Issue 204 /September 2017
AV INTEGRATION IN A NETWORKED WORLD
WHERE TO NOW? Audio networking special report: integrating video and control is the next challenge p20 September showtime We preview this month’s IBC and PLASA events
Show and tell Attractions embrace technology for storytelling
Tools for integrators Save time, work smarter, do more
p16 p32 p50
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Editor: Paddy Baker firstname.lastname@example.org
Designer: Tom Carpenter email@example.com
For whom the bell doesn’t toll
+44 (0)20 7354 6034 Content director: James McKeown firstname.lastname@example.org
Senior staff writer: Duncan Proctor email@example.com +44 (0)20 7354 6037
Production manager: Jason Dowie firstname.lastname@example.org +44 (0)20 3829 2617
Sales manager: Gurpreet Purewal email@example.com +44 (0)20 7354 6029
Digital director: Diane Oliver firstname.lastname@example.org
Account manager: Ollie Smith email@example.com +44 (0)20 7354 6026 US sales – Executive vice president: Adam Goldstein firstname.lastname@example.org Head of design: Jat Garcha email@example.com
Contributors: Rob Lane, Ian McMurray, Graeme Massey, Steve Montgomery, Wilfried Van Baelen Special thanks: Andrew Berridge, Denise Green, David Wiggins Cover image Fotolia
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n Monday 21 August, Big Ben fell silent. The Great Clock, whose timings it broadcasts, is being painstakingly renovated – not only its internal mechanism, but also its hands and the glass panes in its faces. For the next four years, the bell will sound only on a few occasions, such as Remembrance Sunday and New Year’s Eve. It has been silenced to protect the workers’ hearing; according to one health and safety expert quoted in news coverage, it chimes at nearly 120dB. Big Ben, or rather the Elizabeth Tower that houses it, is a major landmark that crops up in just about every London-set ﬁlm or travelogue; it’s as much a part of the visual lexicon as red buses, Buckingham Palace and St Paul’s Cathedral. And the sound of its Paddy Baker, Editor bongs is no less iconic – not just heard by those in the vicinity every email@example.com quarter-hour, but also by millions every day, punctuating headlines @install8ion on TV and radio news bulletins. In fact, I can’t think of another sound that – yes – resonates so strongly as a national symbol. Visually, a partial service will remain: at least one face will continue to display the time, run by a substitute electrical mechanism. But no provision has been made for back-up audio. Seizing an opportunity, for publicity at least, Martin Audio managing director Dom Harter last month wrote to the Speaker of the House of Commons with a proposal (which he shared with industry media). The chimes, he wrote, could be replaced by a computer-controlled recording, played through the company’s MLA line array speakers – which permit very little sound to escape behind them, leaving the restoration workers’ ears unmolested. He also pointed out that Martin Audio is a British company (though he didn’t mention its American ownership).
‘I can’t think of another sound that – yes – resonates so strongly as a national symbol’ I’m not sure – and Harter didn’t sound too sure in his letter - just how feasible this suggestion is. How many cabinets would be needed? Would it be safe to rig the speakers from the scaffolding that is already being put up around the tower? If not, how else would this be done? Would the speakers withstand the weather over a four-year period? Would they need access for maintenance? And so on. All the same, I do hope that this suggestion gets a fair hearing (sorry). However, I also fervently hope that any decisions are left to the parliamentary authorities rather than involving our politicians, who have rather more pressing matters to attend to. When EU negotiatior Michel Barnier said he could hear a clock ticking, he wasn’t referring to the one outside our Houses of Parliament. As an aside, this has brought to mind another horological opportunity for the industry – this one video-related. In the UK at least, many public clocks are broken or inaccurate; the owners, often local authorities, struggle to fund their maintenance, particularly as their importance is more symbolic than functional these days. Now that electronic watches with digital rather than mechanical hands are fashion items, could there be a market for replacing public clocks with LED display replicas?
Industry Events 16 Show previews: IBC2017 and PLASA 2017
Viewpoints 06 Regional Voices: Germany 08 Opinion/Q&A Rob Lane discusses the thriving enterprise sector Wilfried Van Baelen on generating immersive sound experiences Graeme Massey on how to retain the best AV talent 14 Interview Tim Dobson of VEGA Europe talks trends in unified communications
Special Report: audio networking 20 Looser ties We examine whether current technology developments could bring a future where ‘fixed’ installations become less permanent 26 Market measures With help from RH Consulting, we update the picture of the state of networked audio adoption 28 AVB: open for business: How is audio-video bridging, or time-sensitive networking, faring in an increasingly network-centric AV industry?
32 Museums and visitor attractions In this prosperous market, the latest technology has to be balanced with engaging storytelling and a greater emphasis on personalisation
Solutions 36 Museum of the American Revolution, Philadelphia A new museum uses projection and 4D effects to illustrate the events and ideas that led to the founding of the USA 38 PizzaExpress Live, London The chain’s latest venue builds on the reputation of its original restaurants with an Autographdesigned distributed system for live music 40 Royal College of Physicians, London To enhance learning, this renowned learned society is creating and transmitting video content using the latest AV systems 42 Solutions in Brief Including wireless collaboration at UCL, spectacular lighting effects atop the iconic Galata Tower and a multi-faceted South African theatre upgrade
Technology 45 New Products Including Mersive, Extron, RCF and Hall Research
50 Showcase Tools for integrators
06 REGIONAL VOICES
GERMANY Our latest country survey looks at the installed AV market in Europe’s largest economy
ou won’t be surprised to read that, according to a June report from the OECD, the German economy remains in an excellent state, with sold economic growth, unemployment falling further, and exports beneﬁting from strong demand in Asia and the US. A similarly optimistic picture – albeit on a rather smaller scale – emerges from our survey of the German installed AV market. Half of the people we surveyed thought that levels of conﬁdence in the market were higher than six months ago, while most of the remainder felt they were unchanged.
Budget surplus (as % of GDP), 2017 Source: OECD
Continuing the upbeat theme, more than three-quarters of our sample believed that their company revenue would be higher this year than last – with slightly more envisaging growth above 5% than below this ﬁgure. We also asked about the predicted business trends in a number of vertical sectors. These are given in the graphic: while corporate and digital signage often lead the ﬁeld in these surveys, third place for performing arts venues is a better showing than we usually see. Our sample then chose from a list the most pressing concern for their business: ‘Customers going for lowest price rather than best value’ was selected by more than 40% of respondents. One
distributor remarked here: This is based on the cheaper than ever offers from the internet,” while another said: “Many companies offer low-cost, poorly performing products.” The second most popular selection here was ‘Poorly qualiﬁed newcomers distorting the market.’ One comment also had relevance to the cost-versus-quality issue: “These newcomers are missing the skills in supporting the customers and go for lower prices without supplying the necessary after sales service.” Answering a different question, nearly twothirds of respondents felt that the number of companies active in the market was increasing (with most of the remainder seeing no change). One respondent stated that new entrants were mainly IT companies and electricians.
GDP annual growth rate, Q3 2017 Source: OECD
We also asked what one thing people would change about how the German installation market works. This produced a variety of ideas. One manufacturer said: “Give new technologies more of a chance – don’t be so conservative,” while a consultant called for “more professionalism with regard to IT skills.” We’ll close with a general comment on the market from a consultant: “Honestly, there’s enough money for everyone to make a living.”
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 Performing arts venues Education Retail Sports venues Museums/visitor attractions Worship Bars, clubs, restaurants NO CHANGE
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08 OPINION: ON THE AGENDA
Rob Lane Enterprising collaborations Corporate AV continues to blossom
t’s been a while since I’ve written here about enterprise (or corporate) AV, but June’s acquisition (subject to regulatory checks by Q3 end) of Datatec’s Westcon-Comstor North American and Latin American business by Synnex for a reported $800m – along with 10% of the Westcon EMEA and APAC business for around $30m – got me thinking. Over the last few years, many traditionally experiential-leaning AV integrators have been expanding their businesses into the enterprise sector – the key collaboration market – and this year’s ISE was undoubtedly the most collaborationﬂavoured yet (although huddle spaces and videoconferencing tech is still dwarfed by LED displays, projectors and the like in Amsterdam). For distributor Synnex, of course, the main attraction of the Westcon-Comstor distribution package was Cisco. Ahead of the purchase, Synnex was the only North American distributor not carrying the tech giant. A massive 44% ($2.16 billion) of Westcon’s overall sales derive from its Cisco-exclusive Comstor business. Unique opportunity Synnex recognises the importance of the sort of business Cisco brings to the table: mainly enterprise space, of course – which Synnex is no stranger to. As Kevin Murai, Synnex’s president and CEO, stated: “We believe this is a unique opportunity that is transformational to Synnex and is aligned to our strategy of positioning the business to where technology is growing.” And where is it “growing”? Murai’s closing statement clariﬁes things: “Westcon-Comstor is a recognised leader in the security, UCC and networking space.” Indeed, both distributors are set to beneﬁt
from the marriage, due to their obvious sector strengths. Synnex majors in SMB (small-to-medium business), public sector, retail, and enterprise; Westcon Comstor is also strong in enterprise, as well as global service providers and federal. Dolph Westerbos, CEO of Westcon-Comstor, said: “Synnex is an undisputed leader in IT distribution, particularly in North America. Their breadth of customers and technology solutions will be a tremendous beneﬁt to our portfolio. This transaction not only brings together two complementary businesses, but also two similar cultures around employee and customer success.”
‘The likes of AVMI prefer to be recognised as tech integrators rather than mere AV integrators’
The two companies are set to operate under a single go-to-market structure, “ensuring that vendor partners and solution providers receive the same levels of service with no disruptions,” according to Weston. Basically, any AV integrators who haven’t already cottoned on to the fact that enterprise is hot for AV tech need to wake up – fast. It’s not just a question of budgets (although corporates do tend to have deeper pockets than, say, retail, at the current time), rather a change in mindsets. The ongoing – and game-changing – convergence between what used to be the traditional AV and IT industries continues to have a huge effect on the adoption of AV tech in corporations. Where AV tech was once mistrusted by the IT and facilities
management brigade, it is now being speciﬁed in exactly the same way as more typically IT-facing kit. It’s not quite as simple as that, of course (security is still an issue in some areas), but this does go a long way to explaining enterprise’s new relationship with AV. Huge value Cisco, of course, is part of this trend. A traditionally IT-facing company, and still the global leader in IT and networking, it has become as important to enterprise and IT-savvy integrators as it has to distributors such as Westcon and Synnex. UK company AVMI, for instance, sees huge value in its position as a ‘Cisco Master Collaboration Partner’. Of course, what was once considered the ‘AV industry’ has started to meld, seamlessly in some cases, with IT – its much, much bigger tech cousin. Indeed, the likes of AVMI prefer to be recognised as tech integrators rather than mere AV integrators. It’s an increasingly signiﬁcant distinction. But what really matters is that integrators – whether they consider themselves ‘AV’ or ‘tech’ – have their beady eyes on enterprise, because this is one market, as Synnex knows all too well, that isn’t about to slow any time soon. As research by Wainhouse Research, Hoovers, Herman Miller and Futuresource concluded many months ago, the UK alone has a market potential of 4.3 million meeting spaces. Food for thought for integrators, whether they’re Cisco savvy or not. Rob Lane is founder/director of Bigger Boat PR Ltd and has been writing about AV technology for over 20 years.
10 OPINION: ON THE AGENDA
Wilfried Van Baelen Generating immersive sound experiences Understanding channel-based, object-based and hybrid approaches to 3D sound
n music and movies, stereo was all the rage until surround sound appeared in the 1980s. Today, sound engineers and artists are much more interested in ‘immersive sound’, the generic term I introduced at the 2010 AES Tokyo Spatial Conference meaning ‘surround sound with height’, or 3D sound. Although this description is technically correct, there is much more to immersive sound. The appeal of immersive sound is that listeners are ﬁnally able to replay audio with more depth, transparency and deﬁnition of source localisations. While surround sound formats are only 2D – positioned in the horizontal plane around the listener – immersive sound formats additionally allow sound to be produced in the vertical axis, creating a hemisphere of sound around the listener. The challenge is reproducing the immersive sound format across various speaker set-ups in a way that is true to life. Additional speakers do not automatically make sound more natural.
So what’s the difference? Dolby Atmos and DTS:X use a 2D channel-based format (5.1/7.1 surround) and need object-based technology to position sound in the vertical axis. Although Auro-3D also permits use of this technology, its hybrid format is based on a 3D channel-based set-up that allows the reproduction of a 3D space independent of objectbased technology. The channel-based approach has many advantages for bringing the same immersive sound experience as intended by the creators in the most efficient way.
Object-based vs channel-based encoding
Another misunderstanding is that object-based technology can reproduce the position of the source sounds (the objects) more precisely than channel-based technology. While the metadata of each object is able to describe its localisation, it is also key for the renderer at playback to reproduce the sound based on its physical location, hence the importance of speaker layout. Channel-based technology can even reproduce more spatial precision compared to object-based technology on a similar speaker layout because the ‘objects’ in object-based formats are typically mono or stereo sounds, which don’t contain the 3D reﬂections crucial for reproducing a natural 3D audio experience. Those 3D reﬂections have a time component in the horizontal and vertical axis; the
From a technical perspective, the methods used to reproduce sounds in a 3D environment can be channel-based, object-based or even scenebased. These all come with pros and cons and, despite what some companies may lead you to believe, have been around for 25 years. What is newer, however, is combining these technologies into a ‘hybrid’ format; I think all immersive sound formats like Auro-3D, Dolby Atmos, DTS:X and MPEG-H should be classiﬁed as such. Marketing departments are misleadingly labelling formats as ‘object-based’ although the channel-based part is still very substantial (the majority of sound energy for an average movie mix in a so called ‘objectbased’ format is still channel-based).
‘Many people incorrectly believe that object-based audio is the only approach to generating immersive sound experiences’
latter component is not as ﬂexible as proponents of object-based formats lead the market to believe, and can be better preserved as a true 3D channelbased format.
It’s all about speaker set-up Most audio set-ups on the market include only two overhead speakers (including 5.1.2, 7.1.2 or 9.1.2 layouts), which cannot reproduce a true 3D space. This is to blame for much of the confusion related to object-based and channel-based audio. Many people incorrectly believe that object-based audio is the only approach to generating immersive sound experiences, despite the fact that channel-based methods are still being widely utilised across the entertainment and music sectors. With a carefully chosen speaker layout, a channel-based system is more suited to capture and reproduce the crucial information that makes up the natural sound ﬁeld, including information about the original recording environment, the size and distance of the sources, and many more elements. That’s why all immersive sound formats include a channel-based component that carries this information alongside the objects. While it’s important to know the differences between these two approaches, and the types of projects each is best suited, it’s equally imperative to realise that they are not mutually exclusive. At the end of the day, what really matters is the ﬁnal experience of the listener, rather than the technique used to achieve that experience. Wilfried Van Baelen is CEO at Auro Technologies.
