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Issue 205 /October 2017

AV INTEGRATION IN A NETWORKED WORLD

www.installation-international.com

FUTURE PROJECTIONS Special report: projectors move upscale and upmarket p18

AVIXA: a new fixture The thinking behind InfoComm’s new identity

40 and 50 years young News from PLASA and IBC anniversary shows

Collaboration partners UCC providers are getting together

p12 p14 p30


WELCOME 03

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Editor: Paddy Baker pbaker@nbmedia.com +44 (0)20 7354 6034

Designer: Tom Carpenter tcarpenter@nbmedia.com Content director: James McKeown jmckeown@nbmedia.com

Senior staff writer: Duncan Proctor dproctor@nbmedia.com +44 (0)20 7354 6037

Production manager: Jason Dowie jdowie@nbmedia.com +44 (0)20 3829 2617

Sales manager: Gurpreet Purewal gpurewal@nbmedia.com +44 (0)20 7354 6029

Digital director: Diane Oliver doliver@nbmedia.com

Sales executive: Mark Walsh mwalsh@nbmedia.com +44 (0)20 3871 7377 US sales – Executive vice president: Adam Goldstein agoldstein@nbmedia.com Head of design: Jat Garcha jgarcha@nbmedia.com

Contributors: Martyn Barnett, Mike Clark, Rob Lane, Ian McMurray, Steve Montgomery Special thanks: Sonal Bisht, Ginny Goudy, Roger Harpum, Joanne Ruddock Cover image Vivid Sydney 2017, courtesy of TDC

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So farewell then, InfoComm...

W

ell, they certainly knew how to keep a secret. It was back in May that Brad Grimes, communications director at InfoComm International, first mentioned that the association would be holding a major international press conference in September. It’s not often that one gets four months’ notice of an announcement, but other than indicating “important updates on our strategic plans”, Brad didn’t offer any more details. Then, in the run-up to the trip, all those invited were asked to sign a non-disclosure agreement, promising that we would hold off for a few hours on reporting what we were told. (Turn to page 12 for details, by the way.) So it was clearly something important to the organisation, that Paddy Baker, Editor it wanted to make a big thing of, but I don’t really know what I was pbaker@nbmedia.com expecting. I don’t think a change of name had crossed my mind; as @install8ion CEO Dave Labuskes said on the day, an organisation should only take this step if it absolutely has to. But the more I think about it, the more I’m sure that rebranding itself as AVIXA is the right step for the association to take. As far as it affects the current membership, I don’t think the name is particularly important – once you’re familiar with what someone or something is or does, you soon get used to a change of moniker. What is far more important is what the name says to people who don’t know about the association, and particularly those it is trying to attract into membership. And here, the AVIXA name really works. It contains the word ‘audiovisual’ (which the old name, of course, didn’t); and it contains the phrase ‘integrated experience’, which the association has been using for a couple of years now as its definition of the value that the AV industry can help to create.

‘The more I think about it, the more I’m sure that rebranding itself as AVIXA is the right step for the association to take’

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And, of course, it’s more than just a new name – that’s just the most visible manifestation of a strategic plan whose development, in Labuskes’s words, “encompassed everyone that it impacts”, with input from every InfoComm employee and committee volunteer, and hundreds of other volunteers. It has recognised that the industry is changing, and what customers value and will pay for is changing too. It recognises that the global AV industry organisation needs to reach out to, and create a home for, a much wider constituency of companies and people than it has in the past. It should be both a trusted hub for industry dialogue, and a catalyst for market growth. After announcing the new name and explaining the thinking behind it, Labuskes played a video and then simply said, “Welcome to AVIXA,” at which point we all applauded. He thanked us: “I’m generally not someone that needs to stand up here and hear applause, but if I’d have heard [groaning noise]…” I think he will be hearing a lot more applause for this in the weeks, months and years to come.


04 CONTENTS

October 2017

Industry Events 14 Show reviews: IBC2017 and PLASA 2017

Viewpoints 06 Regional Voices: Ireland 08 Opinion Rob Lane discusses the ramifications of Brexit Martyn Barnett on why the right CMS is paramount when transforming the in-store retail experience 12 News Analysis InfoComm has become AVIXA: We take an in-depth look at the strategic thinking behind the move

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Special Report: projection 18 Mapping directions We find out the direction projection mapping is heading and look at the technology developments that are set to transform what’s possible 24 Tough sell? Having seen a marked drop-off in sales over the last few years, we ask those on the frontline how you make money in this market 28 Showcase Six of the best projection screens

Feature

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30 Unified communications and collaboration As a growing number of UCC companies look to partner within the marketplace, we consider the motives of this new approach

Solutions 34 Winter Gardens Pavilion, Weston-super-Mare A neo-Georgian building receives a sophisticated AV makeover with modern acoustic treatments 38 Fashion Research Italy, Bologna This fashion education facility includes one of the world’s largest 3D LED sculptures and an innovative catwalk AV system 40 Blink Fitness, New York This gym chain has installed new Bluetooth sound systems throughout its 50 locations to enable instructors to easily play music from their phones 42 Solutions in Brief Including lab audio systems for sensory integration, a stunning lighting project along China’s Yellow River Bridge and an art museum’s tiled LED mixed-media install

24

Technology 45 New Products Including BenQ, Vaddio, Digital Projection and B-Tech

48 Demo of the month Meyer Sound LINA line array

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06 REGIONAL VOICES

October 2017

IRELAND It’s a country that is often found in surveys to offer the highest quality of life anywhere in the EU. But does this satisfaction extend to the Irish installed AV market? Our latest survey finds out

T

he respondents to our latest survey of national installed AV markets, from Ireland, are a fairly optimistic bunch overall. The majority of them felt that their own company’s financial performance was going to improve this year, and most of the remainder felt that revenues would remain steady, rather than fall. When it came to gauging industry confidence, there was a roughly equal split between those who thought this was stronger than six months ago and those who felt it was the same. A much smaller proportion felt that confidence was falling.

4.0%

Predicted annual GDP growth, 2017 Source: European commission

When we asked our respondents to predict growth trends across various sectors, a pattern emerged that was broadly similar to that in other surveys: digital signage and corporate led the field; unusually, though, performing arts venues were in last place – which is a counterintuitive finding for a country with the rich artistic heritage of Ireland. Turning now to the size of the market, the majority thought that the number of companies active in the Irish installed AV market was static. One respondent remarked that there seemed to be a few smaller companies entering the market. We also asked our respondents about what they would like to change about their country’s installation market, if they could. We received

0.5%

Budget deficit as share of GDP, 2016 Source: Irish Central Statistics Office

a mixed bag of comments here. One integrator would like there to be a more regulated industry, because currently “anyone can get into it.” (The same respondent noted elsewhere that confusion over AV technology in the market is very common.) Other respondents cited tendering processes and enforcement of standards as areas where they would like to see some improvement.

What do you think the business trend will be in the following vertical markets for installed AV in your country this year?

INCREASE That’s not to say that our respondents are free of cares in the context of their business. The issue causing concern to the greatest number of respondents was ‘clients going for lowest price rather than best value’. One manufacturer commented, sagely: “Buying the cheapest is always a false economy as the time and expense dealing with the inevitable fault will invariably cost more than the initial saving.” An integrator said: “Price is still a big concern on many projects and most of the time it’s a race to the bottom, leaving little or no margin. Sometimes it’s better to walk away – you can be a busy fool if you’re not careful.”

Digital signage Corporate Retail Sports venues Bars, clubs, restaurants Education Museums/visitor attractions Worship Performing arts venues NO CHANGE


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08 OPINION: ON THE AGENDA

October 2017

Rob Lane Rising to the challenge Signs of a Brexit slowdown

A

year on from my previous column discussing Brexit and its immediate and as yet unseen impact on our industry (Installation, October 2016), where are we now? The fact is, we still have no definitive picture of what Brexit is going to look like, and how exiting the EU will ultimately shape UK plc. What is certain is that both the UK and eurozone economies are going to experience rough waters as the Brexit process moves towards the UK’s official leaving date of 29 March 2019 – although an as yet undetermined transitional period will hopefully provide ballast. The current Brexit situation couldn’t be more unsettling to business. With leaks to the Guardian newspaper of polarising Brexit positioning documents from Whitehall and Brussels, and contradictory progress statements from each side, it’s difficult to see how common ground can be reached. The Whitehall leak regarding EU immigration seems to confirm the government’s position – or at least that of the hard Brexit faction of cabinet – that there will be no single market or customs union access during the proposed transitional period, given that free movement is a cornerstone of membership of both of those trade bodies. But it’s difficult to imagine how any transitional period could possibly be viable without temporary access to at least one of them, and therefore hard to see how we could avoid a ‘cliff-edge’ EU exit without a minimum two-year transition. A cliff edge would, of course, be bad for business; many trade bodies and businesses reacted in horror to the leaked document’s proposed hardline immigration policies. Labour’s recent crystallisation of its position on any potential transition will have eased the

anxieties of those fearing a cliff edge, but it remains to be seen how much influence those in opposition to a hard Brexit – across all parties – will have on the final result. Calls for a referendum on the outcome of the negotiations will be welcomed by many, but make the ultimate endgame even less certain.

‘Despite AV’s continued growth, UK-only businesses are vulnerable – especially those without a strong service division’

Impact on businesses UK businesses are already seeing an impact, with uncertainty putting the brakes on investment. And although the UK’s tech integration industry continues to boom, there are growing signs of a slowdown in the specification of technology, as businesses look to consolidate existing equipment. Projects are still being green-lit – even in the public sector – but while corporations, particularly the blue-chips, have deep pockets and continue to specify new technology, the mid-market is beginning to feel the squeeze. The overall UK picture, from industry contacts I’ve spoken to, is that AV continues to boom, but Brexit – or the uncertainty around it – is beginning to bite. Of course, as companies scale back on swapping out old tech for new, the need for additional service contracts increases, and this side of the industry is seeing something of an upturn. Some

are predicting large growth in the service sector as companies rationalise their workforce, predicting challenging times ahead, and instead outsource their tech service divisions. This is clearly an area UK integrators would be well advised to focus on. And what of mainland Europe? Since last June’s referendum vote, the UK has had to be more agile than its continental counterparts in addressing the uncertainty created by the Brexit process – not least dealing with a weaker pound. European integrators, with a more buoyant euro, are more likely to play a waiting game, leaving any post-Brexit business decisions until the process is concluded. Of course, those UK integrators with a wider reach than AV-Albion are in a much stronger position to weather the stormy effects of the Brexit process and any potential post-deal hurricanes. Globally positioned integrators can more easily offset any UK downturn than those without a wider infrastructure. Despite AV’s continued growth, UK-only businesses are vulnerable – especially those without a strong service division. When I was researching last October’s column, Polycom’s Tim Stone asserted: “In business, every challenge is an opportunity”. Wise words, but to meet the Brexit challenge it’s important we face it head on, keep our nerve and don’t batten down the hatches too tightly to weather the storm. If we put up barriers to business, sticking when we should be twisting, investment will dry up and recession – or worse – will bite. And then Brexit will mean the very thing many of us have come to fear. Rob Lane is founder/director of Bigger Boat PR Ltd and has been writing about AV technology for over 20 years. He fears a cliff-edge Brexit.


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10 OPINION: ON SITE

October 2017

Martyn Barnett Compelling retail signage The right CMS can help retailers entice shoppers back into stores

O

ne significant way that retailers are trying to keep consumers on the high street is by giving them more interactive and immersive experiences, which they would not otherwise receive by shopping online. Retailers are doing this by incorporating intelligent digital signage networks made up of touchscreen information stations, interactive menus and window displays, and LED screens displaying live social media feeds. Implementing the right content management system (CMS) platform is essential to help retailers get the most out of these technologies and understand the ROI of intelligent digital signage and interactive in-store experiences. This is especially true considering that 43% of shoppers that can’t find the information in-store leave frustrated. Information needs to be targeted, relevant, and visible across multiple platforms. A CMS platform can be considered the backbone to any digital signage network, enabling retailers to upload and promote content that will populate any screens in-store and also mobile e-commerce sites to attract people to the store and then converting them. This content needs to be enticing, attentiongrabbing and slick. Here are some key considerations for retailers looking to transform their in-store experiences: • Be able to access data and analytics: Having interactive displays is a great way of gaining data about customers. For example, having a screen in-store which enables customers to flick through an ‘e-wardrobe’ can help to gather data about which items are most popular. The CMS should have extensive analytics capabilities so that it is clear how the content is being consumed; this can be used to guide wider marketing and

merchandising decisions. Examples include anonymous video analytics and other proof-ofplay solutions. • Create and publish content across all devices: Omnichannel customer engagement remains a huge focus for retailers, hence it is important to use a CMS platform to engage customers both in-store and on mobile. Digital signage is more than just screens. If customers can view an interactive

‘Digital signage is ultimately pointless if those viewing it cannot take immediate action’

window display, get directed to an app and then go on their mobile to claim an exclusive offer, that is a powerful way to get customers into the store. The CMS platform should enable creation and promotion of content on these multiple platforms. Retailers can then produce content once and make it public across a whole network of digital signage touchpoints, to follow the customer journey and create a seamless experience. • Target consumers with specific information: Digital signage is ultimately pointless if those viewing it cannot take immediate action. It’s vital that customers feel compelled to act on the messaging displayed on the signs; an effective way to do this is by being able to segment content. For example, a real-time Twitter feed can be displayed in-store and offer customers an exclusive 20% off if they tweet the company

using a certain hashtag and send an image of them wearing an item they want to purchase. Not only does this create increased interaction with the brand on social media, but the content appears targeted and specific to that consumer in that store. The reach is further amplified as the message reaches that consumer’s social network. It is the CMS platform that powers this interaction and enables the retailer to reach the consumer in that way. • Integrate new devices with ease: Having a CMS platform that is scalable to any business is key for retailers looking to create, manage and deploy content across a variety of endpoints including screens, kiosks and mobile. It should be seamless to integrate new devices into a digital signage network, and messages need to be consistent to engage shoppers. The CMS platform maybe seen as merely a place to house content, but it should be seen as the gateway to creating an interactive retail experience to keep consumers coming back. Shopping needs to be considered fun and entertaining again, and creating an immersive, experiential experience through interactive displays is a powerful way to do so. There are many CMS platforms available to retailers, but it is important to invest in one that has the flexibility to deliver all there is to offer when it comes to analysing consumer data and managing and deploying content across all consumer touchpoints. Martyn Barnett is MD at RMG Networks.

