Issue 210 / April 2018
AV INTEGRATION IN A NETWORKED WORLD
+ Sound preview p14 Prolight What to expect in Frankfurt this month audio p28 Immersive How can integrators get involved? PA-VA challenge p32 Massive A single system for Europe’s largest indoor arena
VIDEO COMMS SPECIAL REPORT Why user experience is more important than ever p18
Don’t miss the entry deadline! See page 12
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CONTENT Editor: Paddy Baker firstname.lastname@example.org, +44 (0)207 354 6034 Deputy Editor: Duncan Proctor email@example.com, +44 (0)207 354 6037 Content Director: James McKeown firstname.lastname@example.org, +44 (0)207 354 6015 Contributors: Mike Clark, David Davies, Franck Ernould, Rob Lane, Ian McMurray, Juan José Vila Special thanks: Robin Johnson, Nick Spalding Designer: Tom Carpenter email@example.com, +44 (0)207 354 6041 Digital Director: Diane Oliver firstname.lastname@example.org, +44 (0)207 354 6019 Senior Production Executive: Jason Dowie email@example.com, +44 (0)203 829 2617
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The price of smartness?
A sister title to SCN
enjoyed interviewing macom’s Christian Bozeat for this issue (page 10). He’s brimming with ideas and opinions about how the industry works, and could work better. He mentioned that owners of smart buildings need to consider why they want them to be smart, and exactly what they want them to do. It started me thinking: what clever functionality might I choose if I had a smart building? Many of the most powerful functions are built around locationbased services. If the building system knows where everyone is, it can make decisions and serve information at a collective and an individual level. For instance, room usage can be optimised if the system knows how many people are actually going to turn up to a meeting; and visitors to the building can be given tailored wayﬁnding information. Paddy Baker, Editor And there’s also ﬁnding out where your colleagues are. As we’ve firstname.lastname@example.org written previously, in the Oakland, California office of the consultancy @install8ion TEECOM you can ask ‘Presence Bot’ – a customised bot in the Slack productivity app – if it has ‘seen’ a colleague today. Presence Bot works out the answer by looking at the colleague’s online calendar and the HR system’s annual leave log, and by triangulating their smartphone signals over WiFi. This requires the bot to access some personal data, so it works on an opt-in basis. (And, to be clear, I think it’s a truly smart use of tech.) There are many other uses for location-based information – and increasing personalisation of services, by its nature, requires accessing increasing amounts of personal data.
‘Increasing personalisation of services, by its nature, requires accessing increasing amounts of personal data’ By way of contrast, imagine if turning up to work one day and ﬁnding that a box had been installed to monitor when and whether you were at your desk. This happened a couple of years ago in the offices of a major UK newspaper – and despite management’s protestations that they were only providing occupancy data for the heating system, there was such an outcry that the boxes were removed. I think there are three reasons why the boxes were unpopular: they were introduced without any consultation or explanation; they had an obvious physical presence; and they had a single, clear function (even if their precise purpose was perhaps unclear). Contrast this with Cambridge Analytica’s alleged acquisition of data from Facebook: the users willingly gave their data to the platform; they weren’t aware that it was being harvested; and most didn’t know what it was being used for, beyond a vague notion of ‘advertising’. It was uninvasive from a user point of view – but turned out to be massively harmful. I suspect that we may be at a turning point; we will all be much more careful about the boxes we tick online. Also, the Analytica story has changed my mind about the General Data Protection Regulation, which comes into effect next month. I no longer see it as needlessly restrictive and cumbersome for data holders; I think it lays down important principles that all businesses need to get used to.
Viewpoints 06 Opinion Rob Lane remarks on how laser is taking projection to new heights Juan José Vila on the challenges for ISE going forward 10 Interview Christian Bozeat of macom discusses the German consultancy’s expansion into the UK market
Industry Events 12 Install Awards: Don’t miss the entry deadline 14 Show preview: Prolight + Sound 2018
Special Report: video communications 18 User experience: how is it for you? As AV becomes more of an experience industry, we look at why it particularly matters in the corporate sector 28 State of flux With the growing influence of IT-based companies, how is the technology changing and what does this mean for integrators?
Feature 28 Immersive audio
We present the ‘first principles’ for integrators specifying immersive audio designs and look at the applications where immersive audio is achievable
Solutions 32 U Arena, Paris Europe’s biggest indoor arena presented a wide range of audio issues for the acoustician and system supplier to tackle 34 FICO Eataly World, Bologna This 25-acre food-based attraction utilises a variety of AV kit to support themed edutainment 38 Bank Hapoalim, Tel Aviv At the forefront of digital banking, the new Innovation Center in Israel’s biggest bank showcases the advantages of AV over IP 40 Solutions in Brief Including a £1.5m office refurb; an historic venue’s new scalable audio solution; and a unique LED ceiling art install
Technology 43 New Products Including Qumu, Martin Audio, MuxLab and Optoma
48 Showcase Speakers for large venues
52 Demo of the Month Samsung Flip
06 OPINION: ON THE AGENDA
Rob Lane The (laser) light fantastic How laser is helping projectors to shine
was recently asked to recommend a projector for a friend who had grown tired of what he sees as the ‘small’ OLED on offer (77in is the current popular maximum). While I obviously had one or two residential projectors in mind – has the market ever had as many awesome projection solutions? – I was reminded of a conversation I had at this year’s ISE with the team from Canon, while I was judging their WUX7000Z laser projector for the Installation Best of Show awards. I had remarked that, quite apart from being an incredible pro AV projector, the 7,000-lumen WUX7000Z would make one hell of a domestic solution too. Plus, it can beam images up to 600in – big enough even for my discerning friend! Ultimately, although the WUX7000Z will remain a commercial rather than residential offering, it was interesting to me how the lines between what constitutes a home and business solution are perhaps blurring as the quality bar gets raised again and again.
While natural light can be a problem, compared with LED for instance, projectors shine in controlled light environments and light isn’t a problem for some applications and in some sectors. And now, laser is here to make light less of a problem. Laser projection allows for 25,000 lumens, and there are developments in resolution with 4K canvases, which broadens the demand for projectors in high ambient light environments. As laser continues to develop, additional beneﬁts will widen its appeal further, but it is currently very popular in large venues, auditoriums and education facilities, where long-life solutions are essential.
‘As laser continues to develop, additional beneﬁts will widen its appeal further’
Projection possibilities In the commercial space, projection allows for the display of huge images without the need to build an LED wall (and without bezels or joins). Projectors deliver high-impact, high-deﬁnition, large-format images, and can even be edge-blended to create even bigger solutions – multi-sided if required – and projected onto curved surfaces. With projectors, you can map objects and create endless shapes. Projection is certainly the most cost-effective way of producing large screen solutions – important when budget has such a big part to play in the decision-making process. But the arrival of laser has provided another reason for choosing projection over other display alternatives.
Laser eradicates frequent bulb changes – always a pain – and curtails the decrease in light output seen in other projector technologies. Thanks to laser, projection can produce a brighter image, over a longer period of time, without changing lamps.
Available sources There are currently three main laser light source technologies available – RGB, phosphor and RB – each boasting different strengths and advantages for different requirements. The latest, RB laser, has obvious advantages over the others and is set to dominate going forward. With low initial costs when compared to RGB laser, RB also delivers
higher brightness and wider colour palettes compared to laser phosphor. The future for commercial projectors is smaller, brighter and higher: compact designs (see Canon’s award winner), higher brightness levels and higher resolutions. And almost certainly laser. Increasingly, in the visitor attraction and live event sectors in particular, end-users want to engage with a brand, and create a personal connection with what they’re seeing. Projectors are perfect for this, and it’s their immersive nature that appeals most: it’s all about user experience. Ultimately projection technology will only continue to improve – for both residential and commercial use – giving both AV professionals and consumers a headache when it comes to whether they choose projection or its ﬂat panel alternative. Horses for courses, yes, but increasingly, at home and in the commercial environment, people are looking to projection – if not as ﬁrst choice, then as a complementary alternative. At this year’s record-breaking (as usual) ISE, over 40% of channel visitors (32,369) cited projection as a technology of interest. As 20% also cited home cinema, it’s a fair assumption that approximately half of these channel visitors were looking at projectors for commercial applications and the other half for residential. Whether or not these areas of interest begin to converge in years to come remains to be seen, but it’ll be a surprise if there aren’t more attendees citing projection as a technology of interest in 2019. Bigger Boat PR owner/director Rob Lane has been writing about AV technology since 1995. He ﬁnds space at home for the latest projection and TV technology.
The truth and beauty matrix. The d&b Soundscape is supported by the DS100 Signal Engine, a revolutionary DXGLRV\VWHPSURFHVVRUWKDWLQWHJUDWHVLQWRWKHG EZRUNÁRZWRRˁHUH[WHQVLYH control. One is no longer forced to choose between beautiful sound and true sound; DOLVWHQLQJH[SHULHQFHWKDWLVERWKLPPDFXODWHO\UHDOLVHGDQGHPRWLRQDOO\ULFK
08 OPINION: ON THE AGENDA
Juan José Vila What next for ISE? The story so far is of unceasing expansion, but the next few years must be planned with care…
ot that long ago the industry trade show, certainly within audio, was widely being declared a thing of the past. Longestablished shows were disappearing from the calendar, visitor numbers were falling in those that remained, and the feeling was that companies might be better redirecting their budgets into their own marketing events or roadshows. ISE has bucked this trend – and how! Growing in under 15 years from a tiny show with 3,500 visitors into the behemoth we’ve just experienced with a footfall of over 80,000, it has amply proved that there’s plenty of life in the trade show concept. Of course, from the perspective of an exhibitor, taking space at a trade fair could never be described as cheap. But the beneﬁts offered to a company like mine by a highly successful exhibition in a particular market – that the world’s experts, most important customers and the inﬂuential trade press for that market are gathered in a single location for a few days a year – goes way beyond anything my company could possibly organise alone. Single-company roadshows or events can suffer from the echo chamber effect where you can end up meeting people who are already your customers. Industry-wide trade shows, by contrast, have the widest possible reach. They also enable you to discuss the industry’s hot topics of the day with like-minded others, and to ﬁnd out as soon as possible what your competitors will be releasing in the near future.
Successful experiment ISE’s success since its inception has of course mirrored the massive expansion in the
installation and integration industry. When we ﬁrst exhibited at the show in 2007, it was an experiment: “Let´s see if this new market could work for us...?” Today, ISE is our most important show and that “new” market has become our core business. Over the same period, we’ve seen the AV and systems control markets move much closer together; many traditional proaudio companies have expanded their product ranges, focusing more on control solutions, while traditional control systems manufacturers now offer (for example) loudspeakers, because the aim is now to offer a complete solution to the customer.
‘From my point of view, ISE is at a crossroads’
At the same time, companies have merged to form groups that can offer these kinds of complete integrated solutions. ISE was founded at the right time to take advantage of all these trends, and no other show existed to represent the growing market. Even the choice of location was smart: Amsterdam can be reached from anywhere in central Europe in a day, and many companies can even go to the show and back in a day by train, plane or car. It’s well connected for those coming from further aﬁeld, including southern Europeans like myself or those from the UK, has extensive ﬂight connections to the rest of the world, and there has always been plenty of accommodation at a variety of prices.
Challenges Nothing succeeds like success, and ISE’s organisers can proudly say that they have beaten competition from the USA to create the world’s biggest AV show. But with success come challenges. Demand from exhibitors is still rising, and ISE has now overtaken IBC as the biggest show at the Amsterdam RAI. Already, many exhibitors have had to move out into tents outside the halls. Well built and comfortably heated though these are, it’s clear that the show has reached its limits in Amsterdam. I also understand that the city’s available accommodation is also all but maxed out during the show (more accommodation is due to open next to the RAI, but this won’t be until ISE 2020 at current estimates). From my point of view, ISE is at a crossroads: its continued success depends on how its organisers manage the next couple of years. Do they decide to move location? If so, can the show’s new home accommodate all its potential customers now and in the years ahead, and will it be as easily accessible for everyone? Everyone I have spoken to is conﬁdent that there are solutions to these problems, as am I, and, of course, they are nice problems for a show to have – but I understand after speaking to the organisers that they require careful thought. As a solid supporter of and enthusiastic visitor to ISE, I look forward to ﬁnding out what the solutions will be. Juan José Vila is COO/CMO of WORK Pro/ Equipson.
10. - 13.04. 2018 Hall 3.1 / Booth G84
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10 INTERVIEW: CHRISTIAN BOZEAT, MACOM
Part of the solution
Eighteen months ago, German AV consultancy macom recruited Christian Bozeat to lead its expansion into the UK market. He talks to Paddy Baker about AV, IT, construction – and Brexit
hristian Bozeat’s ﬁrst involvement in the AV industry came when he was working in Australia, during a spell of travel around the world. “It was the very early stages of content being distributed around Australia,” he recalls. “They had no internet, they couldn’t get the music around anywhere, so we used to stream it up via satellite and decode it, so you could get the latest music in the middle of the outback.” After selling these systems into bars and hotels he also started designing them, and found that he really enjoyed what he was doing. Returning to the UK, he worked for Jonathan Pengilley (now managing director of Habitech) at an integrator called DDI. He moved on in the integration world to Matrix Display Systems, than Saville AV, then to Electrosonic for six years. “I always had a passion for quality engineering and it was reinforced in Electrosonic,
where I learned a huge amount,” he says – including “understanding a design process, understanding an installation process and project management that was very AV speciﬁc.” Believing that there was room in the market for a different approach – “I was responding to lots of tenders and I felt that there were areas that could be enhanced” – he set up his own consultancy with a business partner in 2012. “We had a great time of it – I was around the world working for Shell, BP, Wipro... I worked pretty much all over the world and I took all my knowledge from the UK and looked at how that was being deployed and the challenges in the construction processes in other marketplaces, which was really interesting.” This experience, he says, helped him to “understand the challenges of deploying complex technology into really challenging locations, really challenging cultures... and
construction cultures, because it’s not just the people that are different. You have to deal with people differently and have to have empathy for the way that they work and understand that you’re in their area. You have to understand their construction processes, which can be a little different, and you get a lot out of that. But also you can give a lot back: in the middle of the Congo they might not understand some of the processes that we’ve developed for a while that are going to help them out.”
