Issue 202 / June 2017
AV INTEGRATION IN A NETWORKED WORLD
preview p6 InstallAwards Hall of Fame inductees; team and product ﬁnalists and be engaged p32 Stay Improving the hospitality experience to the machine p36 Welcome The tech behind the new Pink Floyd exhibition
AV OVER IP SPECIAL REPORT We examine the new industry paradigm: drivers, opportunities and challenges p18 ŽůůĂďŽƌĂƟǀĞƐŽůƵƟŽŶƐĨŽƌƐŚĂƌŝŶŐŶĞǁŝĚĞĂƐĂŶĚĐŽŶƚĞŶƚ
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Editor: Paddy Baker email@example.com
Designer: Tom Carpenter firstname.lastname@example.org
Rattle’s quest for perfection
+44 (0)20 7354 6034 Content director: James McKeown email@example.com
Senior staff writer: Duncan Proctor firstname.lastname@example.org +44 (0)20 7354 6037
Production manager: Jason Dowie email@example.com +44 (0)20 3829 2617
Sales manager: Gurpreet Purewal firstname.lastname@example.org +44 (0)20 7354 6029
Digital director: Diane Oliver email@example.com
Account manager: Ollie Smith firstname.lastname@example.org +44 (0)20 7354 6026 US sales – Executive vice president: Adam Goldstein email@example.com Head of design: Jat Garcha firstname.lastname@example.org
Contributors: Michael Burns, Tim Griffin, Jeff Hastings, Kevin Hilton, Rob Lane, Ian McMurray Special thanks: Victoria Chernih, Sarah James, Erica Whittle Cover image Fotolia
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ast month the project to build a new world-class concert hall in London re-started. The City of London Corporation, which owns the Barbican Centre, is funding the business case, following the UK government’s withdrawal; this has enabled the lead architectural contract to go out to tender. The idea for this new venue came about a couple of years ago when Sir Simon Rattle complained that the UK capital lacked a concert hall with world-class acoustics. Sir Simon becomes principal conductor of the London Symphony Orchestra this September; he has called the Barbican Hall (the LSO’s home) “serviceable”, but has also pointed out that about a ﬁfth of the classical repertoire can’t be performed there, because the stage isn’t large enough. Paddy Baker, Editor A location for the new Centre for Music, as it will be called, has firstname.lastname@example.org been identiﬁed: the site of the Museum of London, which is due @install8ion to move to new premises in Smithﬁeld Market. The business case for the Centre is due to be completed by December 2018. I’m encouraged to see that the project is also due to seek tenders from acousticians and theatre consultants, among other roles, and the appointees will also contribute to the business case. If the Corporation approves the plan, fundraising will begin; the estimated project cost, once £278million, is now £200-250million. (Let’s hope that budgetary control is better than at Hamburg’s Elbphilharmonie, featured in last month’s issue; although architecturally stunning and acoustically impressive, it was ﬁnished six years late at a cost reportedly more than 10 times the original ﬁgure.)
‘I wonder how diverse those different genres will be – and if the hall will be equipped to adjust its acoustic response’ As well as the LSO, the Centre will “host performances from the Barbican’s family of Associate orchestras and ensembles, as well as performances from touring artists and orchestras... across a range of genres,” according to the Barbican. I wonder how diverse those different genres will be – and if the hall will be equipped to adjust its acoustic response. If so, will this be by physical means (such as the reverberation chambers in the Harpa Centre in Reykjavik, which I reported on a few years ago) or electroacoustic, such as Meyer Sound’s Constellation or Yamaha’s AFC3 systems? I’ve experienced the former, and what it can do is both transformational and subtle – creating a natural-sounding acoustic, precisely suiting the musical style. This is genuinely a once-in-a-generation opportunity for London. I’m jumping the gun somewhat, as these decisions won’t be made, even in principle, for a while. But I do hope that those in charge consider all the technology options in their quest to build a world-class performance space. OI’ve just got space to mention that this issue features a special in-depth report on AV over IP. This is the ﬁrst of a number of themes that we will be covering in depth in Installation over the coming months. If there’s a topic that you’d like to suggest for similar treatment, please drop me a line.
Industry Events 06 InstallAwards 2017 Hall of Fame inductees revealed
16 Show preview: InfoComm 2017
Viewpoints 08 Regional Voices: France 10 Opinion Rob Lane on the growth of AV tech suites Tim Griffin provides clarity on videowall processors vs controllers Jeff Hastings discusses the best form of onboard storage for signage players
Special Report: AV over IP 18 Time to get on board We report on how the AV world is viewing the growing significance of AVoIP 24 Learning the lessons We look at how AV over IP is being implemented across a number of major verticals 30 Interview: the AVoIP boom David Chiappini, R&D VP at Matrox Graphics, talks about the issues around the transition to AVoIP
Feature 32 Hospitality We discover the ways the hospitality sector has developed in recent years to place greater emphasis on customer engagement
Solutions 36 Their Mortal Remains, London The latest music-related exhibition at the V&A Museum chronicles the career of Pink Floyd with audio provided by Sennheiser 40 INEOS gym, London Integrator Electric String has provided an AV system upgrade allowing users flexible control and access to a plethora of content 42 Marienberg Abbey, Mals A full-scale renovation project provided the ideal opportunity to update the audio system in this 12th century church 44 Solutions in Brief Including a comprehensive install at Bangor Universityâ€™s Marine Centre, panoramic laser projection at a Caen library and custom audio for a Swedish museum dedicated to alcohol
Technology 47 New Products Including Harman, Optoma, Barco and tvONE
52 Showcase Seven amplifiers worth finding out about
56 Demo of the Month Shure Axient Digital Wireless
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06 INSTALLAWARDS 2017
A rewarding time With the InstallAwards taking place later this month, we present our ﬁnal preview, which includes the remaining shortlists as well as this year’s inductees into the Installation Hall of Fame
aking place on Thursday 29 June in central London’s prestigious Millennium Gloucester Hotel, the fourth edition of our awards ceremony once again focuses on the most innovative projects from the preceding 12 months and the people and teams behind the successes. This year the winners of the six Project Awards will face each other to compete for the newly created Project of the Year Award. Additionally, the two Star Product Awards have been renamed as Display Star Product and Presentation and Collaboration Star Product (shortlisted below). Introduced last year, there are three new additions to the Installation Hall of Fame joining previous inductees: Robert Simpson, Greg Jeffreys, Barco, Harman, Biamp, Reinhold Stumpfl and David Willrich. The awards will be judged by an independent panel of industry experts from a broad range of disciplines.
STAR PRODUCT AWARDS Display Star Product O CDEC – Sony VPL-FHZ55/57 projectors O Panasonic – PT-RQ13 projector O Peerless-AV – DS-VW765-LQR videowall mount O SiliconCore – Orchid 1.9mm display O Toshiba – TD-W1 Series display
Presentation and Collaboration Star Product O BenQ – InstaShow Plug & Play O Crestron – DigitalMedia Presentation Systems 3-Series O Kramer – VIA Connect PRO O Maverick – Microsoft Surface Hub O Sharp – BATTLEPAD O Shure – Microflex Advance AV Conferencing Microphones
Rising Star O Adam Gathercole, AV testing and commissioning engineer, Focus 21 O Alice Binney, internal sales executive, Pioneer Group O Amanda Burgess, junior AV technician at City University London O Daniel Cruickshank, full stack developer, Embed Signage O Elaine Manalo, project manager, Hewshott International
TEAM AND PEOPLE AWARDS Integrator’s Choice: In-House Team of the Year O Lancaster University (nominated by Pure AV) O Royal Society of Medicine (nominated by Feltech) O University of Warwick (nominated by GV Multimedia) Distribution Team of the Year O Audiologic O Maverick O Midwich O Sahara Presentation Systems Marketing Team of the Year O Adam Hall Group O Antycip O AVMI O Casio Projectors UK
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HALL OF FAME
On the night This year’s edition is an evening event featuring a brand-new venue and host – comedian Jimmy McGhie.
LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD Dr Joseph Kramer CEO Dr Joseph Kramer founded Kramer Electronics in 1981 with the aim of innovating in the video era and championing a strong focus on R&D. Early milestones included the ﬁrst PAL video processor with image enhancement and colour control, and the ﬁrst combined video-audio processor. Today the company has hundreds of employees serving thousands of customers across six continents. As well as being a technology leader, the company prides itself on standing behind every product that it ships, and maintaining personal relationships with its customers. Last year the company launched its AV Beyond the Box strategy, which offers software, cloud and smart hardware solutions that challenge big-box, proprietary approaches. Dr Kramer is also an accomplished photographer, and has his own website where he publishes pictures, equipment tests and technical articles.
Where? Millennium Gloucester Hotel 4-18 Harrington Gardens Kensington London SW7 4LH Nearest Underground station: Gloucester Road
OUTSTANDING CONTRIBUTION AWARD Gordon Dutch An industry veteran, Gordon Dutch has been involved in the AV industry for over 30 years. Gordon founded BBG Distribution in 1993, which merged with Peerless Industries in 2009 to become Peerless-AV. As MD Gordon astutely managed the trajectory of the mounting solutions provider to the forefront of the industry during his tenure. Gordon ensured the company was in a strong position and with a succession plan in place – in the form of his brother Keith – before conﬁrming he would be stepping down in October last year. He is still involved with the company in a parttime role as a non-executive director on the board of Peerless-AV EMEA, and is a member of the global advisory board of Peerless-AV in the US.
GRAND PRIX Audinate Although the company is just 11 years old, Audinate has made a huge impact on the world of AV, with its Dante protocol/solution becoming the unquestioned market leader in audio networking. Founded by COO David Myers and CTO Aidan Williams, the company has been instrumental in the shift from analogue to digital, with many manufacturers viewing Dante support within their products as essential. Dante is now available in more than 1,000 commercially available products, and the list of licensed manufacturers stretches from Adam Hall to Harman, from Kramer to Yamaha. In addition to Dante and products such as Dante Via and Dante Controller software, Audinate also provides a comprehensive programme of training and certiﬁcations both on and off line – including the very popular AV Networking World series of events.
When? Thursday 29 June 2017
Order of events Here is the schedule for the evening: 18:00
Dress Code: Black Tie
Tickets For tickets and table bookings, please contact Maeve Nicholson email@example.com / +44 (0)20 3871 7378 or visit www.nbmevents.uk/installawards/booktables
Sponsorship opportunities To find out more about sponsoring this event, please contact Gurpreet Purewal firstname.lastname@example.org +44 (0) 207 354 6029 Ollie Smith email@example.com +44 (0) 207 354 6026 Additional event information can be found here: www.installawards.com
08 REGIONAL VOICES
FRANCE A new political regime in France – but what is on the cards for its installed AV market? Our latest survey ﬁnds out
ast month, France elected Emmanuel Macron as its President – at 39, the youngest person ever to hold the post. As he settles into his new role at the Élysée Palace, the state of his country’s installed AV market is probably not uppermost in his mind – but we won’t let that deter us from presenting the results of our latest national survey.
Annual GDP growth rate, Q2 2017 Source: tradingeconomics.com
Around half our respondents thought that their turnover would increase by more than 5% over the next 12 months. As sometimes happens in these surveys, our respondents seem to believe that their companies will outperform the market as a whole: general market conﬁdence was ﬂat, with half the survey seeing no change in conﬁdence levels compared with six months ago – and roughly as many projecting a fall as a rise. Corporate, digital signage and retail markets were all deemed to be performing strongly. Perhaps surprisingly for a nation with such a strong cultural heritage, museums & visitor attractions and performing arts venues ranked at the bottom of the list (showing little growth when responses were averaged out). Does this indicate reluctance in some quarters to mix culture and technology?
Next, we asked our respondents to choose from a list the one issue that they felt was most of concern to their business. Roughly half chose ‘clients going for lowest price rather than best value’. One respondent commented: “The client often confuses purchasing and investments. As his level of mastery of the subject is generally low, he has difficulty projecting himself into the future.” We also posed the question of whether the overall number of players in the market was changing. Here, the responses divided into almost three equal groups – increasing, decreasing and no change. Two comments indicate why this might be, with two different factors in play. “The overall volume is increasing a little, with related players like IT companies working now,” said one respondent, while another said: “Purchasing
power in France is down sharply.” Our questionnaire also invited respondents to name one thing they would change about how the installed AV market works in France. The answers included: increasing education for customers, getting architects and interior designers to consider AV earlier in projects, limiting the manufacture of plug and play products (!), and making customers pay more realistic prices for products and services. However, one very short comment about the French AV market in general resonated with us. “[The market] is still in motion and not yet an adult,” said one respondent. It appears that relative youth is a trait of the French AV industry as well as the country’s new President.
What do you think the business trend will be in the following vertical markets for installed AV in your country this year?
INCREASE Corporate Digital signage Retail Education Worship Sports venues Bars, clubs, restaurants Museums/visitor attractions Performing arts venues NO CHANGE
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10 OPINION: ON THE AGENDA
Rob Lane Innovative spaces Why tech suites are de rigueur
i-ﬁ retailers and custom installers have long since understood the importance of a demo room as a tool to increase sales – as well as demonstrating the latest products and innovative technologies. Indeed, as I discussed here last month, consumer electronics demo suites often emulate pro audio when it comes to sound quality and acoustics. But what of commercial AV? Are integrators introducing new technologies and applications to their clients in the same way, and are tech hubs part of a growing trend? One would imagine that, given the rapid rise of interactive technologies such as AR and VR, there would be an increasing requirement for demonstration suites.
Nothing new They’re certainly nothing new. Inition, for instance, has been running its Demo Suite out of Curtain Road in London’s trendy Shoreditch for over 16 years. What’s surprising, particularly considering the glut of innovative tech and the fact that commercial AV has seeped into so many sectors, is that there aren’t really very many – certainly in the UK. Inition’s Demo Suite is actually something of a curio, in that it has always been as much a laboratory as a demo suite. But as well as acting as the company’s own personal tech lab, the space is open to those who wish to discuss a ‘creative brief’. “We frequently open the Demo Suite to companies that wish to collaborate to use it as a shared space for meeting and consultation on future immersive technologies,” Maira Hayat, marketing co-ordinator at Inition, told me.
The space currently houses a variety of virtual reality projects, with Oculus Rift, Samsung Gear VR, PlayStation VR, Google Daydream, HTC Vive and WorldVis Cave VR all on display. Inition also features various motion-platforms for VR, including a new diving platform, the renowned wingsuit experience and a driving simulator experience.
‘I expect an increase in “me-too” demo suites from other integrators and tech innovators’
Tech showcase Just up the road from Shoreditch, near London’s blink-and-you-miss-the-new-development Aldgate East, Engage Works has been cramming hot tech into its Flux Innovation Lounge since 2014. While it shares some of its MO with Inition, Flux is less of a lab and more of a tool for showcasing what Engage Works can do. Flux allows professionals the opportunity to get hands-on with the latest cutting-edge technologies. The space showcases a range of innovation technology partners as well as examples of solutions produced by Engage Works. Latest additions to the lounge include a large, interactive holographic unit (Intaglow), Microsoft’s Surface Hub (in partnership with AVMI), and the mixed reality headset, Hololens, featuring Deeptale’s cutting-edge property application, Slushpolis Story. “Flux has become a vital asset to many worldleading companies and brands,” said Amelia Kallman, Engage Works’ global head of innovation.
