AVTE Jan/Feb 2019

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AV Technology Europe

January/February 2019 avtechnologyeurope.com


IT'S MORE THAN JUST A GAME AV in Sport Special: AVTE looks at how audiovisual technology is being used to reinvent the fan experience at live sporting events January/February 2019


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IT'S REAL. IT'S HYPERREAL. Lorde Melodrama Tour • SPYSCAPE• deadmau5 • Le Grand Bleu Cine-Concert with Eric Serra• Mercury Space Moscow • Zurich Openair • Angus & Julia Stone • The Classic BRIT Awards • alt-J • Ennio Morricone • BBC Proms• Tomorrowland• Bon Iver• Aerosmith - Deuces Are Wild Las Vegas Residency• UAE 46th National Day • ODESZA • Orchestre National de Lille • The Lab at Panorama Festival • Coachella Antarctic Dome • Puy du Fou• Philippe Parreno Tate Modern• Urban Voices• Renaud Phenix Tour• Jazz

a la Villette• Mattheus-Passion -

Hamburg • EartH - Evolutionary Arts Hackney • Childish Gambino - This Is America Tour • Rossiya Theater... I-acoustics.com • 1-isa-immersive.com



Michael Garwood, Editor



ello and a very Happy New Year to you all. As a technology journalist, I’ve always loved the start of the new year. As the majority of the country hits the January sales, buying up old (and often) end of line stock (or things no one wanted at full price) – exhibitors at CES, Vegas were busy unveiling their latest and greatest. As this magazine went to press, the annual NAMM Show, in Los Angeles was in full swing, showcasing the latest tech in music, pro audio and event tech. And of course, in February, it’s the BIG one. ISE 2019. With more than 1,300 exhibitors and 80,000-plus visitors, it’s a show that fills many (those I’ve spoken with and myself) with a sense of almost childlike excitement and anticipation – but also elements of dread and frustration. As trade shows go, ISE is a monster. As discussed in our interview with Mike Blackman, the shows MD and founder (see ISE Preview, Page 9), the show has become a global stage for the AV elite to debut new products and solutions – which is fantastic. The negative for me (speaking purely selfishly), is you never know which way to turn through fear of missing out. Coupled with the walking (often full scale sprinting) between the many different press events, conferences and keynotes, it’s as fulfilling as it is exhausting. And yet, as I sat nursing very sore feet in the departure lounge at Schiphol Airport last year, supping a cold beer and binge eating stroopwafels, my only regret was that I couldn’t see everything. But as Blackman noted, it’s nigh on impossible to do so. So, as part of our ISE Preview special, we not only discuss some of the ‘not to be missed’ happenings at this year’s show, but we also get the views, experiences and (crucially), some Survival Tips from ISE regulars. If this is your first show, it’s a must read! I wish I had in 2018.

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Sport/Retail But it’s not all about ISE. Last issue, we spoke at length with AVIXA about the value of experience and how AV is playing an ever-increasingly important role in all walks of life – with sporting events and retail mentioned heavily. Well, inspired by this, for this issue we’ve taken a look (as you can probably guess from our front cover) at ways AV is being used in sporting venues all over the world to help create new forms of entertainment, but also increasing loyalty and business/revenue opportunities (merchandise, food and drink, betting). Some of the examples are breathtaking – perhaps none more so than at the Capital One Arena in Washington DC, which uses projection mapping to transform its playing surface. We of course look at other venues, including Wembley Stadium, the Ricoh Arena – and even my team Norwich get a mention, too. There’s something for everyone. Likewise, we’ve also taken a look at how AV can help revitalise the – as it seems – dying high street. Like many, much of my Christmas shopping was completed online. Why didn’t I go to the shops instead? For me, the answers are mixed. Price plays a part, but the biggest is down to the experience. Retail is boring. Stores are boring. There’s very little that makes me want to get off my backside and visit a store. Is that why they’re failing? For me, yes (hence my Amazon bill). Times have changed, but retail (for many, not at all) have stagnated. Is AV part of the answer? The experts have their say. Beyond those, in what is our biggest ever issue, we have plenty of other features and all the regular content to keep you entertained – maybe on the plane to Amsterdam. Until we meet again, so long. You’ve been a wonderful audience. michael.garwood@futurenet.com


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CONTENT Editor: Michael Garwood michael.garwood@futurenet.com +44 (0)7834 964 589 Deputy Editor: Duncan Proctor duncan.proctor@futurenet.com +44 (0)20 7354 6036 Contributors: Ian McMurray, Heather McLean


Graphic Designer: Sam Richwood sam.richwood@futurenet.com


Production Manager/Executive Matthew Eglington matthew.eglington@futurenet.com


Group Content Director, B2B James McKeown james.mckeown@futurenet.com Managing Design Director, B2B Nicole Cobban nicole.cobban@futurenet.com



Cover Photo Courtesy of Alexander Jonesi Photography



PREVIEW: ISE 2019 All roads lead to Amsterdam in February, as the AV industry’s biggest trade show rolls into town. AVTE caught up with the show’s MD Mike Blackman for a taste of what to expect

ADVERTISING SALES Sales manager: Andrew Leggatt andrew.leggatt@futurenet.com +44 (0)20 7354 6029


SUBSCRIBER CUSTOMER SERVICE To subscribe, change your address, or check on yourcurrent account status, go to wwww.avtechnologyeurope.com or email subs@avtechnologyeurope.com



Last year, 1,276 retail stores exited the high street, whilst Christmas footfall was the lowest in a decade. But there is hope. AVTE spoke to some of the industry’s leading companies to discuss how AV can reignite offline retail and tempt customers back to stores

Digital editions of the magazine are available to view on ISSUU.com Recent back issues of the printed edition may be available please contact lwilkie@nbmedia.com for more information.

INTERNATIONAL AV Technology Europe and its content are available for licensing and syndication re-use. Contact the International department to discuss partnership opportunities and permissions International Licensing Director Matt Ellis, matt.ellis@futurenet.com

MANAGEMENT Managing Director/Senior Vice President Christine Shaw Chief Revenue Officer Luke Edson Chief Content Officer Joe Territo Chief Marketing Officer Wendy Lissau Head of Production US & UK Mark Constance Printed by Pensord Press Ltd, NP12 2YA Print ISSN: 2050-6104 Online ISSN: 2052-2401 Copyright 2018

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All contents © 2018 Future Publishing Limited or published under licence. All rights reserved. No part of this magazine may be used, stored, transmitted or reproduced in any way without the prior written permission of the publisher. Future Publishing Limited (company number 2008885) is registered in England and Wales. Registered office: Quay House, The Ambury, Bath BA1 1UA. All information contained in this publication is for information only and is, as far as we are aware, correct at the time of going to press. Future cannot accept any responsibility for errors or inaccuracies in such information. You are advised to contact manufacturers and retailers directly with regard to the price of products/services referred to in this publication. Apps and websites mentioned in this publication are not under our control. We are not responsible for their contents or any other changes or updates to them. This magazine is fully independent and not affiliated in any way with the companies mentioned herein. If you submit material to us, you warrant that you own the material and/or have the necessary rights/permissions to supply the material and you automatically grant Future and its licensees a licence to publish your submission in whole or in part in any/all issues and/or editions of publications, in any format published worldwide and on associated websites, social media channels and associated products. Any material you submit is sent at your own risk and, although every care is taken, neither Future nor its employees, agents, subcontractors or licensees shall be liable for loss or damage. We assume all unsolicited material is for publication unless otherwise stated, and reserve the right to edit, amend, adapt all submissions.

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Chief executive Zillah Byng-Thorne Non-executive chairman Peter Allen Chief financial officer Penny Ladkin-Brand


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Tel +44 (0)1225 442 244





VIRTUAL CLASSROOMS: “We believe that an advanced virtual classroom can replicate a physical classroom experience and even improve upon it” – AVTE spoke EtonX to discuss the changing face of education

AV IN SPORT: In this special report, AVTE chats to the AV industry and some of the world’s leading sporting venues about the role and impact audio and visual technology is having on enhancing the fan experience

Regulars 54 Tech Guide

FAB FIVE: A look at some of the industry’s leading and most innovative (by function and design) video conferencing cameras designed for huddle rooms. Who wouldn’t want an owl shaped camera?

A ‘PREEVUE’ OF THE FUTURE: Entrepreneur Ryan Metcalfe, on how his company is using a mix of VR and AR to help theatre production teams save time and money by visiting and walking around venues remotely

66 Top Tips: Digital Signage 72 Meet Your AV Integrator

79 Case Study: Security 82 Brief Encounter 5

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Are Traditional Classrooms Becoming Old School?

AVTE speaks to Catherine Whitaker, CEO and head of learning at education technology company EtonX (a subsidiary of Eton College) to discuss how its virtual skills programme is providing a new (and improved?) method for teaching children Hi Catherine. To kick things off, tell us a little about EtonX’s Future Skills programme (FSP). Our FSP provides live online soft skills courses for teenagers around the world. Our team works with Eton’s teachers to devise the courses and we’ve built a bespoke virtual classroom to enable students to practise and develop these skills. Our mission is to close the global soft skills gap in young people.It’s accepted by teaching professionals that some of the most important learning experiences and development happen outside the classroom. As a consequence, EtonX is helping ambitious schools that want to supplement their programmes or that want to offer parents and students the opportunity to choose which soft skills courses would most benefit them. There isn’t a definitive globally-agreed list of vital soft skills but they generally include communication, creativity and critical thinking – as well as practical skills like interview technique, CV writing and essay writing. Talk us through what a virtual classroom actually is. Live video streaming advances mean participants on EtonX’s courses interact much more naturally during group discussions with each other and their tutor, while also benefiting from innovations such as virtual breakout rooms that facilitate


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debates among students in smaller and easily-manageable groups. In addition, EtonX’s bespoke virtual classroom uses the full functionality of the latest WebRTC protocols, which enables users to access the virtual classroom via a browser without requiring any software download. The features allow teachers to teach as if they were in a real offline classroom.

What age range is this suited towards? Our courses target 14-20 year-olds but also students doing foundation courses at universities. Can you talk us through the setup? Courses are available to young people that have a PC, smartphone or tablet and a good Internet connection. We insist on headphones or earphones to ensure sound quality and we also encourage students to access the classroom using a laptop or desktop computer to ensure the quality of their connection and the stability of their video stream. What are the current disadvantages and obstacles of traditional physical classrooms? There are big advantages for soft skills teaching when using a virtual classroom over a physical one. The tutor can see all the


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<Below: Eton’s advanced virtual classroom that can replicate the experience of being in a physical classroom.

INSIGHT: VIRTUAL CLASSROOMS students face out at once, so there is no ‘back row’, and students can see each other at all times. This is physically impossible in the real world. In our case, we typically teach our courses to groups of eight, so tutors are able to focus on each and every student’s needs. Can it really be an improved experience? We believe that an advanced virtual classroom can replicate a physical classroom experience – and in certain circumstances, perhaps even improve upon aspects of it. I’ll give a couple of other examples of the important difference that a virtual classroom can make. First, we incorporate virtual breakout rooms which are more private than their real-world counterparts – they prevent students eavesdropping on other groups to take their ideas. Second – and it may surprise some readers – when using a virtual classroom, we found that shy students are more willing to role-play because the screen acts as a distancing mechanism, making such exercises seem less threatening than they would in a physical classroom. How do children communicate with the teacher? Students in our classes can raise their hands virtually in one click (a little hand appears on their image) and the teacher immediately sees they have a question or a contribution to make. Students can also send a chat message to the tutor, either privately or so that the whole class can see. Where are tutors located? Our tutors are typically UK-based but in order to cater to every time zone, we are building up our capacity in other countries. Tutors need to be excellent educators who have the skills to tutor online effectively. You’ve described virtual classrooms as taking a “giant leap forward”. Can you explain what you meant? With older versions of online learning technology, the picture and sound quality was not there to enable students to practise key communication skills such as how to give a speech, assert themselves or handle a tricky conversation. That’s because video classrooms were really online lecture halls with the tutor talking to the students with limited communication between the tutor and student or between the students themselves. Today’s technology enables more effective and flexible virtual classrooms: they are humanising the technology. Surely, part of the experience of school is interaction and meeting and collaborating with other people, isn’t it? I agree – and a virtual classroom is a great way of getting students from different backgrounds and different places learning together. Intercultural skills are important in a globalised economy and this is a way for students who may be heading to study or work overseas to learn from their peers. Who is this best suited for? We think our courses are relevant to young people from

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different countries, cultures, schools and universities across the world that are looking to develop their soft skills. Importantly too, our virtual classrooms offer forms of interaction that are prevalent in the world of work but not normally encountered at school, such as virtual project group discussions and conference calls. What can be taught in a virtual classroom environment? In a world where employers are rethinking their workforces’ needs and skills, is that if you can’t convey a great idea either verbally or in writing, or solve problems creatively as part of a team, no amount of technical education is going to make up for this gap. Research has already shown that acquiring soft skills boosts academic results: World Economic Forum (WEF) global-level analysis of academic outcomes in 2016 found that students with social and emotional learning achieve outcomes up to 11 percent higher than those without. Could a virtual classroom ever completely replace the need for a physical one? I think there are lots of reasons why children go to school including the need to socialise and do physical activities and so their parents can go out to work! So no, I don’t think a complete replacement of physical classrooms will take place. A rounded education demands a balance of technical and soft skills. As a result, it will be based on different types of teaching, co-curricular activities and leadership. It’s about giving pupils the most sympathetic and enjoyable learning experiences delivered in different physical and virtual settings as the school decides. Is there any evidence to suggest student performance has been enhanced using this method? Most of our students come to us with limited experience of learning in a virtual classroom but they quickly get used to it and report that not only have they enjoyed the experience but it had been valuable to their skills development. What about costs? Our Future Skills Programme comprises eight different courses delivered over seven weeks - Making An Impact; Public Speaking; Verbal Communication; Writing Skills; Interview Skills; CV Writing; Critical Thinking; and Entrepreneurship. Each course costs $399. As well as being marketed to schools and universities, the courses can be purchased directly by individual students, parents and employers to supplement their existing learning arrangements. Are the qualifications recognised? EtonX courses are not designed to comply specific countries’ curricula or examination board requirements; instead, they take some of the elements of world-famous Eton College education (e.g. Verbal Communication and Entrepreneurship) and make them available as online digital courses to ambitious schools that want to expand their existing co-curricular activities.


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we put more in so you can get more out. more playback: up to four 4K lossless video streams at 60fps. more capture: 16 3G-SDI sources, or four 4K sources (2160p60). more network: two 25Gb/sec and two 10Gb/sec ethernet ports. more storage: 4TB of ultra-fast NVME SSD. more quality: 10-bit and HDR support is here. more information: high-res OLED front panel. same goosebumps. the new disguise vx 4 is here. hall 8, stand E250



February 2019

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24/01/2019 11:28


"Come and Join the AV Party" Whetting the appetite: More exhibitors, more keynotes, more training, more visitors, more room, and more fun – ISE’s MD and founder Mike Blackman previews ISE 2019




15.5 HALLS

ALL ROADS LEAD TO AMSTERDAM… Integrated System Europe (ISE) – the world’s biggest and most successful AV trade show – returns to Amsterdam this month (February), with a record breaking 85,000 AV professionals (from manufacturers to end users and everything in between) descending on the Dutch Capital. “It’s gonna be bigger and better than ever before,” beamed the show’s MD and founder, Mike Blackman, in an all too familiar pre-show message. “I know I make the same claim every year, but it’s true. It always is. This will be its biggest ever.” Now in its 16th instalment (15 of which have been at the RAI), demand for the show – both exhibiting and visiting – continues to grow at a privileged pace. VALUE Making its penultimate appearance at Amsterdam’s RAI before heading to Barcelona in 2021, the four-day show will be home to more than 1,300 exhibitors – up on 1,296 in 2018, and from 120 when it first debuted in Geneva in 2004. Of the 81,000 visitors in 2018 (20,000 of which were exhibitor personnel), 20,000 were attending for the first time, whilst more than 10,000 were end users – all figures are expected to rise again for the 2019 edition. But size is simply circumstantial of the value the show creates – something Blackman and his team

work hard to ensure ISE remains a pivotal event, leaving a meaningful and lasting impression on all those that attend. “We’ve been very fortunate that ISE has become a date in the calendar and the stage for many of the world’s leading manufacturers to unveil their latest products," said Blackman. "If you’re in the channel and want to keep up-to-date, then ISE is absolutely the place to see what’s happening, what’s new in the market and what’s coming.” GLOBAL APPEAL And it’s not just AV professionals in Europe making the trip. “Last year, I met a lot of US-based integrators at the show and asked them what they’re doing here,” Blackman continued. “They explained that because business is moving so fast, they need to be at InfoComm in June and at ISE in February to keep themselves ahead of the market. “For end users, they need to understand what’s happening in the marketplace and its potential. They should be buying rather than being sold to. The best way to be a competent buyer is to get informed about what’s possible.” SEEING IS BELIEVING Visiting exhibitor stands, whilst crucial and hugely beneficial, is of course not the only role of ISE or a dominant factor in what brings visitors to the show.

10 www.avtechnologyeurope.com


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RAI Amsterdam Europaplein 2-22 1078 GZ Amsterdam The Netherlands

OPENING HOURS Tuesday, 5 February 10:00 – 18:00 hrs Wednesday, 6 February 09:30 – 18:00 hrs Thursday, 7 February 09:30 – 18:00 hrs For ISE (for those new to the show) provides significant opportunities for AV professionals to expand their own knowledge and indeed their imagination on how AV solutions can be deployed and the benefits they can provide. As is standard for a trade show, this is typically provided through either the manufacturers directly, or (for a more independent view), from organised events from ISE itself. “The exhibition is like a magazine in that it has two parts,” explained Blackman. “There is editorial content and advertising. For us, the exhibitors are the advertisers. They create content and provide information within that, but obviously, most of that is biased toward their own products and solutions. “For ISE, as the organisers, we have an obligation to provide neutral content and to be the place where they – the AV professionals – are able inform themselves and then go out and learn more as they go around.” CONFERENCES Throughout the week, ISE has organised a host of full-day and half-day conferences designed to appeal and to “inspire” attendees, enabling them to learn from the experts and bring back ideas that can be applied into their own business. These conferences, explained Blackman, are aimed at addressing developments in fast-moving

January/February 2019


sectors. Examples include the Smart Building Conference (Feb 4), XR Summit (AR, VR, Mixed Reality – Feb 5), Digital Signage Summit (Feb 5), Digital Cinema Summit (6 Feb, see page 14) and many more. “I’d really advise participation in the conferences,” encouraged Blackman. “We’ve some fantastic speakers in all of the conferences and we’ve been very careful to bring in people that are neutral about what and how they are presenting and ensuring that what they discuss is relevant and informative.” SPACE Conferences this year will be hosted both in and outside of the RAI, with the nearby (seven minute


Friday, 8 February 09:30 – 16:00 hrs

ADMISSION Registration is only available online.

Up to 4 February: EUR 119.83 + VAT =EUR 145 (Ticket valid for all four show days) From 5 February onwards: EUR 144.62 + VAT = EUR 175 (Ticket valid for all four show days)

Audio and Live events Digital signage and DOOM Education Residential solutions Smart building Unified Communications


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For smarter meetings, meet Sharp

Join us at ISE 2019 for the launch of Sharp’s Windows Collaboration Display in partnership with Microsoft. Experience how this next generation 4K 70” interactive display makes teamwork simpler and more effective and meetings much smarter.

Find us at ISE 2019 in Hall 12, Stand E100

It combines Sharp’s advanced touchscreen technology with the best Microsoft 365 collaboration tools, as well as a built-in microphone, 4K camera and ‘plug and play’ cable. It also has in-built room sensors that connect to the Microsoft Azure Digital Twins IoT platform to help create a smart workspace.

Visit sharp.co.uk/ise2019 to receive your complimentary ticket to ISE 2019. You can also book an appointment with us to discuss your particular needs. We look forward to seeing you there.

In addition, we’ll be showing our stunning 8K camera, along with a range of interactive and professional display solutions for smart signage, classrooms, training and much more.

at the RAI, Amsterdam from 5-8 February 2019


walk by our watch) Hotel Okura, playing host and providing an extension to the RAI. A shuttle bus is also available for those that require it (or those that are feeling lazy). Space, as often debated when discussing ISE, has been in short supply as a result of the show’s growth in recent years – forcing its hand in making a move to larger premises, the Gran Via in Barcelona in 2021 (industry reaction, page 16). However, the RAI has grown since the 2018 edition, with Hall 5 being extended, increasing its capacity by 30 per cent. Blackman noted in a previous interview how ISE has been forced to turn down new business (new exhibitors) due to a lack of space and even inform existing exhibitors that room was no longer available, due to other exhibitors taking up the option of increasing the size of their own stands. However, the expansion of Hall 5, which will be a temporary fix for 2019 and a permanent one for 2020 – has ensured all those on the waiting list will be present at the show. “One of the well documented issues is that we have been running out of space, but we have found ways to actually extend the building," explained Blackman. "We have some new exhibitors for 2019 and you’ll really see a lot of new things from them. The extension of the building (Hall 5) has given us the additional space we needed for now, which has helped us manage the waiting list, so we have added another 50-60 exhibitors in there. This satisfies our customers and adds an even wider choice for those in attendance, so it’s a win-win.” He continued: “Another thing that we’ve done to extend things and make the ISE experience more comfortable, is include the Okura Hotel, which has allowed us to extend the conference programme. We have been getting increasing demand from our exhibitors to bring more and more vertical markets to the show, so, we’ve created some additional conference facilities over at the Okura and everyday we’ll be running half day conferences, two of which will be making their debut at the show – the Digital Cinema Summit and the Hospitality Technology Next Generation (page 15). The growth will continue as exhibitor numbers expected to rise in 2020, whilst visitor numbers tip towards 90,000. “You will see a slightly bigger show in 2020," added Blackman. "Where we have our concerns is the ever-growing audience. We’re an industry that’s reaching out into so many sectors now.