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Q&A: GRAEME MASSEY, JACOBS MASSEY
Getting ahead Graeme Massey, managing director of specialist AV recruitment agency JacobsMassey, talks to Installation about skills, ﬂexibility and how to retain the best talent How did you get in to the AV industry? I began my career in recruitment within the construction industry, speciﬁcally with regard to mechanical and electrical (M&E) engineering. From on-site electrical corporate installation projects I identiﬁed the potential need for on-site audiovisual support. There began my route to specialising in AV recruitment. Today that AV provision extends across corporate, government, education and retail, as well as health sectors. How has the AV recruitment industry changed in the last ﬁve years? I think the biggest fundamental change is that AV departments are now largely run by IT managers. It is a trend that directly marks the fusion of AV with IT. The AV sector is no longer an island; it is embedded within what many now term to be uniﬁed communications. With convergence comes multiple interfaces across many AV products and services. That’s why the skills sought by many AV employers today are very different from those speciﬁed ﬁve years ago. Where are the key skills shortages in the industry? It’s a good question. One answer would conventionally cite ﬁeld service engineering, programming and design. In many respects this is still true, but I think the real answer lies in ﬁnding candidates that have a wider ‘toolkit’ at their disposal. The candidate with AV as well as proven IT know-how is in demand. That’s the key area of shortage. How important are industry certiﬁcations in the selection process? JacobsMassey has been a corporate member
and sponsor of InfoComm International for many years. We have always directed candidates of all levels to pursue formal accreditation. In terms of selection when recruiting, that is dependent upon the client brief. Some companies and organisations require related academic qualiﬁcations, some speciﬁcally ask for CTS, others look for manufacturer accreditations. Overwhelmingly though, I would say that employers still rely on employment history to determine whether to move to interview and subsequent hire. However my view is that industry certiﬁcations will become increasingly important as we grow alongside and within the IT sector. Recognised certiﬁcation in the long run elevates salaries!
‘The skills sought by many AV employers today are very different from those speciﬁed ﬁve years ago’
Are companies leaning more towards an on-demand, freelance workforce? Yes, without question. We have seen a signiﬁcant marked increase in the demand for freelancers over the past ﬁve years. Our operations division has doubled and the number of freelancers has trebled. The ﬂexibility that it affords end-users and AV companies, especially in the area of live events, is the principal driver. That said, the permanent job market at the present time is equally strong. The trend there,
though, is that there are lots and lots of jobs but it’s very much a candidate-driven market. What do companies need to do to attract and retain the best talent? Tell stories! The best advert for any AV company is to highlight individuals that have successfully grown their career within the organisation. In a candidate driven-market, people have many choices. Their decision to move into a new job is not just salary dependent. They want to understand in detail what the company offers in terms of career progression, working environment, training, as well as location. Then there is the company’s ethos and reputation to consider. I attended an InfoComm roundtable event recently and one of the most interesting facts that came to light from an independent PR agency was that millennials no longer talk about ‘a job’ but aspire to ‘a lifestyle’. The idea of holding multiple jobs or interests is common. Being a musician, a designer or a blogger can all be mixed with the day job – especially if you work in AV! If you want to appeal to new talent then align your company with ﬂexibility, progression, and above all an openness to embrace new ideas, not shut them down. Overall it’s a bigger topic than I can cover here but safe to say, if you are hiring and you want to attract and retain the best AV talent – and new talent for that matter – you should be constantly promoting your the achievements of your company and those who work for you, not just your products and services.
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14 INTERVIEW: TIM DOBSON, VEGA EUROPE
‘Ask the right questions’
Paddy Baker talks to the sales and commercial director of an award-winning European integrator about uniﬁed communications trends, market moves and favourite projects Tell me about your background in the industry. I’ve been in the industry for 20-plus years. I started off working in small IT ﬁrms, and eventually went on to work for a large IT infrastructure company for about ﬁve years in their audiovisual and videoconferencing department. Then, I moved on to help create a new audiovisual company, which we grew for about ﬁve years – and that was followed by being given the opportunity to move over to VEGA to start and build the EMEA side of their business. That was about six years ago. How well established was VEGA at that point? The business was ﬁrst created over 30 years ago in 1986 in Hong Kong, founded by the guy who is still our chairman, Laurie Chow. The business grew into what is now the largest audiovisual and videoconferencing systems integrator in Asia Paciﬁc. VEGA now employs about 750 staff globally with annual revenues of about £90 million. We’ve now got 25 offices across 14 countries. VEGA Europe on its own is already turning over approximately £7.5m, with around 45 staff.
The catalyst for the EMEA side of the business, predominantly the UK and Europe to date, was twofold. One was Laurie’s vision to grow the company outside of Asia Paciﬁc. Secondly, we’d won the Royal Bank of Scotland contract to support the whole of their video infrastructure globally. This contract has gone from strength to strength and we are now coming up to our sixth year with RBS. Tell me more about VEGA’s business. Historically, our core business has been, and still is, what I would call mainstream AV and videoconferencing. On the video side of things, we have the highest level of accreditation from Cisco and Polycom so we’re able to advise, supply and support across their entire product ranges including infrastructure and immersive solutions. In addition, we have a cloud-hosted video service company, UCi2i, that’s part of our group of companies. It enables us to provide our clients with seamless interoperability between the standards-based video world – mainly Cisco and Polycom – and Microsoft Skype for Business.
What changes have you seen that have impacted your business? One is the convergence between AV and IT. Our business has had to evolve to really understand how those two areas integrate. Another way in which the market has evolved is that clients really expect voice and video to be on the same platform. Then, there’s the emergence of what I refer to as IT-based collaboration platforms such as Skype for Business, which is something of a game-changer. We’ve made it our business to ensure that we understand how all those areas integrate so that we can intelligently talk to clients about their complete UC strategy. There’s one other area that’s a really hot topic at the moment, and that’s the workplace. The workplace is changing – it’s no longer about a ﬁxed office or ﬁxed meeting rooms: it’s about open-plan areas and a more ﬂexible, agile, dynamic way of working, sometimes from home or sometimes on the ﬂy. We’ve had to adapt our business to make sure we’re able to advise how technology can help companies change how they work and how they attract the right staff – often graduates who are used to new and innovative technologies.
A brief biography After working for small IT firms, Tim Dobson worked for a large IT infrastructure company where he spent five years as an audiovisual and video conferencing specialist, working for public sector and corporate clients He then was involved in the setting up of a small AV company, where he became sales and commercial director In 2011, he and Ian Wilks (now operations director) became the first two employees of VEGA Europe. With group backing, the business has become one of the main players in the UK and European market
Do you ﬁnd, when you’re talking to companies about collaboration systems, that they understand what’s available and know what they want? I think clients these days are a lot more clued up on what they want, and what’s available. It’s still very important, though, for us as a systems integrator, to make sure we’re totally up to speed with new technologies and innovations and the latest roadmaps from the major manufacturers, so that we can advise and build the latest technologies, where appropriate, into our designs. To make sure that what we are recommending ﬁts with a company’s plans to change their working practices and culture, and also ﬁts with their overall UC strategy, it’s important that we ask the right questions up front. The different parts of the organisation may not realise that their strategies are not aligned, and it’s our job to help bring that together. So you’re helping them to widen their view? Absolutely. What we sell them needs to align with their other strategies beyond the one we may be talking to them about. A classic example would be a company that might come to us and say, “We want some standards-based videoconferencing equipment” – and if we haven’t asked them the right questions about what they’re doing about their IT infrastructure, for example, then we might end up selling them something that doesn’t ﬁt their wider strategy. Aside from those technology trends, what other big changes have you seen during your time in the industry? Clients are generally more savvy about what they want. They generally want much more simpliﬁed solutions: gone are the days when they wanted very complex boardrooms with racks and racks of equipment. They want simple solutions that are consistent across the organisation.
INTERVIEW: TIM DOBSON, VEGA EUROPE Are they more concerned with ﬂexibility and futureprooﬁng? We’re simplifying solutions, and the price of products has come down, so solutions aren’t as expensive as they used to be. They’ll know that what they’ve invested in is going to last them five years and they’ll have got the return they were looking for. The other key thing that’s fairly new is we’re finding increasingly that companies are getting more and more used to using video on a day-to-day basis, and they’re quickly running out of videoconferencing systems. That’s where we’re seeing the trend for huddle spaces. There are some really good products coming to market at present – the Crestron Mercury is a good example, which is a very cost-effective solution to video- and UC-enable a small space. You mentioned AV-IT convergence. How far down that road have we gone – and how much further can the industry go? I think we’re a long way along that line. In the majority of project meetings that we have, IT tend to be involved at a very early stage. From that point of view, AV/IT is well established and mature. That said, in very large organisations, you can still find that voice, video and IT are quite dispersed – working on their own strategies, and may not be completely aligned. That is where we can help advise.
‘In very large organisations, you can still ﬁnd that voice, video and IT… may not be completely aligned’
Do you have a favourite project that VEGA has completed over the years? The nature of our business means that we get to work with many different vertical sectors and different kinds of organisation. We did a very nice project recently for Goodwin Procter – now rebranded as Goodwin Law – in central London. It was a complete move of their UK headquarters and involved more than 30 fairly high-end conference suites. They were so delighted with what we delivered that they then commissioned us to do effectively the same job for their German and French headquarters in Frankfurt and Paris. We’re now supporting their facilities for the coming ﬁve years. Coutts was also a really good project as well. They were going through a complete
rebranding exercise. It was challenging, because it’s a listed building in The Strand in London. There were a lot of acoustic challenges there. It was a project we very successfully delivered that included all sorts of solutions such as a 5m x 3.5m LED wall in their main atrium and a complete PA system for large corporate events and entertainment for up to 500 people at a time. There were about 30 conference suites in there which all had videoconferencing, and then there was the in-house development we did with our Tio in-room catering ordering system, for which VEGA Europe won an InstallAward in 2016. Is there anything that frustrates you about the AV industry? Today, not really. Because we’ve been in the industry so long, we’ve gone through all our original growing pains. Now, the processes we have in our business are very streamlined and very efficient. That helps to iron out any difficulties. As I said earlier, clients are a lot more cluedup about what they want these days, so that helps – we get a clearer brief. Whenever we go into a client, we ask the basic, high-level questions about what is their real estate like, how many offices do they have, what is their overall workplace strategy – such as what are the kind of people they’re trying to attract to the business, which is very important these days – what’s their infrastructure like on video, voice and IT. Once we’ve got the answers to those questions, we can go back to our systems design team and work with our manufacturers – we’re agnostic – so can give truly independent advice about the right solution for them. You believe that manufacturer-independence is one of VEGA’s key strengths. What are the others? First, we have a global footprint. That’s increasingly important for large corporates and international clients – they don’t want to be dealing with multiple companies or systems integrators. They want one global business to devise the best solutions and to create standards and consistency across the organisation. Second, our quality of service and focus. From a UK perspective, after six years, we’re well-established and we’ve got the independence and autonomy, together with being the right size, to focus on our clients – but we’ve got the backing and financial support of the global group, so we’ve got the best of both worlds.
16 SHOW PREVIEW: IBC2017
Broader casting With the media world more open and connected than ever, there’s never been a better time for AV professionals to visit IBC this month. Here’s a selection of what you can see there
he convergence of all media industries is what makes IBC hugely important for AV professionals; that’s the view of IBC CEO Mike Crimp. “There is no difference, for example, between a broadcast monitor wall and a large-scale digital signage system or an industrial control centre,” he says. “They all depend upon IP connectivity and intelligent processing to put multiple virtual screens on a single high-resolution display. That same IP connectivity might connect a broadcast facility or an AV centre.” This means that non-showﬂoor content has also become more pertinent, he argues: “Whereas once there might be specialist sessions, or even a separate event, for the presentation industry, or digital signage, or local television infrastructures, now they have all become part of one open, connected media world.” The IBC2017 Conference runs over ﬁve days and features more than 400 speakers and 90 sessions. Taking the theme ‘Truth, Trust and Transformation’, the sessions will explore new strategies, interpret business disruptors, chart future technological progress and help to plot the roadmap of the media industry. It is organised into ﬁve tracks: sports, business transformation, content and production, platform futures, and audiences and advertising. There will also be a number of keynote presentations. Thursday 16 September sees the ‘Technology Forward Keynote: What’s happening in VR, AR and Mixed Reality?’ This session will look at the current status of VR and associated technologies and the road ahead for VR on consumer devices emerging, as well as showcasing successful VR experiences
that highlight the opportunities in areas from entertainment to sports. The IBC Future Zone brings together new and exciting technologies and innovations in a single specially curated showcase area. The technologies being showcased this year include mixed reality, 3D audio, holographic projections and ‘mind-blowing’ video displays. Smart AV will create a 6m x 2.5m LED ‘time tunnel’ with a 3.9mm pixel pitch, which will take visitors from night to day and display exciting and innovative content. VR, AR and mixed reality will also be key topics in the Future Reality Theatre, which is located within the Future Zone. From 16 to 18 September it will present a programme of creative, business and technology sessions on the impact of these technologies. In ‘Exploring Cinematic VR Experiences’, Guido Voltolina, head of presence capture at Nokia OZO, will talk about how 360 VR technology can bring storytelling to life. Meanwhile, a wholly different application area for the technology will be discussed by Christina Heller, founder of VR Playhouse, in ‘Digital Medicine: Creating great healthcare VR content’. IBC Big Screen returns to the RAI Auditorium once again this year, showcasing developments in digital cinema and related technologies in a setting equipped with high-end projectors and a superior sound system. The session ‘Laser: The creatives’ voice’ is billed as an ‘art-meets-science exposé’ that will discuss how the appearance of cinema content shown using laser projection compares with other technologies. The panel will consist of the head of cinema technologies at the Odeon chain, a cinematographer, and
What? IBC2017 Where? Amsterdam RAI When? Conference 14-18 September Exhibition 15-19 September representatives of Christie, NEC and Sony. A future without projection will be discussed in ‘Direct View Displays: Is this the end of projectors?’ Panellists from NanoLumens, Samsung and Sony and a chairman from RealD will review how technology evolution is making giant LED displays a feasible option for cinema exhibition. On the Monday evening, The Big Screen will also host a screening of the recent hit movie Baby Driver in Dolby Vision HDR with Dolby Atmos immersive audio. Following the success of 2016’s IP Interoperability Zone, IBC 2017 will feature the IP Showcase – designed to demonstrate that real-time IP production is a practical reality that is rapidly being adopted by the mainstream. More than 40 vendors will work together to demonstrate real-world IP interoperability. And, providing the latest show news and exhibitor information, online and in print, will be the IBC Daily – produced and published on behalf of IBC by NewBay Media, working from an office in the RAI. IBC’s Mike Crimp sums up the appeal of the event: “There is not just something for everyone: there is a lot for everyone.”