Shared passion After leaving that consultancy, he met up with Michael Kottke, who had been looking to expand macom beyond Germany for some time. “It was pretty clear for both of us as soon as we spoke that actually – that’s it, done, thanks very much! We understood where we wanted to go... We have the same passion, we understand the
A brief biography Christian Bozeat has worked for integrators DDI, Matrix Display Systems, Saville AV and Electrosonic In 2012, he set up the AV consultancy Emergent Audio Visual In 2016, he became the first employee, and managing director, of macom GmbH (UK) construction process in the same way and the challenges it presents, and how we can help, and be part of the solution rather than the problem.” Kottke is now operations director of macom GmbH (UK), while Bozeat is managing director. “If Germans are known for anything around the world, it’s engineering quality – and so we kept the GmbH in the company name because we wanted people to understand that it is a German-based engineering company.” The UK company has been established for a year and a half, and has grown “500%, I think” in staff numbers during that time, with in-house engineers, CAD designers and consultants. The head office is in Stuttgart, and macom has 10 locations in all, including Barcelona and London. One important role for an AV consultancy, he says, is to help the client think more deeply about its working environment. “Technology is changing, and has the ability to change the way we work. But if you just go in and you look at it from a new building and construction piece, and then by the time we get to it, the meeting rooms are already deﬁned. We try and engage with clients much earlier in the process – what is your business trying to achieve? Where are you trying to improve your productivity? Where are you trying to push the boundaries in your particular business? – and work with the different teams within that.” Taking a cue from the IT world, where testing is much more established, “we work through that process. We might say, ‘OK, you work like this. These types of technology could help you. Let’s put a proof of concept together – let’s monitor it, manage it, and see what the results are out of the back end of that.’” If the results are successful, the next stage is to standardise. “We can look at the software and architecture, the operational concepts that go with that, which all affect the user journey, the way that AV is seen and the way that it’s utilised. Once we’ve got those proofs of concept deﬁned, then we can bring up the concepts for your new buildings and new deployments, and then work out how we roll it out on a global scale.” It’s also important – particularly if the aim is to steer users into a new way of working – that people trust the new AV system; so it must
INTERVIEW: CHRISTIAN BOZEAT, MACOM be is properly supported and managed. “The technology is there to be able to do that – software management tools, remote access to devices, a whole series of things that can be deployed if you have a proper strategic view of how you’re going to deploy your entire portfolio. People do it in IT – why have we not done it in AV? I think that tide is turning now.”
IT conversation Bozeat believes that AV and IT people need to work more closely together, and understand each other’s worlds better. “We absolutely need our IT cousins – we have a far greater reliance on the network, on bandwidth availability, and on understanding some switches won’t work with certain devices. There’s a big conversation to be had with IT so we need to work very closely with them.” He continues: “What I think is important is for IT teams to understand is that there are different skill sets within AV which they don’t necessarily understand, and they need to work with us on.” The construction process doesn’t really impinge on the IT world, whereas “I have to talk to people about ceilings and speaker placement and bolting things to walls, and ﬂoorbox locations and heat loads… [IT people] don’t have to talk to the construction guys, so they don’t have to have an empathy with how that construction process is going.”
‘Smart buildings at the moment are not really smart, they’re enhanced-reporting buildings’
IT people don’t always think about the wider context for products, he continues. “Microsoft Surface Hub, for example, is a very good product but you need to think about how it’s going to be deployed, and what software you’re going to utilise with it, whether it actually needs another PC to do the things you want to do with it, and then how it’s going to be integrated into the space, how’s the audio going to work in that space, do you need additional audio, do you need additional cameras…?” Simply buying a load of products, however sophisticated they are, will not solve your problems, he asserts. He’s also clear on the importance of clients working out their strategies in a number of technology areas. “It’s like smart buildings, which are something that we do a huge amount on. Smart buildings at the moment are not really smart, they’re enhanced-reporting buildings – but they’re on their way. But unless you have
a strategy for what you want it to do, why do you want a smart building? Is every building that you have around the world doing it? What’s your strategy for gathering [the data]? Once you gather it, what are you going to do with it? Who’s going to review it and make the decisions before AI starts to kick in? If you want to go to full AI, you have to have a plan in place now to get there.” Regarding the AV integration, “you have to have a room booking strategy, you have to have a UC strategy, you have to have an AV strategy, and all of these things tie in together, which is where macom comes in, to try and pull all these pieces together. “One of the things that we’ve been looking at in a construction programme is a master services consultant. You might have an AV consultant or a designer, a integrator, an M&E consultant, a security consultant, an architect in there, but somebody needs to pull all those technology pieces together, and they need to make sure that it functions together so that the reporting can be done together.”
Blocking advancement He believes that the construction process can be “a fairly major blocker to technology advancement.” He outlines the familiar scenario where the AV team is only called in after all the major architectural design decisions have been made. “But rather than using technology to resolve the issue for a space, we should be working as a team, the architectural team and the technologists, to inform the spaces together and create better working environments. “I think there is a really big case for working a lot closer with the architectural teams and the IT teams to understand the challenges that these amazing advances in technology put on the construction process.” When macom UK was announced, the company itself made the point that a German company was spreading its wings into the UK ‘despite Brexit’. So does he think that Brexit will have an effect on the UK’s AV industry? “I think it will, but what it is, I don’t know. I don’t think anybody does. Moves and changes are never really bad in the construction industry, and… leveraging technology to address the challenges that Brexit may or may not bring is certainly in the forefront of our minds. “If you’re going to be working from home, or in a different country, then you certainly need to have the communication tools to be able to do that. And if you’re moving to the UK or from the UK, you need to be supported within those environments.”
INSTALL AWARDS 2018
Time is running out… Have you submitted your entries to the Install Awards 2018? You don’t have much time left! Entries for the Install Awards 2018 close at midnight on Wednesday 4 April. Here’s a reminder of the categories. Project Excellence Awards • Education Project of the Year • Corporate/Industrial Project of the Year • Retail and DOOH Project of the Year • Hospitality Project of the Year • Visitor Attraction Project of the Year • Venue Project of the Year Projects can be located anywhere in the world, and must have been handed over to the client between March 2017 to February 2018. Technology Excellence Awards • AV-IT Product of the Year • Audio Product of the Year • Display/Projection Product of the Year • Collaboration Product of the Year • Signal Management/Distribution Product of the Year • AV Accessory of the Year As in previous years, we’re looking for evidence of how products have contributed to the success of one or more installation projects. Company and Individual Excellence Awards • Integrator of the Year: recognising the most
successful and distinctive systems integration businesses • Distributor of the Year: rewarding innovation and business success in the channel • Manufacturer of the Year: for the manufacturer that has made the biggest impression on the market this year • Rising Star: recognising the potential of promising newcomers to the industry – either under 30 or with less than three years’ experience. Entrants can work for integrators, consultants, distributors or manufacturers • Hall of Fame Award for Outstanding Achievement by a Company • Hall of Fame Award for Outstanding Achievement by an Individual With the exception of the Hall of Fame Awards, all awards will be judged by an independent panel of experts drawn from across the pro AV industry. How to enter Entry and eligibility criteria for each category can be viewed on the Install Awards website. All the categories are free to enter, but must be submitted through our online portal.
ISE confirmed as Red Carpet Sponsor We’re pleased to announce that Integrated Systems Europe has once again signed up to be the Red Carpet Sponsor for the Install Awards 2018. You can see the Red Carpet Video from the 2017 awards at https://youtu.be/fysYjgXoZbw, or in the video section on the Installation website.
Sponsorship opportunities To find out more about sponsoring this event, contact Gurpreet Purewal on email@example.com / +44 (0)20 7354 6029 or Mark Walsh on firstname.lastname@example.org +44 (0)20 3871 7377.
Tickets For tickets and table bookings, please contact Becky Hancock on email@example.com / +44 (0)20 3871 7378 or visit www.nbmevents.uk/ installawards/booktables
The gx rangeâ€™s unrivalled power density pushes generative content to new heights. Whether itâ€™s smoke that moves as it is touched or water that ripples as performers pass by, the immersive experiences you create will captivate audiences like never before. Prolight+Sound - stand 4.0 C21
14 SHOW PREVIEW: PROLIGHT + SOUND
Immerse yourself in Frankfurt There’s always plenty to see at Prolight + Sound – and this year’s offering includes seminars on 3D audio, virtual reality, 360° ﬁlm and holography, as well as numerous halls of audio and lighting technology
rolight + Sound remains a signiﬁcant attraction in the AV show calendar. While it’s undeniable that it has lost exhibitors to ISE in recent years, particularly on the audio side, there remains an impressive line-up of manufacturers and distributors showing their wares at Messe Frankfurt this month. The show has a special focus on immersive sound and vision this year. On Thursday 12 April, the Immersive Technology Forum will comprise seminars on subjects such as 3D audio, virtual reality, 360° ﬁ lm and holography. Visitors can learn how to upgrade events through the inclusion of immersive experiences, how to earn money now and in the future with VR content, and where appropriate solutions can be used in productions. The programme will begin with a 3D audio workshop by Lasse Nipkow, founder of Silent Work. Then, Jörn Nettingsmeier of the Association of German Sound Engineers (VDT) will look at potential applications for 3D audio in theatres. Michael Ochs, PRG Lab, will offer insights into the creative use of virtual and augmented reality and other technologies trending in the event sector – from interactive exhibits to immersive spatial experiences. Andreas Gause of Gerriets will present areas
of application for special gauzes for 3D and hologram projection. Additionally, there will be two sessions by Mattias Hundt of Hessian Broadcasting on the business side of VR content production and the overall workﬂow of a 360° music-video production. Additionally several exhibitors will have their own presentation areas for immersive sound. • d&b audiotechnik will demonstrate the innovative development of d&b Soundscape, a toolbox for the production of incomparable hearing experiences, on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. • Alcons Audio and Astro Spatial Audio will have a joint demonstration area for showing immersive sound systems in operation. Products on show will include the ﬁrst Alcons Pro-Audio loudspeaker with patent-appliedfor waveguide technology and the Astro SARA II Premium Rendering Engine for object-based audio processing. • The Klangdome in the outdoor exhibition area promises to be a sound-intensive location, equipped with a DIY 3D sound system with 31 loudspeakers and a vibrating ﬂoor. The geodesic dome will use six six-channel, 100W Class D ampliﬁers in its Ambisonics 3D sound system.
What? Prolight + Sound 2018 Where? Messe Frankfurt exhibition centre When? 10-13 April, 10:00-18:00 Lighting and displays Absen Europe will present its new Polaris Series, a range of high-performance products for indoor and outdoor events. With 10 models to choose from (with pitches from 1.5mm to 6.9mm), the Polaris Series is said to deliver stunning images, ease of use and robustness; curve options from -7.5˚ to up to +10˚ are available. It features Absen’s latest COBALT technology, which is said to give exceptional product stability and performance. Also on show will be Absen’s Altair Series, an ultra-lightweight rental system that is claimed to be the world’s lightest and thinnest LED panel (less than 19kg/sqm). It features advanced carbon fibre materials and is suitable for ultra-large screen live event applications.
SHOW PREVIEW: PROLIGHT + SOUND
Cameo Light, an Adam Hall Group brand, will be showing the ZENIT W600, a IP65-rated 21,000 lumen washlight with high-resolution 16-bit technology. Equipped with 40 15W CREE RGBW LEDs, the ZENIT W600 creates consistent and powerful colour blends. Being launched at Prolight + Sound is the W600 D, a pure white light variant with a colour temperature of 5,600K, which offers a light output of 41,000 lumens. It will be available in the summer.
Elation says is the most compact CMY colour mixing hybrid it has released to date. GLP will unveil a brand new lighting ﬁxture this year at PL+S. It will also showcase the JDC1, which has been used for some of the world’s biggest musical acts. Sporting two fully pixelmappable LED plates which are set either side of the strobe tube – allowing for incredible wash effects as well as bright blinding strobe effects – this popular ﬁxture boasts a motorised tilt, and 185° of motion. Also receiving its PL+S debut will be impression S350, designed to be a single modern-day ‘go-to’ ﬁxture that will fulﬁl lighting designers’ needs in multiple applications. PR Lighting will showcase eight major new products at this year’s show. These include the AQUA 480 BWS – an IP65-rated moving light, combining beam, wash and spot features; OMEGA, a moving zoom bar effect luminaire with six RGBW LEDs, producing a powerful zoomable blade of light; XLED 6019 – an extremely bright LED colour wash moving head luminaire featuring 19 60W Osram RGBW LEDs; and PR-6000 Wash – an extremely powerful moving head aimed at all professional applications, which offers a complete CYM colour system and macros.
Among the recent product development from Elation on show at Prolight + Sound will be the Artiste Picasso, a theatrical-grade luminaire that is one of the brightest, most feature-rich proﬁle LED lighting ﬁxtures on the market today. It has 22,000 lumens output, is packed with features (including zoom, framing, CMY, CTO colour correction, gobo wheels, animation, prisms and frost) within a compact proﬁle. Also on the stand will be the Smarty Hybrid, a full-featured spot, beam and wash ﬁxture that
Audio The latest addition to the CURV 500 series from LD Systems (an Adam Hall brand) is the CURV 500 TS compact touring array system, which extends the array system’s range of applications to include situations requiring particularly high SPLs and a wide and long-range dispersion. Equipped with four array satellites (two duplex satellites with twin-speaker conﬁguration and two single satellites), the CURV 500 TS has a narrower vertical dispersion for projecting a punchy and dynamic sound, even to the rear of the audience. Astro Spatial Audio (ASA) will highlight its brand agnostic approach to true object-based immersive audio at Prolight + Sound.The objectbased 3D sound specialist will give presentations throughout the show, highlighting the deep integration between ASA’s SARA II Premium Rendering Engine and third-party systems
including TTA’s Stagetracker II next-generation performer tracking, Alcons Audio loudspeakers, and QLab playback automation software. In addition, ASA will debut new v4.0 software, incorporating substantial improvements in loudspeaker management, matrixing and show control. All of this will be showcased in a new demonstration of the ASA object-based solution, featuring dedicated 3D mixes of some of the world’s best-loved songs.
Audio-Technica’s recently launched 3000 and 5000 Series wireless systems will receive their ProLight+Sound debut. Designed for use in stadiums, concert halls, houses of worship and other demanding audio environments, the new 5000 Series dual receiver is said to offer the highest-quality wireless live sound, with circuitry that processes high and low frequencies separately. The receiver has been updated with a tuning bandwidth of 230MHz (470–700MHz) and users can choose a standard receiver with two balanced XLR outputs or a receiver with a Dante output. With a class-leading 60MHz tuning range – more than twice that offered by the previous versions – the new 3000 Series systems are available in four frequency bands. The 3000 Series lets users set a back-up frequency that can be quickly swapped by pressing the transmitter’s multifunction button in the event of unexpected interference.