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“ISE is not just an exhibition, it’s an event" AND NOW FOR SOMETHING COMPLETELY DIFFERENT The closing keynote of ISE 2019 on Friday 8 (12:00) will be Tupac Martir, “the visual artist and creative director behind some of the most important events in the world” according to Vogue. Martir is the founder of Satore Studio, a London-based multidisciplinary design and creative production group with clients as wide-ranging as BMW, Ralph Lauren, Elton John, Beyoncé and the British Museum. He describes himself as “someone who’s very ‘techie’, someone who’s very artsy, someone that’s trying to play with new technologies on a regular basis.” In his presentation he will explain and demonstrate how the Satore Studio team uses technology to create unforgettable live events – such as the Closing Keynote at a major international AV trade show! Blackman commented: “He’s a very interesting character and has been creating live entertainment technology, working with the likes of Beyonce, really high level fashion shows and uses AV technology to create those experiences. He’s very artistic and extremely creative. He’s promising us a more interactive keynote. I don’t think he’s simply going to stand up on stage and talk. He’s going to involve the audience and if he’s able to do what he’s trying to achieve out of this, I think you’ll be seeing an entirely different type of keynote."


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We’re touching every mode of working, every mode of life and living and more and more people are interested and wondering how will this affect me? Will this affect me? How can I prepare for it? How can I take my business forward?”

TRANSFORMING THE CINEMA EXPERIENCE THROUGH AV Making its debut at ISE 2019 will be the first Digital Cinema Summit. The half day event (Feb 6), subtitled ‘Transforming the Moviegoing Experience’ will explore how digital technology has revolutionised how movies are produced, viewed and distributed – and also the opportunities that XR is creating for the next generation of moviegoers. It takes place at the Hotel Okura and has been created following growing demand from the industry to discuss and showcase various AV technologies which are helping to enhance the moviegoing experience. “We were approached last year from a few manufacturers that have participated in different vertical shows for cinema around the world, but felt most were dominated by the seat manufacturers and the popcorn machines and so on,” said Blackman. “They wanted to have more of a forum to push the technology side and asked us if we could help them with that. “So, not only are we targeting the integrators who we know are heading to ISE and are involved in the cinema market, we’re also trying to get the owners and the IT people who are responsible for putting equipment in the theatres, but also the lobby areas, such as digital signages and other promotional areas. We’re trying to cover all aspects of the technology in the cinema market.” Nick Dager, editor and publisher of the website Digital Cinema Report and moderating the event, added: “One of the most exciting things happening in technology today is the transformation of movie theatres around the world. Too many people assume that the decade-long transition from film to digital projection was the end of something. In fact, thanks to ongoing developments in all kinds of technology, this is just the beginning. Local movie houses everywhere are evolving into entertainment centres designed to serve the specific needs of their unique communities.” The Digital Cinema Summit begins at 14:00 on Wednesday 6 February in the Hotel Okura. Register at https://digitalcinemasummit.org/

WE’RE HERE ALL WEEK Blackman and his team have also been working hard to help encourage people to stay for the entire duration of the show, rather than just a few days. He notes that the show is at its busiest on the opening Tuesday and Wednesday, with Thursday and Friday typically quieter with many people heading home. This, he explains, is historically down to many of the headline aspects of the show, such as main keynotes, conferences, training and launches being crammed in at the beginning. This year however, there will be a more staggered approach with events taking place all week, with a closing keynote taking place on the Friday afternoon to encoure a longer stay. The move, he says, will make for a far more pleasant and informative experience for many. “When we first started out, we put all the really exciting things at the beginning," said Blackman."So, what often happens is manufacturers show a lot of new things at the beginning of the show, and everyone wants to be there when the new ideas are being presented. That means that the show is very crowded on those first few days. But we’ve learnt to spread them out and help to expand the experience.What we are saying is that it’s all going to still be there on the Thursday and Friday and you’re going to get a lot more attention from the exhibitors and much more time from them on those days because they will be able to dedicate more time. On top of that we’re doing a lot more on those days. The reality is, ISE is so big that you need more than four days to get around and see all the different things you want to see, but this will help.” GETTING AROUND Blackman also revealed ISE is once again exploring opportunities to help improve the experience (and safety) of visitors when getting around the RAI – which for many can be confusing. This year, improvements have been made to its official ISE app in helping people find where they need to go, whilst some areas have been made one-way to avoid bottlenecking and subsequent overcrowding. Continues, page 16

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KEYNOTES WITH A DIFFERENCE ISE has been researching and investing heavily to ensure the show kicks off and ends with two influential and insightful keynotes. The opening keynote at this year’s show (taking place ahead of the official opening on Monday, Feb 4) will be master projection designer, Bart Kresa. With industry experiencing spanning more than two decades, Kresa is a globally recognised expert in themed entertained (amusement parks, sporting events, or musical festivals) primarily through the use of light, story and design. His CV makes for impressive reading, having working with a number of high profile clients including Universal Studios, Disney, ABC, HBO, Fox, General Motors, Warner Bros, The Grammy Awards, Playboy, Bulgari, and T-Mobile. Kicking off at 18:00 in the forum at the RAI, Kresa will discuss his work, the industry and the possibilities available. Kresa will also be showcasing recent projection mapping work outside the RAI Amsterdam. “When design innovation catches up with the technology, the overall medium of projection mapping will achieve new heights,” commented Kresa.

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“The best way to be a competent buyer is to get informed about what’s possible” AV DESIGN: IF YOU BUILD IT, YOU SHOULD COME ISE is continuing with its efforts to attract builders, architects and designers to the show by providing more “valuable” and “meaningful” content for them to consume. This year, ISE is introducing the new Hospitality Tech Summit - a day-long event that forms part of the ‘ISE at the Okura’ programme. The professional AV industry worldwide generated $178 billion in 2016. Through 2022, it is expected that global AV revenues will increase 4.7 percent annually, creating an additional $52 billion in value. Hospitality is forecast to make up a sizeable chunk of that growth, as companies look to leverage technology (and IT) to deliver new and innovative experiences for hotel and resort guests. Taking place on Thursday February 7, the event is being held in conjunction with Hospitality Technology Next Generation (HTNG), a global trade association dedicated to moving business forward through technology in the hospitality industry. It will cover a series of subjects and discussions, helping to educate those in attendance on the latest trends (including AV installations), arrival experiences amongst others, plus opportunities to network and connect with others in Europe to share and discuss their own deployments. The HTNG has teamed up with ISE, having previously held its own events in Amsterdam. “We’ve been trying for a long time to get the people who build and design hotels to come along to ISE,” said Blackman. “More and more hotels are absorbing technology and it’s gone far beyond simply offering in room movies. Today, you will find that a lot of modern hotels offer things like room control for heating, lighting, blinds, all the way down to how they manage and sell their meeting facilities and the technology they use inside those meeting facilities. “There’s a good match with the HTNG and will absolutely provide some great value to those working in this space.”


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Continued from page 14: “We hope the app really helps people getting around much more efficiently. However, I do recommend to everybody to take a floor map around with them. We have the show guides and a floor plan and the app."It can be difficult to navigate ISE without those, and they will help make that journey more efficient. For the next two years, we’re trying to do as much as we can to ease the issues and make the experience more enjoyable." MORE THAN JUST A SHOW Above all however, whilst gaining knowledge, insight, training and the likes are all key to making ISE a destination for the industry , Blackman insists its appeal extends far beyond the walls of the RAI. “Above all, we want you to come and enjoy the show,” said Blackman wrapping up. “There are a lot of social activities going on. ISE is not just an exhibition, it’s an event. There are a lot of things happening all around the show. The show floor is the conferences, the seminars, the training and education. It’s the parties, the meetings and the networking on and off site all around Amsterdam and the show. Come and join the party – we look forward to seeing you.”

MORE FUN AT THE FAIR Returning to ISE after a successful debut in 2018, AttractionsTECH by blooloop (an online resource for professionals working in the visitor attractions sector) is a half-day conference dedicated to exploring ways AV technology is being used to transform the user experience in the theme park and attractions sector (museums, water parks, zoos and cultural and heritage attractions, etc). Taking place at the Okura Hotel, the four hour event will look at some of the latest technologies, solutions and business strategies for the sector, with the aim of raising visitor numbers, visit duration and profitability Attendees will gain insight from leading operators, discussing the evolutions being seen today and what to expect in the future in the sector. They will also hear a series of case studies from the leading companies in these fields. AttractionsTECH by blooloop takes place on Friday 8 February at 09:00-13:00.



AV INDUSTRY GIVES ITS FULL SUPPORT TO BARCELONA 2021 MOVE ISE’s decision to leave Amsterdam for Barcelona in 2021 has been universally backed by its exhibitors, according to Blackman. Following the announcement last year, AVTE spoke to numerous personnel within the industry - a number of which raised a few concerns that the initial show(s) could see a downturn in attendance numbers from exhibitors and visitors due to its location. However, Blackman insists he and ISE hold no such fears, with exhibitors excited about the prospect of widening their own reach and meeting new customers as a result of the move. “We’ve had nothing but positive comments from exhibitors about the move because they recognise and understand the necessity," said Blackman. “Yes they will need to change their planning and there are a lot of exhibitors that are based in the central European market around Holland and Belgium who will have a longer journey for their equipment. But they accept that and they appreciate they’ve been spoilt with such a short journey before, but know they will have the opportunity to meet new customers. We’re all now doing international business and this will provide some new opportunities." He concluded: “It’s all been very positive and everyone sees the potential on what we can achieve by taking it to a new facility. We're all excited about the opportunities ahead."


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Behind every successful company is a successful and talented workforce. Attracting and retaining the best and most talented individuals is paramount not only to businesses like yours, but the industry as a whole. ISE and CEDIA are playing a valuable role in ensuring the next generation of talent choose a career in AV, with its ISE Future AV Professionals Programme, which returns to ISE 2019. The now established programme is providing an opportunity for up to 200 students – typically those in their late teens to early twenties – to gain a greater understanding and insight of the AV industry and a greater knowledge of the types of jobs available as part of a potential career. The ISE Future AV Professionals Programme, includes an opportunity to meet with companies sponsoring the event, as well as young AV professionals now working and well established in the industry. Throughout the day, they will have the opportuity to network with others, be given a guided tour of the event and specific exhibitors and to ask questions. The Future AV Professionals Programme takes place on Thursday 7 February.

Targeted at technical professionals and the end user community, the 2019 AudioForum is aimed at anyone that's interested in knowing more about the latest audio technologies, sound design and acoustical comfort. This year’s instalment, which is produced by long-standing ISE partner Connessioni and in collaboration with the Audio Engineering Society, will investigate the concept of sound environments and settings – exploring the relationship between quality sound propagation, architectural and environmental acoustics, the listening experience, acoustic wellbeing and related psychological implications. The event takes place from 10:00 on Monday 4 February in Room F002 at the RAI Amsterdam and will feature a number of special guest speakers. These include Donato Masci, an Acoustic Designer with Studio Sound Service, who will discuss ‘Sound broadcasting, acoustics, environmental and listening comfort’. Finally, Alfonso Belfiore will talk about ‘The perception of sound; from the physiology of the auditory system to psychological variables’.

ENHANCING THE FAN EXPERIENCE The role of AV technology in sporting venues is impossible to ignore. Whether it’s a a basic tannoy system at your local team, to a state of the art fully immersed experience in some of the world’s leading and most advanced stadiums on the planet – AV plays an increasingly leading role in the experience Presented by MONDO | STADIA, AGORA is a brand new conference for ISE, offering sporting venue managers and event organisers the chance to network and learn more about the latest and greatest sporting venue technologies. Through a series of panel discussions and keynote speakers, attendees will hear case studies showcasing projects focusing on the fan experience, creating a new and future proof stadium infrastructure, through to the planning of ceremonies and events, AGORA is designed to provide valuable insight to help increase knowledge and performance for stadium and venue projects. AVIXA’s Sean Wargo is amongst the guests and will provide market intelligence on the sporting venue sector. AGORA will be held on Thursday 7 February from 10:30-16:00 in Room E102. For more details and tickets go to www.mondostadia-agora.com

January/February 2019


Key Topics Include • Production, dissemination and perception of sound • Sound environments and settings • Design, control and management of sound propagation for acoustic and environmental comfort • Sound, experience, memory For more information and to guarantee your place, book your tickets through www.connessioni.biz

“I know I say it every year that it’s going to be bigger and better, but it always is”


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DM NVX™. The only network AV solution now with Pixel Perfect Processing for a perfect picture every time. Crestron.com/NVX

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VISIT US AT ISE, HALL 2, STAND C20 All brand names, product names, and trademarks are the property of their respective owners. Certain trademarks, registered trademarks, and trade names may be used in this document to refer to either the entities claiming the marks and names or their products. Crestron disclaims any proprietary interest in the marks and names of others. Crestron is not responsible for errors in typography or photography. Š2019 Crestron Electronics, Inc.


ISE: Is it Really Worth the Time and Money? End users have their say on what it is about ISE that keeps them coming back for more...


ith 1,300 exhibitors, 15 halls and more than 80,000 people (often zombie-like in speed) to manoeuvre around, getting the most out of ISE is not without its challenges. As the show’s founder Mike Blackman noted in the previous article, the ability to see and experience everything the show has to offer in just a few days – or even all four – is nigh on impossible. Attending takes careful almost militant-like planning, not to mention discipline and a very comfy pair of shoes.

But with so many AV trade shows taking place both locally and internationally, plus many of the AV manufacturers exhibiting at the show having a regional presence (direct or indirect), does ISE really justify the expenditure (flights, hotels, taxis, waffles, drinks), plus up to a week out of the office? Is there an argument that you just as easily sit comfortably in the office and check the AV newswires? To find out more, AVTE spoke to some ISE regulars, to discuss the value they get from attending the show.

OUR ESTEEMED PANEL INCLUDES: Chris Power (CP) Chairman, AV Cultural Forum (AVCF)

Douglas McLeod (DM) Graeme Massey (GM) Learning Spaces JacobsMassey Ltd, Product Engineer, Managing Director UoD IT, University of Dundee

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Jon Sheldon (JS) National Gallery, Audio Visual Production Manager

Julie Berry (JB) University of Huddersfield, IT Technician (Audio Visual)

James Thompson (JT) Liam Helm (LH) University of Kent The Royal Society – AV Services Manager – Project Manager (Templeman library refurbishment)


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Hi everyone. Let’s start with how many times have you all attended ISE? CP: Eight times and counting DM: 2019 will be my fifth time at the show in the last six-years. GM: Every year since the show began in Geneva! JS: Twice, the last two years JB: I have been three times, once with SCHOMS and twice with an integrator. LH: Seven or eight times now JT: This will be my second visit.

“My jaw dropped the first time I went. The scale was epic. It just keeps getting bigger and bigger!”

the AVCF as it builds in its third year. There’s no better place to network. DM: My role is to design and develop our Learning and Teaching Spaces at University of Dundee. I couldn’t really do my job properly if I didn’t attend to catch up on the latest technologies and market trends. GM: For me, it’s networking with clients and reviewing the latest AV technology on the market. JB: Many companies launch new products at ISE, so in my opinion if you want to see the ‘latest and greatest’ then you need to attend. It’s also great to see the new technologies, so you can start thinking about how they can be used back in the workplace before they become mainstream. It really is great opportunity to keep ahead of the game. JT: Specific requirements for Audio-Visual solutions for the Templeman library, the opportunity to network with a vast range of colleagues, suppliers, and manufacturers, and the ability to track the direction of the industry and search for innovative new solutions.

Has attending ISE ever had a direct impact on your buying decisions? How does ISE compare with other AV trade shows around the world?

Douglas McLeod (top) and Graeme Massey

CP: My jaw dropped the first time I went. The scale was epic. It just keeps getting bigger DM: It is massive and has continued to grow year on year since I first attended in 2013. GM: It’s the most informative trade show that exists, no question. JS: So much bigger, so many more companies offering a much wider range of products. JB: If you go to ISE you don’t need to go to any other trade show. I have been to a few over the years, such as BETT and basically everything that you see there you can see at ISE plus many other things that you didn’t know you wanted to see. LH: Obviously it’s larger than any other AV trade show. It’s more of an annual event, something you plan around. I usually stay on in Amsterdam for a few days and visit friends. JT: The scale and scope of exhibitors far exceeds any other European AV trade show.

What is it about the show that keeps bringing you back? CP: I have made many personal connections. These were very useful in advising me at the British Museum. Many are now friends and are involved in supporting

DM: Absolutely. A couple of years ago we saw the latest Epson Laser Projector range to be released. We were developing a new Lecture Theatre in our Medical School and were one of the first Universities in the UK to deploy these. At the 2018 show the WolfVision Cynap Collaboration Solution caught our eye. We have subsequently used this technology in two spaces and just placed an order for a third. JS: I’ve seen things on display that I certainly wouldn’t purchase, you’d expect a company going to all the trouble of having a big stand with, for example a projection spectacle, would make sure it was top notch. Sometimes the big set-ups reveal things you might not notice elsewhere. You also get to see the good stuff up close too, so when a product is really good it shows against the rest despite the retina burn. JB: Yes we have gone out there with a few things in mind that we would like to look at. It’s great to go there with an idea in mind of what you want to achieve and then look to see what the best option is. LH: Yes, absolutely. A couple of years ago I was looking for a portable solution to connect VC calls off a laptop to a camera system via HD SDI and a theatre sound system. AJA had a product but it was never in stock – I saw the Blackmagic Design Web Presenter at ISE and bought two on my return. This year I replaced our main theatre’s UHF mics with Speechline after speaking to Sennheiser at ISE. I plan to purchase Shure’s MXCW conference mic system in the new year which I first saw at ISE this January.

20 www.avtechnologyeurope.com


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JT: We have included systems that we have seen on tenders for digital signage and classroom solutions.

Any other stand out examples? JS: During my first visit I found an ideal, if a little over specified, product for an exhibition. I had been unable to find a suitable solution and after making many inquiries around the show I was starting to think there was a gap in the market for a dedicated bit of hardware, like a media player, but specifically for multi-channel audio. With 30mins to spare, I was directed to the Timax stand and got talking to Dave Haydon before I had to leave and get my train home. A great relationship was born. JB: We wanted a lectern with a built-in mic and speaker for ad-hoc gatherings. After looking at a few options we decided on the Denon Active Lectern which has been used a number of times rather than setting up the portable PA system. We also saw the Xenon speaker/light system which is a great way to draw people into events. This was something that we didn’t know we wanted until we saw it and it has been very popular. You can customise

January/February 2019


covers for different events. We are now waiting for them to add a battery pack so we can have a few dotted out outside for open days and other events.

What value does being able to see and speak to other manufacturers directly bring as opposed to relying on, say, an integrator partner or reading things in the press? CP: I favour doing research first and then meeting someone face to face and building a relationship. DM: It’s a mixture really, we have a very good relationship with our integrator, Streamtec Ltd and value their input into the design phase of our projects. However, being able to make contact with so many key manufacturers over the week is invaluable, as they always launch new products or share key information at this time. GM: The immediacy of information relating to product innovation and being able to get immediate answers. JS: The opportunity to ask first hand the specific questions to the product experts, without an email thread or support request. You might have a product in


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mind but then discover it’s not entirely suitable. They can recommend another model there and then. JB: Its good to be able to do all of them. ISE is so big that you’ll never see everything so you still need your integrator to find new technologies for you. Having said that, at ISE you get to have a look at lots of different things, some of which your integrator hasn’t seen yet and some that you didn’t know you wanted. Seeing lots of different vendors selling similar products allows you to compare their wares without having lots of sales visits to your place of work. But be prepared to be bombarded by emails afterward. LH: I don’t have a lot of time to read all the emails I receive about new products, so ISE is where I focus on speaking to the manufacturers whose products have looked interesting or that I’ve heard about.

What are you most looking forward to at this year’s show? Julie Berry (top) and Liam Helm

CP: I am interested in the way AV and IT interact as a trend as it continually affects everything my members face day to day. As I’ve often said in my meetings with AVCF members ‘IT technology is a good slave but a bad master’. But that is always been the case in my opinion. IT and AV should heed this. DM: I don’t just enjoy visiting the stands, there is added value to be had by attending some of the seminars and workshops that are laid on. I intend to go to both the AVIXA/SCHOMS Higher Education Conference and the AVIXA/AV User Group Enterprise Conference on the Tuesday and Wednesday afternoons. GM: Being able to meet our clients. Feels like the entire industry has moved to Amsterdam during ISE. JS: Seeing if everyone has moved on from 4K DCI 4:4:4 @60Hz over IP yet! JB: Holographic images. There were a few dotted around last year and I think there will be more this year. I’m looking forward to seeing how they have come on in the last year. LH: Spending two days at the show, so I don’t have to cram it all into one day.