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NEWS ANALYSIS

October 2017

AVIXA: what’s in a name?

Last month, Paddy Baker travelled to Virginia for a special InfoComm International event – where the organisation revealed its new identity as AVIXA, and explained the strategic thinking underpinning it What does the AVIXA acronym mean? AVIXA stands for the Audiovisual and Integrated Experience Association. Under the leadership of CEO Dave Labuskes, the association has communicated the message that the value of AV lies in its ability to create exceptional experiences, which the association sees as the alignment of technology, content and space. “We are an industry that used to simply be about technology and components,” said Labuskes at the launch event. Now, he continued, integrated experiences have created “a new foundation for value for our industry… and it has so much more opportunity for our members.” He added: “If we believe that experience is the value for the industry going forward, then we owe it to our members to help them deliver those experiences… This evolves the definition of AV to include content and space, and it recognises that experts in all three specialties need to know enough about the others to communicate with them and work alongside them.”

The InfoComm name will continue to be used for the association’s events, both the annual US show and its growing exhibition portfolio around the world. What is the organisation looking to achieve under its new name? The change of name arose as the association looked to deliver on a new strategic plan, which its board ratified in July 2016. Formulated on the back of an extensive research questionnaire programme that was carried out over more than 18 months, the plan identifies two key roles for the association: “As a professional society, we have a responsibility to be the trusted hub of the AV industry – the gathering place for communication, for community and creativity.” Its other role is as a trade organisation, whose obligation is “to act in whatever fashion we can to assist in the growth of the marketplace.” The board has identified four key strategic objectives for the association to achieve those twin aims. These are to realign its content and

training programmes to reflect the ‘integrated experiences’ concept; increase awareness of the importance of the strategic value of AV within companies that buy members’ services; generate better market intelligence to back up its arguments about the importance of the industry; and reinvent the membership model to accommodate more companies and individuals from the wider AV industry. Who are the new members the organisation is looking to attract? The board has identified “three nested circles” of audience. Circle 1 contains the core membership. Circle 2 comprises “stakeholders” whose work impacts on the industry but don’t think of themselves as AV professionals – such as content creators, creative agencies, architects, interior designers and IT managers. Circle 3 contains “non-stakeholder influencers”: those who interact with the wider AV industry, such as regulatory bodies, general contractors, and as users (but not specifiers) of technology.


NEWS ANALYSIS

www.installation-international.com

AVIXA is looking to engage more with Circle 2. If AV is the successful interaction of technology, content and space, then association members need to talk to, and make friends with, experts in those areas they are not strong in – unless they are going to become experts in all three areas, which Labuskes thought would be “a big lift”. As an example of a potential new AVIXA member, he gave the example of a digital media artist, producing content from her mother’s basement: “[If] we demonstrate to her that she’s actually an AV professional, then we need a place for her to call home.” By extension, “all those potentially millions of people that are doing what we believe is AV [should] be able to engage with us, stay with us, contribute to us and become part of that conversation.” This process is already under way, with the recruitment of members including experience designers, content creators and IT companies. The TIDE conference at this year’s InfoComm show was also targeted at this constituency. The association has also been reaching out to the AV end-user community – members of which reside in all three circles, depending on their job function. This year’s InfoComm show saw a 20% growth in end-user attendee numbers, against a 15% rise in attendance overall. What is the new membership model? Labuskes wouldn’t share any target numbers for new members; however, he asserted that, in every region, the association’s membership should grow more quickly than the industry itself; just to keep pace would not create greater impact, and if the association grew more slowly, it would lose relevance. Starting in January 2018, there will be three levels of individual membership, and three of company or team membership. Individual Basic membership is free, and offers free tradeshow access and newsletter subscriptions. Premium membership is available for $99 (regional offices can supply non-US rates); this covers free introductory AV classes, access to AV standards, a 15% discount on education, access to Premium content and to members-only events. The highest level of individual membership is Elite ($399). The education discount here rises to 25%, and access to Elite content is free. Also included is access to all the association’s online and video training. Individual members signed up by the end of 2017 will automatically be transferred to Premium status. At the company level, the memberships offered are Bronze ($500), Silver ($1,750) and Gold ($4,750). The benefits include five, 15 and 50 Elite memberships respectively for team members, and exhibitor discounts on increasing

sizes of stands at tradeshows. Silver and Gold members also receive discounts on association market research reports, and can apply for APEx and related advocate programmes. Companies signed up for membership by the end of 2017 will automatically be transferred to Bronze status. How important is this change? Labuskes said bluntly: “We either evolve or we die. The definitions of value are changing, and people are paying for different things. If you keep trying to sell what people used to buy, you don’t have a good business model.” He pointed out that “we started talking about [exceptional experiences]… as a defence against commoditisation” – the race to the bottom where companies drop their prices to gain work, and eventually as costs get repeatedly cut, quality and value also end up being diminished. By underscoring and highlighting the real value of AV, and the exceptional outcomes it produces, this cycle can be broken. Members can do more to get their customers to spend more, because “once you’ve had ‘good’, anything less doesn’t satisfy you.”

‘We either evolve or we die... If you keep trying to sell what people used to buy, you don’t have a good business model’ Dave Labuskes, AVIXA CEO

What about qualifications? The detail has still to be worked out, but Labuskes stated that the association’s commitment to certification has not been affected by its desire to widen its membership. Discussions are taking place to update CTS certification to include more experiential elements, “but it is still a highly technical certification”. A more direct way of certifying achievement in experience is in microcredentials: “We could create a microcredential in experience invention,” he suggested, along the lines of those for cable pulling or rack building. “Those opportunities are ahead of us.” Asked if there were any plans for microcredentials for technology managers or in-house engineers, he demurred: “We’ve had that conversation a lot – technology managers… are a direct channel into the enterprise decisionmaker that we want to get to on a strategic level – but they’re not a homogeneous group.” He pointed out that some technology managers are essentially running an in-house design and build practice within an organisation, while others are

13

a lone voice at an IT helpdesk. “So making sure that [a microcredential is] relevant to all of them is a challenge.” How long did it take to make the decision to change the name? VP of marketing Dan Goldstein had engaged an agency to look at the association’s brand presence, while at the same time the board was talking about the strategic plan and discussing “Are we who we used to be?” The two paths, said Labuskes, “were frighteningly intermingling with each other without necessarily knowing each other.” Labuskes was first told of the idea for a name change in April 2016, and “I spent four or five months saying, ‘Absolutely not’. It should be the last thing you ever do. If you can do anything else, you shouldn’t change your name.” He presented a number of alternative ideas, but “none of the options were authentic… they weren’t acknowledging that we had a new need and a new purpose.” At a special board meeting last October, the new concept and name were presented and the board “completely bought in”. It was decided not to announce and make the change at ISE (“It’s not our show, it’s a shared show”) or at the InfoComm show, as it might have been seen as being “rude to our guests” by overshadowing their messages. Should integrators worry that their worth is being diluted, or that the new organisation will reveal their trade secrets to its customers? AVIXA’s strategy is “absolutely about integrators, and the survival of our current members,” said Labuskes – and AVIXA board members reinforced this message. “If InfoComm was not transforming into AVIXA, we would be leaving our channel behind,” said QSC’s president and CEO, Joe Pham. AVIXA’s strategic plan can “give them the value and the training and the content that is needed for them to reinvent themselves for the future.” Julian Phillips, executive vice president of Whitlock, explained why integrators should encourage their customers to join AVIXA: “An empowered, informed and engaged enduser customer spends way much more than an ignorant, disengaged and disrespected customer. There’s been a belief that if we can retain all the knowledge as integrators and somehow show our value to the customer and make money because they can’t figure it out for themselves – that’s a myth that’s been blown apart.” Inviting their customers to join will grow integrators’ businesses and profits, he added.

www.avixa.org


14 SHOW REVIEW: PLASA 2017

October 2017

Life begins at 40 For many visitors, this was the year that the London PLASA Show got its mojo back. Paddy Baker reports

T

he PLASA Show celebrated its 40th anniversary with a renewed spring in its step. Building on its return to Olympia last year, this year’s show boasted a lively showfloor, a very full events programme and – of course – multiple opportunities for networking with industry colleagues old and new, perhaps over a drink. “PLASA’s back,” a colleague from an audio manufacturer said to me – reflecting a sentiment that was widely shared, particularly on that side of the industry. Here are some highlights from the showfloor. Reseller and integrator Autograph Sales & Installations announced that it has been appointed one of the UK’s premier distribution partners and main dealers for loudspeaker manufacturer KV2 Audio. The new agreement follows a lengthy period of co-operation and

collaboration between KV2 and Autograph’s rental arm, Autograph Sound, which has resulted in the deployment of KV2 systems on a number of West End and other high-profile productions. Duncan Bell Autograph’s financial director, commented: “We do not add dealership or distribution lines to our business very often, but the diversity of projects we are undertaking across many markets requires a broad and flexible portfolio of products – KV2 is an extremely valuable addition to our product range.” Two weeks earlier, Autograph Sales & Installations announced that it had been appointed the exclusive UK distributor for Point Source Audio’s SERIES8 and EMBRACE microphones as well as its CM-i series of patented in-ear headsets. For its own part, KV2 Audio held the UK launch of the brand new VHD 2.18J 2x18in subwoofer at PLASA. The VHD 2.18J’s optimised, high-efficiency bass-reflex design is claimed to produce considerably more output than other similar double 18in enclosures. Robe drew the crowds to its stand with an hourly live show demonstrating its newly launched MegaPointe all new multi-purpose moving light (see Products, page 46). The show, which had and an elaborate post-industrial stage set and a dynamic soundtrack, featured freestyle dancer Jake Stephens – dressed in an eye-catching mirrored bodysuit as a robot who had come to life. The five-minute routine featured 42 MegaPointes as well as Robe LEDBeam 150s, onePATTs, Divine UVs, Spiiders and pixelPATTs. Distributor Sound Technology presented the new the Vi1000 digital mixing console from

Soundcraft by Harman at PLASA 2017. The Vi1000 offers 96 input channels with 24 mono/ stereo mix busses, plus LRC master busses, and support for Dante audio networking – in a compact form factor that makes it suitable for corporate AV applications, as well as music venues, theatres, and houses of worship, as well as smaller touring projects and rental companies. (Turn to Product of the Month, page 45, for more details.) Lighting manufacturer GDS announced that it has created GDS Korea, a GDS manufacturing and design office in South Korea. Linked with this, the company has secured lighting supply and integration company Hansam System Co as its exclusive distribution partner in that country. GDS also announced its new 48-way rackmount ArcSystem Pro D48 Driver. With a focus on value for money and ease of


SHOW REVIEW: PLASA 2017

www.installation-international.com

Installation panel explores 40 years of progress Monday afternoon at PLASA saw Installation editor Paddy Baker chair a panel session in the Audio and AV Theatre, designed to chime with PLASA’s 40-year theme. In ’Installations – you’ve come a long way, baby’, Nevil Bounds (Feltech), Peter Ed (Light Emissions), Peter James (Shure Distribution UK) and Sam Wise (Venue Strategies) discussed how the technology has changed over the years in theatres, conference centres and museums. The panellists also selected the single invention or trend from the past 40 years that they felt had the most significant effect on the industry. Bounds chose the move from analogue to digital; for Ed, it was the evolution of light sources, beginning with tungsten filaments and progressing to LED in luminaires and displays; James selected the advent of digital signal processing; while Wise selected the massive improvements in product functionality and quality. maintenance and servicing, it is compatible with all ArcSystem Pro fixtures and uses Cat5 for distribution. Additionally, GDS launched the ArcSystem Decor range of fixtures, which provides the same quality of light as the Pro range (for theatres, arenas and auditoria) but is targeted at more general lighting applications. Shure showcased its comprehensive line of digital wireless systems: the entry-level GLX-D Advanced system, mid-tier QLX-D and ULX-D and the flagship Axient Digital wireless system.