“Change can be scary, but Flux gives people the opportunity to get ahead of the curve, as well as the resources to turn ideas and dreams into actions, strategies, experiences and environments.” The new kid on the block is the recently launched Engine, from Leeds-based UXG (User Experience Global). The key aim of Engine is to ‘inspire and open minds’ by allowing visitors to get hands on with technology. Key technologies include a 3x3 interactive videowall, indoor/outdoor LED, VR (Oculus), immersive LED experience (Xbox), projection mapping, holograms, virtual dressing room, mirror screen tech and interactive tables. “The UXG team guides visitors through the Engine, touching on key technologies, but remembering Engine isn’t just about tech – it’s about how we use tech and how we talk about it as a solution and a critical need within the digital age we live in,” Drew Dooler, UXG MD and founder, told me. “Technology can be a maze to the untrained; Engine puts your mind and budget at ease.” As demand for technology solutions in AV, across all sectors, continues to grow, I expect an increase in ‘me-too’ demo suites from other integrators and tech innovators – assuming the AV bubble doesn’t burst and the global economy can ride the various existing and forthcoming bumps in the road. To paraphrase Dooler, tech is a maze if you’re untrained, and innovation suites are the perfect tools for demystifying and explaining the ‘art of the possible’ – as well as expanding business opportunities, of course! Rob Lane is founder/director of Bigger Boat PR. He likes nothing better than browsing around a tech suite, experiencing the best in AV technology.
OPINION: ON THE AGENDA
Tim Griffin Videowall processors vs controllers The distinction between these two functions sometimes gets lost, but is worth remembering
istorically, there has been an explicit distinction between a videowall processor and a videowall controller, and the role each plays within a videowall system. Nowadays it seems that the line between these two components has been blurred to the point that they are being used interchangeably. Technology advancements have made it possible for the processor and controller functions to be integrated within the same device, but it is still helpful to understand and discuss these two functions separately. Videowall processors (or video processors) are advanced signal routers that that take several inputs and create or composite them together into a single image, which can then be output to a grid of synchronised displays (aka a videowall). Videowall controllers, on the other hand, enable the output to multiple displays and allow those displays to be controlled and co-ordinated in interesting ways: for example, providing additional control over the content, layout and conﬁguration of the videowall. Thought of simplistically, the processor processes the video content, and the controller controls the displays in the videowall. For the most advanced use cases you need both sets of functionality.
Processor approaches To better understand the difference, let’s look at the approaches to videowall processors out there. First, there are some ﬁxed solutions that use proprietary hardware, with one input and a ﬁxed number of outputs. These ‘black boxes’ usually come pre-conﬁgured for a speciﬁc use case, and though reliable and easy to set up, have limited future expansion possibilities.
Then there is the video card approach, which uses a standard PC with added specialised video cards. This approach gives more ﬂexibility, but can still be limiting when it comes to expansion, and of course the number of PCI slots in the PC may restrict the number of cards (and thus inputs and outputs that the system can support). Finally, there is the network-based approach – or AV-over-IP – that leverages the Ethernet infrastructure and standard PCs to both create
‘APIs are now ushering videowalls into the phenomenon of the Internet of Things’
and capture the content, process it, and deliver it to the videowall displays. The number of inputs and outputs is only limited by the network’s bandwidth and the power of the PC. This approach offers more scalability and ﬂexibility than the other two approaches.
Control considerations It is also worth thinking about the level of control you will need coming from the ‘controller’ side of your videowall solution. The ‘black box’ approach generally comes with very limited control capabilities, typically just scaling the one source onto the ﬁxed number of outputs (these are often called tile matrix scalers); whereas the software-based solutions are able to provide a richer set of control features. You will deﬁnitely want a full videowall controller for more complex applications (control rooms, live events, high-end
digital signage). Be aware that if you choose the ‘PC with extra video cards’ approach, you will likely ﬁnd yourself in trouble when attempting to add controller features, as it is often the case that controller software is very speciﬁc about the supported hardware, which can be limiting. Videowall controllers enable users to adjust the content layout, switch which content is playing where on the videowall, and even section the videowall into zones. Some videowall controllers even offer interactive capabilities: from supporting interactive content, such as desktop environments and web browsers, to having added control of the videowalls from external devices. A great feature of some software-based solutions is the interconnectivity with a wide range of external devices, via APIs, to provide a more engaging and interactive experience. APIs are now ushering videowalls into the phenomenon of the Internet of Things. For example, a set of external sensors, such as presence or face detection, can be ‘connected’ to a videowall controller so that when somebody walks by, or stands in front of the videowall, they automatically trigger a change. The added ﬂexibility of software-based videowall controller solutions allows them to be up to date with the pace of technological change, without having to incur another big investment. Ultimately, this contributes signiﬁcantly to videowalls’ ROI. Tim Griffin is the founder and CTO of Userful Corporation, a provider of videowall controller and videowall processor solutions.
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14 OPINION: ON SITE
Jeff Hastings On the cards What’s the best form of onboard storage for digital signage players? Two models in BrightSign’s current 4K digital signage player range
igital signage players clearly need onboard storage to host a buffer of content – even the best streaming service isn’t reliable or fast enough to keep a player continuously supplied. Some players have built-in ﬂash memory, others have replaceable SD cards. What are the merits of the two approaches?
Wear and tear One issue is the frequency of reads and writes. When a player is left to loop through the same schedule for weeks on end, the content is being constantly read from the storage media. On top of that, as new content updates are published, or the presentation is using real-time feeds or social media, you create a huge number of writes to the media. It is worth remembering that over time and extensive use, ﬂash memory devices suffer performance issues after many successive read/writes. Put simply, ﬂash memory wears out over time. In fairness, SD cards suffer similarly after extended reading/ writing, but SD cards are inexpensive and easy to swap out for new. A similar swap-out for ﬂash memory built in to the player would require removing and replacing the ﬂash memory chip – something that’s costly and impractical. Secondly, removable SD cards make it easy to load content. While many large networks typically distribute signage content via the network, many smaller (or singlescreen) installations rely on content loaded locally. Sometimes the reason is that stable WiFi connectivity isn’t available at every signage location. SD cards are perfect for this application.
Flexibility Finally, replaceable SD cards give more ﬂexibility in terms of size. With SD cards, you can choose (and pay for) only the appropriate amount of memory that you need. Need additional memory in the future? No problem. You can choose a larger SD card and you’re set. In a growing number of applications, even the
‘While many large networks typically distribute signage content via the network, many smaller (or single-screen) installations rely on content loaded locally’
largest SD cards can be insufficient. BrightSign now offers an integrated M2 interface in some players, allowing a solid-state drive to be added. This feature has already seen use in a recent application by Notice, one of our Dutch integration partners designing an interactive training station for gyms. Harry Wiertz, innovation director at Notice, said: “The FunXtion Experience Station hosts
a truly extensive library of content, with over 1,000 individual video clips. Each exercise is supported by a video explaining how to perform it, and there are further clips celebrating success and providing countdowns, giving an exceptional level of content. On the original players, we used 64GB SD cards, and made use of H.265 compression to reduce the ﬁle size by about 50%. The new player, however, features an M2 peripheral port, allowing us to install a SATA SSD hard disk drive.” Lastly, remember that not all SD cards are created equally. Consumer SD cards may be less expensive; however, there are trade-offs to consider. Commercial SD cards typically use a higher grade of ﬂash memory, are designed to perform at higher temperatures and last exponentially longer than consumer SD cards. For the reasons outlined above, BrightSign has always opted for removable SD cards, which give a much greater degree of ﬂexibility for the user. Jeff Hastings is CEO of BrightSign.
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16 SHOW PREVIEW: INFOCOMM 2017
TIDE ushers in new offerings
What? InfoComm 2017
There’s plenty that’s new at InfoComm 2017 – and not just the show logo!
nfoComm 2017 will feature over 1,000 exhibitors, over 46,000sqm of exhibit space and 24 audio demo rooms, and will host an expected 40,000 attendees from 100 countries. That’s a big show by anyone’s standards.
Emerging Trends Day One of the difficulties of any show on this scale is seeing the wood for the trees. Show attendees who are seeking assistance in focusing in on the areas of most importance to them will appreciate Emerging Trends Day, on Tuesday 13 June, the day before the exhibition opens. This features a series of presentations by industry experts on topics including future industry trends; digital signage; audio processing; uniﬁed communications; collaboration via apps and APIs, and the cloud. It runs from 08:30 to 16:00; visitors can choose individual sessions or stay for the whole day.
TIDE Conference Tuesday will also see the inaugural TIDE conference. TIDE (Technology. Innovation. Design. Experience.) is a thought-leadership event for examining the strategic impact of audiovisual technology and the AV industry’s
role in business and technology. The organisers promise “a non-technical perspective of how audio, digital signage, video, lighting and virtual reality have been used in innovative ways in a wide range of markets... TIDE focuses on ideas, results, and experiences that are enabled by AV – not the installations.” Keynote speakers will be Matthew Luhn, one of the original story creators at Pixar, and virtual reality pioneer Nonny de la Peña, who will both be discussing storytelling. The speaker roster also includes Tony Award-nominated sound designer Nevin Steinberg (Hamilton, Avenue Q and Monty Python’s Spamalot) and Jason Crusan, director of advanced exploration systems at NASA.
New exhibitors There will also be new things to see once the show opens. For instance, there will be more than 150 companies new to the InfoComm showﬂoor. (These are all listed in a special area on the show’s website.) Names that will be familiar to European readers include Kling & Freitag, Optocore, Proel and Scala. Also making its InfoComm show debut will be Coda Audio USA. The wholly owned subsidiary of Germanybased Coda Audio International is led by
Where? Orange County Convention Center, Orlando, Florida When? Exhibition: 14-16 June, 09:00-17:00 (16:00 on last day)
managing director Luke Jenks, formerly director of product management at Meyer Sound.
Center Stage Another innovation for InfoComm 2017 is Center Stage, a series of 20-minute talks on the exhibition ﬂoor by leading technology practitioners, end-users, researchers, and thinkers. Free to attend, these sessions will discuss environmental design and technology integration across ﬁelds as diverse as entertainment, enterprise, healthcare, education, and hospitality. Select presentations will be recorded and shown throughout the day, with smartphone audio from Hearing Hotspot by Williams Sound. “Center Stage was created to inspire our industry with what AV can really do,” says Rachel Bradshaw, director of expositions content at InfoComm International. “The diverse range of speakers will bring their unique perspectives to the stage, shedding light on how AV technology is advancing so many industries. The world of AV
What’s on your radar? Our sister title SCN asked some US integrators and consultants what they will be looking out for at InfoComm: • I’m interested in enterprise team messaging solutions such as Spark, and end-user applications. Cisco seems to be ‘shaking up’ stale videoconferencing applications more than anything I’ve seen in the past several years (other than Zoom). API integrations that auto connect with calendars or voice dial meetings (like Alexa or Siri) are much better user experiences than H.323 or SIP dialling. They also meet the expectations that consumer tech already delivers. We’ve actually started integrating Alexa into our conference room solutions and are getting great feedback. I’d like to better understand how Cisco’s plans/ strategies will affect traditional AV integration ﬁrms in the future. Jay Myers, founder/CEO, Interactive Solutions, Inc (ISI) • Large-format display technology and videowalls are constantly improving, and each day we’re seeing
is a transformative industry, and these speakers will show you why.”
Immersive Pavilion Also on the showﬂoor, the new Immersive Pavilion will offer a hands-on look at new VR, AR, and 360º video technologies, to keep attendees abreast of new developments in this fastevolving area.
The Park There’s also a new area for relaxation and refuelling. Located in Hall E, The Park promises to bring the outdoors inside – minus the searing Florida heat – with trees, benches, food trucks and a beer garden. Live entertainment, interactive games, meet-ups and networking events are scheduled for all three show days.
Manufacturer training There are more than 80 training sessions on the schedule at InfoComm 2017; here are just a few of them. On Thursday 15 June, from 10:30 to 12:00, Matrox will be offering a session entitled ‘Applications of IP-based AV Technologies in Education’. This case-driven seminar will explore lecture capture; AV-over-IP for digital signage, IPTV, and multi-site AV management; and IP-based videowalls used in digital signage and visualisation, all in an education context. It is aimed at end-users and solutions providers of
SHOW PREVIEW: INFOCOMM 2017 more products in this category. There’s been strong growth and adoption of digital signage in many corporate verticals. As this trend continues to gain momentum, we’re interested to see where it’s headed. Tim Hennen, president, sales & engineering, IVCi • I will be looking for how AES67 is being implemented in various products; it has a lot of promise to lead the industry forward for device interoperability – getting everything to ‘play nicely’ with each other will be the key to its success. Ben Bausher, senior consultant, audio & video systems group, JaffeHolden • The trend toward network-centric systems has created an environment characterised by claims for performance that conﬂate speciﬁcations for resolution, frame rate, dynamic range, and so on. Combine this with a lack of speciﬁcity of requirements for network support to propagate this information and one might get the impression that the highest quality video content can be delivered by a typical administrative network. We are looking for end-to-end solutions that will
all kinds. Matrox experts will offer guidance on end-to-end solution speciﬁcations and economic considerations. Registration is open at www.matrox.com/ic17training. Also on the Thursday, from 13:00 to 14:30, Powersoft will be running ‘How to Optimize Fixed Install Design Using DSP in Class D Ampliﬁers’. Marc Kocks, business development manager, ﬁxed install, will walk attendees through Powersoft’s digital system design tools. The session will cover: calculating crest factor, and its relevance in system performance; technological capabilities of Powersoft ampliﬁers, including pulse width modulation output, PFC, Smart Rails Management, and damping; DSP features, including internal routing capabilities, ﬁlters and equalisation, limiters, and live impedance monitoring; and ﬁnally a walk-through of the system design process. Registration is required. Both the Powersoft and the Matrox sessions are worth 1.5 InfoComm CTS RUs. On Friday 16 June, the NanoLumens stand will host a presentation about technology for engaging with sports fans. Rick Cope, NanoLumens CEO, and John Vidalin, executive vice president and chief revenue officer for NBA basketball team the Miami HEAT, will talk about how fans are arriving early at games and staying late. “The team has amassed a great deal of insight into what works and what doesn’t work,
help us design, specify, and implement the new solutions with a better comfort level for success. Mark Alspach, principal, audiovisual discipline head, Shen Milsom & Wilke • What we are always on the lookout for at the show is something we can actually sell to the end users. We see lots of fun advancements in technology but a lot of it doesn’t resonate with people outside the industry. We saw some more IP-based products at ISE in Amsterdam, and we’ll be looking out for what else and who else can ﬁnd creative ways to utilise network infrastructure. Mike Kirby, director of business development and marketing, GenComm • The huddle room has been a trend in space planning for some time, but the technology integration has not had the impact we thought due to cost or form factor… I will be looking for new huddle space solutions that will be able to meet the functionality requests of the end users at price points that will accommodate large numbers of deployment. Matthew Kosel, systems designer, Spinitar
which will be very interesting for InfoComm show attendees,” says Cope. Apart from the official InfoComm offering, Audinate will hold Dante AV Networking World at the Rosen Centre Hotel, close to the Orange County Exhibition Center, on Tuesday 13 June, the day before the exhibition opens. Over 20 leading audio manufacturers will be offering hands-on demonstrations of their Dante products. The event will be split into two tracks. The Advanced Track includes ‘Advanced Dante Networking (Dante Certiﬁcation Level 3)’; on the Beginner/Intermediate Track is ‘Audio Networking Trends and Research’, presented by Roland Hemming of RH Consulting. ZeeVee along with other members of the SDVoE Alliance is offering free training; ‘Software Deﬁned Video Over Ethernet: Delivering User Experiences without Compromise’ to run on Thursday 15 June at 10:30-12:00 and 13:00-14:30. There is also an InfoComm seminar from the SDVoE Alliance called ‘Deploying Zero-Latency AV-Over-IP Systems Using SDVoE Technology’. This takes place on Wednesday 10:30-12:00, 13:00- 14:30, and Thursday 08:30-10:00. CTS, CTS-D and CTS-I RUs are available for the SDVoE Alliance sessions, offered as part of the InfoComm Seminar and Workshop Package.