“It feels like the entire industry has moved to Amsterdam, during ISE”

JT: Seeing the latest in collaborative AV solutions, digital wayfinding, wireless presentation solutions, and fully integrated systems. Reaffirming my understanding of the direction the industry is heading.

What advice would you give to people thinking about attending or who are attending for the first time? CP: Book meetings early and prioritise. Find a good place to sit down from time to time. It’s exhausting. GM: Plan your visit! Make sure you identify which companies you wish to visit and then timetable when to do so and where within the show. JS: If you see something that catches your eye while passing by, stop and look at it, you might never return to the same spot again. DM: Your first half day there will pass and you will think I haven’t done anything yet! If there are key things you need to see plan them out. It is also useful to arrange appointments in advance if there is an opportunity to do so. Stands can be very busy, but your account holder will set time aside for you, if you have plan ahead. JB: Imagine you are about to climb Snowden – you’ll feel like that’s what you’ve done by the end of the day. LH: Wear layers, it can get very warm. Be prepared to queue a long time for the cloakroom. JT: Be aware of the size of the event, have clear objectives about what and who you want to see, spend at least a day focused on your aimed for manufacturers and suppliers.

What’s the best thing about the show? CP: Socialising with others. For me, it’s where the real stuff gets done. DM: Networking is a key part of the experience for me and I enjoy catching up with other AV end users. I like going around with colleagues from other universities as we can often bounce ideas off each other and get a different perspective on things. GM: For us, it’s definitely being able to network with clients, candidates, and freelancers. JB: It’s awesome! There are some really spectacular stalls, particularly from the big vendors. And watch some of the shows. Last year Panasonic put on a great show and this year’s looks to be even better. LH: For me it’s the social angle, going with the fine people of the AVCF and meeting people who I know from the manufacturer side. JT: The range of exhibitors available in one place, and the chance to see many different solutions in action.

22 www.avtechnologyeurope.com


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JULIE BERRY’S ISE SURVIVAL GUIDE • Wear comfy shoes – your feet will be killing you by the end of the day so why make matters worse by trying to look smart/fashionable? • Have a good breakfast before you go. The queues for food can be long at lunchtime. Or take some sandwiches and a drink or two with you if you can • Get lost! You’ll be amazed what you find when you do

• Don’t get carried away with the free-flowing booze on an evening. A day at ISE with a hangover is not something to repeat. Or take plenty of hangover cures with you • Don’t forget what you have gone out there to look at. Make a plan of the stalls you want to visit before you go and stick to it. Do them on the first day if you can and then spend the rest of the time looking at new things

“Book meetings early and prioritise. Find a good place to sit down from time to time. It’s exhausting!”

THE VERDICT ON BARCELONA, 2021? CP: I love Amsterdam. But Barcelona is a great town too. We’ll get used to it. DM: Mixed really. The show cannot continue to grow in its current location and it is already difficult trying to navigate around. When you visit a City for an event year on year you grow to enjoy returning and get used to finding your way around. I am sure that if the first show in Barcelona is successful the transition will be enjoyable. GM: I think it is a great idea by allowing further expansion whilst keeping the show fresh by adding a new location. JS: May cost more to get there, will need to see if I’ll be able to attend or not. Will there be more sun? JB: I’m looking forward to it! I love Amsterdam but I love Barcelona even more. It will be good for it to be a little bit warmer too LH: I’m excited by the move. I haven’t been to Barcelona since the ‘90s. Hopefully, it’ll be a bit warmer too. JT: As long as the temperature can be managed!

January/February 2019



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January/February 2019

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The Impact Of Audiovisual Technology In Stadia The latest market report from AVIXA points to exciting times for the stadia and sports venue sector. For those wanting to gear up in readiness, Christopher Lavelle, senior director of development Europe for AVIXA, the Audiovisual and Integrated Experience Association, gives AVTE a heads-up on the trends and business opportunities ahead


ollowing the huge impact and success of VAR (video assistant referees) at the 2018 FIFA World Cup, the clubs of the English Premier League have agreed in principle to implement the technology for the 2019/20 season. This about-turn – it was not too long ago (just a few months) that the most watched league in the world was set against introducing VAR – is proof positive that clubs, broadcasters and administrators are serious about technology in sport and the benefits it delivers. Whether it is a viewer watching a live broadcast streamed from across the globe, or a supporter watching a replay of an incident inside a stadium, technology is now a key element to enhancing the fan experience. While live broadcasts and replays have their place, many fans enjoy the on-pitch drama and off-pitch experience that comes with being present in the stadium. While it might be assumed that it

‘Everyone is trying to attract a younger fan base. One way to appeal to this demographic is by having screens in a stadium as younger fans expect it’



is just traditional diehard supporters in attendance, research paints a more interesting and progressive picture: Stadium occupancy is at record levels*; more females are in attendance; crowds are increasingly more diverse; and fans are getting younger. During an AVIXA-hosted roundtable discussion at the recent ALSD International Conference in London, Lisa Knights, group head of communications at Ashton Gate Stadium in Bristol, drew the link between these trends and the consumer expectations that are important for driving fan engagement for stadia: “Everyone is trying to attract a younger fan base” she says, and one way to appeal to this demographic is by having screens in a stadium as younger fans expect it. Knights also pointed out that large displays didn’t detract from the experience on the pitch (as might be expected) but in fact, having everyone focused on a display at the same time, “adds to the collective live experience.” Another panellist, Craig Flindall chief operating officer at Warwickshire County Cricket Club, discussed how the advantages of audiovisual technology are also being recognised in a sport as traditional and conservative as cricket. He pointed out that over the last eight to ten years, the sport has begun to develop a real focus around guest experience and that audiovisual technology is absolutely integral to this change. Previously, Flindall said, other leaders in the sport insisted they didn’t want to embrace the technology, preferring to make the sport itself the centre of the experience.


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But for Flindall, especially with the long dwell times that cricket offers (up to five days, in the case of a Test Match), that moment has passed. With younger generations and their expectations of technology, “We’ve got to use that [technology] to enhance the sport and experience and make it the best that it can be,” he said. An enhanced in-stadium experience, as well as having to compete with other sports venues and fans’ ever-advancing home entertainment systems, is driving sports venue executives to invest in audiovisual solutions at previously unprecedented levels. According to AVIXA’s newly released 2018 Market Opportunity Analysis Report (MOAR) focused on sports venues, the sector is expected to produce $27.7 billion in pro-AV revenue in 2018 worldwide and grow at a healthy rate in the next five years. The report also investigates the opportunities and challenges for providers of pro-AV solutions and technologies in this space. For anyone in the audiovisual business, “this is a market to watch,” says Sean Wargo, senior director of market intelligence at AVIXA. He goes on to add, “It’s an exciting space for AV providers to work in: stadium executives are determined to bring the wow factor to outdo other stadiums, so they are motivated to embrace advanced technologies like augmented reality, virtual reality, and interactive displays.” While this is exciting, it’s also worth noting that “investments in standard AV technologies, such as lighting, audio, and security and surveillance, take priority.” The report provides more detail about how the

January/February 2019


competition from the at-home viewing experience is driving audiovisual innovation in venues because fans want an electrifying atmosphere, with the entertainment beginning even before they’ve passed through the gates. Basically, fans don’t want to miss any action when they leave their seats for refreshments. These expectations are being met with innovative audiovisual technology, and venue executives are exploring the cutting edge of technology to further enhance their space. For example, as Peter Hansen, AVIXA economics analyst, notes, “Nearly 100 percent of venue executives surveyed plan to upgrade their audio equipment in the next 12 months.” These investments are intended to ensure fans can hear announcers during the game, which, according to the MOAR report, fans listed as its most important audiovisual role. Further, video displays and video projection are the next most popular audiovisual purchases, and finally the report indicates that investments in digital signage will increase the most significantly over the next year. These trends mark out the stadia and sports venue market as an exciting and vibrant sector, and between market expansion, unmet needs, and the proportion of end users utilising competitive RFPs (requests for proposals) to find new suppliers, there is plenty of room for smart, well-informed companies to thrive in this space.

Fans remain entertained and in touch with the action

Premier League Season Review 2014/15, p18-19


To learn more about AVIXA’s MOAR report on sports venues, visit: https://www.avixa.org/


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Making an Experience: The Fan’s Journey One of Wembley Stadium’s two giant 8.15 meters high (26.5 feet) by 23.88 meters wide (78 feet) displays (Daktronics) which help add to the entertinemnt during live sporting events


here is nothing quite like the excitement of going to a game. From climbing onto trains and buses full of fans wearing your team’s colours, to spilling out into a nearby pub for an optimistic pint or two before the walk through the normally quiet streets to your beloved stadium. The anticipation and tension of the journey to your seat in the stadium is exhilarating, and it is all part of the experience. In the world of AV, that experience is being enhanced to make the fan feel even more part of their team, and to bring the brands that support that team to life. APPROACHING THE STADIUM Walking towards the stadium, the fan can see the home of their beloved team. This is where lighting



and audio can begin to raise the bar. On how stadiums are using technology to enhance the fan’s first impressions of an event, club or brand, infiLED EM’s co-founder and managing director, Ben Da Costa, notes that with a rapidly evolving offering, stadiums are utilising new and exciting technology to deliver an all-encompassing experience to fans. “Stadiums around the world have become fully ‘connected’ in the last decade, with a shift in fan engagement that allows marketers to be much more creative when it comes to activations or branding exercises,” Da Costa says. “As they say, first impressions count, and for a club or brand, it’s vital to capture the target audience at a match or game even on the approach to the venue. Simple and effective, large scale displays and screens have always been a valuable method of providing eye-catching content to the masses. Sports teams


25/01/2019 16:33


and sponsors alike continue to expend these valuable assets to increase brand exposure, advertisement of coming events, and club sponsors to thousands, and even millions of fans.” Stadiums are using AV technology to enhance the fan’s first impressions of events, clubs and brands. Says Daniel Gray, marketing officer at adi.tv: “Increasingly, I think we’re starting to see a shift in the way clubs and stadiums think about how they use their venues to create an impression. Clubs and venues have really started to think about what it means to deliver excellent fan experience, long before supporters enter the stadium, and display technology, in particular, plays a big part in bringing that to life. “We see this with the proliferation of external displays and fan zones, with the latter really designed to give fans the opportunity to come together before the game. Display technology is an enabler that can help clubs create compelling experience zones,” Gray adds. On the approach to stadiums, Iain Gregory, director for solutions and marketing, large venue, at Harman Professional Solutions, says the integration of audio, video, lighting and control systems is allowing each technology to play a supporting role in the creation of a powerful and emotive fan experience. “The first impression often occurs when the fan approaches the venue, long before the game starts. Architectural lighting can be used to accent architectural features, wash surfaces with colour or project graphics. “With a simple preset recall, the look of the venue can be customised to suit particular teams, holidays, organisations or countries,” Gregory goes on. “Projection can also be used to display logos, shapes or patterns on large surfaces. LED dots, strips and grids can be arranged on the exterior of a building and used as pixels in a giant canvas, where event-specific video content can be run on a media façade. Exterior loudspeakers can be used to augment video content, play music or provide promotional information.” At Queen Elizabeth Park in London, Daktronics installed a 1,128 square metre curved LED display above the entrance to the facility. It is one of the largest LED displays in Europe and it is tilted slightly towards the ground for better viewing as fans approach the venue. Meanwhile, the US Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, Minnesota, went in a different direction with a curved sail display from Daktronics in front of the building on the Legacy Ship feature. This is a direct connection to the Minnesota Vikings, the venue’s main tenant. It is a

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feature that fans interact with by posing for pictures before and after events and also brings immediate branding to the event. Adi.tv provides a whole range of display solutions for the NFL in London, which are all designed to add value to the fan experience. From the street party that takes over central London days before game day, to the tailgate parties outside the stadium, adi.tv screens provide a platform to help entertain the crowds and provide a platform for brand activation. Comments Gray: “This is a huge area of focus for us, really because our customers are expressing demand. We provide permanent and temporary LED screens for fan zones in many sports, from Premier League and EFL clubs to Rugby Union and the recent European Championships. And when the NFL comes to London, they really show the UK how it’s done!” However, Gray adds that stadium owners need to think more about what they are putting on screens on the approach to a stadium. He explains: “Increasingly, we’re providing display solutions to enhance event experiences for fans before they enter the stadium. But those screens are pretty useless without compelling content. That’s where I think we bring a lot of value because, as well as being able to offer a huge array of display solutions, we have a whole production department whose job it is to create great content. “Taking Premier League team Everton as an example, we provide five or six content channels for the club, which are all delivered by our team of producers, directors and graphics operators remotely from our facility in Preston,” Gray continues. As fans arrive at the Everton stadium, Goodison Park, hours before kick off, Adi’s Fan Zone LED screens provide a focal point for the pre-match entertainment. The company mixes the screen output, taking local camera feeds into its remote gallery and pre-produced content that the team has filmed and edited earlier in the week. Gray goes on: “Display technology is certainly

“Stadiums around the world have become fully connected in the last decade, with a shift in fan engagement that allows marketers to be much more creative”


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Right: Let’s be AV-ing you! Norwich City FC’s Carrow Road Stadium has installed Europe’s first rotating digital display, allowing for different types of content to be show, whilst also spinning to ensure it’s visible to all fans

going to become increasingly prevalent in and around sports venues. But with more displays, more consideration needs to be given to the way in which that content is produced and delivered. Venues must think about the value their platforms offer fans and they need to get creative about the way they activate brand partnerships. Why go to the effort of installing new display technology only to stick a brand logo on it?” As to challenges associated with making the approach to a stadium interesting, Gregory states that location is key. “There is a trend to move sports facilities to downtown locations where guests can benefit from other infrastructure and transport options, but in a downtown location, the stadium may be competing on visual appeal with other architecture or illuminated structures. “Traffic noise may also impact audio quality and speech intelligibility from exterior loudspeakers. Any loudspeakers placed outside must be rated for outdoor usage so that exposure to the elements doesn’t result in degradation of appearance or audio,” Gregory points out. Adds Brent Stevens, professional sports sales manager at Daktronics: “Part of the challenge is

COMMERCIALISING PARTNERSHIPS BETWEEN CLUBS AND BRANDS In ‘Cavaliers Arcade’, fans of the Cleveland Cavaliers get to see Christie’s Pandoras Box used to create a Pong-style interactive video game, mapped onto the court. It’s a unique way to interact with fans and opens up sponsorship opportunities for the team. Using a combination of 3D mapping techniques and video content produced by the Cavaliers own QTV team and Christie Pandoras Box, Quince Imaging transforms the Quicken Loans Arena basketball court into an immersive environment featuring a classic pong-style game with participants competing against each other from each end of the court. The Cavaliers Arcade, sponsored by various companies, sees participants come down to each end of the court to battle it out. For the full court, Ponginspired game that happens during a timeout, selected fans compete against one another using motion-tracking rackets to pass the virtual ball back and forth from one end of the court to the other. “We created something with the interactive gaming that fans haven’t seen before and are getting excited about,” said Eric Gazzillo, display designer at Quince Imaging. “Teams are always trying to develop additions to their menu of sponsorship opportunities: interactive court projection or games, for example, are a menu item that almost no one else has and that is going to be very attractive to sponsors.”



working with the existing or planned architecture of the building and its façade. The displays should be designed to fit within that architecture and to compliment the building rather than stick out like an afterthought that was added last minute.” Going forward, Stevens says dynamic wayfinding is an area that might see expansion for the display industry in the future. “An example we’ve seen is Texas A&M University in College Station, Texas. Outside their stadium, they installed LED street furniture displays to help fans with wayfinding and direct them to their seats, team stores and concession stands. They also provide the opportunity to share upcoming event information, branding and sponsorship messages throughout the week and during non-game days. “More and more entertainment districts are popping up around sports facilities. Bars, restaurants and retail are increasing the time the fans spend on site. Instead of showing up as the game starts, fans are now showing up well in advance and increasing the time they are engaging with the event or area,” he continues. ENTERING THE CONCOURSE Now inside the stadium, lighting and audio can be used to drench the fan in the sights and sounds of their team, as well as to really begin to bring branding to life. Through infiLED EM Australian partners VuePix, infiLED provided a fully customised digital sign in the shape of huge ‘AO’ for the 2017 Australian Open. This eye-catching feature on the concourse area of the venue was a multi-purpose screen, loaded with colourful designs and patterns, promoted the times and locations of matches, and also helped push the social media hashtags for the event. Adi.tv’s sister company, Eleven Sports Media, offers a StatZone concourse solution, which dynamically turns raw match data into compelling visual displays that help tell the story of the game. The network of displays, installed throughout the Premier League and EFL, offers a new branding platform for local and national brands to reach fans in the stadium. Meanwhile, Stevens comments: “At MercedesBenz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia, we’ve installed narrow pixel pitch displays in club spaces to help brand the events and give fans connection to the games while away from their seats. There is also the Feather Wall four millimetre display in the entryway to engage fans as they enter the stadium and transition from outside the venue to the internal experience.


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“At SAP Center, the San Jose Sharks are using their narrow pixel pitch displays in the concourses to connect with fans while away from their seats and engage with them throughout the venue,” continues Stevens. “They also have the flexibility to cater to each event held at the facility and sharing branding and sponsor messages in those areas surrounding the event itself. It’s become an all-encompassing approach to brand an entire event for SAP Center and their corporate partners.” On challenges of the concourse, Stevens says extra caution is taken to ensure content can be seen at close distances. “This is where we suggest employing narrow pixel pitch LED technology with pixel spacing of less than three millimetres. This technology provides more detailed and crisp imagery without the bevels common to stacked LCD screens to create a video wall. It adds an element of luxury and high quality to the space. We also have to take into consideration code regulations and making sure that our displays fall within these codes. Keeping the cabinets narrow and flush up against the wall is important to prevent display damage as well as patrons safe.” Gregory says that one of the biggest challenges of the concourse area is the number of AV sources, number of AV destinations and the sheer physical size of the areas. Displays, column speakers and pendant speakers can be placed throughout the concourse to provide desired coverage but signals must still be brought to them. Gregory states: “Several years ago, both manufacturers of AV hardware began to leverage

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standard IT networking hardware to transport content from source to destination. Contemporary AV traffic can now be placed on facility IT networks and managed in the same way as other network traffic. This means that networked AV devices can be distributed throughout the facility and scaled by simply adding more devices to the network.” Connectivity is opening up opportunities within the concourse. Gregory says the potential of a networked approach is a fully converged network with closer integration of sub-systems. “However, in reality, sub-systems are still typically separated (either physically or logically,) to segment systems by type, simplify troubleshooting, and mitigate risk. A more integrated system may facilitate closer interaction between sub-systems but could also vastly increase complexity.” As to the potential of the concourse, Da Costa notes that, “the match day experience is constantly evolving, and the concourse is where clubs and their sponsors have almost free reign to capture the minds - and wallets - of their audience, both pre and post-match”. He adds: “We’ve seen customers specify curved style screens that can be used on the front of kiosks across the concourse to catch the public’s attention and push sales. “In the ‘connected stadium’, there’s also ample opportunity to create engaging and memorable experiences for fans, including the installation of interactive screens using gesture input, like a

“The San Jose Sharks are using their narrow pixel pitch displays in the concourses to connect with fans while away from their seats and engage with them throughout the venue”


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FROM HOME TO STADIUM Large format displays, high resolution content and immersive audio experiences are now ubiquitous in homes. The experience and convenience of watching a sports game from home is elevating expectations of fans attending games in person, says Iain Gregory, director for solutions and marketing, large venue, at Harman Professional Solutions. He states that venues must create enough differentiation in experience that a fan is willing to leave the sofa and purchase a seat at the game. “Displays at venues are getting larger in size and higher in resolution. A clear view of the action is expected at every seat and slow motion replays are not just for TV. Displays are also important for promotion of in-house vendors and sponsorship partners,” he comments. Commenting on games played in the US where audio is commonly used to enhance the atmosphere at a match, Gregory says: “If you imagine a basketball game without music or announcers, you will realise the contribution that audio brings to the atmosphere of a game. When attending a game in person, people expect a concert-like audio experience. Whether it’s pre-game music to get the fans and home team pumped up or an announcer introducing the team, high quality audio is mandatory to a great experience. Audio and lighting go hand-in-hand at music concerts and the same is true at arenas. People expect tour-quality lighting shows during interim segments. If there’s a break in play, something is typically happening to keep fans engaged and entertained at all times.” He goes on: “Contemporary sports venues are now much more than a place to watch games. Venue owners are also finding ways to increase the visit duration, with adjacent facilities such as hotels and retail spaces. The modern sports venue is evolving into a flexible multi-purpose venue for many different types of events,” he concludes.

