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Issue 211 / May 2018


Stage lighting under threat p6 PLASA calls on industry to oppose new regulations Building a solution sale p12

It’s not about cost-cutting, says Harman Pro president

Image uniformity p30

Where’s the differentiation in the projector market?

SPECIAL REPORT: DOOH & RETAIL The technologies that are driving signage market growth p22

Project and Technology shortlists revealed! p16

The IP KVM People


Quiet is the new loud


CONTENT Editor: Paddy Baker, +44 (0)207 354 6034 Deputy Editor: Duncan Proctor, +44 (0)207 354 6037 Content Director: James McKeown, +44 (0)207 354 6015 Contributors: Chris Austin, Mike Clark, David Davies, Peter Heath, Rob Lane, Ian McMurray, Brice McPheeters, Steve Montgomery Special thanks: Aimee Birch, Katie Gray, David Wiggins Designer: Tom Carpenter, +44 (0)207 354 6041 Digital Director: Diane Oliver, +44 (0)207 354 6019 Senior Production Executive: Jason Dowie, +44 (0)203 829 2617

ADVERTISING SALES Head of Client Services AV Group: Gurpreet Purewal, +44 (0)207 354 6029 Sales Executive: Mark Walsh, +44 (0)203 871 7377 Overseas Sales Contact - Executive Vice President: Adam Goldstein

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ARCHIVES Digital editions of the magazine are available to view on Recent back issues of the printed edition may be available please contact for more information.

’ve been thinking recently about the power of sound – particularly quiet sound. Just the other evening, I was at choir practice – we’re a small group of about 16 who sing mostly unaccompanied. After we’d finished one of our numbers, the musical director commented that that was the best we had ever performed it: we had sung the second verse more quietly, but still with intensity – and there was greater contrast with the louder parts of the song. Recently I saw A Quiet Place – a film that I heartily recommend. It has an exceptionally simple premise: the population has been ravaged by human-hunting aliens, who use sound to stalk their quarry – so you need to keep as quiet as possible, simply to stay alive. The story centres on a family who communicate with sign language – one of their children is deaf. There is very little speech and every footstep, Paddy Baker, Editor creak and rustle is imparted with huge significance. But the wonderful thing is – it pulls you in. The film creates such an atmosphere of @install8ion sustained tension that you behave as if you’re in that world, and to make any noise at all would betray the characters as much as it would annoy your fellow cinemagoers. Another recent frightening watch was Ghost Stories. A few years ago I saw the stage play on which the film was based – which had a number of scary moments. However, the one I recall most vividly was simple, and sound-based: from a loudspeaker behind, a child’s voice quietly saying “Daddy”. When your attention is focused on the action on stage, you’re really not expecting to be frightened from another direction.

‘When you’re immersed in a sound experience – whether it’s coming from an immersive system or not – it can provoke a strong emotional response’

REPRINTS/PERMISSIONS All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording or any information storage or retrieval system without the express prior written consent of the publisher.

Managing Director: Mark Burton Financial Controller: Ranjit Dhadwal Events and Marketing Director: Caroline Hicks Head of Operations: Stuart Moody HR Director: Lianne Davey Audience Development: Lucy Wilkie Printed by Pensord Press Ltd, NP12 2YA ISSN number: 2050-6104 © Copyright 2018

Cover image: Canberra Centre, courtesy of NanoLumens

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And during Prolight + Sound (see page 20 for our show review), d&b audiotechnik showed off its Soundscape spatial audio system with a live mixing demo by Kraftwerk’s front-of-house engineer that brought a tear to the eye of one highly esteemed audio journalist and Kraftwerk fan (I’m not referring to myself here) – that’s how good it was at putting a new dimension on much-loved music. I suppose what all these illustrate is that, when you’re immersed in a sound experience – whether it’s coming from an immersive audio system or not – it can provoke a strong emotional response, and the sound doesn’t even have to be loud to do it. Also at Prolight, I discussed the increasing popularity of 3D and immersive audio with Dave Haydon from Out Board. He made the point that in a theatrical setting, lighting sets the scene, scenography describes it, while sound conveys the scene’s emotion. Increasingly, the people responsible for memorable experiences in a range of environments – such as theme parks and exhibitions – are taking a lead from theatre, and adding sound to their creations to have more of an emotional impact on customers. With the increased focus within our industry on creating experiences that connect with people, I expect this trend to continue steadily over the coming years.


May 2018

Viewpoints 06 Opinion Peter Heath explains why new eco lighting design regulations could devastate the industry Rob Lane on residential AV, and its media Brice McPheeters on the new opportunities large-format LED offers integrators 12 Interview Harman’s Mohit Parasher and Chris Smith discuss their plans for the company’s latest experience centre

Industry Events 16 Install Awards: project and technology


awards shortlists

20 Show review: Prolight + Sound 2018

Special Report: Retail and DOOH 22 Engage the attractor beam Has the expansion of digital signage technology translated into an uplift in sales and customer engagement? 26 Reading the market Technology developments, consumer expectations and integrator input all have a part to play in the evolving signage market



30 Projectors In a crowded and increasingly entrenched market, what are manufacturers doing to stand out from the competition?

Solutions 32 Condé Nast International, London A two-floor videowall promotes collaboration between teams at the publisher’s new offices 34 Fulgor Cinema, Rimini This restored picturehouse has been fitted with 4K projection and a surround sound system to honour the cinema that inspired Fellini 38 Maaninka Church, Iisalmi An IP-based, distributed sound system was selected to solve the audio issues at this historic, listed church building 40 Solutions in Brief Including a meteor centre update; a Finnish hall’s multipurpose audio install; and a university’s VR CAVE project


Technology 43 New Products Including Sony, Barco, Crestron, Mipro and SignStix

46 Showcase Voice alarm equipment

48 Demo of the Month d&b audiotechnik GSL System



May 2018

Peter Heath An urgent call for action Proposed new eco regulations for lighting would be devastating for the live entertainment industry


n our industry today, production values are at their highest ever – and in turn, so is audience expectation. People now expect shows to look, as well as sound, spectacular, and thanks to the quality of crews, technicians, and engineers within the business – as well as constant evolutions in audio and lighting technology – the days of poor live show experiences are well and truly behind us. However, if the recently proposed updates to the EU’s ecodesign regulations for lighting are to come to fruition, the entertainment business as we know it could be back to square one. The ecodesign regulations for lighting have always been focused on reducing the energy consumption of lighting. Because of its specialist nature, stage lighting was exempt from these rules. However, in the latest version, due for implementation in 2020, not only have the energy efficiency standards been tightened up, but stage lighting has been brought under the rules. The result would be that most of the light sources used for entertainment lighting – tungsten, arc and even the newest LED fixtures – would not meet the regulations. This would be a disaster for shows, productions and venues of all types across the EU. Not only would it affect new productions and new venues, with potentially no fixtures available, but it would dramatically impact existing productions and venues as well. Since no new light bulbs would be available for existing tungsten fixtures, these would effectively become scrap. The cost of replacing these fixtures could be financially devastating to venues, especially as it would likely also mean replacing the connecting dimming and control infrastructure.

Laws of physics According to lighting manufacturer ETC’s Adam Bennette, there are even aspects of the proposed legislation which would be scientifically impossible for manufactures to achieve – even LEDs could never meet the proposed efficiency limits when it comes to spotlight design and colour mixing. “Quite simply, professional entertainment lighting cannot comply with this regulation without altering the laws of physics,” Bennette states. “It feels like this is a simple mistake; let’s hope that is the case, and that we can work together to correct it.”

‘Most of the light sources used for entertainment lighting would not meet the regulations... this would be a disaster’

The impact this would have on the whole entertainment industry is huge: venues, manufacturers, rental companies, and of course ultimately lighting designers and the audiences who love watching shows would be affected. Video projection has been granted an exemption, so this is what we and other trade bodies are now lobbying for – the same exemption for stage lighting. It’s a sentiment echoed by PLASA’s chairman, and a director of Stage Electrics, Adam Blaxill: “In drafting these new regulations, the EU has clearly not considered the impact it will have

on the entertainment industry. Venues, rental companies, and sales operations all have significant sums invested in lighting inventory, which will be devalued by these proposed regulations – the financial impact on the entertainment industry is potentially huge.”

Make a difference It’s a serious issue, to say the least – but what is the best way to try and tackle this head-on, and make a genuine difference? Look at the issues the audio industry has had (and is still having) with spectrum bandwidth being taken away, for example. It’s ongoing, and concerning. And this sounds similar. Working together with all the industry bodies is one way to raise awareness, to collaborate and share resources, and the more public, the better. This is already going on; the Association of Lighting Designers has been extremely proactive in communicating with us and other trade bodies. The next step is to join forces as an industry, and present a solid response to the European Commission before their deadline of 7 May 2018. Every individual response will add more weight. Peter Heath is managing director of PLASA. The association is encouraging the industry to join it in responding directly to the European Commission, ahead of the deadline of 7 May 2018. For guidance on how to respond, and to find out more information on the proposed changes, please visit the PLASA website.

Mixing is not mixing anymore. Replacing channels with object-based mixing and positioning of up to sixty-four objects, software module d&b En-Scene uses the support of the DS100 Signal Engine, a revolutionary audio system processor, to calculate and account for all time and level GLË HUHQFHV7KLVDOORZVIRUWKHFUHDWLRQRIDQDXWKHQWLF²RUGLVWRUWHG²DFRXVWLF HQYLURQPHQW:KDWHYHUWKHDSSOLFDWLRQGHPDQGVDGMXVWWKHUHDOLW\DFFRUGLQJO\

d&b Soundscape.


May 2018

Rob Lane Bringing it back home The ups and downs of residential AV


hose of you kind enough to read this column every issue will know that I generally write about pro AV, with very little in the way of reference to the residential sector. This is partially due to the fact that Installation has, over the years, leaned increasingly towards commercial over residential AV, and also because in recent times I’ve been mostly, although not exclusively, writing about and working in pro audio. It may therefore surprise you to learn that I cut my teeth as a journalist in the residential AV sector many years ago: the beginning of a righteous path that led to these very pages. Back in 1995 I was lucky enough to get only my second professional journo gig as deputy editor on new launch Home Cinema Choice. Springing from the pages of then market leader What Video, HCC, as it soon became known, was breaking new ground for consumers. The brainchild of industry stalwart Steve May, HCC was at the forefront of the UK’s residential audio/ video movement and was hugely influential.

Dedicated platform Manufacturers of audio-video equipment and organisations like CEDIA now had a dedicated platform in which to punt their wares and services, instead of the slightly awkward-sitting What Video (more about the kit than the whole AV experience) and What Hi-Fi, which at that stage had still to adopt its ‘Sound & Vision’ moniker, quietly dropped more recently. Okay, another magazine was already making waves in AV, Home Entertainment – a magazine I subsequently came to edit – but the magazine’s remit was more broad, also straying into gaming

at that time; and in any case Home Cinema Choice had nailed its colours firmly to the audiovideo mast and was off like a rocket. While a reinvigorated Home Entertainment gave it a run for its money under my stewardship in the late ’90s, Home Cinema Choice was very much the industry’s favourite, a pseudo trade magazine almost as much as it was a consumer title.

‘What was once a crowded market of residential-facing AV trade magazines is similarly depleted’

While HCC’s fortunes dipped from the mid’00s onwards, it is the only ‘pure’ AV magazine still standing in a now depleted market. Today, only What Hi-Fi, which continues to cover TVs and projectors, can be found alongside HCC on newsagents’ shelves, with Hi-Fi Choice, Hi-Fi World, Hi-Fi News and Hi-Fi+ racked nearby. Meanwhile tech/boys’ toys fanatics T3 and Stuff feature vision products alongside ‘sexy’ two-channel. At the same time, what was once a crowded market of residential-facing AV trade magazines is similarly depleted, with hi-fi particularly unrepresented. The peerless ERT continues to impress, covering straight hi-fi alongside AV and custom installation, as well as other electrical goods such as fridges and washing machines. Residential custom install-facing titles Essential Install and main competitor SVI (aka Sound, Vision, Install) are still going concerns,

alongside a couple of online-only offerings. Previous industry fave Custom Installer and my own self-published HCD (previously Home Cinema Digest) are long gone – alongside Inside Hi-fi, once the leading two-channel trade title.

Well represented At the same time, one of the things that struck me at this year’s ISE was how – in the face of ever-burgeoning commercial AV representation, with collaboration in particular growing fast – residential AV was still incredibly well represented. You’d perhaps expect nothing less from a show that is co-owned by CEDIA. A glance through the ISE Daily – overseen by Installation editor Paddy Baker – on any given day at the RAI shows both ISE and the publisher’s commitment to the residential sector. Here in Installation, however, residential AV is perhaps as under-represented as it has ever been. However, next month I’m going to swim against the tide and discuss how Roon could help to super-charge the hi-fi and residential install market – and potentially the commercial AV market too: this is a digital music solution that would add serious value to venues. I was lucky enough to experience some incredible Roon-ready kit at ISE, and I’m keen to share my findings with you. Even if you’re as likely to install audio solutions as risk a beating at Putin’s World Cup, you’ll want to know about Roon. Once experienced, it’s a must have! Bigger Boat PR owner/director Rob Lane has been writing about AV technology since 1995 – in all guises – and continues to do so alongside his ‘day job’ commitments.




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Network AV systems must have it all. Only DM NVX checks all the boxes.