18 SPECIAL REPORT: AV OVER IP
Time to get on board To begin this special 12-page report on AV over IP, Ian McMurray looks at the different factors that are driving the move to this new paradigm. It’s said that, if something is inevitable, the best thing to do is embrace it. Is that how the AV industry is viewing the growing signiﬁcance of AVoIP?
veryone – well, almost everyone – knows that it was Tim (now Sir Tim) Berners-Lee who invented the World Wide Web in 1989. Rather less well known are Bob Khan and Vint Cerf, without whose invention the internet we know today wouldn’t be possible. TCP/IP – widely referred to as just ‘IP’ – will, depending on who you believe, enable between 20 billion and 75 billion devices to be connected to the internet by 2020.
‘Integrators have the opportunity to move away from the pack, become leaders, and offer all those beneﬁts to their clients’ Chris Scurto, ZeeVee
‘Ubiquitous’ doesn’t begin to describe IP. As such, it was always inevitable that, at some point, it would begin to encroach on the world of AV. After all: we already consume huge amounts of video using IP; according to Cisco, by 2020, a million minutes of video will cross the
network – every second. The success of Spotify, Apple Music and Pandora testify to how much we rely on IP for audio. Earlier this year, Spotify announced that it now has over 50 million paid subscribers, while Pandora claims 21.96 billion hours of listening in 2016.
Everyone’s a winner But just because something is inescapable doesn’t mean it’s ideal – or even right. Does the AV industry stand to gain from IP’s inexorable march? The answer seems to be a resounding ‘yes’: everyone, including end-users, manufacturers and integrators, comes out a winner. “End-users gain all of the economies and beneﬁts that have propelled data and voice over IP thus far, the opening up of new applications such as wireless transmission, the ability to reach much longer distances, the ability to hybridise between data types and the ability to sustain a much larger audience of concurrent consumption of AV,” believes Myles Carter, media relations manager at Matrox. “We know that the market needs simple solutions,” says David Margolin, marketing director at Kramer, which premiered the Kramer Network enterprise management platform for AV over IP solutions at ISE last year. “AVoIP will become the new AV standard eventually. Aside from the big
Key Points End-users, manufacturers and integrators all stand to benefit from the transition to an AVoIP world AVoIP has been enabled by silicon technology, higher-capacity/lower-cost switches, and developments in codecs The world of AVoIP is a different and unfamiliar one, and many in the industry foresee the need for substantial education and training Demand for AVoIP is being driven by end-users seeking integration, scalability, lower costs and new applications and complex AV installations, new AV owners are still looking for simple solutions for smaller meeting spaces that don’t require a high level of technology but do require remote management. Being able to identify, before the end-user, that there’s an issue with the meeting space is a key requirement. On top of that, being able to minimise downtime and provide a reliable user experience is equally important.” “Manufacturers gain a lowered barrier to entry for new products, since they now only need
SPECIAL REPORT: AV OVER IP
to build a couple of well thought-out endpoint devices and software to enable those great user experiences,” adds Justin Kennington, director of strategic and technical marketing at AptoVision and president of the SDVoE Alliance. “Overall the industry gains a huge amount of efficiency, as more and more development time, effort, and money focuses away from the ‘big iron’ of dumb matrix switches, and refocuses on software to drive user experience.” “Seriously,” he goes on, “how many tens of millions of dollars have we as an industry wasted on these things? And meanwhile the guys building Ethernet switches move more bits, more reliably, for cheaper. “Let Netgear and Cisco move the bits,” he laughs.
Signiﬁcant beneﬁts And what’s in it for integrators? The theory is, of course, that anything that’s good for end-users and that expands the available market can only be good for the channel, as Shaun Robinson, director of product and solutions at Harman Enterprise, points out. “AV over IP products that provide excellent video performance over 1Gb infrastructures provide signiﬁcant beneﬁts to both integrators and end-users,” he says. “For both parties, installation and commissioning is signiﬁcantly simpliﬁed in that 1Gb AV over IP solutions allow for standard 1Gb switches and current cabling infrastructure to be leveraged, reducing capex outlay and disruptions to operations for retroﬁtting.” “End-users achieve cost savings, ﬂexibility and futureprooﬁng,” adds Chris Scurto, vice president, marketing and North American sales at ZeeVee, a founding member of the SDVoE. “They get a single platform for AV and IT that can grow with their changing requirements. With the market still relatively in its infancy, integrators have the opportunity to move away from the pack, become leaders, and offer all those beneﬁts to their clients.” “Frankly,” he continues, “integrators who don’t adapt to AV over IP stand to lose their business over the long run. Think about Nortel, who were once the most dominant phone system PBX manufacturer in the world. Then IP phone systems came along, they failed to adapt – and where are they today? Out of business.” The industry seems to be all but unanimous in its enthusiasm for what AVoIP will bring. Surely, though, there must be downsides? One may be that, in a world where acceptance of AV/ IT convergence has perhaps been somewhat grudging, there is still much education to be done.
Education, training “As with the integration of any new technology, there is a learning curve that will affect all entities, from manufacturers to end-users,”
ZeeVee solution drives manufacturer’s corporate comms Integrator Duratec AV has installed ZeeVee ZyPerHD encoders and decoders in a corporate communications project at the UK locations of a FTSE-quoted global manufacturing company. Currently comprising 25 displays, the deployment could eventually extend to 150 screens worldwide. The AV over IP installation uses the existing site LAN, a cost-effective approach strongly welcomed by the customer’s IT department. According to Matt Risden, founder and operations director of Duratec AV, the customer sought a one-way video communications network, primarily to eliminate the need for staff to attend the CEO’s quarterly ‘town hall’ presentations by in person. In addition, he says, “We have made eight channels available on each screen, offering Sky News and corporate digital signage content as well as access to live presentations as they happen. Screens can also be set up ﬂexibly to run Skype calls and other facilities.” He adds: “The sources and endpoints are connected directly to the network and as far as the IT team are concerned are simply additional network devices.” ZyPerHD encoders and decoders can distribute HDCP-protected 720p or 1080p video over a standard Ethernet switch without loss of frames. The network switches at the site have a speciﬁcation of 1Gbps per port, and are can comfortably handle the 16Mbps data rate required to support each endpoint. notes Jason Fitzgerald, product manager at Gefen. “There are hurdles to overcome. Training is necessary by manufacturers for both integrators and end-users to aid in understanding and deploying new systems.” “Learning is required with any transition of technology to be successful,” echoes Robinson. “AV over IP solutions require signiﬁcant dialogue between the AV systems integrator and IT departments to ensure successful deployments, and therefore additional education is required in some cases for the AV integrator, depending on their depth of expertise in IP networks. Manufacturers can help through this transition by providing commissioning services and training for the systems integrator partner.” “Aside from the adoption growing pains, there are some technological aspects of AVoIP that can be seen as a loss over traditional forms of AV signal routing,” returns Fitzgerald. “Compression is commonly used in many AVoIP solutions, and while efforts have been made to utilise advanced coding and decoding techniques to transport signals with the best quality, it is still considered lossy. This may prove to be an issue in some vertical applications. Time-critical applications may also be affected by the delay inherently associated
with compressing and decompressing an AV signal. There are some products on the market that have been able to achieve lossless transmission and negligible delays, but at a cost that can be prohibitive to mainstream applications. These points need to be considered by end-users and integrators when choosing and deploying an AVoIP solution.”
What happened? In recent times, AVoIP seems to have come from almost nowhere – although Carter disputes that. “It’s incorrect to say that AV over IP has had a sudden surge,” he counters. “Rather, it has been increasingly used continuously for a long time. At ﬁrst, AV over IP was in addition to – or auxiliary to – traditional high-performance AV. However, the ability to match or exceed virtually all aspects of traditional AV using IP technology has led to the gradual replacement and phasing out of traditional AV.” The question remains, however: what combination of factors has brought us to where we are today? “Firstly,” says Scurto, “the cost of highbandwidth network switches – 10Gb in particular – has been dropping consistently at somewhere near 20% per year, and now cost
20 SPECIAL REPORT: AV OVER IP
under $100 per port. Then AptoVision launched a chipset solution that allowed uncompressed video – right up to 4K60 4:4:4 – to be sent over a 10Gb network. This means that you get so much more ﬂexibility, futureprooﬁng, and ultimately cost saving, than any proprietary AV switch can ever offer. For example, ZeeVee’s ZyPer4K has now added multiview capability – something that you would normally need another box for.”
‘As with the integration of any new technology, there is a learning curve that will affect all entities, from manufacturers to end-users’ Jason Fitzgerald, Gefen
“And”, he goes on, “end-users are getting smarter and wiser after being sold proprietary solutions that can’t cope with their changing demands – unless, of course, they pay for signiﬁcant upgrades, like a new switch frame. They want value for money, ﬂexibility and futureprooﬁng. Furthermore having something that their IT department understands means one less cost overhead for management.” Kennington too notes the pivotal role of AptoVision and its BlueRiver NT technology. “Moving synchronous AV signals across an asynchronous AV network is a huge challenge that needed to be solved before it could be possible to move ﬂawless, uncompressed video across an Ethernet network,” he says. “AptoVision’s adaptive clock resynchronisation – the technology that drives the SDVoE Alliance – has provided what we need, and now it is the most widely adopted technology for matrix switch replacement.”
Affordable switches Like Scurto, he sees the increasing affordability of high-bandwidth switches – high enough to handle 4K video – and notes a prediction that over 70% of small and medium businesses are expected to deploy 10Gb switches this year. “Ten years ago, 10Gb network switches cost $1,200 per port and were ﬁbre optic only,” he points out. “Today, you can get a mix of copper and ﬁbre, and you can pay as little as $90 per port. Compare that to the cost of your HDBaseT matrix switch.” Fitzgerald too notes the vital role that silicon plays. “Recently, chip manufacturers have made several breakthroughs in technology, but more importantly in affordability due to scale,” he explains. “This has made the cost-perpoint on any AV system drop substantially – in some cases, lower than the cost-per-point in a traditional non-IP based AV system. With each manufacturer pushing for speciﬁc features that support their own proprietary functions in products, chipset manufacturers have been accelerated to produce better out-of-box functionality, causing leaps forward in the AVoIP marketplace. Along with the products, a wave of marketing and education has been pushing the viability and scalability of AVoIP on end-users.”
Increasing convergence Carter picks up where he left off, continuing to stress that the arrival of IP has been an evolution, not a revolution. “The convergence of data, voice, and video over the same infrastructure has been steadily increasing for years,” he believes. “The only thing that continues improving is the ability to achieve the performance, quality and reliability that are expected in traditional hard-wired AV. However, in addition to convergence, the substantial increase in delivery and reach for AV applications has opened up revenue streams, productivity, use cases and beneﬁts that simply could never be achieved before.”
And, of course, no discussion of moving video over an IP network would be complete without mentioning the key role played by codecs. “The compression technologies available today are highly advanced and provide excellent video performance, which is allowing us to now deliver high-resolution video over standard network technology,” says Robinson, “providing flexibility and familiarity to our IT end customers.” So: new technology, rapidly falling prices, end-user demand and marketing are behind the increased adoption. One of the wonders of IP is how it has continually morphed and adapted in order to rise to new challenges – a phenomenon well illustrated by the broadcast industry. So far as the AV industry is concerned, it will continue to do so. “Network switches are going to continue to expand in terms of bandwidth capability, while at the same time falling in price on a per-port basis,” believes Scurto. “Control systems will be another very interesting place to watch. Control programmers are just beginning to scratch the surface of what AVoIP is capable of doing in terms of flexibility, power, and scale. Another area that will continue to rapidly evolve will be the continued expansion of AV in the corporate world. Video will be driven deeper into the organisation as organisations begin to realise how superior it is as a communications tool. This will bring an entirely new wave of innovation to the industry and because it will be IP-based, development will happen very rapidly. It will not be controlled by a few companies, but rather by an entire industry.”
Focus on codecs While we wait for those new switches to come on stream and become affordable, we’re likely to see ongoing focus on the codecs that help minimise bandwidth consumption.
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22 SPECIAL REPORT: AV OVER IP “I expect we’ll see continued enhancements to compression technologies to take us to even higher resolutions than 4K,” says Robinson. Matrox’s Carter sees things similarly. Gefen’s Fitzgerald wonders whether one of the developments we’ll see will come somewhat from left ﬁeld. “The next major development may come from an unexpected source,” he muses. “AVoIP needs to function like HDMI or other true standards, allowing any AVoIP product to work seamlessly with another, regardless of the manufacturer – much like HDBaseT 2.0 is doing on more of a one-to-one basis. Perhaps Valens Semiconductor will be able to do it again.” HDBaseT is based on a proprietary pulse amplitude modulation scheme that requires chipsets manufactured by Valens Semiconductor. HDBaseT signals cannot presently be delivered via conventional network switches. “Our industry has ﬁnally evolved through analogue, digital, IP, and now on to the ﬁnal stage: the platform,” enthuses Kennington. “The true mission of the SDVoE Alliance is to create a standard development platform upon which programmers, integrators, designers and manufacturers can build software to
turn products into experiences. Just as the engineers of the iPhone didn’t invent or predict Uber, I know that soon we will start to see applications built on the SDVoE platform that none of us have yet conceived. It is a very exciting time for AV over IP and I can’t wait to see what’s next.”
‘The convergence of data, voice, and video over the same infrastructure has been steadily increasing for years’ Myles Carter, Matrox
Good for the industry There can be little doubt that IP brings huge beneﬁts in terms of ﬂexibility, versatility, scalability and sheer performance – and, ultimately, that has to be good for the AV industry. There are still challenges to overcome, however, in the AV world. First, it represents
a potentially steep learning curve – for manufacturers, end-users and integrators alike. Second: in an IP world, solution differentiation becomes increasingly challenging: new ways have to be found of creating and maintaining competitive advantage. And third: in an industry that has long prided itself on lowlatency, pristine images, AVoIP still has a little way to go. However: 10Gb Ethernet is pretty much with us, 40Gb Ethernet will soon be more affordable – and 100Gb Ethernet isn’t far away. Those higher speeds will almost certainly see a reduction in the need for the codecs, which, good as they are, can impact both image quality and latency. Despite those challenges, however, it seems reasonable to conclude that AVoIP’s time has come. In the not-too-distant future, we’ll have forgotten there was any other way of doing things. Khan and Cerf must be very proud.
www.aptovision.com www.gefen.com www.harman.com www.kramerav.com www.matrox.com www.sdvoe.org www.zeevee.com
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24 SPECIAL REPORT: AV OVER IP
Learning the lessons As we continue our special report, Michael Burns investigates how AV over IP is being implemented across a number of different verticals
V over IP is an evolution in media transport. Why use multiple different types of cables to carry video, audio, reference, metadata and control data, when a single standard network cable passing through conventional network switches will do the job? It may seem like a no-brainer for simplifying AV, but not so long ago some AV professionals were fearing a loss of responsibility and a degradation in media quality and security if they moved more towards standard internetbased solutions. IT professionals on the other hand felt in danger of being overwhelmed by challenges of supporting and managing the integration of live video and audio (and their users) into their network infrastructure. Those days are gone, according to Michael Crisci, business development manager AV/IP and strategic alliances, Atlona. “The uptake of AVoIP is on the rise,” he says. “Solutions are addressing IT-speciﬁc needs like network redundancy, AES encryption and forward error correction within the AV environment. The fears of IT and AV convergence have passed.” “As more traditional AV applications become IP connected, so too do traditional AV products,” says Rainer Stiehl, vice-president of marketing, Europe, Extron Electronics. “Many customers are interested in leveraging their data network as the transport infrastructure for AV in addition to their business-class
data like email, ﬁ le transfer, and voice over IP. There are some unique capabilities and potential beneﬁts when streaming video and audio information over the network, such as scalability, reach and ﬂexibility.”
