-9, MAC Forum, Munich * June 15–16, RAI, Amsterdam * June 23–24, Evolution, Battersea, London

Almo to Provide OfficePro Training Packages Almo Professional A/V will offer training services for increasingly popular virtual software platforms thanks to a new partnership with OfficePro. As a result, these training packages can be incorporated into an AV project to add incremental revenue and ensure user adoption following an installation. Some of OfficePro’s full-day programs available via Almo Pro A/V include training on Cisco Webex and Webex Rooms, Crestron Mercury and UC Rooms, Microsoft Surface Hub and Teams, and Zoom. “Now more than ever, the use of soft codec systems like Zoom and Microsoft Teams has become widely adopted, which in turn increases the demand for training on how to use these platforms effectively,” said Brian Rhatigan, director of business development for Almo Professional A/V. “This training service helps the integrator add value to the installation while ensuring the end user’s greatest chance for success with the software technology. Since almost everyone now relies on these systems and organizations have shifted to a remote workforce, it is important that professionals are educated on how to most effectively use them to conduct day-to-day business.” “OfficePro’s partnership with Almo gives the AV reseller access to training content from an organization that is uniquely focused on the AV community,” said Michael Doolittle, vice president of client engagement, OfficePro. “It enables resellers to generate incremental revenue by offering a critical product without having to add staff.”

RIGGED IN YOUR FAVOR. Any size video wall for any size structure. ©2010 All Rights Reserved. Loc-N-Load, HoverGrid and HoverTrack are registered trademarks of Adaptive Technologies Group

Architects, Consultants, and Integrators have come to rely on Adaptive’s unique video wall precision rigging and mounted structures. We engineer and construct them for any size corporate, education, convention worship, theme park, This 9 x 16- screen video wall goes up fast and easy, fits on roll-around carts.

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Adaptive can help you win additional bids and make your projects more profitable. Contact an Adaptive Technologies Group Application Specialist weekdays, from 7 AM to 4 PM daily PST. Or use our new on-line Quote System to get instant pricing.

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Adaptive Technologies Group • 1/2 pg. horiz. “Rigged in your favor” • for System Contractor News • prepared 1-31-21

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ISE 2021 Replaced with Regional and Virtual Events


trends

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news CTI Acquires AVNation

AV Pro Michael Shinn Dies at 38 BY ME G AN A. D U TTA

Noted young AV professional Michael Shinn has died at age 38. Most recently employed as “chief Shinnovator” at his own company, Shinnovation, Shinn previously held positions at South Central AV, Verrex, and IMS Technology Services, where he launched the firm’s service department. Shinn was named to Commercial Integrator ’s 40 under 40 list in 2014 and worked as an instructor at InfoComm shows. He also served on the NSCA Education Foundation Board of Directors. “The AV community is deeply saddened by the passing of Michael Shinn,” said David Labuskes, CTS, CEO of AVIXA. “Michael was generous with his time and expertise, teaching at events like InfoComm, which benefited the entire industry. Our hearts are with his family during this time.” “The NSCA family—including staff, volunteer leaders, former co-workers, and industry friends—were all saddened by the news of Mike Shinn’s passing,” added Chuck Wilson, executive director, NSCA. “We knew him as a fellow board member, an educator, an advocate for our industry, and our friend. Mike was passionate about this industry and, as such a young man, had so much potential. He will be greatly missed. We will remember him fondly and pray for healing as his family and friends mourn this great loss. It’s a very sad time for all of us as we reflect on how shocking this news was and how fragile life can be.”

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Conference Technologies Inc. (CTI) has acquired AVNation Media, a podcasting and news company servicing the global audiovisual industry. “CTI is deeply committed to the experiences of our clients, to ensure they have the best solutions, support, and knowledge about the industry and their systems. Adding AVNation to our mix gives us a chance to bring more value through education and information, so users are at the forefront in trends and guidance we can provide,” said CTI CEO John Laughlin, a 2020 SCN Hall of Fame inductee. “AVNation is a strong, influential voice within the AV community that will add incredible value to our team and clients.” “Conference Technologies is a world-class AV integration firm that has proven themselves to be the best at delivering for their clients, the AV end user,” added Tim Albright, founder of AVNation and 2021 SCN Hall of Fame inductee. “Combining our voice with Conference Technologies gives us the opportunity to grow beyond what we’ve been able to thus far. Our audience, sponsors, and partners will all benefit from this agreement.” All AVNation employees will join the ranks at CTI. An editorial board will be created with diverse viewpoints to ensure the media arm remains true to its mission to educate and entertain audiovisual end users around the world.

DVDO’s New Website Features Dealer Pricing DVDO has unveiled a new e-commerce website with transparent pricing for resellers. Designed to provide quick access to DVDO’s entire lineup and programs, the dvdo.com dealer portal enables one-click purchases, heavily discounted demo deals, technical documents, how-to videos and more. “The new dvdo.com is a simple transactional e-commerce platform,” said DVDO CEO Doug Fealtman. “Simply by entering a reseller license, dealers can immediately access pricing and in-stock availability on all of our products, as well as in-depth technical materials for custom installation.” The company is encouraging resellers and installers to visit www. dvdo.com to benefit from demo discounts up to 75 percent off MSRP and free domestic ground shipping; reseller pricing on the entire line of DVDO pro AV connectivity tools; in-stock availability on one-box AV room solutions, HDBaseT long-distance extenders, 4K video/multichannel audio switches, splitters, and multiplexers, controls, and accessories; and manuals, command protocols, and calibration how-to’s.

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news

AV technologists looking to create and sell exceptional experiences are tuning in to a new podcast from distinguished podcaster and #AVTweep Alesia Hendley. The weekly podcast Crash Pad, which debuted March 1, is dedicated to the pro AV community and focuses on case studies and immersive experiences. “My podcast is geared toward technologists, creatives, and my techie tribe,” said Hendley. “On each episode, I’ll be going behind the scenes and looking at some of the latest technologies that drive incredible experiences and having open discussions about the challenges, successes, and designs of these spaces. Hang out with me

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Pearl Technology has acquired IAS Technology, a company that was named one of SCN ’s four integration firms to watch in 2021. “We are pleased to welcome a leader in audiovisual technology like IAS to the Pearl Technology family,” said Gary P. Pearl, chairman and CEO of Pearl Companies. “Adding IAS to our core capabilities positions us for future growth across the nation and brings even more services to current customers. We look forward to additional opportunities with new customers and partners as a result.” Pearl added that videoconferencing has become more important to clients than ever, and all the divisions of Pearl Technology are strengthened by the addition of audiovisual integration. “I’m looking forward to working with an even bigger client base and having the support of the IT team at Pearl Technology,” said IAS Technology CEO Jeremy Caldera, CTS-D, CTS-I. “Adding audiovisual integration helps Pearl Technology offer a complete solution for clients needing both AV and IT services.” Caldera, who was inducted into the SCN Hall of Fame earlier this year, will remain with the company and serve as a member of Pearl Technology’s senior leadership team.

APRIL 2021 //// SCN

and my guests within my Crash Pad as I take my passion for technology and content creation and craft it into an amazing podcast journey highlighting cool technology and experiences!” Crash Pad is available on podcast platforms including iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher, and Amazon. To listen, visit www.thesmoothfactor.com/podcast.

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Alesia Hendley Debuts Podcast for Creative Technologists

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news PSNI Reveals Best Places to Work PSNI Global Alliance has awarded The AV Company and SKS Technologies with its coveted Best Places to Work in AV accolade based on data provided by the PSNI-exclusive Employee Engagement Survey. This was the fifth annual survey PSNI has conducted among its global Certified Solution Providers, with this year bringing a record-breaking response from PSNI’s 18,000+ member network. The AV Company, based in Hawaii, claimed the accolade for companies with fewer than 50 employees, while Australian-based integrator SKS Technologies took the award in the “over 50 employees” category. The PSNI internal Employee Engagement survey focused on three specific objectives to obtain its results: level of employee engagement within the network, identifying work attributes that are most responsible for driving employee engagement, and understanding employee perceptions in areas such as leadership, work relationships, culture, growth, and opportunity. “There are many factors that make a successful business, but none more important than its people,” added PSNI Global Alliance executive director Chris Miller. “The AV Company and SKS Technologies have thoroughly demonstrated their effectiveness at helping employees continue to feel connected to the organization to keep their engagement strong.”

ENCO Relocates Headquarters ENCO has shifted its business operations to a modernized office space in the growing community of Novi, MI, just 17 miles from the company’s longtime headquarters in Southfield, MI. The newly constructed, 12,000-squarefoot facility will offer a more collaborative work environment and a centralized location for staff and customers in the Detroit suburbs. ENCO’s entire operation across sales, administration, engineering, finance, management, manufacturing, and marketing will be based in Novi, effective immediately. “This is truly a state-of-theart facility that is the culmination of careful planning and consideration for employee comfort,” said Ken Frommert, president, ENCO. “Everyone has a private office and plenty of space for social distancing in the COVID era. At the same time, we have an open production laboratory, ENCO’s new headquarters in Novi, MI. several high-tech meeting and conference spaces, and varied seating and lounge settings, all of which encourage collaboration and creative thinking.” ENCO’s new headquarters is located in the Novi Business Park at 41551 West 11 Mile Road, Novi, MI, 48375.


trends

news that our client service and support team has been recognized with a coveted Stevie Award,” said Rick Gannon, senior vice president, Global Solution Integration Business at Black Box. “Our service and support teams are world-class, and this award recognizes our ability to successfully deliver premium IT and communications products and services to our clients.”

The new website at Celestion.com serves as a hub for all things Celestion, from pro audio loudspeakers and compression drivers to guitar and bass loudspeakers. Plas TV Box SCN.qxp_Layout 1 11/10/20 10:50 AM Page 1 The site has been completely redesigned to enable quick access to product inforF 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 mation and updated for access via mobile devices. The streamlined search function enables product search by range, or the ability to look more deeply into each product category and use specific measurements to find data for individual loudspeakers. The R E C E S S E D P O W E R / LO W V O LTA G E C O M B O B O X E S redesigned product pages include detailed specifications with performance graphs, as well as links to demonstration videos,. “We are very pleased to debut the new Celestion website,” said Celestion marketing manager Ken Weller. “Fully rebuilding the site has given us the opCED130 portunity to make all of our product information more accessible and enhance the mobile experience with a design that offers improved functionality and a more contemporary feel.” for NEW WORK or RETROFIT To experience Celestion’s new website, visit www.celestion.com.

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Celestion Revamps Website

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Black Box Customer Service Earns 2021 Stevie Award Black Box received a bronze medal in the category of Front-Line Customer Service Team of the Year in the 15th annual Stevie Awards. “We are devoted to our customer business success and are extremely proud

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news Kinly Achieves AVIXA APEx Distinction

Premier Mounts Acquired by Gamber-Johnson

Kinly, No. 3 on the 2020 SCN Top 50, has been recognized by AVIXA as a Global AV Provider of Excellence (APEx) for its commitment to delivering industry excellence. Kinly becomes one of only a handful of companies to hold the Global APEx distinction; businesses are commonly awarded APEx status in specific countries. AVIXA’s APEx is a recognition program for integration companies and AV design consulting firms dedicated to upholding industry excellence by providing quality service to customers. “The APEx designation gives AV companies a mark of distinction in the marketplace,” said AVIXA CEO David Labuskes, CTS. “Customers of APEx companies can be confident of the AV provider’s professionalism and commitment to ongoing training, customer service, and dedication to excellence.” “I’m delighted that we have retained our Global APEx status for a third year in a row, and for the first time as Kinly. Achieving the APEx distinction is important to us as it demonstrates our commitment to our clients, the investment and development of our employees, and our passion to staying ahead of the curve in an ever-changing industry,” added Justin Paveley, engineering director, Kinly. “Justin and the team at Kinly continue to demonstrate what it means to be a trusted and quality-assured supplier of integrated systems in the AV industry through support of AVIXA’s CTS program and now through its attainment of the APEx accreditation for the third time running. Their enthusiasm for the program is truly inspiring and a great example of their pledge to the industry,” concluded Ben Barnard, regional manager, UK & Ireland, AVIXA.