May 2018

Brice McPheeters Large-format LED is evolving Integrators should be excited about the emerging new opportunities


ntil recently, the large-scale roll-out of LED displays into diverse, multi-location retail and other enterprise operations has been fairly uncommon. End-users in these spaces have traditionally opted for LCD technology instead of LED because it is (typically) less expensive up front and more widely available as an off-the-shelf commodity. Additionally, because customers are generally somewhat familiar with LCD technology, they often are not interested in bringing on professional integrators to assist them. These customers feel comfortable enough with LCD tech – perhaps from their experience with LCD TV screens in their own homes – that they don’t deem it necessary to contract outside help. That’s a critical missed opportunity for integrators, but fortunately for them the tide is turning. LCD technology may be more common now, but LED display solutions are where the industry is quickly turning its focus, and for good reason. Studies have shown that LED display solutions are far and away the most effective and efficient display medium. Notably, the US Small Business Association published a report declaring that in terms of cost per thousand impressions, LED displays blew competition out of the water. Unlike LCD screens, LED displays are not frequently found inside the home, meaning customers are likely to be a bit less fluent in how to design, install, and operate this sort of tech. That’s a boon for integrators, who will now find their services in high demand for any enterprise looking to roll out LED display solutions throughout their operation. As the stellar reputation of LED displays proliferates and pixel pitches shrink to optimise for the close

quarters of retail and other enterprise locations, organisations will opt for LED instead of LCD and integrators will reap the benefits.

Service-based purchasing This turn to LED for enterprise-wide roll-outs is furthered by the emergent popularity of service-based purchasing structures. By adapting purchasing models to let end-users pay for LED technology on an affordable monthly subscription basis, LED display manufacturers have made their products exponentially easier to acquire. So not only are LED displays more popular than ever due to the

‘The ascent of LED display technologies as a viable solution for enterprise-wide roll-outs is something integrators need to recognise and champion’

increasing awareness and progression of their technological superiority, they are also becoming more accessible than ever before. As mentioned earlier, this deeper and wider customer pool for LED display manufacturers will translate to lucrative business opportunities for integrators. And pleasingly, these benefits will extend well beyond the initial sale. The aforementioned service-based selling structures are long-term arrangements by nature. In order to generate value from the sale, sellers need their customers to keep paying for the service. The manufacturers who provide

these services therefore have a fundamental interest in making sure that the service(s) they provide are consistently exceptional. With regard to LED display technology, this materialises in the form of display network management, support and upgrade offerings. This is yet another area where integrators can profit. Not only are more businesses now able to afford LED displays, but they will also consistently be in need of display integration services as their display solutions are adjusted, upgraded or moved over time. What’s good for display manufacturers is typically good for the integrators who specialise in, well, integrating those displays, so the growth of a particular display technology is obviously going to bring new opportunities to integration experts. This is not a particularly groundbreaking observation; however, the takeaway here is instead that the ascent of LED display technologies as a viable solution for enterprisewide roll-outs is something integrators need to recognise and champion. As the manufacture of LED display technology streamlines, its reputation grows, and its sales transition to service-based models to become more accessible for largescale roll-outs, integration experts will be one of the direct beneficiaries. LED is evolving. Since integrators project to profit from this evolution, they would do well to understand and analyse why and how it’s happening. Brice McPheeters is director of customer experience at NanoLumens.

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May 2018

‘You can’t cost-save your way to glory’ Harman’s Experience Centres are a major plank of its strategy of offering complete solutions rather than individual products or brands. At the opening of the latest centre – which also houses the Professional Division’s European offices – Paddy Baker spoke to its president and its general manager for EMEA about how the centre will drive business for Harman and its partners


arman’s Professional Division hit the headlines last September when it announced that it was laying off 650 people as part of a major restructuring. This was part of a transformation programme to consolidate its technology expertise into three locations (known as Centres of Competence), rather than having facilities based around each individual brand. In at least one instance, former employees have got together to set up a new company: Austrian Audio has been founded by engineers previously employed at the Vienna office of microphone brand AKG. Another key part of the new strategy has involved the creation of Harman Experience Centres around the world. Installation visited the fourth of these, the London Experience Centre – located in Hemel Hempstead, 40km north-west of the UK capital – on its opening day, 4 April. Erik Tarkiainen, VP of global marketing, led a tour of the Centre, which showcases combined Harman

solutions for a number of vertical sectors. We then spoke to Mohit Parasher, president of Harman Professional Solutions, and Chris Smith, VP and general manager EMEA.

‘If you want people to work together, you have to put them together physically’

What’s the role of the Experience Centre? Who’s it for, and what are you hoping it will achieve? Mohit Parasher: Let’s go back a bit and put this in context. After we created our solution-oriented go-to-market, we worked hard over the last several years at acquiring the right kinds of products and technologies to complete the solution suite. We realised we were not able to articulate

these solutions clearly to consultants, system integrators, end customers. We noticed that with customers who wanted to buy a particular product, sometimes we just explained that particular product without really articulating what else is possible. So we started investing in Experience Centres. We built one in Singapore, one in Shanghai, one in Los Angeles and now one in London. It was important to make it real for our stakeholders, to see how these things can be put together. More importantly, it’s not really that difficult. For example, we would talk to cinema exhibitors, and we would sell them audio for inside the auditorium. Harman has over 45% share in that auditorium market, but the cinema owners are no longer only thinking about what’s happening inside the auditorium but also about the customer journey outside it, where you buy popcorn and a Coca-Cola – the merchandising space. And we have technologies that can address these needs.


Mohit Parasher – biography „ Mohit Parasher spent nearly 20 years in a variety of roles within Sony, including product manager for MEA, sales and marketing director for North Africa, head of sales and marketing for India and managing director for Poland and for the UK „ After two one-year stints as CEO of telecoms companies in India, he joined Harman in 2014 as VP and general manager for Asia Pacific „ He became president of Harman’s Professional Solutions Division in May 2016 And so suddenly what has happened is that conversation from inside the auditorium is now expanded to say, “What can you do in my lobby?” So the role of the Experience Centre is to create that sense of the art of the possible. Do you have targets for the numbers of people you’re hoping to get through the doors over the next six months or year? MP: I’ll tell you the experience we’ve had so far. The first 90 days after we opened the Los Angeles Experience Centre we had 1,000 people that walked in. That was the response that we got and it was really interesting. We had end-customers – large stadium owners, large theme park owners, retail chains, corporate, education, government customers – and people from touring and lighting and those kind of customers. Even – I can’t reveal the names but some real A-list rockstars took over the Experience Centre for the entire night. They just sat with their lighting designer and sound designer to program and check their next show. We do have some targets on the numbers of people, but it’s more about the quality of conversation than the number. Because we get the numbers at our tradeshows. You go to InfoComm or ISE and meet thousands and thousands of people for short 10-20 minute slots. And they’re going around all the booths and you get a little bit of their attention. Is this going to affect your tradeshow strategy? MP: It will, definitely. We’re going to narrow down our presence in tradeshows. We will of course be part of the major industry tradeshows and also major regional tradeshows but it’s going to reduce the number of shows we do overall. This isn’t exactly the heart of London, but then if you had put a building this size in the heart of London, it would have been horrendously expensive. What was the decision process regarding where to locate this building? Chris Smith: This isn’t a facility only for the UK, it’s for the whole EMEA region, so half-hour proximity

to Heathrow was critical to the decision about the location. We’re 25 minutes from Luton Airport, which is a low-cost airline destination for many of our European customers even as far out as Eastern Europe. Similarly there’s Stansted 40 minutes away, and Gatwick about an hour and 10 minutes away. So we very much had the airports in mind for bringing customers in efficiently. As an illustration of that, many of our distribution partners here are arriving and leaving today. It was harder for them to get to our previous office in the City of London in one day, than it is to get here. My expectation for the region is that this becomes an extension of our EMEA partners’ market offering too. To look at your overall strategy... you’ve consolidated your product expertise in particular places round the globe – basically one centre per technology area. MP: Yes. We’ve got lighting in Aarhus, we have taken acoustics and put it near Los Angeles, which is where all the big touring acts come out of, so we’re very close to artists, as well as sound designers, sound engineers and others. And then we’ve put everything else – which is video and control, DSP, electronics and everything else that goes with that – in Richardson in Texas, because that place is becoming a hub for engineering talent, including software. And we have our software centre in Bangalore and our product engineering based out of Shenzhen. We used to have 14 R&D sites. One of the things that I’m a proponent of is that if you want people to work together, you have to put them together physically. We’re seeing this trend in all technology companies now – they go for large global campuses for R&D. Maybe 15 or 20 years back there was a trend for working remotely, but people realised that it doesn’t create the necessary collaboration – especially in R&D, to think of the next big idea. If you have your electronics engineer sitting several time zones away from your acoustics engineer who is sitting in another city from your video and control engineer, it’s difficult for them to think of this whole thing as a solution. [Closing those sites] was an expensive, heartbreaking and in some sense a tough thing to do. But it was a very important thing for us to create that platform from where we can leap. The downside to that is that obviously there was a whole lot of engineering talent that couldn’t move, and so you’ve lost that in certain areas – AKG in Austria is an obvious example of that. How much of a setback has that been? MP: Obviously we expected that we would lose some talent, so this did not come as a surprise. We planned it extremely carefully. We have a very extensive – I would say almost state-of-the-art – knowledge transfer mechanism. We not only took


all the information that was available digitally, but also what was available in the brains of our engineers. We captured three to four terabytes of information and laid over it a kind of a search engine, which any engineer anywhere in the world can access by using keywords. So for example if there’s a DSP engineer working on solving a certain problem, all they need to do is define that problem within a search engine and get all the possible information. So we’ve taken very serious steps to build a platform where we can capture most of the information and a large part of the knowledge. But we definitely lost some people who had some things which cannot be articulated. At the same time, right now we are in the highest hiring spree ever in the history of Harman Professional. We are hiring about 350 people across the world, many of them are new engineers, many are software engineers. With the combination of this hiring and the knowledge capture, we hope to create a base of the existing knowledge but at the same time bring fresh ideas into the business. So it’s sad in one sense, but in another it’s a great opportunity for us to create a great mix of original knowledge plus fresh input from outside of the industry. I think that that’s what was needed in order for us to move to the next level. During the tour Erik said that, in a sense, this whole move is really the last step in terms of integrating all the brands and technologies that were acquired over previous years. I guess you’d concur with that. MP: Yes. We acquired all these things, we had the vision of putting the solutions together, making sure that the products are user friendly: easy to connect with each other, easy to install and easy to service. That’s the first thing. Second, every product can go on the network, so you have to play by new rules – from bandwidth optimisation to security for example – things that we never thought of in the pro industry before.

Chris Smith – biography „ Chris Smith spent five years as a professional footballer with Dunfermline Athletic before moving into the business world „ He then fulfilled various roles in sales, marketing and business management within telecoms and conferencing companies, becoming sales director EMEA for Konftel in 2012 „ After working at Exertis (international development director), IBC (director of business development) and security product manufacturer Canary (head of sales EMEA), he joined Harman as VP and GM EMEA in 2016

14 INTERVIEW: MOHIT PARASHER AND CHRIS SMITH, HARMAN To create that, we created the go-to-market first; now this is the last step, where we are tying in all the R&D, the operations, the manufacturing, procurement and so on into one single platform so that we can use the considerable strengths of Harman in other businesses. And now as part of Samsung we get a really big platform to leap from, and leverage them into creating that final go-to-market – which is thinking of everything, from product ideation to solution architecture to product development to sales to aftersales service, in a seamless manner across our technologies and brands. So this was the final thing, but it doesn’t stop here. We’re investing very heavily in our IT platform to create integrated business planning across all products; to create engineering apps across all domains; to create dealer portals where customers can interact with us across all brands; to create unified call centres for technical support and aftersales service; to create unified repair centres. So it’s a full end-toend restructuring in that sense. How important are the individual brands or sub-brands? Are you going to maintain those identities or are they going to fall away? MP: They are very important – each brand is a power brand by itself. I like to describe Harman Pro, as more like a house of brands – and a house of technologies that is behind those brands. Harman Pro is more like a Unilever business than a singlebrand business. We continue to invest in those brands as the forerunners in each of the vertical markets that they serve.

‘It’s sad in one sense, but in another it’s a great opportunity’

So for example, a customer might be our customer because of AMX but in a corporate office you also need PA, architectural lighting, ceiling speakers, microphones and all kinds of other things. So our entry point into the customer might be AMX, but over the lifetime of that customer we will be able to strengthen the relationship by offering many more solutions. As this new approach covers the whole product lifecycle, do you have evidence that it is working now? How is it going to play out? MP: It is already working. All these things that I have described are already done. As we stand today in April 2018 we are 80% of the way done, and by June we’ll close the restructuring project. For aftersales service in the US, we have already created one single 1-800 number for all the brands. We’ve consolidated all the repairs into

one place. In Europe as well, repairs have been consolidated already. Today our sales team goes to market, and our distribution goes to market, with the full suite of solutions. We’re investing a huge amount of money, almost $30 million, to do several things, like the Experience Centre here. Another thing is labs: we’re upgrading our labs in Texas, building new labs in China, upgrading our labs in Northridge, so the R&D piece in those segments will be finished by June. So that’s almost done – and in procurement and manufacturing, consolidation is already done. CS: We’ve also proven to the market that we can deliver industry-leading products earlier than we could have previously. We launched the Encore lighting product ahead of when we said we would. That’s based on all of the restructuring that’s been taking place prior to today. In terms of results, is it just financial results that you’re looking at, or are there other things? MP: Of course financial results are one of the things – but they are really the by-product. The key thing about the consolidation of R&D is putting engineers together so that they can build the solutions. The fact that it becomes more costeffective is a by-product of what we really intend to do. I don’t believe that you can cost-save your way to glory – that’s not how it works. You’ve got to create a platform that is fit for the future and fit for growth, rather than just save money. It does save us money, that’s for sure. But we’re reinvesting that money back into labs and IT systems and Experience Centres. So the results are going to be a lot more than just cost saving. I think we recognised early on that the sweet spot is to think of the customers’ problems as a whole solution. What Harman is doing right now is to put it all together to solve the entire problem for the customer or create the experience that the customer wants us to deliver. It doesn’t mean that the customer must buy only Harman products – that’s not the intention.