Big business “AVoIP’s expandability and scalability are undoubtedly huge advantages over legacy technology using a classic video matrix,” agrees Tom Strade, technology & innovation VP, Black Box. “It took some time for network administrators to accept the integration of AV on their networks but AVoIP is well established nowadays.”
‘With single-gigabit AV over IP, you can build your AV system as large as your network will allow’ Stijn Ooms, Crestron
AVoIP applications in the corporate space addressed by Strade’s company include providing signage across multiple displays in large halls or meeting rooms. “Physical
Key Points AV over IP is becoming well established; leading sectors include corporate, control rooms, education, and sports venues Issues around signal quality and latency have generally been solved Rising video data rates will bring more pressure on bandwidth and so the need for compression will increase More education is needed within the AV community to spread the use of AVoIP technology further distance is also not a problem anymore – using AVoIP, your AV reaches as far as your network reaches,” he says. “Using our mediacento IPX in conjunction with our Coalesce Wireless collaboration system, you could share and work on a single presentation across multiple ﬂoors using AVoIP.” “Corporate facilities are a melting pot of AV environments that all work with AVoIP technology,” observes Crisci. “Atlona’s redundant capabilities and ultra-low-latency solutions work well in meeting spaces from huddle spaces to large conference rooms, creating interconnected virtual matrixes.” Mark Stanborough, sales manager, EMEA & APAC, Cabletime, reveals that his corporate customers, such as Bloomberg, PwC and KPMG, have been using AVoIP solutions to distribute live TV and digital signage over existing IP
SPECIAL REPORT: AV OVER IP 25
networks all over their buildings. This will not suit all levels of customers, though. â€œThe installation of a broadcast-style service, or fit-for-purpose digital signage in a corporate environment, is a big undertaking for any organisation, and the technical barriers can seem daunting,â€? he says. â€œIntegrators specifying solutions have to establish whether the network infrastructure can cope. The IPTV network must be capable of sustaining bandwidth-intense, high-availability multicast transport streams carried in the standard MPEG2 transport stream across multiple subnets, vLANs and WANs. Without this in place, the system will not perform to maximum capacity.â€? Aurora Multimedia has a long-standing interest in this sector. â€œAurora was the ďŹ rst company to ever combine Dante with AV over IP to allow breakout of the audio for mixing, or to not have to de-embed the audio into analogue,â€? says CEO Paul Harris. â€œThis allows for more powerful room combining.â€? â€œFor corporate facilities, Aurora not only created a transceiver box unit but we also created wall plates, which are necessary in corporate environments,â€? he adds. â€œOur products are not your typical AV over IP, as
we change the overall topology of AV with our transceiver concept and the mixing of standards, which we call IPBaseT. We have opened up new capabilities never utilised till now. For example we can reverse the direction of the video or audio in the system.â€?
â€˜AVoIP will change the way we educate, as it allows for collaborative learning on a school-wide levelâ€™ Paul Harris, Aurora Multimedia
Harris echoes Stanboroughâ€™s concerns about bandwidth. â€œThe demand from these applications is growing,â€? he says. â€œIn turn, it means that there could be less bandwidth available for other applications, which can be problematic. Expanding your network to meet this demand can be costly, so itâ€™s also important to further reduce bandwidth usage without impacting latency. We have a new encoder
due out shortly that will reduce latency when encoding AV sources to send over IP.â€? Security is a critical factor when looking into AVoIP solutions in this sector, particularly when employees can easily hook up their own devices to a wired or wireless IP network. â€œThe stakes are now higher,â€? says Stijn Ooms, EMEA product director at Crestron. â€œSensitive content like executive presentations or HR employment and salary information is now accessible anywhere thereâ€™s a network drop. Rogue devices can access protected content. As a result, anything that goes on the network must be secure, and clients need to know who and what is on their network. Crestron DM NVX Series sets the standard by leveraging the most advanced network security technologies like AES content encryption, 802.1x authentication and active directory credential management.â€?
Assuming control AVoIP is equally at home in control rooms, whether thatâ€™s for security, IPTV, broadcast or controlling digital signage. Thereâ€™s also been a synergy and concurrent growth with KVM (keyboard-video-mouse) applications for remote control of devices. Cabletimeâ€™s Mark Stanborough says he
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26 SPECIAL REPORT: AV OVER IP has seen many control room projects use his company’s encoders to stream PC and camera feeds over the IP network, ranging from defence to royal palaces. AVoIP has a long established presence in this sector – Cabletime has been building and marketing such solutions for over a decade. “It was a strategic decision to develop TV distribution solutions that would be more ﬂexible and ultimately cost-effective if they were delivered over the IP network,” says Stanborough. “There has been a gradual shift during that time from using traditional structured cabling for delivering live and stored content to using existing IP infrastructure. It’s deﬁnitely now the go-to choice for customers who welcome the ease of use and most importantly, the ﬂexibility and scalability.” Extron’s Stiehl views control rooms, typically asymmetrical with the potential for high I/O counts, as a good ﬁt for the scalability of an AVoIP solution. “Our VN-Matrix solutions, with their support for keyboard and mouse communications, are ideal in this space,” he adds. According to Stiehl, such solutions offer a relatively easy path for adding additional endpoints to the system, without the need to overhaul a more traditional/centralised matrix switcher-based system. “The overall reach of a streaming solution is only limited by the reach of the network itself,” he says. “For those with network capabilities that span a continent or an ocean, this really opens the possibilities when it comes to getting your content to the masses.”
‘There has been a gradual shift to using existing IP infrastructure. It’s deﬁnitely now the go-to choice for customers’ Mark Stanborough, Cabletime
Ooms at Crestron also sees the scalability beneﬁts for AVoIP in this sector, and others. “A traditional AV matrix is always limited to a certain amount of inputs and outputs, like 64x64 or 128x128. With single-gigabit AV over IP, like DM NVX, you can build your AV system as large as your network will allow. Thousands of endpoints can easily be a part of a virtual matrix. “But be careful,” he warns. “AV over IP solutions exist that require 10Gb infrastructure. These solutions are very difficult to scale and don’t truly offer the advantages of AV over IP. The reason for this is the uplink bandwidths between the network switches will drastically
Oculus ﬁtted with 16K videowall The Oculus, the £19 million ﬂagship teaching and learning building at the University of Warwick, is beneﬁtting from cutting-edge AVoIP technology from tvONE. Designed as the university’s ﬁrst completely dedicated teaching structure, The Oculus boasts two auditoriums, 12 state-of-the-art ﬂexible teaching spaces, and a number of social learning and network spaces. On entering, visitors are greeted by a stunning four-screen 16K resolution videowall that displays a range of artworks, timetables of upcoming activity in the building and live streams of lectures and other events in the main lecture theatres, as well as acting as the building dashboard. Installed by GV Multimedia, the wall consists of four NEC X981UHD 4K panels arranged in portrait orientation, with content supplied by ﬁve ONELAN 4K players via a tvONE CORIOmaster C3-540 videowall processor. “The videowall in the entrance area is our showcase for what is happening in the University,” says Ian Mason, AV analyst at the University of Warwick. “It can be used for anything from promoting departmental events and sporting successes, to streaming graduation ceremonies and the annual Coventry vs Warwick Varsity match. The tvONE CORIOmaster has given us unique ﬂexibility – we can use each screen as an individual display, or combine all four into one massive, and hugely impressive, 16K resolution show screen.” limit the number of endpoints you can route between switches.” Rainer Stiehl also has a warning. “As video data rates continue to climb – for example 4K/60 4:4:4, HDR, and 8K formats – the need for compression will continue to increase,” he advises. “Understanding the various compression technologies and knowing what compromises are being made within each approach will help system designers select the proper technology for their applications.” Thus Stiehl sees the biggest hurdle to AVoIP adoption being education – a view shared by most of our interviewees. “Extron is committed to educating our customers on the core technologies that enable AVoIP, so that system designers can have a reasonable expectation of performance when they design a system,” he explains.
Streaming in schools On the subject of education, this is an area where AVoIP is making major inroads. “AVoIP will change the way we educate, as it allows for collaborative learning on a schoolwide level,” says Aurora’s Harris. The company’s 4K video and Dante audio capable technology, IPBaseT, makes it possible to page not only school-wide or to a zone but to an individual classroom. Other applications for the technology include using low-cost cameras to transmit any event through the system to the rest of the
school or district, allowing displays and cameras to double up as alarm and emergency systems, and aid asset management by tracking the status of connected devices. Another application common to this and other AVoIP technologies is two-way collaboration across the campus. “Some colleges like to use a centralised switching topology in a building to allow all the lectures halls to share information back and forth,” says Atlona’s Michael Crisci. “Using a system like OmniStream enables them to build a matrix that suits their speciﬁc I/O requirements. When they need to, they can add additional input and outputs that are not constrained by the frame size of the traditional matrix. This saves money by using the current network as well as allowing for cost-effective upgrades.” Crisci says overﬂow rooms offer another interesting application. “Large assemblies, such as graduations, typically require additional space to accommodate audiences,” he explains. “Using the network is an easy way to extend live, realtime video to other locations on a campus.”
Stadiums and sports “Sports venues are the home of live events, and are likely to utilise a number a large number of displays to create a user experience around the facility,” says Atlona’s Michael Crisci. “The native virtual matrix features of multicast IP solutions allows the sharing of any amount of source
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28 SPECIAL REPORT: AV OVER IP content to any number of displays. Therefore, it is possible to tailor the event content to speciﬁc zones in the facility.” Crisci says ultra-low-latency beneﬁts of AVoIP technology are perfect for these live events, where signal latency would degrade the user experience. “Venues can distribute the game or event throughout the facility without a delay, meaning that action happens on the screen as it happens inside the bowl. Low latency ensures that fans can see the action at the same time as those in the stands.” “The main issues have been solved concerning image quality and latency,” agrees Paul Harris. “Aurora has not only focused on image quality and latency but using our transceiver concept we have simpliﬁed, serviceability and installation.” Harris sees a steady move to AVoIP everywhere in this sector. “Currently it is all about educating AV dealers about the use of AV over IP and best practices,” he says. “Many have already transitioned, seeing this is the way the industry is going.” There has also been extensive use of Cabletime technology within stadium installations. Stanborough says growth in this market has been not just to distribute
TV and live feeds of matches and games, but also for digital signage. “This is being used for advertising and so providing a lucrative revenue stream,” he adds. “This has had a very important beneﬁt over and above the [AVoIP] core function, allowing stadiums to increase ROI.”
Shared solutions The lesson for AV pros from all these sectors is that the IT manager is your friend, not your rival. “The ability to focus management and support of systems onto the IT network is a major underlying advantage of AVoIP,” says Michael Crisci. “We can make systems with greater ROI
for the end-user by reducing costs associated with AV-speciﬁc tasks like switching, cabling infrastructure, conduit, pathway and storage. We now utilise the existing data infrastructure to support our AV distribution, and simplify system needs in the process.”
www.atlona.com www.auroramultimedia.com www.blackbox.co.uk www.cabletime.com www.crestron.eu www.extron.com www.tvone.com
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30 SPECIAL REPORT: AV OVER IP
Matrox’s Chiappini on the AVoIP boom
To round off this special report, Paddy Baker speaks to David Chiappini, research and development VP at Matrox Graphics, about the technologies, demand drivers and issues around the transition to AV over IP How long have you personally been involved in AV over IP technology? I’ve been at Matrox since 1994 – I’m pretty much part of the furniture – and I started working on AVoIP in 2008. Matrox has been involved in all forms of uncompressed, lightly compressed and high-efficiency video compression from the very start, but 2008 was really our big launch. How mature do you feel AVoIP technology is currently? The technology on which it’s based is probably considered ancient by technology standards. The technologies for streaming, like H.264 for example, have been around for more than 10 years; AEC encoding has been around for many years; streaming protocols, for the most part, have been around for much longer than that. The technology itself is very mature. It’s not a technology maturity issue: if there’s anything that’s slowing things down, it’s the knowledge gap, and the learning curve for the
industry to catch up. There’s also a substantial technology gap between different products on the market. That’s why it’s really important to pick the right partner who really knows what they’re doing. How do you see the growth in demand for AV-over-IP solutions? Has it been slow and steady growth, or has it suddenly taken off in recent years/months? I would say growth has been progressively steady. We haven’t seen it hockey-sticking, but at a good rate year over year. That’s probably the best way to describe it. What do you see as the main drivers behind that increase in demand? I think it’s being driven by people wanting to work differently. With compressed video and IP, there’s a lot more ﬂexibility. IP can reach any number of instances, whether they’re mobile, distributed via the cloud, internet, worldwide.