Gamber-Johnson—a supplier of rugged mounting systems for fleet vehicles, public safety vehicles, forklifts, semitrucks, and other mobility applications—has finalized an agreement to acquire Premier Mounts. “We are looking forward to joining forces with Premier Mounts,” said Brian Wagner, president, and CEO of Gamber-Johnson. “Gamber is a market leader in mounting technology in mobile environments, where Premier is a leader in mounting displays in static environments. The combination of these two market leaders will genuinely create results greater than the sum of its parts.” Premier Mounts was founded 45 years ago by current CEO Len Dozier, who is stepping down with the acquisition. Premier Mounts will become a GamberJohnson brand; its main office functions will remain in Southern California. Manufacturing, warehousing, and corporate oversight will occur at GamberJohnson’s newly renovated manufacturing space in Wisconsin.

Shure Honored as a Top Workplace in the U.S. Shure has been recognized as a three-category winner in Top Workplaces USA by Energage, a research company and provider of technology-based employee engagement tools. Shure received the Top Workplaces USA Award (National Award), Top Workplaces Manufacturing Award (Industry Award), and Top Workplaces Communication Award (Culture Excellence Award). Winners were determined based on data collected from employee surveys administered by Energage, and the awards were announced on Jan. 27 at the 2021 Top Workplaces National Celebration, a virtual event. Nearly 600 companies were recognized for 2021, including 570 Top Workplaces USA winners and additional winners in the Industry and Culture Excellence categories. “We are proud to receive this honor by Top Workplaces USA, and we owe it to our talented and dedicated associates for the contributions they make to the success of our company,” said Chris Schyvinck, Shure’s president and CEO. “This achievement is a testament to the culture and work environment we are committed to creating at Shure, and we greatly appreciate this recognition.”

Rupert Neve, Audio Industry Icon, Dead at 94 Rupert Neve, whose name is synonymous with quality audio recording equipment, has died. He remained in great spirits to the end, enjoying his life in Wimberley, TX, where he and his wife Evelyn lived for 27 years. At 94, Neve remained engaged and passionate about his work, spending most days on a perpetual series of audio electronics projects and continuing to mentor the Rupert Neve Designs engineering team on numerous design and development projects. From his earliest years, Neve had a love of music, electronics, and problem solving. These passions sparked a brilliant design career spanning over 80 years, during which he founded several historic companies, created revered analog audio equipment, and became one of the most trusted names in sound. He received countless accolades, including a Lifetime Achievement Technical Grammy Award in 1997, Studio Sound magazine’s Audio Person of the Century Award in 1999, an Audio Engineering Society Fellowship Award in 2006, and 16 TEC (Technical Excellence and Creativity) Awards with Rupert Neve Designs. “I’ve known and worked with Rupert for nearly 30 years,” said

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Josh Thomas, Rupert Neve Designs co-founder and general manager. “When Rupert, his wife Evelyn, and I sat at his kitchen table and founded Rupert Neve Designs 16 years ago, he had two goals. The first was to set a new standard in the quality of recorded sound, drawing on his unparalleled depth of experience to create high-end solutions for the modern recording engineer, musician, and listener alike. The second was to pass on his philosophies, techniques, and methodologies to a new generation of designers to carry his life’s work and passion into the future. “It was always assumed that the company would outlive him on this earth, and for 16 years he poured his energies into creating a team that would become the caretakers of the theories, practices, and ideologies that truly constitute a Rupert Neve design,” Thomas continued. “All of us at the company are exceedingly grateful for the years of careful instruction and mentoring with which he has blessed us, and we will continue to preserve his legacy in everything we do moving forward. The world certainly sounds better because he was here.”


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After a blip of deceleration seen in January, AVIXA’s Pro AV Business Index shows AV sales growth sped back up in February. The AV Sales Index (AVI-S) reading of 55.9 is a clear indicator of growth, although lower than typical pre-pandemic numbers and also lower than the pandemic recovery high-water mark of 57.2 that was recorded in December. Though not as strong as it could be, the 55.9 mark is clearly good news. After the higher growth of December and the tepid growth of January, it was an open question how strong the AV recovery is. No, February’s result doesn’t signal a gangbuster bounce back, but it points strongly in the right direction. In that positive vein, many survey commenters cited growing signs of a post-COVID future, including spending to prepare for increased in-person activity and live events on the calendar in the foreseeable (if not immediate) future. “It’s refreshing to see the index climb back into the mid-50s,” said Peter Hansen, economic analyst for AVIXA. “That’s a high enough level of genuine recovery rather than tepid growth or stasis. That said, the pandemic dug a huge hole for the AV industry last spring. To bounce back, we’ll need to get up to 60—the levels we saw consistently before the pandemic—and even beyond. 70 is a good goal if we want to get back to pre-pandemic business levels by 2022.” In countries such as Israel, the United States, and the United Kingdom, it’s time to start working with clients to prepare for post-COVID business conditions. Vaccine proliferation in leading countries has resulted in extremely encouraging stats, like an 80 percent drop in the daily death rate in the United Kingdom and a 67 percent drop in the

hospitalization rate in the United States. Many countries lag behind the U.S. and the U.K., with the EU in particular seeing stubbornly high COVID rates and slow vaccine progress. In February, the AV employment index (AVI-E) hit a new high since the pandemic began, scoring 52.2. From a market measurement perspective, AVIXA analysts weigh employment fluctuations more heavily than sales fluctuations because employment decisions are long-term choices. Expanding the company payroll is a significant investment that takes a critical combination of financial strength, confidence, and optimism. That said, the industry needs more than the kind of modest growth indicated by a 52.2 AVI-E. As in the wider economy, payrolls declined dramatically at the onset of COVID-19. So far, AV payrolls have stabilized more than truly bounced back. With the movement toward a post-COVID future, AVIXA analysts are watching closely for stronger growth in AV employment. In the U.S., economy-wide numbers paralleled the AV story. The latest jobs report showed solid growth—the addition of 379,000 jobs—but a huge deficit still to be closed, with nearly 10 million fewer jobs than a year ago. The recovery is strengthening, but for the jobs market, there is still an extremely long way to go.

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news AVIXA Upgrades Digital Presence AVIXA has upgraded its digital presence to better connect the AV community with the best professional resources, including AV skills training, thought leadership, market intelligence, and standards. “As the association for the pro AV industry, AVIXA is the hub for bringing all facets of the industry together. This includes learning about new products, connecting buyers and sellers, sharing successes and challenges from out in the field, and providing forecasts on technologies and markets,” said AVIXA CEO David Labuskes, CTS. “Having a robust digital platform for learning and connecting is vital to continue to advance the AV profession.” AVIXA’s commitment to being the hub for AV professionals led to the new iteration of AVIXA.org, which is designed around the way users look for content and information that’s relevant to them. New features include improved navigation, an enhanced training platform, AV solutions-based content, and upgraded search functionality.

NSCA Announces 2021 Stepping Up Award Winners NSCA has announced the winners of its 2021 Stepping Up Awards, which temporarily replaced the association’s annual Excellence in Business Awards that honor systems integration firms and their efforts to implement new strategies to navigate the constantly changing industry. “In the face of the pandemic, NSCA has seen its members set and strive for new goals and rise to the occasion when faced with daunting business challenges,” said NSCA director of industry outreach Tom LeBlanc. “So this year we decided to recognize companies that stepped up in various ways and honor them at the 2021 Business & Leadership Conference, where the theme is Stepping Up When It Counts.” The winners of NSCA’s 2021 Stepping Up Awards are: Agility: Red Thread The Agility category is about integrators recognizing a rapidly changing market and adapting to meet customers’ evolving needs. During the pandemic, Red Thread, No. 21 on the 2020 SCN Top 50, quickly positioned itself as a back-to-work solutions provider and consultant. It developed a Workplace Re-Entry Program Guide and Safe Workplace Technology Playbook. Meanwhile, it launched a slew of solutions that can be integrated into back-to-work strategies, including its RapidEntry system for temperature screening, an air purification system, and the AmplifyTeamwork collaboration system for facilitating workplace reentry and working from home. Customer Experience: Forward Edge The Customer Experience category is about finding ways to be there for customers when they need their integrator partners most. As school districts moved online because of COVID-19 restrictions, many of Forward Edge’s K-12 customers were challenged with adjusting to the new environment. Forward Edge’s team of technology integration specialists pulled together an expansive library of distance learning resources and tools for districts to use while tackling online learning. A best practices guide, webinars, and virtual of-

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AVIXA’s on-demand training platform allows AV professionals to focus their training journey to fit their career and aspirations. With new filter features, users can sort courses by language, topics, Certified Technology Specialist (CTS) renewal units, and more. The training platform is integrated into the main website, allowing users to explore learning content more efficiently. The website offers enhanced content on AV solutions from digital signage to conferencing and collaboration. These topics are served up on dedicated pages that also include videos and market intelligence reports. Another highlight is AVIXA’s Power Hour webinar series, which serves up the latest trends and best practices every month to help AV professionals hone their skills. “AVIXA’s upgraded digital presence is an ongoing initiative with more features to come, including an enhanced AV provider directory and a comprehensive on-demand video catalog,” said Labuskes. “The association will continue to expand its digital resources so AV professionals can stay connected and informed no matter where they are.” To learn more, visit www.avixa.org.

fice hours every other day for teachers helped address issues related to data privacy, teacher training, and engaging students over digital media. Employee Engagement: Integrated Security Technologies The Employee Engagement category is about implementing solutions to keep sprawling, uniquely challenged workforces productive and positive. The mission-critical security employees at IST felt fortunate to be working through the pandemic, but they were facing personal and professional challenges at the same time. They worked in hospitals where the virus was present. They were on job sites where other workers didn’t wear masks or properly social distance. They worried about their own well-being and the health of their loved ones. The IST executive team implemented several steps to recognize and support employees in challenging work environments. Community Outreach: ClearTech The Community Outreach category is about taking steps to help those in need. During the pandemic, ClearTech has been working with Western Service Workers Association (WSWA), which provides support for low-income service, domestic, in-home care, part-time, and temporary workers to provide necessities including food, clothing, and preventive medical care. ClearTech has supported WSWA for years but really stepped up during the pandemic, with employees working on school supply drives, donating toys for the holidays, helping with PPP loan applications, and more. Achievement: SIGNET Electronic Systems The Achievement category is about beating the odds in a brutal market, achieving business growth and measured success. In the midst of the pandemic, Signet launched its Remote Smart network operations center, which provides a professional and cyber-safe platform from which integrators can provide remote service. This not only proved invaluable in terms of touchless interaction with customer systems, but also has infused the company with recurring revenue, according to the NSCA.



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AV Meets IT DVIGEAR’S MATTHEW PULSIPHER SHARES WHY INTEGRATORS NEED TO RID THEMSELVES OF PRECONCEIVED NOTIONS ABOUT AVOIP TECH SCN: What is your position, and what does it entail? What are your responsibilities? MATTHEW PULSIPHER: As director of product management, I am directly responsible for the development and production of all DVIGear products, including the planning and design of both hardware and software functionality. I also work directly with clients to ensure that our products meet our customers’ requirements. SCN: How long have you been in this position? MP: I’ve been with DVIGear for over two years. SCN: How has your background prepared you for your role? MP: My background is primarily in IT, which has provided a deep understanding about how AV products can coexist and integrate with the IT industry. This insight has been invaluable to me as we continue to see convergence between these verticals within many companies. My background has also helped immensely in establishing DVIGear as an innovator in software development. SCN: What are your short- and long-term goals? MP: In the short term, I am working on the next generation of DisplayNet products, as well as a new line of long-distance fiber optic extenders. Long term, my goal is to establish DisplayNet as the number-one choice in AV distribution systems, displacing both traditional matrix switchers and other AV-over-IP systems. SCN: What is the greatest challenge you face? MP: Generally speaking, I think the biggest challenge we have faced is educating dealers and integrators about SDVoE. In the minds of most AV technologists, AV-over-IP systems are synonymous with compromised performance because the amount of compression used. A typical 1 GbE AV-over-IP system has a compression ratio of over 12 to 1, which impacts both image quality and signal latency. Unlike other standards and platforms, SDVoE can match the performance of a dedicated matrix switcher while retaining the flexibility and features of an AV-over-IP system. Since developing DisplayNet, our greatest challenge has been educating people about its features and capabilities since it defies their preconceived notions and expectations about AVoIP systems. Once we can get a system in front of people, we are generally successful, but people first need to be willing to accept it. SCN: Where do you see the pro AV market heading? MP: In the past two years, we have seen a dramatic increase in acceptance for DisplayNet. We think the AV industry will move increasingly to IP-based video distribution, with SDVoE becoming the gold standard. The technology offers too many benefits to ignore. Prices will continue to drop as time goes on until even low-end AV-over-IP systems are challenged by SDVoE. This trend will be driven by a combination of innovation in the IT space and the prevalence of new ASIC chipsets for SDVoE.