May 2018

The intention is to say, this is what the solution can look like, and that’s how the products need to work together. And this is the standard you must hold everybody else to – this is how simple it should be to use the products. There is perhaps a sentimental attachment to some of the brands, particularly among customers in fairly niche markets who may not be interested in the whole across-the-board offering. I think they miss their old friends in the old locations. What would you say to them? MP: Any change is faceless in the beginning – people find it uncomfortable, it’s human nature. I think that as people see our delivery of products, and what this is going to deliver in terms of solutions, our partners will start to see the possibility for them to grow their own business. All of our partners all over the world are very excited by what we’re doing right now, and by the combination of Samsung displays into our solution. There might be some people who may still wish they still had the old office to go to. But our partners have already gone beyond that, and our customers will too. What they hold us accountable for is delivery of what we are promising, more than where they talk and who they talk to. As long as we can improve our service to our customers, that’s what is going to keep us honest. CS: Some of our partners who are involved in the legacy are already seeing that their individual brands are benefiting. We would love for everybody to see the benefit of every brand, every time, but the customers who don’t are still incredibly valuable to us. We haven’t lost that communication with them, and we don’t ever want to lose the heritage of what’s made us who we are, either. We’re very sensitive to it, both on a local level and individually when we’re with these customers face to face.


M-Vision Laser 18K projectors at Tower of David, Jerusalem

1.2MM / 1.5MM / 1.9MM / 2.5MM PIXEL PITCH 2D & 3D LED WALL

The Visionaries Choice


May 2018

Are you on the shortlist?

The Install Awards are back for their fifth edition on Thursday 28 June in central London. Here we reveal the shortlists for the project and technology awards


he Install Awards 2018 will take place on 28 June in central London. We’re repeating a winning formula, as the Millennium Gloucester Hotel in Kensington will be the venue once again, and presenter and standup comedian Jimmy McGhie will return as host. We will be recognising the most innovative projects and products from the past 12 months, as well as the people and companies behind the projects. This year we have expanded the product side of the awards, and the industry’s top names will be competing across six Technology Excellence categories. Over the next two pages we reveal the finalists for the six Project Excellence awards as well as the Technology Excellence shortlist. The winners will be decided by an independent expert panel of industry judges, drawn from a broad range of disciplines. We would like to offer heartfelt thanks to everyone who submitted an entry, and wish good luck to all of the finalists.

Additionally, in next month’s issue we will announce the winners of this year’s two Hall of Fame Awards for Outstanding Achievement; one is presented to an individual, the other to a company.

On the night Last year’s venue and host have been retained, but the awards line-up has been expanded

Location Millennium Gloucester Hotel 4-18 Harrington Gardens Kensington London SW7 4LH Nearest Underground station: Gloucester Road

Date Thursday 28 June 2018

Order of events COMING SOON... We will be announcing the shortlists for the Company and Individual Excellence Awards soon – please keep an eye on our newsletter, website and social media over the next couple of weeks. The shortlists will include: OIntegrator of the Year ODistributor of the Year OManufacturer of the Year ORising Star

Here is the schedule for the evening: 18:00

Drinks reception




Awards presentation


After party

Dress Code: Black Tie

Sponsorship opportunities To find out more about sponsoring this event, contact Gurpreet Purewal +44 (0) 20 7354 6029 Mark Walsh

+44 (0) 20 3871 7377

Tickets For tickets and table bookings, please contact Becky Hancock +44 (0) 20 3871 7378 or visit: For additional event information, go to


Project Excellence Awards These awards celebrate the best permanent and semi-permanent AV installation projects completed between March 2017 and February 2018. Corporate and Industrial Project of the Year O Focus 21, MiX Consultancy – The Well, Condé Nast International O LG Electronics, AVMI – RocketSpace O macom GmbH – TenneT Virtual Vision O Vega Europe – Medidata O ViewSonic Europe – Hartridge O Visual Systems Sales – AVAYA UK Education Project of the Year O Antycip Simulation – The Open Reality Experience


GV Multimedia – Sammy Ofer Centre, London Business School O Image Supply Systems – RCSI, 26 York Street O Panasonic Business – Edge Hill University O Saville Audio Visual – Calman Learning Centre, Durham University O Snelling Business Systems – Science Centre, Anglia Ruskin University

Venue Project of the Year

Hospitality Project of the Year O AV Systems – Haz Restaurant O Control4 – Adare Manor O Genelec – Rex Whistler Restaurant, Tate Britain O Igloo Vision – Out of the Blue, Berkeley Hotel

Visitor Attraction Project of the Year O Genelec – ‘The Journey’, Moesgaard Museum O HI Audio Visual – Scottish Submarine Centre O Holovis – Wicker Man, Alton Towers O Panasonic Business – Petersen Automotive Museum O TEECOM – California Academy of Sciences O Vivitek and Powersoft – The Lava Centre


Retail/DOOH Project of the Year O Absen Europe – Goyang Shinsegae Starfield mall O – intu Lakeside Epoch screens O BrightSign – El Palacio de Hierro O Dynamo LED Displays – Muscat Grand Mall O Signagelive – Tossed

7thSense Design – Radio City Music Hall APG France – Le Grand T O Optoma Europe – Colosseum Cinema O Shenzhen Unilumin Group – FINA World Championships O Tripleplay – Mercedes-Benz Arena O Vanti – Royal Birmingham Conservatoire O O


Technology Excellence Awards Audio Product of the Year O Bosch Building Technologies – PRAESENSA PA-VA system O Dynacord – IPX Series O Meyer Sound – Ashby ceiling loudspeakers O Powersoft – Duecanali O Sennheiser – Sennheiser Digital 6000 Series O Shure – Microflex Complete Wireless System AV Accessory of the Year O B-Tech AV Mounts – BT8350 videowall mount O DSN Innovate – Syncbox O Kramer Electronics – 860 test pattern generator and signal analyser

May 2018

Peerless-AV – SmartMount Universal LED Mounting System O Projecta – Extensa O Vogel’s Products – Connect-it universal system O

Collaboration Product of the Year O Clevertouch – Pro Series O Harman Professional Solutions – Acendo Vibe O Intermedia – PanaCast 2 Camera System & PanaCast Whiteboard O Oblong Industries – Mezzanine O ViewSonic Europe – ViewBoard O Vivitek – NovoTouch Display Product of the Year O Absen Europe – Polaris O Clevertouch – Plus Series O LG Electronics – OLED 55in 55EF5C Open-Frame O NEC Display Solutions – X555UNS-PG Modular Touch System O Sharp Europe – PN-V Video Wall Range

Networking/Signal Management Product of the Year Adder Technology – High-performance KVM platform O Audinate – Dante Domain Manager O Datapath – Fx4 O Kramer Electronics – PT-871/2 O Vaddio – OneLINK Bridge AV Interface O

Projection Product of the Year O BenQ – LU9915 BlueCore O Optoma Europe – UHZ65 O Casio – Large Venue Series XJ-L8300HN O NEC Display Solutions – PX803UL O Vivitek – DU9800Z

r Sound Ashby g loudspeakers


Datapath Fx4







BOLERO WIRELESS INTERCOM • • • • • • • • • • •

Up to 10 beltpacks per antenna 100 antenna, 100 beltpack system capacity Best-in-class voice clarity “Touch&Go” beltpack registration 6-channel beltpack plus dedicated REPLY button Built-in microphone and speaker for Walkie-Talkie mode Smartphone integration via Bluetooth Ergonomic, robust beltpack design Sunlight-readable display with Gorilla Glass™ Decentralized AES67 IP networked antennas Seamless integration into RIEDEL‘S ARTIST intercom matrix


May 2018

A highly immersive environment The most noticeable trend in the audio halls this year was an increase in the number of companies involved in immersive audio – whether offering it directly or working closely with others who do. But there were plenty of other developments to explore, as Paddy Baker reports


mmersive audio was certainly a key theme at Prolight + Sound this year, with several companies showing new technologies in this area, and also announcing co-operative product developments. d&b audiotechnik held a series of live sessions mixing live multitrack recordings, to demonstrate its Soundscape 3D audio system. These were carried out by Serge Gräfe, front-ofhouse engineer for electro pioneers Kraftwerk. d&b also announced a series of integrations between the DS100 Signal Engine – the heart of Soundscape – and digital mixing consoles from DiGiCo, Avid and Lawo. DiGiCo also announced that L-ISA Source Control for L-Acoustics’ L-ISA immersive technology has been natively integrated into its SD-Series consoles. This means that L-ISA’s object-based mixing technology has been added to the consoles’ control surface. Out Board was showing the new TiMax 500S software for its TiMax SoundHub. This offers enhanced programming and show control workflows for the rendering and control of live, presentation and experiential spatial reinforcement and immersive audio. The company also previewed the new bespoke TiMax FPGA dsp core, which is said to offer unparalleled new creative tools for spatial reinforcement, 3D audio and acoustic enhancement. Amadeus launched the HOLOPHONIX processor, which combines a number of spatial audio techniques to enable sounds to be ‘placed’ in 2D or 3D space. Dante-compatible – but also configurable on request for RAVENNA, MADI or AES67 – it natively handles 128 inputs and 128

outputs in 24-bit/96kHz resolution, but can be extended to 256 or 384 inputs and outputs. Astro Spatial Audio, which held a joint press conference with stand neighbour Alcons Audio, demonstrated the latest developments in its portfolio, which included the new Stagetracker II from TTA.

Other audio Optocore launched the Festival Box, which enables multiple consoles and protocols to be connected to the stage box over a single duplex fibre cable. As the name suggests, it is primarily targeting the live sound market, particularly festivals, where different acts will bring their own equipment and sound engineers. There were also a number of companies launching loudspeakers at Prolight + Sound. d&b launched its top-of-the-range GSL series during Prolight + Sound – turn to Demo of the Month (page 48) to read all about it. Crest Audio’s ‘revolutionary’ Versarray PRO powered line array also received its global show debut in Frankfurt. It comprises the Versarray PRO VR112 line array element and the VR-PRO 215 sub, and features integrated Dante audio networking and built-in DSP. The VR112 features Crest Audio’s latest Mark III ribbon drivers and proprietary CLEAR FORM Waveguide, plus a 12in NEO Black Widow neodymium loudspeaker with dual 4in voice coils. The compact, flyable VR-PRO 215 sub features dual 15in drivers and delivers full power down to 35Hz and a peak SPL of 135dB. CODA Audio launched three new multi-purpose compact subwoofers at the show. The U12 and

the U12i slimline wall-mounted model are single 12in models that handle 800W, while the U15 is a 15in sub with 1,000W power handling and 133dB SPL. All three models feature low port compression, ultra-low distortion woofers and have enclosures optimally designed for a tight, accurate bass response. Powersoft said it was seeking to redefine the concept of infra bass with its revamped M-Force transducer. The new 301P01 model is available in two versions: the long-throw M-Force 01 for infra sub applications and the short-throw M-Force 02 for high acceleration applications. Both have been engineered to squeeze all available power from switching-mode amplifiers to deliver maximum SPL, as well as ‘unbelievable’ levels of power handling, electromagnetic conversion and reliability. After not exhibiting at Prolight + Sound last year, HK Audio returned with the largest product launch in its more than 35-year history: its new pro audio range, designed to meet demanding installation requirements. The COSMO line array system family, comprised of three models, has been developed to be extremely flexible and easily configurable. CONTOUR X is a pointsource PA series designed to significantly reduce unwanted distortion and increase the maximum usable SPL by several decibels. The two are complemented by C SUB 118 and the C SUB 218 cabinets, which offer high efficiency and extremely high load capacity.

Show control and media servers Returning briefly to immersive audio, 3D sound integration from L-Acoustics was part of the

show that took place on the CAST Software stand. The three-minute performance saw a dancer interacting with theatre-themed 4K projected graphics on the back wall and the floor – making rain stop and start, and creating a web-like network of lines around his silhouette. The show also used media servers from disguise and Notch for projected and live-generated content; Panasonic projectors; and PTZ cameras from Panasonic and Bradley Engineering to track the dancer. disguise was also exhibiting in its own right, previewing r15 software release. This includes Lux, a tool that brings together the technical planning and creative vision of a project, featuring ambient occlusion, directional light, camera exposure and enhanced projector simulation. The software is also VR-compatible; visitors to the stand could put on an HTC Vive headset and be transported onto a stage where they could look around the set and the auditorium and see the effect of changes to lighting and projection. Also included within r15 is OmniCal, a camera-based projector calibration engine that is claimed to make set-up time significantly shorter. A relative newcomer to the media server world is Analog Way, which added this technology to its portfolio with the acquisition of Finnish manufacturer Picturall last November. The Analog Way Picturall series offers resolutions up to 8K, uncompressed playback performance and the ability to drive a large number of 4K@60 projectors or LED processors from a single server. The company was also showing the Ascender 48-4K-PL – a high-end 4K seamless switcher. Like all of the LiveCore product family, it has been designed for 24/7 heavy-duty operation. It features 4K live processing, seamless switching on all layers and an intuitive web-based user interface.

Lighting New from Robe was the Tarrantula, described by the company as its most powerful LED beam/ wash/effects fixture. It is powered by one 60W and 36 30W LED chips to provide 20,000 lumens of output. The beam angle can be adjusted from a tight 4° spot to a wide 50° wash. The Beam Shaper accessory creates a traditional oval beam that can be indexed for precision coverage of the stage or performance area. Driven by the 60W RGBW multichip, Robe’s exclusive ‘Flower Effect’, creates sharp, speed-controlled spikes of light that can be rotated in either direction. GDS’s latest product offering addresses a shortcoming frequently exhibited by LED lighting fixtures: while many can mimic tungsten fixtures convincingly, they fail to maintain a warm colour temperature when dimmed. GDS’ Fade To Warm technology addresses this. Originally available for the ArcLamp range, it is now being rolled out



across the ArcSystem range, and is available in 1, 2, 4 and 8-cell fixtures. WORK PRO, a brand of Equipson, was showing the Light Shark – an innovative web-based, crossplatform lighting controller. It consists of two hardware elements: the LS-1 which can connect to up to three devices to create a multiscreen control system; and the LS Core, which is the smallest eight-universe lighting console on the market. However, because the interface itself is web-based, additional tablets or other portable devices can be used as control surfaces.