Exhibition Here are just a few of the highlights from the IBC2017 showﬂoor. Apantac will demo two models in its HDMI 2.0 UHD Multiviewer series. The family offers an affordable and high performance entry into 4K/ UHD multi-image display for applications such as control rooms and digital signage and the like. The demonstration will comprise four computers connected in a Multiviewer display environment, with KVM functionality. Argosy will be showing IPE’s EMU intelligent mains monitoring range, for which it is the sole EMEA distributor. These can provide a centralised control solution that can manage every aspect of performance, from controlling individual outputs to monitoring alerts, across installations spread over different locations. AV Stumpﬂ will present its uncompressed 8K and 4K RAW server systems. Wings Engine RAW media server is the only server of its type capable of playing out four simultaneous streams of uncompressed 4K (4:4:4) content at 60fps. RAW servers can also display video content using a full 12-bit colour depth. The render engine allows for the use of footage of up to 120fps, and makes it possible to create seamless 8K soft-edge blending panoramas.
SHOW PREVIEW: IBC2017 Boxilla is an enterprise-level KVM and AV/IT manager from Black Box. Connected within a KVM matrix switch, Boxilla allows centralised KVM network management, and allows for the set-up of a remote control and monitoring system that provides centralised awareness of equipment performance and availability. DTC Domo Broadcast will launch the AEONTX HEVC transmitter for wireless 4K UHD video. “The new transmitter and decoder can handle signiﬁcantly higher bitrates than we have seen before, making wireless 4K transmission possible for the ﬁrst time,” says sales director JP Delport. eyevis will present a selection of displays suitable for application in TV studios, including Direct-LED modules with pixel pitches of 1.22.6mm from the ePANEL and eSLIM series; and a videowall composed of ultra-thin rear-projection cubes, with real-time tracking solutions for live virtual broadcast graphics. Interaction with displayed content will also be presented on an 85in touch display from eyevis’ 4K/UHD LCD monitor range. Also on show will be a range of streaming and IPTV systems from Teracue. The newest member of Guntermann & Drunck’s KVM family is the DP-Vision-IP DisplayPort KVM extender. This overcomes existing spatial restrictions on bridging distances.
Compressed data is carried via Layer 3 on an IP network – and beyond network boundaries. Video resolution of up to 2560 x 1600 @60 Hz or 3840 x 2160 @30 Hz is supported. Matrox will show the Monarch LCS lecture capture appliance, which now has integrated support for TechSmith Relay, Kaltura, Presentations2Go and Ensemble Video for smoother integration into educational institutions’ installations. NewTek will debut its full end-to-end IP solution for the ﬁrst time in Europe. The plug-andplay NewTek NDI PTZ camera will be on display alongside the recently launched Connect Spark, a portable device designed for wireless delivery of HDMI or SDI video to a computer or an IP network. sonoVTS will launch a new family of IP-optimised broadcast displays and showcase improvements to its popular modular videowall. The new wall consists of 3x8 55in hd2Line Pro Series FHD monitors, with 0.9mm bezel and a selfsupporting rack system. The videowall is scalable, adaptable, lightweight, and easy to transport and assemble. A single monitor can be replaced if necessary without disturbing the others.
18 SHOW PREVIEW: PLASA 2017
What? PLASA 2017 Where? Olympia, London When? Sunday 17 September, 10:00–18:00 Monday 18 September, 10:00–late Tuesday 19 September, 10:00–16:00
Forty years on With the 40th anniversary of what became the PLASA Show falling this year, we present some highlights for visitors to the show this month, and run through some key events in the show’s history
n the occasion of its 40th anniversary, this year’s PLASA Show will celebrate the evolution of the entertainment technology industry as well as offering insights into the latest products and developments. PLASA’s director of events, Chris Toulmin, comments: “PLASA Show has been at the heart of the live entertainment industry for the last 40 years, and we are excited to deliver a show for 2017 with many innovative new features and celebrating the impressive industry developments that have been achieved.” This year’s event will accommodate over 150 manufacturers, suppliers and distributors showcasing the latest technology, hosting exclusive product launches and sharing their expertise. Following recent close co-operation between PLASA and the audio industry, visitors can expect a greater emphasis on the sector. There’s a 25% increase in audio exhibitors compared with 2016, plus more audio-focused education events, as well as live product demonstrations.
Seminars The seminar programme will take place across three spaces. All sessions are free to attend, but registration is advised as space is limited. The Product Training Theatre will host the lighting, staging and rigging strand. The Fast Track Theatre will have sessions on improving sales, marketing and social media skills, as well as hosting content from various industry associations. One of these bodies is the Institute of Sound & Communications Engineers (ISCE), whose vice president Helen Goddard will present a ‘Safety First’ seminar on Monday 18 September (11:00-11:30). She will outline how sound engineers can become
accredited for the Electrotechnical Certiﬁcation Scheme, which is a standard for health & safety and core competencies within the construction industry.
Installation readers will probably ﬁnd most of interest in the Audio and AV Theatre – including a panel session on the afternoon of Monday 18 September hosted by Installation editor Paddy Baker (see box). d&b audiotechnik’s Oran Burns and Bill Brooks’ session ‘Are You Listening?’ takes a fresh view on the idea of an ideal frequency response for a live sound system, considering factors like hearing sensitivity, creative preferences and cultural trends. ‘Preparing for the Loss of 700MHz – What you need to know’, by Shure’s Tuomo Tolonen, will examine Ofcom’s 2014 announcement to reallocate UHF frequencies 694-790MHz (the 700MHz band) to the mobile sector. This session will look at the implications for the industry in the light of the move’s May 2020 deadline. In the ﬁrst of two panel discussions hosted by journalist Phil Ward, ‘Was Le Corbusier Deaf or What?’ looks to uncover the tricky relationship between audio and architecture. And in ‘360 Degrees of Sound’, Ward will discuss new formats for 3D audio with some prominent industry ﬁgures – including Sherif El Barbari of L-Acoustics, Scott Willsallen of Remarkable Projects, and Out Board’s Dave Haydon. There will also be a free Dante AV Networking World event from 10:00 to 16:00 on Tuesday 19 September, centred around training workshops for Dante Levels 2 and 3 presented by Audinate’s Kieran Walsh. Registration is required.
Installation to host panel discussion on technology evolution We are pleased to announce that Installation will be hosting ‘Installations – You’ve Come a Long Way, Baby’ in the Audio and AV Theatre from 14:45 to 15:45 on Monday 18 September. In keeping with the theme of PLASA’s 40th anniversary, this session, moderated by Installation editor Paddy Baker, will look at how some of the key installation technologies have evolved over the past four decades. An expert panel will look at a number of installation scenarios, describe how they were approached back in the day, comparing and contrasting with today’s kit and methods. We’ll also look at how these technological developments have changed the way that integrators work. The panel members are: • Nevil Bounds, Feltech • Peter Ed, Light Emissions • Peter James, Shure • Sam Wise, Venue Strategies “I’m very much looking forward to chairing this session,” says Baker. “I’ve assembled a panel of experts with over 120 years of collective experience and who are still strongly involved in the industry today. Using their knowledge and experience, we’ll explore how the technologies involved in different types of installation have evolved over 40 years. As well as being interesting and informative, I believe that the session will give installation professionals a better appreciation for how their predecessors approached projects, and a greater understanding of how today’s technologies have built on what has gone before. Having only been involved with this industry for a mere 10 years myself, I’m sure I’m going to learn a lot!” Register at www.plasashow.com/seminars.
SHOW PREVIEW: XXXXXX XX
40 years of the PLASA show: a potted history Here’s a brief summary – with some archive pictures – of how the PLASA Show developed from an exhibition of disco equipment to the broad-based entertainment technology show that it is today 1977-86: A year after it was founded, The British Association of Discotheque Equipment Manufacturers (BADEM) launched Discotek 77, which was held at The Bloomsbury Centre Hotel from 12 to 14 Billie Jean, anyone? Illuminated dance ﬂoors September. In 1980, the show on the Sound Electronics stand in 1986 increased to four days, with a Saturday start. In 1982, the name was changed to BADEM 82 Light & Sound Show. BADEM became PLASA in 1983, when visitors from 26 overseas countries attended the show. Having ﬁlled out the Bloomsbury, the show moved to the Novotel in Hammersmith in 1985. 1987-96: The show moved to Olympia 2 in 1988, to Earls Court Two in 1992 (the year the PLASA Awards were introduced) and Earls Court One in 1996. That year also saw UK government recognition of the entertainment technology industry.
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The show was held at Olympia 2 between 1988 and 1991. In 1989, it was still called the Light & Sound Show
1997-2006: In 1997, an award was presented to four companies who had exhibited at PLASA for 21 years: Zero 88, Multiform, Pulsar and Le Maitre. Princess Diana’s funeral was at the same time as the show, and London was Earls Court One (seen here in 1997) was the PLASA Show’s home from 1996 to 2012, after very subdued. In 2005, which the venue closed for redevelopment Earls Court ﬂooded during the show. 2007 saw PLASA move to a new head office, and the Gottelier Awards were launched: Funktion-One’s Tony Andrews was the ﬁrst winner. The fourth decade: 2007-16 The ﬁrst Rigging Conference was hosted alongside the show in 2009. The following year saw a two-stage consultation which resulted in PLASA members voting to merge with ESTA (and vice versa); the newly merged PLASA went live in 2011 with a complete rebrand. In 2013 the show moved to ExCeL and staged a new pro audio arena, the Audio Lab. It relocated to Olympia in 2016.
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20 SPECIAL REPORT: AUDIO NETWORKING
Looser ties To begin this special report on audio networking, Phil Ward discusses the current state of the art, and discovers how technology developments could bring a future where ‘ﬁxed’ installations become less permanent
udio or data, it doesn’t really matter. The strides made in the control and interoperability of digital audio in distributed, integrated systems in the last few years render most discussions of protocol pre-eminence redundant. But the next phase of this slippery subject is likely to be characterised by a new set of challenges that unhinge any notion of permanence, and that loosen installed sound from its moorings in bricks, mortar or sealing wax. This industry is going to have to prepare itself for the dawning of the Age of The Various. Various what? Apart from various media – networked pro audio is now converging with networked video – it’s the variety of brands available to the picky user that will distinguish successful systems. Open exchange is winning over proprietary protectionism, although ‘proprietary’ is no longer a straightforward notion and choices remain difficult. Most of all, large sections of the industry are getting weary of connectivity being monetised and marketed, when all it should really do is offer easy options.
Latin quarter Ethan Wetzell is platform strategist at Bosch Communications Systems. Of all the job titles that crop up during investigations like this, ‘platform strategist’ has to be the most telling. As well as navigating all of the business lines
across Bosch’s multi-brand compression, Wetzell contributes regularly to the cross-industry initiatives that grapple with this stuff, including the Avnu Alliance, the Media Networking Alliance, the Open Control Architecture Alliance and the AES. Grasping it all is marginally easier than summarising Kierkegaard in Latin, so it helps to establish a strategic view… “The world of ‘installation’ is an interesting Venn diagram in itself,” Wetzell begins. “Nowadays a stadium, for example, can encompass traditional PA/VA, live touring and broadcast, and the question of whether all those applications can share one network can be answered either by ‘yes, but…’ or by ‘no, except…’! I have to look at the whole landscape and divide it into tiers, but overriding all of them is the fact that the customer has to get audio from point A to point B in a way they can manage. Everything else that happens behind the scenes, frankly, shouldn’t be the customer’s problem.” So the manufacturers’ challenge is to put networking aside, despite its persistent convolutions. “At the most granular level is the world of protocols: things like the IEEE 1588 Precision Time Protocol, or the Real-time Transport Protocol,” Wetzell expands. “These can be put together to create standards, recipes for combined protocols like AES67. Fine, but realistically a ‘standard’ by itself doesn’t solve that customer problem; for that you need
Key Points Audio interoperability is now almost guaranteed; the next phase is seamless audio, video and control networking The duty cycle of installed systems is getting shorter, and networking will only shorten these cycles as systems become more modular and mobile AES67 implementation needs to advance beyond multicast to unicast transmission, as recommended by the specification Internet consumer technology will drive upgrades in AV networking Networking should not be marketed competitively; it should be transparent connection management, network discovery and user interfaces. Achieving a standard is not the ultimate goal.” You might think that this is where the proprietary solutions take over, to deliver the customer to that A-to-B nirvana, but Wetzell warns against such glib differentiations. “Proprietary is not an all-or-nothing ‘binary’ dead end,” he says, “where you either talk to everyone or you talk to no one else. That’s not true in many cases, and Dante is a really good example. They’ve kept up with new standards of compatibility, but they’ve implemented them in their own, feature-rich stack: software, connection management, utilities, diagnostics… these are things that the standards could not
SPECIAL REPORT: AUDIO NETWORKING
– and should not – attempt. You could call it proprietary, but it does still talk to the rest of the world.” So, you can get in and out of the Dante world from most networks but, once you’re in, the functionality is ﬁxed. This suits touring engineers well: people without the time to implement networking nuances even as the gig ﬁlls up with jostling punters. Installed AV should at least afford more time to perfect the architecture, making protocols beyond Dante more attractive. “This is where ‘subsets’ and ‘supersets’ are relevant,” Wetzell continues. “Our product OMNEO is a unique Bosch implementation that includes many standards, but we are fully compatible with Dante, and within that, AES67. AES67 is a subset of Dante, Dante is a subset of OMNEO. As you go up the superset tiers, you grab additional features: to the audio transport we’ve added security, AES70 and OCA, plus topology and management software and more. Adding those features does not break the compatibility with the lower layers.”
Swissport cargo Dante’s market penetration reveals the quality of its design solutions, and not for nothing does Josh Rush, Audinate’s vice president of
marketing, joke that Dante is “the Switzerland of networking”: it’s neutral; its borders are open; but it retains its own currency. There are now over 350 Dante licensees, with the most rapid expansion occurring in Asia where a new office has just opened, in Hong Kong. Even brands such as Riedel and Lawo – deeply entrenched in Ravenna world – have signed up as customer expectation reaches critical mass.