A brief biography David Chiappini is the vice president of research and development at Matrox Graphics A Matrox employee since 1994, Chiappini oversees all aspects of engineering, product management and technical support. Through this role, he has a decade of experience working directly with the conception, design and optimisation of AV-over-IP products He holds a BEng from Concordia University, Montréal Today, with just a few very simple solutions, we’re able to handle a lot of the different things people want to do. If I want to consume data on a screen, on a tablet, on a phone; if I want to record it for later use, or I want to distribute it to 10,000 people who are in different countries – there’s no limitation to what you can do. All those things
InfoComm training Matrox will present a Manufacturer’s Training session entitled ‘Applications of IP-based AV Technologies in Education’ on Thursday 16 June at InfoComm 2017. Turn to our preview on page 16 for details or visit www.matrox.com/ic17training
are driving the need for AV over IP. Surprisingly, perhaps, you don’t really need a lot of new technology. H.264 is supported in almost everything. There’s a refrigerator at my local furniture store that supports H.264 streaming. It’s everywhere. In the near future, you’ll have things like HEVC and VP10 and AV1: they offer lower bitrates, so there will be some movement towards those as time passes – but the big installed base, the one that makes it easiest to reach the largest number of people with the smallest equipment footprint, is still H.264-based. Are you saying that future technology in this area will be evolutionary rather than revolutionary – there’s nothing coming that will suddenly unleash massive demand? The big, big leap is to move from a hard-wired, ﬁxed, proprietary, analogue solution today to IP – and that can be done with H.264. H.264 has permeated every fabric. The others will get there, but they’re still in the growth stages – and even when they come online, they’re not going to be as revolutionary at enabling new things. They’ll be incremental improvements. What do you see as the downsides of moving towards a networked AV environment? First, I should say that it’s important to respect the fact that there’s no one type of solution that ﬁts everyone’s needs. The old equipment that’s controllable by legacy AV processors will continue to exist. That said, there’s no feature that can be achieved with those legacy approaches that can’t be matched by IP today. There’s maybe a learning curve as we migrate towards these new solutions. People were very familiar with the old solutions, and that familiarity tends to drive people back to them. The reality is that, until that learning curve has been surmounted and they’ve gained some experience and conﬁdence with AV over IP, there’s going to be a little bit of reluctance to move in that direction. People need to start those pilot projects and get themselves moving and start upgrading their skillsets. They’re realising that there’s so much to gain by moving to IP that they’re moving over, little by little, and becoming adopters. I don’t really see the downsides of moving to a
SPECIAL REPORT: AV OVER IP networked AV environment. I just see a little bit of reluctance from people to want to take that step, but once they’re in there, they reap the rewards of moving into something that’s much more ﬂexible. You mentioned earlier about the need to choose partners carefully. Can you expand on that? In the AV world, there are still plenty of people who maybe still aren’t far up that learning curve and are trying to learn while putting out a product. You’ve got to make sure you’re choosing companies with proven, established product lines that are really solid. Take Matrox, for example. We’ve been around for 40 years. Building products that are based on open standards and that are interoperable allows the user to protect themselves. For example: if Matrox went out of business, or you didn’t like Matrox products, you already have an installed base – so you can keep it and add on someone else’s products. You wouldn’t need to get rid of all that equipment and install something new. Our philosophy is to build an interoperable product and base our return on investment on the customer saying they had such a great experience, they’ll come back again. That really should be the way we protect the investment of our customers. Do you have any speciﬁc advice for integrators who are looking to move to AV over IP who maybe haven’t started yet? Well, if you haven’t started yet, you’re deﬁnitely late to the game. The most important thing is to invest in some formal training to accelerate the learning curve. There’s a ton of resources out there to help you do that. If there’s free training provided by suppliers, take advantage of it. Paid training might also be very valuable to make sure you understand the products. Then, try and ﬁnd yourself some smaller projects that you can tackle and cut your teeth on – projects that will drive your company, forcing you to climb that hill. Don’t try and tackle something too big right off the bat; pick smaller programmes for the ﬁrst few so that you build your conﬁdence. Tell me about how Matrox ﬁts into the AV-over-IP world. There are three segments in our product line that are very IP-focused. First, we have the Maevex family of AV over IP encoders and decoders designed for enterprise use. These are appliances or boards that ﬁt into systems that support multi-channel up to 4K/30 and 4K/60. They come with software that allows users to set up, control, manage, switch, tune for bit rates and so on for more advanced users – or the software can just make it simple for people
who don’t necessarily need to tweak the detail. Our encoders/decoders also come with libraries to enable users to build out custom features that weren’t in our mainstream vision, but that individual users might need. We allow a deep level of customisation for those who want to take advantage of the software control mechanisms that we’ve built in. We also have our Mura videowall line-up that’s also enabled by IP. Mura is not just about stretching a single surface across many screens – it’s a real videowall processor technology that can bring in hundreds of streams for big data visualisation, or smaller systems for multiviewers.
‘If there’s anything that’s slowing things down, it’s the knowledge gap, and the learning curve for the industry to catch up’
Third, we’ve just announced a KVM over IP based product. Traditionally, KVMs are over a proprietary medium, but our KVM over IP allows multichannel 4K, 4K/60, multichannel HD – all in true, pixel-accurate 4:4:4 quality, and all running on standard IP networks. It really makes it very cost-effective. In terms of quality, it’s based on proprietary Matrox technology, implementing open standards. We’re very excited about the KVM product, which we’re able to demo now. It will ship at the end of the year. Do you think that networked AV will completely replace point-to-point connections, or do you think there are some sectors and applications that will stick with point-to-point? Other than absolutely extreme niche applications, I believe everything will be replaced by AV networks. Even point-to-point stuff will end up going over IP for the most part. On IP, you can offer everything from the lowest latency for uncompressed video all the way through to distribution to 10 million people simultaneously. It’s just a question of how long it will take for people to move their applications over. The reality is, there’s so much to gain by having your application run on IP – which means it absolutely will be the winner, even though it may take a few years. IP is just everywhere at this point for everything – it’s permeated everything we do. There’s no question about ‘will it?’ or ‘will it not?’ It absolutely will replace traditional pointto-point. It’s only a question of when.
32 BUSINESS FEATURE: HOSPITALITY
Engaging opportunities The hospitality sector is starting to place greater emphasis on customer engagement – in much the same way that retail has shifted over the last few years, reports Duncan Proctor
ospitality is a broad market that encompasses a range of venues and environments including hotels, bars and restaurants, as well as resorts, casinos and even cruise ships. A combination of the advances in customerfocused AV technology and the increased expectations of those customers has prompted a step change in the solutions being integrated into hospitality environments as venues search for the right formula to increase engagement. The purpose is not only to improve the customer experience, but also to generate repeat visits and recommendations in what is a very competitive sector with an abundance of choice.
‘Increasing customer engagement is probably one of the top priorities for our clients within the hospitality sector.’ Andy Truswell, Pure AV
Key areas The key areas where hospitality venues are looking to invest include: the introduction of dynamic digital
signage in communal spaces; upgrading conference and meeting spaces; and for hotels, in-bedroom AV facilities. These solutions are not only used to support wayﬁnding and information transfer, but also as an interactive gateway to access venue services. Additionally, there has been an increase in app-driven content on screens, similar to retail environments, but on a smaller scale. “In hotel meeting and conference rooms, we see a lot of demand for upgrades to infrastructure to cope with digital signals and the introduction of high deﬁnition displays,” says Andy Truswell, systems integration manager at Pure AV. “In smaller hotel venues, investment in their meeting and conference facilities is about ﬂexible systems that are easy for the customer to use and straightforward for the venue to manage.” Truswell also sees the inﬂuence of mobile and home-based technology on the development of AV within hotel rooms. “Within the hotel bedroom environment, we see continued demand for the ability to connect personal mobile devices to the in-room system. To some extent, this is driven by the technology that we surround ourselves with at home, and many of the hotels now have to introduce bigger, better quality in-room AV just to meet guest’s expectations. “It is very early days, but there is also developing interest in the deployment of virtual assistants using voice control such as the Harman solution that embeds the IBM Watson
Key Points There is a twin focus on maximising ad revenue and providing information to guests to improve their experience It is important that venues are able to offer guests the ability to connect personal devices to the in-room system Cost is still a barrier to a large number of hospitality businesses with budgets tightly controlled cognitive technology into Harman soundbars and alarm clocks, or Amazon’s Alexa-powered Echo.” James Keen, marketing manager at Tripleplay, believes the sheer size and scope of the hospitality industry presents a number of opportunities for integrators and installers. “Take a hotel for example: not only do they generally have 100-plus rooms all requiring a TV, maybe a set-top box, network; they also have a reception area; they have restaurants, bars and ﬁtness and wellbeing centres and, importantly, meeting rooms and conference facilities. A hotel is its own ecosystem; it has to be as the industry is incredibly competitive. As such, they look to engage their clients through providing a wide variety of television services, digital signage, projectors, control panels, great audio systems and, of course, WiFi. Many are looking to embrace
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34 FEATURE: HOSPITALITY
BYOD and BYOC [bring your own content] to enable guests to connect mobile devices to in-room TVs; in fact, this is a necessity in new sixstar venues. This then creates the requirement to invest in an in-room lnteractive IPTV portal, using smart TV or set-top box.”
Priorities Increasing customer engagement is one of the top priorities within hospitality, says Truswell: “The hotels we work with see increased engagement as a way to maximise the uptake of their facilities and services at the same time as enhancing the customer experience. Hotel clients tell us that the more engaged the customer, the better their experience and the more likely the hotel is to generate repeat visits and recommendations from them. Greater interaction with visitors at every stage of their visit, including the period leading up to, and after, their stay, also opens up the opportunity to promote and upsell the hotel’s facilities and services; helping to increase the potential revenue generated per customer.”
‘The challenge to integrators is simple, can you deliver the high-quality solution the client expects and you wish to deliver but at a much lower price point than usual?’ James Keen, Tripleplay
Keen takes a similar view: “Increasing engagement in hospitality boils down to one thing – maximising revenue generation. So, if a technology can help with this by delivering advertising in-room or on digital signage screen, or through a landing page on an app, then they will consider it. By creating ‘value add’ or experiential environments for guests a hotel can subversively attract customers to other info, special offers on dinner, tour packages, premium WiFi or spa services.” If engagement is a priority, then surely by extension interactivity is as well? “I don’t think interactivity is a priority in the hospitality space, but perhaps it’s an area that should be,” states Lucy Meredith, UK product marketing specialist for Panasonic Visual System Solutions. “The possibilities of combining security technologies such as facial recognition in combination with digital signage, for wayﬁnding and even executive check-in, are very exciting, but ultimately not considered a must-have. “Panasonic is extremely excited by the possibilities for LinkRay technology, this uses light from a display or LED light source as a
one-to-one marketing tool, allowing visitors to download information speciﬁc to a venue or event direct to their smartphone. This could be an incredibly powerful way of engaging visitors within a venue and ensuring that hospitality guests take away the information you want them to. In addition, the LinkRay platform comes with incorporated analytics so that marketing and management teams can view statistics on how many visitors have been scanning the displays, offering insight in to which offers or exhibits are most popular.” Keen believes interactivity is being embraced by some hospitality businesses, but for the majority the level of investment needed is currently a step too far. “Bars, restaurants, sports clubs are all counting the cost of their operation every day and technology is looked at with the same accountancy view. Hotels work out the cost of a room based on the price of a bar of soap, linen cleaning, a TV, WiFi provision and so on; this means that technology has to ﬁt that. If they purchase an IPTV system and it pushes their room price from £95 up to £130 then they will likely not do it as it will start to alter their clients’ expectations and affect their target audience. In an ideal world they would all like to do it, I’ve little doubt; but until either the cost comes down or the market expects it and kicks back we’ll probably only see big chains and luxury brands really embracing interactivity.”
Opportunities The growth in the hospitality sector and the drive to deliver greater customer engagement has created increased opportunities for integrators. Truswell explains: “The need to inform and communicate with guests at every stage and in every location during their stay,
alongside the desire of hotels to fully exploit advertising revenue streams has encouraged the spread of AV from the dedicated meeting and bedroom space to areas throughout the hotel estate. And this has created increased opportunity for integrators. “There are, however, challenges. One area of challenge is the need to provide solutions that are ﬂexible enough to respond to the varied applications that a hotel will have for its meeting spaces while keeping the system simple enough to be easily managed in house. We also see increased competition, as companies that would have traditionally focused mainly on the in-bedroom, hotel TV applications are now actively chasing business in the wider meeting and communal areas. For Keen, price is still chief among considerations: “The challenge to integrators is simple: can you deliver the high-quality solution the client expects and you wish to deliver but at a much lower price point than usual? “The other issues you have with hospitality environments is that they are rarely closed, hotels especially, so you must be able to deliver 24/7/365 support and deliver fast. The opportunities though are there for all to see: build a good reputation and a 300room hotel can soon turn into a million-pound opportunity supplying TVs, projectors, control systems, digital signage, IPTV, WiFi, cabling, videoconferencing and much more. They are rich environments for a use case perspective, they just often lack the disposable income.”
http://business.panasonic.eu www.pureav.co.uk www.reflex.co.uk www.tripleplay.tv
ADVERTISEMENT FEATURE 35
Surface Hub opens doors for GV Multimedia Integrator GV Multimedia is now an Authorised Device Reseller for Microsoft Surface Hub. The company’s Deputy MD outlines its plans for the device GV Multimedia, with 35 years of experience in the AV market working with the education sector, has strengthened its position as a leading AV solutions provider by becoming an Authorised Device Reseller (ADR) for Microsoft Surface Hub. The acceptance process was very thorough and took several months, says Kristian Cutting, GV’s Deputy MD. “We had to meet the criteria that Microsoft laid out to us. They wanted us to demonstrate our competency in the market place and which verticals we can penetrate into. We had to demonstrate that we have the ability and the competency to sell, train on, integrate and support Surface Hub.”
‘Our AV expertise, our regional coverage and our strong existing relationships with the higher education sector make GV an immediate win for Microsoft’
Kristian Cutting, Deputy MD
The immediate win for Microsoft is GV’s reach in education and higher education, says Cutting. “They were strategic about who they wanted to partner with. Our AV expertise, our regional coverage and our strong existing relationships with the higher education sector make GV an immediate win for Microsoft. Also with ﬁve offices we have excellent technical and sales capability around the country offering national coverage with a local feel to it.”
For those who haven’t seen Surface Hub in operation, it is an all-in-one collaboration and teamwork device that integrates electronic whiteboard, communications, screen sharing, camera, audio and apps. Centred on either a 55in or 84in interactive touchscreen, it can be used within a meeting hub or at the centre of a collaboration system that delivers remote contributions by students or by those working with them. And being a Microsoft device it runs on Windows 10 and works seamlessly with Skype for Business, Office, OneNote and a whole host of apps from Microsoft and others.
Rich content Surface Hub offers a variety of different ways to share rich content, says Cutting. “You can use it as an interactive system on its own, or as part of a large AV system – and you can use it more speciﬁcally like feeding out to smaller pads if you want to. You can enhance it, so if for example you have a large room you can easily enhance the audio capture.” Surface Hub also ﬁts in with the smart building criteria in terms of green credentials, explains Cutting. “It has motion sensing, so you can walk up to the Surface Hub and it and will switch on and off automatically. You can walk away and it wipes, so also from a security perspective it is extremely strong. It is a premium product and, we believe, a class-leading product.” The accredited Microsoft ADR network has been established so that customers can ﬁnd out what Surface Hub can do in a project and how to make the most of its collaboration power.
“To get the most out of this system you need to be sure you’ve understood its use and that it is clearly deﬁned, and that it is going to be fully integrated,” Cutting notes. “Our discussions typically unearth other requirements and integration needs – this is all where we add value.”
Support team As an ADR, GV is fully supported by Microsoft with a dedicated support team, which GV can involve at any stage in a project. This is something clients recognise as being of value, says Cutting. “If a client is going to invest in a product like this then they want to know they also have people in Microsoft that they can talk to. I can pick up the phone and they will come on site and talk with the client directly. Microsoft has a great brand image for product, just as we have in the education sector – so it’s a good partnership.” Although the focus is on the education sector, products like Surface Hub let GV continue to spread its wings into the wider corporate world. “This product is therefore the perfect complement for us.” Cutting concludes: “People see it as something also well suited to businesses. We are seeing some success already from corporates, which is brilliant – so we also see this as a great opportunity to engage new customers and other sectors, opening new doors in the process.”