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Quick Bio Name: Matthew Pulsipher Position: Director of Product Management Company: DVIGear Overtime: When he’s not practicing his guitar skills, Pulsipher enjoys playing with new technologies and managing his home server lab.

SCN: Are there new initiatives we are likely to see from DVIGear? MP: We are currently working on the next generation of DisplayNet hardware. Our goal is to produce a comprehensive line of products that run cooler, use less power, and cost less, while still maintaining the feature set and performance of our existing product line. This new product line will be fully interoperable with existing systems, allowing for the straightforward expansion of existing applications while users reap the benefits of the new hardware. We also plan to increase our investment in software development. We have limitless potential for innovation within our DisplayNet software, and our innovations will benefit new customers just as much as existing ones. SCN: How can systems contractors better position themselves to profit from products and/or services you have to offer? MP: The key is to learn the platform well enough to be able to sell it on its unique features. DisplayNet has won every objective head-tohead comparison we have ever competed in. There are two reasons for this: One, because DisplayNet is built on SDVoE technology, which is superior to all other AVoIP standards and protocols on the market. And two, because DisplayNet is the best implementation of SDVoE. We have worked very hard on building out our software platform to be both incredibly flexible and imminently approachable. We allow a level of system customizability that enables the use of DisplayNet in very unique applications. For example, our MultiView functionality can work with any display resolution, and it can support windows of any resolution or size, as long as it’s supported by HDMI 2.0. Our most successful contractors have used this flexibility to add bespoke functionality to applications, giving their end users a unique experience. One of the biggest issues we see with AVoIP systems in general is the complexity of system configuration and programming. Many systems currently on the market place an undue burden on system programmers and technicians. One of our foremost goals in everything we do with our platform is to simplify this process as much as possible, making other systems obsolete by comparison. Even if your end users will never see or use DisplayNet Manager, your technicians and system programmers will use it frequently. Time is money, and a system that’s easy to configure and program will cost both you and your customers less to implement and maintain. Features like automatic device replacement can replace an in-person service call with a 15-minute Zoom meeting.


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ways do more if we tell you exactly what we need. Except t’s no secret that it’s important for AV techs to be able that we don’t always have the answers, and sometimes to collaborate and communicate with event planners, we don’t find them until precariously close to showtime. and it’s just as important that event professionals And we don’t like admitting we don’t know it all, especan respond in kind, making sure all parties are on the cially to you, keeper of highly technical, often mysterious same page in this age of virtual, hybrid, or “we’re not reknowledge. ally sure, but it’s got to be perfect” event production. Help us help you better control the situation by setAs a certified event professional who sits at the interting up a steady cadence of check-ins that include edusection of production and events, I commonly work with cation as necessary. Explain how we’ll need to do the clients on budgeting and execution of the production of thing we’re talking about that day and show us, along a perfect event. I’m also predisposed to be on your side. with asking us for that update. I got lucky early in my career and had an amazing AV tech team that tolerated my million questions of “What 3. Be Explicit with Important Details does that switcher thingy do?” and “Why do we need that Details are extremely important. Telepathy is not widely guy over there?” and “Why does your double overtime available as a form of communication, so it is imperative always seem to coincide with my Sunday evening ban- Lindsay Martin-Bilbrey that the AV tech give the event planner a fighting chance quet reception and after-party, and how can you help me by providing them with all relevant details as far in adavoid all those extra charges?” They taught me how to vance as possible. produce my own shows, and also to know when to step the hell back and You may think you already explained it to us, but we speak an entirely let the experts handle it. front-end language. Like you, we work in tactical details, but after manThe pandemic blurred a lot of those lines, though, since convention aging them, we need to explain them to end users, the attendees, and centers now tend to be the event planner’s home office, and we’ve tradothers involved in the event. This communication/language translation ed our comms headsets for Slack chats. In this article, we’ll explore the problem is compounded by the fact that more than 80 percent of the top five things I commonly encounter that event planners wish AV tech event planning industry is female, and you, my delightful AV tech team teams really knew. friends, are a mostly male industry. We approach the listening and hearing game differently. 1. Answer the Question Nicely and Thoroughly Overcommunicate in pictures, diagrams, and how-to documentation I’ll share a secret you might already have figured out. Event planners that your mom could understand. Show us in as many ways as possible hate not knowing the answer. We’re the people who know all the things what the equipment and people will be doing, and show us the consewhen it comes to our event—in fact, we’re expected to know, underquences of it going poorly. Give us options for budgets and then show us stand, and explain it to others while looking stylish and unruffled in our what that looks like for events that have done it in a similar way. black power suits. Questions like “Do I really need this piece of equipment?” and “Do I 4. Trust the Event Planner really need this many AV techs?” come from two places. Even before the pandemic, producing a live event was a trust fall exerFirst, event planners may worry they’re being “cheated” somehow, that cise. We’re all trusting this big crazy idea we’ve had is going to work, and the AV team is padding the bid with unnecessary equipment and people, since March 2020, we’ve been doing it all from home. which may occur when the event person doesn’t really understand the In the last year, event planners have talked more about microphones, technology or can’t see how it fits into the overall event workflow. And switchers, and other hardware we’ve probably let the AV team handle now more than ever we’re having to justify every single penny spent. for years. The good news? We have been listening when you’ve shared Second, we aren’t sure how we’ll control it or how we’ll mitigate your insights about how to produce better events from an audiovisual risk if it goes wrong when we don’t know what that person or piece of perspective. Trust us to explain what you’ve shared with us over the equipment does. years. Help us course correct when we get it wrong. Why do we think these things? The first example, of having to pay for unnecessary equipment and people, happened quite a bit in the pre5. Be Honest with the Event Planner pandemic world, though not usually for malicious reasons. While there I hope you’ll be honest with the event planners in your lives. We know are companies who are in it for profit over people, the reason companies we have unrealistic expectations, uncertain budgets and timelines, and usually add gear to a bid is to cover their butts, not to cheat the events hopes and dreams that might never happen, but you’re our partner in this team. Once we realize that, it makes perfect sense. There’s nothing we grand adventure. love more than redundancy—even our backup plans have backup plans. When you treat eventprofs as one of your own and are honest with If you take the time to explain the quote and the entire invoice before, us, we trust you. Event planners want you as guides and partners who during, and post event to help us understand and plan for costs, you, my help ensure our events are in line with themes and ideas that might imAV tech friend, will have a customer for life. pact our budget and overall attendee experience. 2. Don’t Badger the Event Planner for Updates Lindsay Martin-Bilbrey, CMP, aims to make marketing, events, and technology easListen, we know you are an amazing AV tech. We also know you can alier for eventprofs to use and participants to enjoy. She is the CEO of Nifty Method.

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people TONY COUZELIS is now a senior solutions architect at SOUND CONTROL TECHNOLOGIES. He will participate in sales engineering, Tony Couzelis product support, and technical marketing. Prior to joining the company, Couzelis spent over 25 years at Harman in roles including director of product engineering and senior manager of events and installations. DAVE HATZ has joined ROOMREADY as vice president of technology. He will be responsible for continually improving the technology behind Dave Hatz RoomReady’s AV products and services, and overseeing integration services, platform management, IT, and engineering. GUITAR CENTER has appointed PAUL GIMENEZ to the position of director of diversity, inclusion, and belonging. This appointment follows Paul Gimenez a monthslong search that began last year when the company’s executive team made a commitment to improve Guitar Center’s diversity and inclusion efforts, both internally and within the musical instrument industry. AV STUMPFL has named two executive directors who will coordinate the company’s Stefanie Harry Gladow Niederwimmer future growth strategy for projection screens and media servers. STEFANIE NIEDERWIMMER, who has been with the company since 2004, will be responsible for projection screens, while HARRY GLADOW will become executive director for the company’s media server department.

product lines and other new digital signal distribution products. DUKE DEJONG has joined VANTAGE PRO as president of integration and has additionally acquired a minority stake in the company. After nearly Duke DeJong 15 years in various staff ministry positions, DeJong spent the last decade as church relations and vice president, sales and integration, for CCI Solutions. LG BUSINESS SOLUTIONS USA has appointed DAVID BACHER head of marketing digital signage, hospitality solutions, IT products, and solar David Bacher modules. Bacher joins LG following a two-decade stint at HP where he held increasingly senior marketing positions. He was most recently global head of marketing for HP ’s 3D printing and digital manufacturing businesses. DAVE GARLETT, who recently departed The Farm AV, joins AUDIX as key accounts manager and consultant liaison. Prior to The Farm, Garlett Dave Garlett served in various management roles within the system integration industry and at manufacturers including Lightspeed Technologies and Carver Professional. DRAPER has named JOSEPH BURKE its second AV consultant relations manager. Burke will be responsible for the western half of the United Joseph Burke States. He has been with the company for over a decade and previously served as the company’s UK and European manager.

PPDS has hired FRANK TROSSEN as international key account director. He will focus on the corporate vertical. Trossen previously held Frank Trossen management positions at NEC Display Solutions, Onelan/Tripleplay, and Promethean.

QLIGENT has appointed 30-year broadcast industry veteran KEN DILLARD vice president of sales; he will lead all sales and business develKen Dillard opment initiatives in North America and CALA (the Caribbean and Latin America region) and will collaborate with Qligent sales representatives and partners worldwide.

DVIGEAR has appointed CLIFFORD BROEKHUISEN as European business development manager. He has been tasked with expanding the distribution of the company’s DisplayNet and HyperLight

VOID ACOUSTICS has expanded its marketing team with the addiSacha Hodges Amy Harvey tion of SACHA HODGES as marketing assistant. Hodges,

Clifford Broekhuisen

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>>>Rep News LEGRAND AV appointed NUTECH GROUP to represent its Chief, Da-Lite, Luxul, Middle Atlantic Products, Nuvo, On-Q, and Sanus brands to the network of dealers in the Mid-Atlantic region of the United States. RENKUZ-HEINZ named AUDIO ASSOCIATES as its rep for the U.S. Mid-Atlantic, including Washington, D.C., Maryland, eastern Pennsylvania, southern New Jersey, and Virginia. The partnership with RenkusHeinz aligns with both companies’ key markets for pro audio integration: houses of worship, stadiums and arenas, corporate, government, higher education, theaters, transportation, and hospitality. BLUSTREAM U.S. signed its first three commercial market sales rep organizations: RICHARD DEAN ASSOCIATES, covering New England and upstate New York; R. JOSEPH GROUP, serving Ohio, Indiana, Michigan, Kentucky, and western Pennsylvania; and LIVELLA BRAND GROUP, covering Missouri, Iowa, Nebraska, and Kansas. LEA PROFESSIONAL partnered with LIENAU AV to serve the company’s growing market in the U.S. MidAtlantic. A.C. PRO MEDIA welcomes BORMANN MARKETING as its newest sales representative partner, covering 13 states across the Midwest and southern United States.

an audio engineer, joins AMY HARVEY, who has been promoted to marketing manager. Hodges’ role will be focused on the continuing development and expansion of the company’s audience and customer base. SCOTT GELLNER has joined SYMETRIX as product development program manager. In this role, he will work with both program and project teams to Scott Gellner guide the development and implementation of new program initiatives. VITEC has brought ERIC DENIAU on board as chief technology officer. In this role, he will be tasked with developing the next generation of codecs, Eric Deniau ASIC technologies, and software solutions for the company. Deniau was most recently with ENENSYS as CTO and has over 30 years of experience in the media industry—including experience managing large software projects for major broadcasters—and has played a major role with the standards communities that have brought interoperable MPEG, DVB, and 3GPP technologies to market.