‘The concept of singlesource systems is rapidly disappearing… It’s naïve to think that your system will never touch an “alien” component’ Ethan Wezell, Bosch Communications
“Openness is being driven by what customers want,” Rush says. “RH Consulting’s research has shown that the number one requirement is to have the most products to choose from on the network, and that means a shift away from
proprietary-only systems. There’s a need for both, as met by Harman’s addition of Dante to BLU link. It’s the best of both worlds: more control within the Harman rack, but with access to over 1,100 products further aﬁeld. “It also provides greater ﬂexibility to change things down the line. We can’t predict what’s going to be needed three years from now, and the ability to make alterations with the click of a mouse is really important to end-users. That’s not just a beneﬁt of Dante, of course; it’s a beneﬁt of any correctly deployed digital audio network.” The most signiﬁcant recent improvements to Dante’s technology include Dante Domain Manager, an IT-savvy security hierarchy that counters the very plug-and-play ease of access that Dante has forged; the ability to cross more subnets across larger installations; and an endto-end PCB called the Dante Analogue Output Module for very simple OEM deployments. For Riedel’s part, Dante compatibility satisﬁes demand but, not being an open standard, potentially lacks the ﬂexibility Riedel’s customers usually require. “We work in a ﬁeld where the products must respond to the individual needs of customers,” states Karsten Konrad, product manager at Riedel Communications. “They request special features
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22 SPECIAL REPORT: AUDIO NETWORKING all the time, so protocols must be augmented with additional product features. Dante simpliﬁed networking at a time when few people knew how to do it, but now we have customers who want standards-based networking.” AVB has satisﬁed Riedel’s requirements very well in this regard, even if its hardware demands are more complex. “AES67 is still evolving,” continues Konrad, “and while we support AVB we’re focusing on AES67 as part of the AIMS [Alliance for IP Media Solutions] roadmap.” Konrad’s aim for Riedel products is to make both connection and conﬁguration a lot easier – a more ‘plug-and-play’ landscape. In this sense Dante’s innovations are inﬂuencing the rest of the market, as Konrad acknowledges. “Dante split the system conﬁguration from the networking set-up, a big contribution to the way networked systems can be developed,” he says. “Dante also gives Riedel a strong route into the markets of installed AV.” Meanwhile Dante has almost entirely replaced EtherSound and CobraNet within the Yamaha portfolio, with other protocols such as AVB included via Mini-YGDAI cards for compatibility with AVB-equipped products such as Revolabs’ Executive Elite conference microphones and Meyer Sound’s Galileo Galaxy speaker processors. Ron Bakker, systems marketing manager at Yamaha Commercial Audio Europe, approves of AES67 and AES70 but recognises the greater difficulties of ‘MIDI-fying’ the control of pro audio and AV devices as opposed to the relatively small world of synths and sequencers. “With MIDI, the market size was overseeable,” he says, “with just a few brands selling in the millions – as opposed to the billions of pro audio. The stakes are much higher and the agendas are much bigger. The number of applications dwarfs the use of MIDI, which was only for music sequencing.” The conditions for Dante’s success, Bakker points out, were reﬂected in the Yamaha Commercial Audio Training Seminars (YCATS) curriculum even from 2008, when networking was introduced. “Our trainers in Europe became go-to guys for advice, and it trickled down from touring – using digital mixing consoles in networks – to installation. The same engineers were operating live sound systems and specifying commercial installations, while theatre and concert hall system designers also built conference facilities and other commercial applications. Step by step, it just happened.” Networking increases supply and demand, symbiotically. “Once we would have given a basic space one or two 100V zones; now we’re only satisﬁed with eight or 10 zones,” Bakker adds. “More zones equals more products, and in that functional requirement networking is the solution.” Obvious, it may seem, but it exposes the risks attached to obstructing open exchange: once
networking can be taken for granted, everyone will sell more products. Some say it can be taken for granted already, but some level of strategy is still required. Peavey may have been the very ﬁrst to adopt Dante in the installed world, but there are now many more viable options out there. As at Riedel, there’s a feeling at Peavey that customers need more control over source code, but in doing so will embark on a networking solution without the clear support that Audinate offers.
‘Customers need to encourage manufacturers to fully embrace the complete AES67 standard’ Martin Barbour, QSC
“It’s like starting your own business or being an employee,” says James Kennedy, operations manager, PCA at Peavey Electronics. “You can take the risks and build freely, or rely on a given package. Certainly, Dante is easier: that’s why RH Consulting’s research [found it has] 85% of the market. But there’s a reason why some manufacturers develop their own protocols to provide more control – with AES67 compliance, so you can get to Dante if you need to. And it’s the same reason we’re constantly improving MediaMatrix.” Indeed: NION’s Dante Legacy Module (DLM) card will soon be replaced by something called the Dante Brooklyn Adaptor Module (DBAM) – making it compatible with the Dante Brooklyn II module and all the advantages of Dante Domain Manager, AES67 streams, device lock and more. “AES67 works,” adds Kennedy, “but it’s a bit of a ﬁddle to conﬁgure well. Until somebody writes some very clever software to bridge the gaps
seamlessly with one click, we’re still adding time and expense.”
Video barrier At InfoComm in June, Harman demonstrated ‘breakaway’ audio from its video-to-audio devices via the AES67 Layer 3 protocol suite, a phrase with subliminal suggestions of audio ‘escaping’ a ring of control and making its own way in an unpredictable world. What this means in practice, as expressed by Adam Holladay, director of solutions, marketing & hospitality at Harman International, is that “we just found the easiest way to do it”. What’s more, it doesn’t even matter whether or not the industry has achieved the utopia of an open standard… “There are mechanisms today by which you can connect one device to another and the audio moves between them – it’s that simple,” Holladay states. “The industry can have as many protocols as it likes, open or so-called proprietary, but we have got beyond the argument as to which one works best. Dante has certainly won out from an adoption perspective – fantastic for someone wanting to build a network as there’s now so much choice – but they all work. What matters most is simply how easy it is to get it working in the ﬁrst place.” The legacy of CobraNet, the ﬁrst openarchitecture DSP product, has emerged within QSC. Those that pioneered this technology, including Rich Zwiebel and much of the original Peak Audio team, now work for QSC and developed the Q-SYS platform. From the outset, the requirement of Q-SYS was to connect various audio, video and control (AV&C) peripherals together under a single ecosystem, so the team developed a networking technology they called Q-LAN. This in-house networking development effort of course provides all the autonomy and agility QSC requires from a networking standpoint but, according to Martin Barbour,
24 SPECIAL REPORT: AUDIO NETWORKING
HDMI cable and onto our networks. That’s exactly what we’re doing with BSS Audio processors and the AMX SVSi platform, and what QSC is doing with WyreStorm.”
Game, set and match
Biscuits and chips The network installed by Californiabased integrator Technicomm Industries into the Indian Wells Tennis Garden complex near Palm Springs perfectly illustrates the new multibrand landscape implied by audio-overIP networking. A Dante backbone has replaced the ageing CobraNet system, enabling the deployment of DSP by both Symetrix and QSC; intercom by RTS; microphones by Shure; and loudspeakers by Electro-Voice. Bosch’s OMNEO protocol adds further depth to the comms system, and already there are plans to expand with the RTS ROAMEO wireless intercom. The whole system is controllable from an iPad, and with a hotel and convention centre also in the pipeline the entire site is a model of future, open-ended upgradeability through digital audio networking. product manager for installed systems at QSC and co-chairman of the Marketing Working Group at the Media Networking Alliance (MNA), it was “never intended to lock other manufacturers out. The intent with Q-LAN was simply to allow QSC to develop the most appropriate networking technology for our target market upon which the Q-SYS Platform could be built. This allowed us the ability to quickly develop, change and improve the networking components at our own pace, and as needed.” He continues: “Our strategy was to maximise audio, video and control capabilities over a standard, modern IT network within our own ecosystem, and we quickly added third-party interface cards for Dante, CobraNet and AVB to provide interoperability with other non-QSC products and systems. QSC has recently added native AES67 integration to the Q-SYS Platform as well. The nice thing about AES67 with Q-SYS is that we were able to implement it directly onto our built-in network ports without any additional hardware; it was all done at the software level. For our customers, it’s a simple ﬁrmware upgrade and they can run this complete suite of networking technology concurrently within the same system.” QSC believes the next phase of AES67 will come as various manufactures mature their implementation of AES67. The goal is to ease the setup of bidirectional audio streams as well as employ unicast streaming as its deﬁned by the standard. “Unicast is much easier for IT professionals to deal with on a network – particularly those who have concerns about network management and security,” Barbour points out. “Customers need to encourage manufacturers to fully embrace the complete AES67 standard to provide an open,
interoperable solution that is IT friendly and built for scalability on an enterprise level. In terms of audio transport, AES67-enabled products can exchange audio, albeit that requires some amount of conﬁguration and set-up. It’s clear this process can be streamlined from an end-user’s perspective, so uniﬁed AES67 routing software applications such as ANEMA from Merging become welcome additions to the system integrator’s toolkit.”
‘The audio industry now has to get the video industry to talk to the “accepted norm” for audio’ Adam Holladay, Harman
For its own part, QSC has recently announced strategic alliances with several manufacturers, including Atlona and WyreStorm, the maker of the NetworkHD series of encoders. Professional video encoders have also entered the broad product portfolio that includes all things HiQnet and BLU link. “The next conversation we want to be having is about the future of sharing audio with video,” affirms Harman’s Adam Holladay. “With Harman’s acquisition of SVSi we have a mandate to ﬁnd a way to ensure that the video devices are transmitting audio with the same protocol that audio devices understand. When it comes to control of the two, so you can switch audio and video together, that’s the next level of differentiator for us. But the audio industry now has to get the video industry to talk to the ‘accepted norm’ for audio, so it comes off the
Ethan Wetzell has a nice analogy for the continuing challenge facing AES67. “We need to continue awareness and adoption of AES70 and OCA, but then you get to the next layer of complexity: once you’ve agreed the language, you need to agree the lexicon,” he says. “You and I are speaking English, but you’re from the UK and I’m from the US. If we were having lunch and I asked you to pass me the biscuits and the chips, you’d give me something quite different to what I’m expecting! Words can mean different things in the same language, so within the trade associations we’re building deﬁnitions of what those words mean and how they can be used: mechanisms to hand over to manufacturers so they can deﬁne their devices more accurately within that lexicon.” The aim of standardisation is to increase competitiveness, not stiﬂe it, so this technology needs to get out of the way as soon as possible. When it does, multiple brands will appear on a level playing ﬁeld. “The concept of single-source systems is rapidly disappearing,” points out Wetzell. “One subset may be a given vendor, like the voice alarm subset, but what happens when a sound engineer needs to patch in a device from a different vendor? It’s naïve to think that your system will never touch an ‘alien’ component.” This is obvious in touring, but you might think that ‘ﬁxed’ installation is more likely to accommodate a single ecosystem. Not so, says Wetzell. “An installation is a snapshot in time,” he says, “to meet today’s needs right now. But nobody makes everything – not even Bosch! – and the odds of something third-party being necessary are high. Furthermore, systems are getting more modular and ‘ﬁeld-adjustable’, and are increasingly supplementable, exchangeable and replaceable in smaller parts, and once networking fully ‘works’, those parts will come from anywhere. Supply and demand will not be restricted by technology.” Audio, video or control data, it shouldn’t really matter. But for as long as networking standards resist universal support, networking will be like doing a jigsaw puzzle while competing in a marathon. Let’s not do that: let’s ditch the running spikes and ﬁnish the last few pieces.
www.audinate.com www.boschcommunications.com www.harman.com www.peavey.com www.qsc.com www.riedel.net www.yamahaproaudio.com
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26 SPECIAL REPORT: AUDIO NETWORKING
Market measures Thanks to work carried out in part with readers of Installation, we have a quantitative picture of the state of networked audio adoption. Paddy Baker reports In 2015 and 2016, readers of Installation, along with sister title SCN and other industry titles, completed a survey from RH Consulting into the
global uptake of audio networking. In parallel to this, the consultancy monitors the granting of manufacturers’ licences and the releases
of products that operate under different networking protocols.
Numbers of products available for each protocol 1000 The number of Dante products on the market has risen sharply and fairly steadily over the past four years. This graph, from data compiled in February, shows 916 Dante products available – not including interface cards. Audinate now puts the total number of Dante products today at over 1,000. Since the start of Avnu certiﬁcation for AVB devices, RH Consulting’s analysis has considered non-certiﬁed AVB product under the ‘proprietary’ heading.
900 800 700
200 100 0 2014
In 2016, RH Consulting gathered data on over 8,000 audio networking projects. Just under four out of every ﬁve projects used Dante.
Split of protocols by project 2% 3%
With 132 manufacturers shipping products, Dante is by far the best-supported audio protocol, far outstripping the other technologies combined.
Numbers of manufacturers shipping products for each protocol
79% RAVENNA AVB CobraNet
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28 SPECIAL REPORT: AUDIO NETWORKING
AVB: open for business
As the pro AV industry becomes an increasingly network-centric one, attention inevitably turns to the standards that might underpin the networks of the future. Ian McMurray assesses the state of play with AVB/TSN – and asks if the technology can improve its trailing market position
he AVB – audio-video bridging – task group was formed in 2006, with the goal of replacing both the physical complexity of analogue cables and the network complexity of earlier proprietary solutions with an open, standardsbased approach that would enable interoperable platforms to offer more affordable and better market solutions. The Avnu Alliance was launched in 2009 to create certiﬁcation processes based on AVB standards that would ensure interoperability. From the outset, there was a belief that the principles of AVB could be applied not only to professional and consumer audio and video networks, but also in areas such as automotive and industrial. Eventually, this saw the AVB task group become the TSN – time-sensitive networking – task group, and Avnu’s remit now extends to TSN solutions. “TSN is the evolution of AVB, building upon the AVB specifications to expand the range, functionality and applications of the standard,” explains Patrick Prothe, Avnu Alliance pro AV segment chair. “TSN is intended to be backwards-compatible with AVB, but also includes new features and enhancements – some meant to enable Internet of Things (IoT) connections. Some
of the new key features in TSN also include added fault tolerance and redundancy.”
Multiple traffic types “AVB/TSN takes a completely different approach than the proprietary technology on the market by enabling multiple traffic types to ﬂow on a shared deterministic network,” he continues. “That’s a tall order and it’s something that no other protocol or technology can do.” Determinism is becoming increasingly important in networking. As the name implies, it means that the time it will take for a data packet to reach its destination is both predictable and repeatable, differentiating it from ‘best effort’ traffic, from which it is partitioned. This makes it ideal for real-time applications and for applications where the amount of latency needs to be guaranteed. There’s much, then, about AVB that is unquestionably promising. The reality, however, is that it is Audinate’s Dante that has captured the lion’s share of attention – and adoption – in recent years. Roland Hemming, principal of RH Consulting, has carried out detailed quantitative research into projects in the networked audio market (see page 26) – most recently last summer. Noting that his research found more than
Key Points Activity in the AVB world is intensifying, and looks set to accelerate By embracing industrial, automotive and IoT applications, AVB – in the form of TSN – has the potential to become omnipresent Video implementations of AVB are not yet widespread – but the standard lends itself no less well to non-audio applications seven times as many Dante projects as AVB, he observes: “Almost all AVB use is either Biamp or Meyer systems with no interconnection to other devices other than same brand product. They are effectively proprietary projects.” Can AVB come from a trailing position and fulﬁl its potential? Its proponents are clear that that’s what’s happening. “Major players in the industry – such as Avid, Biamp, Cisco, d&b, Intel, L-Acoustics and Meyer Sound and many more – have committed to work together within the Avnu Alliance,” says Prothe. “The adoption of AVB/TSN continues to increase as more integrators, consultants, and end users gain greater understanding of the ﬂexibility and superior networking capabilities an AVB/TSN network topology provides,” claims
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Shell Haffner, director of product management at Biamp Systems. “As evidence,” he adds, “the Avnu test facility has been busy with a multitude of switch manufacturers – a sign that the network equipment providers are implementing AVB/TSN for deployment. That, in turn, should lead to more network endpoint manufacturers submitting their products for testing and certiﬁcation.” “There’s been quite a bit going on lately,” echoes John McMahon, vice president of solutions and strategy at Meyer Sound. “We’ve seen recent public demonstrations of switches from Cisco with AVB/TSN capability. Also, another major manufacturer of professional loudspeaker systems has introduced Avnucertiﬁed AVB products, which means that now a large portion of the high-end loudspeaker market is committed to AVB as a primary networking platform.”