Spot the difference: ADI’s technology allows pitchside advertising to be changed for TV viewers, providing extensive regional marketing opportunities



photobooth, an app or video game experience, and even LED interactive dance floors.” STADIUM MAGIC… Finally, the fan enters the stadium. The smell of freshly cut grass, mixed with fried onions, stale beer, Deep Heat (for those by the dugout) and Lynx Africa. Nerves jangling with anticipation for the match. As the fan looks around the stadium, what is the AV doing to increase their engagement, hook them further into key brands, and make them want to come back for more? Cutting edge tech is most at play within the stadium itself. Stevens says everyone seems to be looking for something unique for their fans, specific to their brand or fitting to their venue and architecture. “The more they can show their audiences and connect with them, the better their venue will be perceived and the more likely fans are to return again and again. Due to viewing distances, size and reliability is more important than tighter pixel pitches. The real cutting edge technology is in the control room and engagement technologies such as High Dynamic Range (HDR) imaging.” David Patton, vice president for product and commercial at Supponor, states that LED perimeter systems have become known for providing access to powerful inventory that can be sold to brand partners, sponsors and advertisers to promote their products and services to key target audiences, meaning that they have offered little value in terms of fan engagement. He explains: “Perimeter advertising began as local and in-stadium activation using static billboards, targeting local businesses and service providers to local people present at the event. However, with increased demand for live broadcast sports, growing viewing figures and the advent of animated LED perimeter signage, the exposure for TV visible signage that is almost in the action alongside the field of play, has made it a platform for higher impact global brand reach while local in-stadia experiences lost out. “Virtual replacement technologies have been gaining momentum and technological sophistication over the past decade, and now provide rights holders with the best of both worlds,” he goes on. “Its primary function is to replace physical content displayed on in-stadium LED perimeter boards authentically and unnoticeably replaced in the digital domain for television broadcast signals; the advanced software and hardware technologies behind these solutions open opportunities for rights owners to access increased digital sponsorship and advertising inventory, allowing for incremental


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revenue growth by enabling brand partners to deliver ever more relevant and targeted messages to TV audiences.” However, an indirect and valuable by-product of this technology is that it has the potential to liberate the physical in-stadium perimeter LED displays to be used as part of more focussed fan engagement activities and improved in-stadium experiences, Patton notes. “Clubs can now reward those fans that have made the effort to be there, with live social media feeds, statistics from the game or the league, specific local offers or information from sponsors or local advertisers; the possibilities are almost limitless. “ Many European football leagues and US sports federations including the NFL and NHL are already deploying this technology, adds Patton; in Germany’s Bundesliga, it is used for all of Borussia Dortmund’s home games and many of its away games, and Spain’s La Liga deploys the technology for the away games of football giants Real Madrid, Barcelona and Atletico Madrid. The FA and ITV have begun to use it for England internationals, while many Premier League and Championship clubs are investing in virtual-enabled systems ready for future exploitation. Stadia signage is infiLED Sports speciality, and its award-winning installation at Lulea Ice Hockey Arena in Sweden was a prime example of this. It was an entirely custom built display with a bespoke curved frame with a chamfered edge. Now, the all-in-one curved screen circling the perimeter of the arena hangs brightly above the ice providing scores, time-keeping, and advertising for the club and for its sponsors. Gray comments that adi.tv is working with a number of UK clubs, including Wolves and Southampton in the Premier League, to integrate its

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display technology into pre-match light shows to increase the atmosphere. “The synchronisation of music to stadium lights, LED screens, digital ribbon, and perimeter displays creates a really rousing experience, especially when adding pyrotechnics in the mix. Again, it starts with content. We’ll work with clubs to film, edit and produce high impact content that integrates with every digital display.” Gray adds: “As in-venue connectivity gets better, which it will over time, it opens up many more opportunities to engage with fans in the venue, not just pushing content to their connected devices but also allowing fans to push content to the screens much more.” On the audio side, Gregory states that while high quality audio and even coverage is important, “speech intelligibility is vital to guest experience and revenue generation”. He notes that if a guest cannot hear a promotional announcement clearly, it could result in a lost sale. “If a guest can’t hear a safety announcement clearly, that could have a far more serious impact,” he continues. “For audio systems which augment life safety systems, achieving specified STI (Speech Transmission Index) levels is essential.” As to what the future could hold for in-stadium AV, Da Costa concludes: “In-stadia signage will need to meet the demands of the modern connected stadium, and the fans. In the future, we could see more interactivity between audience and technology, which is why all of infiLED Sports screens are capable of being interactive, including app control, environmental sensors and physical sensors, such as pressure or light sensors, providing endless application possibilities, limited only by the imagination of the design.” Let’s hope our fan’s team wins the match!


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Creating A Winning Matchday Experience For The Tech-Savvy Fan Colin Farquhar, CEO, Exterity explains how integrating video technology and providing quality content can not only help enhance the fan experience and brand loyalty

IPTV is being used to help keep fans entertained, whilst also boosting business opportunities at Lyon OU Rugby Club


tadiums and venues of all sizes know that financial success stems from more than just what happens on the pitch. Fan engagement within the facility – from merchandising through to the bar and coverage of the team both before and after the game - is just as important in ensuring an enjoyable experience and return on investment. To help stadiums and venues deliver the kind of experience that builds brand loyalty among visitors, they need video technology that can be easily integrated into existing facilities and seamlessly deliver engaging visual content to a number of screens.

“Stadium owners are recognising that IPTV can extend beyond just the local events and provide a valuable service for guests. TV screens can be used to promote the sale of food, beverages, merchandise and increase ROI”



CREATING A MORE IMMERSIVE ENVIRONMENT IPTV and digital signage technologies are the major drivers in this shift towards using video to enhance the matchday experience for spectators. IP video and digital signage technologies have been used effectively within stadiums for several years and have become an invaluable tool. As a result, the quality and size of displays has changed considerably, and the ability to update content quickly is now a prerequisite. Live video streams combined with digital signage guarantees that the screen-based content that fans see in venues and stadiums is visually engaging, and wherever they are in the stadium they never miss any of the action. ParisLongchamp provides a perfect example of how IPTV is being used to improve the matchday experience. As part of a major 140 million investment, this iconic stadium for horse racing fans has deployed Exterity’s integrated IP video and digital signage system to deliver around 60 channels of live broadcast TV, Video on Demand and internally-produced video, as well as wayfinding and advertising to 500 screens across the 55,000 sq. metres of public enclosures. This enables up to 60,000 people to access high-resolution horse racing and sports content via 18 internal channels, including daily on-site programmes, live feeds of the jockeys being weighed and of the horses in the stables, repeats of races and other related feeds.


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A safe bet: Putting on a wager, buying refreshments or just keeping warm doesn’t mean you need to miss any of the action at the Paris Longchamp Racecourse, thanks Exterity’s IP video and digital signage solution

Stadium owners are also recognising that IPTV can extend beyond just the local event and provide a valuable service for guests. A prime example was at this year 25th anniversary of the Festival of Speed which was held at Goodwood, an event firmly established as the world’s greatest celebration of motorsport and car culture. The Exterity IP video system has the capability to stream live TV to any screen across the site, so with the final day of racing at Goodwood taking place alongside the 2018 FIFA World Cup and Wimbledon finals, Goodwood used the Exterity IP video solution to stream football and tennis coverage alongside its racing to grateful guests across the site. PROVIDING GUESTS WITH MORE VALUE However, TV screens in stadiums do more than simply show the main event; they can also be used to promote the sale of food, beverages and merchandise to increase ROI. The most visible elements are the electronic pitch side billboards that are increasingly controlled by IPTV systems and offer valuable real-estate for both local advertisers and international sponsors. The flexibility with which they can be controlled and changed is in stark contrast to the hard-board equivalents that first started to appear in the 1950’s. In the stands, digital signage is commonly used for everything from the dynamic display of food and drink menus to wayfinding that helps people navigate their way

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around large venues and can be quickly updated in case of emergency. ALL SIGNS POINT TO IPTV A great case in point is Matmut Stadium Gerland in Lyon, France, the home of Lyon OU Rugby (LOU). It decided to deploy Exterity’s digital signage solution ArtioSign, which is used in the LOU Shop (pictured, main) and throughout the stadium, including the VIP lounges and the event hall. Via ArtioSign, LOU Ruby offers interactive information and promotion about new merchandise, upcoming events and games, as well as the weather forecast and public transport timetables. In addition to hosting LOU Rugby, Matmut Stadium can be rented by third-party organisations looking for a unique event. Exterity’s ArtioSign enables them to create their own signage, guaranteeing a unique and consistent branding for their guests. Over the coming years, stadiums will become more technologically sophisticated than ever before and IP video and digital signage will continue to be at the heart of that evolution. These technologies will help stadiums deliver more value; while simultaneously reducing operation costs and complexity, resulting in new revenue building avenues – ensuring that that both stadiums and fans are winners.


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Scratching the Surface of Projection Mapping Sports venues are the ideal stage for projection mapping. Mike Garrido, senior product manager, Christie, outlines some recent projects and future trends


or today’s sports venue owners, living up to the immense expectations of fans is a challenge in today’s digitally-connected, social and technology-fluent world. Although the sports themselves will always be the reason fans attend, there is a growing demand for stadium owners to enhance the non-game aspects of live sporting events to create truly unique and enriching fan experiences. Large screens displaying spectator relevant information, as well as replaying incidents from games and matches, is now commonplace in most large stadia worldwide. In a related technology development, in this case projection, enterprising arena and stadia are also embracing projection mapping, and specifically, playing surface mapping (PSM). PSM is a big, bold and exciting way to energise fans in a stadium or auditorium. By presenting amazing visuals projected right on the playing surface – and it could be an ice rink, basketball court, or football pitch – one has a great way to engage and entertain fans. Importantly for many venues competing with TV audiences, it also gives spectators added motivation to get off the couch and make the trip to the actual venue. Getting fans to the arena was important for the Spanish basketball team, Valencia Basket, when its 30th anniversary occurred recently. Valencia Basket play at the La Fonteta Pavilion in the city, and the anniversary coincided with the

“By presenting amazing visuals projected right on the playing surface, one has a great way to engage and entertain fans” 36

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third leg of Valencia’s Endesa League semi-final versus Baskonia. Ten minutes before the match got underway, the lights were turned down in the arena and the court was turned into a gigantic 25 x 15 metre screen onto which a spectacular 3D video mapping show commemorating their thirty-year history was projected. Another basketball team, the Cleveland Cavaliers of the National Basketball Association (NBA), added a new dimension to its games with projection mapping at halftime and during timeouts. Using a combination of 3D mapping techniques and video content produced by the Cavalier’s internal creative team, the court is transformed into an immersive environment featuring a classic ‘pong’-style game with spectators competing against each other. Participants from the crowd come down to each end of the court to battle it out using motion-tracking rackets that pass the virtual ball back and forth from one end of the court to the other. An additional benefit for the owner is the sponsorship opportunities offered by the interactive game, as Eric Gazzillo, of Quince Imaging, the creative agency behind the game relates: “We created something with the interactive gaming that fans haven’t seen before. Teams are always trying to develop additions to their menu of sponsorship opportunities. Interactive court projection or games are a menu item that are going to be very attractive to sponsors.” The draw for teams and sponsors is that during a timeout or a long stoppage in play, fans are looking at the court surface. Gazzillo also learned that sponsors are not just interested in the fan experience in the arena, but also after the event when the experience has spread across social media, websites and other online platforms. “We introduced the


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interactive games because those are attractive to the fans who will then put the experience on Instagram, Facebook Live, and other social media sites. We try to get something unique to get the fans excited, get them tweeting and putting it on Snapchat.” Creating complex, visual experiences, such as sports-venue projection mapping can be costly, time consuming and challenging for any venue; the technical logistics required are complex. There are solutions available, such as Christie Mystique. The system is built on the three pillars of design, install and operate, with each facet of the system solving the specific challenges encountered at these stages on a complex multi-screen, multi-projector and blended installation. Mystique Design features software tools to help integrators and clients design, validate, simulate and visualie any complex projection system. Mystique Install helps integrators through the installation and calibration process, including projector stacking. And Mystique Operate features system-level monitoring to ensure the overall system quality is maintained over its lifetime. A good example of the system in action is at the T-Mobile Arena, the home of National Hockey League (NHL) team, the Vegas Golden Knights – a professional ice hockey team based in Las Vegas. The challenge is not just competing with TV audiences, but with the multitude of attractions offered by the entertainment capital of the world. Image Engineering, a specialist in effect designs and large spectacles (primarily in professional sport),

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was brought onboard by the Golden Knights to handle the full game presentation, including audiovisual integration. “We took a lot of care to figure out an installation plan that was going to work for T-Mobile Arena because they do have so many large concerts and one-off shows that come in and out so frequently,” explains Ian Bottiglieri, Director of Project Management, Image Engineering. The installation features 12 projectors in “pods” of two near each face-off circle, each blue line, and at centre ice, on each side of the arena. Image Engineering then used Christie Mystique to align the projectors, saving both themselves and the Golden Knights what would normally be between eight to 10 hours every time the projectors needed realignment after being repositioned for a concert or other event. “It took about four to five hours to get Mystique setup and running for the first time. After that, we didn’t even really need to think about our alignment because we just needed to block out a 15-minute time period to be able to run the Mystique system and everything would be realigned and perfectly warped and blended,” added Bottiglieri. While currently, PSM is primarily used as an entertainment tool, owners and teams are discovering innovative ways to employ PSM as an integral training and analytical tool to augment practice and player development. With developments like this in the pipeline, the future looks exciting.

Projection mapping transforms the playing surface at the Capital One Arena in Washington DC. (see interview, page 44)


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“The Best In-Game Experience In UK sport” Once described as the worst stadium in English football due to its ‘soulless atmosphere’ – the Ricoh Arena is using AV technology to inform, entertain and interact with fans before, during and after the match




uilt in 2005, the 32,609 seater Ricoh Arena complex in Coventry, is one of the UK’s leading multipurpose venues for sports and entertainment. The stadium, housed just off the M6, has been the home venue (a short hiatus in 2013) for local football team Coventry City (replacing Highfield Road) since its completion, and Rugby Union side, Wasps since 2014. The stadium has played host to numerous international sporting fixtures – including the 2012 Olympic football – as well as major music events, including Bryan Adam, Oasis, Bruce Springsteen and – later this year – classice rockers Bon Jovi and the Spice Girls. However, in recent years the stadium has been subjected to heavy criticism from fans, both local and visiting. In April 2017 the Ricoh Arena was listed by FourFourTwo magazine as the worst stadium in English football, blasted as creating a “depressing experience” in an “often soulless atmosphere” in a “virtually empty” stadium. Efforts to enhance the experience have however been made, and since October last year, the arena has been home to one of the largest giant LED screens in UK sport. Measuring 188 square metres (the equivalent of 673, 32 inch TVs) and housed in the South Stand, the display has been built to provide, what it claims to be, the best in-game match day experience in the country. To learn more, AVTE caught up with commercial director at Wasps and the Ricoh Arena, Stuart Cain to learn more the club’s digital display strategy.


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Hi Stuart. Tell us about the new screen installed at the Ricoh Arena. Our new state-of-the-art screen has been installed by ADI – who work with many sports stadia across the UK. The screen is rectangular in shape and has prime position in the centre of the South Stand, dominating the in-bowl experience with 188 square metres of the highest quality LED panels. Our screen has a striking super-wide format, which enables us to create content in multiple formats. How did you decide on the size and shape of the screen, as well as the features it offers? We really wanted to push the boundaries of what an in-stadium screen could do, by going with the super-wide format we are really able to maximise the spectator experience and maximise exposure for our sponsors and partners. During a rugby game we are able to show the live action feed in the centre portion of the screen, while simultaneously showing advertising, in game information such as scorers and substitutions / replacements and referee decisions on the righthand side, and having a permanent score board and clock displayed on the left hand side. After just four years in Coventry we have the second highest average attendance in the Gallagher Premiership (17,500), but there is still spare capacity in the stadium so the screen is a great way of helping new fans of rugby understand the game if we link the on-screen activity with other digital initiatives such as the Wasps app. How does this screen compare to those deployed at other venues? We understand that our screen is one of the biggest in UK sport, but we believe as a top-flight rugby club we are the first to have such high quality interactive content running through multiple zones of the same screen simultaneously. When did work first begin? The screen infrastructure project has been in the pipeline for a long time, the planning started almost a year ago, the installation process started back in June and the first game to feature the new screen was Wasps vs Gloucester in October. Why have you chosen just one end? Will this be a disadvantage to some supporters? To deliver the objectives of integrating match footage, social media, rugby decisions and sponsor messages we had to use the larger screen and this was the only location that made sense. It gives

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people in three of the stands a brilliant view of the content and those in the South Stand can see the screen if they turn around. Our ultimate ambition is to replicate with a second screen in the North Stand but that’s a year or two away. What was your primary motivation for introducing the big screen? The primary motivation was definitely around fan experience, we are trying to build the best match day experience in the country for our supporters, which forms part of Wasps Group’s overarching strategy to make the Ricoh Arena one of the most digitally-connected venues in the events industry. Our previous screen served a purpose but it didn’t really have the capacity to heighten the enjoyment of the game for supporters in the stand. In addition the new screen also enables us to bring our partners closer to the people in the ground, activating exciting promotions and initiatives. It also increases the involvement of our supporters on a match day, as they can send in good luck messages via video on social media which are played out on the screen ahead of kick off. The big screen is another part of our digital jigsaw and complements the high-density free Wi-Fi which was recently installed at the venue, allowing up to 20,000 people to log on and stream content at the same time. Tell us about what else the screen will be used? In addition to partner advertising, we also show video and graphics explaining the rules of rugby, showing referee decisions, try scorers and replacements. We are also utilising a roaming camera in the ground where we can put the supporters on the big screen, do pre-game and half time interviews on the pitch and we’ve even done a ‘floss cam’ showing the best dancers in the ground. This is just the start and we are constantly thinking of new ways we can use the big screen to enhance the match day experience.

Buzzing: Stuart Cain, commercial director at Wasps and the Ricoh Arena

From an interactive point of view, how do you overcome the typical issues around network coverage in a sporting stadium? Working with our partners, Ericsson and CityFibre our Wi-Fi infrastructure is one of the best in the country and we can withstand having more than 20,000 users at any one time, so we don’t experience many issues around connectivity. An ADI representative is also on hand for every event at the Ricoh Arena that is using the screen, so that if any issues do arise they can be sorted swiftly.


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SCREEN DETAILS Size: 188sqm Pixel Pitch: 10mm Manufacturer: ADI

Of course, the screen is nothing without content. The screen output on a match day is controlled by ADI in Preston, from a production suite in their head office, but they are on radio comms with club representatives at the ground who direct what is meant to appear when. This has been working really well and we are the first Premiership Rugby club to do things this way. In terms of creating content, we have a number of different sources, we have our own video production team in-house, we work with external design and production agencies and ADI also produce a lot of the content for us. Is all content controlled/managed at the stadium? We have a floor manager employed by us that is pitch side and watching the game unfold. He is linked to a production suite controlled by ADI in Preston. This means we have people with rugby knowledge watching the game and working “as live” with an equally knowledgeable production crew in Preston. The content itself is developed at the Ricoh Arena. How (if at all) does content vary between sporting events? Coventry City Football Club also use the screen for their matches, but control and manage the screen content themselves on their match days, and don’t use the services of ADI in Preston in the way that Wasps do. As such, the football club’s content mainly consists of a scoreboard and then pre-loaded videos for pre-match and half-time entertainment. What about audio? We have retained the existing infrastructure of speakers within the ground and the new screen has been connected up to these and seems to be working very well. From an RoI view, how is the display helping financially? The screen creates an extra platform for the club to be able to generate additional revenue, which in the long-term, will see Wasps Group see a return on the six-figure investment.



There is a clear project plan for the screen, this is a long term campaign that will stand the ground in good stead for the future technological changes. Having the new screen has vastly improved the opportunities for activating partner content and we are already seeing a huge rise in enquiries from companies wanting to be featured on the big screen. Because we have the screen broken up in to three sections during a match day, this means we can have a continuous stream of partner content showing on the right hand side, while the live action happens in the centre portion of the screen. Beyond the big screen, how prominent are displays in and around the Ricoh Arena? Our digital strategy and new screen infrastructure is a very important part of the all-round experience at Ricoh Arena. We have not only invested in the new in-bowl screen, but additional LED banners on the front edge of the balcony on the West Stand, a giant LED banner above the main entrance to the venue and hotel, a large video wall just inside the main entrance and more than eight large LED poster sites throughout the atrium area. In addition to this we have ten new LED wayfinding podium screens for displaying information about meetings and events in specific rooms in the venue, and over 100 smart-connected TVs around the concourse area. The Ricoh Arena hosts hundreds of conferences, exhibitions and meetings every year, and having various digital screens gives event organisers the convenient option of putting their visual stamp on the venue for their visitors. It’s a key part of our proposition that event organisers can own the venue from a branding perspective for the duration of their event. In conclusion, how important is good quality AV in providing an enhanced experience for fans? We want to be leaders in digital infrastructure and AV is a prominent part of our future marketing strategy for the venue. We continue to invest heavily in content and hardware solutions to heighten visitors’ and clients’ experiences. Making the bricks and mortar live is crucial for any event space moving forward. Adaptable content, flexibility and the opportunity for digital interaction between the content owner and the audience through the venue infrastructure is only going to become increasingly important as the boundaries between how people engage with their phone and the world around them converge.