Additionally, in the seminar programme, Tuomo Tolonen, Shure UK’s pro audio group manager and RF expert, discussed how to prepare for the loss of the 700MHz RF band. This will no longer be available for wireless microphone and in-ear monitoring system after it is auctioned in May 2020. DiGiCo was showing its SD12 digital audio console, which it launched in January. The compact desk uses the latest generation of Super FPGA chip, and features dual 15in digital

touchscreens that provide 24 channels in one view. It also features dual operator mode and the ability for the right-hand screen to be the Master, as well as advanced connectivity via optional DMI cards. ETC had two products making their tradeshow debuts at PLASA: the recently launched Ion Xe lighting desks and the soon-to-be released ColorSource Cyc fixture. Designed for smaller venues, the new Ion Xe and Ion Xe 20 consoles feature the same backlit keyboard layout as their larger Eos family siblings; workflow can transfer seamlessly from desk to desk. The ColorSource Cyc fixture is a bright, compact and affordable purpose-built cyclorama light. It’s also the first ColorSource fixture to add a fifth colour to its LED array, incorporating indigo within the RGB-lime mix. The Warehouse Sound Services showed the new S-Series and new IS-Series of loudspeakers from Adamson Systems Engineering. The IS-Series brings the technology of Adamson’s touring products, including Kevlar drivers, into an exterior design specifically developed for the architectural integration market.

www.plasashow.org

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16 SHOW REVIEW: IBC2017

October 2017

Best of Show winners

50 years and counting Celebrating its golden anniversary, this year IBC reached further outside its heartland with new technologies and discussion topics. Duncan Proctor reveals highlights from on and off the showfloor

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n the Wednesday after the show’s conclusion, IBC confirmed another yearon-year increase in visitor numbers, with a record attendance of 57,669 across the six days of conference and exhibition. IBC chief executive Michael Crimp said: “IBC2017 celebrated its 50th anniversary with record attendance, bustling exhibition halls, new features and a dynamic conference.” Pre-show, it was revealed that IBC was looking to appeal to more markets, broadening the show’s reach beyond its broadcast roots and drawing in new exhibitors and visitors. This approach makes sense in an age of increasing industry and technology convergence and ties in with the “one open, connected media world” Crimp described on the eve of the event. Undoubtedly the talk of the show was a living robot called Sophia, along with founder and CEO of Hanson Robotics, Dr David Hanson. During the Tech Talks Keynote, Sophia responded to questions verbally and with complex facial expressions. Hanson said that Sophia is capable of deep learning as well as symbolic reasoning, and the company is working on tools to enable her to act in films. The project has wide-ranging goals from playing animated characters to unlocking what makes AI really alive, but the idea of living robots brings a number of complex ethical issues into play. Visitors and commentators were somewhat divided between the technological feat achieved and its ethics. Elsewhere visitors had plenty of opportunities to learn about what technologies such as

VR, AR, cloud and IP have to offer. Other highlights included Launch Pad in Hall 9, which showcased the latest innovations from the show’s newest exhibitors, of which there were a record number. The Future Reality Theatre had a programme of discussions exploring the current and future impact of new technologies and the opportunities, challenges and implications around VR, AR and MR. The Content Everywhere Hub featured sessions and panel discussions looking at consumer behaviours, business models and technologies that drive the growth of content engagement over connected devices. The IP Showcase, one of three new initiatives, provided real-world demonstrations of proven IP end-to-end workflows for production and playout. The Startup Forum brought a new event structure matching startups and scale-ups with investors. A special guest was welcomed to the Forum – HRH Prince Constantijn, who championed the Dutch start-up ecosystem. Lastly, the inaugural inviteonly C-Tech Forum brought together senior executives from across the media landscape to discuss and debate cyber security and 5G. AI and 5G was on the agenda at the CTO Roadmap Keynote panel, with CTOs from across the industry agreeing that AI will be an important technology by 2020. Onto the showfloor, where Blackmagic Design showcased Fusion 9, the latest update of the company’s visual effects, compositing, 3D and motion graphics software, which also now includes new VR tools and collaboration

We are pleased to announce the winners of this year’s Installation Best of Show Awards at IBC2017. Of all the entries received, our judges selected three outstanding products that, as the criteria stated, launched since the 2016 show. ATEN – KE8952 4K HDMI KVM over IP extender ATEN’s latest 4K KVM over IP solution, KE8952 brings 4K to any control room or production environment that needs flexible workstations. The benefits include digital media extension over IP; support for unlimited distances via Cat 5e/6 over a LAN, or via an SFP fibre optic transceiver module over optical Ethernet; and lossless images up to 3840 x 2160 @30Hz at 36-bit colour depth. Matrox – Extio 3 Quad-Output 4K IP KVM extender Claimed to set a new industry standard, Extio 3 securely extends a single 4Kp60 4:4:4 video signal, or four 1080p60 4:4:4 signals, along with keyboard, mouse, stereo audio and USB 2.0 over standard Gigabit Ethernet at extremely low bitrates. Extio 3 IP KVM extenders deliver strong remote desktop performance and, when combined with standard GigE network switches, create a cost-effective over-IP extension and switching solution, allowing users to securely switch to any system on the KVM network. Projects Department – Highlight LED Projects Department worked with lighting manufacturer Photon Beard to develop Highlight LED, which is claimed to address the two big challenges of colour and light distribution. High-quality remote phosphor technology is said to provide smooth continuous colour spectrum with predictable and consistent colour temperature. It allows a much larger surface area to be used for the phosphor mix, meaning the mix is more accurate, with better control over the colour produced and ageing virtually eliminated.


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features. This includes a 360° 3D workspace, along with a panoramic viewer and support for Oculus Rift and HTC Vive VR headsets. Clear-Com presented its Eclipse HX digital intercom system – now with the LQ Series of IP interfaces, which enable intercom systems to support session initiation protocol (SIP) telephony. Each LQ Series unit can provide up to eight SIP client interfaces for connection to a local IP-PBX or directly to a cloud-based service provider. The multi-functional LQ Series units can themselves simultaneously support SIP interfacing for Eclipse HX and independent conference bridging to remote locations. One of the most eye-catching stands was that of UK immersive and 360° screen technology company, Igloo Vision, where what is claimed to be the world’s first 360° 8K monitoring system was on show in the Future Zone. Igloo projected the 8K video inside one of its projection domes, which allow content creators to view and work with 360° content without having to wear VR headsets. Igloo Vision’s domes are portable and can easily be set up on location. A highlight of the IHSE stand was its new Tera Viewer user interface for IP-based monitoring and control of remote video sources. Users

SHOW REVIEW: IBC2017

can access live monitoring and switching from wherever an IP connection is available and is suitable for professional KVM management. RGBlink was exhibiting its new 4K end-to-end universal processor. VS628pro II is the company’s first 12G-SDI processor, supporting both 12G and 4K@60Hz on HDMI and DisplayPort, both for input and output. The VSP628pro II video processing solution is for any signal including videowall, presentation switching and multidisplay, multi-window applications.

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Israeli VR start-up Texel is targeting the sports market, claiming to be able to deliver high-quality VR content even in low-bandwidth situations. Texel’s platform achieves this by transferring only pertinent parts of the VR data based on what users will actually visualise. It analyses usage and interactions, along with the content, in real time.

www.ibc.org


18 SPECIAL REPORT: PROJECTION

October 2017

Key Points „ There is an important distinction between the image manipulation of which many projectors are capable and true ‘projection mapping’

Picture, picture on the wall…

„ Projection mapping is a partnership between powerful projectors, advanced media server technologies – and great creative minds „ Projectors with 4K resolution and solid state illumination are transforming what’s possible, changing the projection mapping landscape „ Projection mapping can bring an immersive reality that transcends the experience achievable with 3D, VR or AR

Projection mapping can’t be described as a mission-critical AV application – but it does show the industry at its brilliant best. To kick off this special report, Ian McMurray finds out the directions in which mapping is headed

I

n the UK at least, the world seems to divide into two: those who arrange their entire lives around watching Game of Thrones on TV – and those who have never seen a single one of the 68 episodes broadcast to date. Season 7 premiered on 16 July – an event marked, in true Hollywood style, by a projection mapping extravaganza which saw Panasonic projectors provide a backdrop to the party, delivering scenes from the series onto the exterior of the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles. A simple definition of projection mapping is that it’s a combination of technologies that are used to turn objects that are often irregularly shaped into display surfaces. As Hans Stucken, global marketing manager of media and control systems company AV Stumpfl points out, it’s something of which many projectors are now, in theory, capable to a certain degree. “A number of projector manufacturers are adding features to their projectors that allow for simple projection mapping set-ups,” he says. “However, we have to make a distinction between simple geometry adjustments for creating softedge panoramas on uneven surfaces on the one hand and, on the other, fully blown and highly intricate mapping projects featuring 3D files and physical objects with surfaces that are very detailed and uneven. Both scenarios, and everything in between, can be called projection mapping.”

For the majority of the industry, the latter description more accurately defines what is meant by projection mapping, and involves a combination, in most cases, of high-end projectors with powerful media servers and software. It’s developments in both that are driving the projection mapping market to new heights – driven by the creative vision and technical expertise of its exponents.

‘Without doubt the stability and longevity that laser projection technology brings has been one of the most significant developments’ Mark Wadsworth, Digital Projection

Transformative According to Mark Wadsworth, international marketing manager at Digital Projection, the advent of 4K SSI (solid state illumination) projectors has been transformative. “The large majority of high-end projectors include warp functionality that is the cornerstone of any projection mapping installation,” he believes, “Without doubt, however, the stability and longevity that laser projection technology brings has been one of the most significant

developments. We’re now seeing projectors in the market, capable of up to 30,000 lumens, that are perfectly suited to large projection mappings on all kinds of irregular surfaces in almost any environment. Coupled with the ability to mount laser phosphor projectors in any orientation, mind-blowing mapping solutions have become exponentially more accessible and achievable than ever before.” Wadsworth also points out that the advanced features required in a projector to support mapping are becoming more accessible and easier to use – and that ease of use is further enhanced by the ability to control multiple projectors and access all their features from a central location. Carl Rijsbrack, VP, events at Barco, sees other advantages for the new generation of projectors. “Use of high-brightness laser phosphor projectors allows long-term installations for projection mapping without lamp change and with a much longer service interval,” he notes. “Beyond that, availability of more pixels with 4K resolution gives more detail on larger surfaces from a single video projector, as well as providing overall lower set-up time. The advent of both laser-based light sources and 4K resolution is bringing new dimensions to projection mapping.” Paul Wigfield, director of projection mapping and 3D projection specialists QED, sees those advantages from a user perspective.


SPECIAL REPORT: PROJECTION

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Important step forward “One 4K projector can replace four blended HD projectors,” he states, “so under the right circumstances, it can substantially reduce the numbers of projectors required.” He’s also seen an important step forward in media servers. “The introduction of the VFC cards for d3’s 4x4pro media servers has been one of the most significant technical developments,” he claims. “This not only allows 16 simultaneous HD outputs to be played from one media server, but it also enables different resolutions to be genlocked. This means that it is now possible to seamlessly utilise any combination of projectors in a projection canvas without being tied to the lowest common resolution.” “For all media servers, the introduction of the open source HAP codec has improved the quality and efficiency of video playback,” he continues, “and also brought a big benefit for planning and general workflow as it’s playable on all operating systems.” Matt Barton, CEO at 7thSense Design – which developed Delta Media Server – is excited by what he sees. “Now, the boundaries of projection mapping technology are continually being pushed,” he enthuses, “and we’re seeing real developments and a demand for mapping

onto increasingly complex 3D shapes, and onto moving objects – both within the ‘display space’ and rotationally.”

‘The combination of projection mapping and moving objects is definitely a development on the horizon’ Carl Rijsbrack, Barco

specialist partners to offer this functionality. Specialist servers and software bring together the essential ingredients for mapping, namely camerabased shape recognition and auto-calibration for blending that dramatically speeds up the process and accuracy of any mapping installation.” “A significant development has definitely been the availability of sophisticated automatic camera calibration solutions like Wings VIOSO technology for projection mapping projects,” adds Stucken. While the mapping functionality built into projectors continues to be enhanced, there is little doubt that the role of the media server remains key.

New things achievable “Projection mapping methodology has seen a shift too,” he goes on. “Now, it’s an automated process achieved by importing models into the software and automating alignment between the real and the virtual object. Removing the need for manual, complex alignment has made new things achievable and quick to turn around.” The use of cameras in projection mapping is also becoming increasingly commonplace. “A complex mapping solution will always require the ‘smarts’ of additional software that can be integrated with camera and auto-calibration tools,” notes Wadsworth. “We’ve teamed up with various

Exceptional functionality and reliability “In order to run advanced projection mapping software solutions, a signal processing environment is required that supports a variety of set-ups and can bring the much-needed performance power to the project,” continues Stucken. “It’s relatively easy to build hardware that looks powerful on paper, but aligning the hardware components and software features in a way that allows for exceptional functionality and reliability is a great challenge, for which you need a team of dedicated engineers.” “Typically, specialist servers can be used to

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20 SPECIAL REPORT: PROJECTION visualise the entire multi-channel environment which is an important factor for complex mapped displays,” explains Barton. “This pre-visualisation enables engineers to correct for occlusions, shadows and overlap.” Rijsbrack notes another important outcome of the transition to 4K and SSI in terms of projector development, with manufacturers applying more emphasis to the functionality needed for projection mapping now that projectors are even better equipped for the application. “Historically – prior to the advent of 4K and laser illumination – most of the technology required for projection mapping was server-side,” he says. “Now, it’s both: the two work more and more in tandem. The increased computing power inside projectors allows this combination to step up to the demanded performance levels both in content delivery, latency, picture accuracy, alignment and warping.” That projection mapping has developed rapidly in recent years is unquestioned. What, though, has driven those advances? Stucken brings an interesting perspective. “Nowadays, there’s a variety of interesting low-budget apps and software solutions out there, which enable a lot of talented people to experiment with projection mapping to various degrees,” he notes. “This generates wider interest in projection mapping solutions – and also creates a lot of new impulses for the AV industry. At the same time, all the major manufacturers have their own roadmaps based on their current customer feedback and strategic goals.”

Creative demands Barton also sees the technology being driven by the increasingly creative demands of users. “We see a lot of change driven by media and experience creatives,” he discloses. “We regularly speak with creatives within industry to understand what it is they want to achieve, what their clients are asking for, and develop our products to align new features with their vision.” Wadsworth sees things similarly. “The whole development cycle is 100% driven by listening to

‘We’re now seeing more and more fixed installations that use projection mapping technology’ Matt Barton, 7thSense Design

the customer, their feedback and requirements,” he confirms. “There is no point in developing ‘cool features’ that the customer doesn’t want, so the mapping aspect of projection technology is definitely customer led.”

October 2017

Case Study

Titans move to the Beatz Open Beatz Festival is an annual electronic music event in Herzogenaurach, Germany, and Digital Projection partner Bambus Veranstaltungstechnik was responsible for the sound, light and video technology. The stage and lighting technology was integrated with a 3D video mapping show that was projected onto a building, which measured 50m wide and 18m high, using only four Titan projectors.

www.digitalprojection.co.uk

“The visitor attraction market drives a lot of our development,” he adds. “Whether it’s for dark rides or immersive geodesic domes, they all require mapping/warping features, long-life illumination and stability, as well as the latest in signal distribution at 4K or HD at high frame rates.” Earlier, Rijsbrack noted that an advantage of SSI-based projectors is the potential they deliver for longer term installations – “now, they can run for 10 years without a lamp change, and delivering constant image performance,” he adds – something that has not normally been part of the projection mapping world: the technology has historically been all about oneoff spectaculars. “Yes, it’s very much been the case so far that projection mapping has been used primarily for live events,” says Wigfield, “although there are a few permanent indoor projection mapping installations – QED has designed and installed a few of them. Aside from theme parks, permanent outdoor projection installations have not really been possible due to the difficulties of maintaining the installations and the high running costs.”