Closing comments The start of the exhibition was affected by public transport strikes and over 800 cancelled flights. This doubtless contributed to the widespread observation that the second day of the show drew a lot more stand traffic than the first. Just over 92,000 people attended Prolight + Sound and Musikmesse this year. There were more visitors from outside Germany and an increase in the proportion of trade visitors, but as the organisers did not release numbers for the individual events, it’s hard to gauge the extent to which these trends apply to PL+S, the smaller of the two shows. A number of major names from the audio world that had exhibited at the show last year were not there this year – although conversely, some companies came back, notably HK Audio and Peavey/Crest Audio. However, the exodus of audio companies seems not to have ended. For example, on the first morning of the show, the press were welcomed to “our last Prolight + Sound press conference” by DiGiCo managing director James Gordon. (He later clarified to Installation that while it had not been completely decided that the company would not be at the show next year, there was “a good chance” that this would be the case.) Talking to exhibitors revealed a mixed picture

regarding satisfaction with the show. Equipson, for instance, stopped exhibiting its audio products at the show two years ago, but since then has shown its lighting and stage products elsewhere on the showfloor, and COO/CMO Juan Jose Vila declared himself happy with the results. By contrast, ic audio exhibits at ISE as well as Prolight + Sound; business analyst and controller Sascha Riedling told us that the two shows attract different kinds of visitors, so it makes sense for the company to take stands at both. Some companies said they mainly see German visitors at the show, while others said they see a broad mix of nationalities. So it’s hard to draw any firm conclusions. For its part, the show’s organisers are pursuing a strategy of making the most of the synergies between the two events – so next year, Prolight + Sound will overlap completely with Musikmesse (with the latter continuing for a fifth day on the Saturday). Most systems integrators coming to Frankfurt are likely to be indifferent to this closer tie-up between the two shows, but let’s see if it appeals to the broader visitor base.


May 2018

Digital signage: engage the attractor beam There is now far more technology at work in the digital signage industry. To begin this special report, Ian McMurray asks whether it’s having the desired results

Key Points


f the word “impressions” and the phrase “opportunities to see (OTS)” mean anything to you, the chances are you’ve been involved in advertising at some time in the dim and distant past. You probably recall also how print advertisements regularly featured a response coupon with a code that identified the publication from which the response came. If you engineered direct mail campaigns, you probably tried different variations of the mailer in order to determine which had the most success. What you were trying to ascertain was what worked best in terms of content, medium and demographic – so you could do more of the same. Fast forward a number of years, and the challenges of identifying the right message in the right place at the right time to the right audience are no less difficult than they once were – and they’re at the heart of the latest developments in digital signage.

Dynamic content It’s perhaps no surprise, then, that Stephanie Gutnik, who is vice president, business development at Broadsign, believes that the most

compelling new technology to have emerged over the past 12 months is dynamic content. “Although the technology behind this capability is not new, the use of dynamic content in the retail space has noticeably increased over the past year,” she explains. “When retailers enable their screens to automatically present content tailored to hyperlocal conditions such as weather or a viewer’s demographics, shoppers are exposed to relevant information that has a higher likelihood of driving a sale at point of purchase.” Gutnik alludes to tailoring content – and that’s certainly an area in which digital signage is making significant strides. “Proximity-based content is on the increase,” believes Jeff Hastings, CEO of BrightSign. “Bluetooth and beacon technology are enabling a new level of audience participation. Customers are being presented with options to interact with and control the signage from their mobile device. Audience-based content is increasingly providing a tailored experience unique to the viewer, and these technologies will allow retailers to increase sales with engaging and targeted point-ofpurchase promotions.”

„ Dynamic content – which changes according to who is watching, where and when – is becoming mainstream „ Numerous technologies are being combined to engage consumers and deliver them personal experiences „ In its use of sensors, its ability to collect vast amounts of data and the potential of AI to make use of that data, digital signage is the IoT in miniature „ There is plenty of evidence linking digital signage to an uplift in customer interaction – but relatively little linking it to an uplift in sales “Audience recognition using cameras is emerging in retail as a method to target specific content to specific types of customers,” he adds, “but the technology is still young, and users should be aware that the metrics and analytics provided may only be ‘in the ballpark’ at times.”

The Internet of Things Increasingly, there is discussion about how digital

signage is operating within the context of the Internet of Things – and there is certainly at least one key similarity. “There are more and more installations that include sensor technology,” notes Thomas Walter, section manager, strategic product marketing at NEC Display Solutions Europe. “Sensors ensure

‘The use of dynamic content in the retail space has noticeably increased over the past year’ Stephanie Gutnik, Broadsign

that more relevant information is presented to the audience, creating greater engagement and trust. They can react to many triggers such as distance and touch as well as QR codes and barcodes and even rain, and provide creative and context-aware communication.” And sometimes, it’s the simpler things that are effective.“Shelf edge displays have a surprisingly high call-to-action rate, which is why many convenience retailers are currently trialling them in store,” says Mark Childerhouse, sales director at AV integrator Pioneer Group. “Catching the consumer’s eye at that exact point of purchase is an incredibly powerful tool. We are also combining this with shelf edge pricing technologies like Tronitag which enables retailers to dynamically update product pricing across stores in line with online sales strategies.” “Facial recognition has been demonstrated to work brilliantly to personalise an experience,” he continues. “Recently, this was deployed by a charity whose LED display in its foyer can recognise the faces of its major donors and welcome them to their HQ. This kind of specialist service is where the technology can come into its own to deliver a fantastic experience.”

SPECIAL REPORT: DOOH AND RETAIL 23 Combining technologies “The secret is not in just one technology,” summarises Yoeri Gabriel, marketing director EMEA at RMG Networks, “but in the combination of technologies and how they come together to create an overall intelligent and effective system and flow. For example, facial recognition is a very powerful tool, but when we add nearfield communication (NFC) and radio frequency identification (RFID) technology to the equation we are suddenly potentially able to track and accompany the content strategy and messaging to that person or a group of people in mass targeting.” “The secret,” he goes on, “is in how to combine a range of technologies to create a bigger, more intelligent and more effective overall digital DOOH ecosystem going forward. If utilised well, DOOH will become totally integrated within consumers’ lives in a seamless way and become a primary vehicle for brands to get targeted, or more contextually relevant, messages and content across to their intended audiences. What’s even better, gathered data, circumstantial information such as weather

Pay-per-view redefined Orbscreen has some 70 NEC displays deployed throughout Dublin, Cork and Galway in Ireland. With cameras featured on many of those displays, Orbscreen uses audience analytics to record characteristics such as the age, gender, facial features, mood and dwell time of those who view the content. This means that the brands who advertise through Orbscreen pay, not in the traditional way – based on the number of times an ad is shown – but on the number of times the screen is actually viewed. conditions, metrics and AI learning will guide these actions in such a smart way, that return on investment will be ever increasing.” He has an ally in Hastings. “I’m more excited about the experience that a combination of technologies can deliver than a single technology in isolation,” he smiles. “Vegas EXP, the latest endeavour of long-time Las Vegas retail operator

24 SPECIAL REPORT: DOOH AND RETAIL M&K Enterprises, perfectly illustrates the kind digitally enhanced experiential shopping that is now within reach. With a single interactive touchscreen, customers can check the weather, shop for products, browse Instagram and even socialise their experiences by taking selfies from within the store. Putting customers in the driver’s seat enables them to dictate their unique digital experiences, and that connects Vegas EXP with its customers in a very natural way that increases dwell time and ultimately sales.”

The bottom line There is, then, no shortage of candidates for digital signage technologies that engage by providing each viewer with a close-to-unique experience – and no shortage either of claims for the wonders they’re allegedly able to perform. There’s evidence that engagement is certainly improved – but what about the evidence that really counts – on the bottom line? “Quantifiable evidence is hard to come by,” says Patrick Halliwell, managing director of Daktronics UK. “To measure effectiveness, you would need the data from each campaign and to compare sales numbers for each call to action from during the campaign to a set of control groups that ran outside of the campaign during a similar season or time window that would have naturally produced similar results. Typically, such data are held close to the chest by the parties that have invested in these technologies.” “There are other factors that affect engagement and effectiveness as well, beyond the technology,” he notes. “The quality of content and call to action combined with timeliness and relevance all contribute to an effective interactive/activation campaign.” Childerhouse echoes Halliwell’s view. “The management of these systems and the quality

‘AI will change the relationship between brands and customers’ Yoeri Gabriel, RMG Networks

of the A/B testing directly impacts how good the results are,” he says. “Seeing as 80% of brands experience an increase of up to 33% in additional sales through the use of digital signage, according to embedsignage, the better the content and strategy that businesses put behind the technology, the more it can have effective ROI.”

Shopper behaviour influenced “Although it is hard to really quantify the effects

May 2018

Case Study

NEC display interacts with customers In the Clas Ohlson flagship store located in the Mall of Scandinavia in Stockholm, NEC teamed up with SMS Smart Media Solutions and Smartsign to create a new digital display solution that interacts with customers and shows commercial messages. First, the screen was prepared with leafengine sensor technology and Smartsign software in the integrated computer – the slot-in PC located on the back of the screen. Next, the 40in NEC screen was mounted in the custom made stand, created by SMS Smart Media Solutions. Two sensors were installed and calibrated to local light conditions – one sensor detects if someone gets closer than 1m to the screen, while the other, a light sensor, signals when the product is lifted from the shelf. When the sensors are triggered, new messages appear on the screen. of these technologies in detail and with a high degree of certainty, studies have shown that all the mechanisms that would lead to a positive effect do exist,” adds Gabriel. “For example, it has been shown that consumers can recall the exact messages displayed on digital signage screens. Many consumers have also reported taking direct action or have impulse bought items as a result of digital signage – highlighting the impact that it can have on spending. For example, recent research reported by ScreenCloud claims that over 40% of shoppers can change what they buy if relevant information is given by digital displays at the point of purchase.” “Taking all this into account, we already have a very clear logical indication that by presenting the right message, to the right person, at the right time using tailored content, made possible by video analytics will improve success rates as measured by key metrics,” he continues. “These personalised and adapted content pieces have had a positive impact on customer satisfaction as the information is targeted to the individual.” Reading between the lines of Halliwell’s, Childerhouse’s and Gabriel’s responses, a subtle truth starts to become clear. In theory at least, once you peer beyond the anecdotal evidence, real data that establishes a causal relationship between digital signage and sales probably exists – or at least, should exist. Again, the spectre of the Internet of Things raises itself: if the IoT is characterised by millions upon millions of sensors, it is no less characterised by the huge amounts of data it collects – so-called ‘big data’. The classical theory is that data should generate information that should cause action – and that’s what’s happening in terms of personalising content at or around the point of sale. The problem seems to lie in moving to the next step – but that, Childerhouse

believes, is just beginning to happen. “Although this technology has been around for a few years, it’s only now that DOOH digital teams, content providers and marketing teams are becoming agile enough to take real advantage of the data it provides,” he says. “In some cases, for large roll-outs, the insights that this technology can garner means that HQ can make assumptions about the demographics for that store in retail – helping decisions around stock control and marketing in each area.”

Measuring effectiveness “Measuring the effectiveness of DOOH displays in general is an important aspect,” says Gutnik. “When it comes to the point of purchase, retail displays equipped with cameras, beacons and the like can assist in understanding what kind of content increases interactivity and when connected to the POS, which offers might boost sales.” The issue, of course, is not which offers might boost sales – it’s which offers do boost sales. Here’s a third way in which digital signage is representative of the Internet of Things. It uses sensors to acquire data. It generates huge amounts of data. The third similarity is that it looks as if AI and machine learning have a key role to play in helping turn that data into actionable information – both at the point of sale as well as in the back office. In the ideal world, of course, digital signage is just one element of an integrated whole that spans the entire operation from POS through CRM to ERP. “Machine learning will assist in making backend operations more efficient,” believes Gutnik. “Algorithms will help employees with everything from forecasting demand for certain products and stocking them accordingly, to making the most effective decisions about merchandising tactics.”


“A lot of smart data can now be captured on consumers in general, individual viewers and external factors,” says RMG’s Gabriel. “AI can investigate and uncover the connections between all of those factors and establish relationships that are important in understanding and predicting behaviours. The use and effect of AI will span across all customer-facing and non-customerfacing departments within a retail company from product development to advertising, DOOH strategies and customer service. AI will change the relationship between brands and customers.”

The next frontier “AI is certainly the next frontier for DOOH, with 37% of retailers already adopting or planning to adopt it for customer experience personalisation in the next 12 months according to BizTech,” points out Childerhouse. “When it comes to dynamic copy, AI can take scheduling to the next level by allowing machine-led technology to determine the content. The creative relies on a genetic algorithm to compare the locations of DOOH signage and their hourly audiences. This enables brands to be consistently displaying content which is most liked by audiences at the most relevant times of the day – maximising ROI. This is already being rolled out by the likes of M&C Saatchi, which launched its first AI DOOH campaign on [London’s] Oxford Street.” And speaking of next frontiers – what developments can we expect to see in the future? Inevitably, screen technology will continue its upward curve. Daktronics’ Halliwell, for example, foresees the imminent arrival of 1.5mm and 1.2mm pixel pitch LED displays, and sees chipon-board technology bringing new levels of durability to high traffic areas. NEC’s Walter foresees large screen surfaces increasingly being integrated into a building’s architecture: ‘mediatecture’, he believes, will become integral to many retail environments. For BrightSign’s Hastings, voice may have a future. “There’s a lot of buzz in the industry about how voice integration in digital signage may be the next big step forward in how signage is used to interface with customers,” he says. “And while I don’t doubt that voice integration will become much more prominent in the years ahead, as an industry we have some interesting challenges to address.” These, he believes, are in simplifying voice interaction in order to minimise the amount of computing horsepower required; not yet 100% pervasive internet connectivity; and whether we could ever relate to public signage in the same way we relate to Alexa in the privacy of our homes.