“Our previous screen served a purpose but it didn’t really have the capacity to heighten the enjoyment of the game for supporters in the stand”


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Loud and Clear: Achieving Audio Perfection in Stadia With large multipurpose stadiums and boisterous crowds, high quality, flexible and diverse audio capabilities are essential for both entertainment and crowd safety. Marc Kocks, Powersoft’s business development manager, fixed install, offers AVTE readers his expert advice on things to consider

One size fits all: The 59,000 seater Olympique Lyonnais (Lyon) Olympic Stadium has been used for football, rugby, hockey and major music events, including Coldplay, Rihanna and Celine Dion Picture Courtesy Of Charlotte Busschaert



1. SAFETY AND CROWD MANAGEMENT ARE CRUCIAL MAKE SURE YOUR SYSTEM IS PROTECTED AND WORKS, ALWAYS ! A large and passionate crowd is the objective for every venue. Crowd management and safety need to work together to ensure this goal. While the public address (PA) system will ensure the entertainment side of things (music, animations, etc.), the compulsory voice alarm (VA) system will address the crowd in emergencies: the latter should be able to give clear instructions at a sound pressure level above the noise generated by supporters and large crowds. In stadia environments, many audio setups combine both the PA and VA systems. Within this “PAVA” configuration, audio quality is combined with extensive monitoring and control. Make sure your audio system (speakers and amps) are fit for mission critical environments where entertainment but most importantly lives are at stake.

2. LARGE-SCALE SPORT VENUES ARE NOT ONLY FOCUSSED ON SPORTS - MAKE SURE YOUR AUDIO SYSTEM ISN’T EITHER More often than not, stadia are also used for other functions like live concerts and other events. The systems have to be able to handle spoken word, music playback and even commercials. When designing or refurbishing your audio system, make sure it offers both flexibility and scalability. DSP and Dante enabled products will allow you to change the function and behaviour of the system with the click of a mouse. At the same time, make sure your amplifier has powerful limiters and crossovers to keep your system protected. 3. THINK GREEN Efficiency/power consumption is one of the most important system design considerations in any stadium and can have a significant impact on your electricity bill, but also on your brand perception (spectators) and future business opportunities (partners, sponsors, and investors). Amplifiers play a pivotal role in achieving better efficiency. Dedicated fixed install products are a must to help facilitate a system design that is powerful, flexible and efficient. Class-D amplifier technology allows for a very dense power pack of amplifiers, which in turn saves a lot of rack space. The key to power efficiency in an amplifier is a very low current draw and thermal dissipation. For example, we were recently involved in a power amplification upgrade at Dortmund’s Signal Iduna Park Stadium in Germany. After completing the installation, the owner recorded that the mains power required was limited by almost 40 per cent compared to the original solution. By changing them, the system integrator had full remote control and full remote monitoring available on the system as well.


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Another example is the Lord’s Cricket ground whose audio network requires two to three hundred amplifier channels. By upgrading its amplifier system, Lord’s not only expanded its audio network dramatically, but at the same time reduced its audio power consumption by 90 per cent. 4. QUANTITY DOESN’T HAVE TO MEAN QUALITY Having more speakers and more amplifiers doesn’t mean your audio system will sound better. Ease of integration and power capabilities of your audio system can result in huge savings in both installation costs and operational costs, while still retain the highest possible audio quality. This can be illustrated by the Parc Olympique Lyonnais, now known as Groupama Stadium (Lyon, France), which was commissioned and delivered in 2017. This state of the art stadium comprises a very dense package of amplifiers (just 18 Ottocanali units) which is used to power 144 independent, configurable loudspeakers. 5. ALWAYS CONSIDER THE END USER The ability to work with lots of different loudspeaker systems while still being able to use one amplifier platform is an important factor. The extensive monitoring, like Live Impedance monitoring, and redundant system set up offered on DSP enabled amplifiers allows for full integration in a PAVA system. A good graphical user interface will also save costs in setting up an audio system. Finally, an extensive third party control will also help to integrate with various kind of systems like fire detection systems or maybe another DSP system. 6. IT IS YOUR FRIEND The growing presence of IT networks in sporting venues simplifies the use and operation of any audio system. Make sure your amplifier offers a powerful DSP platform to ensure full user integration while guaranteeing the best audio quality. Digital audio networks like Dante also allow for full integration of the audio system into the venues IT system. 7.CHOOSE THE RIGHT PROVIDER There is no such thing as a “one size fits all” amplifier. Every single stadium and sports venue will have different requirements. Integrators and specifiers will play a critical role in helping you chose the right product for your venue, so it is important that you chose people you can trust to provide the right solution for your specific needs.

January/February 2019


As far as amplifiers are concerned, a good indicator is the depth of the proposed install line of products, which should have specific models that are able to cover a full range of applications, while using the same DSP platform and means of digital audio transport (Dante) so the models can be mixed and matched to perfectly suit power requirements. Audio quality is very important. The way Class-D amplification and DSP management are used is very useful to achieve pristine audio experience. 8. CHOOSE THE RIGHT SOFTWARE A user friendly, remotely controllable software is as important as the quality of your hardware. A good software will allow users and the system integrators alike to create presets for the system and allows for good signal processing. The more functionality, the easier it will be to control and monitor your system. A good software will also need to be intuitive, while allowing to create different presets and user interfaces that will match the level of knowledge from the operators. Last but not least, a good software should be open to all kinds of systems, so it can seamlessly work with third party-controlled systems. For example, if you had a Creston system or maybe another DSP system, you want to make sure you will still be able to use it with the software’s user interface. 9. DON’T FEAR CHANGE Looking ahead, I think that one of the most important aspects of stadium installation in the next few years will be the ability to integrate products or the systems in to the venue’s existing Ethernet structure. In other words - a product’s ability to sit on an Ethernet structure and be used in the stadium’s general Ethernet backbone. Another forthcoming trend is decentralised DSP, wherein the DSP is essentially split across the amplifiers, so they are better equipped to protect the loudspeakers and monitor the system. By using a decentralised DSP solution, we are also limiting the amount of network traffic and reducing the channel count of on the network.

“There is no such thing as a ‘one-size-fitsall’ amplifier. Every stadium and sports venue will have different requirements” 43

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The Capital One Arena: ‘Creating an Unparalleled Experience For the Fans’ IN NUMBERS

20,000 SEATS








oused in the heart of Washington DC’s popular Chinatown district, is one of America’s leading sports and entertainment indoor venues, the Capital One Arena. With 20,000 seats, the popular venue has hosted more than 47 million people since its opening in 2007 (three million visitors in 2018), with ice hockey, basketball, and a long list of major concerts making up the 230 plus live events that take place under its roof each year. AV technology, of course, plays a crucial role in all events – be it inside the main arena itself (court/ rink/stage facing), but also in the concourse and its lucrative hospitality areas. Keeping fans entertained and inside the arena before, during and after is important, both financially (more food, drink and merchandise sales), but also in maintaining a fun and memorable experience for all. Maintaining this is key, with the venue needing to ensure it remains on top and meeting and exceeding fan expectations – especialy when compared to other comparable venues. Last year (2018) the arena’s owner’s Monumental Sports & Entertainment, embarked on a major $40 million full-sweep refurbishment programme of the venue, with a heavy emphasis placed on upgrading its AV capabilities. Recently completed, AVTE spoke to David Touhey, president of venues for Monumental Sports & Entertainment to learn more... What was the motivation behind the substantial refurbishment programme? Monumental Sports & Entertainment formally unveiled a completely new and upgraded venue and

dining experience in early October as part of Capital One Arena’s recent $40 million renovation project over the summer which included more comfortable seats, a modern, cutting-edge sound system, two new destination lounges, innovative fan engagement, newly-designed concessions, culinary partnerships, a reimagined PwC Club, clearer digital displays and wayfinding signage and a retail store open year-round presented by Fanatics. Tell us about the AV upgrade. AV played an important role and was a fair portion of the renovation. Our entirely new, state-of-the-art sound system is designed to deliver the sharpest, clearest game and concert sound throughout the arena. No matter where in the arena you’re sitting, you’ll always hear clean, powerful sound. We also added 250 fifty-five or ninety-eight inch televisions, installed 23 new LED boards with more than 2,400 square feet of new digital space, and introduced projection mapping for Wizards and Capitals games. What roles does high-quality AV play in the overall fan experience attending sporting events at the arena and how (if at all) has this evolved? High-quality AV is essential to enhancing the fan experience and important as we continue to compete with other entertainment options including the one at home through HD television. What were the key areas of focus for the AV upgrade at the Capital One Arena? In addition to the audio component I mentioned earlier, Capital One Arena transitioned the concourses and VIP spaces to a fully digital experience. This helps allow our busy building to


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d truly have specific event feeling on a given night. For example, through our digital signage networks, we can make a Capitals game feel unique through both our owned assets as well as sponsor specific content. Also, in the evolving landscape of partner marketing, sponsors are looking to have content be more experiential, measurable and targeted. By switching our building to a fully digital experience, partners can now market directly to specific types of fans, with targeted content and in rotation with property content that makes the time in our digital rotations even more valuable. Projection mapping is arguably the standout feature. Tell us about the motivation behind this and what it provides fans? Fan engagement was at the top of our list as we headed into the 2018 playoff season for the Capitals and Wizards. We engaged Quince Imaging to create the ultimate fan experience, and using Christie technology, Quince Imaging installed a dual-sport projection system that rallied fans and our teams alike with a stunning projection mapping show, all the way through a memorable Stanley Cup championship for the Capitals.

How about AV deployed away from the playing area. In conjunction with our partners at Aramark, all concession stands throughout the 100 and 400 levels of the arena were renovated and modernised featuring favourite arena fare along with new dining concepts to enhance the fan experience. Re-design elements included outfitting all stands with digital menu boards to make it easier to order and installing state-of-the-art amenities to further engage fans and innovate their food and beverage experience. At the new Federal Favorites Express grab-and-go location, two Artificial Intelligent check out scanners were installed to allow fans to quickly and easily complete their transactions. At the Over the Top stand, a 21-tap self-serve beer wall has been installed to allow guests the ability to pour their own beer from a wide selection of brews. And, self-ordering kiosks were installed at select locations, allowing fans to fully customise and pay for their order using touch screen technology. We also added new digital displays in each quadrant of our concourses as well as upgraded internal wayfinding signage to make the arena even easier to navigate.

“No matter where in the arena you’re sitting, you’ll always hear clean, powerful sound” February 2019


Capital One Arena is home to the AFL’s Washington Valor, NBA’s Washington Wizards, the NHL’s 2018 Stanley Cup Champion Washington Capitals, WNBA’s Washington Mystics and the NCAA’s Georgetown Hoyas men’s basketball team. Capital One Arena is the heart of an $9.2 billion redevelopment that began 20 years ago when the arena was built and opened on Dec. 2, 1997. As an arena in the heart of downtown Washington, D.C., Capital One Arena has hosted a multitude of high-profile events in its history, ranging from the Stanley Cup Final (1998, 2018) to the NBA (2001) and WNBA (2002, 2007) All-Star games to the 2003 World Figure Skating Championship, the ACC Tournament (2005, 2016), the first and second rounds of the NCAA Division I men’s basketball tournament (1998, 2002, 2008) as well as the second and third rounds (2011), the East Regional Round (2006, 2013), the NCAA Frozen Four men’s hockey championship (2009), the Big Ten Men’s Basketball Tournament (2017) and the A10 Men’s Basketball Tournament (2018). In 2019 the NCAA East Regional will return to Capital One Arena for the third time. In the 20-year history of the arena some of the artists who have roamed the halls and mastered the stage at Capital One Arena include: U2, Justin Timberlake, The Three Tenors, Barbra Streisand, Bon Jovi, Prince, Tim McGraw & Faith Hill, Beyonce, the Dalai Lama, Lady Gaga, Keith Urban, Kevin Hart, Christina Aguilera, Disney On Ice, Ringling Bros, and WWE.


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Thursday 20th June 2019 | Millennium Gloucester, London

From manufacturers to end users and everything in between Celebrating the achievements of the AV industry


www.avtechnologyawards.com INTERESTED IN SPONSORING THE AV TECHNOLOGY AWARDS? For information about sponsorship opportunities please contact ryan.odonnell@futurenet.com


A supplement to


We are Ricoh. Welcome to our world

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Q&A WE ARE RICOH Tell us a little about Ricoh: With 80 years of heritage in imaging technologies Ricoh is currently diversifying into new lines of business that significantly expand its bandwidth. One of the new directions is Office Services. It’s offering includes Outsourcing Services, Application Servcices, IT Infrastructure Services and Communication Services, focused on Workplace and Collaboration solutions. With a strong reputation in manufacturing, nowadays Ricoh acts as a trusted advisor and solution provider to our customers. With Ricoh present in 200 countries and territories, we are one of the only true global workplace solutions integrators – arguably the world’s first workplace-as-a-service provider. Ricoh in numbers, global • 1.3 million customers • 100,000 employees

Ricoh in numbers, Europe • 16,500 employees including more than 1,800 sales reps for near-145,000 Small and Medium Business (SMB) customers and 600 sales reps for more than 13,000 Major Account (MA) customers. Why has Ricoh decided to make a major push in to the AV market now? Ricoh has been offering AV and IT solutions for many years as part of the widening scope of services that we offer to our existing Office Print customers around the world. In recent years, an active acquisition growth strategy has boosted our capabilities globally to act as an AV and IT solution integrator. Nowadays, our Office Services cluster (including IT and Communication Services lines) represents 20% of Ricoh’s global revenues and is the fastest growing part of our business. Our global AV and IT integrator capabilities is one of our best kept secrets.

S R E G E LL E M R OSCA , EMEA eting, oh Europe k r a M d of vices - Ric d le: Hea er y base Job Tit unication S ope, 7 don, UK r u E m h m ico d in Lon Co with R years and 6y base 3 1 : e r L Tenu terdam, N EA HQ oh EM in Ams ic R t a don, n: Lon Locatio

What products are you focused on offering at this stage? Ricoh Communication Services offering consists of four clusters: Smart Meeting Spaces, Video & Collaboration Solutions, Digital Signage and Workplace Management Solutions. Ricoh's Workplace Collaboration Solutions portfolio helps the customers meet the demands and aspirations of different employee demographics providing them with: • Greater speed and flexibility from new technology • More immediate access to data

• The ability to work from home or in a more mobile way • A reduction in repetitive admin tasks Ricoh offers both self-manufactured and partner solutions making sure the company provides state-of-art technology that empowers people to work more productively and efficiently. Ricoh own portfolio consists of projectors, interactive displays and videoconferencing devices and cloud services. When it comes to turning the office into the workplace of the future, the company uses three-step approach: • Design: after an assessment of the existing workplace the company proposes either predefined packages or custom solution also leveraging tools from third party workplace suppliers. • Implement: with extensive local presence the company handles installation and integration. • Manage: implemented solutions are fully managed as part of a subscription model. Whilst your primary focus is office environments, many of these can surely be equally deployed in, say, educational or retail spaces. Do you see opportunities there? Ricoh is focusing on the corporate market, while still working actively with healthcare and higher education customers. Our clients range from SMB to MA and we try to address the specific needs of each of them. For example, when we are talking to SMB customers, we focus on the following: • Turn-key digital workplace solutions for Meeting spaces & Digital Signage.


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• Advanced technologies bridging physical and virtual work environments. • Enabling an intuitive, productive and collaborative way of working on subscription basis. SMBs are looking for easy to deploy and adopt options that will boost productivity and turn the workplace into an agile environment. All that on subscription basis – and with no upfront investment. When we talk to MA customers, we focus on the following: • Global partner with consultative approach through detailed analysis and strategic planning. • A complete range of professional collaboration solutions for multinational enterprise customers. • Providing a platform for more engaging, productive and collaborative way of working as part of digital transformation strategy. MAs are looking for Global partner with local expertise who is able to provide consultancy services with a strategic outlook thus offering a solution that will support digital transformation and boost productivity and efficiency. Tell us more about your solutions. Included in our solutions portfolio is Ricoh own product line-up, this inlcudes: Interacive Flat Panel Displays (IFPD): complete range including 32”, 55”, 65”, 75” and 86” models (32” and 86” are 2019 releases). Each model is offered in two configurations; One for basic usage offering best in class usability and one for advanced usage, which can be fully customised to our customers IT environment. Cloud video conferencing: powerful cloud platform which is set up in minutes and is easily scalable. It offers full interoperability for all users with traditional room endpoints, Microsoft Skype for Business / Teams and Google Hangouts. Business Projectors: diverse line-up ranging from a handheld model, to High-end Large venue projectors.

In an already extremely competitive market, why would an end user suddenly consider these products over the existing, arguably more established AV brand? Ricoh is the world’s first Workplace-as-aService Provider, a unique partner that is able to help customers address common challenges. These include: •M ultitude of technologies and suppliers making it difficult to execute and/or govern strategy •C omplexity of managing security across AV/IT ecosystem •B urden on internal resources to design, implement and support new solutions •M anaging the user experience with a mixed workforce. •C ollecting, Analysing and Acting on data to manage and optimise the workplace

Talk us through Ricoh's routes to market: Ricoh has a long history of successfully implementing a multichannel GTM strategy. We have a strong direct sales and field service force; where our offering is consultative and focusses on professional and managed services. Globally we are serving 1.3 million customers with around 100,000 employees. For Ricoh in Europe, we have around 17,000 employees and including 1,800 sales reps for our 144,000 customers in SMB segment, and 600 sales reps for our 13,000 Major Account customers. We also work with a variety of channel partners ranging from IT distributors, Office Automation dealers and AV integrators selling Ricoh solutions supported by our Operating Companies.


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Q&A That’s a very different setup to the traditional model. Ricoh has a legacy in a multichannel GTM approach which has naturally balanced the customer segments that our partners serve, and the larger, international and global accounts that Ricoh is best positioned to service directly. Ricoh is committed to the strong network of channel partners that makes Ricoh solutions available across customers segments and geographies. By working with highly skilled partners for each Line of Business, Ricoh maintains an unrivalled global reach to support our customers worldwide. What are the benefits of this for the end user? We think the following benefits that Ricoh brings are the most important ones for our customers: • Flexibility: both in terms of finding the right solution (thanks to a wide range of partners and customization options of our solutions – a real advantage) and financing (thanks to subscription basis for SMBs that allows to pay monthly / annually; buying / renting / leasing options). Our solutions are scalable and interoperable, the customers aren’t dependent on 1 videoconferencing system for example. • Truly global approach: whenever the customer have offices – from Sao Paolo to London – we guarantee the same experience and high level of quality of our solutions. We are a single partner, so it’s really easy to run international projects with us.

• Consultancy services with a strategic focus: we gather information, analyse it and design the solution based on the datadriven insights received. We also manage & support the transformation – it’s a full process from A to Z. • Efficiency: quick and easy solution for SMBs – few fixed options to choose from, very easy to install and adopt. Hassle-free. • Improved work-life balance and team productivity Are these only available with a direct relationship? Most Ricoh products and solutions are available through our channel partners, Ricoh continuously invests in training and support for our partners to grow their business and maintain customer satisfaction. Which end of the AV market are you playing in? The Ricoh brand is known for its reliable products and outstanding customer service, the same values are offered across all our lines of business. Our aim is to support our customers to achieve their business objectives with high quality products and services. What are your ambitions: Our ambition is to continue to expand our Office Services business for which an additional 100B JPY (around £705 billiion) will be invested in the coming three to five years. By leveraging our gobal infrastructure the overall objective is for Ricoh to become a leading provider of managed IT and AV/ Collaboration solutions.

BIO: Oscar leads the Product Marketing portfolio for Ricoh Communication Services in EMEA. Covering such a diverse commercial and business landscape requires proficiency in dealing with disparate challenges. Oscar’s multifaceted 12-year experience at Ricoh enables him to showcase affluence in understanding these diversified market conditions. And, ultimately, develop a firm steer and a clear vision on how to create a better workplace environment. By summoning a unique mix of differentiated specializations - ranging from product management to market development - Oscar has taken over commanding position across multiple large scale initiatives. He and his team deliver impactful change for Ricoh, its global customers and most importantly the backbone of any organisation - its people. An analytical mind adept at business modelling, Oscar is quite the expert when it comes to problem solving. By examining it and deconstructing it to its components, he builds bespoke value propositions to meet the most complex of requirements. A native Dutch, he holds a Bachelor in Management and a Major in Marketing from Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences.


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Collaborative Meeting Room Services Improve Productivity And Agility NH Hotel Group has entrusted Ricoh with its digital transformation project. The international hotel group, which operates more than 380 hotels with 59,000 rooms in 30 countries, is keen to enhance guest services and improve business efficiency by adopting new and smarter ways of working. As a global company, with a proven track record in workplace transformation, Ricoh is an excellent fit for the international hotel group. Consulting with NH Hotel Group, Ricoh has identified opportunities for improvement and is managing the implementation of the programme. Collaborative meeting room services The wide-ranging workplace transformation project encompasses the introduction of collaborative meeting room services in the group’s headquarters in Madrid, as well as the provision of managed print services throughout all NH Hotel Group hotels and their offices.