Clear-Com will be marking its 50th anniversary year, celebrating the people who have contributed to its heritage of communications breakthroughs, and those who continue to work towards better ways of communicating. On show will be the LQ Series of IP interfaces. When connected to the HelixNet digital network partyline intercom system, these connectivity devices can increase HelixNet’s existing channel
16 SHOW PREVIEW: PROLIGHT + SOUND count of 24 input and output ports sixfold, creating a much higher density system for linking audio and intercom. Additionally, any user on the HelixNet system is now able to communicate with users on Clear-Com’s Agent-IC mobile apps running on smart iOS or Android devices over WiFi, as well as users on VoIP phones via SIP connection. For audio professionals, Crestron will showcase solutions including its range of modular and multichannel ampliﬁers, plus highperformance Crestron Vector loudspeakers, for speech reinforcement, foreground music and multimedia presentation applications. Also on display will be Crestron’s DM NVX Series, a secure network AV solution. As the next generation of DigitalMedia, NVX delivers 4K60, 4:4:4, and HDR over standard 1Gbps Ethernet. Patent-pending Crestron technology gives an inﬁnitely scalable software-deﬁned matrix. Fohhn is to demonstrate the latest developments in its new concert sound system. The system includes Focus Venue, an active, digitally controllable line array system with beam steering technology. This comprises ﬂexible, combinable FV-100 high frequency modules and FV-200 low-mid modules with cardioid technology (Convertible Dispersion Technology). These are combined into arrays that are stacked or ﬂown straight, with no mechanical curving. Beam dispersion characteristics can be controlled electronically in real time. Focus Venue can be supplemented in the low frequency range by Fohhn’s new Perform-Series subwoofers: the PS-800 (one 18in driver) and PS-850 (two 18in). Prolight + Sound will see the European launch of the F124 bass enclosure from Funktion-One. This product combines Funktion-One’s hornloading technology with a 24in driver. Tony Andrews and the Funktion-One design team worked closely with Precision Devices, eventually developing a double 6in voice coil motor, which is believed to be the most powerful electromagnetic structure in a loudspeaker. Two voice coils and intense magnetic ﬂux control the 24in cone to create excellent transient response and extended depth below 30Hz. “It’s probably the best all-round bass device
on the planet,” says Andrews. “Everyone who has experienced it has been blown away. It was quite a long development process – around two years – but that attention to detail has returned a fantastic result.” Immersive audio and show control specialist Out Board will show its new TiMax 500S software
for TiMax SoundHub. This features enhanced programming and show control workﬂows for rendering and control of live, presentation and experiential spatial reinforcement and immersive audio. TiMax will also have sneak previews of the powerful new bespoke TiMax FPGA dsp core, which is destined to offer “unparalleled” new creative tools for spatial reinforcement, 3D audio and acoustic enhancement. StageSpace allows auto-calculation of delay-matrix localisation
objects derived from three-dimensional data imported from CAD ﬁles or entered directly. Integrated TimeLine and PanSpace resources allow quick and easy intensive programming and control of multi-layered immersive soundscapes and show control interactions. RCF will be showing its new EVOX J Series loudspeakers, which are a development of the powerful EVOX portable PA system. The RCF EVOX J8 system features a line source satellite module with eight 2in full-range drivers paired with a high-powered 12in woofer in a bass reﬂex enclosure, all powered by on-board 1,400W Class D ampliﬁcation. RCF has also added an eight-input onboard digital mixer to the system. Riedel will be talking about a recent innovation in its events business. It has added solutions from simply-X – a German provider of access control systems, cash and contactless payment solutions – to its technical and logistical services offering. Simply-X products will be offered via Riedel’s rental organisation.
Riedel says that the collaboration provides customers with tremendous value, enabling seamless integration of cashless payment systems into events worldwide thanks to a uniﬁed infrastructure. Stage Tec will be present AVATUS, its brandnew large format mixing console – based entirely on IP technology. The desk’s central control system provides standardised TCP/IP interfaces for connecting the console modules. Each control surface module has its own IP address. Consoles can be linked over a network and browser-based remote operation is also available. The webbased Remote UI gives display and operational access to a range of mixing console functions via a web browser.
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18 SPECIAL REPORT: VIDEO COMMUNICATIONS
User experience: how is it for you? The AV industry is reinventing itself as an experience industry: you need look no further than AVIXA’s recent re-branding for an example. To begin this special report on video communications, Ian McMurray ﬁnds out how and why the experience matters in the corporate environment
or many, technology causes jobs to be lost. There is a counter-argument, however, that it has also created jobs. Take London, for example. According to Tech City, over a quarter of its job growth is driven by technology. In the US, it’s estimated that around 10,000 new jobs are created every month in the digital industry. What’s interesting, though, is how many new job descriptions technology has generated – jobs that didn’t exist a few years ago. ‘Social media manager’ comes to mind. ‘Drone operator’ is another. ‘Data miner’ is a third. And now, according to uxmatters.com, we can add another one: user experience (UX) designer. User experience designers are tasked with enhancing user satisfaction with a product by improving the usability, accessibility and pleasure it delivers. Don’t make the mistake, though, of confusing it with user interface (UI) design. At the risk of over-simplifying: the UI sits on top of the UX, which provides a foundation for what the user actually sees. Without good UX design, a UI can quickly become a set of random graphics. For products destined to be used by a broad range of consumers, it’s intuitive why a good UX (topped with a good UI) is important. But what about the video communication technology used in business?
Increased productivity “Increased productivity is the key beneﬁt of a seamless user experience,” believes Michele
Durban, director, corporate marketing at StarLeaf. “When staff aren’t wasting time setting up a conference call and working out how to use the video communications system, they can focus on the people they are meeting and the reasons they scheduled the call in the ﬁrst place. “We’ve recently worked with a customer where, when using the previous system, the CFO would insist on having a member of the IT team next to him when he was making a videoconference call, because in his experience he needed someone to help set up the call and stay there, in case something went wrong,” she says. “Moving to a StarLeaf video meeting room system with its much-improved user experience and reliability, has meant that he doesn’t need someone sitting beside him, and that that team member can get on with more important tasks.” “It’s about hiding complexity,” according to Josh Duncan, senior director of product management at Lifesize. “You want a user to intuitively understand how the solution should work – it should just make sense. An effortless and intuitive user experience is integral to the adoption of videoconferencing solutions within an organisation. If we can continuously improve the user experience and boost user adoption of videoconferencing, then more and more of the inherent beneﬁts – from improving productivity to increasing collaboration to reducing travel expenses – will be realised.” In other words: if a technology designed to
User experience (UX) is not the same as user interface (UI): the UI should be an outflow of the design of the UX A good UX increases adoption and productivity, maximising return on investment The key attributes of a good UX are intuitive ease of use, simplicity, technology transparency and click minimisation Ease of interoperability and an enormous choice of plug-and-play devices can tend to degrade the user experience The opportunity exists to create a unifying UX – but for whom is it an opportunity? make you more productive actually makes you less productive, it isn’t working. If a technology is designed to facilitate communication, but no-one uses it because it’s too difficult, it isn’t working. Which raises the question: what does a good UX look and feel like?
Reducing clicks “We’re always talking about number of clicks when it comes to user experience,” says James Keen, group marketing manager at Tripleplay. “How do you reduce the time spent on a task, how do you make it intuitive, how do you make it as painless as possible for the user? Ensuring
that anybody can log in, understand the workﬂow and complete a task quickly is also hugely important. A platform like Tripleplay’s has grown organically over the years, which means it does an awful lot, ensuring the user knows where to go to perform a task is vital and then ensuring that the UI is fast, attractive and modern also helps.”
‘You want a user to intuitively understand how the solution should work – it should just make sense’ Josh Duncan, Lifesize
“When starting a video call, the user experience should be quick and familiar – the technology itself should effectively be invisible, with a participant only having to concentrate and focus on the meeting itself,” adds Anne Marie Ginn, senior category manager at Logitech VC. “Features such as one-click join and having an intuitive remote control based on familiar consumer technologies are just a couple of
SPECIAL REPORT: VIDEO COMMUNICATIONS ways that technology providers can go about doing this.” “The key element for good user experience is that the technology is transparent,” says Joel Chimoindes, European commercial director at distributor Maverick AV Solutions. “By this, we mean it should feel like you’re in the room with the person if you’re on a video call. If it feels like you’re on a call, or there are interruptions and it’s not seamless, this is not a good experience.”
Simplicity is key He has an ally in Durban. “What’s critical to the user experience of corporate video communication systems is ease of use,” she believes. “A videoconferencing platform should require no training for staff; they should be able to come into a meeting room and know intuitively how to use the system. Simplicity is key – videoconferencing systems are there to facilitate business, not get in the way, so users shouldn’t be focused on the technology, they should just be able to enter a meeting room, make or answer a call and get on with the task at hand.” So: we have an understanding of why a good UX is important, and of some of its key characteristics. The corporate video market
– and especially the uniﬁed communications and collaboration (UCC) market – has, however, become somewhat a victim of its own success. Once, the market was the preserve of relatively few providers, but it has been quick to embrace interoperability – and its growth has attracted multiple new vendors, many of whom look to provide elements of the solution rather than the complete solution. In a multi-vendor world, getting everything to play together nicely is a problem that has been solved – but at what cost to the user experience? “It’s a difficult one,” admits Francis Williams, technical director at digital infrastructure specialist Pioneer Group. “I think we would all like a uniﬁed user experience, but this is completely dependent on vendors working together. In the modern world many vendors are trying to create their own ecosystems and collaborating with other vendors goes against these principles to some extent. So it’s more a case of whether they will or not, and what beneﬁts that will bring them. Everyone wants their system to be the one.”
Happy clients? “Uniﬁed platforms for video delivery do exist,” says Keen. “In digital signage, for example, the
20 SPECIAL REPORT: VIDEO COMMUNICATIONS challenge tends to come when those installing or purchasing want very speciﬁc things. Every video platform has its own USPs and integrators want to deliver exactly what their clients want – so if they need to pick a CMS from one company, encoders from another and decoders from somebody else, then they will. That can create a disparate and convoluted control platform – but the buyer gets their boxes ticked and so the client must be happy. Mustn’t they?” Ginn sees things slightly differently. “Multiplatform videoconferencing is a fact of the industry, and there are a number of vendors who enable interoperability between systems,” she points out. “The simplest scenario within a company may be to have one common platform – but the good news is that many users are already comfortable with multiplatform communication through their consumer devices. It is the norm for many to use iMessage, WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger, switching platform according to who they’re speaking to, and they accordingly anticipate the same when setting up a video call – so it isn’t as big a stumbling block as it seems.” “There are a number of third-party services for video collaboration systems to integrate together,” notes Chimoindes, “but there’s nothing available to unify the full functionality of the whole workﬂow solutions platform from Microsoft, Cisco and Google. I do imagine, however, that third-party vendors will produce the glue that sticks these workﬂow solutions together and make them compatible. This will deliver a truly uniﬁed user experience.”
‘It will seem that the technology we’re using will be completely invisible and vanish from the actual meeting experience’ Anne Marie Ginn, Logitech
Opportunity? If Williams’ thoughts on the likelihood of vendors collaborating are close to accurate, Chimoindes’ suggestion is an interesting one. Is there a real opportunity for value add for companies with no hardware axe to grind and no commitment to any one solution? “In the past, the go-to-market for videoconferencing solutions had been 100% channel, as it required heavy integration services and so on,” says Duncan. “As easyto-install, ‘plug-and-play’ endpoints and downloadable cloud-based apps have gained pace, it has driven different expectations for
Accountants count on Lifesize for UCC The Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW), with 700 employees at locations around the world, uses a Lifesize system for both internal and external communications, with Martin Amos, IT/AV infrastructure manager at the ICAEW, noting that “all it takes is one bad experience for someone to decide they won’t use videoconferencing again”. The ICAEW IT team took several steps to minimise the chances of this happening, including the provision of a step-by-step process describing how to use the system, as well as targeting superusers – those it knew would use the solution a great deal to champion the solution and help train others. The Lifesize Admin Console allowed the team to monitor usability and troubleshoot any problems in real time, ensuring a seamless experience for all users. www.lifesize.com 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. “As such,” he continues, “there is a great opportunity for integrators to help customers navigate through this changing landscape, plan and deploy new solutions, and support them in enabling user adoption. 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. This requires a strategic conversation to understand customers’ broader communication and collaboration needs and plans, which can uncover new opportunities for growth as scalable, ﬂexible solutions and a SaaS delivery model enable video communications to scale beyond a more traditional set of rooms to connect every person and every room in an organisation.” Williams is in agreement. “Clearly, there is an opportunity there,” he adds. “There is a growth in the use of shared standards and protocols being deﬁned which we haven’t seen much before within the industry. The increased availability of APIs is evidence that manufacturers are aware of not only the opportunity but also the requirement for third-party integration. Integrators who are forward thinking should looking at new ways to provide their value-add, and one such way would be using this to help provide a single user interface that converses not only with multiple
systems but integrates with the whole of the user experience.”
Technically more difficult “This is technically more difficult than our industry is used to,” he warns. “However, I just see this as an inevitable part of the convergence between AV and IT; the closer AV moves towards IT, the more likely the need for more and more software because the delivery platform is changing from hard infrastructure towards that of a service platform which is clearly software-based.” “Certainly, as I said earlier, there is an opportunity for third parties or integrators to create solutions,” declares Chimoindes, “which will combine the capabilities of workﬂow solutions together to improve user experience between vendors.” Tripleplay’s Keen, however, wonders whether that’s the right way forward – or whether there’s an alternative. “I think vendors do try to deliver the uniﬁed, quality user experience people want, but it often gets overlooked because integrators don’t always fully understand the video streaming/ UI element of AV and so don’t necessarily sell the concept of a single platform over an ‘integrated’ solution,” he explains. “You don’t need to plumb four products together just to add value: delivering a single platform that can do 90% of what the customer needs may be the right route, especially if that platform has the capabilities to evolve and change over time.” There is, perhaps, the beginnings here of a quasi-religious argument about the relative role – and value – of software and hardware,
22 SPECIAL REPORT: VIDEO COMMUNICATIONS
and it’s an argument that is beginning to gain traction throughout the AV industry. Few disagree that as hardware becomes increasingly commoditised, and thus less expensive and with lower margins, it is becoming decreasingly sustainable as a basis for a solid business – whether that business is a manufacturer, a distributor or an integrator. Nowhere is that religious argument more fervent than among mobile phone users. The underlying hardware of an Apple phone and a Samsung phone are all but indistinguishable: it’s all about the software – the software that delivers the user experience. It’s about iOS versus Android.
Competitive advantage “Differentiation in corporate video communications is now in delivering a seamless user experience through software,” says Durban. “For StarLeaf, the most important objective is to ensure that staff have the tools they need to call, message and organise conference calls from their preferred device. We know that we need to deliver people the tools they need to work wherever they are. The key to this is an app that can put all the functionality that users need directly into their hands, and enables seamless communication across all devices – from mobile to desktop. Any videoconferencing service provider that can offer this facility is likely to enjoy a signiﬁcant competitive advantage over the rest of the market.” Keen sees another AV market as an interesting analogy. “When you look at how the digital signage market has changed over the years, for example, the hardware vendors are opening up their APIs to allow software CMS vendors to work with their platforms,” he points out. “Samsung, LG, BrightSign, Amino – they’re all encouraging it. Yes, they all have their own software – but by opening their platform up for third-party CMS integration, they will create a market for themselves as the ‘hardware of choice’ for the digital signage community.” Ginn, however, believes it’s important that the role hardware plays receives due credit. “It’s true that hardware is becoming commoditised and that software is assuming ever-greater importance – but only to a point,” she believes. “Yes, the old days of legacy, proprietary, complex video installations are coming to an end, with advances in both software and hardware technologies allowing customers to be much more selective in how their end solution looks and works. The combination of high-quality hardware and intelligent software can make a huge difference to the user experience. That said, there are some features that are only possible with new hardware and there are still new points of
difference in the market there – such as with quality 4K cameras, or cameras speciﬁcally designed for the huddle room, for example.” When Durban describes StarLeaf’s app, she mentions the concept that what users most want is a so-called ‘single pane of glass’ interface – in effect, the proverbial “one ring to rule them all”. For many, that may lead to a future in which the mobile phone becomes the basis of the user experience of the future: it, and consumer tablets, are for example rapidly replacing custom interface panels in the home automation market. The home automation market has been no less quick to succumb to the charms of Alexa. So: what does the future hold for the user experience in the corporate video market?