+44 (0)20 8814 5950 www.gvmultimedia.com
36 SOLUTIONS: THEIR MORTAL REMAINS, LONDON
PROJECT OF THE MONTH
Shine on The latest exhibition from the Victoria & Albert Museum with a musical theme has audio from Sennheiser, strong visuals and an immersive ﬁnale. Paddy Baker paid a visit
ith sales of more than 250 million albums worldwide, Pink Floyd are one of the most successful rock bands ever, as well as one of the most influential. Their history and legacy is explored in The Pink Floyd Exhibition: Their Mortal Remains, the latest music-related exhibition at London’s Victoria & Albert Museum. It is organised as a chronological journey through the band’s career, from their origins in the psychedelic scene of the 1960s through to their mid-1990s albums The Division Bell and Pulse. Like in 2013’s David Bowie Is, audio partner Sennheiser makes a twofold contribution: it has created a 3D audio upmix of a classic recording, and it delivers a soundtrack to the exhibition. As you enter, you are given a body pack and headphones, and as you move around the exhibition space, the relevant audio fades in on your headphones – synced to any video that is playing. The audio zone around each exhibit is bounded by a loop laid in the ﬂoor. Around 40 videos – historic performances and interviews both old and new – are playing on a mixture of Samsung 22in and 40in and NEC 24in displays. As the visitor approaches one of these, transmission of the corresponding audio stream is launched by an inconspicuous trigger unit. Audio and video content at each of these exhibits is housed on a BrightSign HD223 media player local to the screen, with the audio sent over a balanced audio pair to a Sennheiser guidePORT transmitters in each
gallery’s AV rack location. These then send an RF signal to antennas in the ceiling and elsewhere. Small trigger units, placed near the exhibits, known as identifiers, tell the bodypacks which audio stream to receive or play. Alan Macdonald, managing director of Media Powerhouse, which installed the Sennheiser system, notes: “The great thing about leaving the BrightSigns local to the displays is you just need a short HDMI cable, and just run the audio back. All the Brightsigns are networked so content uploads and updates have been really simple to achieve; in the lead-up [to a show like this] there are always little changes of content – but we were able to manage that quickly and effectively.” The exhibition occupies the same physical space as the David Bowie exhibition and last year’s You Say You Want a Revolution. This means that Robert Génereux, business director, system design at Sennheiser, who had overall responsibility for the programming of the guidePORT system, was familiar with the quirks of the room’s construction – in particular, the metal sheets under the floor which make propagation of RF signals harder than it would otherwise be. Génereux comments that the guidePORT system makes for “a fully automated yet entirely personal tour, as the exhibition can be explored in whatever order and at any pace whatsoever. The audio is always played at the right time for each visitor, and gently faded in and out when they enter or leave an area.”
Installed Audio Sennheiser GP EK 3202-5 guidePORT receivers Sennheiser GP SR 3200 guidePORT cell transmitters Sennheiser guidePORT GP AM 3000 active antenna units Sennheiser guidePORT GP ID 3200-out identifiers Neumann KH 420 midfield monitor loudspeakers Neumann KH 870 subwoofers Formula Sound Que-18 mixers
Video Samsung displays NEC displays Panasonic PT-RZ660 laser projectors Panasonic PT-RZ970 laser projectors Optoma GT1080 projectors Epson EB-G6900WU projectors Dataton Watchpax 4 media servers VYV Tachyon media servers BrightSign HD223 media players BrightSign XT243 media players Technology and visuals A broad range of exhibits are on show at the exhibition: documents include early photographs, diaries, handwritten lyrics, letters and contracts; there are also musical instruments, and audio technology, including the Quad Panner built for the band by Britannia Row to handle live quadraphonic sound.
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38 SOLUTIONS: THEIR MORTAL REMAINS, LONDON
Visitors can create their own mix of the track Money, which is streamed wirelessly to their headphones
Pink Floyd’s visual identity is also given full rein – including classic cover artwork by design studio Hipgnosis (co-founded by Aubrey Powell, who led the exhibition design), and the inﬂatable characters, developed from Gerald Scarfe cartoons, that were used in the stage show of The Wall. Five projectors, displaying content from BrightSign XT243 media players, are used to create a 3D rendering of the iconic cover design of the Dark Side of the Moon album, where a triangular prism diffracts a ray of white light into the colours of the spectrum. This is a Pepper’s Ghost illusion, designed and created by Cinimod Studio and installed by Media Powerhouse. Dotted throughout the exhibition are telephone boxes decorated with newspapers, magazines and other printed media – giving a social historical context to the band’s catalogue. Pink Floyd were renowned for being experimental in the recording studio. Visitors get the chance to appreciate the different elements of the song Money by playing with the levels of eight different channels: two guitars, bass, drums, keyboards, vocals, saxophone and cash register! A number of Formula Sound Que-18 mixers are provided for this purpose, with the output sent to the individual visitor’s headphones via guidePORT.
Performance Zone The climax of the show is a showing of the group’s performance of Comfortably Numb from Live 8 in 2005, the last occasion they played live. This has been upmixed by Sennheiser using its AMBEO technology to an 18.3 mix, and played through 18 Neumann KH 420 midﬁeld monitor speakers and seven Neumann KH 870 subwoofers. The monitors in the Performance Zone are placed at three different heights: at 2m, there are three at the front of the room, two at the
back and two on each side; at 4m to 5m there are three at the front, two at the back and two at the sides; and two are deployed as a ‘voice of God’ about 6m high at the centre of the room. Three subwoofers are positioned at the front, two at the back, and one on each side. The feeling of immersion is increased by video being projected on all four walls of the room: 10 Panasonic 6,200-lumen laser projectors, edge-blended, beam a continuous band of video 45.5m long and 3.5m high. (The total canvas is 15,824 x 1,200 pixels.) Content is driven by three Dataton Watchpax 4 media servers. Moving-head ﬁxtures in this zone create a light show that both adds to the live ambience and also at times nods to the liquid light shows that accompanied the band’s earliest performances. Media Powerhouse supplied the video equipment for the exhibition, and is also the on-site operative running the show. Much of the video installation was designed by Richard Turner of Lucky Frog. He describes the Panasonic laser projectors as “quite astonishing – I’m very pleased with them.” He describes himself as “a fan of Panasonic”, and cites the projectors’ reliability as well as the long life – without the need for lamp replacement – that laser technology affords. “I don’t see that anybody is going to be going for anything other than laser light-source projectors within the year – especially in the rental market.” Panasonic laser projectors are used for most of the projections within the exhibition. However, the ceiling projection in the exhibition’s ﬁrst room, which has a psychedelic theme, uses Optoma GT1080 projectors because their lensing worked better to cover the whole of the ceiling, Turner explains. The content for that projection is delivered by Tachyon media servers from Canadian company VYV – in what is believed to be their ﬁrst outing
in the UK. “They’re my latest favourite media server people,” he says. The Tachyon solution is “fundamentally Nvidia Shield 4K gaming boxes, Android driven – each one becomes a display head. They’re well worth a look – their tracking and alignment procedures knock everybody else out of the water, quite frankly.” He adds that he would also have used the VYV system for the Performance Zone projection, but “to get a couple of hundred gigs of storage on them was getting problematic on the software.” Alan Macdonald declares himself very pleased with the overall outcome. “I think this has been the most well-received exhibition we’ve worked on – the press reviews were great, it’s potentially got great longevity to it, and hopefully we’ll move on as it tours through Europe.” He continues: “It was an amazing project – we were very lucky to be involved in it. I think the end result from a creative and technical point of view was ﬁrst-class. The story that’s told is very good – the whole thing is done very well.”
www.cinimodstudio.com www.dataton.com www.epson.eu www.formula-sound.co.uk www.luckyfrog.co.uk www.media-powerhouse.com www.neumann.com www.optoma.eu http://business.panasonic.eu www.sennheiser.com www.vam.ac.uk www.vyv.ca
40 SOLUTIONS: INEOS, LONDON
Fit for purpose The users of this corporate gym can never complain about a lack of diverting entertainment – they can select and control a plethora of audio and video sources. Tom Bradbury reports
ntegrator Electric String recently delivered a project with a very simple brief: to build a powerful and superior quality AV solution for a communal gym that would make it unlike any other. The client was INEOS, a global manufacturer of chemical and oil products, and the facility is located at its central London headquarters. Control of the gym and creating a unique user experience were key aspects of the design. Unlike most communal gym spaces, the space needed to allow control by individual users rather than expecting users to be force-fed standard distributed content or rely on their personal audio players.
“The real key was to give gym users fully ﬂexible control and access to whatever content they desired from the installed system, something which is simply not possible in most gym situations,” notes Rob Sullivan, commercial director at Electric String. Users have the option of not only selecting from a wide range of sources of audio and/or video but having full control of those sources as well. In addition to this, they can select on-demand workout plans that can be displayed along with personalised entertainment.
Sources Available to INEOS staff are: internet radio, a
Installed Audio Meridian Audio G65 advanced controllers Meridian Audio DSP-3300 loudspeakers Meridian Audio DSW subwoofers
Video LG 98LS95A 98in display LG 65UH5B 65in displays
Control / connectivity Crestron Pro3 processor Crestron 10.1in TSW1052 touchpanels Crestron DigitalMedia MD 8x8 switcher iPad Air virtual jukebox, Blu-ray players and satellite and Freeview TV inputs – all through an easy-to use interface. Gym instructors can also use a microphone to broadcast over the loudspeakers and play workout videos, alongside the users’ chosen audio, on the 98in LG display mounted at the front of the spin studio. The key components of the integrated solution are control from Crestron and audio from Meridian Audio. A Crestron DigitalMedia matrix provides 4K video distribution to the main 98in LG screen and three supplementary 65in displays, giving the highest quality images from the source devices and at the same time allowing ﬂexibility in conﬁguration of the distributed content. Control is handled via a Crestron 3-Series PRO3 processor, with two 10.1in TSW1052 touchpanels for user interaction and an iPad Air for ‘super user’ administrators. Electric String speciﬁed 12 Meridian DSP3300 loudspeakers in white to match the
About the integrator Electric String specialises in custom installation of AV home automation, security, communications and productivity systems for residential, commercial and marine customers The company was founded in 2010 by former superyacht electronics designers James Ward and James Symonds In 2014 Electric String merged with RSAV Solutions, and Robert Sullivan joined the team as a director The company has offices in London, Cambridge and Hull aesthetics of the gym, and mounted them on the walls just below the ceiling so that they appear to be ﬂoating. The DSP3300 includes on-board DSP technology that provides thermal and dynamic bass protection, ensuring an extended lifetime of the loudspeaker with a high level of usage over a prolonged period of time. Its compact cabinet houses three drivers, plus the advanced electronics necessary to deliver room-ﬁlling sound. The gym is divided into audio zones, with each zone supported by a Meridian DSW subwoofer to provide the bass and a G65 Surround Controller. The G65 Surround Controller accommodates a wide range of audio and video inputs for ﬂexibility in selecting a source. It also includes Meridian Room Correction, which uses Meridian’s powerful DSP technology to smooth out uneven room resonances for clearer sound and better imaging - crucial to creating a high-quality audio solution in a harsh sound environment. Sullivan explains: “The gym contains a lot of hard surfaces including wooden ﬂoors, mirrored walls and metal and glass gym machines, which doesn’t usually create the best audio environment. However, Meridian’s DSP technology delivered the best possible audio solution, providing fantastic sound quality and an ease of control that has delighted the client and the gym’s users.”
User interface The layout and operation of the user interface was a key aspect to ensure that the system complemented, rather than complicated, each user’s exercise programme. With such an array of sources, dual-zone operation and multiple users, a high level of attention to detail was needed, from the front-end user interface to the back-end programming. As well as working with the client on creating the desired system, Electric String also provided training for instructors and users. The result is a new dimension of user experience that has delighted the client. “Electric String was the perfect partner for us
SOLUTIONS: INEOS, LONDON with our gym project,” comments Jonny Ginns, group general counsel, INEOS Holdings. “We had to combine several complex lighting, audio and training software packages behind the scenes, and yet present gym users with a very simple user interface via the Crestron touchpanels, which were designed and programmed just for our requirements. The team achieved exactly that and our users love it.”
The project was so well received that the client is now using the system as a blueprint design for future gyms in their offices worldwide.
www.crestron.eu www.electric-string.com www.lg.com www.meridian-audio.com
HDBaseT, Infrastructure ready Datavideo introduces a new line of HDBaseT products, designed to make your life as an AV installer, integrator or producer much easier. With very limited and low cost cabling you can wire your full setup in minutes. Datavideo delivers you cameras, transmitter/receiver boxes and a complete portable workstation. The HS-1500T is worlds first portable HDBaseT workstation. This suitcase opens up to reveal a full PTZ controller, including presets, and a four channel production switcher with audio mixer. Combined with the ease of single wire installation, this will limit your installation time considerably. The PTC-150T is Datavideos thrustworthy and high quality pan/tilt/zoom camera, but with an HDBaseT sauce. This unit comes with or without an HDBaseT receiver box, thats breaks out to regular HDMI, VISCA control and power input, just in case you need to wire up with a regular workflow. The HBT-10 and HBT-11 are transmitter/receiver boxes that convert all regular HDMI equipment to single wire connections. This will make it much easier to install HDMI products, and extend cable lengths up to 100 meters over regular ethernet cable. To receive more information, visit www.datavideo.com
42 SOLUTIONS: MARIENBERG ABBEY, MALS
Preserving the interior
A full-scale renovation project provided the ideal opportunity for an aesthetically sensitive audio update in this 12th-century church
d&b audiotechnik 16C two-way passive column speaker d&b audiotechnik 4S two-way passive speaker
estling at the conﬂuence of Italy’s northern border with Switzerland and Austria, the Monastery of Marienberg strikes a dominant posture among the mountainous slopes. Founded in the 12th century by local nobleman Ulrich von Tarasp, the church within was later converted to the Baroque style in the mid-1600s, and today stands as one of the ﬁnest examples of its type. When it came to a major renovation project, it was the abbey’s unique interior design that Werner Tscholl Architects held central to their remit. Media specialist ﬂocom was responsible for the AV system integration in the church. “We were anxious to ensure nothing in the way of new technology would detract from the church’s inherent beauty,” explains Florian Stecher, managing partner of ﬂocom. “Marienberg Abbey has been a client of ours for years. Over time we’ve carried out a number of multimedia installations for their museum exhibitions. It was in their plans to refurbish the sound reinforcement system during the complete renovation of the church, and we were fortunate that a product from d&b audiotechnik exactly suited this project. “The appointment to provide a solution to improve the sound reinforcement situation – principally by increasing speech intelligibility – came directly from Abbot Markus Spanier and Prior Philipp Kuschmann. Unlike so many medieval churches, reverberation wasn’t
the issue. The dimensions of the church are relatively small; the main nave is 16m long, with a width of 6m; chapels to the sides house three other altars, while the Sanctuary is quite roomy at 15m deep by 7.5m wide. Reverberation time that we measured before developing the audio design is a good 1.5s. The requirement of the architect was to give particular consideration to aesthetic aspects when planning the sound reinforcement system.”
About the integrator flocom was founded in 2003 by Florian Stecher The company offers expertise in sound reinforcement, electroacoustics, video and audio conferencing, museum multimedia, digital signage and residential AV systems In addition to d&b, flocom has sales partnerships with easescreen for digital signage, Lifesize for video collaboration and Revox for home entertainment
Simulation modelling However, the system design didn’t go as smoothly as might have been expected. Stecher explains: “We started our simulation model with a pair of d&b 24C loudspeakers, integrated with 24C-E extensions to reach the full length of the main nave. The 24C is a tall, thin column-style enclosure, and the fact the beam of its low/ mid drivers tilts 5º downward would enable us to mount the cabinets parallel to the pillars; while the horizontal cardioid dispersion pattern of these loudspeakers provides a level of broadband attenuation to the sides and rear that address any concerns of reverberance. “EASE showed good values, so we made a demo with the loudspeakers physically in place. It worked really well, better than planned in fact, and well above expectations. However, architect Werner Tscholl deemed the 24C/24C-E combination not to be in line with the overall aesthetic design, so we started again from scratch, modelling with just four of the smaller d&b 16C for the main nave. Physically
much shorter, and with fewer drivers, the 16C has a wider vertical dispersion than the 24C, 40º instead of 20º, and has a max SPL 4dB less than the 24C. It turned out that the 16C served both masters, visual and electroacoustic. We only added four of d&b’s 4S loudspeakers to ﬁll the side naves and altars where the 16Cs can’t reach.” Because the audio installation was part of a much wider renovation project, ﬂocom’s installation phase was unhindered. “Ducts and cables, speakers and microphones, DSP and ampliﬁers have been put exactly where we wanted them to without compromise,” reports Stecher. “Abbot Spanier and Werner Tscholl were satisﬁed by that. We received their compliments and they stated their satisfaction from the very ﬁrst time the audio system has been put to use.”
www.dbaudio.com www.flocom.it www.werner-tscholl.com
Install awards 2017
29th June 2017 I Central London
RECOGNISING EXCELLENCE IN THE AV MARKET
The InstallAwards offers a mix of networking, celebrating and most importantly recognising the achievements of the AV market across the globe. Join us for a three course meal, awards ceremony and after party!