Vertical apps Childerhouse believes ‘vertical’ apps can be what drives the industry forward – notably in beauty, where it will be possible for users to virtually try

on, for example, over 200 shades of nail varnish with no tester pots in sight. Pioneer is, he says, currently rolling out such a project. “Think of the huge knock-on effect this would have on stock levels and profit margins for retailers,” he nods. “It will totally transform their business model.” As well as seeing how LED screens will continue their upward trajectory, Halliwell believes that XR (the catch-all term for VR, AR and mixed reality) may become significant – but not where you might think. “Retailers can see their audiovisual systems on their architecture prior to making a purchase in a 3D environment, an improvement upon 2D conceptuals and renderings,” he says. “Retailers could choose multiple vantage points to see how their new technology would be viewed prior to installation. This can help decide what technology to buy, what size, how to use it and so on.” “We will see XR deployed in many facets of retail,” adds Broadsign’s Gutnik, “from enhancing the ambiance of a store to allowing shoppers to ‘try on’ clothing without actually doing so.” There seems little question that the digital signage industry is not yet quite where it wants to be. It has managed to present consumers with captivating images that draw attention, thanks to latest-generation screen technology. It is deploying state-of-the-art sensor technologies to create unique, individual experiences that, in theory at least, cannot help but engage consumers. It is, more than it ever has been, able to deliver the right message in the right place at the right time to the right audience. Technology allows retailers and advertisers to react in real time, to tweak content and messaging instantaneously in response to sensor-acquired data. There is equally little question that the effectiveness of digital signage is widely

acknowledged, and its value now far better understood than it was in the early days, when traditional advertisers were sceptical to the point of hostility towards it. And yet…

A better place The industry is undoubtedly in a far better place, with its emphasis on measurability, than it has ever been in terms of being able to demonstrate the ROI that those who invest in digital signage are looking for. As Childerhouse and Halliwell noted: A/B testing has apparently revealed an uplift in sales where digital signage has been deployed – but no-one seems to be willing to disclose their results. It is an industry mantra that engagement is a good thing and must, inevitably, lead to increased sales. It’s hard not to conclude, based on the evidence, that the jury is still out on that. That’s not to say that it isn’t true – only that the assertion seems, largely, to lack supporting proof. The $64 million question seems to be: will we ever be able to establish an absolute causal link between a consumer seeing messaging on a digital sign – and the product he or she went on to buy? Perhaps we’re asking too much. Perhaps, as Gabriel implied: if we can show that we’re doing the right things, and that we’re doing them right – we have to believe that the financial results will follow. It may be an act of faith – but, for the time being, it may be the best we can do. Given the size and growth of the digital signage industry, however, it would be foolish to believe that it won’t be long until we can do better.


May 2018

Reading the market For the second part of this special report, Steve Montgomery looks at how the digital signage market is evolving – and how technology developments, consumer expectations and integrator input all have a part to play


he digital signage market has grown massively since the term entered common usage at some time in the late 1990s. Today it is one of the most buoyant industry sectors within the pro AV world. Grand View Research estimates that the global value of the digital signage market is likely to reach over $31 billion by 2025. By contrast, Futuresource Consulting believes that the sector has peaked and sales of large screens for public display are slowing down. The two largest subsectors, retail and DOOH, together represent around 30% of the global digital signage market. However the situation is not cut and dried, as James Keen, group marketing manager at Tripleplay, points out: “The digital signage market is a very difficult one to decipher. The challenge comes as the market is so fragmented and varied, with CMS providers, LED and DOOH screen vendors, enterprise TV manufacturers, media player and STB manufacturers classifying themselves as digital signage providers. Industry analysis rarely provides a good understanding of the size of each particular segment. In general the industry has grown massively. From our perspective we have seen a solid 20% growth year on year for the last five years, which I think is fairly representative of the industry as a whole.”

Turbulent period Pete Mytton-Bayley, B2B pre-technical sales engineer for LG Electronics, believes that there has been a shift between the two main application sectors: “The retail and DOOH markets are in a turbulent period, with changing consumer habits that are migrating away from in-store towards online shopping. DOOH operators have been moving their estates toward outdoor and leisure-based spaces rather than focusing so heavily on retail locations.”

‘We are now seeing the mid-market growing quite significantly’ Birgit Jackson, Sharp Visual Solutions

There are other fundamental characteristics that differentiate the two. “DOOH and retail have very different scope, customer needs, and technology needs,” says Christian Orcin, VP of product marketing for Leyard and Planar EMEA. “In retail, shop windows, transparent LED mesh and indoor decoration are the main application areas. For DOOH, the outdoor billboard is the traditional channel; however the use of floor

Key Points „ The digital signage market is huge, with retail and DOOH sectors making up around 30% of it „ Interaction with screens is more common „ Camera-based face recognition and body detection systems feed back useful information to brand owners on viewer behaviour „ The role of the integrator is crucial in fulfilling large-scale digital signage systems totems and urban signs is increasing. Special applications in very high-profile locations like Times Square, Callao or Picadilly Circus are also more frequent, as cities more readily accept technology as a part of the face of the city. The DOOH market is basically controlled by three huge international companies, plus one or two important local companies who currently own paper advertising sites.” Retailers are steadily raising their levels of expectation from digital signage within shops and shopping centres and considering it much more as part of their overall marketing strategy – with consequent demand on suppliers to deliver ever-greater functionality and capability in order to attract shoppers’ attention and elevate brand awareness. Keen states: “Digital signage is a mainstream technology now, with marketing



Case Study

LG pods installed at Westfield Malls Across Westfield Malls’ US sites, 220 slim, freestanding double-sided digital signage pods featuring 75in LCD displays have replaced paper-based advertising furniture. With a wide variety of indoor and outdoor locations to be fulfilled, DOOH supplier Esprit Digital selected LG’s 4K displays, with the 3,000-nit version used outdoors to ensure sunlight readability. The pods are equipped with full audience monitoring software with the ability to track consumers on their journey through each mall while offering real-time consumer data insights like demographics, dwell, attention time and mood. When consumers are in close proximity to the screens, advertisers are able to tailor and deploy their content to specifically targeted demographics, with the right message, at the right time. The Westfield Network provides the opportunity for limitless creativity and brand engagement through high-quality image reproduction and uniformity throughout the mall network. “Our aim was to transform out-of-home mall advertising and to provide brands with an opportunity for limitless creativity while offering live data and high levels of consumer engagement,” comments Charley Delana, executive vice president, Westfield. people buying into it. It has become common practice; very much an expectation in the retail environment, largely aided by the fact that the user experience has simplified to the point that they can really derive benefit and get the most from it.”

Greater scope The market for digital signage has exploded as return on investment (ROI) has been proven. Consequently displays and media players have become more powerful and capable, allowing more creative applications to be deployed – which, in turn, enables greater scope in the placement and use of the systems. “Flexibility in how a display can be installed makes it possible for retailers to think creatively, thus further attracting the interest of consumers,” explains Birgit Jackson, commercial director of Sharp Visual Solutions. “For example, hanging a display in the centre of the retail space instead of just on the walls, or positioning signage on the floor or ceiling as part of a creative layout. “The market is certainly more mature,” she believes. “It is not uncommon for state-of-theart retail areas to have really impactful digital signage, which wasn’t necessarily the case a few years ago. It’s also more commoditised. There are a lot of new or first-time customers to the display market, which means that we are now seeing the mid-market growing quite significantly. However, there is still healthy demand for top-of-the-range digital signage across a number of sectors. “Consumers are becoming more demanding. In

order to meet the needs of the end-user, displays are evolving and becoming more intelligent. They can be operated independently from a PC source, which simplifies their usage requirements. The ability to integrate additional functionalities, like Wi-Fi connectivity, is also hugely important. That is why Sharp has integrated system-onchip (SoC) and Mini OPS into our smart signage displays, so we can offer the most flexible choice for content management, as well as for enhanced features.” Technology has changed the way in which everyone shops, and as a result has changed the retail landscape forever. Social media applications on smart devices and phones have extended the whole retail experience, from online shopping at home to in-store experiences through well-placed digital screens. This is where application, content and technology combine, but need to be carefully considered and planned in order to achieve effect in the retail environment. Content needs to be more immediate and appropriate than ever before if retail digital signage is to be effective. Fortunately network coverage, device intelligence and processing power have combined sufficiently to make this happen. Over the last couple of years there have been advancements in display technologies such as LCD, LED, OLED which are strengthening market growth, enhancing the quality of content and having a greater impact on the target audience. Mytton-Bayley cites examples: “Transparent OLED is a completely unique design with a 40% transparent screen capable of delivering full colour, vivid graphics while

allowing viewers to see products through the displays. This is great for retail as merchandisers can be even more creative with design and it is no longer a choice between product or screens – you can now create a mixed media experience. LED colour film can be applied to windows rapidly and with very little infrastructure to create huge, colourful canvases.”

Interactivity and immersion Advertising agencies and digital signage operators are acutely aware of the need to provide ROI to brands through in-store customer-facing displays. Social media interaction is now a key requirement of digital signage displays, enticing shoppers to interact and engage with brands. Digital signage is becoming more immersive, as Jeff Hastings, CEO of BrightSign, explains: “Interactive retail product demonstrations are now very sophisticated and combine video, audio, lighting and tactile interactive experiences... The trend is toward technology integrations that power the experience.” DOOH displays are increasingly being linked to other technologies, such as smart building technology. Sports stadium operators can create networks that link to sponsorship teams, providing instant interaction and new services. Systems can be switched to align with branded materials for event hires and can take over a complete stadium for special events and big games days. As well as providing information and engagement with the consumer and spectator,


valuable data is now regularly obtained by sensors within the screens and fed back to manufacturers and brand owners for remote analysis, enabling them to develop the marketing strategies they rely on to promote and sell their products. Video recognition systems count the number of people walking

‘Integrators’ role in providing service is without any question the most important part of their job’ Christian Orcin, Leyard and Planar EMEA

through a target area and can determine viewer dwell time, and facial recognition systems detect details about shoppers. “Heat mapping technology allows operators to track viewers’ journeys by generating clear images of traffic flow including impression events and dwell time” adds Mark Childerhouse, sales director at Pioneer Group. “These kinds of insights allow retailers to strategise about positioning of signage and product throughout the store to target appropriate audiences with more personalised content.”

Scratching the surface There is more to come: as an industry we are only just scratching the surface of application potential. Advanced audience recognition software, new beacon and BTLE capabilities, new iPhone wallet passes, voice recognition and expanded RFID interaction with shoppers are appropriate technologies that are all vying for position and attention. It is a situation that is keeping hardware providers and integrators busy. Jackson comments: “The growth of the digital signage market represents a huge opportunity for integrators.” She points out that manufacturers must play their part too: “There are a huge number of hardware and software combinations available and I think it’s important for manufacturers to help integrators by being more consultative and a real partner.” A good understanding of the basic technology is important. Orcin believes that users are now more experienced, such that the consultancy role of system integrators is becoming less important. However, “their role in providing service is without any question the most important part of their job. Customers need a reliable, quick and comprehensive service from integrators. Big retail roll-outs require a very efficient supply chain. Installations have to be efficient

May 2018

and, most importantly, stable and reliable. Minimisation of onsite service is so important to the customer.” With the speed that the industry is moving at today, keeping up with technology is a major challenge for integrators. Hastings makes the point that they need to continuously adapt and evolve: “It is very dangerous to rely on tried and trusted approaches, as there are so many new ways of stimulating attention and attracting an audience. In addition to technical skill, integrators also need to be savvy marketers, building strong and long-term customer relationships and continually working to refill the funnel with new projects. Integrators are critical in this sector. They are the real drivers of demand in the industry and often the spurs for innovation. There have been many times when our team has stretched our technology to new levels because of pressure from integrators to do something new and different.”


May 2018

Key Points „ Projector manufacturers are now focusing more on particular verticals to expand opportunities

Status quo?

„ Despite predictions about the health of the projection market, demand remains high in install applications „ When a technology space is in a period that lacks dynamic innovation, manufacturers can offer better support to improve the overall package

The last couple of years have seen the pinnacle of the projector market become somewhat entrenched – with many of the leading suppliers’ offerings light on disruptive innovation and their spec sheets not vastly dissimilar, writes Duncan Proctor. Moving forward, what are manufacturers doing to differentiate themselves?


n terms of innovation in projection, the biggest strides taken in recent years have been the move to 4K resolution and the proliferation of laser illumination. Now that all the major players offer both of these, one could argue that there is very little separating the leading manufacturers’ product sets. Additionally, despite the relative commoditisation of the market, there have been few new entrants, aside from a number of brands from China that have been unable to establish themselves in EMEA. In a market such as this, with a dearth of new companies shaking up the established order, innovation or evolution from within becomes even more important. This uncertainty sits against a backdrop of some fairly dire predictions about what the projection market will look like in the next few years. How does the current health of the market stack up against these predictions and what are the next steps?

Interesting shifts “For years there have been people professing that projection will be killed, and for years the market has proven this to not be the case,” says Joe

Ahmed, Optoma head of marketing, EMEA. And in terms of how the projection market has evolved in recent years, Ahmed continues: “There are some interesting shifts in the adoption of projection technology. The market has primarily changed due to technology disruptors (both internal and external of projection) both limiting projection and creating new opportunities for projection.”

‘It isn’t all about a race to the highest resolution and brightness’ Chris Axford, Digital Projection

Thomas Walter, section manager strategic product marketing at NEC Display Solutions Europe, comments: “The demand for installation projectors is growing continuously and significantly. There are two major reasons for this – the development of laser as a superior

light technology with long-lasting and reliable performance and the general need for higher brightness levels and huge visual surfaces. “Installation projectors, compared to other visual technologies such as LFDs or LED, are still providing the lowest cost per square metre when it comes to large screen visualisation and come at the lowest initial and operational cost. Laser light sources extend the lifetime compared to traditional UHP lamps tremendously, allowing more reliable and maintenance-friendly operation.” Nick Loftus, business development executive at Acer, states: “Besides the technology moving forward, the projector market has become more user-centric recently.” Back to Ahmed, who says projection mapping software has opened up more sectors and possible applications: “Coupled with laser technology, this has allowed projection to be used in many new sectors and environments that previously were not viable, most notably digital signage for retail and leisure and hospitality. This has transformed projection to be an engaging and immersive experience which captures audience imaginations and plays into the augmented reality trend.”