Engagement “More engagement,” thinks Pioneer Group’s Williams. “We can use it in every market sector we’re in at the moment. Consumer engagement, user engagement, even fan engagement at events. There is currently a perceived requirement that technology needs to be personable and the experience more bespoke to each individual user, client or consumer. This is how we currently see the user experience evolving.” Lifesize’s Duncan warms to the theme. “Emerging technologies, such as AI, 4K and machine learning will transform the collaboration space in the next couple of years, and, in turn, improve the user experience,” he says. “Smart meetings will make the collaboration experience more engaging for users with, for example, virtual assistants and facial recognition.” “Even with our existing technologies, there’s no reason a user can’t walk into a meeting room and instantly have a meeting start,” adds Ginn. “Facial recognition is now increasingly available through devices like the iPhone X and Logitech BRIO (with Windows Hello), and location services through mobile devices are a long-established reality. Voice control is the next obvious frontier. While it’s not quite happening yet, once these
technologies are in place it will seem that the technology we’re using will be completely invisible and vanish from the actual meeting experience, as users literally won’t have to lift a ﬁnger to start a meeting, share content, or end the call.”
Seamless experience “Voice activation is how user experience will evolve in the future,” says Maverick’s Chimoindes. “Voice activation and the integration of all of the applications to deliver a seamless experience; today in the consumer world, you can use voice activation to do everything it normally does on top of additional activities through the use of third-party apps.” Whatever the future holds, though, it appears that there is a real conundrum to be solved. Single-vendor solutions may be simple and provide a more uniﬁed user experience – but perhaps at the cost of some functionalities, such that a degree of compromise is necessary. Multi-vendor solutions may appear attractive, given not only the interoperability we now take for granted, but also the quantity of compatible plug-and-play devices that are available – but perhaps at the cost of a degraded user experience that limits adoption and damages productivity. The move to ‘… as a service’ addresses this – but only to an extent. There is probably not a company out there who would not like to ‘own’ the customer UCC experience. In an imperfect world, there is always promise and opportunity. Whether that’s for manufacturers or integrators or third parties isn’t clear. What is clear, though, is that the prospects for user experience designers have never looked brighter.
www.lifesize.com www.logitech.com www.tdmaverick.eu www.pioneergroup.co.uk www.starleaf.com www.tripleplay.tv
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24 BUSINESS FEATURE: VIDEO COMMUNICATIONS
Key Points The entry of software companies into the video comms market has reduced the number of AV components needed
State of ﬂux
Integrator value is now more about providing services and consultation over just installing boxes Introducing more services allows integrators to make up for the loss in hardware value
For the second part of this report, Duncan Proctor looks at the increasingly IT-based nature of video communications as companies with a strong IT pedigree have gained market traction and inﬂuenced the technology
he arrival of traditionally IT-based companies into the video comms space has seen solutions become more about platforms and apps and less about standard AV equipment. This has shaken up the marketplace and raised questions about what services the integrator can offer in this changing landscape. As is often the case, while these changes can unsettle the established order, they will also bring a number of opportunities; by no means do they imply that video-based communications will become solely the province of the IT manager. Uniﬁed communications rollouts across large enterprises are already providing lucrative opportunities for integrators. Moreover there is an array of technologies such as IPTV, digital signage, streaming and lecture capture that offer plenty of potential business for the savvy integrator. “We are seeing a deﬁnite shift in the type of VC-capable spaces demanded by our customers,” says Andy Truswell, systems integration manager, Pure AV. “The focus has moved from the creation of a small number of dedicated videoconferencing rooms to the provision of VC capability across a much wider range of areas and work environments. In these newer, multi-use
spaces we are much less likely to be installing a traditional codec-based, fully integrated set-up with video matrix and full audio DSP, and much more likely to be introducing technology to enhance Skype for Business or virtual meeting room-driven comms alongside tools to support BYOD connectivity and easy content sharing. “So I would say that there is a reduced amount of AV equipment involved within the individual room, particularly in the infrastructure behind the system. We are losing the big video matrices, the large audio DSPs and integrated mic systems, but we see an increase in hardware sales overall driven by solution deployment into a greater number of spaces.”
Deep changes Samuel Recine, director of sales – Americas, Asia Paciﬁc at Matrox, conﬁrms: “Certain types of traditional AV equipment are currently going through deep changes. For example, video matrix switchers and long-haul extenders are facing new competition from AV products that work over standard copper category cabling or ﬁbre optic cabling using standard IP protocols and can be switched on standard IP switches. Telephony went through this change 15-20 years ago when it moved to IP in businesses and government.
Video took a little longer to get there because the bitrate of video was prohibitive for moving onto IP, until standards like H.264 achieved levels of quality and reliability at low bitrates, combined with ubiquity as a standard in all popular web browsers, handheld devices, PCs, laptops, OTT boxes and entertainment consoles.” David Willie, head of marketing and product management at Saville AV, disagrees with the notion that there will be less room for traditional AV equipment. “As more and more video communications become software-based, there are more opportunities for AV within meeting spaces. What good is a 12in laptop screen with an inbuilt webcam and microphone in a group meeting situation? As video communication and collaboration has exploded, driven by software environments, so has the need to equip rooms to empower users to take their own device into the meeting room.” Alex Couzins, marketing manager at AVMI, agrees that despite the decreasing number of AV components there will always be a need for specialist AV knowledge to ensure users get the most from a deployment. “Although video communication solutions have become increasingly standardised, they still need to be deployed within non-standard building
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26 BUSINESS FEATURE: VIDEO COMMUNICATIONS environments,” says Couzins. “So where IT lacks appreciation for the ‘physical’ space and Facilities lacks the ‘technical’ understanding, AV integrators are well placed in their ability to deliver standard technologies into non-standard spaces.”
‘Certain types of traditional AV equipment are currently going through deep changes’ Samuel Recine, Matrox
Making margin While there may not be complete agreement on the current state of the market, it is clear the current period of ﬂux has forced integrators to adapt. Does this mean many will look to target larger-scale projects that provide the opportunity to make more margin? “Margin is a direct function of value and there is no shortage of value that can be provided by good AV integrators,” states Recine. “The interoperability of low-bitrate products with so many other communications and knowledgeworker productivity suites means no shortage of work for installers personalising these experiences for their AV customers.” Pure AV’s Truswell believes that the nature of the hardware in many of these installations tends to be less margin-rich, but also believes there are opportunities for integrators: “While the in-room set-up is perhaps less complex, the variety of devices and room types deployed means that the overall estate in these organisations is becoming more complicated. At the same time, business owners are demanding greater visibility of the usage and performance of the different room spaces. These factors create an opportunity in the areas of control, management and measurement of installations. “As an integrator, the introduction of services to enable the centralised management and control of the estate over the IT network starts to build value back into the solution. If you can then extend those capabilities into the service wraparound you offer the client, the rewards for both customer and integrator go beyond any potential loss in hardware value.” While large-scale rollouts have become more commonplace as businesses standardise AV technology across offices, Couzins explains: “Volume is important but it is the service that will hold us in good stead. Whilst AV integration is still a large part of our business, we believe our portfolio of services enables our clients to leverage more value out of their AV investments and maximise availability and
productivity to their end-users – and those services now represent a large portion of our business.”
Growth opportunities With the changes seen in the video communications marketplace, what are the technologies that are providing good business for integrators? “Technologies that integrate content delivery with IP networks to enhance an organisation’s operation and communications provide integrators with real opportunities for growth,” comments Colin Farquhar, founder and CEO of Exterity. “By 2020, the digital signage industry is predicted to be worth more than £15 billion, and increasingly it is becoming a core component of an organisation’s overall uniﬁed communications strategy. “The future for digital IP video and signage within the workplace looks likely to remain vibrant, as organisations start to explore higher resolutions and dynamic content based on realtime events. Another area that is evolving is the use of end-to-end encryption to ensure that copyrighted and company-sensitive content is stored and delivered in a secure fashion. The video revolution in the workplace still has plenty of room to grow.” Recine has words of warning and encouragement: “AV integrators showing up with new versions of the old story – even those veiled as AV over IP but offering the same old limited reach and proprietary technologies – are not substantially participating in the large economies of IPTV, digital signage, and lecture capture and video management, all of which are low-bitrate applications using video standards born from the IT world, like H.264. The integrators that are demonstrating value in personalising these user experiences and/or integrating control for new products with AV processors and other thirdparty hardware and software are extremely busy. All of the aforementioned markets have new growth opportunities and are still expanding signiﬁcantly.” Truswell believes the spread of apps like FaceTime and WhatsApp and the increased usage of video calls on personal devices means that people are now more comfortable with video comms. He continues: “Also, across business and education, there is increased requirement to make more content available to more people in more locations.” And in terms of technology areas, “UC, streaming and lecture capture can be deployed to offer businesses and institutions increased ﬂexibility both in the usage and space and in the way that people work and communicate. I see this as a requirement that will only continue to grow as pressures on
available space, environmental impact and more effective communication remain and intensify. The ability to solve these problems will place integrators in a strong position for future growth and opportunity.” But given the current speed of change, which technologies are likely to remain profitable? “Integrators that make alliances with top software suites from all these critical workflows stand a better chance to smooth out their participation in various projects on an ongoing basis,” notes Recine. “There are also skills and best practices to pick up from working in all these areas. Integrators should begin to be familiar with certain products that can span different specialised software worlds and develop a deep expertise in these products’ libraries for integration into customer environments.” So which technologies are a good bet for integrators to expand into? Farquhar cautions: “Before deciding to ‘expand into’ one of these new technology areas, it is vital that the integrators begin to build in-house skills in the networking, IT and content management areas.” Recine adds: “Having the skills and knowledge of AV processors and other legacy equipment in conjunction with modern products based on IP is a strong blend with plenty of appeal in the marketplace.”
‘The video revolution in the workplace still has plenty of room to grow’ Colin Farquhar, Exterity
While there’s a level of uncertainty surrounding the technologies that will remain in demand and those that will emerge, there is no doubt that integrators have a continuing role to play. Saville’s Willie concludes: “More than ever, AV integration specialists such as Saville are called on to help organisations really harness the power of software-based video and collaboration environments to deliver real business beneﬁts and drive return on investments. Without this, software-based video clients are little more than a way of contacting one individual and the collaborative beneﬁt of bringing multiple people and teams together is lost.”
www.avmi.com www.exterity.com www.matrox.com www.pureav.co.uk www.saville-av.com
28 TECHNOLOGY FEATURE: IMMERSIVE AUDIO
From experience to immersion An abundance of relevant technology means that an immersive audio design is realistically achievable for more installation applications than ever before. But what are ‘ﬁrst principles’ for those integrators already working on such projects, and those who are looking to develop business in this area, asks David Davies?
rom an initial foundation in cinema and theatre applications, immersive audio is gradually achieving meaningful crossover into other areas of ﬁxed installation as well as broadcast and live performance. It’s not too difficult to understand why, either; the possibility of creating audio experiences that are all-encompassing, and which often provide a suitable complement to visual ones, gives venue owners and attraction producers a further mechanism by which to secure visitor interest and attention. At the same time, there is no doubt that this is still an emerging part of the marketplace, and with one or two exceptions it is not clear who the dominant players will be in a couple of years’ time. Therefore it makes sense for integrators and consultants to not get too hung up on the merits of individual solutions and instead take an experience-driven approach that starts with the question: What is the customer trying to achieve here, and which technology – or technologies – can bring this about with a minimum of complexity? It stands to reason that the expectations of a permanent installation in a theatre that needs
to support contrasting touring productions are going to vary signiﬁcantly from, say, those of a short-term exhibition in a museum or arts centre. But according to the vendors who spoke to Installation for this article, the ‘ﬁrst principles’ to be considered at the start of a project are more universal than one might think – and it all starts with the notion and expectations of the immersive experience itself.
‘Done properly, immersive audio is about creating experiences’ Bjorn van Munster, Astro Spatial Audio
Creative tools Bjorn van Munster, founder of Astro Spatial Audio, believes that “done properly, immersive audio is about creating experiences, and we see our technology as a tool for sound
Key Points Identifying the primary objectives of the immersive audio installation is the crucial first step for any new project These objectives should then determine the specification of individual system components, with ease of integration and flexibility to the fore The ability of systems to be scaled up to meet future requirements should also be borne in mind, along with possible broader changes to the venue or install space in the future From specialist workshops to extensive online resources, as well as one-to-one project guidance, vendors are taking more and more steps to support and explain their immersive audio solutions designers and engineers to unlock the creative, multidimensional potential of their audio content. Our job is to make that process as simple as possible.” d&b audiotechnik is one of the manufacturers
to have recently brought a major new solution to this area of the market in the form of d&b Soundscape. Combining d&b loudspeaker systems with the latest processing technology, object-based mixing and sophisticated room emulation, d&b Soundscape is described as a toolkit to enable the creation of a listening experience that is ‘natural, harmonious, enveloping and emotionally engaging’. At the heart of the solution is the DS100 Signal Engine audio processor with Dante networking and a 64 x 64 level and delay matrix with extensive in- and output processing. Georg Stummer, DS100 product manager at d&b audiotechnik, identiﬁes three primary factors that need to be borne in mind when designing and specifying a new immersive installation. “Immersive audio is a creative tool, so the experience that the clients are trying to create from the artist and the audience perspective would be our primary consideration,” says Stummer. “The next thing would be the space: the loudspeaker placement, the room conﬁguration and the audience area. Then, the level of expertise required to operate the system is also an important consideration as the control interface can make a sophisticated system either impenetrable or accessible.”
FEATURE: IMMERSIVE AUDIO 29 This last consideration is crucial given that immersive audio applications can range from “ﬁxed installations with expert crew operating a sound designer-speciﬁed show, to a temporary art installation or retail experience. The ideal system has an interface that can be integrated into the common workﬂow of the space it is operating in.”
‘The level of expertise required to operate the system is an important consideration’ Georg Stummer, d&b audiotechnik
Dave Haydon of Out Board – the company behind the TiMax 3D immersive spatial audio and Stagetracker FX tracking and localisation systems – offers some similar sentiments, remarking that “it’s vital to analyse and clarify what the client means by and expects from immersive audio, and why. Examples might include the creation of immersive atmospheres for mood and emotion in a museum; spot
effects as gags and excitement in theme park experiences; localised audio for impact; and focus on experiential elements and exhibits – or any combination of these.” Once the emphasis of the installation has been determined, the conversation can then move onto issues related to “budgets and logistics for type, quantity and location of speakers; playback media and interaction with content sourcing and rendering entities, scheduling and interactive show control; and housekeeping such as generic EQ/delay/zone management and signal distribution.”