Managing the implementation programme, Ricoh will install more than 1,200 multifunctional devices and printers at sites across Europe. Ricoh’s collaborative meeting room services, which include a web-based booking system and digital room signage, are already in daily use. Mobile booking service With a global business to run, meetings are critical to the group’s day-to-day operation. There are more than 20 meeting rooms in NH Hotel Group’s head office and, with employees spending a significant portion of their time in meetings, the group wanted to improve visibility of its meeting resources and automate the booking process. Ricoh’s consultants captured 360° images of each meeting room. NH Hotel Group employees can now view meeting room resources on screen and use Ricoh’s intuitive mobile booking system to reserve rooms, schedule meetings, send invitations and track

confirmations. The user-friendly application can even be used to arrange catering. Digital room signage Ricoh installed digital signs outside each meeting room. Linked to the centralised system, the sign identifies the room’s status and welcomes meeting participants. Working in the background, the centralised booking system provides real-time reports, which enable NH Hotel Group to monitor resource utilisation, record no-shows and manage their costs. Looking to the future, NH Hotel Group is also trialling Ricoh’s Interactive Whiteboard technology. A quick launch facility allows meeting participants to instigate a videoconference at the press of a button and collaborate seamlessly on documents. NH Hotel Group is excited by the technology as it could potentially be deployed in hotels as a guest service. Learn more at: www.ricoh-europe.com


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Ricoh Interactive Whiteboards Make A Big Difference In Education School systems are facing multiple challenges nowadays, one of them being the need to operate in different languages across borders. Digitalisation is enabling multilingualism in education in ways that weren’t previously possible. An innovative Virtual Reality approach was developed at the East Naples Educational Centre – a private trilingual school, thanks to solutions provided by Ricoh. Concept development The school offers Italian children the opportunity to learn Chinese and English, in addition to their mother tongue. The children attending the Centre were all born in Italy, but often come from Chinese backgrounds. Previously they could only study in Italian, but now they have the opportunity to learn to read and write in the language of their Chinese parents, in addition to English. By the end of primary school they'll be able to write and speak in three languages. Meeting with Ricoh Teaching methods today have changed, we use workshops and interactive tools. “Chinese children live in an environment already permeated by digital technology, so we had to look for innovative tools that – complying with ministerial standards – would offer the advantages of a more advanced didactic approach. We discovered Ricoh at just the right time”, says Tata De Iuliis, principal and coordinator of the Educational Centre. Ricoh Interactive Whiteboards (IWBs) break down barriers in language The school has installed in its classrooms nine 65 inch IWBs. This enabled the centre to offer its students a new and more engaging way to

learn and to study. The advantages of the Ricoh IWBs are the interoperability (it’s simple to connect the devices with tablets and PCs) and the powerful Optical Character Recognition (OCR) that allows the board to recognise the hand-written Chinese signs and convert them into readable format. Teachers can save documents as PDF with a searchable text function and subsequently distribute them to the students via email. Ms De Iuliis highlights the memory capacity of these devices. “What is lacking in traditional schools is the possibility to save materials electronically and refer to them in the future. This problem has now been solved with the help of IWBs. Teachers can retrieve work that has been done previously and review it, making any necessary changes in their own time. This solution is particularly helpful for new teachers who can

find in the archives what their colleagues have done in previous years. Digital technology is important because it involves students in the classroom and at home, and is suitable for training and support of pupils with special educational needs”. The East Naples Educational Centre has also adopted Ricoh Interactive Whiteboards in upper secondary school classes where business administration training for students is provided. The devices were installed by Ricoh and connected to a network of 25 portable PCs. Mr Napolitano comments on Ricoh’s project management: “Ricoh supported and trained us, providing the school with constant and proactive assistance so that we had no problems with the installation. The teachers are really enthusiastic about these new devices”.


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Experience our latest productivity-enhancing workplace technology at ISE 2019.

Visit us on 5th – 8th February at Stand A110 in Hall 11 to discover our new workplace-as-a-service solutions for smart meeting spaces, video collaboration, digital signage and workplace management suite.

Daily THETA V 360 Camera Giveaway at Stand A110 in Hall 11 We’ll be giving away a THETA V 360 camera at our stand each day, so make sure you drop by for your chance to win. Want A FREE Ticket to ISE? Register for free using the code 915577 at ricoh-europe.com/ISE2019


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A selection of some of the latest AV products and solutions now available to the market Creston

Unified Communications Model: Crestron Flex Target market: Corporate


LCD flat panel Model: FHD553-X Target market: Corporate, retail, hospitality, education, venues and more What does it do? A new entry into Christie’s Ultra Series, the FHD553-X flat panel offers full HD resolution, high pixel density and an LED-backlit screen. Thanks to its ultra-narrow bezel, it delivers a near seamless display. The FHD553-X can be used 24/7, and has been designed with energy-efficient operation in mind to deliver a low total cost of ownership. It can be installed in either portrait or landscape mode. What’s new? Replacing Christie FHD552-X, the FHD553-X offers better than ever brightness uniformity, with excellent viewing performance at any distance or angle. The display comes with a three-year parts and labour warranty.

What does it do? Crestron Flex one-touch Unified Communications solutions clear the way to more productive, stress-free days. With a complete product line for every space, from desktop to boardroom, they provide a simple, consistent user experience, including one-touch join. No more wasted time trying to get the technology to work. Crestron Flex solutions are Microsoft Teams Certified and platform agnostic, natively running Skype for Business and Zoom Rooms software. Crestron Flex solutions come in several forms – desk phone, tabletop conferencing system, smart soundbar, and integrated UC kit – but all bring the same user experience, regardless of the type of space in which they’re deployed. That means more uptime and less strain on your support resources. Crestron Flex solutions include 24/7 support worldwide – with no service contract required – and a five-year warranty. Perfect for? Meeting rooms and offices Released: February 2019 More info at: www.crestron.com/flex Price: $616.00 MSRP (US)

Perfect for? Indoor applications including corporate lobbies, boardrooms, education establishments, museums, retail environments, control rooms, sports venues, and more. Released: January 2019 More info at: www.christiedigital.com Price: POA

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LCD laser portable projector range NEC Display Solutions

Video wall display modules Model: UN series Target market: Retail, DOOH, leisure, transportation, control rooms. What does it do? Organisations across a huge range of industries understand the power of video walls to provide stunning, immersive visual experiences with a real ‘wow factor’. The UN Series provides best-in-class readability, even in bright conditions, with up to 700cd/m2 brightness and an advanced anti-haze filter. The ultra-narrow bezel ensures minimal inactive screen area eliminating distortion between individual screens. NEC’s new series of video walls feature smart integration for a range of media sources through one of our OPS Slot-in PCs, Raspberry Pi compute modules or signal interfaces for content feed and computing.

Model: VMZ60 and VMZ50 Target market: Collaborative environments including corporate and education spaces What does it do? The VMZ60 and VMZ50 weigh in at just 7.2kg, making them well suited to transportation between collaborative environments with a 1.6x zoom lens for short throw distances as well as a wide V/H lens-shift. From 4,500-6,000 lumens brightness, the series produces sharp, engaging content with a maintenance free run time of 20,000 hours. What’s new? Most importantly, the series provides an LCD laser solution for budgets that cannot stretch to the 1-chip DLP range. Perfect for? Small to medium sized meeting rooms and classrooms Released: March 2019 for the VMZ50 and June 2019 for VMZ60 More info at: https://business.panasonic.co.uk/ visual-system/laser-lcd-projector/vmz60-series Price: POA

What’s new? The new displays will deliver enhanced visual performance and powerful calibration capabilities thanks to the integrated SpectraView engine. SpectraView also makes it faster and simpler to install, ensuring system integrators benefit from lower costs and quicker set-up. Perfect for? High impact signage Released: Feb 2019 More info at: www.nec-display-solutions.com Price: TBC




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Network video endpoint Model: NV-32-H Target market: Enterprise


Outdoor Smart City Kiosk Model: KOP2549-XHB-EUK and KOP2555-XHB-EUK Target market: Any city or town for retail, government, corporate, hospitality, stadium, and university settings. What does it do? The Smart City Kiosk is modern, approachable and practical digital signage solution, combining functionality and aesthetics, with the ability to endure the rigours of everyday What’s new? The includedXtreme High Bright Outdoor Display, in the 49” and 55” models, is IP68 rated with the widest operating temperature range in the industry (-35°C to 60°C). The fullysealed display eliminates the need for air conditioning or fans for cooling, making it a maintenance free solution. It also has full HD1080p resolution for a bright crisp picture, even in direct sunlight. The Kiosk’s storage area is tested to IP56 standards to prevent the ingress of dust and water and is protected with filters and cooling fans to keep outdoor rated, high-temperature components at their ambient operating temperature. It can also withstand winds up to 140 mph.

What does it do? The Q-SYS NV Series distributes HDMI video anywhere over a standard gigabit network, and is software-definable as either an encoder or decoder in Q-SYS Designer Software. It also provides seamless integration of soft codec audio and Q-SYS conference cameras via USB for web conferencing applications like Zoom, Google Hangouts Meet and Cisco WebEx, all without the need for additional control processors, hubs, bridges or complicated, time-consuming programming. What’s new? The Q-SYS NV Series is a new, single sku solution that provides low latency streaming with resolutions up to 4K60 4:4:4 over a standard gigabit network. It features QSC Shift video compression codec, which dynamically adjusts network bandwidth consumption based on the type of video content without sacrificing the ability to stream full motion video. Part of the Q-SYS

Ecosystem, integrators now have a streaming solution that takes advantage of Q-SYS technologies such as software-based processing and drag-and-drop GUI creation and deployment to control the NV Series. This offers end users greater system stability and reduced integration costs.

Perfect for? Meeting rooms, including multiscreen room designs Released: January 8, 2019 More info at: www.qsc.com/nvseries Price: Pricing will be available in February

Perfect for? Sharing corporate or community information, travel and weather details, as well as wayfinding, advertising, entertainment and more. Released: January 2019 More info at: www.peerless-av.com Price: POA

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MAKING THE RIGHT CALL: VIDEO CONFERENCING CAMERAS What you see is what you get: Choosing the right camera for your business video conference huddle room

According to Wainhouse Research and Gartner, there are currently between 40-60 million meeting rooms in use globally. Of that figures, it’s estimated that up to 75 per cent of those meeting rooms fall into the bracket of huddle rooms – typically smaller more intimate spaces hosting up to six people at a time. In the previous issue (AVTE:

November/December) we took a look a some of the industry’s best video conferencing platforms in order to help you, the reader, boost your level of understanding on what the market has to offer and, maybe, find a more suitable (better?) option compared to what you currently use, or proposing to purchase. Extending upon this – and keeping with

Product: Polycom EagleEye Mini Target market: Corporate Perfect for: Huddle rooms with between 2-6 people Sell it to us: Polycom EagleEye Mini (EEM) changes the videoconferencing experience from the awkward and distant ‘bowling alley’ view to a professionally produced video meeting that zooms in on who’s speaking. The camera has an unmatched visual clarity with a HD capture of up to 1080p60, and supports people tracking up to 10m (32.8 feet). Stand out feature: The EEM promises a 74-degree field of view, ensuring everyone in the meeting can be seen and feels like you’re all in the same space. Zooming in and framing active speakers also means everyone is able to clearly see vital facial expressions and any subtle body language that allows for deeper engagement. Compatibility: Compatible with any device or UC platform such as Zoom and Skype for Business. Why choose over a competitor? The EEM ensures a more natural conversation than other products on the market. It gives a crisp and clear audio and video experience so that participants no longer need to worry about any technical faults and can spend 100% of their time focusing on the bigger issue – the content of their meeting and solving critical business problems. Price: (MRSP, which can vary depending on currency fluctuations, from £110.00)


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the ever growing popularity of huddle rooms – we decided to go a step further and take a look at some of the industry’s leading and most innovative manufacturers (who wouldn’t want an owl-shaped camera?) of video conferencing cameras, taking a look at what they have to offer, how they differ from their competitors and why you

Product: Evoko, Groupie Target market: Corporate Perfect for: Impromptu meetings where it might be impossible to get into an equipped meeting room Sell it to us: Evoko Groupie is a portable wide-angle illumination lens that you can attach to any device making a video conference call so much easier. It sticks easily on the existing camera, enlarging and brightening up the field of view, and at only 35g it is much more compact and convenient than any standalone huddle room camera. It also features eight LED lights up to 13 Lumens to ensure that the subjects are clearly in view. Stand out feature: With a 151-degree, wide-angle lens, Evoko Groupie brings an end to crowding around a webcam and enables meeting attendees to sit comfortably while still being a part of the meeting Compatibility: Universal. A micro suction mount pad makes it easy to attach Evoko Groupie over the existing camera on computers, tablets and smartphones. Why choose over a competitor? At under £100, it has the capacity to turn any room into a huddle room equipped for video conferencing. As Groupie is attachable to any device, video meetings do not have to be bound to a particular room and can go wherever the laptop, tablet or phone go. Price: £79.00


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Product: Logitech MeetUp Target markets: Corporate, SME Perfect for: Small to medium rooms Sell it to us: Logitech MeetUp is an all-in-one ConferenceCam that includes a speaker, microphone and 120-degree FOV 4K camera. It is a plug and play USB-based solution designed for huddle rooms with enterprise-quality audio and video, with minimal cabling. According to Microsoft, 97.5 per cent of the world’s huddle rooms are not equipped for video conferencing. MeetUp has been designed specifically for these meeting spaces, and is rapidly being adopted as companies respond to employee needs for dynamic working spaces. Meetup can be installed above or below a screen, and its flat design and in-built audio means it won’t be an intrusive feature in smaller spaces. An additional expansion mic is available, which extends the audio range from 8ft to 12ft. There is no special software, training or maintenance is required, making it easy to launch an enterprise quality video conference Stand out feature: It is the first ConferenceCam that effectively combines a 120-degree FOV 4k camera with integrated audio; three horizontally aimed beamforming mics and a custom tuned speaker. Compatibility: Universal – MeetUp is totally platform agnostic and doesn’t require proprietary software Why choose over a competitor? Alternative room systems can cost thousands, and the price prohibits firms from investing in collaboration technologies. At just £999, MeetUp has proven to be the conferencecam of choice for companies looking to video-enable the workforce at scale. Price: RRP £999 (Amazon for £800)

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Product: NewTek, NDI PTZ Camera Target market: Enterprise, businesses with 100+ employees, AV, education, government, and more Perfect for: Turning any office or any size meeting room into a remote studio for executive communications, video conferencing or online training. Sell it to us: Streamline virtual classroom production, lecture capture, and distance learning for live and on-demand teaching and much more. Use NDI with Zoom, Skype, Goto Meeting, and Webex. Simply connect your NDI PTZ camera into an ethernet port and your camera is now available as a source to all NDI compatible systems and software anywhere on your network. And that’s it. Stand out feature: With NDI compatibility, the NDI PTZ camera has the ability to transport video, audio, PTZ control, tally and Power over Ethernet (PoE) on one single network cable making it the easiest and fastest way to get IP video into your production. Compatibility: NDI output over IP via Ethernet connection, 3G-SDI or HDMI video output, native support for HD resolutions up to 1080p 60 Why choose over a competitor? Having your camera source visible to any NDI compatible system anywhere on your network, will save you time, money and hassle while taking advantage of your existing network infrastructure. There are other NDI-enabled cameras available in the market, but only the NewTek NDI PTZ camera comes from the innovator of NDI. Price: $2499 US

Product: Owl Labs, Meeting Owl Target market: All businesses Perfect for: Small-to-midsize conference rooms with 2-10 people. Sell it to us: The Meeting Owl is the first 360° smart conferencing camera. Most conferencing cameras sit against the wall and thus give an “outsiders” perspective of the conversation. This puts the remote participants at a disadvantage: they’re missing important visual cues and details that make conversation natural and effective. Users say our product offers an experience that nearly feels like being in the room. Stand out feature: What makes the Meeting Owl most unique is the speaker spotlight. It sits in the centre of the table, and uses audio and visual cues to automatically focus on the different people in the room whenever they start to speak. What else is unique? It looks like a beautiful techy owl! Compatibility: It connects via USB to your computer, and works with nearly all popular video conferencing platforms like Zoom, Google Meet, Skype, Skype for Business, Webex, GotoMeeting, and much more. Why choose over a competitor? There are many video conferencing cameras on the market, however, those devices are more focused on adding pixels than creating the experience needed for effective collaboration. We’re honoured to have customers who are replacing their £5-10K telepresence solutions for our £799 product. Price: £799


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Retail: the times, they are a-changin’ If you did at least some of your Christmas shopping in a real store rather than from the comfort of your sofa, you may have witnessed the start of a revolution in retailing. Ian McMurray finds out what’s going on as bricks and mortar retailers fight back

Moving with the times: Creating a new retail experience is the key to bringing people back to the high-street




n November, the number of Brits who went shopping dropped to its lowest level since the 2008 recession, according to researchers, with footfall down 3.2 per cent. That announcement followed successive monthly reports of a decline in consumer visits to so-called ‘bricks and mortar’ retailers. Meanwhile, UK household name chains including Debenhams, Mothercare, House of Fraser, Homebase and Marks & Spencer are reported to be facing torrid times. Across the UK, 6,000 or more UK high street shops are closing each year – and the number is growing. The word ‘crisis’ doesn’t begin to do the situation justice. Traditional retailers are under threat more than ever before – with most fingers being pointed at the likes of Amazon and Asos.

Yes: some of the contributing factors are, perhaps, uniquely British – decreasing levels of disposable income, uncertainty about Brexit, high taxes on retail property – but a general decline in consumer footfall across Europe has been widely reported. Is bricks and mortar retail dead in the water? Can the tide be turned back? Is it the case for retailers that, as Bob Dylan famously sang over half a century ago: “You better start swimmin’ or you’ll sink like a stone”? Well established Digital signage is now well established in the retail sector, and has been rolled out in countless malls, stores and restaurants around the world. “We’re helping retailers transform their stores with digital solutions that are an extension to their


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overall online and mobile strategy,” notes Jason Cremins, founder and CEO of digital signage software provider Signagelive. “Integrating with internal systems for stock and sales, combined with audience measurement and other influencers including weather; we create a dynamic rules-based digital signage solution that delivers digital media content optimised each time a media asset is displayed. Our smart playlist capabilities ensure that each media asset is displayed based on the real-time and historic data analysed to ensure maximum impact.” As Cremins implies: to just say ‘digital signage’ is to do it much less than justice. It is now so much more sophisticated than it was when it was simply a sexier kind of poster, adapting to a wide range of environmental variables as well as being integrated within a retailer’s back end systems. “We’ve worked with retailers such as Iceland Foods to integrate with their logistics platform to display real-time delivery slot availability on displays in-store so that customers can see at a glance when their frozen food can be delivered at home,” Cremins continues. And: digital signage is proven to work. “When Iceland advertised coconut water on in-store digital displays, sales increased by 700 per cent,” Cremins smiles. The technology is far from standing still. While Cremins describes how the best digital signage systems dynamically respond to key influencing factors, AI and machine learning are taking that dynamism to a new level. Targeted marketing “By utilising CCTV analytics technology within retail stores, businesses can really get the most out of their AV technologies as a personalised marketing tool,” explains Lucy Meredith, product marketing manager at Panasonic Business. “For example, facial recognition technology can log the age and gender of the visitor as they walk into the store, and change the content on the digital signage to match the likely preferences of that individual. This is incredibly useful for businesses as they can segment their marketing, increasing the likelihood of purchase. For marketing teams, this approach provides a rich stream of data that helps analyse the patterns of their customers to allow more targeted marketing in the future.” There are countless examples of the positive impact of technology in stores. Such has been the success of digital signage that retailers are increasingly looking to adjacent technologies to

January/February 2019


help them achieve their goals in terms of footfall and sales. And: those technologies can bring a great deal. “It’s the retail market in particular that has inspired many of the innovations we have developed in recent years,” says Ben Kershaw, managing director of Pro Display, a manufacturer specialising in innovative display solutions. “For example, Rear Projection Switchable Glass, which is a development of our Switchable Glass privacy solution, has been developed to extend projection functionality to PDLC [polymer-dispersed liquid crystals] privacy screens and windows, opening up

Panasonic’s Lucy Meredith

KEY LEARNING POINTS • The success of digital signage has encouraged retailers to explore a wide range of technologies to drive footfall and sales. • Retailers are competing not only with online – but with each other. The winners will be those who embrace new technologies fastest. • There is plenty of empirical and anecdotal evidence that investing in instore technology drives footfall and sales. • In-store technology should not be seen as a short term gimmick, but as a valuable long term tool for driving sales. • The best implementations of technology in retail premises extend and reinforce a retailer’s online presence.