IT world acceptance AVB adherents also note how AVB plays into the increasing – like it or not – IT-iﬁcation of pro AV. “Since AVB/TSN is an accepted set of IEEE standards, the IT world accepts it,” believes Haffner. “As an IEEE standard, AVB was created at the core of the IT world,” adds McMahon. “Because it’s universally recognised as an IEEE-defined protocol, the IT people can be confident that it will work as intended on their converged networks.” “Gone are the days,” he laughs, “when CobraNet would appear on a corporate network, and the IT department wouldn’t recognise it – and so shut it down.” One of the most-touted advantages of AVB has long been that it is not just about audio – its speciﬁcation includes video, with Prothe believing that the emergence of networked video makes the transition to AVB inevitable. However: video implementations have thus far been somewhat few and far between. Biamp, though, is very much a believer. “Video is a larger and more complicated data stream – think lip sync,” notes Haffner, “and this difficulty increases as systems become more complex in size, distance, and the type of data the network is transporting. For Biamp, we knew we would do video long before we moved to making AVB/TSN our protocol of choice. When AVB/TSN provided the capabilities we required to deliver low latency, time sensitivity and scalability, we made sure that both audio and video were capable within the same Tesira platform.”
Great experience “From a Biamp perspective,” he goes on, “we view AVB/TSN as a transport mechanism to
deliver a great experience to our customer base – whether that experience is only audio or includes video streams.” “It might take years to fully realise the advantage of Avnu-certiﬁed networks and there will be short-term wins for companies on either side,” believes Prothe, “but in the end, the only long-term solution is technology that is based on true open standards and backed by the very companies whose job it is to support the development of the IoT network – the IT companies such as Cisco, Intel and the like.”
‘The only long-term solution is technology that is based on true open standards’ Patrick Prothe, Avnu Alliance
“We’re seeing many more infrastructure vendors working on Avnu-certiﬁed AVB switches and expect additional announcements this year,” he goes on, noting that 95% of switch silicon vendors are members of the Avnu Alliance. “We expect the certiﬁed ecosystem to continue to see momentum and the rate of growth to increase.” It’s not just about the principles that AVB represents, however. For it to succeed for manufacturers such as Biamp and Meyer Sound – and others – it also has to deliver real, tangible beneﬁts. They believe it does. “AVB provides the quality that our customers demand, both sonically and in terms of reliability,” says McMahon. “Adoption will continue to expand as more switches come online, and as the technology ecosystem
continues to grow both in the pro AV industry and in wider markets.”
Pivotal “AVB has a very bright future – in 4K with perfect lip sync,” says Haffner. “We believe AVB/TSN will continue to be adopted within the industry. This will happen alongside other industries, which in turn will increase the interoperability across systems. AVB/TSN will be pivotal as the Internet of Things continues to expand and become more commonplace.” Their optimism seems entirely justiﬁed, not least because the IT departments that are becoming increasingly inﬂuential in the AV world tend to be signiﬁcantly more comfortable with open standards – especially those that are speciﬁcally designed for the networks of today. It is pretty much the deﬁnition of an industry standard rather than a de facto standard, putting it very much in line with the interoperability and open architectures that are only increasing in importance. The fact that it is, apparently, unique in its ability to handle multiple traffic types is unquestionably a potentially huge advantage. Beyond this, the wider-scale adoption that TSN promises will, inevitably, see economies of scale apply – and prices will fall. It’s a technology with the Internet of Things at its heart – which can only be extremely helpful to its cause. Add the backing of numerous networking industry heavyweights, and it’s hard to see anything other than a positive future for AVB. AVB has substantial ground to make up – but if its time hasn’t quite come yet, it surely can’t be far off.
www.avnu.org www.biamp.com www.meyersound.com www.rhconsulting.eu
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32 BUSINESS FEATURE: MUSEUMS AND VISITOR ATTRACTIONS
What’s the story? In museums and visitor attractions, a thirst for the latest technology has to be balanced with engaging storytelling to compete for attention in a prosperous global sector. Duncan Proctor reports
ften in spite of wider economic factors, the museums and visitor attractions sector has remained a thriving market that enjoys a healthy supply of investment and cuttingedge technology. Venues aim to steer a course that enables them to both entice new visitors while also securing all-important repeat visits. This has led to centres becoming more complex and including greater levels of interaction and personalisation. The commercial element also demands that while exhibits are there to educate and entertain, keeping people interested results in longer dwell times and a higher retail spend.
Arms race As happens in many markets, there is something of an arms race as exhibitions compete with each other to improve the way guests experience and interact within the space. Interactive digital media is now commonplace; therefore museums have to include other elements as well as more sophisticated
technology. Visitor expectations have also evolved, with the average customer much more tech savvy than ﬁve or 10 years ago, which increases what is needed to entertain them and attain a fully immersive experience for all. Technology is a central part of this race; however, it is crucial that it serves a purpose and is used to showcase the exhibits with a strong storytelling element. “It is important to start from the content and then consider how it is to be displayed to best effect,” states Ian Crosby, sales and marketing director at Zytronic. The aim is to make the journey as personal as possible to each visitor so everyone can experience something slightly different when they visit an attraction. “We see an everincreasing demand for the ability to make the visitor experience more personal,” says Matt Barton, CEO at 7thSense Design. This also helps visitors feel part of exhibits – immersed, rather than spectators observing from a distance. It’s important that both the visitor and the exhibit are considered at every level of technology speciﬁcation and implementation. If this doesn’t happen, venues can end up
Key Points A balance has to be struck between incorporating cutting-edge technology and telling a compelling story A particular focus for venues is creating exhibits that can be personalised by the visitor to give a more tailored experience While it is desirable to utilise leading-edge technology, this has to be balanced with ease of use and familiarity for the visitor Use of touch technology across venues could soon be overtaken by emerging technologies such as gesture and proximity sensors, and object recognition being showcases for technology rather than a particular theme or period in history. Another important factor is balancing the use of leading-edge and more established technology; this ensures that exhibits with a high level of interaction will still be easy for most visitors to experience.
FEATURE: MUSEUMS AND VISITOR ATTRACTIONS 33
Approaches What methods and approaches are venues using to improve interactivity and personalisation? John Dixon, product manager for Leyard and Planar, outlines: “Museums and visitor attractions have evolved from a simple standalone consumer TV display with a video on a continuous loop to much more immersive installations involving touch interactivity. Whether it’s a display that creates the ‘wow’ factor when guests walk in or an exhibit that features interactive displays to create an immersive storytelling experience, museums and visitors attractions want to fully engage guests the entirety of their visit.” Crosby conﬁrms: “A static display or a looping video is rarely the answer – visitors now expect the opportunity to personalise their visit, and watch or listen to aspects of the presentation that interest them, and skip elements that don’t appeal.” Dixon continues: “One of the most common ways we see museums improving interactivity is through touch display solutions – from small-screen touch monitors greeting guests immediately upon check-in, to large touch videowalls that allow multiple users to interact with content within an exhibit.” “The use of interactive displays helps to
enhance the visitor’s experience and give them the chance to dig deeper within certain topics of particular interest,” says Jasmin Stemmler, product marketing manager, NEC Display Solutions Europe. “This enables both parties to proﬁt as the museum increases dwell time, whilst the visitor has the feeling of a tailormade, interactive journey.
‘The visitor needs to believe in the journey on which they are being taken’ Matt Barton, 7thSense Design
“With interactive tables and displays, physical powers, chemical compositions and the laws of nature can be transferred in a fun way! Interactive ﬂoor projection allows visitors to visualise different scenarios and enhance the experience while interactive installations can also educate visitors by having interactive and engaging quizzes, based on the topics they may have come across during their visit.”
Enhancing the experience There are a number of ways to up the interactive elements, as Barton explains: “This can range from giving guests the choice of a number of ‘ﬁxed stories’ to choose from, to being able to dictate the way the story progresses every step of the way. “There are many advances in technology that allow us to offer these solutions while at the same time maintaining the super high-quality imagery that customers have come to expect of the top-end dark rides and visitor attractions. In the past, a choice had to be made between interactive functionality and display quality due to processing speed limitations. With new augmented reality (AR) technologies, we can combine the high quality with total visitor control to create exciting new experiences. AR is commonly associated with headsets or glasses; while these options are available, they are not essential to the interactive offering. Our goal is to ensure our products are ﬂexible to take advantage of a multitude of display and interactive control options.” On this theme, Dixon continues: “We are also seeing more devices like gesture and proximity sensors being deployed with touch displays to create more interactive and unique experiences.”
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34 BUSINESS FEATURE: MUSEUMS AND VISITOR ATTRACTIONS
“Touch technology is developing all the time, and visitor attractions are beneﬁtting,” asserts Crosby. “For example, it is now possible to offer object recognition on capacitive touch tables, allowing a model for example to open a particular screen or trigger a video clip. “Also, force or pressure sensing is a way of interacting with touchscreens that is gaining popularity in handheld consumer devices, and we are leading the industry in making it available for touchscreens in public locations, giving self-service system developers a fantastic opportunity to innovate. For example, a light touch can open a preview of a video, which opens fully on a ﬁrmer press. It is particularly powerful when used in combination with Zytronic multitouch technology, exceeding what is possible on all but the most advanced tablets and smartphones today.”
Use cases In terms of how these approaches to technology translate into projects and installations, Stemmler continues: “Our latest interactive installation in M KHA, the Museum of Contemporary Art Antwerp, uses an interactive 3 x 2 videowall to inform visitors interactively on the artists and art currently being exhibited. With 15 touch points, the wall can be used simultaneously by several people, allowing users to not only interact with the technology, but to collaborate as a group.” BrightSign CEO Jeff Hastings has an example
of interactivity being used for a temporary project: “BrightSign players were used at Dubai Aquarium & Underwater Zoo to create a special exhibition for Discovery Channel’s Shark Week, which allowed visitors to walk straight into the world’s ﬁrst interactive digital shark cage with Great Whites swimming around them. The
‘Touch technology is developing all the time, and visitor attractions are beneﬁtting’ Ian Crosby, Zytronic
visitor becomes the diver – they experience the excitement of diving with real sharks in a cage. At the front of the exhibit, 28 massive 55in LG screens driven by seven BrightSign 4K players with tiled outputs feature an awe-inspiring scene of Great White sharks circling the outside of a ‘cage’ with the spectator inside.” This example shows how technology can be used to not only entertain visitors but also educate them on a particular subject. Hastings continues: “Innovative technology allows guests to interact with this unique exhibit to learn more about the sharks. Installer DigiComm used the luma key masking feature we offer on our players to allow graphics and other videos to display
through transparencies in the video window. Visitors in the cage can use buttons to select additional video, which plays on top of the main looping presentation. These videos explain, for example, how the shark’s senses work. The buttons control the players directly using the UDP inputs. The roof of the cage is a translucent material, on which projectors powered by BrightSign display images of shark bellies to complete the visitor’s experience.” Dixon adds: “Another example is the New-York Historical Society Museum and Library, where a Planar videowall depicts a stationary image of a painting called ‘Pulling Down the Statue of King George III,’ by the artist Johannes Adam Simon Oertel. When a small group of visitors stands in front of the videowall, sounds can be heard and the image then begins to move. As more people gather, the crowd depicted in the painting comes to life and pulls on a rope, bringing the King George statue to the ground in a cloud of dust and amid sounds of cheering and dogs barking.” Educating visitors is much easier when they are engaged, which is where adding AV into the mix pays off. “The Pan Tadeusz museum in Wroclaw, Poland, has been designed with numerous multimedia experiences to showcase Polish history and culture through 200 exhibits along with over 100 games,” says Crosby. “Immersive technologies provide virtual journeys, cinematic screens and engaging avatars bring the history to life, inspiring educational discussion and debate, and a large 65in touch sensor has been attached to an oval table to provide interactive games.”
Story remains key These examples illustrate how technology can be applied to a broad range of exhibitions and is useful for more than entertainment. It also shows the level of potential that exists and how there are numerous ways in which interactivity and personalisation can be incorporated. Although the arms race will continue, it is important to remember the human element and avoid turning exhibits into tech showcases where the content turns into an incidental detail. “Story remains key,” states Barton. “The visitor needs to believe in the journey on which they are being taken – offering them control over that journey enhances that belief and keeps them engaged for longer. This engagement is what our customers seek and what we work to deliver with our modern technologies.”
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36 SOLUTIONS: MUSEUM OF THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION, PHILADELPHIA UNITED STATES
PROJECT OF THE MONTH
The road to independence In addition to exhibiting rare artifacts, a new museum is using projection, 4D effects, touchscreens and other AV technologies to illustrate the history, and the continuing relevance, of the events and ideas that led to the founding of the USA. Christopher James reports
ocated a few blocks from Philadelphia’s historic Independence Hall is the recently opened Museum of the American Revolution. The new red-brick building boasts 3,000sqm of galleries and theatres winding around a central atrium. Immersive exhibits, engaging ﬁlms and an iconic collection of artifacts bring to life the events, people and ideals of the nation’s founding and engage visitors in the history and continuing relevance of the American Revolution. Electrosonic was charged with the audiovisual design, engineering, product procurement, installation and commissioning for the museum, which includes multiple theatres and exhibit spaces. The integrator partnered with general contractor Intech and union labour provider M Gitlin Co on the project. Visitors begin their tour of the museum in the Lenfest Meyer Theater with the 15-minute orientation ﬁlm, Revolution. The sweeping ﬁ lm, shown throughout the day, explores the origins, experiences and ongoing legacy of the American Revolution and sets the stage for the core exhibition. Electrosonic supplied three Christie HD6K-M projectors to display the edge-blended content on a 10m x 3m Stewart screen. A 7thSense server sources the ﬁlm. A complex audio system features three Tannoy VQ-100 speakers at left, right and centre, two Tannoy subwoofers, and 22
wall- and ceiling-mounted JBL 8350 speakers for an all-encompassing sound experience. Q-SYS audio control is used throughout the building. When the Lenfest Meyer Theater is not showing the main Revolution ﬁlm, the theatre can also act as a presentation and special event space. Electrosonic furnished a roll-out podium and mic, AMX touchscreen control and a Christie DWU-851Q projector for those occasions. After viewing the orientation ﬁlm, visitors head up the grand staircase to begin their exploration of the origins of the American Revolution, the ﬁght for independence and the ongoing legacies of the Revolution.