Integration options On the basis that the core objectives of the installation have been established, integrators and consultants will then wish to pay close attention to system speciﬁcation – not least the capability of individual components to be integrated into one seamless system. This is likely to be particularly crucial in situations where, for example, multiple brand products are being used for playback, processing, ampliﬁcation and so on. As Stummer observes, “integration options are essential for straightforward technical conﬁguration and smooth shows. Systems
30 FEATURE: IMMERSIVE AUDIO integration and interoperability with mixing consoles, digital audio workstations, show control software and tracking systems can save hours of work and the need for clunky ad-hoc workarounds.” Logically enough, brand independence is a strength that is being prioritised in some quarters. Van Munster comments: “Our experience is that installers do not wish to be dictated to in terms of which brands they are able to use, especially when they want to deliver a project on time and on budget. Astro Spatial Audio works with every brand of loudspeaker and console [as] we are entirely brand independent.” Once ease of integration between different components (and, in all likelihood, incorporation into a local or site-wide network infrastructure) has been assured, then project stakeholders will want to mull over factors such as ﬂexibility and scalability. Stummer raises the example of a live performance space whose immersive capability will need to deliver “ﬂexibility for different programme material, and [the ability] to be controlled with an easy-to-learn interface. It’s also useful to have the ﬂexibility to temporarily integrate additional equipment (for example, an additional FOH system) or to be able to display other audio formats with the systems or parts of the system if necessary.” Haydon also highlights the need for speciﬁed equipment to support what may be a rapid changeover of content for immersive presentation. “Flexibility for rapid and comprehensive programming, editing, routing and mixing changes on site is essential in order to accommodate late changes in content and spec decisions. Durability and reliability are important for shows running/looping a long time, including regular start/stop sequences. Some people are nervous about trusting this just to a computer, so an immersive audio show control platform with built-in playback, DSP and show control is often desirable.” As well as the intrinsic ability of the immersive audio system to accommodate different types of content, project leaders may also wish to consider its ability to adjust to changing layouts and future expansion. Hence, Stummer remarks that “stability to maintain the immersive experience in non-standard layouts or other suboptimal conditions – where system designers are forced to compromise ideal loudspeaker positioning for a pillar, screen or lights, for example – is also desirable. The investment required can be signiﬁcant so a system that offers stepped integration, compatibility and scalability should be considered.”
Advice for integrators It stands to reason that adding further speakers and dimensionality to ﬁxed install applications
will bring (potentially signiﬁcant) additional complexity to most projects. But careful planning – as well as an acknowledgement that immersive requires a fundamental step-change from more straightforward surround sound designs – means it should be possible for most common pitfalls to be avoided. As Haydon remarks, “making everything talk to each other is meat and potatoes to most AV integrators, and variable/interactive/multimedia elements can add extra layers and timescales to the task. Historically, before people talked about ‘immersive’ it was often ‘surround’, which led people to render 5.1 mixes in a studio then play it back in the experience space. [This is] great for ﬁlm playback with screen and speakers in a familiar conﬁguration, but very limiting for soundscapes distributed over large and relatively random environments.” Hence “keeping individual content source elements separate on built-in multitracks/ SSDs, partially pre-rendering off-site then tweaking in the space is essential to bed these sort of soundscapes in contextually – and also means things can be altered and refreshed later,” says Haydon. Meanwhile, vendors are continuing to extend the resources, in terms of information and support, that are available to integrators and customers – frequently on a worldwide basis. For example, in addition to a “global team of application engineers supporting projects around the world”, d&b now has demo/pre-production facilities for its Soundscape platform at offices in Germany, UK, France, the US, Singapore, Japan, and with d&b partners in Vantaa, Finland. Out Board is among those companies to be working on its background information resources and, says Haydon, is presently “preparing a series of ‘How It’s Done’ sheets for immersive install as well as our core performance and
event markets. These will be available from the website via a Case Studies page which provides press cuttings as a lead-in to the whys and wherefores of techniques used on particular projects as a sales/communications tool for the integrator to get their point across to the client. These are backed up by our released news stories on the News page, which include photo galleries for the integrator to plunder for inclusion in project proposals.” The information in the ‘How It’s Done’ sheets is augmented with a “three-minute elevator pitch on the front page for the management decision inﬂuencers, and a ﬁve-minute tech outline on the second page with block diagrams and brief descriptions of the technologies, interconnects and control interfaces,” says Haydon, adding that Out Board also provides TiMax demo software on its website as well as training workshops at global distributor locations. This kind of outreach is likely to become evermore crucial as the breadth and variety of immersive audio solutions continues to increase. In many senses it is a brave new world, particularly for end-users and integrators, and one that requires extremely rigorous planning and implementation if the correct solution is to be identiﬁed for any given project. But it also heralds many exciting opportunities, not least for integrators and consultants who will be required to advise on, and facilitate, more complex – and thus potentially more lucrative – projects. Fortunately, vendors are more poised than ever before with the necessary information and support functions to allow these projects to be executed successfully to the beneﬁt of integrators and customers alike.
www.astroaudio.eu www.dbaudio.com www.outboard.co.uk
32 SOLUTIONS: U ARENA, PARIS
PROJECT OF THE MONTH One system to rule them all The U Arena is Europe’s biggest indoor arena – a huge place that presented huge issues for the acoustician and the audio system supplier to solve. Franck Ernould reports from La Défense
ith capacity for 40,000 spectators in concert conﬁguration, 32,000 for sporting events, the U Arena is the biggest indoor arena in Europe. It is situated in La Défense, a major business district, a few miles west of Paris. It was imagined by Jacky Lorenzetti, founder of the real estate group Foncia: a rugby fan, he bought his own team, Racing Métro, then offered them a place, “a performance hall in which one could play rugby!”. The arena was designed by star architect Christian de Portzamparc in 2011, the architectural acoustician was Jean-Paul Lamoureux, and works effectively began in 2014.
Difficult speciﬁcations The U Arena has a closed roof and is huge, with 70,000sqm for the audience and 30,000 more for the office building on the other side of the giant screen (hence the ‘U’ shape). There were a number of challenges to be met in this project: instead of separate systems for public address and voice alarm, there was one single PA-VA system, with high-performance ampliﬁcation and speakers and EN54 ﬁre resistance certiﬁcation;
a Dante 32-channel optical ﬁbre loop network throughout the building, with ﬁve nodes; a touchscreen user interface for zone selection and audio DSP conﬁguration. Target sound pressure levels are 102dB for VA (from 250Hz to 8kHz), 105dB SPL for PA (80Hz-12kHz). And, above all, an STI (speech transmission intelligibility) value of at least 0.5 is mandatory, everywhere in the venue. From an architectural point of view, the situation was less than ideal: acoustical studies began before the U Arena was built, and predicted a reverberation time of 6s (lowered to 4.5s after other simulations, with different tools, made by acoustic consultant Pascal Luquet of Bien Entendu). The ﬁrst audio supplier mandated by AV integrator Vidélio speciﬁed a system, but was unable to meet the 0.5 STI value. After a year, enter Freevox, French distributor of most of the Harman Professional audio brands, including JBL.
Measuring STI Freevox technical director Laurent Delenclos is a former top-league French live sound engineer, who has mixed and designed sound
Installed Audio JBL PD544 and PD564 speakers JBL PD525S subwoofers JBL Control 16C-VA ceiling speakers ASL VIPEDIA Pro 12-Net audio routers ASL V2000 amplifiers with 108 x D500 cards ASL VIPA WS20 touchscreen control system ASL MPS30-GO-AN paging stations Crown DCi amplifiers Soundcraft SiExpression 3 console Focal CMS40 monitors Fostex RM-3 rackmount monitors Sennheiser SR2050 IEM transmitter Sennheiser EK2000 wireless mic receiver Sennheiser SKM2000 wireless mics with MMK965 capsules Sennheiser MEG 14-40 control room mics Focusrite Scarlett interface Novation Launchpad Pro control surface Tascam SS-R200 audio recorders Tascam CDRW-01Mk2 CD player beyerdynamic DT770 Pro headphones
SOLUTIONS: U ARENA, PARIS 33
About the project partners Integrator Vidélio has over 700 employees, based in 30 sites in 29 countries Bien Entendu has provided acoustic consultancy for sports stadiums, railway stations, airports, recording studios, auditoriums and more Freevox is a distributor for many leading brands in professional audio, video and lighting reinforcement systems for all kinds of stadiums and arenas. This one was tricky, but Delenclos had some ideas about what to do – and what not to do! He was helped by JBL, a genuine stadium PA specialist, which presented its PD500 Series at just the right time. The speakers host a 15in woofer and a compression driver, loaded with a speciﬁc horn, are available in several dispersion angles (the PD544 (40° x 40°) and PD564 (60° x 40°) are used here), and are capable of 133dB SPL. Once EN54 certiﬁed, these speakers could be used, in their different directivity variants, to form the single PA/VA system that the customer wanted. “It wasn’t an easy task”, says Delenclos. “The easiest way would have been to put the speakers in a central cluster, but as the U Arena is a modular venue, it can be separated into several parts. Impossible, then, to send sound from the centre. So we had to distribute speaker clusters all around the sports ground, just above the edge of the stands, 28m high. “This set-up creates important acoustical problems, as clusters interfere with each other. And as the venue can host sport events and live shows, we had to be able to send VA to the playing area, where people gather at a concert for example.” Even with the PD500 speakers, 12 acoustical studies were necessary to meet the mandatory 0.5 STI value, plus several 400+-point measuring
sessions with Pascal Luquet, right until the day before the venue opened. In all, there are 94 speakers and subs in the clusters, spread in 14 zones. Each speaker is powered by a single ampliﬁer channel. It’s the ﬁrst time PD500s have been used in France. There are several kinds of clusters, made up of a different number of speakers, with different directivities to get the best coverage between top/mid/low stands and the playing area itself. That’s why the angulation of the boxes is sometimes amazing. Customised brackets had to be made by Stacco, a French specialist. Vidélio handled the installation and the cabling, which involved specially trained high-altitude workers, immune to vertigo. They could lift three clusters a day, working mainly at night so as not to bother the other workers in the venue.
New brand for Freevox When Delenclos sent his results to Harman in the US for approval, he ﬁrst got a negative answer: to guarantee the ﬁnal result, it is impossible to use JBL speakers without Crown ampliﬁers, and none of them is EN54 certiﬁed, which is mandatory for VA systems. End of story? No, as JBL engineers pointed Delenclos to an English brand, ASL Control (Application Solutions Ltd). “I didn’t know ASL Control, but found out they were distributed in France. They sell top-class EN54 Dante-compatible audio routers, paging systems, and high-power modular ampliﬁers. So I contacted them, and they had all that I needed: most important, the V2000, a 2U frame hosting 500W Class D cards, with back-up batteries. We ﬁnalised the project, approved by Harman Pro. I got training sessions in England, contacts were made, and a few months later, ASL Control was distributed in France by Freevox!” By the way, as subs are not used in the VA application, their ampliﬁers are not from ASL Control, but
are Crown DCis. Some ASL Control ampliﬁers are used with the Control 16 ceiling speakers located under stands in public concourse zones. There are only two ampliﬁer rooms (West and East), which means loudspeaker cables can be very long. “Speakers are powered in 100V mode, and their cables have a 6sqmm cross-section. Their transformers are grouped by cluster in a dedicated ﬁreproof box”, says Delenclos. The control room itself is blind, and situated in a corner of the hall, on the seventh ﬂoor. There’s a control touchscreen to pilot the 14 different zones and to call the appropriate preset for the event. The audio signals mainly come from a MacBook running Ableton LIVE, with a Focusrite Scarlett interface and a Launchpad Pro Novation control surface. In the audio racks are a Tascam CD player and SD recorder, plus Sennheiser evolution G3 wireless microphone receivers and IEM transmitters, plus an ASL Control VIPEDIA PRO audio router and two MPS30 paging stations. The mixing console is a Soundcraft SiExpression3 with a Dante card. The Dante network carries 32 channels, which are necessary as every cluster has speciﬁc EQ curves and delay times.
Future events The U Arena was inaugurated by the Rolling Stones in October 2017. As ever, the band played on their tour PA system, but the preshow ads and music were played on the JBL/ ASL Control system. Delenclos conﬁdes: “On the second night, the Rolling Stones team asked me to run the system a little quieter – there was an audible quality difference with theirs!” Then there was a SuperCross event – a highSPL motorcycle show – where the in-house system was able to cut through the engine noise. And even if there is 102dB SPL on the ground (the legal limit in France), there’s only 40dB SPL outside. Residential buildings around are never impacted. A musical TV show followed, Stars80, then rugby and basketball ﬁxtures. Roger Waters will play in the U Arena in June. So – a ﬂagship installation for JBL and ASL Control, and one that people from other stadiums or arenas in France will want to visit.
www.asl-control.co.uk www.beyerdynamic.com www.bienentendu.fr www.crownaudio.com www.focal.com www.focusrite.com www.fostexinternational.com www.freevox.fr www.jblpro.com www.novationmusic.com www.sennheiser.com www.soundcraft.com www.stacco.com www.tascam.com www.videlio.com
34 SOLUTIONS: FICO EATALY WORLD, BOLOGNA
A tasty attraction Installed - Clonwerk Carousels The largest food-based attraction in the world utilises a wide range of AV equipment to support themed edutainment rooms, conference facilities and more. Mike Clark paid a visit
ICO Eataly World is the world’s largest food-based theme park and the only venue to bring together all the stages of Italy’s agri-food chain: agriculture, processing, food service, market and learning. The acronym stands for Fabbrica Italiana Contadina (Italian Farmer Factory) and is also Italian for ﬁg, an animated version of which is the venue’s mascot. Covering a 25-acre area in Bologna, FICO highlights Italian biodiversity through ﬁve acres of stables and ﬁelds housing over 200 animals and 2,000 cultivars. The remaining space hosts 40 mini-factories making mouth-watering mortadella, cheese, pasta, sauces and more, which can be tasted in the 45 restaurants and refreshment points; a market space; areas devoted to sport, children and reading activities; six classrooms; six large edutainment ‘carousels’; an arena theatre; cinema facilities; and a conference centre. The park is also a research and culture hub, thanks to the Foundation for Food Education and Sustainability formed by four universities. The majority of the AV and multimedia design and installation work was by two well-known specialists: content production company Clonwerk and AV integrator VideoWorks. The former was responsible for ﬁve carousels (Man and Fire, Man and Earth, Man and Sea, Man and Animals and Man: From the Soil to the Bottle) and the latter the live event arena and conference facilities. (The venue’s PA system,
utility lighting and numerous commercial areas, featuring digital signage and AV content, were created by others.)