TICKETS AND TABLES AVAILABLE NOW visit www.installawards.com Contact Maeve Nicholson on +44 (0)20 3871 7383 or email@example.com If you would like more information or to sponsor this event please contact Gurpreet Purewal firstname.lastname@example.org Tel: +44 (0)20 7354 6029
Ollie Smith email@example.com Tel: +44 (0)20 7354 6026
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44 SOLUTIONS IN BRIEF
Pure AV equips uni centre with suite of AV tech Pure AV has completed the AV works at Bangor University’s Marine Centre, including the installation of a nine-screen Samsung videowall at the main entrance, a seminar room with dual projection screens, and videconferencing facilities. Pure AV utilised the ONELAN signage platform, and nine Samsung UD55D screens mounted on Peerless SMARTMount DS-VW765-LQR brackets. The material displayed on the videowall is changed regularly and the ONELAN system provides an easy way for university staff to add and schedule different material. The top ﬂoor seminar room offers presentation and VC facilities. The two Epson EB-G6570WU projectors can be used in tandem or operated independently when the area is conﬁgured as two separate rooms.
Digital Projection provides panoramic images Digital Projection 3-Chip DLP HIGHlite laser projectors have been deployed by Auvisys at the Alexis de Tocqueville library in Caen, among a range of AV, lighting and videowall projection equipment. Scenography design agency dUCKS scéno created the backdrops for the various spaces. For the library, the agency deployed the equipment used in the scenic layouts, including the videowall projection, and the auditorium’s scenic machinery. The Science & Technologies centre welcomes visitors with a semi-cylindrical video fresco. Auvisys opted for two ceiling mounted HIGHlite projectors for the panoramic image. Content is managed by a Modulo Pi server, which ensures uniformity with warping and blending functions.
Genelec system brings custom audio The Museum of Spirits, located on the island of Djurgården in central Stockholm, has been fitted with a new Genelec 4000 Series loudspeaker system for the custom-created audio soundtrack. The museum is dedicated to Sweden’s relationship with alcohol. A versatile audio system that could integrate with the museum environment was sought out, which led to the choice of the Genelec system.
One thing that made Genelec stand apart was the ability for the loudspeakers to run for long periods of time, an essential requirement for visitor attractions with long opening hours. The system also stood up to the challenge of the integrating a new audio system into a traditional building.
University AV overhaul calls for Sony The Vita-Salute San Raffaele University in Milan has undergone an upgrade of its AV infrastructure, with integrator Mezzi Comunicazione Audiovisiva developing an integrated solution using Sony products. Sony VPL-FHZ57 laser projectors, chosen for their reliability, picture sharpness and accurate and stable colour rendering, have been installed in the majority of its classrooms. The video capture system has been upgraded to include a full HD SRG-300H PTZ dome camera, running over the IP network. Students can view the lesson schedule on the 65in FWL-65W855C Bravia display, which can be used to create signage in full HD resolution, thanks to its built-in support for HTML5. The use of Android TV allows for customisation with extra features delivered by a growing range of B2B applications, including content sharing and videoconferencing.
THAT FEELING YOU GET WHEN YOU COLLABORATE SUCCESSFULLY G&D AT INFOCOMM STAND 2580
Compact power from Powersoft The Oxford Social Club within The Pendry hotel has installed a new hidden sound system utilising Powersoft Ottocanali ampliﬁers. The Pendry, in the Gaslamp Quarter of San Diego, is the Montage Hotel Group’s ﬂagship location. The Group turned to Andy Masi, CEO at Clique Hospitality Group, to help achieve the perfect Southern California boutique hotel experience. Masi brought on board long-time collaborator and nightclub industry veteran John Lyons to oversee sound system design for The Oxford Social Club. With physical space in both the lounge and its rack room at a premium, Lyons speciﬁed Powersoft Ottocanali amps driving Fulcrum Acoustic speakers for a low-footprint, high-impact sound solution. Lyons installed a system with 24 ampliﬁer channels over three Ottocanali 8k8 rack units, consuming just six rack units in the club’s small rack room. These amps drive eight Fulcrum Acoustics 15in coaxial speakers and eight double 15in woofers.
AT G&D, WE DON’T JUST BUILD THE BEST KVM SYSTEMS. BY WORKING CLOSELY TOGETHER, WE’LL BUILD THE BEST SYSTEM FOR YOU. To us, it’s not enough to have an unmatched reputation for reliability, usability and performance. Or to be an ISO 9001 certiﬁed company with the most comprehensive product range in the industry. Or even to be continually developing innovations such as our compression algorithm that delivers the highest video quality whilst ensuring latencyfree operation.
Our overriding aim is to put together a KVM system tailormade to your needs. This involves exceptional levels of consultation from the outset – and exhaustive attention to detail during and after construction. Investing in a G&D system will provide your business with tangible advantages now and into the future. Let’s make that ﬁrst connection. Contact us today.
TOGETHER DIGITAL – PRINT – EVENTS GAMING – MUSIC – AV – PRO AUDIO – CONSUMER ELECTRONICS VIDEO & BROADCAST – EDUCATION
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Kit you need to know about
PRODUCT OF Crestron THE MONTH Mercury It’s… a tabletop device that supports meeting and collaboration requirements. What’s new? Mercury provides everything needed for conference calls, BYOD presentations, and web collaboration in a single console. Details: Crestron Mercury is a VoIP speakerphone, BYOD screen-sharing device, room microphone, UC hosting device and more. Fully compatible with major SIP-compliant phone systems, it provides highly intelligible, full-duplex communication for every participant around a conference table. A 360° quad microphone array captures voices from every seat, and the high-powered, full-range speaker produces rich-sounding audio for both voice and programme material. Limes Audio TrueVoice AEC technology removes distracting echoes and noise. Calls are made and answered via the large HD colour touchscreen, and corporate directory access (LDAP) enables one-touch dialling from the customer’s centrally managed directory. Mercury can also be paired with any mobile phone via Bluetooth, transforming a phone call into a whole-room audio conference. A laptop running a softphone application can be connected via USB for enhanced audio quality. A brightly coloured mute bar on top of the Mercury device displays mic and mute status clearly to all. Once an HD display device has been connected to Mercury’s HDMI output, multimedia content can be presented from BYOD sources. The built-in AirMedia gateway allows the wireless presentation of content from a laptop, smartphone, or tablet device via the local WiFi network; wired LAN connections are also supported. Any AV source can be plugged in via HDMI to present full-motion HD 1080p60 video on
the room display, with audio playing through Mercury’s high-powered speaker. Videoconferencing can be enabled by connecting a laptop running any popular web conferencing or UC application, such as Skype for Business, Cisco WebEx, GoToMeeting, or Slack. If the connection is made via USB, Mercury provides enhanced audio along with a high-deﬁnition view of the whole room through the included USB camera. Mercury integrates directly with Microsoft Exchange Server or Crestron Fusion Cloud, allowing seamless room scheduling and automation for any number of Mercury-equipped rooms. The builtin occupancy sensor enables facility managers to collect usage data to drive efficient room utilisation. Additionally, the Crestron PinPoint App can be used to locate and reserve any available Mercury-equipped room in a facility. Installation had the chance to see Crestron Mercury recently at a demo event at the Royal Society of Medicine in London. Crestron’s Steven Vacher, sales support engineer, commented on the ease of installation: “I recently installed
a TSW-760 touchscreen, which has exactly the same SIP client as this. It took about 15 minutes, of which about 14 minutes was them setting up the back end – giving it an account, giving it the right path through, setting it on the correct realm within the SIP environment; I just had to give it the IP address of the SIP server, give it a username and password, give it an extension, and we were away.” Up to two mic pods, available separately, can be daisy-chained or individually home-run to the base unit to accommodate larger tables. Mercury itself is available in two variants: the basic unit (CCS-UC-1) supports full SIP VoIP speakerphone, Bluetooth, and USB audio; the video package (CCS-UC-1-AV KIT) adds capabilities for multimedia presentation and videoconferencing, and includes a USB camera. Both models can be powered using PoE+.
Available: Now www.crestron.eu
48 TECHNOLOGY: NEW PRODUCTS Matrox Extio 3
Harman Voice-Enabled Cognitive Rooms
Matrox says the Extio 3 is the world’s first IP KVM product supporting 4K60 4:4:4 video, keyboard and mouse, as well as USB 2.0 and audio at low bitrates, over standard Gigabit Ethernet. It supports DisplayPort 1.2 connectivity with a maximum resolution of 3840 x 2160@60Hz in true colour. Extio 3 supports both standard copper and fibre optic cabling, and can be integrated as either a point-to-point or networked KVM extender, creating a scalable and cost-effective KVM matrix switching environment. www.matrox.com/graphics
What’s new? It enables people to control in-room subsystems with simple voice commands.
Details: Voice-Enabled Cognitive
A 7mm pixel pitch addition to Barco’s range of ‘digital media canvases’, the R7 can cover all kinds of surfaces, being flexible and just 5mm thick (including louvres). Available in sheets up to 4.68m long, it is up to 75% lighter than traditional LED displays and can be set up quickly. With minimal need for a supporting structure, it can be glued on to a surface or wrapped around curved shapes, with no visual segmentations or gaps. www.barco.com Chief Freestyle Rotation Adapter Working with Fusion and ConnexSys mounts, the FRA offers 90º of rotation that can be set in multiple directions, with positive lockouts at 15º increments. Combined with the new Fusion Depth Accessory, it can be used to set certain Fusion mounts at different depth levels, making overlaps possible. For videowall applications, FRA can be used with the ConnexSys Video Wall Mounting System, which provides fine adjustment features and enables a range of sizes and brands to stay flush with each other. www.milestone.com/freestyle Inﬁnitus imotionINK A set of IP66-rated outdoor e-paper displays, imotionINK comes in 13.3in, 2 x 13.3in and 32in sizes. Best suited to simple messaging information, these displays offer good readability in sunlight and low power consumption; the latter depends on how often the displayed content changes and on internet connectivity method (3G or cabled). A battery acts as a small UPS; LED night-time illumination is available as an add-on. Screens can be used as individual displays or in fabricated modules for integration into structures such as bus shelters. www.infinitus-outdoor.com
It’s… the integration of Harman hardware with IBM Watson’s cloud and Internet of Things (IoT) service.
Rooms (VECR) integrate IBM’s Watson artiﬁcial intelligence (AI) technology AKG microphones, JBL speakers and AMX AV control and switching systems. As an example of how the VECR is used, an employee can enter a conference room and start a videoconference or launch a presentation using their voice. These requests are then sent to the Watson cloud and Watson IoT services, which work with Harman technology. In the future, these tasks will be executed automatically, based on what the system has learned about the employee from previous meetings; the system gets smarter with use. VECR will initially be available for enterprise applications; Harman will also target medical
facilities, hotels, cruise ships and other hospitality environments. The system is activated by a ‘wake word’ which, unlike in many other systems, is fully customisable, enabling businesses to brand their experience. In addition to JBL speakers, the system includes an AMX NX-1200 Integrated Controller, the AMX Massio MCP-106 6-Button ControlPad and the AMX Metreau Ethernet Keypad.
Available: Mid-2017 www.harman.com
Atlona Rondo, JunoX Series It’s… three new HDR-compatible devices. What’s new? They are designed to address emerging 4K and high dynamic range requirements in AV systems. Details: The Rondo 442 (AT-RON-442) and Rondo 444 (AT-RON-444, pictured) provide twooutput and four-output distribution ampliﬁer options, respectively, for commercial and residential environments; while the JunoX Series (AT-JUNO-451) is a 4×1 HDMI switcher. All three devices are compatible with all video resolutions, audio formats, and colour space formats supported in the HDMI 2.0a speciﬁcation, and can pass metadata for HDR content. They are also HDCP 2.2 compliant.
The Rondo models offer EDID management features to ensure compatibility between source and sink devices. Up to eight units can be cascaded without compromising performance. The JunoX 451 features automatic input switching. It supports HDMI Audio Return Channel for receiving digital audio from a television, and includes a TOSLINK digital audio output for sending this audio to an AV receiver or soundbar. It can be controlled via Ethernet, RS-232 or the included handheld IR remote. It is conﬁgured and managed remotely by the free Atlona Management System.
Available: Now www.atlona.com
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50 TECHNOLOGY: NEW PRODUCTS QSC K.2 Series The next generation of QSC’s K Family line of powered speakers comprises the 8in K8.2, 10in K10.2 and 12in K12.2 full-range models – complemented by the KS212C single-box powered cardioid subwoofer. Each K.2 model features a 2,000W power module, matched to woofers and compression drivers. Directivity-Matched Transition ensures smooth coverage across the entire listening area. www.qsc.com Out Board TiMax SoundHubVR Designed for theme-park ride-car and experience marketplaces, TiMax SoundHubVR addresses the need for mobile, tightly synchronised, low-latency immersive audio locked to multimedia VR content. The half-depth 2RU features playback server, spatial processor and show control hub with instantaneous playback of 16 random-access tracks, EQ/delay/zoning DSP, 16 analogue or Dante outputs, and 12-24V DC or 90-230V AC PSU options. The new TiMax Portal MicroServer multimode show control hub and custom GUI server offer touchscreen control and multi-format links to external show control. www.outboard.co.uk tvONE CORIOmaster micro
Optoma 400UST DuraCore series It’s… four new ProScene ultrashort throw laser projectors.
What’s new? According to the manufacturer, the projectors are ideal for signage solutions where space or accessibility can be limited, such as shop windows or retail displays. Details: These 4,000-ANSI-lumen models are available in 1080p and WXGA resolutions and are powered by a laser light source that delivers a consistent high brightness for up to 20,000 hours’ uninterrupted operation in full brightness mode. They are independently certiﬁed with an IP5X dust-resistance rating. The projectors can be ceiling mounted, in any orientation, just centimetres away from the projection surface and can beam an image size of over 2.5m. Weight is 5.6kg; they are claimed to be the lightest and brightest UST lasers in
this category. Interactive models (available at each resolution) also offer ‘TouchBeam’ ﬁnger-touch technology, which supports up to 10 touch points. Office Viewer functionality enables presentations to be plugged in and played via the projector’s built-in media player without the need for a PC.
Available: Now www.optoma.co.uk
The C3-503 CORIOmaster micro videowall processor delivers the bandwidth and functionality of CORIOmaster in a 1U half-rack chassis that fits into a ONErack. Capable of accepting up to three modules, it also adds audio support and front panel buttons for source routing and preset recall. Like any CORIOmaster, it can route any signalin to any signal-out, and manage up to four canvases while performing other tasks, including real-time 360º video rotations, multi-image processing, transitions and edge blending. www.tvone.com
What’s new? It combines screensharing technology, a built-in WiFi network and a mobile app.