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e often recognize manufacturers for their technological innovations— those products drive our industry— but we’d be remiss if we didn’t also recognize the people behind those innovations and the experiences they create with their services. We turned to you, our readers, to determine the winners of the 8th Annual SCN Stellar Service Awards. Voting on the nominees took place in February and March, and the votes have been tallied. We are proud to announce the winning results and congratulate these exceptional service providers.

Best Use of an Afternoon (Best Online Training) Platinum: Peerless-AV’s Certified Installer Training Program Gold: Extron Silver: Biamp Best Excuse to Leave the Office (Best In-House Training Program) Platinum: Shure Integrated Systems Certification Program Gold: Extron Silver: SoundPro The Dealer Portal You Want to Keep Going Back To (Best Website Dealer Portal) Platinum: Extron Gold: Shure Tech Portal Silver: Crestron Sales Support You Can Believe In (Best Sales Operation) Platinum: Synnex VisualSolv Gold: Sharp NEC Display Solutions

Silver: Symetrix Sales Team The Number You Have on Autodial (Best Tech Support) Platinum: Shure Applications Gold: Crestron True Blue Support Services Silver: PTZOptics/HuddleCamHD Service Team Your Best Defense Against Scope Creep (Best Project Management Platform) Platinum: D-Tools System Integrator Software The Storyteller Who Keeps You on the Edge of Your Seat (Best Content Creation) Platinum: Premier Mounts Video Case Studies Gold: OpenEye Global Engagement Design Silver: L-Acoustics Creations Instagram Your Design Co-Pilot (Best Design Services) Platinum: MSE Audio Free EASE Audio Design Gold: Synnex VisualSolv Silver: Crestron’s All-New FlipTop Configurator Tool

CONNECTORS. CREATORS. EXPERIENCE MAKERS. We Are Future Future is a global platform for specialist media with scalable, diversified brands. We connect people to their passions through the high-quality content we create, the innovative technology we pioneer and the engaging experiences we deliver.

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2021 SCN Stellar Service Award Winners

Our partners look to us to make unique and valuable connections in a number of ways including creative advertising solutions, memorable live experiences, superior eCommerce technology and innovative media services. We push boundaries, seize opportunities and exceed expectations. See how we can take your business to the next level. Learn more at futureplc.com For more information on these brands and the many others offered from FUTURE US, av n etwork .c o m / / visit / / A Pwww.futureplc.com. R I L 2 0 2 1 / / / / S C N 21 as well as subscription information for all of FUTURE US’s print and electronic products,


AVaaS

GETTY IMAGES / ERIK ISAKSON

While definitions of AV as a Service vary, most experts agree it involves a recurring level of support.

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BY MA RY BA K I J A

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business trends

At Your Service WHERE DOES AV AS A SERVICE FIT IN THE INDUSTRY’S FUTURE?

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he past year has been challenging for countless businesses, but when looked at from a certain vantage point, there have been a few positive developments. For instance, the pandemic’s requirement for social distancing in workplaces has given us a reason to become proficient in services that extend the collaborative workspace well beyond the conference room walls. And that’s made conversations about AV as a Service somewhat easier, said Charmaine Torruella, GMS account manager at Verrex. “Clients are much more open to discussions that had been very hard for systems integrators to have for a while,” she said. “They understand it better now, saying, ‘Oh, I get it! Can you do this for us now?’ Having gone through this experience, they’re now open to other possibilities these services can bring.” Adding to that understanding is the general public’s growing familiarity with as-a-service models because of the numerous subscription products we encounter in our daily lives, said Fred Loucks, CTS-D, director of technology and innovation at Level 3 Audiovisual. “Spotify,

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vices are currently marketed leaves room for Netflix, all the SaaS platforms that we consume improvement, and she noted that it also leaves every day in our personal lives, as well as a part a lot of things open to interpretation. “It’s any of business, it’s definitely driven an increase in solution that provides a virtual application to comfort with them,” he said. “And that comfort manage, monitor, or engage with,” she said. comes from those platforms far more than it “Really, AV as a Service is whatcomes from our own industry.” ever the client says it is.” Loucks underlines a particular If a solid definition of AVaaS and not insubstantial challenge remains somewhat ambiguous, facing the AV industry: How can the reason can be pinned to two we explain, in simple, straightforspecific challenges. First, the AV ward terms, what AV as a Service installation business model has means, and then how do we best until recently been solidly projposition ourselves to work within ect-based. Where an integrator that scaffolding? might have occasionally worked “In general, we’ve got a lot with a client after a project was of work to do in getting a clear complete—to provide upgrades or definition of what it means as an scale the project up, maybe—the industry,” Loucks said. “For me, AVaaS model requires a much the definition of AV as a Service Charmaine Torruella different approach. Presenting a is the consumption of audioviproject as an ongoing, long-term sual, whether that be hardware, relationship is a whole new ballgame, according software services, etc., through a subscription to Chris Miller, executive director of the PSNI model. So not leasing a system, for instance, Global Alliance. but a long-term commitment.” “One of the fundamental shifts is that the Torruella agreed that the way these ser-


AVaaS

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There’s also opportunity in The other big factor that comfinding smarter ways of overseeing plicates the issue of defining AVaaS a system, Loucks said. “The goal is is that the services themselves are getting a centralized view of your so varied. As Torruella explained, entire system—the monitoring, it’s the client’s requirements that alerting, reporting, data analytics, really define the services provided. configuration management—all in “AV as a Service is not one of one place for your ops teams or those things that will do everybusiness leaders. That’s a big adthing. It’s case by case. The client’s vantage in the AV-as-a-Service needs and wants will determine model,” he said. “For the next dethe AV-as-a-Service solutions cade of AV, that’s got to be one of you provide them,” she said. “And the biggest things that changes. it’s not just one thing. It has to be Fred Loucks We have to be able to see what’s customized.” going on in our systems. We can’t wait for our Loucks agreed: “When you’re building an customers to report issues—it’s too expensive.” AV-as-a-Service offering for a particular The fundamental change in approach to customer, every approach is going to be a little business may seem like a difficult and offbit bespoke.” putting idea to AV professionals who’ve spent The benefits of such an approach, when a lifetime, or even just a few years, working paired with a long-term partnerwith a technology-first mindset. And Loucks ship, can lead to more business acknowledged that those strengths are surely opportunities, Miller explained. still needed. But, reflecting on a difficult year “It’s not a predesigned suite of in which job turmoil hasn’t passed over the AV services that we sell. There’s a disector, he said he hopes people will see the verse set of service offerings, and benefits of focusing on the next level of value we’re defining them as customers they can provide to customers. tell us what they need. The cus“We need to maintain that heart and soul,” tomization is really the beauty of Loucks said. “But we have to add skills and what AV as a Service can be. Let’s grow beyond that to provide a more rounded talk about services and outcomes, value proposition to our customers. AV as a people and processes, and then Service comes down to how we extend the life we’ll build a package that you’ve of the audiovisual industry. How do we redefine subscribed to, and that you’ll use what the audiovisual industry does, and what to achieve your goals. And as you the AV experience is, so that we can build the achieve your goals, you’ll want to next 100 years?” * do more of it. And as you do more of it, I make a living.” 1_3p enclosure box.qxp_WIRE BUSHINGS 1 4 pg 7 09 6/8/20 12:51 PM Page 1 This idea can be applied in a variety of ways, and Torruella PROTECT VALUABLE SECURITY DEVICES, POWER BACKUPS sees particular benefits to value-added services such as end-user INDOOR/OUTDOOR • UV RATED • NON-METALLIC training. FACTORY INSTALLED “I would love to see NEVER LOSE ANOTHER COVER with Hinged Covers AV learn how to take on the professional Arlington's enclosure boxes MEET NEMA W Installed services aspect to build E 3R requirements for outdoor use h N ept EB12126BP (hinge on top installation). They’re the value and provide it to 6"d with Back Plate perfect solution to protecting/securing customers,” Torruella valuable equipment, power backups and said. “Training is a very security devices, indoors or OUTSIDE. big value proposition Heavy-duty, UV rated non-metallic to a customer, for ingray or black material. stance. If they bring Four sizes: 7" x 8" x 3.5", 11" x 11" x 3.5", 12" x 12" x 4", 12" x 12" x 6"... in a new technology, with or without a back plate for easy who trains them? Does component-mounting or maintenance, the training get upanytime. dated? Is there a help Lockable. desk? Most customers would take advantage of that—it spares them Back EB1212 EB0708BL plate for time, and it spares 12" x 12" x 4" 7" x 8" x 3.5" EB1111 EB1212BP (hinge on side 11" x 11" x 3.5" them expense.” for indoor use)

ENCLOSURE BOXES

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conversation now starts with services, not technology—it’s all about services, and we’ll make the technology fit,” he said. “That’s a major shift in the sales/account manager world compared to what we’ve been doing. It’s a very different approach starting from the very first discussion.” While today’s projects may be evaluated by long-term value instead of a list of items to be purchased and installed ASAP, this is simply an extension of the approach the industry has taken all along. It’s creating a business relationship with a client, but shifting the terms of the relationship from a potential one-shot to something with a longer shelf life. That shift in emphasis does require a different way of thinking, however, and AV businesses will need to encourage and maintain longer commitments with clients. “This is a fundamentally different way of offering audiovisual,” Loucks said. “Whoever the end user’s engaging with, that end user needs to make sure that’s a service-oriented organization, not a product- or job-oriented operation. They’re tying themselves to you—not just for the scope of this one install, but for the next several years. There’s an existential threat there for integrators who refuse to or are unable to figure out how to transition their business model Chris Miller away from that project-based work and to a recurring, relationship-based offering.” “Most vendors don’t understand that the model for AV as a Service is a continuous one,” Torruella noted. “You’re not running away [after the project is done]. You’re implementing this, but there is a monthly recurring level of support. So the company that’s providing the service, there are probably some transitions they have to make to their approach.” One of those changes may seem obvious enough, Miller said, but it requires significant planning and ongoing training to get it right: determining who provides that continuous support and how. “It doesn’t stop with the initial installation, and because it’s ongoing, that’s a different skillset,” he said. “Now you need someone to take on a role as a customer experience manager, someone who has more touch points. And now that you’ve got customer service experience, you could have someone in adoption services, someone assigned to a help desk, you have to be prepared to dispatch, you need some level of asset management. Who does what? All of that is very difficult. It’s a different model, and they’re starting to learn how to price it so that it’s competitive but that they can underwrite the costs of taking on this role.”

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Made in USA




virtual events

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business trends

Audiovisual providers including Cory’s Audio Visual are working with clients to shift their virtual event processes to deliver more engaging broadcasts for attendees.