In tent media The “biggest and most challenging” exhibit for Electrosonic, according to Electrosonic project manager Kevin Mayfield, is General Washington’s original sleeping and office tent, which was carefully preserved by generations of Martha Washington’s descendants and previously housed at Valley Forge. The tent is now presented as part of a unique theatre experience. Visitors enter the room to watch a frontprojected ﬁlm on a screen that tells the story of the tent’s remarkable journey from the battleﬁeld to the present day. When the lights slowly come up, the screen lifts to show a scrim, which becomes a new projection surface for
Audio QSC Q-SYS Core DSP units JBL 8350 cinema surround speakers Tannoy speakers, screen speakers and subwoofers Acoustic Enhancement activated sound panels MetalMaster Manufacturing custom speaker brackets Aurasound floor shakers BagEnd subwoofers
Video Christie DWU-851Q 1DLP dual-lamp projectors Christie DWX-555GS laser projector Christie HD6K-M, HD14K-M HD 3DLP projectors Digital Projection dVision 30sx+XB projectors Stewart Filmscreen projection screen Scalable Displays auto alignment software Gerriets three-roller projection screen system 3M 32in multi-touch monitors Planar monitors Planar videowall processors PQ Labs touch overlay MetalMaster Manufacturing custom screen brackets 7thSense Design servers
Control AMX touchscreens Medialon show control
SOLUTIONS: MUSEUM OF THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION, PHILADELPHIA About the integrator
Electrosonic has offices in six US locations: Livermore (San Francisco), Minneapolis, New Jersey, New York City and Orlando Bryan Hinckley was appointed president of Electrosonic USA in July, when Jim Bowie stepped down from the role after 30 years Key personnel on this project included executive consultant Andrew Kidd, senior commissioner Tony Peugh and onsite technician Ryan Bott more imagery. Then, the scrim lifts to reveal Washington’s tent housed behind protective glass. Projections show shadows in the tent, as if Washington and his colleagues were walking around inside; landscapes and weather are projected onto the back wall cyclorama. Electrosonic provided a custom Gerriets three roller screen system, 10m long and made of carbon ﬁbre, which had to ﬁt a very tight space inside the proscenium. MetalMaster Manufacturing in Orlando designed and fabricated custom brackets to stack and offset the screens. A 7thSense server feeds two Christie HD14KM projectors, one in front of the glass to project onto the screen and scrim and one behind the glass to project onto the back cyc. A Christie DWX-555GS projector displays the shadow imagery. “The installation and commissioning were done with a stand-in tent so we could ﬁgure out everything without fear of damaging Washington’s real tent,” says Mayﬁeld. “We had to ensure that the amount of light from the projectors on the tent would not further age the tent. Once the real tent was brought in, no one will enter that space unless the equipment requires servicing.” Audio is delivered via Tannoy speakers, BagEnd subwoofers and 16 JBL 8350 speakers, eight of them overhead and eight surround.
MetalMaster also supplied custom speaker brackets for the tent exhibit.
Interactives Interactive exhibits can be found throughout the galleries. In a ‘Posters of Protest’ exhibit, next to a life-size reproduction of the famed Boston Liberty Tree, ﬁve side-by-side Planar monitors, in portrait mode and driven by Planar videowall processors, are fed by a custom computer with ﬁve separate outputs. Motion sensors under each monitor activate as visitors approach; visitors touch a custom PQ Labs touch overlay, with 32 active touch points, to trigger stories of key moments during the decade of resistance that led up to the war for each monitor. Electrosonic installed ﬁve 3M 32in multi-touch monitors in two exhibits. Three are dedicated to ‘Arms of Independence’ and two to ‘Finding Freedom’. Three more Planar touchscreens, driven by Dell computers, feature in the ‘Season of Independence’ exhibit. One of the most fun exhibits is a replica privateer ship that visitors can board. Privateers were privately owned vessels licensed by Congress or state governments to attack British ships and disrupt trade. Electrosonic provided audio for this exhibit. “There are custom Acoustic Enhancement activated sound panels hidden in crates, overhead in the ship and in the ship’s walls,” explains Mayﬁeld. “Each has its own point source audio – birds, sounds of loading cargo, people on the dock. It’s subtle but very powerful, an exhibit we’re very proud of.” About halfway through the galleries is the small ‘Battleﬁeld Theater’, which shows a ﬁlmed re-enactment of the 1777 Battle of Brandywine at Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania. Visitors walk up to a waist-high wall to view a diorama of the battleﬁeld with a screen behind it. Two Christie DWU-851Q edge-blend projectors display the video feed from the 7thSense server. Strobe lights, ‘gunpowder’ smoke and a shaking ﬂoor
add 4D elements to the experience. Electrosonic installed three Tannoy screen speakers, six Tannoy surrounds, two BagEnd subwoofers and four Aurasound ﬂoor shakers, the latter providing the feel of marching soldiers. “It’s an extremely immersive environment in a fairly small space,” says Mayﬁeld. In the Oneida Nation Gallery visitors can stand among life-size replicas of members of the Oneida Indian Nation. Motion sensors track the visitors’ approach and stories of the intense debate – to ally with the British or join the revolutionary forces – are played back. A curved screen covering three sides of the room shows video imagery from four overhead Christie DWU-851Q projectors in one seamless, edge-blended display. Electrosonic outﬁtted a small circular room with three overhead Digital Projection dVision 30sx+XB projectors to show New York City crowds tearing down a giant statue of King George III on horseback, after the ﬁrst public reading of the Declaration of Independence to Washington’s Army. The room’s walls serve as the projection surface. This space and the Oneida Nation Gallery use Scalable Displays Auto Alignment software on 7thSense servers to automatically align the projectors. The ﬁnal galleries are dedicated to the new republic, the birth of the Constitution and Bill of Rights and the challenges faced by the young nation at the end of the 18th century. Exhibit control throughout the museum is provided by Medialon; AMX systems serve as the touchscreen interfaces. “This was the friendliest construction site I have ever been on – and that applies to all the trades,” says Mayﬁeld. “All of us were challenged by the size and scope of the museum and the complex spaces, but it was all about the team and having the right team members was essential. Everyone was not only good at what they do but very collaborative too – a rare combination!”
www.3m.com www.7thsensedesign.com www.amrevmuseum.org www.amx.com www.bagend.com www.bluecadet.com www.christiedigital.com www.digitalprojection.com www.electrosonic.com www.gerriets.com www.jblpro.com www.medialon.com www.metalmaster.biz www.planar.com www.pqlabs.com www.qsc.com www.stewartfilmscreen.com www.tannoy.com
38 SOLUTIONS: PIZZAEXPRESS LIVE, HIGH HOLBORN, LONDON
Another slice Installed Audio
Live music was a cornerstone of the experience in the original PizzaExpress restaurant, and the concept has been rolled out in many PizzaExpress Live venues. Tom Bradbury reports on the ﬁfth and latest such eatery to have a permanent sound system installed
resenting over 2,000 shows annually, more than 20 PizzaExpress Live restaurants now host regular music every Thursday, from Abbey Road to Manchester. Building on the reputation of its ﬂagship venue in Soho’s Dean Street, the expansion of live music at PizzaExpress locations continues to realise the vision of founder Peter Boizo, a jazz lover who constantly sought ways to include music in his restaurants. Many artists of international calibre have graced their stages over the years, including Gregory Porter, Amy Winehouse, Bill Wyman, Jamie Cullum, Brian May, Rick Wakeman, Van Morrison, Diana Krall, Larry Carlton, George Shearing and many more. Their latest location at 99 High Holborn in central London – the ﬁfth PizzaExpress Live location to feature a permanently installed audio system – has recently been the subject of a complete audio infrastructure design and build project by Autograph Sales & Installations.
The 130-cover venue is designed to be multipurpose and capable of hosting corporate events, comedy and celebrity roadshows as well as live music. This, plus the size and shape of the room determined that Autograph’s Adam Broom recommended and designed a distributed audio system using mainly Meyer Sound low-voltage components via its proprietary ‘Intelligent DC’ designs.
Discreet components Broom takes up the story: “At High Holborn the audio design had to satisfy a number of key requirements – it’s a handsome but not huge room so we needed loudspeaker components that would be discreet and not interrupt sight lines. It is a basement space with a hotel immediately above, so we also needed to ﬁnd a way of delivering suitable SPLs for the various uses throughout the room without excessive leakage; a distributed system was by far the best way to do this.”
Meyer Sound UPJunior, UPM-1XP, UP4-XP ultracompact speakers Meyer Sound MM4-XP miniature speakers Meyer Sound UMS-1P subwoofers EM Acoustics M10 floor wedges QSC Q-SYS Core 110f processor Yamaha TF3 digital console Yamaha NY64 DANTE card Yamaha Tio1608D stageboxes Lab.gruppen IPD 2400 DSP-equipped amplifiers Shure SM58 and Beta 58 vocal mics Shure Beta 52 drum mic Shure SM57 instrument mics BSS AR-133 active DI boxes
About the installer Founded in 1972, Autograph is a pioneer in theatre sound design, born out of the growing need for a modern approach to live sound reinforcement Realising that its expertise in theatre and musical production was just as relevant to permanent installations, it set up Autograph Sales & Installations in north London in 1982 Recent projects have included the first installation of Meyer Sound’s CAL system (at St Paul’s Girls’ School in London) and a venue-wide networked data system at the Barbican Centre Scott Arnold, newly appointed MD of Autograph Sound Recording, has also become a director of Autograph Sales & Installations
“The FOH system includes two Meyer Sound UPJuniors (providing main system left and right), ﬁve UPM-1XPs (as centre outﬁlls and two of the delay locations), three UP4-XPs (being the other three delays) and ﬁve MM4-XPs used as nearﬁeld ﬁlls on the stage lip, speciﬁcally for the front tables, which are actually behind the main system. All of these units derive their power and signal from two MPS-488HP units, while the only 230V-powered speakers are a pair of UMS-1P subwoofers built into the fabric of the building off to each side of the stage.” He continues: “The design meant we dealt with some lengthy cable runs but Meyer’s Intelligent DC design made this much easier and neater. All the individual loudspeakers are delayed to centre stage so that their performance characteristics remain constant throughout the space and we’ve also managed to retain a reasonable stereo image throughout. We used a QSC Q-SYS Core 110f processor for central control and it handles all the necessary timing offsets, matrix levels and a little EQ. It’s a single-mode system so really it was a set-and-forget deal here, without any user interface, though that is perfectly possible if we needed to add modes or some degree of user control in future. “The Yamaha TF3 console is ﬁtted with an
SOLUTIONS: PIZZAEXPRESS LIVE, LONDON 39 NY64 Dante card and supplied with two Yamaha Tio1608D stageboxes giving a total of 32 system inputs available from stage – the main system outputs are also taken from the Tio unit and connected to the analogue inputs of the Core 110f. We also supplied four EM Acoustics M10 ﬂoor wedges for onstage monitoring, powered and processed by two Lab.gruppen IPD 2400 DSP-equipped ampliﬁers. We used some EQ, lo-pass and limiting functions within them to control the M10s as they are very punchy! We also supplied a selection of industry-standard Shure microphones that every visiting performer will recognise.”
Testing, testing Broom concludes: “Unusually, it was necessary to organise a real-world test of the space, principally for the extensive acoustic treatment of the ceiling – this was so worthwhile as it not only virtually eliminates any leakage but also greatly improves the acoustic response of the room, which contributes to the ﬁnal performance of the system. PizzaExpress provided a live band who came and played at the anticipated volume via a PA system supplied by us, so we could accurately assess what acoustic treatment was needed to avoid upsetting the
hotel guests above… unusual but very effective!” PizzaExpress’ music manager Ross Dines comments: “Following the sound system installation at our Dean Street location we were very comfortable with Meyer Sound products and knew that Autograph would do whatever it took to make this new venue as good as it can be. We did go through the process of evaluating other products and systems, but once Adam had run a demo for us here it was clear that Meyer Sound was the only choice for us.” He concludes: “The design that Adam has implemented for us delivers seamless intelligibility to every corner of the room regardless of what type of act we are presenting. More importantly, it plays a critical role in delivering the quality of customer experience that is at the heart of the PizzaExpress Live concept.”
www.autographsales.co.uk www.bssaudio.com www.emacoustics.com www.labgruppen.com www.meyersound.com www.qsc.com www.shure.com www.yamahaproaudio.com
40 SOLUTIONS: ROYAL COLLEGE OF PHYSICIANS, LONDON
Physician, stream thyself Creating and transmitting high-quality video content on the ﬂy – for live display and online streaming – is increasingly important for a learned society such as the Royal College of Physicians. We report on the equipment that its AV team uses on a daily basis to achieve this
he Royal College of Physicians (RCP), the professional membership body for more than 33,000 physicians across the globe, is based in an award-winning conference and events centre in the heart of London. The unique Grade I-listed building, with a capacity of up to 400, boasts a wide range of purpose-built facilities including auditoriums, meeting rooms and dining areas. The building’s ﬂexible and functional architecture is matched by its state-of-theart AV systems, designed and installed by the RCP’s audiovisual, technical and media services (AVTMS) team, led by Ben Pain. “Here at the AVTMS we have a widely varied remit, as we not only support the audiovisual needs of our internal departments, but we also support external clients that hire the venue,” explains Pain. “We support all of the RCP’s live events, including conferences, lectures and dinners, which means providing lighting, sound, video, projection and interactive technologies, so it’s an extremely hectic and busy role.”
Medical advances One of the main aims of the RCP is to drive improvements to clinical and patient care by ensuring members are up to speed on the latest
in medical advances. According to Pain, the aim of keeping colleagues up to date is also a key challenge for his team. “When you take into account advances in AV technologies over the past few years, as well as the high expectations of clients, there is a lot we have to keep abreast of to ensure our users can cost-effectively produce high-quality content,” he explains. “As the technology becomes increasingly more accessible, we now place a much greater emphasis on the value of our expertise and knowledge.” Video equipment from Blackmagic Design forms the cornerstone of the system, he explains. “Not only is the solution both reliable and intuitive, but it also ensures everything we output is as professional as possible.” Live streaming events at the RCP is a daily occurrence, with three bespoke portable production units comprising an ATEM 2 M/E Production Studio 4K switcher, Teranex Express for standards and frame rate conversion, and HyperDeck Studio Pro SSD recorders. “The Teranex processors are problem-solvers for us,” explains Pain. “We often encounter equipment while working with external suppliers or off site that provides a strange resolution or pushes the image to the edge or off the screen. The Teranex unit is able to adjust the frame rate, format,
Installed Video All Blackmagic Design ATEM 2 M/E Production Studio 4K switcher Teranex Express standards converter HyperDeck Studio Pro SSD recorders SDI distributors aspect ratio and colours within an image. It’s an extremely useful piece of kit.”