Likely to change “However,” he continues, “this is very much likely to change. The advent of high-brightness laser light source projection technology has meant

a massive leap in brightness, consistency and reliability, but it’s the savings on power and lamp replacement costs combined with the longevity of the lasers that now make permanent outdoor projection mapping a much more financially feasible and practically manageable proposition. Laser phosphor projectors are likely to prove most cost-effective for event usage, whereas RGB lasers are likely to be more suited for largescale permanent installations.” Barton concurs: “Historically, projection mapping has been used a lot in live events, including daily shows at theme parks,” he says. “We’re now seeing more and more fixed installations that use projection mapping technology as designers work to bring new ways of experiencing ‘3D without glasses’ to their audiences.” Stucken makes the point that, traditionally, it was perhaps the sheer scale of the images delivered at events using projection mapping captured attention – but that may be changing. “Large-scale projection mapping is most visible when being used in connection with massive buildings or landmark sites, which is why a lot of people associate it primarily with those events,” he believes. “But now, themed attraction environments and museums are increasingly using projection mapping approaches as well – but in those cases, the results don’t so much draw attention to the technology used, but rather to


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22 SPECIAL REPORT: PROJECTION the exhibits and environments they’re supporting.” And, as Wadsworth points out, longer-term projection mapping installations are not wholly unknown. “It’s certainly fair to say that mapping mostly seems to be used for temporary events or festivals,” he says, “but we’re seeing more and more that have become permanent or semipermanent installations. For example, CityWalk in Dubai is a permanent mapping installation that uses 36 projectors to map onto the walls of the venue, and Antalya Expo used 60 projectors that were permanently installed for the whole of the expo. This is where the long-life and reliability factor comes in to play.” So: other than more ‘fixed’ installations – what does the future hold?

Room for improvement “There is always room for usability and workflow improvements in this industry, especially when

it comes to supporting different or new file formats,” asserts Stucken. “Integrating the next generation of laser scanning devices could also potentially revolutionise the way projection mapping projects are being realised in the future.” “One thing is clear,” he goes on, developing Barton’s earlier point about 3D without glasses. “Projection mapping is a great way to create visual experiences that can be enjoyed by large numbers of people at the same time in a way that brings people together. This is the exact opposite of some of the VR-headset based attractions and set-ups. You don’t need AR glasses or VR headsets for a great projection mapping experience and can still hug your loved ones and record the experience on your mobile phone – without feeling isolated. On the contrary, if done well, projection mapping events become beautiful communal experiences.” Barton is clear about where projection mapping is heading. “We’re going to see a continued focus and development push in tracked motion

October 2017

projection mapping technology,” he thinks. “The combination of motion and projection mapping has huge potential, most of which has yet to be explored. Projection mapping will always need to stay on top of other display trends such as frame rate and resolution improvements – as expectations rise, projection mapping will need to stay at the top of its game too.” For Wigfield, while much has been improved, there’s also still much to achieve. “QED has been projection mapping for around 20 years,” he smiles, “but only over the past 10 years has projection brightness increased to the level where it’s been possible to achieve such largescale external projections. But: there’s still a long way to go. Media server software has taken projection mapping to a new level and has turned what once was an incredibly complex design and planning process into an everyday workflow.” “One of the most fundamental things that

traditionally handled by interface boxes and image processors have now found their way into projectors; this will continue well into the future,” he says. “Any mapping installation starts as a blank canvas and almost anything is possible; the restrictions are only the producer’s imagination. Demands from the market have seen large scale projections become more than just ‘big TVs’ – and today’s technologies allow the creative artists and entertainment specialists to deliver the wow factor.” There are two reasons why AV systems and solutions have achieved such remarkable success over the past 20 or so years. The first is that they have moved from ‘nice to have’ – bordering on vanity acquisitions – through ‘must have’ to ‘mission critical’. The second is the enormous strides that have been made in delivering fantastic, compelling images – and today, not just on movie screens, but pretty much anywhere.

software can’t presently do is to pre-simulate the effects of textures and ambient lighting on the projected end result,” he notes. “Only projection site tests can really tell us that. Auto-blending and auto line-up are features that several media servers now include. The results are still not as good as what can be achieved by a skilled projectionist, but they will continue to improve and they already are useful in helping to speed up the process.” According to Rijsbrack, the near future will see SSI-enabled 4K resolution projection establishing itself in the market, allowing new creative applications and involving a wider range of surfaces. “The combination of projection mapping and moving objects is definitely a development on the horizon,” he believes.

Projection mapping can scarcely be said to be mission critical, in the way that, for example, AV technology today facilitates business,

Almost anything is possible The last word goes to Wadsworth. “This field will always be developing – both in terms of software and hardware features – and functions

helps manage emergencies or networks, enables retailers sell more goods, or facilitates passengers in finding their way – but it is surely representative of the heights the industry has achieved in creating the spectacular. Game of Thrones, itself a huge success, starts shooting Season 8’s six 80-minute episodes this month, with the premiere for the show’s last ever season expected in July 2018. It’ll be interesting to see, such is the pace of progress with the technology, what projection mapping will look like at next year’s launch party.

www.7thsensedesign.com www.avstumpfl.com www.barco.com www.digitalprojection.co.uk www.dreamlaser.ru www.qedproductions.com


24 SPECIAL REPORT: PROJECTION

October 2017

Tough sell?

Key Points „ Small projector ownership is falling but large projector sales are climbing „ Laser-based projectors sales are set to overtake lamp devices within a few years „ Total cost of ownership can be up to 50% lower for laser devices „ Laser projectors have longer lamp life with more consistent colours and can be mounted in any orientation „ Opportunities exist for integrators to deliver add-on devices and consultancy for large venue applications

Much has been said about the fall in projector sales over the last few years. Steve Montgomery continues our special report by finding out what those on the frontline think about how to make money in this market

S

ales of projectors throughout the world have declined rapidly as flat panel displays have increased in size and fallen in price. Research by market analyst Futuresource Consulting indicates that in the corporate sector, the primary target market for smaller projectors, ownership of projectors is expected to fall by 10% by 2018, while flat panel displays will rise by 25%; and this declining projector trend is accelerating. Set against an overall rise in the total number of meeting rooms, huddle rooms and collaboration areas, this is a little concerning for projector manufacturers and installers dedicated solely to this technology. However, there is still sufficient demand to create significant business revenues. John Dykes, Casio’s business development manager, points out: “The education sector remains an important market for projection but with the advent of videoconferencing, the corporate market is seeing hundreds of new meeting rooms being created each week. Distributors are offering a complete package of interactive flat panels, projection and flat panel displays to satisfy the needs of the market and to offer integrators a full range of products to suit each application. 4K is set to go from strength to strength for the projector market. The increase in resolution of content and the rise of BYOD devices across learning environments means that displays technology must be futureproofed and produce a good quality image.”

New opportunities The market for projectors in other sectors is booming and the launch of new technologies and models is opening up new opportunities. Smaller, portable projectors with integral batteries and WiFi connectivity offer an advantage over flat panel displays for mobile presenters “Projectors can be used anywhere there is a power source,” says Joe Ahmed, Optoma EMEA head of marketing. “Optoma’s ultra portable LED projectors fit into the palm of your hand and are sufficiently light and

‘4K is set to go from strength to strength for the projector market’ John Dykes, Casio

portable to be taken out for meetings. Optoma’s latest ML330 device has an internal Android OS processor with Bluetooth and wireless internet connectivity. They can be used without a PC, making them perfect for offsite meetings. A flat screen is less flexible to pop under your arm and take with you.” James Hsu, director of global product marketing at Vivitek, agrees: “The market for mainstream data projectors around 3,000

lumens is reducing because an increasing number of corporate meeting rooms and classrooms are adopting FPD solutions. Meanwhile, the market for small HD LED smart projectors with an embedded battery and an Android OS that are capable of wireless streaming is growing significantly, thanks to their small size, ultra-portability, and flexibility for sharing media from a smartphone or content from the internet on the move.” Larger laser units come with multiple mounting options, are capable of front and rear projection, have frames to allow quick and easy mounting onto a truss or ceiling and often have ranges of lenses including ultra-short ones to produce large images over a short throw distance. Projection is still the most economic means of providing large displays. Hsu continues: “Projection is all about the big image experience. Currently an installation requiring an image of 80in to 90in or above should employ projectors rather than LCD displays. The industry is asking for brighter projectors and higher-resolution large-venue projectors, with as little maintenance as possible.” New laser projection technology is delivering benefits and advantages to the market and allowing integrators to access new application opportunities. Although the initial capital cost is greater, the long-term operational costs and reduction in maintenance overheads makes them appealing across the full installation spectrum.


SPECIAL REPORT: PROJECTION 25

www.installation-international.com

Laser vs lamp “The key differentiator for laser compared to lamp-based projectors is the long lasting maintenance-free operation time of typically between 20,000 and 30,000 hours, which leads to a highly beneficial total cost of ownership over the lifetime of the unit,” says Thomas Walter, section manager strategic product marketing for NEC Display Solutions Europe. “While a laser projector may have a higher initial purchasing cost than its lamped counterpart, the additional expense is more than recouped after a few years of operation. The lamp lives are significantly different, with 2,000 hours for a standard unit and 20,000 hours for an equivalent laser device, which is the key saving over a long period. A standard lamp and filter may need to be changed five or six times over that period. Power consumption also affects the equation, with laser around 15% lower. TCO for a lamp projector can be as much as double that of a laser after nine to 10 years.” Many projectors in fixed installations in conference centres and auditoriums, as well as museums and visitor centres, are fixed in locations that are difficult to access. “Conference centres, auditoriums and other large venues are finding projection to be a fantastic

option where the space allows the throw distance, and the nature of laser projectors means that the integrator can fit and forget them, knowing that they will provide reliable, long-term service for years to come, without any intervention,” says Stuart Holmes, director of

PSCo. “Accessing them to change the lamp might mean rigging a scaffold tower to gain access to the projector and taking the room out of service for a whole day, or carrying out the service overnight with even more expense.” Projectors are still attractive to the education

The global resource portal for media technology content 5L^)H`*VUULJ[UV^VɈLYZL]LU^PKLYJVU[LU[MVYP[ZYLNPZ[LYLK\ZLYZPZLHZPLY[V UH]PNH[LHUKWYV]PKLZ\ZLYZ^P[OKLKPJH[LK^LLRS`UL^ZSL[[LYZVɈLYPUNHKPNLZ[VM [OLSH[LZ[JVU[LU[HUKJHYLM\SS`ZLSLJ[LKJVU[LU[MYVTP[Z[OLTLZVM[OLTVU[O Why join NewBay Connect? -YLLHUKLHZ`[V\ZL!Z[H`PUMVYTLK^P[O[OLSH[LZ[PUK\Z[Y`^OP[LWHWLYZVWPUPVU WPLJLZ^LIZLTPUHYZHUKJHZLZ[\KPLZ[OH[HɈLJ[`V\YI\ZPULZZHUK`V\YJHYLLY ࠮ Categorised content  (SSTH[LYPHSPZVYNHUPZLKPU[VJSLHYS`YLMLYLUJLKZWLJPHSPZ[HYLHZ ࠮ Customised search  @V\JHUX\PJRS`SVJH[L[OLPUMVYTH[PVUYLSL]HU[[V`V\YI\ZPULZZVYHYLHVMPU[LYLZ[ ࠮ Tailored email alerts  5V[PÄJH[PVUZZLU[[V`V\^OLUL]LY[OLYLPZHU\WKH[L^P[OPU`V\YJOVZLUHYLHZ ࠮ Dedicated weekly newsletters Visit www.newbayconnect.com to register, browse and download content for free today. Content Director: James McKeown jmckeown@nbmedia.com +44 (0) 20 7354 6002

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26 SPECIAL REPORT: PROJECTION sector, and lasers provide an edge over lamp devices for several reasons. Walter continues: “In addition to maintenance-free and highly reliable operation, higher education needs instant powerup and shutdown so that classes or lectures can commence immediately, ensuring no interruption to the lecturer’s presentation.” Other applications with space or access constraints also gravitate towards laser projectors. Retail is a good example, as Holmes points out: “Retailers are incorporating projection where there is a lack of access from the front or rear, or where the application requires a product with a long lifecycle. Laser projectors are now bright enough to be used for displays in shop windows and it is possible to use projection mapping onto products or models to create more engaging displays.” Engineering and media applications are also considering the use of laser projectors and taking advantage of the brightness and size capabilities they offer. Lamped projectors have not been suited to many installations in which space is severely restricted or an off-angle or portrait image is required, or have to be mounted in hostile environments. These opportunities are now opening up as laser-based devices do not suffer from such severe restrictions. “With a unique dust resistant design, up to IP6X dust resistance certification, and ability to be mounted in any orientation, Optoma DuraCore laser products are door-openers to new applications that would not have been viable with lamp based technology,” explains Ahmed. “These additional opportunities can far outweigh the reduction in revenues from servicing and replacement lamps to installers and dealers.”

‘TCO for a lamp projector can be as much as double that of a laser after nine to 10 years’ Thomas Walter, NEC Display Solutions

Large-scale projects Projectors really come into their own on massive projection projects on buildings and other large structures. “There is really no other option to bathe a whole building in light or images than projection. Even LED curtains are only viable for small areas,” says Chris Athanasiou, technical director of AVM Ltd. “Large event display and shows are becoming more creative as designers take advantage of highly powerful projectors and projection mapping technology to light up entire structures.” This, he feels, presents additional opportunities to

October 2017

Case Study

Legendary projector performance King Arthur’s Labyrinth, in Machynlleth in Wales, is an underground storybook with dramatic scenes from myths and legends. Visitors travel deep into a cave on a boat that passes through a Magical Waterfall and are suddenly surrounded by flames from a dragon. The location is a dusty, damp and cold former slate mine. An Optoma ZU510T 5,500 lumen laser projector is installed above the river in a heated enclosure, remaining in darkness until automatically triggered by the presence of a boat to project the flames. Andy Noble, managing director of Piranha AV, says: “We chose the projector for its brightness, resolution and flexibility of mounting orientation. It has an IP5X dust resistance rating and delivers up to 30,000 hours of reliable operation without the need for expensive lamp or filter replacements. It would be a major job to access the projector in its enclosure above the river so we need reliability, longevity and no lamp changes.” dealers and system integrators. “These types of installation, whether temporary or permanent, require powerful processing devices behind them, like Christie Spyder, Pandoras Box and Analog Way Ascender/NexTage. In addition there are opportunities to offer installation expertise to meet the complex requirements of these events and create content for them.” In these examples, too, laser has benefits. The larger installs use multiple projectors to create single images with edge-blending to maintain the colour and brightness image consistency. “Laser projection offers consistent, reliable performance with minimal maintenance requirements. Edgeblending in multi-projector installations is very common nowadays, and the nature of laser projectors means that the colour consistency across individual units is very good. Some models, such as those made by Epson, even have on-board cameras to check the image quality,” explains Holmes. “In contrast, lamped projectors can suffer from noticeable changes in brightness and colour performance over the life of the lamp. So for multiprojection installations, if you need to re-lamp one projector, you generally have to do them all. The colour performance and high brightness of laser units provide rich and vivid displays which do not degrade over the lifespan of the unit.” While the market for projectors is declining at the lower end of the market as a consequence of the rise in flat panel displays, there are still pockets of applications within existing sectors, including education and houses of worship, that continue to use it. New, bright low profile laser-based products are being launched to meet these applications and integrators are still actively promoting and installing them in many applications.