“When Iceland advertised coconut water on its in-store digital displays, sales increased by 700 per cent”


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Ben Holmes (top) and Jason Cremins

new worlds of technological creativity and productivity. Likewise, the development of Interactive Mirror Displays gave touch capability to mirror screens, enabling engaging use of product selectors and augmented reality in changing rooms, amongst other places. The continuously evolving retail market is an ideal innovation ground.” “Retailers are looking to modernise their stores through engaging technology which creates a new experience for consumers,” believes Meredith. “Technology such as connected digital signage, Panasonic’s LinkRay LightID based information sharing, and our Space Player - a hybrid lighting solution, which combines the functions of traditional lighting and video projectors in a single spotlight design - can be used to interact with customers and make them feel like they are at the centre of the retail experience, making them more likely to remember the experience and return to the store.” Rising star The rising star in retail technology could be said to be VR/AR – and especially the latter. “Augmented reality as a product visualisation tool gives retailers the opportunity to provide their customers with a product experience unlike any other,” claims Chris Elson, client development manager at Diverse Interactive, who create augmented and virtual reality experiences. “AR is the perfect tool for products that are often difficult to demonstrate when away from their natural environment; that are complex or intricate in

KEY LEARNING POINTS • The success of digital signage has encouraged retailers to explore a wide range of technologies to drive footfall and sales. • Retailers are competing not only with online – but with each other. The winners will be those who embrace new technologies fastest. • There is plenty of empirical and anecdotal evidence that investing in instore technology drives footfall and sales. • In-store technology should not be seen as a short term gimmick, but as a valuable long term tool for driving sales. • The best implementations of technology in retail premises extend and reinforce a retailer’s online presence.



design; or that are, in many instances, masked by some sort of casing. The almost ‘X-ray vision’ capabilities of augmented reality make it entirely possible to explain product USPs in an exciting and engaging way. And: it’s all backed up with a reporting backend structure that tracks customer interactions with the AR product demonstrations. That means that the retailer has at their disposal a level of insight into customer behaviour that’s previously not been possible.” “Having an in-store AR experience is in itself a major draw card to many, because it turns the retailer’s physical space into a desirable destination once again, because of its unique appeal,” he adds. “AR has the capacity to not only engage with retail customers on a new level, but also drive footfall in-store once again. And what we know about engaged customers is that they spend more, buy more often, they become advocates of the brand and so on.” Examples of how he has seen AR used have included the ability to ‘place’ a car on a customer’s driveway, or a sofa into their lounge to see whether it will match the curtains. Elson is quick to point out that AR should never be used as a gimmick, but always as a tool. Unprecedented opportunities In fact, there are so many technologies out there vying for retailers’ attention. LED is transforming what’s possible with videowalls, opening up unprecedented creative opportunities. Shopping experience company Outform reports that Van Heusen created a retail environment complete with a ‘Virtual Trial’ mirror which lets users see how outfits would look on them by simply scanning the item’s barcode and standing in front of the mirror as virtual garments are projected onto their reflection. Holography and 3D projection – such as Kino-mo’s Hypervsn – are rapidly gaining traction. Companies like Endpoint are transforming wayfinding signage into sales floor assets rather than their historically more prosaic function. Transparent LCD showcases are also offering new ways to engage an audience – and can be augmented with touch foils or frames to provide interactivity. That ‘engagement’ to which Elson referred echoes what Meredith said about a store visit being memorable – and, according to most commentators on the retail market, it is the most-craved goal – but the quest to achieve it extends far beyond the store walls. ‘Omnichannel’ is a word frequently heard in digital signage circles to describe how retailers look


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Fit: Interactive mirros in the changing room at Nike Town (left). Ben Kershaw, below.

to engage with customers at every touch point – whether the retail floor, the web site, social media, advertising or direct mail. “Increasingly, we’re seeing high street retailers use technology to bridge the gap between online and in-store experiences to ensure they complement – rather than compete with – each other,” notes Ben Holmes, head of display at Samsung. “Such solutions, including those that we offer, enable multichannel usage of marketing content to truly reflect the online experience in physical locations, from sales promotions adaptable to the weather to short videos and in-store social media campaigns.” Buzzworthy Kershaw picks up on the multichannel/omnichannel idea, and also sees an opportunity to indulge in something much beloved by marketer. “Many of our products offer the opportunity to produce unique and buzzworthy content, helping to mobilise the investment to remain productive out of the store,” he says. “For example, consumers seeing via social media that a business has a particularly hyped window display or in-store feature may

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“Consumers seeing via social media that a business has a particularly hyped window display or in-store feature may encourage customers to visit when they would not have done otherwise”


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depends on where any given store is in terms of its maturity, its objectives – and even its location.

Projecting the right image: Panasonic’s Space Player inside a Londis store (above), Chris Elson (below)

encourage customers to visit when they would not have done otherwise.” For many retailers, bridging the gap between the real world and the virtual world – and increasing engagement - is all about embracing consumers’ use of their mobile phones. Panasonic’s Meredith has an example. “To improve the interactivity of digital signage, retail stores can combine it with technologies such as LinkRay,” she explains. “This platform uses LED light to transmit content to mobile devices, turning digital signage displays, signboards and light sources into 1-2-1 marketing tools for smartphones. This can augment visitor experiences in retail as it allows users to easily access information about the products available, even in crowded retail environments. It also means that retailers can improve the offline/online shopping experience: for instance, LinkRayenabled displays would allow customers to purchase items from a shop window even when the store is closed.” There is, of course, no such thing as a one size fits all technology solution for every retailer – and, as Pro Display’s Kershaw points out, much

“Our customer reported nearly £1 million worth of product sold from a luxury brand AR product visualiser we developed”

Fundamental motivation “For example,” he says, “a new store in the middle of a competitive shopping centre may be focused more on standing out than an established store located in a small retail park who, with steady footfall, may look to focus more on the customer experience instead. In this case, the shopping centre store motivated to increase brand awareness may look to invest in a large Digital Glass projection screen, which offers a very cost-effective and energy-efficient alternative to LCD video walls of an equivalent size. The store interested in developing the customer experience may gravitate instead to more engaging technology solutions that can be used in store such as touch screen displays with games, product catalogues or self-service applications.” “Both reasons for investing in a display system may be different,” he continues, “but the fundamental motivation of increasing sales and being better than the competition remains.” The $64 million question is, of course: is deploying technology an expense – or an investment? The industry is clear. Whether it’s measurable increases in sales or footfall, repeat business from retailers or customer feedback – retailers are seeing a return. Diverse Interactive’s Elson has a strong word of advice, however. “Now is the time that retailers should be developing proofs of concept, and testing AR as a tool because, before too long, when AR becomes a mainstream marketing channel, those that have seized the opportunity now to learn about its capabilities, will reap the rewards relevant to a significantly more educated customer. AR commerce is going to be huge, and about to begin.” His guidance is certainly applicable across the board when it comes to evaluating and deploying new technologies for retail: competitive advantage will invariably lie with first movers. Huge transformation “The retail industry is in the midst of a huge transformation, driven by the challenges presented by the convenience and innovation of online shopping,” says Samsung’s Holmes. “High street brands are increasingly finding themselves asking how they can improve their in-store offering and increase footfall into store. Technology can be a huge catalyst for change and help businesses respond to the ever-growing retail challenge.”




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It’s all too easy, of course, to believe that bricks and mortar retailers’ competition is entirely with on-line retailers. That is, of course, fundamentally not so. Physical stores are continuing to compete with each other for footfall, sales and profits, as Kershaw noted. In challenging times, that competition has not become less fierce. AV technology can provide a vital differentiator that will pull consumers into one store rather than into another. Inevitably, however, there is much focus on bringing consumers back to the high street. And here’s the thing. Imagine being able to touch and feel something before you buy it. Imagine buying clothes that you know will fit you. Imagine not having to create an account before actually buying something. Imagine not having to wait in all day for a delivery that hasn’t got lost in transit or damaged. And, best of all: imagine being able to have something the moment you’ve decided you want it. You’re imagining the world of bricks and mortar retail. It has so much going for it. All it has to do make shopping in-store interesting – make it an engaging experience - to entice you into that world. To return to Bob Dylan: “There’s a battle outside, and it’s ragin”. AV technology is increasingly proving to provide that enticement, and to enable the battle to be won.

www.diverseinteractive.com www.panasonic.eu www.prodisplay.com www.samsung.com www.signagelive.com

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AVIXA: “RETAILTAINMENT” KEY TO BRINGING CUSTOMERS BACK IN STORE Senior director, market intelligence at AVIXA, Sean Wargo explains how he believes the high-street retail and online can live in harmony with the right imagination and investment in technology crucial to getting customers off their phone and computer when shopping. “The news stories out there are about the challenges of brick and mortar retail competing with online,” explained Wargo. “Certainly the stories are full of retail stores closing, but what’s now emerging is a new class of retail. Retailtainment, destination retail, experiential retail. The idea is that they are marrying content, space and technology together to provide a new way of engaging the shopper. “In the US we speak about one of the problems with retail is that it’s over-built. There’s way more real estate allocated than what’s needed, especially in this era of online where everything is easy to source. So, it’s collapsing the number of stores, but

reinvesting in the individual experience, so people have a destination and want to go in. Experience is everything He continued: “Online may seem like the perfect access for viewing products and gaining information around pricing, but the thing that online can’t do, is create an exceptional experience. In some ways, retail is becoming more of a marketing spend and less about selling a certain number of products. Its about the experience and the soft metric of engagements and brand recognition. Dyson, for example – AV plays a huge part in its concept stores, using digital signage, lighting and audio to help grab the customer and draw them in” He concludes: “Offering you the ability to interact with a salesperson, interact with the product, see some clothing on yourself using (in retail) a smart mirror – all those sorts of things. They create an experience you simply can’t get from a website.”


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Best Practice: Dos and ’Don’ts of Digital Signage Graham Gilhooley, senior creative at 20/20 Productions offers AVTE readers his professional advice


hen it comes to digital signage, plenty of us are clued up on the latest tech. But to get the most out of digital signage, we have to make them as engaging and as captivating as possible. That’s where design comes in. There are some key principles that digital signage designers should follow in order to engage customers, event-goers or even employees. Digital signage should be used for more than just displaying static messages on screens. If used effectively, the level of interaction and engagement that can be generated is far more than what can be achieved with traditional non-digital options. With that in mind, here are some of the top Dos and Don’ts of Digital Signage Design to help you maximise the potential of your digital signage. VIDEOS Are you launching a new product or discussing a new idea? Videos can add depth and dimension to the conversation. DO Use videos to transition between place holder graphics and videos seamlessly. This way, you can tell a gripping story and take your viewers along


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with you. Videos could be filmed with real people or could be in the form of an animated explainer. The choice is yours! DON’T Confuse or bore your audience with lengthy videos. With so many messages competing for your audience’s attention, you will only have a few seconds to make yours sink in – so it’s vital you make them count. MOVING GRAPHICS The beauty of digital signage is that the images don’t have to be static as they do with traditional signage. That means you can get creative with your digital signage design. DO Have fun with it. Got a company logo or a new strapline that needs jazzing up? You can make it pulsate, change colour or even do a cartwheel – there are so many possibilities! This elevates the display, making your brand or message much more captivating and memorable. DON’T Make it tacky. No PowerPoint dissolve transitions, or zany word art here, please.


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KEY MESSAGES Ever been bored at a presentation where the speaker just drones on and on? Was it hard to digest all the information and statistics being thrown at you? With effective digital signage design that focuses on reinforcing key messages, this can be avoided. Digital signage will allow key messages to have a longer shelf life, strengthen your presentation objective and will continue to engage your audience for the whole of the event. DO Use captivating graphics and colour schemes to highlight key messages, findings and statistics. Work with your brand guidelines to add a splash of colour to your digital screens – use bright and enticing colour schemes to engage your viewers and guarantee yourself that added bit of standout. DON’T Over-message. Help your audience to be able to easily digest your messaging by limiting your selected key messages – as few as possible per slide. By doig it that that way, it will be much easier for your audiences to engage with your call to action – you will see a higher uptake if you ask less of your audience! TESTIMONIALS You may not like to brag, but your digital signage can do it for you! Display glittering client testimonials at stakeholder or employee engagement events to generate an air of positivity.

“Remember that the goal is to create impactful messages and to communicate them to your audience in a way that grabs and holds their attention”

DO Keep these in line with your company’s style and branding to highlight your team’s success and the impact that they have made. DON’T Use stock photography against real people’s names. That is, of course, unless you’d like your glowing review to be retracted! PRODUCT DEMO Got a new product that’s hard to explain in an elevator pitch? Digital signage can do the talking. DO Create well-designed, visually stimulating digital demonstrations. That way, your customers can easily make sense of your product without you having to worry about getting your message across.

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DON’T Add in the small print. Although it’s tempting to provide your audience with all the nitty gritty details of your product, you do not need to use your digital signage to communicate this. Think of your signage as the initial pitch, and then use the conversation it sparks to discuss the finer details. These are just some of the hundreds of things that you can do with digital signage. That’s the beauty of digital signage – you can constantly try out new designs and displays that captivate and engage. And if all else fails, remember that the goal is to create impactful messages and to communicate them to your audience in a way that grabs and holds their attention.


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VR: Taking The Drama Out Of Theatre Production London based firm Preevue is using 3D scanning, VR and VR technology to allow production companies to design and walk around their sets and check the view from every seat in any theatre without leaving their office


hen building and designed a set/ stage for a theatre production, there are many different

Founder Ryan Metcalfe

things to consider. With more than 1,300 theatres in the UK alone, many (if not all), will differ in design – sometimes greatly – with varying stage sizes, shapes and heights, seating arrangements (upper and lower tiering – posh boxes), plus roof supports...you name it. For the production company – particularly one on tour – the lack of a one-size-fits-all format, means adjustments to their set design are inevitable. But it’s not always as as simple as rejigging a few props here and there. Without solid preparation, the ramifications can have a damaging impact, both financially and from an experience perspective should the design leave paying customers with, for example, impaired views or even force some seats to be out of action. “I was the playground Pablo Escobar of Cadbury when I was 13 until I was mercilessly shut down by the head teacher” Preparation for such scenarios – which may not be discovered until a customer complains after the curtain is raised – have historically been hugely problematic, and difficult to foresee. Until now. Thanks to VR and AR technologies, such issues are now able to be overcome, days, weeks, months

BENEFITS OF PREEVUE • Quickly and easily see how a set design fits in a new theatre. • Check sight lines of a theatre without visiting it and set ticket banding before the set is built on site, eliminating the need to hold potentially restricted view seats off sale. • Go on virtual site visits to venues around the world. • Walk around a set and give notes before construction starts. • Work with the most accurate CAD drafting possible


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or even years in advance, with stages and sets able to be designed, built and viewed long before the first ticket is sold. Enabling this, is entrepreneur Ryan Metcalfe who founded London based firm PreeVue in 2016 at the age of just 19 (irritatingly he was born in 1997, making us all feel incredibly old). Having studied Technical Theatre with a specialism in Theatre Technology at Guildhall School of Music and Drama, Metcalfe spotted a gap in the market, one which he has been able to fill through a combination of 3D scanning, VR and AR technologies. Today, demand for PreeVue’s services stretched from London’s West End, to New York’s Broadway, with Bat out of Hell and Harry Potter and the Cursed Child names on its every growing list of customers in recent years. AVTE caught up with its MD Ryan to learn more about the company. Hi Ryan. How would you describe Preevue? Preevue creates bespoke VR and AR visualisations for production and planning purposes. We originally started out with mainly theatre set design projects that allowed producers and directors the ability to see and walk around a set without it physically being built, but we’ve since expanded into architecture, construction, and live event production. We’re currently working on four continents, with the vast majority of work in New York and London and a few others dotted around the world - it’s logical most of our work is in New York and London with the West End and Broadway. The level of growth within the company was unprecedented but I guess it’s a wonderful problem to have. When did you first come up with the idea for the company? My background is in the production and technical side of theatre and it always struck me that there’s www.avtechnologyeurope.com

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Above: and below: Going digital. Technology allows production firms and venue owners to prepare months in advance – saving time and money, whilst improving audience experience

January/February 2019

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usually a huge amount of uncertainty throughout the planning process of even some of the West End and Broadway’s biggest shows. I simply couldn’t wrap my head around how a multimillion-pound production may never have a 3D computer aided design (CAD) model or plans of the theatre that weren’t hand-drawn in the 60s. So that’s when I started thinking that there must be a better way to visually see and understand the show’s design. My general geekiness and interest in technology meant I was keeping up with the VR world but I didn’t immediately join the dots. VR headsets were initially marketed for gaming; once I realised, however, that the fundamental use of VR of immersing you in an environment at true scale could have other uses than shooting zombies, that’s when it all clicked. I also had a great few years at the Guildhall School of Music & Drama too. I’ve no doubt that sitting in production meetings and staring at cardboard models reinforced the idea there. In production meetings with maybe twenty, thirty, forty people crowded around a scale model – how many of them can actually imagine what that set looks like at full scale? That’s the beauty of the VR work we do, it takes out all ambiguity and requirement of imagination, you simply wear a headset and you’re there. It’s one thing to come up with an idea, but how did you execute it – given your young age? This is my first limited company, I’ve had plenty of ventures in the past whether it be freelance graphic design work, website design or right back to cliché entrepreneur selling sweets in the playground. As a side-note, my sweet empire was a fantastic business: I bulk bought sweets at a cash and carry, undercut the prices of those splitting multi packs and still maintained higher margins. I was the playground Pablo Escobar of Cadbury when I was 13 until I was mercilessly shut down by the head teacher. Back to Preevue... it was a very steep learning curve getting everything up and running – accounting, contracts, legal advice, payroll, the list goes on and on of areas I needed to pick up rather rapidly to make this work. Thankfully I’m surrounded by very competent and helpful family members and friends, lots with business experience aplenty, who are happy to lend a hand when I come calling. When did you officially launch? I formed the company in May of 2016 and officially launched at the end of June, but there’d been around six months of R&D prior to that. I formed the company just before I finally received delivery of the VR headsets The main event that kickstarted everything was PLASA 2016, which was a whirlwind of madness from which we got an abundance of work and publicity. What would you say is your primary target market? I started the company with set design in mind and that was mainly what we did for the first few months. It became quickly apparent, however, that there was huge value in the venue side of 70

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Setting the stage: VR headsets allow ed people to instantly explore a popular London theatre during a live demonstration

the production – there’s huge power in the production manager or producer being able to quickly press a button and look at the three or four potential theatres they’re looking at hiring, or being able to check sightlines in a theatre on the other side of the world from the comfort of their office. We mainly work directly with producers and production managers, but we’ve also rapidly expanded in the past six months with lots of work in construction, architecture and event design and planning and there’s still more markets which I think would benefit from VR and AR visualisation. Can you give some examples of whom you have worked with to date? Unfortunately I can’t talk about the people with whom we’ve worked or the projects we’re involved with as almost every single one of them is confidential for the foreseeable future. Talks us through what it is you actually provide? Every project is bespoke to what the client needs and no two projects have been the same. The typical West End or Broadway show projects involves laser scanning either the theatre that’s been chosen or multiple if it’s still being decided, laser scanning a set if it’s a transfer of a show and the set exists or turning the CAD plans into 3D model and combining the scan of the venue and set design itself. With this visualisation, producers can check sightlines, see whether that’s the right theatre for their production and visit the venue as many times as they want without an expensive and time-consuming flight. Production managers can use the VR to explore the venues and, as they’re made from laser scans accurate to a millimetre, they’re incredibly precise. Set designers use it to virtually work in a space and to see how their set adapts to a specific venue, lighting designers can use it to check angles from rigging positions in the technical galleries, revenue managers can choose how expensive a seat should be before the set is built – the list of uses is endless. Talk us through the creative process. www.avtechnologyeurope.com

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LDs experimenting with angles and where to place specific fixtures over programming specifics. It’ll be great once we’re able to program full shows in VR using an actual lighting board but we’re a few years away from that.