Family focus Each hall carousel is a complex set, for which Clonwerk was responsible for the entire audiovisual production and project management, in partnership with Limiteazero, which handled the design. The challenge was to attract FICO’s huge target public of all ages, with a particular focus on families and schoolchildren, as well as taking the demanding world of ‘foodies’ into particular consideration. Starting out from the narrative core indicated by FICO founder Oscar Farinetti, Clonwerk and Limiteazero developed the various stories, designing the architecture of the carousels, graphics, visuals, visitor routes, multimedia and interactive elements, furnishing and décor, creating every single piece ad hoc. The dramatic Fire room features 12 Epson 8,000-lumen projectors, deployed to create 360° projections surrounding spectators with dark forests and dancing silhouettes, and a huge hologram ﬂame lit by giant hands in the centre of the area, created by four more 8,000lumen units. The area features a ﬁlm projection area and a zone with three Samsung 55in touchscreens installed in a ‘multimedia wall’. Similar interactive walls are installed in all ﬁve carousels and content includes quizzes
Video Epson EB G7800 projectors Epson EB-L1405U projectors Samsung PM55F-BC 55in touchscreens Samsung UD55E, PH55F 55in displays Samsung DB22D, SMUD22B, S22E200B 22in displays Datapath X4 display controllers Ubiquiti 48-port Gigabit switches Ubiquiti 5-port Gigabit Ethenet routers Intel NUC mini PCs
Audio Bose Panaray 502 B, 402 Series IV, MA12EX speakers Bose FreeSpace DS40F flushmount speakers Bose FreeSpace 3 systems Bose RMU208, RMU105, RMU108 RoomMatch Utility speakers Bose ESP1240 signal processors Bose PM8500N, PM8250N amplifiers Radial J+4 stereo line drivers Audac XMP44 modular audio system Audac FMP40 media player modules Terratec Aureon 7.1 sound cards
Lighting Artemide – various LED fixtures and strips Artemide Demetra table lights Artemide Ego 6 spots Artemide Ego 90 downlights Artemide Tagora ceiling lamps Robe Spikie LED moving head fixture Lutron Homeworks QS processors and keypads Lutron Seetouch keypads
putting visitors’ knowledge to the test on the various rooms’ themes. A movie theatre screens high-impact short ﬁlms produced for FICO by students of the Experimental Cinematography Centre, under the artistic direction of Maurizio Nichetti. Each carousel zone has its own Bose speaker set-up. In the Animals carousel, a sensor measures visitors’ height and tells them their equivalent height in snails, pigs and horses. Two huge wheels offer visitors the possibility of matching animals with the noise they make, while a ﬂock of origami birds ﬂy overhead and life-size pigs, cows and other farm animals are reﬂected to great effect in a huge mirror. An entire wall tells the history of bees, and cats are the stars of a holographic projection table. From the Soil to the Bottle takes visitors on a journey through the world of olive oil, wine and beer production. Alongside the centrepiece, two huge millstones which visitors move to change the content on the displays mounted alongside them, giant wooden bottle sculptures tower over the visitors, and real bottles, recessed in a huge wall, illustrate the containers’ history. The projection zone screens documentaries presenting the areas of Italy dedicated to each of the products.
Take the wheel Man and Sea is the most ecological hall. The ‘Hemingway Lighthouse’ consists of six pairs of stacked portrait-mode Samsung 55in full HD displays with ultra-narrow 3.5mm bezel-tobezel design for a near-seamless appearance; its beacon is lit by a Robe moving head ﬁxture. An Epson projector creates a backdrop full of ﬁsh. The displays guide visitors through the ﬁshing world and the fundamental relationship
SOLUTIONS: FICO EATALY WORLD, BOLOGNA 35 between man and valuable ﬁsh resources. Visitors take turns on a series of ships’ wheels, each navigating his or her own ﬁshing boat round a table-top projection of Italy, discovering the hot spots of Italy’s seas and ﬁsh species and breeding zones. Man and Earth features the birth of agriculture. A dreamlike forest, from dawn to dusk with countless hanging luminous fruits evokes the days in which man depended on his harvest. A ﬁeld of LED corncobs sways in the air and, like shadow puppetry, the phases of agriculture in neolithic, ancient Roman and medieval times are represented. A pair of Epson 8,000-lumen projectors creates a high-impact trompe-l’oeil effect, in which a robotic arm hoes virtual earth, sows and harvests, showing to what extent mankind’s agricultural skills can be replaced by machines and technology. The lighting in the carousels consists of various LED ﬁxtures by Italian manufacturer Artemide, controlled by Advantech Ethernetbased controller modules and Lutron HomeWorks QS. The ﬁve areas’ compact control rooms are hubs of technology featuring Ubiquiti Networks Gigabit switches and Ethernet routers, Bose signal processors, ampliﬁers and amp links, Terratec soundcards, Datapath display controllers, Radial stereo line drivers, Intel NUC mini PCs, Lutron processors and keypads and Asus PCs. The Clonwerk team on the FICO project comprised project manager Michela Di Nardo, creative director Alessio Pastorello and art director Sabrina Fasano. Di Nardo explains: “Since no staff are involved in the ﬁve areas, as well as putting such a large amount of equipment together that had to operate people-free, our in-house team also developed software to
Installed - Videoworks Gear Video Screenline screens Epson EB-L1505U 12,000-lumen projectors Crestron DM 32x32 modular multi-format matrix JVC KY-PZ100BE PTZ cameras Cisco networking/videoconferencing system Kramer SID-X2N switchers Kramer VS-62DT matrix Hitachi CP-WU8600 WUXGA projector Screenline Mot 300 motorised screen Telesystem TS ultra 4K DVB-T/S decoder Crestron control system HP 21in touch control panel Apple iPad 9in tablet
Audio Bose RMU208 loudspeakers Bose 502B, SM118 sub woofers Bose RMU206 surround loudspeakers Bose 310M monitors Bose PM8500N power amps Bose SM20 loudspeakers Bose ControlSpace Dante DSPs Yamaha TF1 16-channel digital mixers Williams Sound loop amplifiers Shure CVG18D-B/C gooseneck mics Shure BLX wireless mic systems Biamp Tesira Forté DSP Biamp Tec 1S audio control panel Apart Revemp 2600 power amp Tannoy VLS15 line source array speakers
Lighting Robe ROBIN LEDBeam 150 moving heads
About the project partners Videoworks SpA has with more than 20 years’ experience in the design, realisation and installation of AV, communication, entertainment and home automation systems It has clients in the yachting, high-end residential and business sectors The company’s 50-strong staff operates from Aalsmeer (Netherlands), Ancona (the company’s HQ), Milan, London, Moscow and Viareggio Milan- and Rome-based content production and management firm Clonwerk is one of Italy’s leading companies in the production of AV content and video graphics Clonwerks’ clients are in the entertainment, broadcast and corporate worlds Services provided include artistic direction, production and post-production for visual storytelling projects, infomercials and advertisements, as well as speech support, motion graphics, large-format direction and video mapping for events
36 SOLUTIONS: FICO EATALY WORLD, BOLOGNA
and monitored remotely from Clonwerk’s HQ or from our main control room here in the auditorium. All the audio equipment throughout the park is connected to a Dante network, which ensures complete control of the signal ﬂow, enabling it to be fed wherever required. “Each company worked on its own areas, treating them as separate compartments, so when I was given the responsibility of technical management of the set-up and realised that it was possible to interface all the systems, as they all used a Dante communication system, I decided to proceed in order that an event in the auditorium for example could be followed anywhere else in the venue. The set-up is thus also constantly monitored as far as data and signal ﬂow are concerned.” schedule the events of all the zones’ apparatus, which is switched on automatically shortly before the park opens and off just after closing time.”
Conference facility Let’s turn to Videoworks’ part of the project. FICO’s main conference facility is its spacious modular auditorium, divisible into three smaller rooms, or hosting 1,000 attendees. Each of its three Screenline 7m x 4m screens is paired with an Epson 12,000-lumen projector, six JVC cameras ensure event coverage or recording and a Crestron 32 x 32 modular multi-format matrix handles routing. The room’s all-Bose sound system includes L/R loudspeakers, subwoofers, surround loudspeakers, stage monitors, amps and processors, while Shure gooseneck and wireless mics at the participants’ disposal are mixed on a Yamaha console; Williams Sound loop amps cater for participants with impaired hearing. A Cisco networking/videoconferencing system is in place and control is via Crestron, an HP touch control panel and iPads for wireless room control. Out of the public eye, VideoWorks supplied the technology installed in FICO management’s
conference room: a Hitachi 6,000-lumen projector with a Screenline screen, Kramer switchers and matrix, Telesystem TS ultra 4K DVB-T/S decoder, Shure gooseneck mics, Biamp Tesira Forté DSP, Tannoy array speakers, REV Amp power amp and a Biamp audio control panel. Thanks to a collaboration with Bologna’s historic Fonoprint studios (a ﬁxture on Italy’s recording scene for over 40 years), the Arena Theatre’s programme also includes a series of twice-weekly dinner and concert appointments featuring emerging artists and bands and successful artists. Performers use a Bose PA, Yamaha TF1 mixer, Shure wireless mics and a ﬂight-cased control console, all supplied and installed by VideoWorks, whereas show lighting (18 Robe moving head ﬁxtures) was supplied and installed by RM Multimedia. Lorenzo Ori leads FICO’s three-man team responsible for all the technical aspects of audio, video, lighting and multimedia systems, including all the theme park, background music, PA, multimedia management of the carousels, the arena theatre, and the auditorium/ conference centre. He explains: “The carousels can all be controlled
www.advantech.com www.apart-audio.com www.apple.com www.artemide.com www.biamp.com https://pro.bose.com www.cisco.com http://clonwerk.com www.crestron.com www.datapath.co.uk www.eatalyworld.it https://epson.com www.fonoprint.com www.hitachidigitalmedia.com http://eu.jvc.com www.kramerav.com http://limiteazero.net www.lutron.com www.radialeng.com www.rmmultimedia.it www.robe.cz www.samsung.com www.screenline.it www.shure.com www.tannoy.com www.telesystem-world.com www.terratec.net www.ubnt.com www.videoworks.it www.williamssound.com www.yamahaproaudio.com
38 SOLUTIONS: BANK HAPOALIM, TEL AVIV
From everywhere to everywhere As well as being Israel’s biggest bank, with a signiﬁcant presence in global markets, Bank Hapoalim is a strong advocate of technical innovation and is at the forefront of digital banking. The bank’s new Innovation Center features an AV facility that highlights the many advantages of AV over IP. Tom Bradbury reports
ank Hapoalim’s Innovation Center is driving forward the latest technology for the banking world, creating and developing new ideas for both the industry and consumers. Its AV system needed to be equally progressive – extremely ﬂexible, able to respond dynamically and able to stay at the leading edge of technology for at least ﬁve years. “Our goal was to create a dynamic working space where innovation will occur,” says Tsachi Lutaty, head of the innovation lab at Bank Hapoalim. “We looked for an AV system that would be an enabler for the innovation process in terms of helping us capture ideas, promote discussions and communicate products to visitors and employees, while being available everywhere within the space and ﬂexible enough to handle any type of AV we will need. Choosing an AV-over-IP solution would help us achieve that goal.” The Innovation Center in Tel Aviv is a very open, new and ‘techy’ working environment that includes conference rooms, ﬁxed and mobile displays, and a large, two-part videowall in what is effectively a mini-auditorium for presentations. To meet the goals of the facility, the AV system had to connect ‘from everywhere to everywhere’. AV over IP was an obvious solution to achieve that goal. “There needed to be enough ﬂexibility to
allow a facility that is constantly pushing the boundaries of technology to do whatever they want with it, being very ‘agile’ and able to move with them as they move forward,” says Aviad Cohen, conferencing and collaboration consultant for Aerolite, which won a competitive tender to specify and manage the project. Aerolite worked closely with systems integrator AVCS to deploy the system to meet Bank Hapoalim’s requirements. “AV over IP was the way to go because it has already proven itself and it’s a platform that will develop well into the future,” he continues. “We looked at all the major players in the market and at whatever would allow the best possible solution regarding ease of use, management, upscaling and future-prooﬁng. It went without saying that it also had to be of the highest quality.”
Enterprise-wide distribution The installation was built around Atlona’s OmniStream – a platform for dependable, high performance 4K video, audio and control distribution over enterprise-wide installations. According to Cohen, OmniStream offered a number of advantages over other AV-over-IP solutions. As well as its ﬂexibility and ease of distributing high-quality content, its scalability is virtually unlimited and it features dualchannel encoding and decoding. This makes
each encoder and decoder effectively two devices in one, making a major difference in terms of cost performance. “OmniStream allows you to connect whatever you need – whether it’s DisplayPort, mini DisplayPort, HDMI – and your content will go smoothly from one place to the other wherever you like, however you like,” says Cohen. “There are so many scenarios that were introduced to us, so many ways and ideas of how it can be used, that OmniStream was an obvious choice. The GUI is also very easy to use and manage and the dual Ethernet connections on the encoders and decoders mean a failover is designed into the equipment, which was another obvious advantage.” As well as the two-part videowall in the ‘miniauditorium’ – which comprises adjacent 3 x 3 and 3 x 2 panel screens – the Innovation Center includes rooms with 65in screens. The system allows any conference or project to be displayed on any of the screens without the need for extra equipment, for sophisticated content management on the split videowall and for any external IP source, such as cable TV, to be displayed, should it be needed. OmniStream also allows any resolution and any frame rate to be delivered. All of the screens in the Innovation Center are 4K-capable; 4K is used on the split videowall, but 1080p is currently favoured for the rooms with the 65in
SOLUTIONS: BANK HAPOALIM, TEL AVIV 39
displays, because some 4K content can be a little too small to be legible.
Welcome messages Another aspect of the system facilitated by OmniStream is all screens being able to act as high-resolution digital signage. It gives any or all the ability to display a welcome message, video or other appropriate content, then be instantly switched to the content needed for a particular meeting or session. User control for the system is straightforward, using Extron graphic touchpanels. These are managed by a central computer on the network, and the use of OmniStream means the control system is fully redundant, ensuring the workﬂow in the Innovation Center is never interrupted. “OmniStream is effectively hidden in plain sight,” says Cohen. “It’s the Innovation Center AV system’s biggest player ‘behind the curtain’, the thing that makes everything work, but much of what actually happens is automated. “The client brief and our tender were all about innovation. Using AV over IP and OmniStream allowed us to break the mould of ‘traditional’ AV systems whatever, however and whenever that needed to happen.”
On the subject of AV over IP being adopted more widely, Cohen says, “I believe we will be seeing both HDBaseT and AV over IP side by side for some time, but at some point, the latter will become the preferred solution and HDBaseT phased out. This is especially likely as networks become more inhabitable for other AV equipment. “It might need a new role within companies, someone who knows both AV and IP networks. Planning ahead for equipment, networks, subnets and bandwidth load will be necessary
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but, if you have that knowledge and know how to apply it, as we do at Aerolite, AV over IP is a great solution. And although OmniStream is already at its maturity stage, it’s scary to think to what it will be capable of once as the platform scales for new applications.”
www.aerolite.co.il www.atlona.com www.avcs.co.il www.extron.com
40 SOLUTIONS IN BRIEF
SSUK completes £1.5m workspace refurbishment Daily deals site Itison has unveiled its newly renovated headquarters in the heart of the Merchant City of Glasgow, following a £1.5million project that delivers a collaborative workspace and AV system, speciﬁed by SSUK. The HQ includes over 70 LG monitors in its desk spaces, a 14-zone integrated sound system and over 20 LG commercial displays conﬁgured to create an internal communications platform. In the reception space, visitors are met by an LG 86in 4K UltraStretch display, the ﬁrst of its kind to be installed in Scotland. Throughout the office, 47in LG displays are connected to a bespoke CRM system that uses aggregated data directly from the company’s sales platform, social media, phone system and email and web live chat.
LAVA Centre gets multi-zone audio The new LAVA Centre in Hvolsvöllur is an interactive exhibition tracing the creation of Iceland over millions of years. AV design and integration by Feris ehf took almost a year. Fourteen Powersoft Ottocanali and Quattrocanali ampliﬁers with onboard DSP drive the 72 channels of zonal ceiling and surface mount loudspeakers. There are 15 multi-channel audio zones, located in 10 rooms/spaces, including one outdoors – triggered by MediaMatrix or Presonus soundcards. Installed are 80 Audac speakers, 13 Audac subs, two Danley subs, three Panphonics ﬂat panels in the ceiling for spot audio, eight OnePointAudio speakers, and a Stewart Filmscreen Phantom HALR screen coupled with a 7.1 surround system from a PC Asus 7.1 soundcard, via a Peavey MediaMatrix NION n3.