Market consolidation The market will continue to evolve and more applications will arise as Dykes believes: “There’ll be a consolidation within the market, as some brands will move away from projection while others will specialise further. The infiltration of 4K and higher resolutions has meant the market will move towards higher-resolution displays. The trend is towards more efficient technology, with integral networking and easy to use BYOD connectivity options. Gaming is a big market for projection at the moment, as there has been an increase in gaming rooms both in homes and offices. As the demand for videoconferencing grows, projectors have more of a place in VC meeting rooms and there is a real opportunity for projection to lead the way for multi-purpose meeting spaces for SMEs.” Product development will continue; enabling projectors to meet the demands of the industry. Holmes concludes: “Laser projection technology is maturing and we can expect to see brighter devices. At the higher end of the range performance will approach that of xenon projectors for use in large auditoriums and commercial cinemas. At the same time, the size of laser projectors will come down, making them an option for schools and smaller installations. Over the next few years, we can expect laser to become the primary light source technology, overtaking traditional UHP lamps in terms of sales volume.”

www.avmltd.co.uk www.casioprojector.com www.nec-display-solutions.com www.optoma.com www.psco.co.uk www.vivitek.eu


28 SPECIAL REPORT: TECHNOLOGY SHOWCASE

October 2017

Projection screens If you only think about the projector and not the projection surface, you’re only telling half the story. To round off this special report, Paddy Baker takes a look at half a dozen projection screens that between them offer high picture quality, strong performance in ambient light, pleasing aesthetic design, and discreet stowage when not in use

Draper’s high-performing light-rejecting surface Draper’s TecVision CS1200X ALR is a grey surface with excellent ambient light rejection properties. It is available on Draper’s framed and rolldown screens and also as an acoustically transparent nanoperf surface. With an ALR rating of 20, said to be one of the best in the market, TecVision CS1200X ALR rejects 80% of the ambient lighting in the room. Suitable for environments with controlled viewing angles, the surface is described as having excellent black retention, and superior contrast that meets or exceeds that offered by any competitive viewing surface. The 1.2 gain screen is available in sizes up to 20m wide. Draper points out that higher gain enables the end-user to save money by choosing a less bright projector, while the premium surface creates a higher profit margin for the integrator.

Users won’t see the blue tints in images that are present on many other ambient lightrejecting screens. The surface has been independently certified for colour accuracy by the Imaging Science Foundation – something that is rare for a light-rejecting screen, says Draper. ISF certification guarantees an accurate representation of colours – demonstrating that the screen is able to handle the increased contrast levels of HDR projection.

www.draperinc.com/go/TecVision.htm

Premium corporate offering from Sahara Distributor Sahara Presentation Systems says that its customers are increasingly requesting a premium product for installation into the offices of major companies. One solutions that could fit the bill is Da-Lite’s Tensioned Advantage Screen with HD Progressive 1.1 surface. The tab-tensioned surface is said to give superb image results, and is 4K ready. The built-in Silent Drive control system allows users to automatically reveal or conceal the screen into a discreet elegant ceiling recess. The Advantage series has been designed to enable installers to fit the empty case during the ‘rough phase’ of a commercial fit-out or development. The motor, roller and screen surface, which are sensitive to dust and particles, can be installed once the area is clean. A tensioning cable system prevents

Maximilian is smooth, silent – and safe Screenline’s Maximilian product is designed for cinemas, theatres and large venues, and, according to the manufacturer, offers high quality at an attractive price compared to the competition. The Polichinelle mechanism uses two stainless steel belts, rather than cables, to move the lower roller to uncover or retract the screen – a feature designed to prevent overlapping or derailment when the screen rolls up. Movement is fast, smooth and silent. The speed of the motor, and its rates of acceleration and deceleration, are set by an electronic controller unit. This can be remotely controlled via an RS485 port.

warping and ensures even lateral tension, and smooth roll technology keeps the screen completely flat. The white surface is flame retardant and mildew resistant. Thanks to its extremely low levels of volatile organic compound emission, the screen has achieved GREENGUARD Gold certification.

www.saharaplc.com www.da-lite.com

www.screenline.it


www.installation-international.com

SPECIAL REPORT: TECHNOLOGY SHOWCASE 29

dnp LaserPanel takes on LED competition While it’s well known that LED displays are displacing projection-based solutions at smaller screen sizes, dnp denmark says that its LaserPanel is a competitive solution at 100in. Designed for meeting rooms, smaller classrooms and residential applications, the dnp LaserPanel comprises screen, ultra-short throw projector and wallmount – the first bundled solution offered by the manufacturer in its 30-year history. The display can be mounted on the wall, with the projector above or below it, shooting from a steep angle. With a gain of 0.9, and a half-gain angle of 25º, the LaserPanel produces a display brightness of around 300 cd/sqm from its

3,000-lumen projector. dnp believes that the LaserPanel offers 100in high-contrast images with the same image quality as LED-backlit LCD screens, but at a lower cost per square inch. As the solution uses a laser projector, total cost of ownership is low, due to low running costs and the lack of lamp changes. The dnp LaserPanel is also available in a Touch version, which has a rigid screen, interactive camera and infrared pens for interactive presentations.

www.dnp-screens.com

Elite’s grey screen is high-ambient choice

Elite Screens’ CineGrey 3D is a referencequality front-projection screen material formulated for environments with minimal control over room lighting. It is designed to enhance picture brightness, offer extremely accurate colour fidelity and improve contrast levels in environments such as educational facilities, conference rooms, media rooms and sports bars. When ambient light cannot be controlled, matte white surfaces wash out the images; under these conditions, CineGrey3D shows a projected image with a balanced colour temperature and contrast. It is ISF certified for its abilities to maintain a flat spectral response for more defined colour and sharper

contrast. The CineGrey 3D is ready for the next generation of high-performance video. It has a pleasing ‘edge-free’ design that suits virtually any décor. Its split-frame design means it ships in a compact form; it is also easy to assemble. According to the manufacturer, the Aeon CG3D combined with a high-quality projector presents an image that dwarfs 90in flat panels, at a fraction of the cost. Previously offered at a much higher cost, it gives integrators a price advantage that can help to win bids, as well as opening the doors to customers were previously priced out of the market.

www.elitescreens.com

Fullwhite makes images float AV Stumpfl’s Fullwhite projection screen offers a borderless appearance with next to no spatial depth. Made from high-quality materials, the screen is intended for high-end applications. By making projected images appear to float in space, Fullwhite screens add to the overall attractiveness of their surroundings. The core of the screen is its unusually shaped frame profile (pictured). One side of the profile is skewed to the rear of the screen by 45º, which leads to its distinctive visual appearance: a frame that is not visible, even when viewed slightly obliquely. The robust frame structure allows for widths between 2m and 60m – or even more. Fullwhite screens can be made to measure; they are based on a modular system of basic frame parts. By adding or removing additional plug-in elements, any format can be realised. Multiple screens can also be connected to create projection walls or cubes. Set-up is said to be simple: the same method can be used, regardless of size. The screen features different mounting solutions, which give integrators flexibility within an install environment.

www.avstumpfl.com


30 BUSINESS FEATURE: UNIFIED COMMS AND COLLABORATION

October 2017

Key Points „ Unified communications offers huge potential for vendors, as the market for video functionality remains largely untapped

Come together

„ A period of transition for this technology area has made companies seek out partnerships within the industry „ The role of the integrator is changing, but this offers opportunities to those who are willing to adapt

A growing number of unified communications and collaboration companies are bridging across the UCC marketplace through partnerships. But is it down to a shift in the hardware-software balance of power, or a new approach to the pursuit of excellence, asks Duncan Proctor?

M

ost up-to-date figures show that an extremely low percentage of meeting rooms are currently equipped with video functionality, just 4% according to an IMCCA (Interactive Multimedia and Collaborative Communications Alliance) panel at InfoComm 2017. Due not only to the number of companies in this space, but also the wide-ranging functionality of products on offer, UCC is currently one of the most rapidly developing areas of AV, with the majority of the potential market still untapped. As a response to growing levels of competition, manufacturers are increasingly looking at partnerships. This year both Crestron and Polycom have produced hardware that is compatible with Zoom, a web conferencing service and relatively new to the AV space. Oblong has introduced integrations with the Microsoft ecosystem including calendar and video integration with Microsoft Exchange and Skype for Business. This is designed to make it simpler to schedule and start Mezzanine meetings using familiar daily enterprise tools. Also, Lifesize has added integration with Slack and HipChat to existing agreements with Skype for Business and IBM Sametime.

Changing landscape But what is behind this drive to partner?

“The collaboration landscape is changing, and a one-size-fits-all approach is no longer adequate,” observes Sudeep Trivedi, head of partnerships for Logitech Video Collaboration. “Previously a number of videoconferencing vendors have operated in a bit of a walled garden, but the customer demand for flexibility and interoperability has forced them to bring down their walls, with the number of recent partnership announcements reflecting this.”

‘Software needs highperformance devices/ hardware to deliver its magic’ Mary Ann de Lares Norris, Oblong

“The drive to partner comes from a drive for excellence,” says Mary Ann de Lares Norris, VP EMEA of Oblong Industries, before adding: “To deliver an engaging workplace, companies need to invest in disruptive, next-generation systems that are quite often a combination of best-in-class.” Tim Stone, VP of EMEA marketing at Polycom, states: “Strong partnerships and open standards have always been the foundation of the value we bring to our customers. Our partnerships with

Zoom and Microsoft extend the benefits of our solutions to a greater customer base. While our mutual customers with Zoom can now enjoy a great, flexible video experience, our solutions are also helping the Skype for Business users to seamlessly connect to any other standards-based video system without having to leave the familiar Microsoft environment. This is how we ensure we deliver the best user experience and promote ease of use of our technology.” For Lifesize, it’s about fitting in with the customers’ workflow. “At Lifesize, we are focused on delivering an unmatched communication and collaboration experience that is very easy to use,” comments Michael Helmbrecht, chief product and operations officer, Lifesize. “Enabling customers to have a workflow that lets them integrate Lifesize with their other communication and collaboration tools makes it easier for users and more beneficial.”

Shift of emphasis What has also become apparent in recent years is a shifting of emphasis from hardware solutions to software, with the emergence of services like Zoom and Skype for Business. Where does this put traditional AV conferencing vendors? And are they still able to influence the direction of the technology? “It’s an interesting time within our industry,” says Trivedi. “The steep decline in the price-to-


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32 BUSINESS FEATURE: UNIFIED COMMS AND COLLABORATION

performance ratio of computing power, along with ever more powerful cloud services, is causing a general decline in traditional conferencing systems that are based on proprietary codecs. Certainly the move to the cloud, whether a company relies on Skype for Business, Zoom or any number of cloud-based conferencing and collaboration platform providers, will impact how legacy video vendors are addressing customer needs. I also believe the market will see great disruption from new entrants to the market, such as Amazon Chime. It’ll be interesting to see how the incumbents respond.” “The pace of innovation is staggering and software is clearly driving this pace,” adds de Lares Norris. “However, software needs high-performance devices/hardware to deliver its magic, so hardware per se is not going away anytime soon. Hardware vendors need to understand how to wrap cuttingedge software around their devices to deliver continuing improvements and dynamism to the user experience.”

Threat or opportunity? With UCC technology going through something of a transition, what does this mean for the role of the integrator in this space? “In the past, the go-to-market for videoconferencing solutions had been 100% channel, as it required heavy integration services and so on,” explains Helmbrecht. “As easy to install ‘plug-and-play’ endpoints and downloadable cloud-based apps have gained pace, it has driven different expectations for the buyer’s experience, which requires business

adjustments for many integrators. Whenever there is a fundamental change in technology and customer buying behaviour, integrators face the question of how they add value for customers in a rapidly shifting market.” Far from viewing these developments as a threat to the integrator, Trivedi believes that “integrators play a more important role than ever, albeit in a different capacity to what they’ve previously known. Users’ needs for collaboration are more important and complex than ever before, and proper implementation is paramount.” The drop in price and improvements to performance also means customers have the resources to specify modern solutions in every meeting room. “Instead of just assisting with the deployment of complex proprietary AV hardware in a small number of boardrooms, integrators should be offering a higher level of service to address customers’ holistic collaboration needs for each and every meeting space,” says Trivedi. Coming back to Helmbrecht, although there are challenges, integrators should recognise this as a great opportunity to “help customers navigate through this changing landscape, plan and deploy new solutions, and support them in enabling user adoption.” He continues: “In order to be successful, there are additional capabilities that integrators will develop and business changes for which they need to prepare. As solutions and markets change, revenue opportunities do as well. “In addition to project-based services to design and deploy, there is the opportunity to build a recurring revenue stream and develop more

October 2017

business by working with customers to expand their user base and the scope of their solution over time. This requires a strategic conversation to understand customers’ broader communication and collaboration needs and plans.” Oblong’s de Lares Norris is in agreement: “With the speed of innovation and the plethora of options in the marketplace, customers need subject-matter experts to guide them to the choices that are going to be the best fit for the workflow issue they would like to address. AV integrators are playing an ever-increasing role in guiding their customers to the solutions that will deliver innovation and long-term value.” Stone also sees the significant potential available for integrators. “The convergence of traditional videoconferencing and unified communications platforms provides a massive opportunity to AV integrators. Customers are demanding a simplified user experience where users can join meetings from any room or device, so integrators need to be able to build services to integrate UC and AV environments together. As an example there is a major opportunity around Skype for Business integration services. There is a great opportunity for AV integrators to embrace this next wave of convergence that is happening now, and dramatically broaden their addressable market to address the much larger UC market opportunity.”

www.lifesize.com www.logitech.com www.oblong.com www.polycom.com


September 2017 avtechnologyeurope.com

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34 SOLUTIONS: WINTER GARDENS PAVILION, WESTON-SUPER-MARE

October 2017

UNITED KINGDOM

PROJECT OF THE MONTH

A venue for all seasons When is a Victorian building not a Victorian building? When it’s a neo-Georgian pavilion with a makeover comprising sophisticated AV with a variety of modern-day acoustic treatments. Rob Lane reports

L

ocated in Weston-super-Mare, the Winter Gardens Pavilion recently underwent a major refurbishment, including extensive audio and video installations undertaken by specialist integrator Design AV Europe, with assistance from acoustic consultancy AMS Acoustics. Often mistaken for a Victorian building, the neo-Georgian Winter Gardens Pavilion was actually completed in 1927, but the original idea for the building actually dates back to at least 1881 – perhaps explaining the assumed Victorian link. Substantial internal and external alterations were made from the 1950s to the 1970s. In 2015, North Somerset Council agreed to sell the Pavilion to Weston College for the nominal fee of £1, and the building was transferred to the college in May 2016. The redevelopment divides the building into two sections: a Law and Professional Services Academy is accessed from the Italian Gardens, the Winter Gardens Pavilion from the seafront. The Pavilion is actually an independent and commercial venue that will be available for public use. The building’s official reopening is scheduled for January 2018, although a full diary of events has already been booked in from this autumn onwards – immediately following completion.