Differentiate While the death of projection may have been exaggerated, the fact remains that it is a crowded market that has been short of disruptive innovation. Therefore, what can manufacturers do to stand out? “Increased resolution is one area that manufacturers can differentiate,” states Chris Axford, international sales and marketing director at Digital Projection, which introduced the world’s first 8K DLP laser projector at ISE this year. “However, it isn’t all about a race to the highest resolution and brightness. There are other key features that customers are asking for, such as ultra-high frame rates at native resolution. “Aside from the technical specifications, customers also demand the best service and support, both pre and post sales. This is an area we have also been pioneering for years, and continue to take seriously by respecting the raison d’être and importance of all stakeholders in the channel, while proactively working with all our partners to ensure that they receive all the support they need on their often mission critical installations.” Walter also thinks that a consultative, customer-focused approach is desirable. For a company like NEC that offers the majority of the visualisation options, it is less about projection maintaining market share but finding the right solution for the particular situation. “When it comes to large screen visualisation, different technologies such as LFDs, direct view LED and projection are all valid options with pros and cons which need to be considered according to the individual needs of the end user. The environmental situation regarding light, space, installation restrictions and the target outcomes of the visualisation all need to be considered. Since NEC uniquely supplies all three technologies, we put our customer’s needs first, recommending the perfect-fit technology. “NEC successfully drives laser as a light source technology and just recently added RB laser as a light source to its portfolio. It combines the advantages of traditional technologies (laser phosphor and RGB laser) delivering image excellence with a low total cost of ownership.” Ahmed adds: “Projector brands have begun to focus more and more on specific vertical markets to ensure a successful value proposition. Optoma has had great success in developing the retail and leisure and hospitality sectors through the promotion of both its DuraCore and Multi Colour Laser technology, in addition to recruiting new innovative partners who share the same drive and vision of how the projection market will change.” With extensive and similar specification lists, it can be hard for integrators to know the best solution for any given project. From the

manufacturer’s point of view, what should integrators be looking at when specifying a projector?

Futureproofing “Our integrators are looking for reliable, stable and long-life projectors that use the latest technology, be that 4K/8K resolution or the latest in connectivity, such as DisplayPort or HDBaseT,” offers Axford. “SIs also need to ensure that their purchase decisions are futureproofed, and that is why we are seeing a shift to 4K resolution over HD. It took a while for infrastructure/signal distribution to catch up with the projectors, but that is now in place. The next thing they need to look out for with regard to futureproofing is 8K architecture – it is coming and there are already a lot of discussions around this new resolution milestone, in particular with the upcoming 2020 Tokyo Olympics which will be captured in 8K.” On the point of futureproofing, Axford has an ally in Ahmed: “Even if the content that people use today is not native 4K, it is only a matter of time, so integrators should look to futureproof now.”

‘Projector brands have begun to focus more and more on specific vertical markets to ensure a successful value proposition’ Joe Ahmed, Optoma

Walter rightly points out that when integrators are weighing up different options the initial cost should only be a part of the discussion as it is only part of the lifetime cost. “They should focus more on the operational costs and other efforts that the projector will require. This will make laser projectors a very profitable and well-considered decision. In addition, warranty conditions and the service a manufacturer provides are key purchasing criteria. If the purchase was cheap but the operation is flawed and the service is not a serious offering, then you have not made a good investment. You should ask in detail how the service is organised and how well you are supported, just in case.” Looking forward to developments coming soon that will impact the projector market: “Further economies of scale are expected in laser light source technology which will further expand the feasibility of laser at lower brightness levels, and open more affordable laser solutions which


can further grow those new applications that love laser,” says Ahmed. “Couple this with 4K resolution and increasing options for shortthrow optics and there will be some staggering products coming to market.” “It is safe to say that higher resolutions and higher frame rates are always on the close horizon, and these will become more mainstream in the coming years,” explains Axford. “There is also currently a customer need for ever-wider colour gamuts, especially in entry to mid-range single-chip DLP projectors.” Acer is set to announce the introduction of Alexa voice control this quarter and Optoma currently has its offering in development. Could voice control be the next big thing in projection? Futuresource Consulting analyst James Kirby is unconvinced. “Voice control may work to some extent in raising the status of projection technology in terms of its technical advancement,” he says; “however, this is really only a small part of the picture, with smart functionality, usability and projector design being much more important in creating surplus demand outside of the traditional [home] cinema enthusiast channel.” He adds that voice compatibility will only have a small impact on global market volumes over the next few years. “Currently the area with by far the most potential for adoption is China. Domestic Chinese brands have recently experienced rapid growth, demonstrating the successful use of smart functionality and product design to drive them to the top of the China home market. However, the international market is significantly behind on this trend, and as a result will not see the same pace of adoption in voice.” In terms of the verticals where voice control will be most applicable, Kirby concludes: “The corporate meeting room is likely to offer the most potential for voicecontrolled projection, driven by meeting room control systems. As a result, it is expected that projection will remain mostly within compatibility rather than branching out to an integrated voice assistant for corporate applications. Voice control has the potential to offer ease of use to relatively complex projection functionality, potentially improving meeting productivity. However, there are still many concerns regarding security in corporate applications, and many are asking whether the current benefits that voice can offer outweigh the perceived risks.”



Videowall in vogue Integral to the recently unveiled offices of publisher Condé Nast International is a two-floor videowall that, by promoting collaboration between teams, has become “the beating heart of the office”. David Davies finds out more about this impressive Christie- and Crestron-centric installation

May 2018



s the publisher of iconic magazines including Vogue, Glamour and Tatler, Condé Nast International (CNI) has a formidable track record in what it describes on its website as “visually arresting” titles. It therefore seems entirely in keeping with tradition that one of the most important aspects of its new offices is a huge videowall spanning two floors and incorporating the latest control and display technologies from Christie and Crestron. Located in the Adelphi building in London’s Strand, the new offices were the subject of an extensive fit-out including extensive videoconferencing facilities, editing suites, fire alarm and HVAC systems, latest-generation lighting and more. But arguably the most striking single element is an area – ultimately dubbed The Well – for which CNI had the vision of an environment that could be used to showcase its digital imagery, support collaborative working, and avoid the creation of silos. Working in conjunction with CNI project manager Lynnette Lawrance and her team, project architects MCM evolved a concept for a mini-auditorium situated in the stairwell between the two floors comprising Condé Nast’s new home. At the heart of the auditorium is a media wall that, remarks MCM lead architect Deepak Parmar, “had to be beautiful, but also practical, and the goal was to create a simple user experience. To achieve this, the technology solution needed to be intuitive, open, approachable and reactive, with interactive support for all, across all functions.” Design of The Well system was entrusted to MiX Consultancy, with Focus 21 Visual Communications implementing that design in conjunction with primary contractors BW. The wall was ultimately based around Christie’s Velvet Apex Series indoor LED tiles, which feature an ultra-fine 2.5mm pixel pitch, 16:9 aspect ratio, UHD resolution and advanced monitoring capabilities, while multiple Crestron systems provide control. “MiX Consultancy worked very closely with the client to select a manufacturer for this project,” says Sebastian Day, director – audio visual services at MiX Consultancy. “After going through an extensive selection process, Crestron and Christie technologies were chosen as they were not only the most suitable for this particular application and project, but will also be relevant for the future work and roadmap that the client is looking to undertake. Maintenance and support were also key factors in the selection process.” The other brands to feature prominently in the videowall area are Extron extenders, cables and connectors; Dell external video adapters; Lightware extenders; and QSC DSP audio cores and amplifiers.

Careful planning required As might be expected, the stakes were rather high for the actual installation of the videowall, which was factory-built and tested off-site with the customer, consultant and construction manager. As Jim Harwood, managing director of Focus 21, remarks, “the installation of any small-pitch LED needs careful planning and execution, especially so in a 16-week programme construction [timeframe], where other trades needing to access the LED screen area caused additional risk management headaches. The use of specialist access equipment in the double-height space was also a consideration.” The videowall has been implemented in conjunction with a giant mirror on the ceiling above the new stairwell in order “to create the illusion of the area being even larger,” says Parmar. “The mirror reflects both the digital canvas of the wall and the print library based next to the wall, and captures the very essence of Condé Nast past and future.”

Videowall with Outlook One clear signifier of the impact that The Well has had on CNI’s day-to-day activities is the fact that an Outlook calendar has been introduced to deal with the high levels of demand. “The idea that this wall has its own Outlook diary is an interesting and defining characteristic,” says Harwood. “It’s the client’s use of the space which really makes it stand out. It’s the focal point of the office; everyone uses the wall, and when it’s not in a pre-booked use for a meeting or presentation it’s employed for continual internal communication and messaging.” The Vogue team is among those to be making the most of the new installation. Motion graphics designer François de Montremy remarks that The Well “has created a connection between the editorial team and other employees, bridging the gap between each department and helping connect the generations. [For example] we use Dropbox to post Snapchat images to the screen, and it’s been great to get feedback from other staff who can get to see what we do and why we do it.” Aidan Geary, director of operations at CNI Digital, believes that the participating teams have effectively “created the beating heart of the office. The impact has been twofold; the media wall is not just arresting in its beauty, it has become a place where teams spontaneously meet to hold presentations and get feedback from others. We saw an instant change in how people worked.” Reflecting on the project, Day recalls that MiX Consultancy had worked with MCM and Focus 21 on “a number of fit-outs in the past, and this previous experience gave us a great starting point to working together as a team on this project. The

Installed Video „ Christie Spyder X20 „ Christie E500 LED control units „ Christie Apex Series LED tiles „ Christie Pandoras Box Widget Designer, Showcontrol Manager and PK2 hardware player „ Crestron AM-101 wireless presentation system „ Crestron DMPS3-300-C presentation switcher „ Crestron DM-RMC-4K-SCALER-C 4K extender receiver scaler „ Crestron DM-TX-401-C digital media multiformat transmitters „ Crestron DM-TX-4K-302-C 4K DigitalMedia 8G+ transmitter „ Crestron HD-SCALER-HD-E HD auto scaler into VC codec „ Dell 470-ABMZ HDMI to USB-C adapters „ Extron USB extender transmitters/receivers „ Extron tabletop cable cubby „ Extron cable retractor systems (HDMI and DisplayPort) „ Intel NUC5i5RYK compact mini PC „ Lightware HDMI-TPS-RX95 HDBaseT receiver „ Lightware DP-TPS-TX210 HDBaseT transmitter „ Sky Sky+ satellite decoder

Audio „ QSC Q-Sys Core 110f audio DSP „ QSC CX108V 100V line amplifier

About the integrator „ Focus 21 Visual Communications was founded in 1998 and specialises in the integration of corporate AV and videoconferencing systems „ The company also provides a hire and events service „ It was the first UK company to be qualified as an InfoComm International (now AVIXA) AV Provider of Excellence, or APEX architectural and technology designs were heavily integrated to create the most suitable workspace, and everyone really worked together to deliver the client’s vision. The feedback from Condé Nast International has been very positive, and the adoption and utilisation of their new space has been successful.”


May 2018


Honouring Fellini with film The picturehouse where movie maestro Federico Fellini first experienced the magic of cinema has been lovingly restored after years of closure. The décor harks back to the past, but the technology is fully up to date, says Mike Clark


t was in the Fulgor cinema of his hometown of Rimini that world-famous film director Federico Fellini (1920-93) discovered the magic of cinema – watching the 1926 silent film Maciste all’inferno on his grandfather’s knees. Later, he earned pocket money drawing caricatures of the actors and actresses to publicise the films screened at the cinema. Originally an 18th century building owned by local nobles the Valloni brothers, and converted into a cinema in 1914, the Fulgor left such an indelible impression on Fellini that he featured it in his 1973 film Amarcord (with a replica built at Cinecittà Studios). After lengthy restoration work, the ‘new’ Fulgor was recently inaugurated on what would have been Fellini’s 98th birthday, as part of the project for a Fellini Museum. It features a main room designed by triple Oscar-winning production designer Dante Ferretti. Participants at the inauguration ceremony included Italy’s Minister for Cultural Heritage and Tourism Dario Franceschini, Ferretti, Rimini’s mayor, Fellini’s niece, a group of characters from some of the ‘maestro’s’ best-known films and even a double of the man himself, complete with his familiar hat, megaphone and red scarf. Both the Ferretti-designed 192-seat main

‘Federico’ room and the 52-seat ‘Giulietta’ room (named after Fellini’s wife, film actress Giulietta Masini) are equipped with a Sony digital 4K projector (with on-board servers, integrated media blocks and touchpanel monitors), a Harkness screen and a sound system by LW Speakers with Dolby sound processing. Specialist company Linea Gobbato, responsible for the installation of the rooms’ projection and audio systems, was supported by Milan digital cinema specialists Paolo Veronese, distributor of speakers and amplifiers from LW Speakers. This Madrid-based cinema and home theatre speaker manufacturer takes its name from the initials of founder Luis Wassmann, a cinema technology specialist since the early 1980s. Mirko Gobbato, one of the company’s three partners, describes the hardware deployed: “The loudspeaker enclosures are the company’s Sound Experience models throughout and both rooms feature three screen speakers (left, centre and right) a subwoofer and surround speakers – 10 identical enclosures in the small room, 12 larger side speakers in the main room plus four more compact rear under-balcony speakers, where the ceiling is lower. Power amps are identical, with two installed in the

Installed Video „ Sony SRX-R510P 4K digital cinema projectors „ Sony XCT-S10 digital cinema servers „ Sony XCT-M10 integrated media blocks „ Sony LKRA-007 touchpanel monitors „ Harkness Matt Plus white screens

Audio „ Dolby CP750 digital cinema processors „ VCL Sound Experience LW 5107, LW 1103 screen speakers „ VCL Sound Experience LW 6113, LW 6107 subwoofers „ VCL Sound Experience LW 7011V2, LW 7201, LW 7015V2 surround speakers „ VCL Sound Experience MUK440 power amps

About the project partners „ Headquartered in the Padua province, integrator Linea Gobbato has designed and installed AV and conference systems as well as stage technology and curtains in cinemas, theatres, auditoria and conference centres throughout Italy for over 25 years „ Milanese digital cinema specialist company Paolo Veronese is named after its founder, who created the company in 1945. However, his experience in the cinema sector dated back to 1912


May 2018

small room and three in the Federico room and are able to provide 4 x 1,000W on 2 and 4 ohms and 4 x 520W on 8 ohms.”