Scalable audio system transforms iconic Roubaix Coliseum The iconic Colisée de Roubaix has been ﬁtted with an Adamson S-Series speaker system to enhance the multitude of productions presented in the historic 1,700-seat main theatre. The integrator was VS Scene, based in Templemars. The hall employs a scalable design that can transform from a left-right array conﬁguration with six Adamson S10 two-way, full range cabinets, to LCR arrays of four S10s each. Four ground-stacked S119 subs per side handle low end for the main level. Additional arrays of four
S10s cover the balcony along with two ﬂown S119s in a cardioid conﬁguration under the catwalk. Under the balcony are three clusters of four Adamson PC 5 two-way coaxial speakers, plus two Point 12s and two Point 115 subs per side in cardioid mode. Rounding out the system are Point 8s as lip ﬁlls and a combination of Point 8s and Point 12s in the washrooms.
SOLUTIONS IN BRIEF
Modernising One Manchester Housing association One Manchester has been ﬁtted with a Sony AV solution to enable it to embrace new ways of working and manage its portfolio of more than 12,000 homes across Manchester more efficiently. Facilitated by IDNS, Sony speciﬁed a meeting room set-up and additional digital signage throughout the building to create a personalised introduction for visitors and an effective way of keeping employees up to date. At the heart of the new solution was the deployment of TEOS Manage in conjunction with a range of BRAVIA displays. By grouping devices across One Manchester’s office, this package of software and hardware has given the AV team full control and monitoring of its IP display devices so that content being communicated via displays can be viewed by building, ﬂoor or area.
Custom LED ceiling art installation A new 24m x 2.4m ceiling art installation, showing unique, generative images, is part of the striking transformation of a renovated and repositioned office lobby in midtown Manhattan. Equipment and engineering provider VER brought in Electrosonic to help with AV and control system installation and programming. The content evolves over a 24-hour cycle and is comprised of abstract art, live news feeds, galaxy depictions and extreme weather. Driven by custom high-end media server PCs, the AV system sends UHD resolution images via VER’s M8 Distribution Platform to 308 2.88mm pitch LED ceiling tiles. A QSC Q-SYS Core DSP, ampliﬁer and 16 speakers above the display supply audio throughout the lobby. DMX cues from the media servers change the colours of lighting ﬁxtures around the display to complement the content.
Seamless sound at Central nightclub Central, a high-end nightclub in Split on the Dalmatian coast in Croatia, features a d&b sound system designed by Audio Tehnika to bring energy to the danceﬂoor while minimising any problems due to external sound leakage. The system is based around a L/R Y-Series line array and a Bi6-SUB array with E12s for ﬁlls around the venue. The DJ booth is equipped with a pair of MAX2 monitors for foldback, and ﬂown behind each array is an E12 providing ﬁll to the rear of the stage.
The sub array is an 8m delayed arc using eight Bi6-SUBs built into the stage. The R1-controlled design, driven by D80 and D20 ampliﬁers, delivers the seamless experience that the owners of the club wanted. “Using ArrayCalc we were able to experiment and simulate our design until we reached the outcome we wanted,” says Audio Tehnika’s Tomislav Koran.
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Kit you need to know about
PRODUCT OF Dolby THE MONTH Dolby Voice Room It’s… a new videoconferencing solution for huddle rooms and small conference rooms.
What’s new? Dolby says this new solution has “the intelligence to ﬂex to the changing needs of the workforce”. Details: Dolby Voice Room is designed to be easy to install, manage, and use. It seeks to overcome key challenges to productivity faced by meeting participants such as unintelligible audio, shadowy video, distracting background noise, poorly framed views of participants, and confusing interfaces on jumbled hardware kits. It comprises three components: the Dolby Conference Phone, Dolby Voice Camera and Dolby Voice Hub, which together can be installed in as little as 15 minutes, according to the company. The Dolby Conference Phone is also the audio and control centre for videoconferencing. It offers a sleek user interface to start and manage meetings, and features sound quality that accommodates diverse meeting spaces. Dynamic levelling continuously maps the room sound to distinguish between speakers and noise, cancels out common room distractions like HVAC or projector hum, and boosts the sound of quiet or distant participants so that everyone is heard. HDR (high dynamic range) video mapping adjusts the image to different lighting situations to provide a high-quality representation of the room, overcoming muddled or washed-out images. Intelligent scene framing automatically gives the most relevant view of the meeting by automatically and noiselessly zooming in or out and panning as needed to provide the best view of the meeting. Whiteboard view provides exceptional clarity and visibility to remote participants – even when the whiteboard is adjacent, and oblique, to the camera – while ghosting out people as they
move in front of the board (to aid legibility). The company says that Dolby Voice Room is a simple and affordable solution that adapts to diverse workspaces and work styles, while providing advanced features that are typically only found in very expensive and complicated systems. The user experience is said to support more use cases with fewer devices and allow participants to join, engage, and share content with fewer touches. Intelligent hardware design, minimal components, and automated deployment tools simplify set-up, and remote device management simpliﬁes monitoring, diagnosis, and troubleshooting of device behaviour. According to research from Frost & Sullivan, only 2% of the millions of huddle rooms globally are video enabled. “As huddle-room collaboration grows exponentially, businesses are demanding a solution that is simple to manage while providing a compelling experience to end-users,” says
Roopam Jain, industry director, Frost & Sullivan. “Dolby is well positioned to capitalise on this opportunity through its expertise in delivering spectacular audiovisual experiences across the cinema, the home, on the go, and now on the job.” “To make collaboration experiences better, we needed to make the technology work harder for users,” says Andrew Border, vice president, communications business group, Dolby Laboratories. “Leveraging our expertise in the ﬁelds of human perception, machine learning, engineering and design, Dolby Voice Room was built with the ability to ﬂex to human needs in a way that is simple to use by participants and IT while also delivering a dramatically better experience.”
Available: Spring 2018, initially to BlueJeans and Highﬁve customers. www.dolby.com
44 TECHNOLOGY: NEW PRODUCTS Gefen EXT-UHDKA-LANS-TX/RX This Gen 2.0 AV over IP sender/receiver pair can input up to 4K 60Hz 4:2:0, and output resolution up to 4K 30Hz 4:4:4. Basic KVM functionality is offered, plus KM Emulation, facilitating keyboard and mouse control of each source. The receiver contains two USB 2.0 and two USB 1.1 ports, while a built-in two-port Gigabit switch allows the daisy-chaining of additional receivers or other IP-enabled devices. A built-in scaler helps to optimise the image for a variety of displays. www.gefen.com Martin Audio SXH218 Shipping this month, this hybrid passive subwoofer has two extremely high-powered 4.5in coil, 18in drivers. It’s designed to complement the new WPC optimised line array in low-end-heavy applications or high-performance installations such as nightclubs. (It has already been installed in a club in Miami.) It can achieve a maximum SPL of 148dB and is powered by either one channel of an iK42 amplifier, or a bridged pair of channels for full output. www.martin-audio.com Extron AXI 02 AT Now shipping, this compact audio interface extracts two channels from a Dante audio network, enabling non-Dante devices to connect. It interfaces with the network over a standard LAN and is powered through PoE. It features two line-level analogue outputs on captive screw connectors with a mirrored two-channel S/PDIF output on a coaxial RCA connector. A ZipClip 100 Mounting Kit is included; the interface is compatible with Extron Rack Shelves and ZipClip 200 mounting solutions. www.extron.eu Platinum Tools ezEX Shielded Connectors Designed for use with Platinum’s ezEX-RJ45 hand termination system, these new shielded connectors are designed for larger cables and conductors. They feature a simple one-piece, pass-through design, with no bars or liners. They allow the conductor to pass through the front end of the connector, making it easy to verify the wiring sequence before terminating. Cat6 (with internal or external ground) and Cat6A models are available. www.platinumtools.com
Samsung Cinema LED Screen It’s… as the name suggests, an LED screen for cinemas.
What’s new? See above! Details: With a 2.5mm pixel pitch, the Samsung Cinema LED screen has a 4,096 x 2,160 resolution and measures 10.2m x 5.4m. It is built from 96 individual modules, which can be replaced individually. The LEDs produce a luminosity of 500 nits – 10 times stronger than with conventional projectors, according to Samsung – and consume less power compared to an average projector. The cinema screen is designed for 24/7 operation. The full 4K display can accommodate the two most cinema formats, ‘ﬂat’ (1.85:1) and ‘scope’ (2.39:1) without the dark grey stripes that can be generated by projectors. Content produced in High Dynamic Range (HDR) format can be played optimally thanks
to the high contrast ratio. Colour brilliance is maintained in the brightest scenes, and details are still visible in the darkest ones. The display is also highly suited to 3D ﬁlms. The Samsung Cinema LED screen can be paired with immersive sound technology from JBL and Harman. In the ﬁrst commercial installation of the screen (in the Arena Sihlcity cinema in Zurich), JBL’s ‘Sculpted Surround’ system has created a clear and natural surround sound that is evenly distributed throughout the room.
Available: TBC www.samsung.com
Arista Corporation RS-121 It’s… a 1RU computer with integrated HDBaseT KVM extender.
What’s new? It integrates two essential AV solutions into a single, compact form factor. Details: The RS-121 houses two swappable modules: the MicroBox-1100A-E01 computer module and the ARD-1006-A07-TX HDBaseT KVM transmitter module. Both modules are swappable, and can be replaced within a few seconds in the event of a component failure, or to upgrade the system. The HDMI output, RS-232, and USB ports of the computer module are connected to the extender transmitter internally. As a result, the receiver at the remote location will be able to access the RS-232 and USB ports of the computer, as well as the display. The computer module contains an Intel Atom E3845 1.9GHz quad-core CPU and up
to 8GB DDR3 memory, and can run Windows or Linux. It provides the necessary computing power for a wide range of applications, including pro AV control and a client for cloud computing applications. The HDBaseT transmitter module provides an HDMI Loopback output that allows the user to view the same content as that shown on the receiver’s display; a two-port 10/100 Mbps Ethernet pass-through hub; plus a Power over HDBaseT output. With a single Cat6 cable, the unit transmits video signals, RS-232, USB and 10/100 Ethernet, as well as PoE.
Available: Now www.goarista.com
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46 TECHNOLOGY: NEW PRODUCTS Kramer Electronics Kramer Network 2.0 This enterprise management platform enables users to configure and manage their Kramer product range, Dante devices and third-party devices from anywhere. With any type of audio and video signal supported, Kramer Network provides easy switching of AV sources to any number of destinations for physical or virtual matrixes, or a combination of both. It proactively generates email alerts and/or SNMP traps, to alert users to critical issues. The platform also enables using Kramer Maestro, which adds room automation functionalities to any managed Kramer device. www.kramerav.com Qumu Qumu iPTV This software-only solution can stream IPTV to any device regardless of configuration or location, with no additional hardware required. The platform uses real-time server technology to update connected clients instantly without the use of set-top boxes, leveraging commodity hardware and requiring only a browser on the endpoint, reducing total cost of ownership. Proprietary remote controls are not needed, as client devices can be controlled with off-the-shelf mobile devices such as iPhones, iPads and Android phones. www.qumu.com Sommer Cable AOC cables These fibre hybrid cables can transmit AV signals via HDMI 2.0a and DisplayPort 1.4 over long distances. The HDMI 2.0a version achieves 18Gbps of bandwidth, the DisplayPort 1.4 variant 25Gbps. The required electronics are built into the connector shell, facilitating handling and installation, since no separate power supply is needed. Flexibility and break resistance are high. 4K60 4:4:4 HDR 10 signals are supported, as is HDCP 2.2 copy protection. The HDMI 2.0a version is available in lengths of up to 100m, the DisplayPort 1.4 up to 50m. www.sommercable.com Vision CS-1800P Vision’s 2 x 30W powered ceiling loudspeakers have been given a Bluetooth upgrade. The CS-1800P is a master-slave powered speaker set with one wired input, a Bluetooth input, a remote control, and RS-232 control. Many pairs can be daisy-chained to serve larger rooms. The speakers can automatically switch to the Bluetooth input when it pairs. If the phone rings during a presentation, Bluetooth reverts to the handset during the call. It features optional auto standby, and when power is cycled it automatically returns to the same input and level. www.visionaudiovisual.com/techaudio/ CS-1800P
Optoma ZU1050 It’s… the company’s new ﬂagship 10,000-lumen professional installation laser projector.
What’s new? This WUXGA forms part of the DuraCore range, which combines a longerlifetime light source and an independent IP rated dust certiﬁcation. Details: The ZU1050 offers six interchangeable lens options for maximum ﬂexibility, (throw ratios from 0.36:1 to 5.5:1, plus a single-projector dome lens), and builtin edge-blending and warping for large-scale projection or stacking. An HDBaseT input simpliﬁes cabling requirements and reduces installation complexity. The DuraCore range features a laser light source that delivers a minimum of 20,000 hours in full brightness mode. Its MCL (MultiColor
Laser) technology combines red and blue laser diodes to enhance colour performance and deliver highly detailed images. With an airtight optical engine, independently certiﬁed as IP6X, it is a ‘ﬁt-and-forget’ projector with virtually maintenance-free operation. Designed for continuous 24/7 operation, it offers 100 variable power and luminance settings, and is suited to simulation, live events or almost any challenging environment.
MuxLab AV over IP 4K/60 Uncompressed Extender It’s… an IP-based extender for ﬁbre networks. What’s new? It offers expanded functionality and covers greater distances compared with other MuxLab extenders. Details: This extender (model 500761) delivers 4K/60 video from one or many sources to one or many displays. It connects sources to displays through a 10Gbps Ethernet switch, enabling an easy, scalable way to implement virtual matrix switch and splitter conﬁgurations. Massive videowalls can be created at nearly any user-deﬁned scale, provided the network bandwidth is available. It supports both HDMI and DisplayPort inputs. The systems’ transmitters and receivers can connect to the switch using OM4 multimode ﬁbre cable, effectively transmitting up to 400m, so equipment can be stored far from the installation. Resolutions up to 4K60 are supported when using both HDMI and DisplayPort. When uncompressed, ‘zero latency’ video is delivered at 4K60 4:2:0. With light compression and
visually lossless latency (less than one frame), video is delivered at 4K60 4:4:4. Both transmitter and receiver come equipped with a 1Gbps Ethernet switch port to connect network devices, and RS232 and IR remote control options are available. When paired with MuxLab’s ProDigital Network Controller (model 500811), remote conﬁguration and control of the entire AV over IP system is simpliﬁed. It can be controlled via smartphone or tablet using the new MuxControl app, or with traditional third-party control apps.