The Next Wave of Virtual Events ONE YEAR INTO THE PANDEMIC, VIRTUAL EVENTS ARE READY FOR A REBIRTH The collapse of the live events industry in 2020 in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic is well documented. When event organizers realized pandemic restrictions would force them to cancel conferences, concerts, and sports for an extended period of time, outof-the-box thinkers came to the table with

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solutions to keep the events industry alive by connecting people virtually. One year later, the prevalence of livestreams and webinars is leading industry leaders to retool the virtual event experience. “I think everyone is burnt out [on virtual events], which is leading to less engagement,

lower attendance and—eventually—little to no benefit for so many businesses needing to spread a message,” said Abby Wolfe, director of marketing and communications at Cory’s Audio Visual. While the initial shockwaves of the pandemic led to layoffs and restructuring in event production, Wolfe noted that “audiovisual providers now have to push their capabilities and their creativity to lengths they never had to before the pandemic.” She added that event production is focused less


virtual events

business trends format is fully scalable, with the Consumer Electronics Show—or CES, the widely influential annual exhibition produced by the Consumer Technology Association in Las Vegas—leading the way. CES went fully virtual this January. While last year it managed to draw 4,400 exhibitors and 170,000 in-person attendees across 2.9 million square feet of mostly indoor convention center space, its virtual incarnation in January 2021 lost about half of its traditional exhibitors and attendees, but made a strong showing online, where CES keynotes and panel discussion video streams received about 3 million views. Many other annual events went online in 2021, including South by Southwest (SXSW), an annual mainstay of the music, film and interactive arts industries. “We’ve seen a tremendous growth over the past year in productions of all sizes—large conferences like CES needed live components, smaller grassroots performances needed to be streamed, and corporations required live video for internal and external communications,” said George Klippel, director of channel sales at remote production firm LiveU. “While the crews are leaner, there is money on the table to be made in this new reality.” Broader vaccine distribution and a decreasing trend of new COVID-19 infections suggests the pandemic may be waning. In mid-March, new cases reported weekly to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention totaled just 25 percent of the nearly 250,000 new cases reported at the peak in January, though specifics vary widely by region. As economies around the world emerge from restrictions on movement, more events are likely to adopt a hybrid format that creates shared experiences for both virtual and on-site attendees. SXSW, whose cancellation in March 2020 was the first big domino to fall for the events industry, is one of them. The event’s chief programming officer, Hugh Forrest, recently told Austonia.com that going virtual in 2021 allowed them to increase attendance among international audiences and to land speakers such as Richard Branson. Festival organizers expect the trend of increasing virtual attendance to continue even after SXSW returns

as an in-person event. Hybrid models allow events to accommodate capacity limitations and “the varying comfort level of attendees who may not be ready to attend in person just yet,” said Klippel. “This requires all panels, fireside chats, and keynotes to be produced and streamed online. Organizers will also want to give virtual attendees incentive to spend the money on a virtual conference ticket. This type of option provides unique live moments to be captured and shared with the virtual audience. This model is definitely a viable solution for a nimble AV integrator in the long run, as they can produce in-person events and virtual events simultaneously.” AV integrators are well positioned to provide the products and services that enable remote productions, such as multiple systems routers, servers, switchers, and encoders, noted Klippel. Bonded cellular technology, which combines elements of legacy cellular protocols like 3G with current 4G LTE tech and Wi-Fi to create a robust uplink connection, as well as REMI (Remote Integration Models) workflows, have become commonplace in many vertical markets. “These workflows offer multiple cellular modem-based encoders with Wi-Fi and Ethernet to give the most reliable means of transmission from any location, and come in various sizes to fit any budget, including units based on smartphones,” said Klippel. “This enables easy setups in home pop-up studios or locations without internet, or where internet is hard to come by or cost-prohibitive.” Johnson added that the rapid develop-

“The pandemic has rewired brains, processes, standards, and how we all work with others. The world has changed, and we have to change with it.” —Abby Wolfe ment pace of technologies involved in virtual event production can be an advantage to AV integrators. “The technology around [hybrid events] has gotten a five-year acceleration in development and, quite frankly, most people [are] focused solely on the in-person experience,” he said. “Now that there is a genuine focus on making the hybrid experience better, this is the time for integrators to be conversing with customers about packing solutions to deliver a better hybrid experience.” Wolfe summed it up best: “The pandemic has rewired brains, processes, standards, and how we all work with others. The world has changed, and we have to change with it.” * av n etwork .c o m / / / / A P R I L 2 0 2 1 / / / / S C N

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on technology now and more on creativity and engagement. Buzz brands like Zoom and videoconferencing stalwarts like Cisco Webex and Microsoft Teams helped get organizations over the sudden, immediate shift to distance communication beginning last March, and streaming platforms designed for live performances like StageIt struggled to keep up with newfound demand. Abby Wolfe Like Wolfe, Wallace Johnson, principal at WLJ Consulting, said the world has outgrown those platforms and the traditional webinar format. “Integrators who rely on inperson events for income have to evolve, much like the live events industry has had to learn new ways to communicate a message, showcase products, and deliver content that will keep attendees and customers engaged,” said Wallace Johnson Johnson. “The solution has been to provide content in a format similar to watching broadcast television versus just a presenter with slides on the screen.” Video streaming software including Wirecast and vMix, professional lighting kits, and live production switchers like ATEM from Blackmagic Design are allowing presenters and engineers to manage and stream several simultaneous video sources in remote productions. Virtual event George Klippel studios—essentially soundstages outfitted with all the production tools of an on-site event—are a way for AV integrators to get into the game. Integrators have an opportunity to move into the virtual event space by “designing and building broadcast studios and stage environments in corporations and meeting facilities,” said Johnson. “I have seen the trend of more corporate offices looking for highend broadcast technology for executives to conduct town halls and quarterly meetings, rather than having them conduct these meetings from their desk at home or in the office. Hotels and convention centers are looking at installing these types of rooms at their facilities to support hybrid meeting capabilities. Integrators have the opportunity, especially in hotels, to design and build a consistent model throughout a hotel chain and connect multiple locations for the ultimate hybrid meeting experience.” The events industry has proven that such a


THE INTEGRATION GUIDE TO

ESPORTS

BY C A RO LYN HEI N ZE

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SPONSORED BY Absen Aurora Multimedia IHSE

Producing Engaging Esports Events

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s anyone charged with producing a live event for broadcast knows, creating an engaging experience for both the invenue audience and remote viewers is a primary goal. Esports presents its own set of challenges, and it also provides producers with opportunities that they wouldn’t have with traditional sports. To take advantage of them, however, you have to be able to tell a compelling story. Vince Lepore is director of event technical operations at Full Sail University in Winter Park, FL. In 2019, Full Sail celebrated the grand opening of The Fortress, a 500-seat esports facility now known as the Full Sail University Orlando Health Fortress that’s home to Full Sail Armada, the university’s collegiate-level esports team. The arena hosts friendly campus-based matches, full-fledged collegiate tournaments, and highcaliber professional events. Lepore stressed the point that producing a successful esports event requires knowledge of the specific game you’re covering.

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“It’s a lot like traditional sports in the sense that if you know baseball really well, that doesn’t mean you know football really well, and it doesn’t mean you know golf really well,” Lepore illustrated. “Each game is unique—it’s nuanced and there are a lot of details and history that you need to know. When you’re hosting events for different sports, you’re literally producing a different event each time. So knowing about all the different games and understanding what that means for production, that’s probably the toughest thing that I’ve encountered. [You need] to try to learn as much as you can about each individual game.” It’s also important to be familiar with the players, noted Britt Gotcher, senior vice president at Cory’s Audio Visual. “Sports is as much about the backstory of the individual players as it is about the teams,” he said. He noted the importance in both traditional sports and esports of “building a bumper reel with exciting headshots or vignettes of the players talking about how they started,

What’s Your Story? Jason Baker of Do Not Peek Entertainment emphasizes how much influence observers have over the success of a production. “You have to do really good storytelling. And since your observers are in the venue, you can hear what the audience is reacting to. You can find out that they have a favorite player, so you can throw that player on the screen a little bit more and they go wild. Or you can build up those tension moments of one player hiding behind a door and another one’s coming. You start setting up: here’s the player walking down the hallway. Here’s the guy who’s waiting … waiting ... waiting … and you just build up that moment and then it releases. It’s so dynamic what you can do to get the audience to cheer.”

IMAGE COURTESY OF DO NOT PEEK ENTERTAINMENT

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A supplement to



THE INTEGRATION GUIDE TO

ESPORTS PRODUCT BRIEFS

Absen dvLED Absen’s dvLED products are HD-ready for the streaming nature of esports. With a high refresh rate, high frame rate, and low latency for fast response, HD streams will come through effortlessly without considerable lag. High brightness and clarity due to the wide color spectrum shows the explosive action of the games. These displays support flexible installation like hanging or ground support for both indoor and installations. Aurora Multimedia IPX-TC3A Series Aurora Multimedia’s IPX-TC3A Series is a low-cost, high-performance SDVoE 4K AV over IP transceiver box and wall plate solution. It is also the only 10 Gbps fanless SDVoE transceiver to feature redundant fiber version and selectable copper fiber in a single unit and with as little as 6 watts, according to the company. The newly designed enclosure is small and lightweight, making mounting easy. The box version now has a front OLED screen for IP address, unit ID, status, and more. Windowing, video wall, scaling, seamless switching, Dante, and USB 2.0 make this the most complete AV over IP solution to date, according to Aurora. IHSE Draco Tera FLEX KVM Switch In esports competition, where milliseconds count, video production must provide low latency for computers while giving the audience a view of the action in broadcast-standard 1080p/60. IHSE’s Draco tera FLEX KVM switch with ULTRA 240 extenders provides a complete production system supporting up to 240 frames per second for offline computers, while secondary outputs stream at 60 frames without additional encoders, decoders, or other signal transmission devices that could create excessive delay in competitive gameplay.

[the] hometown hero, and rivalry” in the build-up to a match. Jason Baker and Scott Smith have been road warriors and on-and-off collaborators in esports production for well over two decades. In 2019, the pair joined forces once again to launch Do Not Peek Entertainment, a full-service gaming and esports production studio based in Phoenix, AZ. Baker emphasized the importance of observers—those who operate the in-game cameras. It’s their job to capture crucial moments in the game. “You need your observers working together as a team. You need them listening to the talent the correct way and the talent reacting to them,” he said. This being sports, there are a lot of statistics, and Baker noted that knowing how to process that data and act on it is also crucial to the storytelling that goes i nto producing an engaging show. “All real-time stats can show up on screens in the venue or on your stream. So the


THE INTEGRATION GUIDE TO

ESPORTS Do You Hear What I Hear? Generally, the headphones worn by esports gamers during events are fed two to three signals: the in-game audio, an inter-team communications channel, and possibly cues from show producers. Vince Lepore, director of event technical operations at Full Sail University, relayed that one of the biggest audio-related challenges he and his team face is ensuring that this is all players are able to hear. “Players shouldn’t be able to hear what’s coming through the sound system in the room. What they hear needs to be completely isolated [to their headphones], and if they’re hearing bleed from the room, they can potentially be hearing things that could give them an advantage,” Lepore explained. The volume of the P.A., loudspeaker directionality, where players are located relative to the P.A., and the type of headphones they’re wearing must all be taken into account in order to prevent this issue. “And then just making sure that a team’s communication is localized to that team and that there’s no way it ever makes it over to another team’s [system]. There are a lot of complexities to it that, frankly, if you haven’t done esports before, are totally foreign—it’s a new concept. In some ways it’s a lot like other sports, but in other ways, [there are things that are] totally unique to esports.”

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minute that somebody breaks a world record, you’re throwing it on the screen. Somebody’s doing the best that anyone’s ever done on this map? You can immediately throw that on the screen. Or if somebody’s playing poorly, you can compare them to every other player who’s been in your tournament, instantly.” HUD (heads-up display) elements can be used to create suspense related to a player’s status: How much health do they have? Are they even alive? What weapons do they currently have in their possession? “Often you’ll see giant LED screens behind the players [showing] their status,” he added. From left, Jason Baker and Scott Smith Game moments can also be integrated into the production. If a bomb goes off in-game, for example, pyrotechnics will light up the venue. Even the fans’ wristbands can be used to add to the excitement. “You’ll have an in-game moment that will happen and everybody’s wristbands will start glowing whatever color—like a certain power that’s coming up [in the game]. It’s pretty neat how you can integrate all the data, and then find ways to interact with the audience based on that,” Baker said. Smith pointed out that in traditional sports, with a few exceptions, everyone can see the entire playing field—both the players and the fans. Esports producers have control over who sees what and when, giving them more power to create suspense. “There is a mystery element to what’s on the other side of that door,” he said. “Are they in that bomb site? What’s down that lane in League of Legends? Are the bad guys there? There’s a fog of war for the players that you as a broadcaster can take advantage of and use for


THE INTEGRATION GUIDE TO

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ESPORTS

AT ISSUE: How can integrators create an engaging esports broadcast? Jason Polk, Marketing Coordinator, Absen Esports has become another market for integrators and production people to step into. The 2018 League of Legends opening ceremony is an example of where the future of esports and entertainment is headed. AR and XR technology complemented an amazing performance, and dvLED technology was front and center to showcase that key event. One way for integrators to break into esports is to first partner with esports teams. Another way is to partner with the education system as collegiate esports teams have formed throughout the country. As events come back post-pandemic, esports stages will only get larger and integrators will be able to join the esports party. Shortly before the pandemic began, Cory’s Audio Visual hosted Esports Disruption, an event that brought together esports directors and influencers from high schools, colleges, and the private sector to facilitate discussions about the rapidly growing industry.

suspenseful moments.” Lepore recounted that Full Sail has hosted several esports events during the pandemic with almost everyone participating remotely, including production personnel. “We’ve leveraged the internet, and the cloud, and all the things that everybody has been talking about during COVID,” he said. “People are looking at multiviewers remotely; people are using full intercom remotely. We’re sending teleprompter feeds to remote talent—people who would normally be on-premise in front of Vince Lepore a camera—and they’re sitting at home participating in the show.” While the pandemic is an extreme situation, Lepore believes that many of the lessons he and his team members have learned will continue to be applied in the future. “And I think that’s a good thing. I think COVID has forced us to adopt a lot of technologies and a lot of methods that people were hesitant about: Is this really going to work? Is this reliable?” The reliability factor continues Britt Gotcher to be a challenge when crews are at the mercy of remote participants’ residential internet connectivity, and getting non-techsavvy talent set up at home requires an effort. But Lepore said that the benefits of embracing remote production methodologies outweigh

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the disadvantages. “Just being able to tap into talent who are across the country or across the world, and not having to always have them travel to a location to be involved in a show, I think that’s here to stay. Having remote production personnel who don’t have to be on-premise, and people can be tied into intercom and video, we’re going to continue doing a lot of those things even once COVID is long gone.” Smith, who, like Baker, has long evangelized remote production workflows, believes that the lessons the pandemic has provided will drive broadcasters to reexamine how they approach production. “I think they will very quickly realize who has to travel and who doesn’t, and for what level of event they have to travel,” he said. This doesn’t necessarily mean production crews will continue to work from home forever, but instead of traveling to an overseas event, they may work in a remote studio that’s situated closer to where they are based. “I think anyone in our world who doesn’t take advantage of the new things they’ve learned about transmission, and getting all these things in and out remotely, if you just go back to [doing it the old way], that’s kind of wasteful.” Carolyn Heinze is a freelance writer/editor.