The core of the visualisations we produce is the laser scan of the venue. This is a millimetre accurate scan of the venue, which we can then bring into VR. The level of detail these scans pick up is incredible, it’s like walking around a photograph when exploring one. Depending on the theatre, a laser scan usually takes a few hours and processing of that scan is usually a few weeks of manual clean-up after the model of the venue is generated. We then equip the client with a computer compatible with our VR visualisations that we’ve built in-house and all the relevant headsets and equipment needed. You can view the results through either VR headset or Hololens. Tell us about some of the experiences, abilities and benefits that each technology provides. VR is great for transporting somebody somewhere else, especially if it isn’t practical or possible to visit that place because it’s on the other side of the world, or it’s a construction site for an ongoing refurb, or it simply doesn’t exist yet in the case of new builds. It’s also good for taking out all the ambiguity that surrounds 2D plans or 3D plans on a computer. And AR? AR with the Microsoft HoloLens is more about providing producers with a quick look at what a design will look like in a venue. We take a scan of an existing set or produce 3D CAD files which can then be viewed as a hologram through a headset, allowing a producer to physically walk around a venue and see how the set design looks on stage. It’s a different use to VR, but it’s a lot quicker using the HoloLens over laser scanning a variety of theatres if it’s convenient for the producer to visit the potential venue in person. Beyond visual, are there any other interactive abilities for, say, a producer to use? It’s possible to program in most elements of a show, we can put in all the flying scenery, automated scenery, and staging elements such as turntables. Lighting is doable too but is more aimed at January/February 2019

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How has the market responded? On a whole, the response has been good and we haven’t had a single dissatisfied client. When I launched the company, there was some obvious worries about it in the industry. I think a fair few people misinterpreted what we’re offering as something that would replace their jobs, whereas instead it’s meant to be complementary. We didn’t set out to replace designers – we strive to make their jobs easier by providing a medium through which they can present their designs to a producer and director in the best way possible. It initially was a hard time convincing the first few clients to give it try, but now that we’re working on a lot of projects the work is snowballing. Is there a fear of the unknown for companies when it comes to VR and AR? There’s certainly a fear of unknown with VR and AR and, especially in the theatre industry, there’s sometimes an initial mindset of “if it ain’t broke...” and people can often take a lot of convincing to just try it. We’re not helped either when companies rapidly jump on the VR and AR bandwagon, but don’t invest the time and effort in the R&D to make it work well. These companies are selling VR and AR, but we sell the visualisation service, VR and AR are simply the technologies that enable that. People have sometimes already tried either VR and AR before we approach them and their previous experience with it was poor, leading them to think that that’s the benchmark for what’s achievable with the technology. Similarly, it indirectly damages the work we’re trying to do when other companies just cobble together a VR experience for an exhibition and sell it as a gimmick, without realising it’s the service that’s actually of value and not the technology. Aside from theatre, where else do you see VR and AR being heavily adopted? There’s a lot of potential for VR and AR in both professional environments and for consumer entertainment. We’re a few years off AR becoming accessible to the masses, while VR is just on the cusp right now. Gaming is great fun with VR and the price keeps dropping, with its current cost not too off-putting to your average gaming enthusiast. I foresee live events coming to VR in the next few years once streaming capabilities improve, I think on demand concerts or sports games will be coming soon. There’s a lot of concern and upset amongst the big players in the theatre industry over VR live streaming, but I personally think there’s less market appeal of that over something like a football match or an arena concert. I’m personally a huge advocate for VR and I wouldn’t particularly want to watch a theatre performance in it, at least with the technology in its current 71

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Visavvi A new face for Saville AV: In our latest installment, group technical director, Colin Etchells provides an update on the business over the past year, trends and changes being seen in the industry and the importance of high-quality AV in business Hi Colin. Tell us about Visavvi Saville Group. The Saville Group has been a leading specialist integrator in the industry for over fifty years and the recent brand transformation in late 2018 was the culmination of new business strategies over the last three years. The creation of the Visavvi brand alongside its sister live event brand Sparq, under the corporate banner of Saville Group, allows us to be totally specific on delivering solutions for client needs drawn from unparalleled industry experience and heritage.

January/February 2019


What is your geographic reach? With an impressive, long-standing corporate, Higher Education, public sector and military client base, we have access to far-flung corners of the globe. To help service this global reach we have an international portfolio of approved integration partners who deliver projects to our very high Visavvi standard. Today we find our reputation attracts clients who require deployment of integrated collaborative solutions on a huge geographic scale and our capability to provide


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solutions and services whenever and wherever they are needed drives our business growth. Since our recent brand transformation, we have seen our overseas operations increase dramatically. Over the last two years, the business has seen an increase of 600 per cent and continues to expand. 2019 will kick off with another major global deployment of collaboration spaces already confirmed. How is business? I’m really pleased to be able to say – fantastic! Over the past few years the business has continued to grow dramatically year on year and 2017 saw our largest trading year in the company’s history with turnover hitting in excess of £40 million. Even better news is that we have surpassed that dramatically for 2018. Whilst these impressive figures reflect the financial growth of the business,

“AV over IP, without doubt, brings massive opportunity for clients and the AV industry. It brings unprecedented levels of scale, flexibility and functionality never previously achievable in the AV industry”

they don’t highlight the high level of engagement and close relationships we enjoy with our clients, colleagues and partners. In an industry dominated by technology, Visavvi is a people business. We work with people on behalf of people, using technology to deliver their aspirations and business needs. We focus on developing relationships with clients, technology partners and our own colleagues that will last the test of time. Technology comes and goes but the trust placed on us as a result of these relationships is something that continues to get stronger each year. Visavvi is that dependable business that clients love to work with, manufacturers trust with their most valuable assets and where our colleagues feel part of a family. For these very reasons we are in a fabulous position as we enter 2019. What trends are you seeing in the market? That’s a wide-ranging question. It really depends what the application is. We are seeing more and more informal meeting spaces or huddle rooms

being specified across all vertical markets. Typically suited to a more agile way of working, which sees teams come together to discuss a specific task or problem, they have to be highly capable and extremely easy to use by a diverse range of users with specific needs. This is where our role as a specialist integrator really comes to the fore. Interactive touch screens with integrated collaboration capabilities such as Microsoft Hub, NEC InfinityBoard and now the Avocor WCD, are fast emerging as the product of choice for many organisations, as business leaders look to equip their teams. The ability for multiple users to interact collaboratively with content on the fly is greatly accelerating business agility and improving business outcomes for organisations. With geographically dispersed teams rapidly becoming the norm, virtual engagement and collaboration is a core requirement for business success. Technology hardware continues to evolve but increasingly the intelligence is found within the software of a product, enabling greater scope for rapid upgrades to match current demands, thus extending the life of the host hardware. A key feature of many of these new products that embrace a software environment, is the ability to allow users to install their chosen set of approved applications, allowing them to tailor their workflows as required, whilst facilitating easy upgrades and configuration meaning they are always at the forefront of the market. AV over IP is also a rapidly expanding are of the market, an area where having the correct IT skills within our team is as equally important than having AV skills. What’s hot in AV right now? AV over IP, without doubt, brings massive opportunity for clients and the AV industry. It brings unprecedented levels of scale, flexibility and functionality never previously achievable. In the last year, we’ve completed one of the largest deployments of Crestron NVX in Europe and are about to complete what will be the largest single AMX SVSI deployment for Higher Education in Europe. Two of the largest AV over IP projects in Europe in a six month period is astonishing and shows how hungry clients are for this capability. The convergence of IT and AV within the industry isn’t really a surprise as it has been coming for a long time and we’ve prepared for it. Our engineers have AV, CTS and IT networking experience and qualifications unmatched within the industry and that has really positioned Visavvi as the leader in this field.

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This expansion into IP based technologies means security is also a key concern for many enterprises, especially as the industry becomes more focused on IP centric solutions. Understanding exactly how a technology solution will work on a client network and the identification of potential conflicts and compromises is a new pressure for integrators. With our commitment to training, especially in this field, we are perfectly placed to cope with these challenges. Any personal AV favourites? To be honest, there are far too many to mention and each addresses a particular application but if I had to choose one area of the industry that excites me it would be AV over IP and the obvious solutions would be from Crestron and AMX! What are the biggest obstacles/frustrations you’re seeing in the industry? Frustratingly more and more consumer grade products promoted as “easy to install”, are entering the market, by-passing the deep understanding, experience, knowledge and ability of professional integrators like ourselves and undermining our role. Of course, anybody can “Google” the specifications of a piece of hardware and can perhaps understand the basics of how one device connects to another, but without the technical expertise and industry understanding to engage with the “bigger picture” this can rapidly become a recipe for disaster. With more solutions becoming IP dependant this approach can have devastating results.

Finally, how important is it for a business – of any size – to have/use good quality AV? AV has become a strategic business asset in organisations, which is a substantial shift from a few years ago. Today most organisations place a high importance on creating environments where employees are empowered by technology rather than hindered by it. Smart organisations realise their users have access to unprecedented levels of domestic technology outside of work, such as smart phones, tablets, smart TV’s, voice control devices, video calling. To keep them engaged they need to offer functional business grade equivalents. A few years ago, it was a case of users wanting technology in meeting rooms, now it’s a case of demanding it. Today people make important career decisions based on the type of environment they will be working in and the access to appropriate tools to empower and develop their progression. Business leaders understand that they need to equip their teams in order to compete effectively in today’s markets and that technology can have a significant and direct impact on productivity and therefore profitability. Technology is no longer a “nice to have” it is a “must have.”

Why should end users go through an integrator rather than simply buy and install themselves? Our long-standing experience for blending technologies from multiple manufacturers enables us to deliver inventive collaborative audio-visual environments for clients. We possess the depth of knowledge across many brands and products, taking the best of what’s on offer to build them the correct, cohesive solution, whilst being able to spot potential problems in advance. Integrators also hold the key to successful deployment. Some just design systems, but for us it is all about delivering an integrated end to end solution from design and concept through to installation, deployment and ongoing support and maintenance. Our heritage as the UK’s longest established integrator combined with the deep relationships formed with all the key technology brands, means we can provide uncompromising support to end users that would be impossible for them to attain on their own.

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Jonathan Owen, University of Warwick In our latest installment of Meet Your AV Manager, AVTE visited Jonathan Owen, to learn about his position as ‘service owner - learning spaces and collaborative environments’ at one the UK’s leading educational institutions, the University of Warwick


i Jonathan. How long have you worked at the University of Warwick? I joined the University of Warwick back in 2001 as a Conference Audio Visual Technician in one of the University’s Conference centres. After 12 months I moved over to the central Audio Visual Services team to take up a more technical role. Since then I’ve held several positions which focus on the delivery and support of AV solutions. These days I don’t get hands-on with the technology, which is something I miss, but



I do get to manage a great team who are passionate about AV, and together we deliver a service which is highly valued by the University. What does your job entail? I’m responsible for managing the delivery and ongoing development of Audio Visual technology across the University’s campuses. I provide leadership to the Learning Spaces and Collaborative Environments team including service strategy; service performance management; service team management; customer liaison and cross-IT


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How big is your team? 12 including me. 3 x AV Specialists [Service Delivery, Projects and Service Development] 2 x Senior AV/IT Technicians 5 x AV/IT Technicians 1 xAV Co-ordinator

UoW Total Number of Students


Number of Staff


https://warwick.ac.uk/ about/history/

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working to ensure overall service performance. I manage a team of 12 who manage Service Delivery, Projects and Service Development. What does a typical day look like? Warwick has an ambitious campus development plan which means that we’re continually refurbishing older buildings and building new ones. I spend a lot of time meeting with architects and our estates department, as well as talking to stakeholders and end users to try and understand their requirements which help my team shape the technology and services we deliver. Over the years my involvement with CAPITAL projects has changed considerably, and I now form part of a core team which comprises of colleagues from our estates and space management teams, architects and external contractors. I’ve always disliked having to provide AV/IT solutions at the end of the project when often the result can look and feel like an afterthought. I attend more meetings and often get involved in conversations about room design, furniture and décor to ensure that any technology is embedded within the room design. I also keep a close on our core services which include; lecture capture, digital signage, video conferencing and technical support for over 500 teaching, meeting and social learning spaces.

How crucial is AV technology to the day to day running of the University? AV and IT underpins many teaching, administrative and research functions at Warwick. We aim to provide tools and services that support the University. We strive to incorporate technology, so that is almost transparent to the users, happily working in the background and hopefully making our users lives a little easier. Talk us through some of the technology you use in your job? (Opportunity to discuss some brand choices, methods deployed, benefits provided .) Due to the number of spaces we support across we standardise all aspects of AV to ensure we offer a consistent user experience and technology that is robust and intuitive to use. We have a large campus, and therefore we have examples of most kinds of AV somewhere on campus, ranging from outdoor LED displays, a 300 screen digital signage network, immersive environments and simulation for research purposes, in addition to a large number of teaching, meeting and social learning spaces. What are some of the biggest challenges faced day to day? How has your position evolved in recent years? During my time at Warwick, the Audio Visual Service has always been within IT Services. However when I first arrived, that was a very loose arrangement, and for many years, we were almost entirely independent from central IT and its processes. Over the past 10 years, we’ve become fully integrated with IT Services, and the way we work has changed for the better. How has the technology evolved? One of the most significant changes of seen over the years is the way we install AV, almost every piece of AV equipment now connects to our campus IT network in some way, whether that be for remote management or just to deliver additional functionality via a cloud service. The role of the in-house AV team is evolving, and it’s essential that staff at all levels adapt to the changes within our industry, rather than resisting them. The days of just


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throwing an AV system into a space are long behind us; we now have to plan the deployment of every AV installation far more carefully, drawing knowledge from technical specialists and forming larger project teams. Building and maintaining good working relationships with these project teams and specialists is an essential part of my role. How do you choose what technology is best for the University’s students and tutors? I run the Learning and Teaching Spaces Managers along with Aaron Turlington -Smith [Loughborough University] and Adam Harvey [University of Hertfordshire]. The LTSMG comprises of over 350 AV professionals who work in the Higher Education sector, who regularly exchange knowledge and expertise via our active mailing list meet. We also run an annual conference and technology exhibition each year in November and other events to encourage our members to collaborate and share knowledge. I also attend some AV User Group events, ISE, InfoComm and this year I’m considering attending the GITEX exhibition for the first time.

What’s your favourite bit of AV kit? Past – We’ve been installing Wolfvision visualisers across campus for over 10 years and are extremely popular with our users. I really like how Visualizers allow our even our most nervous users to digitise what they are doing, which allows us to capture more lectures for our students. Sometimes the best technology is that which supports users existing methods, rather than forcing them to change. We all adapt to change at different speeds, and I love it when technology helps bridge the divide. Present - Wolfvision vSoltuion MATRIX for active learning environments and Mersive Solstice for wireless presentations. What constitutes a good day or a bad day? Good Day – When we handover a new building to our users after working on a project for several months or in some cases years. Bad Day – When I lose a member of the team. Developing staff can be challenging in any industry, however people in AV need an increasingly diverse skill set, which can be extremely difficult to find.

Do you have direct relationships with manufacturers or do you choose go through over channels? I procure all AV through a University purchasing framework. We have good relationships with manufacturers and regularly contribute to beta testing and product development to ensure that manufacturers develop products with Higher Education customers in mind. What factors do you have to consider before making an investment? We only specify solutions which are proven to be reliable from manufacturers who can offer excellent after sales service. Access to our spaces is challenging as our spaces are often fully booked during term time and are then used for Conferences out of term. Any downtime has a significant impact on the University, both commercially and more importantly on the student experience. Is there anything you’re looking at right now? I’m always looking, that’s what I love about my role! It’s sometimes difficult to predict what type of projects my team will be asked to manage and therefore we’re constantly looking at the latest market trends and technology which can form part of our standard offering.

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Game-Changing AV Helping Stadiums To Achieve Their Security GOALS Video Walls, facial recognition, and IP video keep fans safely engaged in Uruguay’s football stadiums

Smile, you’re on camera. Stadiums are using sophisticated stadium surveilance to keep crowd trouble to a minimum All pictures courtesy of H&O

February 2019



ontevideo, the largest city in Uruguay, is a vibrant hub of culture and entertainment – particularly when it comes to watching football. Uruguayans are particularly passionate about their football – or soccer as it is (wrongly) known in North America – and are known globally for the support given to their clubs with enthusiastic and often boisterous crowds. The well-attended matches require sophisticated stadium surveillance to keep an eye on fan behaviour. To enhance the fan experience while keeping visitors safe, three of Montevideo’s football stadiums – Centenario Stadium, Champion of the Century, and Great Central Park – are leveraging advanced facial recognition technology and

IP-based video. On the ball The application of facial recognition was promoted by the Ministry of the Interior as a security precaution against disruptive and dangerous behaviour from the crowd. The initiative was then realised through an investment by the Uruguayan Football Association (AUF) and two of its clubs. AUF commissioned H&O Tecnología (DDBA Ltda), a Montevideobased integration firm, for this ambitious project. After researching available technologies for the stadium projects, DDBA implemented Herta’s facial recognition solution, Wavestore’s video management software (VMS) platform, and Datapath’s iolite 600 video wall controller


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Uruguay is known for its passionate support – but also its hooliganism

In control: Technology crucial to ensuring fan safefty by halting known troublemakers at the gates

“The new stadium technology was installed with specific goals: to prevent unauthorised people from entering the grounds, identify potential perpetrators, and capture photographic evidence of violent acts”

Security The new stadium technology was installed with specific goals: to prevent unauthorised people from entering the grounds, identify potential perpetrators if incidents are observed, capture photographic evidence of violent acts, and help reduce the number of law enforcement officials onsite. Stadium operators in Uruguay wanted to visualise multiple content streams, including surveillance footage from high-resolution AXIS 20 Megapixel IP cameras. Integrated with the facial



recognition technology, various data streams and video feeds needed to be visualised simultaneously on three-by-three video walls. According to Chris Williams, strategic projects director of Wavestore Global Ltd, the Axis 20 MP IP-based cameras have been installed within the three stadiums to monitor seating and terrace areas, while high-definition Axis Q6055 32x PTZ cameras are being used by operators to zoom in on details of questionable incidents. The Axis P1365 IP cameras – ideally suited to support facial recognition – have been installed at each the entrance areas of each stadium, as well as in police mobile units located to monitor fan movement. The stadiums and the Ministry of Interior have been equipped with Wavestore X-Series recorders plus additional servers maintained on standby for failover purposes. Team work The integrator and vendors worked closely together for the project. “The Uruguay Football Stadiums project required close collaboration


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between Wavestore and Datapath in order to ensure we could successfully integrate our respective technologies and deliver a highly effective solution which matched the client’s expectations,” said Enrico Bizzaro. Datapath’s iolite 600 video wall controller systems facilitate the display of live and recorded images captured by operator-selected cameras on large control room video walls. It also offers a high degree of flexibility. Designed to house myriad video capture cards alongside multi-output graphics cards and SQX IP cards, iolite is available in fixed configurations for immediate deployment, or it can be customized to meet unique application requirements. It can drive multiple screens simultaneously—a necessity for a live-events venue or stadium. Security has traditionally been the purview of a designated operator, most likely a standalone person within a security environment. However, many AV stakeholders believe that as the control room environment has evolved – away from siloed areas and procedures to more integrated, mission-

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critical decision-making – so too will security. The question then becomes: how can we leverage technology and visualization to provide operators with a common operational picture (COP) that they can all examine in real time? Greg Babbs believes that for effective stadium video monitoring, operators “all need a common picture, whether that’s a copy of what they see or in addition to what they see because they don’t have enough screens.”

Big brother is always watching

“Many AV stakeholders believe that as the control room environment has evolved – away from siloed areas and procedures to more integrated critical decision making – so too will security”


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Getting to Know:

Dominique Bonneau General manager, Kramer Electronics, France

When did you first become involved with Kramer and what was it about the company that attracted you? My relationship with Kramer started when I was the general manager for FNAC Video Enterprise (a subsidiary of one of the biggest retail chains in France). Back then, I was selling Kramer products for commercial AV installations with a special focus on the rental and staging market. It was one of my preferred brands to promote as Kramer has always been both cost-effective and reliable. In 2007, Kramer decided to open a sales office in France and my connection to the company deepened. I was already close with their local representative due to previous dealings and when he was chosen to manage Kramer’s local operations, he offered me to join the team. I am proud to say ever since, I’ve been part of the Kramer family. I started as the product manager for the Broadcast market and salesperson for the Paris area and was recently promoted to the position of general manager of Kramer France. How has Kramer evolved during your time with the company? Over the past 11 years I have seen Kramer evolve from a “box mover” to what is now a true “solution provider”. With our extensive and robust portfolio, we believe there is no need we cannot meet - whether its AV signal management, cables, control or collaboration. A good example of this evolution is the opening of our User Experience Center in Paris. There we are able to show end-toend solutions catering to the needs of consultants, system integrators and end users. What’s proving popular right now? I believe the biggest opportunity for growth lies within the AV/IT convergence. There has been talk of this synergy for several years and now I think we are seeing both industries embracing the other. 82

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Solutions are now better suited to run over IP networks than ever before and much of Kramer’s focus is on this area. Why do you think that is? The convergence of these two industries has changed Pro AV with the ownership of AV moving to IT departments. To reflect this shift, Kramer has coined the term “AV over IT”. As a company, we understand that we need to speak the same language as the new AV owners. Today, a company can grow only if it provides IT-friendly solutions – both from a technology and work methodology perspectives. What’s your best advice to end users investing in their AV technology? My best advice to end users is to always be curious and ask as many questions as you can think of. We understand that the world of AV is relatively unfamiliar territory for IT professionals and Kramer is ready to be by their side – from pre-sale, to system design, to post-sale support and everything in between (and after!). Technology, by its nature, is ever-changing and we are constantly developing new solutions which make AV over IT synergy a seamless process. We advise end users to familiarise themselves with technology choices and we are happy to provide demonstrations of our userfriendly solutions whenever possible. Outside of work, how do you spend your time? My guilty pleasure is skiing so I try and travel to the Alps region as much as I can – who can say no to that breathtaking nature? More about you: Tell our readers something about you they may be surprised to know? I consider a sense of humour to be one of the most important traits a person can have…. We are nothing if we cannot laugh and enjoy the moment! www.avtechnologyeurope.com

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AV Conferencing. Most people can agree there is room for improvement. When users are given the opportunity to communicate without barriers, conversation and collaboration flow. However, all-too-often voices are hindered or lost, rendered unintelligible by failing audio systems. It doesn’t have to be this way. With a choice of solutions from Shure, including the MXA310 table array microphone, you can give your users the ability to communicate as if they’re in the same room. Enabling the best possible collaboration, at all times. Discover our range of conferencing audio solutions at shure.com. Join us at ISE Stand 3-B110.


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