‘Teach-in’ sessions The racks are portable and allow the RCP to provide live content for a host of events, including the team’s regular ‘teach-in sessions’. “These sessions are offered to members free of charge and held in our Wolfson Theatre each month, where we have four presentations on a speciﬁc medical speciality, followed by a question-and-answer session,” explains Pain. “Two technicians manage the event, one operating the cameras and one vision mix technician. The live stream is a single video window that shows the presenter and their slides, which we ingest live as MPEG4, as presenters are often updating their slides with only minutes to go before they begin.”
SOLUTIONS: ROYAL COLLEGE OF PHYSICIANS, LONDON
The stream is then encoded for live transmission and is also hosted on the RCP’s content platform, where it can be viewed online. “We can also email this link to hospitals across the country who screen the sessions for physicians working onsite, so they can also keep up to date on the latest medical developments.” Pain explains that the ATEM production switcher at the heart of the live streaming workﬂow has made a signiﬁcant difference in quality to the RCP’s live broadcasting. “When we started streaming, we weren’t able to offer split-screen video or PNG graphic sequences, which really limited what we could do. However, we are now able to produce very professional content on a daily basis, and the team are now well regarded as a highly capable, creative and reliable production unit, who always deliver.” The team uses Blackmagic SDI distributors to split output SDI signals into eight different feeds, which can be sent to anywhere in the building. The six auxiliary outputs within the ATEM 2 M/E Production Studio 4K are also used to send individual SDI outputs when a live feed of any input into the vision mixer is required. Future plans for the RCP’s audiovisual capabilities are potentially looking at demand for immersive and VR content within the next
ﬁve years, as well as facilities developments for new sites. “Both of these areas are exciting, but will bring their own challenges,” concludes Pain. “And Blackmagic Design will remain central to our plans moving forward; the ability to network, control and customise individual hardware components through its own software
means that we have a core, futureproofed video backbone, which we can build on as new technologies and standards emerge.”
42 SOLUTIONS IN BRIEF
NovoPros bring lectures to life Fifteen Vivitek NovoPro wireless collaboration devices have been installed in the teaching spaces at the Bartlett School of Architecture, part of University College London. Multiple connections to the NovoPros enable students to quickly share digital content on the display and discuss their work with other students and lecturers. This interactive and collaborative method for sharing work and ideas replaces cabled display connections and to some extent, the paper-based display of designs and concepts. Additional features such as on-screen annotation and capture open up an array of creative possibilities. Participants can instantly connect their device via a WiFi connection to NovoPro and start sharing once they have been assigned one of the four (split-screen) projection connections.
DiGiCo runs the show at the Theatre of Marcellus The Theatre of Marcellus at Emperors Palace, Johannesburg has transformed its sound system with a DiGiCo SD9 console and D2-Rack on stage, a D-Rack at FOH and a Waves SoundGrid Server ONE. The 17-tiered auditorium seats 1,000. The upgrade allows the theatre to access 48 mic/line inputs, 16 line outputs and eight AES outputs on stage. At FOH, engineers have access to 40 local mic/line inputs, four AES inputs, four AES outputs and 16 line outputs. Recording and playback is straightforward with the DiGiCo UB MADI in place; anyone can record and play back up to 48 channels. They also have access to Waves plug-ins, which is built into the console with the SoundGrid Server ONE handling all the processing.
RCF helps arena stay top of fan experience charts The Bridgestone Arena, home to NHL hockey team the Nashville Predators, has continued to enhance its AV facilities with an RCF large-format HDL50-A line array system. This follows ESPNâ€™s Ultimate Standings fan survey, where the Bridgestone Arena topped the charts in stadium experience. Nashvillebased sports stadium consultancy Durrell Sports was tasked with improving the arena once again. AV is central to the stadium experience,
relating both pre-game and post-game productions and entertaining the crowd during in-game breaks in the action. Durrell was involved with the selection of the original system 12 years ago, which was starting to show its age and in need of repairs. The consultants demoed the RCF system for the duration of the playoffs; within six days of the final decision, the old sound system was taken down and the new RCF system put up.
SOLUTIONS IN BRIEF 43
Philips Lighting illuminates historic Galata Tower Istanbul’s Galata Tower has been transformed by Philips Colour Kinetics lighting, which has been used to illuminate the top of the iconic tower. The nine-storey, 66.9m tower was originally built as a lighthouse by the Byzantines in the 5th century. It was destroyed in 1204, rebuilt by the Genoese in the 13th century and later modiﬁed during the Ottoman Empire. The lighting installation was undertaken without affecting access to public areas inside and around the tower. The upper section and spire were equipped with Philips Color Kinetics PowerCore ﬁxtures, which present the opportunity to apply millions of colours, and stunning light effects. The designers succeeded in creating an install that suits and respects both the tower and Istanbul’s night skyline.
iGuzzini lights dynamic facade The OnCube office complex in Shanghai has been ﬁtted with an eye-catching lighting system that uses original light effects from iGuzzini. The 20 ﬂoors of the 90m office tower form the shape of two identical cubes. These are covered by a white aluminium grid of 4.2m-sided squares. Between the cubes, a break in the grid creates a ‘waistband’ that at night is emphasised by blue light. Studio Illumine’s lighting design deploys around 800 iGuzzini Trick luminaires all over the grid, highlighting the three-dimensional nature of the building. These ‘blades’ of light are aimed at the frames of the grid squares, accentuating their depth. The control system (using the DALI protocol) allows individual devices to be switched on separately, so that light and shadow can move across the building’s surfaces.
Lincoln Presidential Museum goes digital with Symetrix Audio at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum has been upgraded from analogue with a Symetrix-managed Dante network. The museum’s immersive exhibits, historic artefacts and dramatic performances are organised into two ‘journeys’, presenting the years before and during Lincoln’s presidency. While only a few exhibit areas rely on spoken word, audio is everywhere: mostly music, sound effects, and occasional museum-wide announcements. The Dante network is managed by four
Symetrix Prism 16x16 DSPs and a Symetrix Radius 12x8 EX DSP equipped with a Symetrix 4 Channel Analogue Output Card. Music and effects are supplied by TASCAM DA-6400 64-channel digital recorders directly connected to the network with Dante I/O cards. JBL Control series ceiling and wall-mount loudspeakers deliver the audio, powered by Crown ampliﬁers.
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PRODUCT OF Datapath THE MONTH VSN972, VSN1172
It’s… the next generation of Datapath’s VSN900 videowall controllers. What’s new? Compared with their predecessors, the controllers offer more memory, enhanced performance, the latest processors and enhanced design. Details: The ﬁrst generation of VSN 900 systems have been installed in mission control rooms, military installations, logistics operations, security suites and many other command and control applications. The new generation of these industrial PCs features the latest Intel Core i7 processor. Switched fabric technology ensures that each Gen3 PCIe slot in the 9-slot (VSN972) or 11-slot (VSN1172) backplane can deliver highresolution bandwidth from a range of capture cards to multiple outputs. System memory has also been expanded to support up to 32GB. Each system is available with Windows 10
to ensure optimised capability, and comes with the latest Datapath ImageDP4+, a highly scalable, advanced graphics card designed for professional video projects. The wall controllers are supplied with two SSD drives, either 240GB or 480GB each, which provide much quicker, quieter performance than traditional hard-disk drives. Modiﬁcations have been made to the chassis design that help to draw more air into the system, which serves to reduce temperature and lessen fan noise. Highly customisable, the VSN range has been developed to support Datapath’s range of vision capture, image graphics and ActiveSQX decoding cards. These allow physical and IP video sources to be displayed on mediumand large-scale videowalls. Operators have the freedom to see any source on single- or multiple-screen layouts. The controllers are compatible with Datapath’s WallControl 10 software, which provides an interface for the quick and effective management
of various kinds of wall content. Users can place any input source on any part of the wall using a simple drag–and-drop operation. Each piece of content can be positioned precisely using the mouse and keyboard, or the template tool. WallControl 10 allows decoding of IP streams using either the onboard processor or dedicated Datapath ActiveSQX decode cards. At the heart of SQX is the ability to take video and encode it for streaming or remote storage and to decode compressed data for use on a videowall or monitor. Systems can be pre-installed with Wall Monitor software, which warns operators if a system is operating outside normal parameters. Custom alerts give users the ability to set suitable warning levels for the particular operating environment.
Available: Now www.datapath .co.uk
46 TECHNOLOGY: NEW PRODUCTS Hall Research UI-IP8-DP This programmable wallplate keypad can control IoT- and IP-enabled devices on a network. It can send TCP/Telnet commands to any target device based on pressing buttons or scheduling events in its real-time calendar. The buttons have multi-colour backlight LEDs; colour and brightness are user-definable. Keys can toggle between two states or work in a mutually exclusive radio group. The UI-IP8-DP, which supports PoE, also provides a relay output that can be used to trigger devices with contact closure control. Programming is carried out using the embedded web GUI. www.hallresearch.com Kramer VP-778 Designed as a complete solution for highend meeting rooms, the 8-input VP-778 offers dual independent scaled outputs and seamless switching, with video cuts and transition effects. It features two HDBaseT inputs and two outputs, two mic inputs and a stereo speaker output. It can be controlled by IR, RS-232, Ethernet (via web browser), front panel and on-screen display. It supports 4K30 UHD in single output mode, and uses Kramer’s K-IIT XL picture-inpicture insertion technology. www.kramerav.com
Mersive Solstice 3.0 It’s… The latest version of Mersive’s wireless collaboration system.
What’s new? Version 3.0 includes Multi-Room capability and a streamlined user interface. Details: Using Solstice, any number of users can connect to a meeting room display via WiFi/Ethernet networks and collaborate from computers, smartphones or tablets. Participants can mirror their device screens, stream individual application windows, share videos and more, creating an instant collaboration session. No cables or converters are required. The Multi-Room capability extends the Solstice in-room capability across multiple locations and geographies. When two or more Solstice displays are synced in a Multi-Room session, shared content appears on all meeting room displays, regardless of which location it is shared from. Solstice Multi-Room is designed to be used in conjunction with existing audio/video/web
conferencing solutions. The Multi-Room user interface allows participants to input dial-in and/ or videoconference connection information, which other users can see and access as they join the Multi-Room session. A new chat feature is also included for messaging among users in Multi-Room meetings. In addition to the new Multi-Room capability, the 3.0 version of Solstice includes a streamlined user interface design. European distributors include Midwich in the UK and PureLink in Germany and Austria.
Available: Now www.midwich.com www.purelink.de
Projecta All-in-One Control Box Offering multiple operation options in a single box, this accessory can be combined with any motorised projection screen in Projecta’s portfolio. Controls and cables are included for all the options: relay (dry-contact), RF, IR, 12V trigger, and manual switch. An optional extra is the Power Sensing Trigger, which connects between the power source and the projector. When the projector is turned on (or off), the trigger senses power going to the projector and signals the projection screen to unroll (or retract). www.milestone.com QSC TSC-47W-G2 This 4.7in in-wall 960 x 540 capacitive LCD touchscreen dialler/controller for Q-SYS systems is designed for easy installation and full customisability without programming. Custom graphical user interfaces can be created within Q-SYS Designer Software, and simple drag-and-drop configuration allows integrators to provide a full range of controls. Power over Ethernet makes for simple, single-cable installation. The screen can operate in both portrait or landscape mode and can be installed in a wall, lectern or other flat surface. www.qsc.com/systems
Panasonic SF2 series (THxx-SF2) It’s… A new range of indoor digital signage panels, replacing the LF8 series.
What’s new? Data cloning software, accessed via LAN, enables menu settings and adjusted values to be copied from the original display to multiple others. Details: The E-LED LCD displays are available in four sizes (43in, 49in, 55in, 65in). Panasonic says it has engineered the SF2 series to offer failure-free, round-the-clock operation. The panels are said to offer impressive colour and brightness levels while also boasting incredibly low energy consumption, making them suitable for high-proﬁle 24/7 operation. The durable panel includes a failover and failback function, adding a layer of redundancy for signage applications – as well as making it suitable for use within rental and staging. The display also features a built-in USB media
player and is equipped with synchronised power on/off for simple management of multiscreen installations. Multi-monitoring and control software enables users to monitor and control the displays, along with any projectors within a facility, from a single PC. Up to 2,048 devices can be controlled simultaneously.
Available: Now http://business.panasonic.eu
14 – 19 SEPTEMBER 2017, RAI, AMSTERDAM
Experience real-world IP interoperability at IBC2017 IP is no longer a “future” – it is here and now. A visit to the IP Showcase will confirm that real-time IP production is a practical, flexible, efficient reality that is now taking hold in mainstream broadcast operations. Learn about real-world IP interoperability based on SMPTE ST 2110 final draft standards and AMWA NMOS specifications, see their benefits in action through demonstrations from more than 50 vendors, hear about real world scenarios in the IP Showcase Theatre and discover what the future holds. Listen to a daily series of presentations at the IP Showcase Theatre View demonstrations from over 50 vendors Attend sessions dedicated to providing education Located in E.106
Register now for your free exhibition pass, giving you full access to the IP Showcase and much more.
show.ibc.org/register IP Showcase Brought to you by:
48 TECHNOLOGY: NEW PRODUCTS Sanus Streaming Device Panel Until now, installers have had to improvise methods of securing small media boxes, such as Apple TV, Amazon Fire or Roku, behind the TV – usually with unsatisfactory results. Sanus’s solution is the Streaming Device Panel – a perforated metal plate that affixes to a Sanus TV mount without screws, or to any other mount or directly to the rear of the TV with a simple screw fixing. It is designed to hold most small devices up to 1.3 kg. www.sanus.com Vision AV-1800 This new 2 x 50W model replaces the (2 x 30W) AV-1700. It features an advanced Bluetooth input, automatically switching to this input when it pairs. (If the phone rings during a presentation Bluetooth reverts to the handset during the call.) Phantom power can be disabled via an internal jumper, RS-232 has been improved with individual return codes now supported, auto-standby can now be disabled, and the quality of the mic pre-amp has been significantly improved. It comes with a lifetime warranty. http://visionaudiovisual.com Cloud Electronics MA40 Mini Ampliﬁer series Designed as a means of adding zones to an installation simply and cost-effectively, the new MA40 Mini Amplifier provides 40W output at 4Ω. It features a mic input with EQ and input gain adjustment, a further two line inputs, an RL-1 remote wall plate connection, music mute connection and dip switches for priority setting. The MA40F model provides additional paging, 70V, 100V and Facility Port input flexibility; MA40T adds 70V/100V output to the MA40F’s features. MA40E includes extensive Ethernet GUI hosting and an RS232 communications port. www.cloud.co.uk Atlona OmniStream R-Type A streamlined version of the OmniStream AV over IP platform, R-Type provides a simple way to support any number of sources and destinations over the network using existing structured cable and an off-the-shelf switch. This is especially useful where a small number of sources feeds a large number of destinations. It supports HDR for formats up to UHD @60Hz, and also provides a fully scalable platform to add new video/audio sources and destinations to existing installations. www.atlona.com
Extron DTP CrossPoint 4K Series It’s… Updated versions of Extron’s matrix switcher range, which the company calls “your new go-to products for 4K presentation systems”.