Dan Holland, Marketing Manager, IHSE Most esports events are typically streamed at 1080p60 resolution, although many professional events are run on offline computers running frame rates of 120, 144, or even 240 fps. Broadcast production teams need to be able to switch between real-world action and non-broadcast resolutions and frame rates without losing quality or interfering with the resolution of the gamers’ computer graphics. Latency and packet loss are the biggest concerns when it comes to ensuring fair competition, so it is vital that integrators involved in setting up broadcast events for esports provide stable, lowlatency environments, no matter if the computer systems are connected remotely or directly to offline computers at the venue.

Paul Harris, CEO, Aurora Multimedia Creating engaging viewing opportunities for esports arenas requires immersing the viewer in the experience. With a demanding application like esports, laying the foundation with a robust infrastructure is crucial. Gamers are on the bleeding edge of technology and gaming hardware is constantly evolving, so the AV system must be able to handle the technology today and for years to come. For example, investing in 10 Gbps local networking may not only benefit the gaming experience, but will also allow for zero latency AVoIP video distribution for local playback in the esports arena, and for integration with broadcast systems, whether online or on-air.


national theatre of iceland

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Icelandic National Theatre Updates Signage PEERLESS-AV DISPLAYS HARMONIZE WITH THEATER’S ART DECO FAÇADE PEERLESS-AV

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The Solution Origo installed four Peerless-AV Xtreme High Bright Outdoor Displays at the National Theatre of Nordic IT service company Origo, based in Reykjavík, pro- Iceland to attract passersby to the venue. The content is driven by BrightSign XD234 4K Media Players. vided start-to-finish project management. Origo consid-31°F to 140°F, is IP66 rated against the ingress of moisture and dust, ered various outdoor LED and LFD options, and ultimately chose to and features IK10 rated impact resistant safety glass. specify Xtreme High Bright Outdoor Displays from Peerless-AV. “Since the National Theatre is a listed building, it was important The Installation that the outdoor screens were in line with the simple, clean shapes, Origo began the installation of four 65-inch Xtreme High Bright Outand streamlined style,” said Agust Gylfason, product manager, Origo. door Displays (model XHB652) in portrait orientation in July 2020, “The Xtreme 65-inch offers a slim frame and sits close to the wall, but project completion was delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic to hence an ideal look overall for this application. mid-September 2020. The Xtreme displays were mounted to the “In addition, due to the variable weather in Iceland and the exposed building’s exterior with included outdoor flat wall mounts, and Origo location of the screens, it was important to have the most robust and provided customized frames for an enclosed finish. BrightSign XD234 weatherproof solution available. Peerless-AV ’s Xtreme displays were 4K Media Players enable remote access and control of content by the the only choice in the marketplace with an IP66 rating and an [such theater’s marketing department. a wide] operating temperature range. Origo is happy, since the cus“We can easily say that this has been a truly positive transformation. tomer was pleased with the both the installation and end result.” Where we used to have backlit, printed posters that took both time and The 65-inch Xtreme High Bright Outdoor from Peerless-AV ofenergy to change, we now have controlled, high-quality screens that we fers outstanding video quality, along with the durability and longevity can operate from anywhere,” concluded Sváfnir Sigurðarson, marketing for any digital signage or entertainment application, according to the executive at the National Theatre of Iceland. “The change has made the company. Sunlight-readable, the display offers 2,500 nits of brightstaff proud and we have people stopping in front of the theater admiring ness and is optically bonded, which increases the perceived contrast the displays. What really impresses me is how clearly you can see the ratio and cuts down on glare. Fully sealed, without the need for eximages on the screens, even when the sun is shining directly on them.” * haust vents or additional HVAC equipment, the Xtreme operates from

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he National Theatre of Iceland is one of two main theaters in Reykjavík, drawing attention for its stunning architecture highlighted by dramatic contrasting dark grey surfaces and lighter grey decorative elements. Everything about the building is majestic. Designed by Guðjón Samúelsson, the theater opened on April 20, 1950. Acknowledging popular sentiment on the island nation, the programming schedule set by artistic director of Magnús Geir Þórðarsson and venue management features varied seasonal productions consisting of new and old classics, foreign and locally written scripts, musicals, dance pieces, and more. Last summer, the theater’s technical team was tasked with researching an outdoor digital signage solution to replace the old traditional static signage at the front of the building. The objective was to be able to show regularly updated schedules and teaser trailers of upcoming productions in dynamic, high-definition video to visitors and audiences passing by the theater, attracting them inside to enjoy all the arts and stage performances on offer. The artistic challenge was ensuring that the digital signage would complement the building’s unique art deco design. Technically, displayed imagery had to be visible and vibrant at any time of day and from any viewing distance, and the display itself needed to be able to withstand sometimes harsh Icelandic weather.


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BY MEG A N A . D UT T A

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The Latest in Outdoor AV Solutions W

ith medical experts declaring group outdoor activities safer than indoor ones during the COVID-19 pandemic, many businesses are moving their operations outside. Be it a restaurant operating under outdoor-only dining regulations or a house of worship holding a service outside to allow for social distancing, these venues need a solid AV systems to make it all work. Outdoor AV is experiencing huge growth, so what are the key factors and products integrators need to know about right now? Growth Areas for Outdoor AV With the COVID-19 pandemic persisting into a second year, the need for outdoor AV solutions continues. The most obvious outdoor applications are bars and restaurants. “Outdoor patios for restaurant dining is seeing the most activity,” said Scott Normand, senior director at SnapAV. “Restaurant owners are working diligently to bring

their dining experience outside in light of COVID-19. This includes outdoor-rated displays, speakers, and lighting systems.” This growth has spilled into dining options in the hospitality industry. Megan Zeller, business development director at PeerlessAV, has seen an uptick in digital signage solutions in hotels, but particularly in the areas that include bars and cabanas. The growth in various segments of the hospitality industry doesn’t just include AV designed to enhance the experience; it also includes outdoor AV designed to keep the operation moving. “In terms of restaurants, the quick-serve restaurants (QSRs) and fast casual market is growing at a rapid rate. With a lack of indoor dining, people are turning to drive-thrus and curbside pickup options, creating a higher demand for digital menu boards and digital signage solutions,” said Zeller. David Sexauer, business development manager for outdoor signage at Sun Vision Display, has seen significant movement in the

Sun Vision Display manufactures 32- and 43-inch outdoor digital signage displays that feature reflective technology. By eliminating the need for a backlight, these displays are fully sunlight-readable and consume up to 95 percent less power, according to the company.

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stadium segment, insisting that there is still a large demand in terms of public arenas. “While this does include some sporting events, it may not always be the stadium setting we are all familiar with. Outdoor concerts, public parks, and places like golf courses and ski resorts are showing potential to benefit from digital signage upgrades,” he said. “Technologies such as LED video walls with 2mm to 5mm pixel pitch are pushing the combination of being both affordable and popular enough to justify the investment, though additional solutions are also being innovated that address known environmental challenges, namely bright ambient light and cost of high power consumption or full replacement,” Sexauer added. “Reflective LCD technology is emerging as one of those potential solutions, as there are companies like Sun Vision Display that bring the sunlightreadable and ultra-low power technology to large-format outdoor digital signage.” On the flip side, Normand believes the stadium market has “slowed down,” as they’re seeing many projects put on hold. Special Considerations for Outdoor Displays We’ve all seen the neighborhood bar that bought several cheap TVs at Costco and hung them outside for patio season—and we all know those TVs weren’t meant for either commercial or outdoor use. But what do integrators and their clients need to know when choosing a true outdoor display? “There are so many factors that come into play when installing outdoor displays, including where the display will be installed, what display is used, and whether the accompanying components are outdoor-rated,”


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Remote management is becoming an important factor for all integrators. SnapAV’s OvrC platform allows users to monitor systems at a customer’s location and take a proactive approach to troubleshooting.

said Zeller. She suggests researching screen placement (particularly whether or not the display will be in direct sunlight), considering whether the structure can support an outdoor display (outdoor displays tend to be much heavier than indoor), and looking into local ordinances that may require special permissions or certifications. SnapAV ’s Normand said understanding the environment is key for integrators when it comes to installing outdoor solutions. “This helps them to select the appropriate brightness, glare resistance, and ruggedness of the display—as well as the water and dust IP rating,” he said. “Not every outdoor system is a full-sun application, so the super-high brightness levels are not always needed. For example, in a nighttime dining experience, the brightness level needs to be customized for

the application. Glare reduction coatings can also reduce the image clarity or be a necessary requirement for high-sun applications.” Zeller agreed, stating: “In addition to considering the display’s complete environment, one needs to ensure the display and components have a proper IP rating to withstand Mother Nature.” Products receive an IP (ingress protection) rating, standardized by the IEC (International Electrotechnical Commission), which grades the resistance of an enclosure against the intrusion of dust or liquid. The first digit in the rating indicates protection against intrusion (tools, dust, etc.), while the second digit measures moisture protection (from droplets of water to submersion abilities). PeerlessAV ’s line of Xtreme High Bright Outdoor Displays, for example, features an IP66 rating, which means the displays are fully sealed and protect against water, dust, moisture, and insects. Lastly, it is important to consider the warranty for an outdoor display. “The warranty term is important, but [so is] the warranty repair process—does an outdoor display need to be removed and sent back for a warranty repair or can it be field-serviced?” questioned Normand. “Sunbrite has a two-year warranty with field service options, which sets it apart from other outdoor displays.” Keeping Outdoor AV Secure Outdoor AV faces different security concerns than a standard indoor installation. For example, most bars and restaurants close up shop and lock their doors at some point during the night, but outdoor installs are often left vulnerable on a patio. Normand suggests owners install a surveillance system—also available from SnapAV— to protect their AV investment, in addition to protecting them from litigation from accidents that may occur on their property. Zeller agreed that a surveillance system should be part of a security plan, but she also suggested installing outdoor-rated security in the form of keyed locks or security hardware. “Many display mounts include locking mechanisms, but these often are not used,” Normand pointed out. “Integrators should have a process for using the padlocks and managing the keys for the customer.” In addition to physical security,

Standard Considerations for Outdoor Displays Sun Vision Display’s David Sexauer shares three critical questions that integrators should ask themselves and their clients before installing outdoor displays. 1. Does this solution fit the problem? 2. What will the lifespan of this display entail? 3. Who is the target audience and what will their experience be like with this display?