Back in time Regarding his work on designing the Federico room (for which the red velvet, stucco and marble décor was created by Rome’s Studio Forme, an artistic workshop combining fine art skills and multimedia techniques), Ferretti, who worked with Fellini on five of his films, explains: “My ties with the city of Rimini are due to having worked with Federico, and I’m from the Marches, the next region down the Adriatic coast from Rimini. I designed the main room with the intent of creating an atmosphere that takes audiences back in time – as if they were in a ’30s or ’40s-style movie theatre.” Gobbato continues: “Since there was an invitation to tender for the overall project, the architects who won the contract didn’t leave much choice as to where the loudspeakers were to be positioned, so there was not much that could be changed. However, we managed to successfully solve the problems caused from an acoustic point of view by the large amount of glazing in the main room with some fine-tuning work on the frequencies and making certain to avoid excessive volume.” After commenting at the inauguration that the reborn Fulgor was so fantastic that it was almost a shame to turn down the lights to

watch the films being screened, Franceschini announced the allocation of a further €3million as a contribution to the realisation of the museum project, already financed with €9million by the government, and concluded: “The Fulgor is a symbolic place for all of us and the first step in the creation of a Fellini Museum.” The Fulgor’s film calendar is managed by Khairos, a Rimini company that has run cinemas for half a century and includes a breakfast-plusfilm format on Sunday mornings and a series of special screenings of Amarcord (“I remember” in

Rimini’s local dialect). Following the inauguration, The New York Times included the Fulgor in its list of ‘52 Places to Go in 2018’.

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May 2018


Spreading the word Although an historic building, this sanctuary sought a modern solution to solve its audio issues with a robust, IP distributed sound system chosen for the job. Tom Bradbury reports


uilt in 1845, Maaninka Church is a 1,200seat traditional church building that forms part of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland. The existing sound system had been in place for several years and presented coverage and intelligibility issues, which was affecting the overall experience of churchgoers. The church turned to local integrator AVEK Esitystekniikka and Genelec to bring the audio system in line with modern expectations. Genelec’s technology service manager, Markus Kahelin, recalls that the project posed several challenges; firstly, the sheer size of the space to be covered (985sqm with high ceilings and a central dome), and secondly the church’s listed building status. “The shape and size of the building results in a relatively long reverberation time and a noticeable echo for the human voice,” comments Kahelin. “The existing audio system was unable to deliver natural, uncoloured sound to all of the congregation and so intelligibility of the spoken word was a real problem.” The church’s listed status was also an issue for the integrators, particularly in relation to drilling holes or running cables. “AVEK ended up having to run all their cables via the roof space to reach every part of the church,” states Kahelin. “That in itself was a challenge because extra-long cable runs can pose a risk for sound quality, latency and interference levels, which can in turn cause audible issues with the playback system.”

Over IP The solution was a distributed system using 10 Genelec 8430A IP SAM monitor speakers that were tuned and calibrated using Genelec’s GLM 3 loudspeaker management software. According to AVEK’s audio specialist, Jari Pöykiö, Genelec’s combination of networked loudspeakers with the integrated calibration features of GLM 3 solved all their problems. “The first consideration was the audio quality of the 8430As – they are compact, active loudspeakers that deliver premium audio quality and clear, uncoloured sound,” notes Pöykiö. “We mounted them in carefully acoustically selected locations throughout the church to enable the focus and voice localisation to remain in the correct direction and to sound as natural as possible. The wide dispersion angle of the 8430As meant that we were able to achieve good coverage throughout all the seating areas. Our aim was to have sufficient loudspeakers in the system so that the overall playback level can remain relatively low so as not to energise the live acoustics of the room or cause any microphone feedback issues. “Once installed, all the loudspeakers were calibrated and tuned to the room acoustics. A particular feature of the system tuning for this installation was that we assigned delay to each individual loudspeaker to localise the voice to the person speaking rather than to the nearest

About the integrator „ AVEK Esitystekniikka specialises in providing solutions for presentation technology, digital signage and audio solutions „ Its clients include public administration, educational institutes and businesses „ AVEK also offers rental services for projectors and LCD screens loudspeaker, using very similar principles and techniques to those used in theatre.” The other reason for selecting the 8430A monitors was the IP system distribution qualities, as Pöykiö explains: “The 8430A monitors are networked loudspeakers based on RAVENNA/ AES67 for totally error-free, robust audio signal distribution over IP. It was the perfect solution for this project, which necessitated massive cable runs so that all the cabling could be hidden in the roof space. If we’d had to rely on traditional analogue line level cabling, we’d have run into problems with interference and signal loss. As it is, the sound quality is absolutely first class at every level. Furthermore, as a networked audio system, cabling costs are vastly reduced, making it a highly costeffective solution as well as high performance.”


May 2018


Arizona meteor centre tech update The Meteor Crater Interactive Discovery Center has had the hardware that delivers the AV content for its exhibits upgraded by Portland, Oregon-based Formations, along with new videos and presentations. The centre, in Winslow, Arizona, prepares visitors for the Meteor Crater, which is nearly 1.6km across, 3.9km in circumference and more than 170m deep, with 24 interactive displays and exhibits detailing the origins of meteors and their encounters with the Earth. The modernisation included Alcorn McBride equipment: a DMX Machine, Digital Audio Machine (AM4), A/V Binloop HD with three reproducer cards, V4Pro show controller and ShowTouch 7in touchpanel interface. The V4Pro powers exhibits and their monitors, touchscreens, as well as other interactive exhibit components.


Finnish hall transforms into multipurpose venue Kuusamo Hall now includes an L-Acoustics Kiva II system in its theatre, designed and installed by Audico. Its wood-clad theatre provides a warm atmosphere to enjoy the varied musical events it hosts. The old audio system comprised only flush-mounted ceiling speakers, which were unsuitable for visiting productions. Audico and L-Acoustics kept the design of the system as simple as possible, choosing the ultracompact Kiva II for its long throw capability and even SPL. Eight Kiva II topped with two SB15m subs are positioned either side of the stage, along with two centre-hung SB18i subwoofers. Six 5XT are positioned across the stage lip as front fills and six X12 provide stage monitoring.


Handy content delivery for interactive holiday store The Cruise 1st store in Salford has been fitted with BrightSign media players by Handy AV to deliver content in the new interactive holiday store at the Lowry Outlet Mall. Visitors can view, configure and purchase the latest cruise holiday opportunities on one of 12 22in iiyama touchscreen terminals. Customers and passing shoppers are greeted by in-window screens and a 2 x 2 videowall showing 4K video content and images delivered by BrightSign XT243 media players.

Video content and live TV are used throughout the store to create an interactive experience. The 2 x 2 iiyama 46in videowall is hung using B-Tech’s System X mounts with content delivered by BrightSign players via a Datapath Fx4 display wall controller. The window display signage uses iiyama screens mounted with B-Tech floor-to-ceiling mounts.




Philharmonic venue futureproofed Cologne Philharmonic Hall has installed a new sound system based on Meyer Sound LEOPARD compact line arrays to amplify its programmes. In addition to concerts by two resident orchestras, the venue hosts jazz sessions, folk and pop concerts, cinema and musicals. The new system needed to have the same dimensions as the old system, and be controlled by digital processing. Also, the loudspeakers had to blend in with the hall, and cover all seats at uniform levels without the use of delay loudspeakers. The system chosen is based on main left-right arrays of seven LEOPARD line arrays each, with 11 LEOPARD at the centre. On stage there are two LEOPARD loudspeakers left and right, two 900-LFC low frequency control elements and two UPJ-1P compact VariO loudspeakers. Five UPM-1P loudspeakers are deployed as near fill.


Life Hotel’s high-end sound refurb Synapse Audio Visual Designs has designed and installed a Fulcrum Acoustic system at the Life Hotel in Manhattan, the former headquarters of the iconic LIFE magazine. What made the install more challenging were the 2.4m ceilings and the hard reflective surfaces in the hotel lobby bar/dining area and basement speakeasy, which presented acoustic issues. Another challenge was that compact, high-fidelity speakers were required to fit discreetly into tight installation spaces without detracting from the elegant design aesthetic. Synapse designed a distributed system based on RX Series coaxial speakers, chosen for their high output-to-size ratio and 90° x 90° coverage. Eight compact RX699 6.5in speakers cover the lobby’s bar and dining area, with six additional RX699 in the downstairs speakeasy.


University lab gets modular VR CAVE Antycip Simulation has installed a four-sided VR CAVE for the Heudiasyc laboratory’s Translife research programme, which is housed within the Compiègne University of Technology. The new system enables the Heudiasyc team to explore new models for adaptive feedback as well as decision modelling for informed interactions. The CAVE was designed to offer both open and closed configurations. Antycip enabled the right side of the CAVE to open at a 90° angle, with the mechanically integrated projection platform

moving automatically into its new position. Antycip installed four Christie Mirage 3-chip DLP 3D projectors paired with an HP Z840 3D rendering station. A tracking system consisting of 10 infrared cameras detects user movements, while the active 3D glasses and a joystick associated with detection sensors allow users to move around the virtual environment and interact with the content.

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Kit you need to know about

PRODUCT OF Sony THE MONTH TEOS It’s… a suite of new software solutions, based around the updated TEOS Manage, that enable more efficient workplaces

What’s new? The aim of the TEOS family is to connect all the disparate parts of meetings and corporate communications and make them feel like one streamlined process that anyone can control. Details: The TEOS family currently comprises five elements: TEOS Connect, TEOS Remote, TEOS Book, TEOS Reception and the central TEOS Manage package. TEOS Connect enables corporate employees to mirror content wirelessly from laptops to Sony BRAVIA Android Professional Displays, without the need for a hardware receiver – the necessary technology is built into the display. It enables simple content sharing for organisations within both large meeting rooms and small huddle spaces. Up to 10 users can share their device’s screen with the display, with up to four displayed at once. Connection is said to be instant, with low latency. It can be used by employees or guests, with no need to connect over a secured network. TEOS Remote enables employees to take control of all the connected devices in the room from their smartphone or an in-room tablet. They scan a QR code or tap an NFC tag to get direct control over the meeting room as they enter – no set-up is necessary. They can then turn lights on or off, select presentation sources, change volume levels and more. The solution removes the need to search for the right hardware remote, and reduces clutter in the room. TEOS Remote integrates seamlessly with TEOS Manage – which is available separately – and can control all the devices connected to that package. The TEOS Book service uses a B2B grade Sony 7in or 10in Android tablet outside a meeting room to allow employees to check in, book, and extend meetings. It is fully compatible with Office 365,

Microsoft Exchange and Google Agenda. TEOS Reception software provides a virtual receptionist. Guests are welcomed by a dedicated tablet or interactive touchscreen and invited to enter their name, and the name of the person they’re visiting. Once they’re checked in, TEOS Reception automatically alerts the meeting host by email or SMS, and can print a visitor’s pass if required. Using Active Directory integration, TEOS Reception works with employee contact information in corporate directories. A dashboard displays analytical visitor information, including numbers of guests and who they are visiting. TEOS Manage software offers a complete display device and room management solution. It monitors the operational status of all IP networked displays, projectors and other devices via a dashboard interface. Devices may be grouped by location for easier management. Schedules for content playout can be created,

and screens integrated with the central booking system to display meeting schedules in each room. Calendar information from Office 365, Exchange Server or Google Calendar that’s relevant to each room can be displayed. Issues with any device that isn’t working can be pinpointed rapidly. TEOS Manage is compatible with BRAVIA displays, Sony projectors and tablets, and IP network devices from other manufacturers. Version 1.3 adds new features including room booking, virtual reception, interface improvements such as alarm management, enhanced projector and display management as well as Active Directory compatibility.

Available: Now – some functionality to follow later this year


SoundBar PSB-1

This active soundbar is designed specifically for commercial environments such as hotel rooms and cruise ship staterooms. Fixed and variable source volume are supported, so either the soundbar or the TV can adjust the volume. An IR Learning capability means that any remote can be used. To limit sound transference, it includes a vibration isolation wall-mounting kit, and uses full-range speakers rather than a separate subwoofer. It also includes a four-position volume limiting switch that allows integrators to control the maximum output. „ SignStix Director v3.0 An enhanced version of the company’s cloud-based tool for content management, Director v3.0 is designed to allow users to modify the SignStix platform to their exact requirements. Users can now define their own deployment hierarchy, giving total control over how their digital estate is organised and managed. They can organise devices based on their own criteria such as geographical location, company department or even screen orientation. They can also search and find content, locations and devices using new advanced search and metadata tagging capabilities. „ Extron Quantum Ultra 305 This compact 4K videowall processor is a 3U, five-slot card frame that supports any combination of Quantum Ultra input and output cards to accommodate any size of videowall. It features a high-speed video bus with a maximum throughput of 400Gbps, sufficient to carry more than 20 4K/60 sources with 4:4:4 chroma sampling. Features include output overlap, mullion compensation, output rotation and custom output resolutions. Sources can be windowed and positioned anywhere on the video display. Static image files, such as logos and maps, can be stored locally. „ Erard Pro EXO 200 This addition to the EXO family of tilting and swivelling mounts is suitable for VESA 200 displays. Comprising eight models, the range is made for screens from 15kg to 35kg and offers offset from 122mm to 538mm, swivelling up to 180° and tilt from 0° to 25°. Patented off-centre spacers enable horizontal alignment to be corrected after drilling, and a patented micro-adjustment system assures perfect levelling of the screen even when it is at the maximum offset. The range is compatible with flat and curved screens.

May 2018

Barco OverView KVD5521B It’s… a price-competitive tiled LCD system for videowall applications.