Variety of challenges With the original 1924 design – a collaboration between landscape architect Thomas Hayton

Mawson and town surveyor Harry Brown – rooted in the social usage of the day, both audio and video presented a variety of challenges to the installation teams. The work contracted to Design AV Europe comprised four physical areas: the Winter Gardens ballroom, bar and restaurant, and reception, and the college reception. Each of these dedicated areas called for different audio and video technology and treatments. The ballroom’s size makes the use of projection technology tricky, and so a 6m x 2.5m, 2.5mm LED display has been installed instead – driven by a tvONE CORIOmaster processor. (There is also a 4mm LED display, 4m x 2.25m in portrait format, used for signage in the college reception area and driven by a BrightSign player.) The somewhat compromised design of the ballroom – sunken, with a small domed roof – proved something of an acoustic challenge, with the ballroom requiring electroacoustic tuning from AMS Acoustics. “We were very keen to assist in setting up the new system because it was clear from just seeing internet photographs that the hall would present challenges and would probably have at least one type of inherent acoustic defect,” explains Helen Goddard, principal at AMS Acoustics. Design AV Europe approached NEXO to supply the ballroom audio system. This was designed to work in any one of five audio scenarios: speech; dinners and table-seated events; live band, concert-type events; ‘DJ ballroom’ (sound only on

Installed Video „ 6m x 2.5m 2.5mm LED screen „ 4m x 2.25m portrait 4mm LED screen „ tvONE CORIOmaster videowall processor „ tvONE Task C2 PiP scaler „ Blackmagic Design multiviewer „ Blackmagic Design Smart Videohub 20 x 20 „ X-Keys XK-80 show controller „ PTZOptics PTZ HD cameras „ BrightSign XT1143 digital signage players

Audio „ NEXO ID.24i loudspeakers „ NEXO GEO M620 line arrays „ NEXO LS-18E 18in subs „ NEXO NXAMP4x1C controller/amplifers „ Audac MTX48 audio matrix „ Audac CAP224 amplifiers „ Audac: ATEO6 wall mount speakers „ Audac CS85 ceiling speakers „ Audac DW5066 wall panels „ BSS Soundweb BLU100 DSP „ BSS Soundweb BLU-BOB 2 „ Soundcraft Si Impact digital desk „ Soundcraft 32R stagebox „ Current Thinking IRMTX750 IR radiators „ Sennheiser G3 microphone systems „ Shure SM58 and MX418S microphones

Control „ Crestron CP3 system processor „ Crestron TSW control panels


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36 SOLUTIONS: WINTER GARDENS PAVILION, WESTON-SUPER-MARE dancefloor); and ‘DJ all’ (sound on dancefloor and promenade). The dancefloor has left and right clusters of four GEO M620 line array modules in white, and two LS18 sub-bass units. The surrounding promenade area has 13 NEXO ID 24i compact loudspeakers (also in white). These are powered by three NEXO NXAMP4x1 controller/ amplifers and run on a BSS Soundweb network Audio is mixed on a Soundcraft Si Impact digital console. Control is via a wall-mounted Crestron touchpanel (and additionally via a 15in touchpanel mounted in the operations desk). The initial NEXO system design was by Gareth Collyer, the manufacturer’s UK and Ireland sales manager. He comments: “It’s not an easy space to put speakers into, with its domed roof, elliptical room shape, numerous huge windows, and countless unwanted reflections. The GEO M620 line array modules in the ballroom allow the dispersion to be maximised front to back. Even though the length of the line array is short, thanks to the compactness of the M6 design, the angles between cabinets provide vertical control, keeping sound away from the windows and the roof. Having the ID 24i loudspeakers around the promenade allows for the introduction of time delays, especially useful for the speech/teaching scenario, where they provide enhanced speech intelligibility.” The pavilion’s other main audio component is the background music system, which plays in the college reception, Winter Gardens reception, and bar and restaurant. This runs off an Audac matrix, and uses Audac amplifiers and speakers (wall-mounted and ceiling-recessed), except for the Winter Gardens reception, where NEXO ID series speakers and LS18 subs have been installed.

Multiple settings “From looking at the refurbishment project details and the plans that Weston College has for the main ballroom, it became clear that multiple settings would be required for the sound system – ranging from teaching through to full rock and roll,” says Goddard. “The most challenging was the teaching/speech setting.” AMS investigated the ballroom’s acoustics using an omnidirectional sound source, and the impulse response and reverberation times of the room were measured at 32 positions, both

About the integrator „ Design AV Europe specialises in the design and delivery of AV systems, building control and automation to corporate, commercial and residential markets „ The company is headquartered in Cheltenham, with a northern office in Salford’s MediaCityUK

on the dancefloor and the promenade – treated as two separate acoustic spaces. Half of the promenade was tested as empty, while the other half was set up for banqueting. A spatial average of the frequency response of the sound system was made in each space. This was then used to apply equalisation for the speech setting. Once the two rooms were equalised and the EQ settings stored on the NEXO amplifiers as the baseline EQ, AMS determined the delay that should be applied between the main dancefloor arrays and the distributed promenade loudspeakers. Obviously, AMS Acoustics’ contribution to the project occurred towards the end of the audiovideo installation. Design AV Europe tendered for the work many months previously, having been recommended to Weston College. “It’s certainly been an interesting one; certainly not a normal job, and quite unique,” says Damian Orritt, commercial director at Design AV Europe. “The venue itself is very unusual – it’s not every day you get to work in a place with such history behind it – and presented huge acoustic challenges because it was, of course, built to carry non-amplified music. The ballroom’s elliptical shape with a big domed ceiling was particularly challenging.” “Technically, getting the acoustics right is the most difficult part of the installation,” he continues. “Some acoustic treatments [a Class A absorber] were applied to the dome itself just to flatten it out a bit, and we worked closely with AMS Acoustics to ensure it was all EQ’d out and to also program some scenarios – everything from award shows and dinners to speak-only events and DJing.” The biggest problem faced by Orritt’s team across the build as a whole was access, with lots of confined space work. Cable runs and routes were a “challenge” and with no ventilation in the building, fitting ducting and finding the space to accommodate it was a difficult job. However, there was no need for “miles and miles” of cables: the team routed

October 2017

all the audio channels, from stage to ops, on a single Cat5. Other signal types used within the installation are HD-SDI, HDBT, DMX and DMX over Ethernet. The new lighting system comprises Chauvet and Selecon fixtures with Enttec DMX management, run from an Zero88 FLX desk. “We did have to do some extensive metalworking in the roof and there’s now a whole new truss and motor set-up there; what had been up there had clearly been up there for some time. We had to rip it all out and put a whole new structure up there: quite a big job.” Design AV Europe is hoping to maintain an ongoing working relationship with the venue. Orritt and his team will, at least initially, be supporting the first tranche of live events; he is intrigued by how the Pavilion is going to be used. “It will be interesting to see how much it gets used and what type of events it gets used for. We’re quite positive because it’s not quite finished [as of mid-September] and it has already been booked. I think it will be a busy venue and will do very well: it’s in a nice location and it is the only venue of its kind in Weston. Hopefully it will be a versatile, userfriendly space.”

www.amsacoustics.co.uk www.audac.be www.blackmagicdesign.com www.brightsign.biz www.bssaudio.com www.chauvetlighting.com www.crestron.eu www.designav.eu https://nexo-sa.com www.ptzoptics.com www.sennheiser.com www.shure.co.uk www.soundcraft.com www.tvone.com www.xkeys.com


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38 SOLUTIONS: FASHION RESEARCH ITALY, BOLOGNA ITALY

Body of light The centrepiece of a leading fashion education facility is a giant LED sculpture inspired by the female form. Mike Clark reports

F

ollowing a €15 million investment by Alberto Masotti (son of the company’s founder) the Bologna HQ of fashion house La Perla now hosts Fashion Research Italy (FRI), a large avant-garde educational, expo and archive facility highlighting fashion products and hosting marketing and advertising courses. The venue’s key features include Statua di Donna (‘Statue of Woman’), which reproduces the sinuous stylised curves of a female body. Ten metres high, it’s one of the world’s largest 3D LED sculptures. As well as animating the sculpture, its LEDs – contained in 5,280 white opaline spheres – enable it to reproduce the 30,000 textile designs in the collection purchased by the organisation.

Immersive storytelling The unique statue – symbol and heart of the fashion hub – was conceived, designed and installed by Senso Immersive Experience, a creative studio led by Mick Odelli, specialising in immersive storytelling and high-tech avantgarde installations with high-impact content. Senso Immersive Experience was founded by

Installed Lighting „ Tagra custom LEDs „ Madrix Nebula

Video „ Samsung OH85F monitors „ Dataton WATCHPAX 2 „ Dataton Watchout Producer

Audio „ Community W2-218 loudspeakers „ Community VLF208 subwoofers „ Apart CMAR8TW loudspeakers „ Biamp Tesira audio networking system Odelli in 2015 in the north-eastern Italian province of Padua, to combine his team’s wide knowhow in the context of immersive media, new technology, design and architecture. The company was launched as a spin-off of DrawLight, another Odelli company (founded in

October 2017

2008), specialising in the creation of high-tech artistic installations, which soon became a reference point on the Italian video mapping and immersive media market. Odelli explains: “This complex work took four months’ design and planning, four more to find the ideal products and suppliers, a month for assembly and another for installation.” Senso’s chief technology officer, Alberto Vazzola, responsible for the project at technical level, gives an insight on the 10m statue, with its impressive flowing lines: “The ‘woman’ contains 5,280 7cm diameter white opaline spheres, each being to all effects a ‘pixel’ of the statue and containing a total of 21,120 LEDs. Tagra Lighting (UK) supplied the customised LEDs, modified to operate at 24V, due to the size of the statue and the relative losses of load. Each can change colour independently or simultaneously, with a range of 16 million colours. Via Madrix devices (seven Nebula) and software, the DMX signals are converted to serial (WS2812b 800kHz) protocol, enabling the statue to be mapped. The statue is hung from the ceiling with a ‘skeleton’ consisting of a central three-core power cable, and 1mm steel wires.” Senso’s project manager Nicoletta Caporaletti comments: “Statua di Donna was created as a tribute to femininity and the deep bonds that link women with the history of the fashion world. We expressed these concepts with this unique visual structure, bringing them to life in a precious dress, which we imagined to be entirely covered in glittering diamonds.”