David Sexauer

Scott Normand

Megan Zeller

integrators should consider the material of the outdoor display. Will it withstand a drink being thrown at it in a bar? Can it survive being hit by a foul ball in a baseball stadium? To keep assets safe, Sexauer suggested using a cover lens to add strength and durability to the display. “We recommend 6mm thermally tempered glass. If you hit that straight on, you’d likely break your hand before you broke that glass,” he said. Additionally, “There are products like vandal films and even coatings that prevent graffiti from adhering to the displays. These can act as deterrents and sometimes as a sacrificial component that is easier and cheaper to replace than the entire unit.” Final Thoughts As outdoor AV installations surge in popularity, don’t forget the basics like maintenance and monitoring. “Remote management is becoming an important factor for all integrators,” said Normand. “Our Sunbrite units have OvrC management built in on some models, which is key to knowing when there is an issue at a customer’s location and alerting us so we can take a proactive management approach to ensure the customer has more uptime.” To keep the uptime high, outdoor AV also needs regular maintenance and check-ins. “Monthly or quarterly maintenance schedules are needed for outdoor displays, to check on cables or possible vandalism, and sometimes to remove spider webs,” concluded Zeller. *

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The retail market, particularly outdoor malls and grocery stores, is a growing segment for outdoor AV, according to Peerless-AV. The company’s Smart City Kiosk includes a Peerless Xtreme High Bright Outdoor Display, which offers full 1080p resolution for a bright, crisp picture even in direct sunlight.


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Interactive Ecosystem I

nteractive screens are popping up everywhere you look, from smartphones to Starbucks drive-thrus. Recent data from research firm MarketsandMarkets suggests the interactive display market will grow from $9 billion in 2020 to $13.2 billion by 2025, a compound annual growth rate of 8.1 percent. With prices steadily dropping as user expectations increase, vendors are taking a close look at the safety and usability of commercial-grade interactive screens. AV professionals hope to leverage the power of next-gen displays to deliver unique engagements that people simply cannot get at home. Artificial intelligence, multitouch, touchless capabilities, and features to enhance remote work are just some of the advancements to consider. Trending Up? Business sectors like hospitality were devastated by pandemic travel restrictions, but growth in other segments stayed level—or accelerated. Jeremy Sternhagen, Planar’s technical marketing manager, has observed a shrinking interest in “small-scale meeting rooms, at least for a little while,” but there’s been no dip in sales of Planar’s interactive displays, he said. Indeed, that market is growing. “We have not seen a downward trend for our interactive products,” he explained.

Big-Picture Approach Now the pressure is on vendors to think beyond the bezel and create agile, easy-to-manage interactive display ecosystems. Cost-effective products are PPDS’ C-Line is tailored for digital workflows and hybrid collaborations in the in demand, but hardware enterprise. alone might not win a bid. A A takeaway: Solutions that can bridge onbig-picture strategy—encompassing hardware, site teamwork and virtual collaboration modalsoftware, content management, and thirdities will be in greater demand, even as schools party compatibility—makes sense, according and offices reopen. to Osvaldo Velarde, technical director, North America, PPDS (formerly Philips Professional LCD, LED Display Solutions). Velarde sees the imporOne size fits none—and context is critical when tance of a solutions-based approach. “This is procuring video technology. There are advanwhy we rebranded as PPDS this year, because tages and limitations to both LCD and LED we’re looking to provide complete solutions to technologies. While LCD occupies the largest customers. We want to support any software market share of interactive displays, the apthat will drive business forward.” petite is growing for LEDs. Direct view LEDs PPDS is walking the talk with its C-Line and let clients expand display real estate far beyond T-Line interactive display families, designed to the size of LCD, for larger viewing applications. support native videoconferencing and seamless Planar’s Sternhagen explained that the comcollaboration in corporate and learning spaces, pany’s Planar ERO (Extended Ruggedness and respectively. In whiteboard mode, for instance, Optics) technology is a “rugged innovation and multiple people can use the T-Line to write optical improvement process that makes LCD or annotate while everything on the screen is and LED display products—which are normally streamed to laptops or personal devices. Up to fragile, not designed to be touched every day— 64 devices can be connected simultaneously. able to withstand environmental risks such No extra drivers are needed, no additional as people touching it or objects or backpacks software is necessary. banging against it.”

Planar LED MultiTouch is a seamless LED video wall that features Planar PLTS (Pliable LED Touch Surface) technology to deliver an interactive experience with 32 simultaneous touch points for single- or multi-user environments.

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Ever-Changing Use Cases The use cases for interactive displays are as varied as the products themselves. Educational clients want to digitize their environments. Some corporations are deploying high-tech amenities to entice people back into the office while continuing to support hybrid/ flex workers. Customers may be uncertain about the future, but they still want to be prepared. To that end, Barco is emphasizing BYOD (bring your own device) and BYOM (bring your own meeting) solutions. To see these systems in action, tour Barco’s new office in Singapore, which houses the new Barco Experience Center. The space is a showcase of interactive displays and AV technologies—LED, LCD, and collaboration tools—that accommodate the hybrid/remote collaboration culture.


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Sanitization “We’re working hard to come up with treatments that allow displays to be sanitized on a daily basis,” said Planar’s Sternhagen. “We are one of the few companies that actually has LED products that can be cleaned. Particularly when you add Planar ERO-LED proprietary protective coating to video walls, it can be something as simple as spraying a cloth and then wiping the display down like it’s a window.” Hygiene is also a priority for MultiTaction. Decca (MT 557D) is MultiTaction’s new interactive display with advanced hardware and internal processing power (increased by 30 percent). MutliTaction’s Decca offers an easily sanitized antimicrobial display surface to meet “today’s business challenges head-on,” according to a statement by Ari Rahkonen, CEO, MultiTaction. Barco’s new office in Singapore does double duty as an interactive collaboration showcase and experience center.

IoT, Wayfinding, & Touchless Interaction Universities, worship facilities, retail, transport hubs, and corporate campuses have new reasons to invest in digital wayfinding and data capture. Highly responsive, sensoraware flat-panel displays can help move people through spaces more efficiently while sharing institutional messaging (e.g., hours of operation) or health/safety information (e.g., mask protocols). Sam Malik of Maxhub pointed to all-in-one displays as valuable tools in the post-COVID landscape. “An area where I’ve seen a surge is direct view LED displays,” he said. “They are easy to service and easy to install. Prices are now much lower, and the technology has advanced. Our all-in-one LED displays, from 110 inches through 220 inches, have gained a lot of popularity for applications where there was typically an interactive flat panel, but now the touch element is not desired. [Our solutions] are extremely bright.” Maxhub offers a range of LED and LCD displays, some with built-in cameras and voice pick-up capabilities. Content can be updated and changed instantly. IoT connectivity and videoconferencing are becoming essential features in the new business environment. ViewSonic’s ViewBoard IFP70 interactive display series, for example, have been certified by Microsoft as Windows Collaboration Displays (WCD) that incorporate the Azure IoT sensor hub. It’s important to note that “interactivity” isn’t defined solely by the physical touch of a screen. Customizable screens can be tied to cameras and sensors to track motion. A screen can be activated and personalized to share

information relevant to the person walking or driving by it. Enhanced with robust software, QR codes, RFID, mobile interactions, or other modes of touchless BYOD feedback, new displays can help to eliminate the need to physically touch public devices. A “touchless” display strategy can also help minimize the impact of person-to-person contact, such as cashiers or ticket agents. Occupancy counting can be managed with signage software, rather than a paid staff member. Capacity Awareness, Queue Management Facilities stakeholders concerned about occupancy and capacity management are exploring solutions like PeopleCount from PPDS. PeopleCount can equip managers with the information they need to manage capacity, while also keeping customers engaged with promotional and safety messaging. To see the technology in situ, stroll into the H&M store in Hoog Catherijne, Netherlands, where it’s installed. The PeopleCount single-entrance solution uses a Bosch Flexidome IP Micro 3000i intelligent camera, which is connected to a PPDS bespoke app. No internet connection is required to make the Android-powered Philips PDS digital signage

Get Smarter Dovetailing with IoT, artificial intelligence (AI) technologies are being used to enhance the interactive display experience. Facial and iris recognition, biometrics, temperature sensing, and sophisticated handwriting analysis and annotation are a few of the features that may prove particularly useful in the post-pandemic landscape. The 2021 Interactive Display Market report by MarketsandMarkets pointed to AI as an emerging technology that will provide “huge opportunities for the interactive whiteboard market” specifically. Margot Douaihy, Ph.D., teaches at Franklin Pierce University in New Hampshire.

The 4K ViewSonic ViewBoard IFP8670 offers a responsive interactive screen on which multiple users can use their hands, styluses, or both, to simultaneously write or draw on the 86-inch ViewBoard panel.

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work. The solution has since extended to support not only retail, but corporate offices, supermarkets, bars, and restaurants.


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technology NETGEAR M4250 Series Ethernet Switches The What: NETGEAR has expanded its series of IP switches designed and purpose-built for the growing AV-over-IP market with the M4250 series. Dubbed the AV Line, these products combine years of networking expertise with best practices from experts in the professional AV market. The What Else: The switches feature AV-specific configuration presets designed to simplify deployment of AV networks. The NETGEAR IGMP Plus functionality along with new Auto-LAG and Auto-Trunk features allow pro AV installers to connect multiple M4250 switches together seamlessly without compromising audio and video signal quality and integrity. Removing complex configuration tasks enables the installer to focus on other important aspects of an AV install job, saving both time and money. Pro AV installers no longer need to compromise the usability of their AV network with complex switch settings that are not AV friendly and commands that are typical of switches that were designed for an IT network as opposed to an AV network. The new AV interface of the M4250 switch presents the common AV controls with user-selectable profiles up front, making it a snap to ensure the settings are correct for specific audio or video applications. The M4250 switches are designed for clean integration with traditional rack-mounted AV equipment. The sleek black enclosure provides port and activity status on the front panel, with all power and network cabling neatly organized on the rear panel. The M4250 switches can also be reverse-mounted in an AV rack if preferred. Additional options for mounting the switch outside a rack, such as VESA mounts, are also available. The M4250 switches come with pre-drilled universal threaded holes located on the bottom and the front of each switch. The Bottom Line: The AV Line of M4250 switches maintains the same out-of-the-box AV-friendly functionality found on the M4300 and M4500 switches. As such, deploying multicast AV over IP networks with the M4250 switches is a simple plug-in and turn-on operation. The NETGEAR AV Line M4250 series switches and AVB licenses are available in the United States, Europe, and APAC region now.

d&b audiotechnik Subscription-Series

The What: d&b audiotechnik has launched the Subscription-Series, an alternative to product ownership that allows venue owners to upgrade their d&b sound system periodically without a large, upfront capital investment. The What Else: The standard Subscription-Series plan enables customers to fastforward their technical, creative, and business goals with the security and flexibility of a low monthly payment and commitment periods as short as 24 months. The subscription fee covers all audio system solution hardware, including accessories, system commissioning, post-install services, maintenance, and decommissioning. At the end of the subscription period, customers can choose to continue their subscription, upgrade or adjust the system requirements, or cancel the service. The d&b sales partner and dealer network are part of the new offering and will continue to provide services for end customers. The new scheme ensures d&b’s install sound systems are more commercially accessible to an even wider range of venues. Alongside the new Subscription-Series, d&b also offers a pay-per-use option. The add-on

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option enables customers to install additional d&b equipment for use at occasional special events. Venues are charged when the enhanced system components are actually used. The Bottom Line: The d&b Subscription-Series is now available in the United States, Europe (including the UK), Singapore, Australia, and New Zealand.

Sennheiser TruVoicelift

The What: Sennheiser has announced a free firmware update for its TeamConnect Ceiling 2 conferencing mics that adds TruVoicelift, a voice amplification system that improves audio intelligibility. The What Else: TruVoicelift is powered by a frequency shift algorithm that delivers a few crucial extra decibels of gain, as well as a “feedback prevention mute” function that causes TCC 2 to briefly mute if levels get too high, preventing feedback. During pauses in speaking, if a predefined audio threshold is not reached, a noise gate will be activated that mutes TeamConnect Ceiling 2 to prevent background noise from being amplified. Depending on the size and configuration of the room, additional TeamConnect Ceiling 2 microphones can be installed as audience mics, thus creating a completely touchless microphone solution that reduces potential hygiene risks. All TruVoicelift settings can be controlled via the Sennheiser Control Cockpit app. The app also allows users to create “priority zones,” i.e., areas where audio is predominantly picked up. This is helpful for any setups where audio usually comes from a defined place, such as the front of a lecture hall. Users may also define “advanced exclusion zones,” enabling them to target and exclude noise sources such as air conditioning or ventilation equipment. The Bottom Line: TruVoicelift enables clearly audible in-room audio for classrooms, lecture halls, and boardrooms, with many controllable features that make for a pleasant and clear listening experience. For existing TeamConnect Ceiling 2 (TCC2) implementations, users can now add the TruVoicelift functionality simply by installing the free firmware update (1.6.4) via the new version of the Sennheiser Control Cockpit app (4.3.0).