Available: Now www.muxlab.com
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48 TECHNOLOGY: SHOWCASE
Speakers for large venues You’d expect speakers intended for large-venue applications to be powerful; but this selection also includes attributes such as versatility in deployment, precise beam controllability, compactness and ampliﬁer economy
Community IV6 tailors response of each speaker Part of its I SERIES family, Community Professional’s IV6 Modular Vertical Array 600 system is a scalable, adaptive sound reinforcement system. The IV6-1122 array element features a 12in driver with 3in voice coil, plus two 1.7in HF voice coils. Operating range is 40Hz to 18.5kHz. Horizontal dispersion is 120º, and the cabinets are available in two complementary vertical coverage angle versions (5° and 15°). Individual elements may be splayed by up to 5°. Arrays of up to 20 elements can be created, with a 10:1 safety ratio. For additional LF impact, a single 18in IV6118S subwoofer can be ﬂown above or behind any array. Up to 55 different frequency response proﬁles can be independently selected for each element in the array, using the built-in Passive Acoustic
Optimization (PAO) settings on the rear of each loudspeaker. This allows SPL and frequency response consistency to be applied throughout a listening area without using additional ampliﬁers or DSP channels. The ideal PAO settings for each loudspeaker can be quickly calculated using Community’s exclusive PAO module within EASE Focus 3 software.
Firenze-KH7: sleek and controllable The K-array Firenze-KH7 is a lightweight speaker with a sleek design that doesn’t impose itself on a venue’s overall appearance. Additionally, says the manufacturer, the KH7’s Slim Array Technology allows sound to exit instantaneously without resonance, generating a signiﬁcant amount of sound pressure in the low and low-mid range. The KH7 is a self-powered line array element featuring four 12in coaxial neodymium magnet woofers. It produces a peak output of 141 dB SPL for powerful, even coverage in the venue. An integrated Class D ampliﬁer delivers 4 x 2,000W at 4 ohms. The KH7’s electronic beam steering capabilities enable users to focus the audio within a targeted area.
Electro-Voice offers ﬂexibility with EVA The Expandable Vertical Array (EVA) is part of the EV-Innovation family, which Electro-Voice describes as “the most ﬂexible loudspeaker solution in the installation market”. Each EVA element features two 8in woofers and four 1.25in compression drivers mounted to patented Hydra planar wave generators, delivering tight far-ﬁeld summing. Up to eight full-range modules (16 line array elements) can
be powered by a single ampliﬁer channel. Two matching subwoofers can be ﬂown in the array. The four EVA cabinets offer two vertical patterns (6º and 20º) and two horizontal patterns (90º and 120º), enabling ﬂexibility in system designs. Maximum SPL output capability is 135dB, with a distortion level that is said to be extremely low. EVA cabinets are also compatible with other product series within the EV-Innovation family: the compact EVC series, EVU under-balcony enclosures, coaxial, horn-loaded EVH speakers and front-loaded full-range EVF models. Hidden internal rigging makes the EVA series quick and easy to install and ensures minimal aesthetic impact.“If you think that your budget isn’t big enough for a great-sounding line array, EVA may be just the answer you’re looking for,” says the company.
LYON offers consistency and neutrality Meyer Sound says that the power and longthrow capability of its LYON linear line array loudspeaker reduce or eliminate the need for delay loudspeakers. As self-powered systems, LYON eliminate the need for climate-controlled ampliﬁer rooms and long speaker cable runs. Additionally, every loudspeaker sounds identical; there are no variations due to cable lengths or how the ampliﬁers are loaded. LYON is designed for linear phase and frequency response, regardless of operating level. This makes LYON highly suitable for reproducing a wide variety of musical styles.
CREATION. CONSUMPTION. DELIVERY
20TH & 21ST JUNE 2018
GRAND CONNAUGHT ROOMS, CENTRAL LONDON TRANSFORMING THE WAY WE CREATE AND DELIVER CONTENT TO BETTER ENGAGE OUR AUDIENCE MediaTech 360 is a two day summit bringing together content owners and providers alike to discuss the application of emergent technologies, their impact on business strategies, and where the opportunities and challenges lie as the marketplace evolves.
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50 TECHNOLOGY: SHOWCASE
GEO M6 is compact yet powerful NEXO’S GEO M6 compact loudspeaker series – comprised of the M620 cabinet and the M6B bass extension – is suited to a wide range of ﬁxed installation applications where speech reinforcement is the primary requirement. The full-range GEO M620 can be used singly, in pairs, in curved arrays of three or in line arrays up to 12 cabinets long, and can be ﬂown, wallmounted, pole-mounted or ground-stacked. Extremely compact (191mm x 373mm x 260mm) and lightweight (less than 10kg due to its polyurethane composite casing), the GEO M620 delivers a frequency response of 80Hz to 19kHz (±3dB), with nominal peak SPL of 127dB. HF dispersion is 80° or 120° horizontal, with 20° vertical coverage; arrayed, the splay angle can range from 0° to 20°.
The GEO M6B is a low and mid-frequency extension box with a usable range @-6dB of 70Hz to 1kHz. The 7.6kg M6B shares the same physical footprint as the M620, allowing the cabinets to be arrayed together. NEXO’s NXAMP4x1 TDcontroller can work with three cabinets per channel. This means that a 12-cabinet system can be powered by just one four-channel ampliﬁer; optionally, it can also be controlled over a Dante or EtherSound network.
IC² is point-source/ array hybrid Renkus-Heinz says its ﬂexible IC2 speaker is ideal for everything from delivering intelligible speech and cutting through crowd noise to shaking the rafters at rock concerts. It can be deployed singly as a standalone high-performance loudspeaker, ground-stacked as a small array, or ﬂown in multi-cabinet conﬁgurations. Its hybrid design is said to combine the advantages of point-source loudspeakers with the control and ﬂexibility of digitally steered array technology. The IC2 system’s four 8in LF neodymium woofers and four 1in-throat titanium nitridecoated HF drivers deliver powerful sound levels that belie their compact size: a single IC2 will deliver over 100dB SPL of audiophile quality audio at a distance of 30m. One IC2 can produce up to four individually controllable beams of sound. Array multiple IC2 and the result is a truly steerable line array – all ‘dead hung’ from a single point, with the aiming controlled by RHAON software. Up to 20 IC2 modules and IC212S subwoofers can be ﬂown in a single array.
d&b’s three versatile Messengers We generally ask manufacturers to name a single product, or product family, for these Product Showcases. However, d&b audiotechnik nominated three: the J-Series, Y-Series and V-Series, known collectively as the JYV Messengers. Together, says the company, these can deliver scalable, versatile and ﬂexible permanent professional audio solutions, from the smallest corporate speech reinforcement, all the
way up to large-scale stadiums and arenas. The JYV Messengers differ in output, cabinet size, and ampliﬁer channel requirements. The J-Series is the largest of the three and is driven in two-way active mode. The smaller Y-Series and V-Series are three-way passive and twoway passive respectively. Together they are said to achieve accurate pattern control, tonality, frequency response and a common sonic performance, particularly when ArrayProcessing is deployed. According to d&b, they are designed to work together both acoustically and visually. They use the same standard ampliﬁer platform, cabling solutions and three-point rigging procedure and design, and all use the enabling technologies of the d&b Workﬂow, including ArrayCalc simulation software, the optional ArrayProcessing optimisation function, NoizCalc immission prediction software and R1 Remote control software.
Syva is a new breed of speaker, blending our groundbreaking line-source heritage with plug-and-play simplicity and an elegant design. 142 dB. 35 meters of throw. 140Â° horizontal coverage. Down to 35 Hz. Syva gives you peerless power and performance. Learn more about Syva at l-acoustics.com and experience our immersive sound solutions at l-isa-immersive.com.
52 TECHNOLOGY: DEMO OF THE MONTH
Will you ﬂip for Flip? At last month’s Reﬂex Technology Day in London, Paddy Baker had a demonstration of Samsung’s new digital ﬂipchart from Michael Dawson, LFD distribution account manager on Samsung UK’s enterprise business team
amsung’s Flip comprises a 4K 55in display (with a white frame, presumably to mimic the look of paper), with two built-in 10W speakers, supplied on a trolley stand. (A 43in model is expected in September.) The display is not height adjustable, but it can be rotated between portrait and landscape mode. A VESAmountable version is said to be in development, in collaboration with a major accessory manufacturer. The stand has a shelf for a laptop, which can be hooked up to the Flip through power, interactivity, HDMI and LAN connections. Further up, behind a cover plate, are further ports for USB touch, LAN and RS232C. A two-ended ‘passive pen’ is supplied for writing on the Flip’s screen: one end is the pen, the other is the highlighter. The touch technology is in-glass IR, which makes for a responsive writing experience. However, don’t make the mistake that I did initially of resting your hand on the screen as you write – Flip interprets the touch of a hand as an erase instruction. Changing the ink colour is simple – just hold the stylus on the screen, and a colour menu comes up. Up to four pens can be used on the screen simultaneously. As with a regular ﬂipchart, once you’ve ﬁlled up one page, you need a new one. On the Flip, you do this by pulling up on the dotted page breaks that divide the page on screen, or scrolling along the edge of the screen. Each ‘roll’ can contain up to 18 pages; there’s the number of rolls that the device can handle is limited only by its storage capacity (8GB of internal memory). Rolls are stored on the Flip and can be returned to later. If a user has sensitive material that they don’t want other users to see, these rolls can be hidden from general view and accessed via a numerical passcode.
USB and HDMI cables brings the desktop – with full interactivity – onto the Flip’s screen. This is one of the occasions where being able to rotate the display into landscape mode is very welcome. It is also possible to import content from a USB memory stick or a network drive – and also to export to a network or connect to a networked printer. It’s also possible, as Michael Dawson of Samsung demonstrates, to connect via NFC to an Android mobile phone. He holds the phone close to a sensor in the Flip unit – within a few seconds, an active window appears, mirroring the phone’s display. This window can be moved around on the Flip, and the phone can now be controlled from the Flip’s touchscreen. After opening an app on the phone application, he takes a screengrab and annotates over it on the Flip. If you then enlarge this active window, the annotations scale up; alternatively, you can blow the image up, annotate on that at full size, and then everything shrinks down in proportion when you exit out of fullscreen mode. With Apple devices, Dawson explains, it’s not so simple – instead you have to use a wireless presentation device, such as a Barco ClickShare, to get this screen mirroring and control. While the on-screen phone window is displaying, he demonstrates a neat feature: you can only write on whichever part of the display is currently active. So if you are writing on the main surface, but the pen strays onto an open window, your writing will be applied on the main surface behind the window – and will be revealed if you move the window out of the way. Similarly, you can only rub out from the active surface – so if you’re erasing text in a window, you can’t accidentally remove text from the main surface in the process.
Quick to wake Importing content The features demonstrated so far have just been paper ﬂipchart functionality transferred to the digital realm. But there’s more to Flip than that – not least in the way it can import digital content from other devices. This can be done in a number of ways. For instance, connecting a Windows laptop with
After a user-deﬁned period of non-use, the board goes into standby – but wakes up quickly when either a user approaches it (thanks to a motion sensor), they touch the screen, or they remove the pen from its holder. When Flip is switched on at the mains, it boots up very quickly: a logo displays for a few seconds, and then the board is up and running.
Dawson sees two main use cases for the Flip. It could be used as a second display within a meeting room – for notetaking and bringing in content as required; or, for projects with a more restricted budget, it could be used as the main display in landscape format, possibly in conjunction with a wireless presentation device, and as a ﬂipchart in portrait mode. The UK list price for the Flip (including the trolley stand and a three-year warranty) is £3,000. If you feel unsure that the device merits this price, you might want to consider requesting a loan unit. According to Dawson, Samsung has a sizeable loan stock, and can supply units for a two- to four-week period. This makes sense, as the Flip strikes me as one of those products that, regardless of how good the demo is, you only really ‘get’ once you’ve had a chance to use it in real life.
ISE 2019 SAVE THE DATES
S TA Y C O N N E C T E D
54 LAST WORD: KARL CHRISTMAS, YAMAHA
Sounding hospitable The Installation website recently featured a special focus on technology for hospitality environments. Here’s what one of the leading audio manufacturers for this sector had to say From an installed sound perspective, what are some of the trickiest aspects of hospitality projects? The internal architecture of the hospitality industry is designed for optimum aesthetics, not optimum acoustics. This is a challenge in itself for audio installers, compounded by the need to make a sound system as visually unobtrusive as possible, so it doesn’t detract from the décor. Another challenge is pre-empting the longterm uses of the system, any potential future expansion of the system, processing, inputs/ outputs and so on, and the control needs of the staff, in terms of what controls are needed and whether they are ﬁxed, wireless or both. Protecting the system from ‘overenthusiastic’ use – whether by staff or patrons, intentionally or accidentally – is also a key aspect that has to be got right.
‘Protecting the system from “over-enthusiastic” use is a key aspect that has to be got right’
With the level of competition in this market, is the relationship and level of understanding between the manufacturer and the end-user becoming increasingly important? For the larger chains and franchises a direct relationship is always preferred, if only to be able to guarantee support and futureprooﬁng. With branches and subsidiaries across the world, Yamaha’s global infrastructure is particularly important where hospitality companies are opening businesses in different parts of the globe and can be, rightly or wrongly, nervous or untrusting of local suppliers. Yamaha’s infrastructure guarantees a uniform quality of service and support worldwide. On hospitality installs, has the balance shifted more to providing whole solutions over single elements? Certainly. As networking technology has come of age, it means that whole buildings – from the lobby to the bar, restaurant, banqueting
hall, business facilities, corridors and the rooms themselves can be centrally, locally or even remotely controlled… or any combination of control. It gives hotel owners and staff much greater ﬂexibility and choice. Yamaha even goes to the extent of including its topof-the-range Disklavier Enspire player pianos and MusicCast AV systems into its networked control solutions. Are sectors like retail and corporate good bellwethers for what AV technology the hospitality sector will look to implement? The current growth market in a particular region is usually what leads the way in AV solutions for other sectors. For example, in the Middle East at the moment hotels may be leading the way, but in Singapore it may be retail. The equipment being used in AV solutions for these different markets is broadly the same; the key aspect is that they are all looking to create a high-quality customer experience and sense of ‘theatre’ in very competitive markets. How challenging is it to provide a high standard of sound in hospitality environments that typically don’t have good acoustics? Bad acoustics in any environment are always a challenge, but a good system designer will overcome them by their choice of equipment, system tuning, control and, where possible, acoustic treatment. In new-build venues, of course, acoustics can be taken into account at the architect stage. What is equally challenging is setting the audio system up so that it cannot be made to sound ‘bad’ by non-technical users. For example, this can be done by implementing good auto mixers and feedback suppressors to keep speech under control and mitigate the effects
of bad microphone technique in conference rooms and banqueting halls. One has to remember that, apart from at a very basic level (such as wanting “a background music system”), the customer is often unaware of the possibilities. The system designer needs to put themselves in the shoes of the people who will be using and operating the system, imagining every conceivable way that the system will be used in the future, pre-empting every potential problem area (such as feedback and misuse of controls) and making contingency plans to prevent them from happening. Karl Christmas is global communications and installation business development manager at Yamaha Commercial Audio. He was talking to Duncan Proctor.
Power to perform Make an impression with the XY-3B, designed to deliver a coherent & natural sound for large venues and outdoor events.
We are exhibiting at Prolight + Sound 10-13th April, 2018. Find us in Hall 3.1, Stand A81 & A91.