What’s new? The new models provide more control flexibility and power, as well as network isolation. Details: According to Extron, these new 4K presentation matrix switchers deliver all the needed technologically advanced capabilities for a complete AV system solution controlling multiple devices. Each model includes a matrix switcher with 4K inputs and outputs and built-in independent scalers that are powered by Extron Vector 4K scaling technology and support seamless switching. An integrated three-port AV LAN switch enables secure control of devices connected to
the local AV LAN, while isolating them from the corporate network. The built-in DHCP server automatically distributes IP addresses and network conﬁguration parameters for these devices, streamlining system set-up and management. The switchers also feature integrated DTP and XTP signal extension, and comprehensive audio DSP and AEC capabilities that are said to be unmatched in the industry. Also part of the package is a high-performance mono or stereo ampliﬁer, and an advanced control processor described as uniquely expandable.
Available: Now www.extron.eu
RCF ART 3 series It’s… the latest iteration of RCF’s ﬁrst two-way loudspeaker in a composite cabinet.
What’s new? The speakers feature a new series of transducers, and have been designed using the latest version of FiRPHASE, a proprietary advanced FIR ﬁltering technology. Details: Designed for distributed sound systems for clubs, music venues and corporate events, as well as for sound reinforcement and stage monitoring, the ART 3 MK4 series comprises active models (ART 310-A, 312-A and 315-A) with 10in, 12in and 15in woofers and 1in tweeters that feature new transducers for improved reproduction at all frequencies. Corresponding passive models (ART 310, 312, 315) in the MKIII range are also available. The active models are power rated at 800W peak, 400W RMS, with maximum SPL of 127129dB depending on model. Frequency response is 50Hz to 20kHz, except for the 15in model, which goes down to 45Hz.
RCF says that FIRPHASE is “conceived for delivering transparent sound, absolute clarity and a perfect stereo image to the listener”. The integrated DSP manages full loudspeaker processing, FiRPHASE ﬁlters, crossover and EQ, soft limiter, and dynamic bass boost. The integrated Class D power ampliﬁer features a solid mechanical aluminium structure, which aids fanless heat dissipation.
Available: Now www.rcf.it
THE EUROPEAN D E S T I N AT I O N FOR THE GLOBAL AV INDUSTRY
CONNECTING MARKETS AND PEOPLE Integrated Systems Europe is the definitive showcase for the worldâ€™s leading AV manufacturers and service companies operating within a range of sectors, including: Digital Signage, Education Technology, Professional Audio, Residential Solutions, Smart Building and Unified Communications. Held in Amsterdam on 6-9 February, ISE 2018 will be the destination of choice for international AV professionals interested in learning about state-of-the-art technology and the latest end-user business solutions.
A JOINT VENTURE PARTNERSHIP OF
W W W. I S E U R O P E . O R G
6-9 February 2018 Amsterdam, RAI, NL
50 TECHNOLOGY: SHOWCASE
Tools for integrators Software and services are available to help integrators be more efficient, more productive – and more proﬁtable. Ian McMurray looks at tools for system design, documentation, sales and business performance
Enabling fast, simple room conﬁguration SI 2017 and cloud February this year saw the introduction by AMX of Rapid Project Maker (RPM) v3.0. RPM is a cloud-based application that guides users (typically AV technicians or IT professionals) through setting up, conﬁguring and connecting devices such as presentation switchers, touch panels, displays and more. It uses a step-by-step approach to conﬁgure, deploy and commission huddle spaces, meeting rooms, executive boardrooms, classrooms and so on. Although designed primarily for use with AMX systems, RPM – which is free for AMX customers – will map to third-party devices such as displays (touchpanels and switchers must be from AMX). In addition to conﬁguring devices, RPM also provides user interface templates, so that meeting participants have a consistent user experience – from room to room and building to building. Without RPM, AMX says, automating a conference room requires extensive programming skills and custom code.
According to the company, users can set up an entire room system or building in an hour or less; its intuitive design means that no initial training is required. RPM users can store their projects on amx.com and access and manage them from anywhere. AMX’s Resource Management Suite Enterprise (separately available) can link with RPM for remote asset management, scheduling, and remote monitoring and control of equipment.
Service provides alternative to software designﬂow is a design and documentation service for systems integrators working in smart buildings and home technology, aimed at increasing integrators’ proﬁtability. The company says it can take on any size of project at any stage, from producing the initial proposal through to the M&E handover pack, and any stage in between. The overriding reason to use designﬂow’s services, the company says, is to save an integrator’s time; it is said to represent a seriously viable alternative to investing in software and the associated learning curve. UK-based designﬂow only works with systems integrators and has over 40 years’ experience of working in, and designing for, this market. The company notes that all its designers are CEDIA ESC-D certified, and have won many industry awards over the years. designflow uses InfoComm and CEDIA standards to help ensure the designs it delivers are fit for purpose.
Using Autodesk AutoCAD and Microsoft Visio, and integrating with most major business platforms including QuickBooks, Microsoft, SAP, and more, D-Tools SI 2017 is designed to enable integrators to understand and better perform key functions of their business – estimation, system design, and project management. The latest version has a cloud infrastructure which adds signiﬁcant new capabilities and performance enhancements that can be accessed from any internet-enabled device. It also includes a new Business Intelligence (BI) engine and visual reporting features. Using the BI feature, users can view vital information across multiple projects with preconﬁgured visual reports and dashboard views of key performance indicators. These new reporting capabilities enable deeper analysis of business activities and trends such as proﬁt analysis, product usage, vendor engagement, personnel performance and sales pipeline. Integrators can also create custom reports. SI 2017 also features a new Customer Portal, which enables D-Tools users to publish project documents to the web for client comment, acceptance and e-signature approval. The Customer Portal is designed to facilitate collaboration and increase client engagement, even across time zones and mobile platforms. Users can share proposals, contracts, change orders, drawings, cut sheets, user manuals and other client-facing documents via the web. To review, comment on and accept (or reject) the documents presented, clients simply click on an emailed link and log into a secure web portal.
designﬂow represents zero cost to the integrator, as its fees are simply passed on to the client. designﬂow provides sample projects to integrators, allowing them to demonstrate to their clients what is involved in the design of a complete system. designﬂow believes this is an invaluable aid in selling the design fee to the client. The company has conﬁdentiality agreements with all its customers.
Reach the Summit MA-808 Portable Wireless PA System 6ERSATILE3OUND!MPLIlCATION The MA-808 innovatively integrates wireless microphones, speakers, CD / USB player and a Bluetooth interface for wireless music streaming into a sturdy, compact case that offers an entirely portable sound system anywhere it is needed. MIPRO supplies UHF and 2.4 GHz receiver modules options and matching handheld or bodypack transmitters, as well as the exclusive miniature transmitters for musical instruments, such as violin, saxophones, erhu, guitar, cajon, and so on, THUSTHEINSTRUMENTPLAYERSCOULDEXPERIENCECONVENIENTWIRELESSAMPLIlCATION via the MA-808 portable wireless PA system.
The Ultimate in Convenience Lightweight with built-in pull-up handle and sturdy wheels for easy transport, the economical rechargeable battery system enables operations indoors or outdoors without AC power and cumbersome cables. Even handheld & bodypack transmitters can be stored within the sleek cabinet.
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52 TECHNOLOGY: SHOWCASE
Jetbuilt focuses on sales bottleneck Jetbuilt is a cloud-based platform that is designed to allow integrators to quickly populate their projects with equipment, labour, shipping and other installation values and, with a single click, assemble it into a professional, informative proposal for their prospective clients. It connects with vendors to provide direct and distributor dealer pricing, custom products and more. More than just a proposal builder, Jetbuilt is said to allow users to work independently or collaborate on a live project, create project scopes, deliver requests for proposal to clients, budget systems and request and manage bids from vendors. According to the company, Jetbuilt focuses on the bottleneck in most organisations’ sales departments. By allowing sales representatives, engineers and managers to collaborate inside a project together, Jetbuilt says that users are seeing three to four times the number of quotes pass through, resulting in smoother flow and higher sales. Jetbuilt is claimed to include a database of every product in the industry, along with
connecting dealers to their direct pricing, which the company says allows for high speed and confidence during the estimating process. Compatible with both PC and Mac platforms, Jetbuilt is not only a tool for integrators; the company says it is also used by many universities, churches and departments for their internal uses. It cites the United States Department of State and Florida International University as two Jetbuilt users that have integrated the software to create requests for proposals and estimates for internal planning, project management and more.
Vectorworks consolidates entire design process Vectorworks provides a line of professional CAD and BIM software products that it says enable professionals in the entertainment, architecture and site design industries to explore, analyse, document and present design solutions in data-rich 2D and 3D models. With Vectorworks Spotlight and connectCAD, the company offers a purpose-built CAD package designed to consolidate the entire design process from start to ﬁnish for the audiovisual and systems integration professional. These are said to provide a fully integrated solution that enables integrators to design and document everything from equipment locations and room layouts to schematic diagrams, all while seamlessly co-ordinating with other designers, installers, contractors and crew. The result, the company says, is streamlined design and budget processes and enhanced collaboration. The software’s 2D functionality helps users to produce drawings and professional documentation, while a suite of drawing and editing tools are designed to make quick work of any type of project, helping integrators to define a signature look and meet industry standards.
According to Vectorworks, the connectCAD plugin product solves the problem of keeping track of large numbers of cables or other interconnected systems in a complex installation, but is as quick and easy to use as drawing on a table napkin. The software provides error checking, cable labelling and cable reports ready for installation. It is very straightforward to keep drawings up to date as changes occur. Vectorworks software is compatible with Windows and Mac OS. A 30-day free trial is available, and free licences are available for students and teachers.
Stardraw Design’s intelligent drawings Stardraw Design 7.2 is, says the company, a design and documentation package that is first and foremost a drawing tool, wrapped around an architecture that understands AV projects and the products they comprise. Designed specifically for AV integrators, it focuses on drawings such as system schematics, rack layouts, presentations and floor and ceiling plans. It also provides critical data output like equipment lists, cable schedules and quotations. Now beneﬁting from 25 years of development, the software also includes a product/symbol library that Stardraw claims is the largest high-quality symbols library available to the industry, featuring around 100,000 symbols representing products from over 800 manufacturers. It supports the InfoComm/CEDIA/CTA standard J-STD-710. Stardraw’s integrated architecture – drawings are a ‘view’ onto the underlying project database – means that a change in one place can ripple through to other places, since the user is operating on the underlying data. This, the company says, reduces repetitive data entry: for example, from the drawings in a project, a cable schedule can be generated automatically, without additional or duplicate data entry, eliminating the chance of errors. According to Stardraw, most users are productive in their ﬁrst session, without specialist training or knowledge of other drawing packages. Said to be highly customisable and easy to integrate with other applications, Stardraw 7.2 can, for instance, create editable drawings from imported .dwg and .pdf ﬁles, and apply custom pricing from in-house data sources to the products used in Stardraw Design 7.2. Stardraw is natively compatible with 32-bit and 64-bit versions of Windows, and with Mac via emulators.
@IBC2017, 15th â€“ 19th September, Amsterdam
Recognising and rewarding the achievements and innovations in product and service development
ENTRY DEADLINE: 4TH SEPTEMBER 2017 www.newbaybestofshow.com SHORTLIST ANNOUNCED: 8th September WINNERS ANNOUNCED: 18th September Brought to you by:
54 WORDS OF WISDOM
Joe Chidiac Offering his recommendations for success this month is the managing partner of a Dubai-based AV and lighting ﬁrm Hire soft skills
This creativity and inspiration has directly
To meet ever-rising expectations from the public, we hire the best talent: creative and experienced people with great insight, who work with passion in every single job, whether big or small. However, there’s a lack of talent in the market, so ﬁnding a new person can be a lengthy process. We interview applicants who have the necessary skills and experience, but it is important to go beyond paper: creativity and cultural ﬁt simply cannot be represented in a document. We employ people very much on soft skills that we discover upon meeting them, including strength of character, ideas and creativity.
inﬂuenced projects such as Base Dubai – which was placed within the D3 Design District hub to cater to a young and savvy audience attracted to the latest design trends.
Technology to inspire Our company culture is to inspire and promote entrepreneurship, creativity and technological prowess, and to facilitate seamless, unimpeded collaboration. As well as hiring people that ﬁt our collective ethos, we believe in enhancing our organisation with all the resources we can muster. All our resources, from our offices to the technology that we employ, are assimilated with an eye to enhancing our culture. Every department at Pulse is underpinned by advanced technology, whether it be our enterprise resource planning solutions, or hightech equipment in our testing facilities, training facilities and meeting rooms. These provide our people with a solid infrastructure and a framework to quench their creative thirst.
Keep up to date I constantly educate myself about the latest trends and technologies, which are a major source of inspiration. We are fortunate that Dubai is a regional art and design hub, with areas such as D3 Design district and Alkersal Avenue attracting the cream of designers and artists from all over the region and the world, creating a unique fusion of style, art and music.
Inspiring leaders Personally, I’m inspired by the work and leadership of CEOs Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos. Elon’s ideas promote ground-breaking ideas – pushing the boundaries of technology to meet growing market demand in new markets of electric vehicles, setting himself against a well-established, powerful industry. Jeff on the other hand encourages patience, persistence and attention to detail – it’s truly astonishing that he has navigated through the dotcom bust and the recession to build amazon.com from his garage.
‘It is important to go beyond paper: creativity and cultural ﬁt simply cannot be represented in a document’
Keep on time Diligent time management is at the absolute core of running our business efficiently, and even more essential in the hospitality industry. When a venue has a target date, it is crucial to design, supply and build our element of the project on time. In this region cafes, bars, restaurants and nightclubs are often located within hotels; therefore, running to schedule is crucial, as any delays on our part can mean whole areas of the location are closed if it’s already established. We plan carefully,
ensuring that we run on time so the client doesn’t lose revenue. In Dubai we can regularly be met by frustrations such as delayed deliveries, meaning forward planning and effective delegation is of paramount importance for smooth operations and efficiency. This not only means planning from the top, but also promoting a culture of organisation and team responsibility. At all times, this must be balanced with a culture of free-thinking and creativity – which again is a by-product of effective delegation.
Embrace change The exploration of creativity and ideas often has evolution and change at its heart; for example design, fashion and technology are all constantly in flux. In creative industries such as design and audiovisual it is almost essential to embrace this change. I encourage colleagues and clients to embrace change by demonstrating how it will secure their aims. Sometimes this requires visual demonstrations – even taking clients to a design spot in the city so they can see for themselves the impact of a new concept. We are as open and as transparent as possible with clients. We seek an honest dialogue, as this ultimately produces better understanding and thus a better end result. We also ﬁnd that this approach can build a great long-term relationship – which at its heart is what good business is all about. Joe Chidiac is managing partner of Pulse Middle East, a Dubai-based AV and lighting company that has completed many successful installations in clubs, bars, restaurants and sport venues.
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