Penn Elcom Streaming Device Brackets
Details: Any video device with an HDMI or VGA
Designed for commercial and residential applications, this new range of screw- or Velcro-fix wallmounting brackets for popular audio and video streaming devices currently caters for two Sonos products – the standard Connect box and the Connect Amp (pictured), which turn existing audio systems into wireless set-ups – and the Sky Q Mini Box, which allows Sky TV and video users to stream sources to additional devices. The bracket design follows the profile of the devices, which fit snugly inside for a lowimpact, minimalist appearance when mounted. www.pennelcomonline.com
crowdbeamer It’s… a fully mobile solution for screensharing.
output can be connected to the crowdbeamer device and its output (images or video) shared to the audience’s personal devices using the crowdbeamer app (available on iOS, Android, Mac and PC). The room’s display can also be connected if desired, via HDMI or VGA. The device can be used where there is no access to power or WiFi (it charges via a USB connection). Possible use cases include conferences, boardrooms, huddle spaces and customer demonstrations. Audience members, viewing via their personal device, can easily capture screenshots of the material they are most interested in; via the app, these can be
annotated and uploaded to a note-taking app or cloud storage. crowdbeamer is distributed in the Benelux region and Germany by AED Display.
Available: Now www.crowdbeamer.com www.aedgroup.com
THE ULTIMATE PRO AUDIO GEAR EXHIBITION AND TECHNICAL SUMMIT
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Audio for Virtual Reality Software & DAWs Guru Panels High Res Audio
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For exhibition and sponsorship opportunities contact Graham Kirk: firstname.lastname@example.org
52 TECHNOLOGY: SHOWCASE
Ampliﬁers The ampliﬁer has become more than a means of powering loudspeakers and now offers greater capabilities for networking and control. Kevin Hilton rounds up seven new and current amps or amp series from leading manufacturers
LD Systems’ slimline option
A brand of the Adam Hall group, LD produces a range of products for live and installation work, including loudspeakers, IEMs and mixers as well as amps. The CURV 500 iAM is a slimline, rackmount, four-channel Class D amp designed to work with the CURV500 line array. It offers a number of presets for different conﬁgurations, including satellite and subwoofer units, in addition to channel DSP settings for room adjustment,
master control level and password protection. Delay and parametric EQ are also included, with each channel capable of 240W RMS at 4 ohms. LD’s aim is to make building distributed CURV500 systems easy, while retaining the sound familiar from the portable version. The concept behind the CURV 500 iAM is similar to that of the portable version but it is claimed to deliver more ﬂexibility for the installation sector.
QSC’s eight-channel models The latest from QSC, an early adopter of networked technologies for ampliﬁcation, is the CXD-Q Series of network processing ampliﬁers. This comprises the CXD-QW and CXD-Qn eight-channel models, which are designed to work with the Q-SYS IT-based audio, video and control platform. The concept is one of ‘whole system’ design, so that the amps can be setup and controlled in the same way as any other device in a Q-SYS installation. CXD-Q units are 2U in size and intended for rack-mounting. They replace amps that QSC says took up considerably more real estate. Both models are capable of producing a maximum 8,000W peak and 5,000W continuous, with features including eight bi-directional GPIO
connectors for both analogue and digital connectivity to Q-SYS. The Q version offers eight mic/line input channels on its rear panel, described as a ‘Q-SYS on-ramp for additional ampliﬁcation’. The Qn does not feature analogue inputs, which was done to reduce system costs, making it purely a networked amp. A key feature is FAST (Flexible Ampliﬁer Summing Technology), allowing four channels to be combined for greater output power.
Class D power from AUDAC
AUDAC’s ampliﬁer portfolio covers power amps, PA and 100V units. The SMA and SMQ Series are Class D power amps aimed at both ﬁxed install and portable applications. The joint range comprises: the dual-channel 2x350W SMA350, the dual-channel 2x500W SMA500, the dual-channel 2x750W SMA750, the quad-channel 4x350W SMQ350, the quadchannel 4x500W SMQ500 and the quad-channel 4x750W SMQ750. All feature WaveDynamics DSP processing, offering a range of features accessed through a 2.5in LCD display. Among the functions available are sound optimisation using low-high and band pass ﬁlters and seven-band equalisation, plus delay and dynamic bass boost. All settings can be conﬁgured to match requirements using the front panel controls, with security set for either user or administrator. RS232 control connectivity is standard, with options for Dante expansion or adding an APC100 conﬁguration and control unit.
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International TECHNOLOGY AND TRENDS FOR THE PRO-AUDIO PROFESSIONAL
54 TECHNOLOGY: SHOWCASE
Crestron provides full networkability
Introduced in 2016, the AMP-8000 range of amps was launched to work with Crestron’s Avia digital signal processors. The main model in the series is the AMP-8150, which comes in two versions: the ‘namesake’, running at 4/8-ohms and 70V output on 100120V AC; and the ‘international’, also 4/8-ohm but with 100V output and 220-240V AC line power capability. Both are eight-channel units in 1RU of rack-mounting space. All channels can be set up for Lo-Z or Hi-Z output in either stereo or bridged mode.
Powersoft offers four channels
The Quattrocanali Series is a range of 1U rack, four-channel amps designed for small to medium venues, including bars, restaurants, shops and ﬁtness centres. It comprises three models: the 4804, delivering 1,200W per channel at 8 ohms, 1,500W per channel at 2 ohms or 3,000W bridged at 4 ohms; the 2404, 600W per channel at 8 ohms, 800W per channel at 2 ohms, 1,200W bridged at 4 ohms; and the 1204, 300W per channel at 8 ohms, 500W per channel at 2 ohms, 1,000W bridged at 4 ohms. All amps are available in standard or DSP formats, with remote control capability through GPIO connections, Powersoft’s Armonìa software or third party systems. The DSP+Dante versions of the amps offer four Dante input channels. Among the other features of the series is remote operation using a web app and the ability to conﬁgure the amps offline to save time using presets.
The amps are fully networkable, with set-up, monitoring and control carried out using the Avia Audio Tool program, a Crestron controller or the Crestron Fusion integrated management software. The amp produces 150W per channel into 4 or 8-ohm Lo-Z loads, with the capability to conﬁgure the channels to work with Hi-Z distributed loudspeaker installations at either 70V or 100V.
DSP models from d&b
Designed to be part of a full d&b loudspeaker system, the four-channel 10D and 30D amps are ﬁtted with digital signal processing for setting both operational features and acoustic performance. They feature full equalisation, up to 10s delay per channel and a range of functions designed to optimise loudspeaker performance. There is monitoring of inputs and outputs, plus input fallback and the ability to prioritise inputs and create redundancy.
Yamaha’s ‘streamline’ install series
Part of Yamaha’s Commercial Installation Solutions (CIS) range, the XMV Series comprises multi-channel amps for installation in theatres, cinemas, hotels, bars and general leisure centres. The XMV Series is made up of eight models, each with a different output power and a selection of input and output connections to match speciﬁc installation location needs. The amps run in both high impedance, for 70V-100V line situations, and low impedance at the same time. This is said to ‘streamline’ the installation process and obviate the need for a large amount of equipment. Networking is via either Yamaha’s
own YDIF digital audio format or the Dante Ethernet/audio over IP system. The former is aimed at easy set-up of smaller installations using Ethernet while the latter can be used for larger venues where long cable runs are involved. Other features include power factor correction, which switches power supplies and is able to reduce the amount of current being used. The XMV Series integrates with CIS loudspeakers, controllers and other power amps over Dante to create large-scale systems.
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56 TECHNOLOGY: DEMO OF THE MONTH
Receivers and transmitters
Shure Axient Digital Wireless System Paddy Baker gets an early demo of Shure’s new top-of-the-range wireless system, just a few weeks after it made its global debut at NAB
’ve been to countless venues in and around London for product demonstrations and press events over the years, but the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art – one of the UK’s oldest and most prestigious drama schools – was a ﬁrst for me. Shure is a technology partner of RADA, and last month held a demo at its Jerwood Vanburgh Theatre for the new Axient Digital Wireless System. Axient Digital is Shure’s top-of-the-range wireless system, superseding both the UHF-R and analogue Axient wireless systems. It was demonstrated by Shure’s Tuomo GeorgeTolonen, manager of the pro audio group at Shure Distribution UK. “Axient Digital was designed for maximum signal stability, regardless of the environment you’re in,” said George-Tolonen, using it to talk to the audience throughout his presentation.
Signal quality Many wireless products feature LEDs on the front panel showing signal strength – the amount of signal energy being received. Axient Wireless additionally has a ﬁve-bar channel quality meter on the front of the receiver. This information comes from the use of ‘pilot bits’ of a known amplitude and phase orientation; the receiver can discern any changes to these bits that have arisen during wireless transmission. When George-Tolonen switched on another transmitter on a nearby frequency, the quality meter reading fell. He contrasted analogue
systems, which have a strong relationship between signal noise and carrier noise, giving some warning of when a signal is about to drop out, with digital systems, which “can sound great until the bitstream goes and hits the noise ﬂoor and it just disappears. The quality meter is another way of understanding the quality of the RF carriers.” For Axient Digital, Shure has improved the capability of using multiple antennas to mitigate against signal loss. “If one antenna is only able to receive a portion of the bitstream, but the other antenna receives the missing information, the receiver is able to intelligently combine the information and reconstruct the audio.” The new Quadversity mode allows users to increase the number of antennas in a single zone to four. “You could pick the most critical channels in a show to run off a Quadversity antenna system – ensuing that they receive the maximum signal strength at all times – and everyone else just off two antennas.” System latency, from the mic transducer to the analogue output, is an enviable 2ms. This can be improved even more – reduced by about 0.175ms – if digital outputs (Dante or AES) are used. The Dante Browse function allows the receiver to search the network for any other Dante devices, such as stageboxes, or a laptop running Dante Via. Additionally, Dante Cue enables every Axient channel to be monitored via the receiver’s headphone socket.
The two receivers, AD4D (two-channel) and AD4Q (four-channel) have the same tuning bandwidths as the matching transmitters. The latter come in two series, AD and ADX. The AD1 bodypack and AD2 handheld transmitter (with interchangeable mic capsules), which resemble the equivalent products for the ULX-D range, will be available this summer. Enhanced functionality is offered by the ADX Series (coming early 2018), including remote controllability via ShowLink; this uses ZigBee to communicate with the transmitters in real time. “This is the device that informs the transmitters when we need to make a frequency change. The aim has always been that ShowLink gives the user access to the transmitters wherever the transmitters might be… you should be able to have Peter Pan ﬂying through the middle of the show and if you need to change the frequency, you have access to that transmitter.” As well as a bodyback transmitter (the ADX1, which resembles the AD1), there’s the streamlined ADX1M micro-bodypack “which is what we’re most excited about and has generated the most interest around Axient Digital,” said George-Tolonen. As well as being signiﬁcantly smaller than the ADX1, it features a rounded design and uses two internal antennas. How does the internal antenna compare with the traditional external ‘whip’ antenna? GeorgeTolonen explained that while a whip antenna is the best solution in a free ﬁeld, its performance suffers when mass – such as a human body – is placed close to it. While the same is also true for internal antennas, the secondary antenna in the ADX1M continuously monitors the primary and retunes it for optimum performance. As a result, he said, “the Axient micropack outperforms any transmitter with an external antenna.” Rounding off the transmitter choice are the ADX2 and ADX2FD handhelds, the latter being able to transmit on two discrete frequencies. “This is what Americans call the money mic – the one mic you cannot afford to lose in the middle of a show.” At one point, George-Tolonen forced the system to change frequency in the middle of a sentence. I didn’t hear any break in his speech – apparently the changeover (to a carefully planned new frequency, not a random hop) took around 25-35ms. In summary, I was highly impressed by Axient Digital. Shure has clearly put a lot of work into the many elements that make up the system, while leveraging its considerable expertise in getting the most out of the ever-shrinking RF spectrum available for wireless mics.
58 WORDS OF WISDOM
Blair Parkin In this new feature, a leading industry ﬁgure tells us about the tools, techniques and tricks that they ﬁnd useful in their work. First up is audiovisual consultant Blair Parkin Café loquacity When we’re working on projects with clients, we always have a designated ‘project café’ somewhere offsite. This is because we’ve found that people generally speak more freely and frankly when they’re outside their normal working environment. It’s not because they forget they’re talking to a consultant, and they don’t have to be out of their boss’s earshot – there’s just something about being in an outside-of-work environment that puts people into a different mindset.
On-site insight When you’re consulting at a company, it’s a good idea to get yourself a desk in their office for a few days, even if you bring other work to do there. That way you get to experience day-to-day realities that the top people, who generally have other people to sort things out for them, sometimes don’t. For example, if you were leading a group discussion and asked if the room booking system worked OK, the senior person in the group might say yes. If you didn’t know otherwise, that would be the end of the story. But if you say, “Actually, I tried to book a room the other day and it wasn’t a very straightforward process,” then he might turn to one of his colleagues and ask their opinion. So by having that inside knowledge and being able to challenge gently, you get a better result.
Psych dislike I hate psychometric tests. They potentially make leadership lazy when recruiting and I don’t rely on them for recruiting great candidates. During my career I’ve worked with a number of brilliant people who would register negative indicators and would have been weeded out by psychometric tests. The thing is, you’re not looking for someone who’s going to be everyone’s best friend; you need someone who
is great at what they do and isn’t going to get everyone’s back up after six months. We tend to use a more intensive interview and introduction technique to really hear what a candidate has to offer. It’s time consuming as it asks a number of questions more than once in different ways, but the results generally stand up.
(to triangulate the signal of his smartphone). Presence Bot then tells you where David is – and it’s very accurate: “I last saw David near the all-hands space two minutes ago.” People have to opt in to make their information available in this way, but everyone has.
Digital snagging Slack hack At TEECOM, we’re big users of the team communication tool Slack. You set up ‘channels’ for different projects, groups or topics, and all the members of that channel have a transparent view of the communications that take place. If you want to ask someone a question, you can send them a direct message.
‘People generally speak more freely and frankly when they’re outside their normal working environment’
It has massively reduced the amount of internal email that we send – and it’s much more user-friendly for keeping track of all your different priorities and projects. One of its features is Slackbot, which is like a personal assistant or help function. Our R&D people have written an app for Slack that takes the basic Slackbot to the next level. It’s called Presence Bot and you can use it to ﬁnd out where someone is – because our office has grown to the size where you can’t see everyone’s desk from yours. So you ask, ‘Where’s David?’ and the app interrogates our HR system (to check annual leave), David’s calendar (to see if he has a scheduled appointment) and the office’s wi-ﬁ system
Another way in which digital technology has made life a lot easier is with digital site plans. If you’re going round a project site to compile a snagging report, you can have the site plan on your iPad and annotate the relevant area with notes and photos. Not only is it quicker and easier than using paper plans and writing a report afterwards, it also gives the information visually, which is what tradespeople generally prefer.
To be or not? Our CEO, David Marks, is a big advocate of a style of English called E-Prime. This involves not using the verb ‘to be’ in any of its forms – ‘is’, ‘are, ‘was’ and so on. The idea is that rather than making deﬁnitive-sounding statements, E-Prime forces you to be more considered in your phrasing and your thinking. It also tends to clarify whether something is an opinion or a fact. So rather than saying, “That is a great idea,” you might say, “I like that idea very much”. You also can’t use the passive voice to fudge matters: you can’t say, “Mistakes were made,” for instance. I can see some of the beneﬁts of E-Prime, but I haven’t yet managed to use it in my project reports! Blair Parkin is EMEA principal at international technology consultancy TEECOM. He was talking to Paddy Baker.
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