PTZOptics SuperJoy Joystick

The What: Now available from robotic camera manufacturer PTZOptics, the PT-SuperJoy-G1 Joystick Controller offers network-based or serial camera control for users of any skill level. Users will have fully featured control over any PTZOptics or HuddleCamHD camera, as well as control of Sony, Birddog, Newtek and other PTZ cameras for select settings. The What Else: The SuperJoy controller can be programmed with up to 255 PTZ camera presets, including nine quick presets. Users can also create up to four camera control groups, allowing them to easily change scenes. SuperJoy’s four customizable buttons can be programmed to trigger “super presets” that reach beyond the camera, sending custom commands via HTTP, UART, TCP or UDP to network-based equipment including lights, speakers, and displays. SuperJoy offers control well beyond camera position and zoom. Using incremental buttons, the operator can adjust pan, tilt, zoom, and preset speed. The SuperJoy also has knobs to make minute adjustments to zoom, focus, iris/shutter settings, and red and blue gain. This power to fine-tune is balanced by the ability to set guardrails on what controls



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technology are available. The built-in “basic mode” disables most control other than single-camera joystick control and presets, while “matrix mode” gives the user the ability to call presets for up to three cameras. Regardless of mode, the SuperJoy lights up available buttons for the user. The Bottom Line: SuperJoy addresses a wide range of applications, production sizes and skillsets. With its versatile presets and fine-tuning capabilities, this solution can bring even the most complex multicamera production under control. SuperJoy includes a two-year limited warranty.

EPOS ADAPT 100 Series Headset

The What: ADAPT 100 Series headsets from EPOS are engineered for the hybrid professional, delivering outstanding audio quality and aimed at boosting concentration and ensuring seamless communication on demand. The What Else: The ADAPT 100 Series is built to address the needs of the hybrid workforce, with smart audio technology to ensure uncompromised performance both on-the-go or in the office. The ADAPT 100 Series uses EPOS Voice technology with a noise-cancelling microphone to optimize the user’s voice and enhance their calls, and integrated EPOS ActiveGard technology protects users from acoustic shock. Available variants are optimized for UC and certified for Microsoft Teams with a dedicated Teams button. The series is equipped with cross-functional capabilities to simultaneously enable a superior listening experience, free from disruption—allowing it to meet increasingly overlapping personal and business needs. The Bottom Line: In addition to a stylish look, the ADAPT 100 Series is built for user flexibility and all-day comfort, featuring large onear leatherette or foam earpads and an ergonomic, lightweight design. A discreet boom arm that neatly folds away into the headset when not in use allows for seamless transition between calls and other tasks.

Kramer Hybrid Learning Solutions

The What: Kramer has launched two new hybrid education solutions that ensure in-person and remote students have similarly robust learning experiences. EDU-Hybrid-ZR is a Zoom Rooms solution that starts lessons at the touch of a button with no personal device needed, and EDU-Hybrid-1 is a software-agnostic wireless presentation and collaboration solution. Both facilitate integration with Kramer Control to allow all classroom devices to be controlled from one user interface, streamlining the presentation process. The What Else: The EDU-Hybrid-ZR learning environment features one display for videoconference participants and a second, separate screen for sharable lesson content. The system supports displays up to 4K resolution and can be combined with any of Kramer’s powered speakers for crystal clear audio and an immersive learning environment. Using a dedicated Kramer KT-107Z touch panel, teachers simply launch Zoom Rooms to begin the session. The EDU-Hybrid-ZR solution (KIT− Z100) includes the ECU−Z100 hardware platform and KT−107Z touchpanel controller with Kramer cloud−based control and management solution. Users will complete their hybrid learning system with Zoom Rooms-compliant cameras, microphones, and other AV peripherals. The EDU-Hybrid-1 software-agnostic wireless presentation and collaboration solution enables teachers to connect and present lessons from any wireless device to in-class and remote students simultaneously. Lecturers launch their preferred Windows-based videoconferencing platform and automatically connect to microphones and speakers to enhance the two-way communication. The system integrates with

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their preferred in-room teaching displays, including projectors and interactive whiteboards, and provides access to cloud storage for saved documents. EDU-Hybrid-1 includes Kramer’s VIA Campus 4K60 wireless presentation and collaboration system, and the VSM management platform for VIA devices. The Bottom Line: These systems enable collaboration and participation for in-class situations, distance learning, and hybrid classrooms.

Audio-Technica ES945O/XLR and 947C/ XLR Boundary Microphones

The What: Audio-Technica has unveiled two new boundary condenser microphones designed for discreet surface-mount installation in tabletops, ceilings, or panels. Both models—ES945O/XLR (omnidirectional) and ES947C/XLR (cardioid)—feature a lowprofile metal case with two-layer perforated grilles and IPX4 water resistance, as well as UniGuard RFI-shielding technology for superior rejection of radio frequency interference (RFI). The What Else: The ES945O/XLR provides an omnidirectional pattern with a pickup angle of 360 degrees, while the ES947C/XLR provides a cardioid pattern with a pickup angle of 120 degrees. A small front-ofmic indicator on the ES947C/XLR ensures proper orientation. The two models employ a self-contained power module with an XLRM output connector, eliminating the need for an external power module. The microphones are available in black or white, and are furnished with rubber isolators for optional mechanical isolation from the mounting surface. Several space-saving variations are available, including the ES945O/ TB3 and ES947C/TB3. Available in black or white, these mics are intended for the same applications as the ES945O/XLR and ES947C/XLR but offer an ultra-compact design for inconspicuous installation and do not include IPX4 water resistance. Also available, ES945O/FM3 and ES947C/FM3 variants feature a two-state RGB LED ring (with seven selectable colors as well as “off ”) to indicate mute status, and a touch-sensitive capacitive user switch that enables local muting. The FM3 models use a 3-pin XLR output connector; the ES945O/FM5 and ES947C/FM5 employ a 5-pin XLR output connector that can be configured to toggle between mute and live audio, or can be set up to trigger an external device such as a camera or room lighting. The Bottom Line: The miniature omnidirectional condenser boundary microphones and cardioid condenser boundary microphones are available now.

Lumens VC-BC301P 4K IP POV Camera

The What: VC-BC301P is a compact 4K 60 fps POV IP camera equipped with a 1/1.8inch Sony image sensor, ePTZ, and power over Ethernet (PoE). The What Else: The POV camera is capable of capturing a 102° viewing angle. It supports Ethernet, HDMI, and USB 3.0 video output, bringing simple installation and operational flexibility. It supports the Real Time Streaming Protocol (RTSP), Real Time Messaging Protocol (RTMP/RTMPS), and Secure Reliable Transport (SRT), enhancing live streaming video production in 4K clarity. The camera is equipped with an ePTZ function via VCIR01 remote control that manages functionality including pan, tilt, zoom, and other settings. The built-in tally light gives the director or presenter visual confirmation that the camera is in operation. The Bottom Line: The VC-BC301P is applicable for remote communication and video content production in a range of markets including esports, live broadcasting, corporate, and house of worship.



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viewpoint Saying Goodbye to Doubt B Y A L E S I A H E ND L EY

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taring a new adventure is scary, and I know that from personal experience—I recently hit the go button on a lot of new things, from a YouTube channel to a new podcast. While sharing my news with close friends, I realized how nervous I actually was about my new projects. I don’t know why I was nervous … I have produced and hosted podcasts with major brands, and I’ve been creating video content—that has always been well-received—for years now. So what made hitting the go button this time so damn nerve-racking? The ugly fear is named doubt, and we all have doubts. Sometimes it feels like it’s built into human nature … and it is. Self-doubt, doubt in others, doubt will find a way to invade our thoughts at one point or another. And I know I can’t be the only one struggling with this when beginning new endeavors. Nearly a decade ago, after I graduated from an audio engineering program, I found myself in an awkward situation: I was an audio engineer with no clients and very few acts to work with. By the time I realized this was a problem, I had spent three years working on building others’ careers instead of building one of my own. “What are you going to do to move forward?” I asked myself, and realized the answer was to start building my personal brand. I reached out to people whose personal lives and work inspired me and started picking their brains via interviews. Surprisingly, they all got back to me in less than a month, which I thought was extremely fast considering their busy lifestyles. But I still hadn’t started my own platform to share my writing. I doubted myself, thinking, “I can’t start a blog. No one is going to read it anyway.” I started searching for other blogs to feature my stories because I felt my own platform wouldn’t be good enough. And guess what? I didn’t receive a single response about guest blogging opportunities. That sparked an idea—I was supposed to share these on my own platform. That thought still made me nervous, so I procrastinated some more, and the people I interviewed began to follow up and ask, “Will you ever publish that article?” I was embarrassed, left standing in self-doubt. I didn’t know which way was up, or what was left or right, for that matter. One of the things that frustrates me most in life is people asking me for help or advice and not taking advantage of the info I give them. And there I was, sitting in self-doubt, not practicing a single word that I had preached. Eight months later, after I began asking myself, “Will you ever publish the article?” I finally woke up and smelled the coffee. It was time to rise and grind. Nobody was going to invest in me if I didn’t invest in myself. Looking back now, 10 years later, and bringing it to the present day, I am so happy I hit go on blogging, though I am no writing expert. I pushed through the doubt and now I can say I am a published author for major publications like Systems Contractor News, as you see here today. Is there an art to avoiding self-doubt? In my opinion, self-doubt doesn’t exist—doubt lives in the past, present, and future—it’s more about how we react to the voice of doubt when it does show up. Here are three powerful tips to hit go full speed beyond a doubt.

something uncomfortable. Send a message to someone you admire on LinkedIn, record a video of yourself, make a call instead of sending a text. Being uncomfortable leads us to being comfortable within our own greatness and helps quiet the doubt.

It Starts with You Get comfortable being uncomfortable. Believing in yourself is easier said than done at times, and even the best of us face self-doubt. But if you don’t believe in yourself, no one else will. Visualize whatever it is you want, whether it be a successful podcast or winning that large bid at work. Visualize what greatness looks like on the other side of your comfort zone. Then take the initiative each day to push yourself to do

Alesia Hendley, a 2018 member of SCN’s The Nine, is an AV professional who found her passion at a young age as a sound engineer with her father’s church. By using different audiovisual technologies, she found creative ways to go higher both musically and spiritually, taking the congregation with her. Now you can find her working with Access Networks clients or executing creative ventures. As a young professional, she’s finding ways to bring AV and creatives together in an effort to leave her mark by making an impact, and not just an impression.

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Don’t Be Afraid to Ask for Help We’ve all heard this one: “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” I learned this lesson the hard way. Then I found my tribe within the AV community. Some of the closest friends I have in the industry came from building and growing genuine connections with strangers. We all face our own individual challenges in and out of the work environment. Being active and engaged within our community builds trust, and it allows you to create a springboard to bounce ideas off of. Our community is filled with people who want to see you win!

“Procrastination is the gateway drug to doubt. The longer you procrastinate, the louder you allow doubt to become. The distance between who we are now and who we want to be is in our actions.”

Hold Yourself Accountable Dreams don’t work unless we do, so we have to hold ourselves accountable. Procrastination is the gateway drug to doubt. The longer you procrastinate, the louder you allow doubt to become. The distance between who we are now and who we want to be is in our actions. Want to launch something new? Want to gain a specific person or company as a client? Then set SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-Bound) goals. Begin to approach everything with strong intentions and set a date. Write that date down on your whiteboard, on a sticky note, on your cellphone wallpaper, wherever, but make that date bold. Then tell your tribe. Once you tell people you respect and admire, the more real it becomes. The only thing that can hold us back is ourselves. Doubts will arise, but it’s up to us to not let them take control. Doubt is a hurdle, not a complete roadblock—treat it as such. Hit go and continue full-speed ahead.