Catwalk The facility also features and original outdoor multimedia catwalk screening virtual fashion parades, formed by eight large video displays. The catwalk’s AV system was designed and installed by Videoworks SpA, an Italian system integrator with more than 20 years’ experience


www.installation-international.com

SOLUTIONS: FASHION RESEARCH ITALY, BOLOGNA 39 weather-resistant (IP55) loudspeaker enclosures and two Community low-profile micro subwoofers, plus eight Apart recessed circular two-way marine speakers, able to ensure quality sound and efficiency even in the most difficult, humid and hot conditions (frequent in Bologna’s summer months). Audio control is via a Biamp Tesira audio networking system with presentation mixer and amplifiers.

in the design, realisation and installation of innovative audio/video, communication, entertainment and home automation systems, with clients in the yachting, architectural (luxury private residences) and business sectors. The company’s 50-strong staff operates from Aalsmeer (Netherlands), Ancona (the company’s HQ), Milan, London, Moscow and Viareggio Through the years, the firm’s work featured in the pages of Installation has included the Casa Enzo Ferrari Museum, the conference room and auditorium at lighting manufacturer iGuzzini’s HQ and state-of-the-art integrated entertainment systems for luxury yachts. The FRI catwalk is formed of eight Samsung 85in monitors installed in portrait mode and positioned in such a way as to be seen by visitors as one long screen with over 16 million pixels. These ultra-slim (85mm) units form a powerful all-inclusive outdoor signage solution thanks to their embedded power boxes. Several fundamental features led to them being chosen for outdoor use – including their optimum level of endurance (equivalent to IK10) and IP56 protection rating. They offer excellent visibility under direct sunlight thanks to their 2,500-nit brightness and anti-reflection glass. Video playout is via four Dataton WATCHPAX 2 media players and Dataton Watchout Producer. Audio on the catwalk is reproduced via loudspeakers for outdoor use: two Community

http://apart-audio.com www.biamp.com www.communitypro.com www.dataton.com www.madrix.com http://displaysolutions.samsung.com www.sensoimmersive.com www.tagra-lighting.co.uk www.videoworks.it

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40 SOLUTIONS: BLINK FITNESS, NEW YORK

October 2017

USA

Installed

Simple as blinking

Audio „ Symetrix Prism DSPs „ Attero Tech unBT2A Bluetooth wallplates „ JBL Control-series pendants/ceiling speakers

Playing music from gym instructors’ phones needed technology that was convenient, reliable and easy to use. Tom Bradbury reports on a solution that ticked all the boxes

W

ith 50 locations, mostly in the New York Metropolitan Area, and a goal of 300 locations by 2020, Blink Fitness is growing quickly. The low-cost gym chain focuses on service and cleanliness. You won’t find a sauna or a steam room, you aren’t provided with a towel, but you do get high quality service and equipment in a clean, friendly environment. And you get workout music, which is carefully selected to provide the beat and level calculated to keep you motivated. In this environment, it’s important that the staff be able to easily get music into the sound system without having to think about the technology involved. To that end, the team at system integrator Advance Sound of Farmingdale, New York, designed sound systems for Blink gyms that accept Bluetooth input via Attero Tech unBT2A single-gang Bluetooth audio receiver wallplates. “In addition to the large rooms, some Blink locations have small group training, or SGT rooms,” says Advance Sound senior engineering manager Thomas DePace. “Sometimes the clubs have two of these group fitness rooms, one with a wooden floor for yoga and the like and another equipped with indoor bicycles for spin classes. The Attero Tech unBT2A is a very user-friendly device that allows group fitness instructors to come in, connect their phones using Bluetooth, and play tunes from the phones.” The unBT2A provides Bluetooth stereo audio input, stereo balanced audio over Cat5 cable, customisable device naming, remote pairing activation, and remote control and status

monitoring via RS-232. Bluetooth is a superior solution to hardwired audio for Blink’s group rooms, DePace points out, because if someone is on a bike or running in a class, cables can get in the way, break, or simply disappear. At the same time, with so many clubs, Blink wants district managers and individual venue managers to be able to work with the sound system and troubleshoot problems as much as possible without requiring outside help. So the Bluetooth solution needed to be easy to use. “The Attero Tech unBT2A is integrator-friendly as well as user-friendly,” says DePace. “We like that the only thing the user touches is the Pair button. And in addition to offering easy connectivity, the unBT2A lets us name each device, so when the clubs have two fitness rooms, instructors know which room they’re connecting to. Other Bluetooth solutions we tested did not offer device naming.”

Dante network The main sound system that Advance Sound installs in Blink gyms employs a Dante network managed by a pair of Symetrix Prism DSPs. The specific loudspeakers selected for Blink’s systems vary depending on the design of each space, but in general DePace’s team specifies JBL Control-series pendants or ceiling speakers. Although the SGT rooms are tied into the main Dante network, the sound in each room can be independently operated. “With the DSP, we are able to set the room levels so they’re repeatable and sustainable for every group,” DePace notes. “It’s not like each instructor changes the settings, and you don’t know

what they did. And when there’s no group in the space, the gym manager can send audio from the main system into the SGT room. So you can use an instructor’s phone as a source via the unBT2A or tie the SGT room into the main system.” Sound system reliability is mission-critical at Blink. “The sound system is so important to these spaces; you can’t put a ‘scheduled for repair’ sign on it,” DePace points out. “So our Bluetooth solution had to be reliable. We tested everything from a $30 Bluetooth solution to a $100 solution, and nothing was as dependable and usable as the Attero Tech unBT2A. With other devices, you would lose connectivity, especially if the instructor was jumping around and had their phone in their pocket. But the Bluetooth signal from the Attero Tech unBT2A was very dependable. We did a line-of-sight test, and we were able to get a strong Bluetooth connection to the unBT2A at a significant distance, so we were more than comfortable that the end-user’s Bluetooth device would stay connected.” The Attero Tech unBT2A Bluetooth system has fully proven itself at Blink gyms. “Blink’s staff and management are very happy with the system’s Bluetooth reliability and ease of use,” confirms DePace. “Blink is growing, and as they add new locations, we’ll continue to install unBT2As in their group rooms.”

www.advancesound.com www.atterotech.com www.jblpro.com www.symetrix.co


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42 SOLUTIONS IN BRIEF

October 2017

CANADA

University lab explores the senses The Responsive Ecologies Lab (RE/Lab) at Ryerson University has collaborated with audio engineer Kenneth Emig to design and implement solutions for people with sensory integration disorders. The RE/Lab explores issues involving sensory technologies and tangible interactions. For example, it seeks solutions for people with sensory integration disorders such as autism, and enables research in data visualisation and biomedicine. Emig designed and implemented RE/Lab’s equipment infrastructure to support the audio aspects of this research. He specified two different audio systems, one employing near-field monitors to provide clarity and imaging close-up, and another based on six Renkus-Heinz CF61-2 powered, two-way, Complex Conic point-source loudspeakers, to create a farfield sound reinforcement environment.

www.renkus-heinz.com

CHINA

Spectacular LED lighting comes to Yellow River China’s Binhe Yellow River Bridge in Yinchuan has been illuminated using architectural LED lighting from Philips Lighting, designed by Shanghai Bright Language Lighting Design Co. The double-cable suspension bridge spans the entire width of the Yellow River and connects the centre of Yinchuan City with the Binhe New Area. The Binhe Yellow River Bridge’s unique architectural design is complemented by Philips Color Kinetics technology that provides architectural lighting effects and gives the flexibility to change up to 16.7 million colours. After more than two years of construction, the Binhe Yellow River Bridge was opened to traffic in April 2016, with the lighting installation completed a year later.

www.lighting.philips.com

USA

Giant waves displayed for NY art install Unilumin tiled LED displays, installed by WorldStage, are being used to spectacular effect in a new mixed-media installation by a multimedia artist ‘Platform: Clifford Ross Light | Waves’. Currently at the Parrish Art Museum in Water Mill, New York is an exhibition of computergenerated ‘Digital Wave’ videos displayed on massive LED screens outside and inside the museum, as well as Hurricane Wave photographs printed on sheets of maple veneer. Visitors to the museum, and people driving past, see Ross’s

dynamic ‘Digital Waves’ continually crashing on two 15m-wide LED screens on the Parrish’s south exterior. In the lobby, a 5.5m x 5.5m LED screen further immerses visitors in the virtual ocean. WorldStage was tasked with providing a complete package, which was comprised of the LED screens, custom rigging solutions for the screens, and a Dataton WATCHOUT media server system. In addition, a control system with a customised UI was used to allow museum staff to manually affect the installation.

www.unilumin.com www.worldstage.com


SOLUTIONS IN BRIEF 43

www.installation-international.com

SWITZERLAND

Concert venue modernises with console update The Konzert Theatre Bern in Switzerland has partnered with Stage Tec, installing two large AURUS platinum consoles and a NEXUS audio network to replace two CANTUS systems, fitted in 1999 as the first digital consoles in Switzerland. As primary and secondary desks in a NEXUS audio network, the CANTUS consoles mixed the audio for opera, drama, ballet and concert performances. Now two AURUS platinum mixing consoles, each with 32 faders, have been installed. One AURUS platinum is installed in sound production on the second floor; the second console is portable and can be located in the auditorium when required. One of the advantages of this is that the Tonmeister can assess the mix for musicals and concerts from the audience perspective.

www.stagetec.com

UK

Marine install provides drone control

www.whitelight.ltd.uk

NORWAY

Concert hall gains reverb control The KulturHuset concert hall in Tromsø, Norway has installed an Alcons Audio proribbon system to solve the main live venue’s bass reverberation issues. The venue is used for a wide range of productions including theatre, stand-up comedy and rock, as well as fi lm screenings during the Tromsø International Film Festival. The KulturHuset team looked at a number of options, finally settling on the Alcons LR18 compact mid-size line-array, supplied by local

installation specialists Lydproduksjon Tromsø AS. The speaker system consists of 16 LR18 with four BF362 MkII high output subwoofers. It also includes three SR9 ultra-compact in-fill monitors as frontfi lls. The main array is divided into three zones on each side, to get the best results, while the frontfill array is divided into two zones, time-aligned with the main system.

www.alconsaudio.com

Autonomous vessel technology developer ASV Global has built a Mission Control Room facility with White Light, in co-operation with Hills Design, handling the technical set-up within the space. The facility enables the team to control and monitor the numerous autonomous boats, also called drones, that it builds as they operate all over the world. The consultancy phase of the project lasted five months, while the on-site installation took two weeks. White Light drew on a range of AV and projection kit to ensure that the control received the exact technical solutions required. To deploy the content, the company used a Christie Phoenix system. The content itself was projected onto a 4.7m screen using two Christie QC Projectors blended together. For master control within the space, White Light selected a Crestron system.


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TECHNOLOGY

Kit you need to know about

PRODUCT OF Soundcraft by Harman THE MONTH Vi1000 It’s… the latest member of Soundcraft’s Vi Series of digital mixing consoles.

What’s new? At 86cm x 81cm, it’s the most compact member of the Vi-000 family, but it offers all the mixing and processing capabilities of the Vi2000 and 3000. Details: The Vi1000 is designed for applications where a compact, cost-effective but powerful console is required – such as corporate AV, music venues, theatres and houses of worship, as well as live touring. Employing Soundcraft’s intuitive Vistonics II ‘knobs on glass’ channel strip user interface, together with FaderGlow, the console uses the same operating principles and workflows as the Vi3000, 5000 and 7000 consoles. With Vistonics II, each control is always clearly labelled as to its function, despite its assignable nature. The functions are colour coded and use icons to indicate the parameter being adjusted. The console features Soundcraft SpiderCore, a powerful built-in DSP and I/O engine based on Studer technology that offers 40-bit floating-point processing. The Vi1000 can also function as an additional remotecontrol surface for any of the larger consoles in the range, using the Mirroring feature. Rear-panel local I/O comprises 16 HQ mic/ line inputs, 16 line outputs, and two 64 channel expansion slots that allow up to two MADI-based stageboxes to be connected; alternatively, optional I/O expansion cards can be chosen from the ViSi Connect range, which include MADI, Dante, Aviom, Rocknet, BLU link, SDI, TDIF, ADAT and other industrystandard formats. Four channels of AES/EBU I/O plus USB and MIDI connections complete the back panel. The total I/O count of the console is 212 in x 212 out.

Dante networking is standard issue on the Vi1000. A built-in 64 x 64 Dante/MADI interface provides direct recording/playback connection via Ethernet to any Windows or Mac-based recording software, or allows the Vi1000 to integrate into an existing Dante network. The optical MADI interface allows an alternate recording feed to MADI-equipped storage devices; connecting the Soundcraft Realtime Rack Plug-in engine adds the power of Universal Audio UAD-powered plug-ins to the console’s sonic palette. Built-in monitoring support for wireless microphone systems from AKG (WMS and DMS), Shure (ULXD and QLXD) and Sennheiser (6000 series) enables operators to check battery power, RF levels and frequencies, plus audio level and clipping status – right on the channel strip that controls each mic. In addition to gating and compression

on all 96 channel paths, audio processing functionality includes BSS DPR901ii Dynamic EQ and Lexicon multi-effects via an insertable processing pool – plus the ability to insert up to 64 external devices. STUDER vMIX automatic voice mixing is built in, and BSS 966 graphic EQs are available on all output busses. Andy Brown, Soundcraft product manager, comments: “The Vi1000 represents all that we’ve learned over the years with our Vi line and channels that knowledge and experience into a new desk that delivers superior audio performance and a world-class feature set – now delivered in the most compact form factor we’ve achieved so far.”

Available: November www.soundcraft.com


46 TECHNOLOGY: NEW PRODUCTS „ Chief PSMH2860, LCM2U and FCASFP These are two mounting soutions for stretched displays, both accommodating 600 x 200 VESA patterns and featuring a lockable latch for added security. Just 38mm deep, the PSMH2860 Static Stretched Display Wall Mount works in portrait and landscape orientations. It is single-stud mountable in portrait orientation and has a weight capacity of 34kg. The LCM2U and FCASFP combine to make a ceiling mount. Centris fingertip tilt allows up to +5º and -20° adjustment for optimal positioning. The mount swivels to any preferred viewing angle and supports up to 56.7kg. www.milestone.com „ Digital Projection E-Vision LASER 5K Featuring the same proven laser illumination technology as Digital Projection’s flagship projectors, the E-Vision LASER 5K is a bright (5,000 lumens), compact, flexible, dependable and quiet imaging tool for large-screen applications that also meets prudent budgetary requirements. It benefits from 20,000 hours of stable, maintenance-free imaging and can be oriented in nearly any position. Featuring 1-chip DLP technology, this WUXGA projector benefits from a standard 1.151.90:1 zoom lens and multiple connectivity options. It is also 3D capable. www.digitalprojection.com „ B-Tech BT8312 Ultra-Slim Pop-Out Video

Wall Mount The BT8312 offers the same pop-out convenience as B-Tech’s BT8310 model, but with an ultra-slim profile that allows installations to be fitted even closer to the wall. Unlimited videowall configurations are possible in either landscape and portrait format. An integrated locking mechanism prevents accidental screen pop-out, and tool-less micro-adjustments can be made at each corner for seamless display alignment. The BT8312 also works as a pole-mounted solution when used with the System 2 range. www.btechavmounts.com „ Extron AXI 016 This 1U, half-rack width, 16-output audio expansion interface for Extron’s DMP 128 Plus increases the matrix’s output count from eight to 24. All the DSP processing occurs within the matrix, so no separate configuration is needed for the AXI 016. All 24 outputs can be discretely sourced and routed from any input. When a DMP 128 Plus AT model is used, Dante audio sources can also be processed and routed to the outputs of the AXI 016. www.extron.eu

October 2017

Robe MegaPointe It’s… the next in the family of multi-functional moving light fixtures, following the launches of the Pointe in 2013 and the MiniPointe in 2015.

What’s new? Robe says it sets new expectations in moving light technology, and takes the all-in-one fixture to a whole new level. Details: MegaPointe features an exclusive 470W short-arc light source, super-quick movement, smooth CMY colour mixing and a multitude of effects available for splitting and shaping the light in Spot, Beam or Wash modes. The zoom ranges from 1.8º to 21º in Beam mode, and from 3º to 42º in Spot mode. Total lumen output is 20,375 and CRI is over 80. Inventive in-air projections can be created using the new Effects Engine, pre-loaded with 12 dynamic beam and flower effects, and can be finessed using the beam shaper, which can emulate framing shutter effects and create rectangular shapes, as well as being rotatable and indexable.

Utilising the ‘light’ and medium’ frost filters with any combination of colours from the CMY mixing system produces smooth, even wash coverage. A static 14-slot plus open gobo wheel is fitted with glass gobos for precision surface projections and exciting in-air impressions.

Available: Now www.robe.cz

Vaddio OneLINK Bridge It’s… a device that combines camera extension systems with USB bridging functionality.

What’s new? It creates a USB media stream that connects professional AV sources to popular PC software applications. Details: OneLINK Bridge combines a camera extension system with an audio mixer in a single device. It allows end-users to convert an audio/video source from any PTZ camera or AV switcher into a USB 3.0 media stream, for use in UCC with applications such as Skype for Business, Google Hangouts, WebEx and Zoom, or for recording and lecture capture. It extends power, control and video from Vaddio RoboSHOT Cameras, third-party PTZ cameras and compatible HDBaseT A/V switchers up to 100m over a single Cat-5e/6 cable. It includes HDMI and HD-SDI outputs, two mic line inputs with echo cancellation, two line outputs, and associated digital audio channels.

It also provides a composite USB stream with 1080p/60 video and stereo 48kHz audio. It can also be used to create a dual-purpose videoconference room, giving users the choice of a traditional codec or a soft client in the same room. OneLINK Bridge is available in kits optimised for use with Cisco, Polycom, Sony, Panasonic and Vaddio PTZ cameras. It can also be used as a standalone HDBaseT receiver to get USB 3.0 (video and audio), HDMI and HD-SDI to the table from HDBaseT AV switchers from Crestron, AMX and Kramer.

Available: Now www.vaddio.com


TECHNOLOGY: NEW PRODUCTS

www.installation-international.com

NEC Enterprise Solutions SL2100 smaller and mid-sized businesses.

What’s new? The SL2100 Smart Communications System offers a host of sophisticated UCC, VoIP and smart mobility features at “an extremely competitive price,” according to the manufacturer.

contact with colleagues and customers by means of single number reach, built-in webbased conferencing, remote worker/home office support and the ability to use smartphones as system extensions. The diverse set of built-in InApps does not requires a PC. InUC provides videoconferencing, collaboration, document sharing, presence and instant messaging for any business of up to 128 users. InReports is a smart call management application providing 24/7 ‘visibility’ of the

entire company’s communications, presenting graphically enhanced reports as lists, charts or wallboards. InGuard protects a business against toll fraud attacks, monitoring all call activity 24/7. InHotel is a front-of-house application combining a complete property management system with tightly integrated telephone system functionality, for hotels of up to 120 rooms.

Available: Now www.nec-enterprise.com www.necsl2100.com

Vision’s SP-1800P 2 x 30W loudspeakers have been replaced by the SP-1800PBT, which adds Bluetooth connectivity to the line-up of two inputs, remote control and RS-232 control. The Bluetooth input can be renamed and the PIN modified via PC software. The speakers can automatically switch to the Bluetooth input on pairing. If the phone rings during a presentation, Bluetooth reverts to the handset during the call. Any number of devices can be paired, although only the most recent eight remain in the memory. http://visionaudiovisual.com

4K-TX940

This HDCP 2.2-compliant 4K HDBaseT splitter can distribute 4K video to up to four displays using 4K-RX940 HDBaseT receivers. A looping HDMI input on the rear panel allows for cascading of multiple 4K-TX940 units. The 4K-TX940 can transmit 4K HDMI signals over 100m, and each HDBaseT connection also allows IR signals back from the receiver, enabling remote control of the source device. Power is supplied over the Cat6, and enhanced EDID management allows for fuss-free selection of preferred output resolution. www.smart-e.co.uk

Jamboard It’s… a much-heralded 4K touch-enabled workplace collaboration device.

What’s new? It’s now available in the UK via BenQ, with special offers available till the end of the year.

putting popular Google apps and a host of interactive capabilities at users’ fingertips during a ‘jam’ session. They can draw, annotate, import and scribble on images and Google Docs, search the web, communicate with colleagues via Hangouts; all work is saved in the cloud. Users can sketch out plans in real time with teammates from around the world via other Jamboards or the mobile and tablet apps. According to BenQ, the device redefines meetings and team collaboration, creating a more team-oriented working environment. Jamboard comes in a choice of three colours

„ Vision SP-1800PBT

„ Smart-e

BenQ

Details: Jamboard integrates with G Suite,

„ Sharp PN-Q901 Adding a 90in option to the existing 60in, 70in and 80in models in this range, the PN-Q901 is designed for prolonged display applications up to 16/7 in shops, reception areas, lobbies and office meeting rooms. Brightness is 350cd/sqm. An embedded USB media player allows quick and easy display of images or videos with sound from a memory stick. Remote control is via IR handset, or using commands sent over a LAN or RS232 connection. www.sharp.eu

It’s… a communications system targeted at

Details: It enables businesses to keep in

47

„ Xantech EX Series HDMI cables – Carmine Red, Graphite Grey or Cobalt Blue – with an MSRP of £3,999; this includes a wall mount, two styluses and an eraser. Endusers can buy the optional rolling stand for an introductory price of £1,000 so they can move the Jamboard between huddle spaces, meeting rooms or offices. An annual £498 management and support fee will be reduced to £249 for purchases made before the end of December.

Available: Now http://business-display.benq.com http://gsuite.google.com/products/jamboard

These high-speed HDMI cables feature X-GRIP technology, which can resist up to 10 pounds of pull force. Available in 0.7 m, 1m, 1.5m, 2m, 3m, and 4m lengths, the cables support all current HDMI features – including HDR, 18Gbps transfer rates, resolutions up to UHD and DCI 4K at 60fps and 4:4:4, audio return channel and Dolby Surround. A solid aluminium internal EMI shielding jacket encases the entire connector head, overlapping the cable’s shielding well, and gold-plated contacts housed in a porcelain-shielded connector aid in rejecting stray capacitance from other interconnected components. www.xantech.com


48 DEMO OF THE MONTH: MEYER SOUND LINA

October 2017

A roaring success Paddy Baker attends a demonstration of the latest member of Meyer Sound’s LEO speaker family – and finds that high SPL and subtlety can go hand in hand

L

INA is the latest and slimmest line array from Meyer Sound. Launched this summer, it had its first major public outing at InfoComm. Last month, the company’s UK operation held a demo of LINA, along with fellow members of the LEO loudspeaker family, on the back of some training sessions. The venue is Fly By Nite Studios in Redditch, on the outskirts of Birmingham – a fairly anonymous building on an industrial estate, which contains a purpose-built rehearsal studio roughly 40m by 40m, and 20m high. The equipment is set up close to one of the corners. The presentation begins with some history on the origins of Meyer Sound and the development of its product lines – led by Andy Davies from Meyer Sound UK technical support. The company sets great store by the linearity of the responses of its speakers. They are designed to colour the sound as little as possible – even the subs – and they should sound the same at all levels. The LEO family and their associated subs have been optimised for what the company calls ‘native mode’: if array cabinets and subs are deployed in a specific ratio, they have been designed to give an uncoloured sound without the addition of EQ. Although not all of today’s speakers are in native mode, we’re told that very little EQ has been used.

Resolution and symmetry LYON and LEOPARD arrays are first up, then it’s LINA, which is the successor to the MINA cabinet, first released in 2010. MINA was the first Meyer Sound array cabinet to position the LF drivers behind the horn. “This added fantastic resolution and, particularly, symmetry to the output

characteristics, which we really liked,” says Davies. This layout fed into the design of subsequent Meyer Sound array cabinets, starting with LEO and eventually reaching LINA. Like MINA, LINA consists of two 6.5in longexcursion LF drivers behind a horn with a 3in HF compression driver. However, most of the other aspects have been updated. In a video, Pablo Espinosa, vice president of R&D at Meyer Sound, explains: “Internally, everything is different: the amplifier, the power supply, the HF driver, the LF drivers, are all different” – as well as how the cabinet has been optimised for low distortion and improved low-frequency response. The upshot is the new cabinet produces 3dB more SPL than MINA; and these components are also lighter, so a LINA cabinet weighs just 19.6kg. The LINA cabinets are demoed both with and without the LFC-750 companion bass cabinets. These are put through their paces in flown and groundstacked configurations. A hang of seven LINA cabinets is topped with three LFC-750s – the middle one of which is reversed to provide a cardioid pattern. The groundstacked system comprises three LINAs with two LFC-750s. We first hear the flown LINAs on their own – on an intimate acoustic track by Alison Krauss and Union Station. Vocal intelligibility is excellent here, even on softly sung lines. Coverage is good and even both from side to side and from front to back. The flown LFC-750s are added for a track by Seal. I don’t hear as much additional bass presence as I was expecting, but I think that is down to the track itself – the drums, when they come in, are quite light in the mix.

The two LFC-750s on the ground are added for a Donald Fagen track. “Sounds pretty good!” I write in my notebook. The next track, one by Toto, is played on the groundstacked LINA and LFC-750 system, and it fills the room with sound just as effectively as the flown system – although presumably, with half the number of cabinets, it’s had to be driven a little harder to achieve this.

Full system The final two songs are played through the full demo system: LYON, LEOPARD and LINA arrays with LFC-1100 and LFC-750 subs. An AC-DC track is as loud – but not painfully so – and heavy as one could hope for. More unexpected, though, was the sensation from a London Grammar track: rather than a kickdrum punch to the chest, this song makes my body physically tingle all over. I’m not sure I remember a feeling quite like this at any other speaker demo. Just as I’m wondering how to sum up what I’ve heard, a testimonial quote flashes up on the presentation screen from the FOH and production manager for the band Bassnectar: “LEO allows me to make extremely fine changes at high volumes… I can actually hear the subtleties.” That’s absolutely it. This afternoon I’ve heard rock, folk, electro, indie, chamber music and more – all rendered with extreme clarity. The fine details – the twang of a bass string, the clink of a tambourine – are all there to hear; not to distract you from the song, but to enhance your enjoyment of the music.

www.meyersound.com


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50 WORDS OF WISDOM

October 2017

Spiros Andreou This month we have a range of useful tips from the service department of an award-winning integrator Nothing wrong with theft In my nine years in higher education (HE), one of the most important lessons I learned was not to reinvent the wheel, but to utilise best practice and innovation where you find it. Often you will develop an in-house application, design or service where one already exists, instead of purchasing or sharing an existing solution. There is a huge amount of industry best practice that the IT department has been taking advantage of for years, and now that AV devices are networked, VLAN’d, monitored and remotely updated, the same philosophies apply. Managing the service? Look at ITILv3, fITSM or IT4IT frameworks, which provide standardsbased operating models to deliver value for money and avoid risk. Failures and issues? Use Six Sigma or Total Quality Management tools to investigate root causes, improve and monitor. Ongoing projects or developments? Utilise agile methodology to break large work down into manageable (and deliverable!) pieces, keeping your customers informed along the way. Speaking of agile... I’ve used Atlassian’s JIRA product to manage proactive tasks and projects for several years now. JIRA is a tool used mainly by software developers and provides a Kanban board to track progress on work, show priority and review where you are spending time. With the need to be 20% more efficient each year, JIRA (or similar applications like Microsoft’s Planner and Trello) can really help highlight where you can change to improve. It’s an excellent business relationship management tool as well, because exposing the board to your customers shows transparency in the progress of work without having to update tickets or have your engineers attend meetings. A stitch in time One of the key lessons my time in HE taught

me is that proactive work always pays for itself. It feels like a daunting task to break the back of day-to-day issues that seem to flood in endlessly, but even small savings start to add up. It’s great for motivating your staff as they can see how many potential incidents have been avoided through the proactive work. Cost benefit is important to remember though. Just like the IT department’s Kaizen board or CSI register, it is important to control time spent on this work as troubleshooting a small fault can end up costing more than replacing equipment or providing a workaround. Trying it in a wrap Where in the portfolio does your customer or institution’s AV support service sit? Whether you are in facilities management, IT services or a standalone entity, your organisation will have a service catalogue describing the parameters of what you offer to your customers (the people paying for the service) and how it will demonstrate value for money. You may even have a service strategy detailing how new installations will be handed over, supported and decommissioned. If you are a service provider yourself, your customers will consider you among their multi-vendor portfolio, which may include outsourced email, virtual desktop and project support services. Certainly in HE, supplier management (which may have been non-existent five years ago) is now being seen as a key process, as third-party service providers start to become more prevalent in contractedin roles. With the consequence of failure of these processes growing every year, for example through the newly introduced Teaching Excellence Framework, National Student Survey or even the quality of competition in the marketplace vying for business, AV has to be right first time, every time, and a big part of establishing and operating a quality service

is ensuring it is consistent, in line with your customer’s expectations and fit for purpose. Next paradigm of competition The interconnectedness of the customer, equipment manufacturer and integrator has driven down price competition within the industry. Especially in HE, service expertise and quality are starting to become the key differentiators in a world where student experience is paramount. While most universities are trying to grow their student numbers to better cope with the ebb and flow of funding, professional staff headcounts are shrinking, with highly experienced specialists safer than on-theground technicians and managers. You are always snagging It is clear that it is no longer acceptable for an integrator to install equipment, sign some documents and leave site. Resisting the advance of ‘consumer-like’ solutions that release new versions every year (with support to match), most customers still operate a fourto five-year replacement cycle for their AV and require that same warranty on equipment and installation defects from their chosen provider. With the growing complexity of installations, this can become a substantial activity which could tax a modest support operation. Consider how these new challenges might influence your proposal to your customer; the AV industry is adapting and innovating in response, and these are exciting times! Spiros Andreou is service delivery manager at CDEC Ltd, an award-winning integrator active across a number of verticals, including education, corporate, health and retail.

www.cdec.co.uk


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Installation October 2017 Digital Edition  

AV integration in a networked world

Installation October 2017 Digital Edition  

AV integration in a networked world