What’s new? The OverView KVD5521B is an improved version of Barco’s KVD552155in LCD videowall module, and shares some features with Barco’s UniSee platform, launched last year. Details: This new budget-friendly LCD tile has a brightness of 500 nits, and sports a 3.5mm bezel. The complete videowall is said to produce a perfectly balanced image at all times, thanks to Sense X − Barco’s automatic, continuous and real-time colour and brightness calibration system. Because there are no cooling fans, operating noise is eliminated and there are no moving parts to wear out. DisplayPort V1.2 is supported, which enables four displays to be fed in loop-through with 4K@60Hz content, simplifying connection with a reduced number of cables. The use of the LCD Connect box is said to make setting up and

controlling the videowall much easier. A remote redundant power supply can be added, making the videowall suitable for mission-critical and 24/7 operations. Power supplies and input boards can be quickly removed from the display for maintenance or replacement. Optional five-year service packages are available.

Available: Now

Crestron AM-300 It’s… a wireless presentation system that’s the next member of the AirMedia family.

What’s new? Crestron says it’s the only enterprise-grade wireless presentation solution that offers everything that the IT department needs and expects. Details: Featuring AirMedia 2.0 technology, AM-300 also offers a DigitalMedia input, HDMI in and out, LAN port for power and communications, and full display control. AirMedia 2.0 is claimed to offer the lowest latency and bandwidth consumption – so keyboard and mouse movements track in real time; ultra-smooth video playback; on-screen display with connectivity instructions, meeting details when connected to a calendaring platform; mirroring with Windows, MacOS, Android, and iOS without requiring Bonjour software; and cloudbased deployment and management.

Additionally, while other products provide just a wireless access point, potentially exposing content to security breaches, AirMedia 2.0, is network-based and leverages numerous protocols: 802.1x network access control; Active Directory user authentication; AES-128 content encryption; and SSH, SSL, TLS, and HTTPS. It can be deployed, configured, and managed from the cloud.

Available: Now



„ Key Digital KD-FIX418

DU6693Z It’s… a high-performance laser projector for large venues.

What’s new? Running at only 32dB in normal mode, it is said to be one of the quietest 7,000 ANSI lumen projectors. Details: Capable of 24/7 operation, the DU6693Z offers 7,000-lumen brightness and WUXGA resolution, making it suitable for large screens in meeting or lecture rooms. It is described by Vivitek as advanced yet affordable, with a compact footprint (500mm x 580mm x 205 mm). For set-up and viewing flexibility, it benefits from a motorised lens and horizontal and vertical shift, a 10-lens position memory for lens shift, as well as eight optional lenses that range from 0.38:1 to 8.26:1 throw ratio. It supports 360º/ portrait projection mode, and enables HDBaseT digital transmission and network control. Fan speed is kept low, thanks to advanced

thermal management technology, meaning that it runs at just 32dB in normal mode. By driving hot air out in a more efficient way, the projector is better protected from excessive heat, and so is likely to perform better in the long term. Thanks to its fully sealed optical engine, tiny dust particles cannot interfere with the DMD chip, improving operation as well as eliminating a cause of brightness loss.

Available: Now

This is the rackmount version of J+P’s 3G Ultra HD over IP PoE transmitter. The 1RU device distributes 4K video with HDR support, and features HDCP 2.2, optional 4K to 1080p scaling at the display location, two-way RS-232 and IP control, and support for all audio formats up to and including Dolby Atmos and DTS:X. The company’s 3G Ultra HD over IP models can be mixed and matched in the same gigabit network to provide a scalable, systems approach to 4K signal distribution.

An update on the company’s most popular model, the Zero Edge, this projection screen comes in three bezel options: Small (13mm), Medium (38mm) or Large (51mm). Hand-built with a 100% aluminium frame, Zero Edge Pro is also available with LED backlighting options, including an IP-controlled solution for integration with Philips Hue Smart Lighting ecosystems. Zero Edge Pro is available in a variety of materials, including SI’s new Black Diamond XL in sizes up to 193cm high, making it the largest optical-layer based ambient-light rejecting screen in the world, according to SI.

TA-80 It’s… a digital miniature wideband wireless plug-on transmitter.

What’s new? It turns any microphone into a digital wireless system, producing the full frequency response and natural sound of any premium wired microphone.

input jack, and is compatible with all ACT-8 Series receivers. It is claimed to have a flat and wide frequency response, ultra-low total harmonic distortion and noise floor, fast transient response, strong anti-interference, and high signal-to-noise ratio. The recent winner of an iF Design Award 2018, it has eight gain levels and is switchable between 12V and 48 V (up to 10 mA current load) to provide phantom power for condenser microphones. Phantom power can be switched off for dynamic microphones. A built-in removable lithium battery enables five to eight hours’ continuous use per charge.

„ Just Add Power VBS-HDIP-747

„ Screen Innovations Zero Edge Pro


Details: The TA-80 has a balanced XLR mic

This compact HDMI correction device resolves common HDMI integration obstacles related to HDCP, EDID, hot plug detection and bandwidth. Units may be paired to compress and decompress 18Gbps video signals and extend via legacy 10.2Gbps cabling, or high equalisation may be applied on the HDMI input for repair of degraded incoming signals. The device also has high input boost to clear up any issues with artifacts on the display, such as lost pixels or flickering. The different operating modes are selected using a small rotary located next to the HDMI connecter.

The TA-80 can be recharged by dropping it into an intelligent MP-80 charger, or by removing the single battery and placing that into the charger. The TA-80 has reverse polarity protection. The TA-80 is compact, lightweight and ruggedly built. The aluminium housing is splashproof and encloses a high-efficiency transmitting antenna. It is said to have excellent isolation of spurious and external noise interference, and its green-backlit LCD display clearly shows operating parameters.

Available: Now

„ B-Tech AV Mounts BT893 Specifically designed for larger, heavy-duty projectors, the BT893 can accommodate models up to 70kg. It can be mounted to ceilings directly or with B-Tech’s 50mm-diameter pole system. It boasts easy adjustment to tilt, yaw and roll, as well as micro-adjustment technology, borrowed from the BT8310 videowall mount, which using handwheels for surer grip and a finer adjustment. The BT893 is available now from stock, with all mounting hardware included.


May 2018

Voice alarm equipment Although the EN54 fire evacuation standard has been in place for some years now, its varied rate of adoption around the world means that the market for EN54-rated voice alarm equipment is still rising. Here are some manufacturers’ offerings for control systems and loudspeakers

4EVAC offers system in a box The Compact 500 Networked VACIE solution from 4EVAC is based on a ‘system in a box’ concept. Each Compact 500 unit, which is wall-mountable, drives two ‘live-stream’ audio channels and one RS485 serial data channel over a redundant ‘global network loop’ and operates a six-channel message player that sends synchronised audio into six local zones of 6 x 100W RMS. Up to 255 units can be networked together, so a single installation can contain over 1,500 speaker lines, cumulated into multiple paging zones within an architecture of 256 priorities. The company says there is no practical limit to the network loop length, but the maximum distance between nodes is 250m if standard Cat5e cable is used.

The redundant token ring network topology provides a communications platform that does not require any form of centralised processing. Each Compact 500 holds a copy of the global system settings on an exchangeable SD card, and can continue working even in the event of total loss of communication. Up to 16 messages can be stored locally in WAV format, and distributed simultaneously for phased evacuation. The status of the audio message storage, and of the messages themselves, are monitored. An integrated fireman’s microphone enables live messages to be transmitted into the evacuation zones.

IP-based PA-VA from Bosch

Available from July, Bosch’s PRAESENSA is an IP-networked PA-VA system. Built on Bosch’s OMNEO architecture, it supports Dante, AES67 and AES70 protocols. It is also compliant with the EN54-16 evacuation standard. With all components in the system networked, PRAESENSA is highly scalable and flexible. The multi-channel amplifier architecture features intelligent power allocation across the amplified output, improving effective power utilisation regardless of the loudspeaker load in each zone. This means that fewer amplifiers are needed, leading to a reduction of up to 50% in

space, energy and back-up battery capacity, according to Bosch, as well as a lower cost of ownership. PRAESENSA offers full sound control in each zone, including background music, and meets speech intelligibility requirements for emergency operation. With full network link redundancy, there is no single point of failure – a key system concept. The system is also said to provide the highest level of data security. Only a few different kinds of devices are needed to create a complete system. The call station has been designed to provide an intuitive interface, with an effective combination of touchscreen and buttons. It offers clear progress guidance and status feedback to provide reassurance for operators.

Space saver from Baldwin Boxall Just 200mm deep, the Baldwin Boxall VIGIL Eclipse4 is especially suited to environments where space is at a premium. It is a standalone wall-mountable PA-VA system that connects to a fire alarm panel for the automatic broadcasting of voice alarm messages. Six monitored messages can be stored. It uses the company’s EVAS routing technology and can include up to four VIGIL3 amplifier modules (up to a total of 2,400W) – a maximum of four dualoutput modules or three single and one reserve. Up to 126 units may be networked together, using copper, multi-mode fibre. In the event of a mains power failure, the unit will continue to function for 24 hours on standby, or 30 minutes of full use. A bolt-on enclosure is available for installations where additional batteries are required.



Frameless speakers from ic audio The DL-Design series of EN54-24-certified ceiling speakers from ic audio is inspired by the look of contemporary LED lights – so they have a completely frameless design. They are said to bring excellent sound quality to background music and voice announcements. They come in powder-coated metal with additional antimoisture coating. (Special RAL and NCS colours can be supplied.) The three models are all rated at 6W, feature a full-range loudspeaker and have a metal firedome. They run at 100V with three selectable power settings (6W, 3W and 1.5W), and feature a WAGO 221 connector, which uses a hinged plate to make a speedy cable connection – a screwdriver is not required.

Protective caps on the spring clamps provide damping against vibration. The DL-SE 06-130/T-EN54 features a 130mm (5.1in) speaker with a frequency range of 80Hz to 20kHz, and peak SPL (at 1W/1m) of 97dB. The DL-SQ 06-130/T-EN54 has a very similar specification, but has a square design, for use in installations where square LED lighting fixtures have been specified. The DL-SE 06-130/T-EN54 (pictured) features a 165mm (6.5in) speaker, with a frequency range of 63Hz to 16kHz and peak SPL of 97dB.

Choice of speaker sizes from RCF Among RCF’s comprehensive range of EN5424-compliant products is the PL series, which comprises five 100V speakers for ceiling/panel mounting or wall mounting. The company states that they are especially suitable for broadcasting alarm messages as well as background music because of their highly intelligible sound reproduction and inbuilt flame and heat resistance – with ceramic

terminal connection boards, steel protection dome, flameproof cabling and a thermal fuse. The PL 82EN (pictured) is a two-way coaxial speaker with an 8in woofer and a 0.75in dome tweeter. The two 6in models are the PL 70EN and the PL 68EN, while the PL 50EN and the plastic-domed PLP 50EN are 5in models. Frequency response for the series is 130Hz to 20kHz, apart from the PLP 50EN, which tops out at 15kHz, and the 70EN, which goes down to 230Hz. Four of the models have selectable power options at 100V: the 82EN can run at 20W, 10W or 5W, while the 68EN and the two 50EN models can run at 6W, 3W or 1.5W. The 68EN can also run at 70V, and the 70EN also has a lowimpedance (8-ohm) option in addition to 100V.

TOA system is flexible and scalable TOA describes its VX-3000 as a cost-effective, robust, reliable and energy-efficient system, which combines all of the important functions for public address and voice alarm in a single unit. The VX-3000 uses modular Class D amplifiers, with a choice of 150W, 300W and 500W output ratings. These can easily be removed or replaced simply by unplugging them; there is no need for specialist tools. Using these low-loss amplifiers in conjunction with modern power supply switching technology makes the system highly energy-efficient. The system is flexible and scalable, so can be used for applications of all sizes, up to 256 remote microphones and 128 audio sources. Other components include a remote microphone, a remote key extension (which adds 10 more buttons to the remote mic), a fireman’s mic, and EN54-compliant high-intelligibility horn speakers. The limited number of components is said to simplify design and installation, save space, reduce cable complexity, and enable rapid system configuration. A compact wallmounted version of the system can either be used as a standalone unit in reception areas and building entrances, or linked to the standard VX-3000 range.


May 2018

New heights During Prolight + Sound, d&b audiotechnik hired out a concert hall to launch its new top-of-the range GSL System, which is designed to send the sound only where it is required. Paddy Baker had a listen


’m generally a little wary of invitations to go off site during tradeshows. The whole point of shows is to have a large number of companies all under one roof; leaving the exhibition centre inevitably takes up a larger chunk of your time, which is generally at a premium. Also, you tend to be held to your host’s timetable when they are organising the transport. (This is especially true for events held on boats.) However, d&b audiotechnik’s invitation to the launch of the GSL loudspeaker system during Prolight + Sound had promised “if you have any interest in electroacoustics, it will be worth it”, so I put such misgivings aside and accepted. Our venue was the Jahrhunderthalle, a concert and convention centre about 10km west of Frankfurt Messe. Dating from the 1960s, this venue has hosted many musical greats over the years, including Louis Armstrong (1965), Jimi Hendrix (1969) and Leonard Cohen (1970). Interestingly, French singer Mireille Mathieu, who first played there in 1968, was due to return in a couple of weeks’ time. Once inside, it became apparent why the trip out of the Messe had been necessary. Not only did the demo occupy most of the auditorium, but also the manufacturer had invited hundreds of guests to the launch. Also, GSL (the name apparently comes from ‘grosse speziale Lautsprecher’– large special speakers) has been created for the largest sound reinforcement applications.

Increased headroom We began with a presentation, by Janko Ranuscak from d&b EAS (education and

application support), about the design of the GSL line array system, which is part of d&b’s SL-Series and sits right at the top of the company’s loudspeaker product range. A key design aim was to increase headroom while also keeping sound immission under control. (Immission, by the way, is a word I have only heard used by d&b – perhaps unsurprisingly as it is the same word in German; as I understand it, it refers to sound that reaches the human ear, particularly sound that is unwanted.) Ranuscak explained that the lowest octaves are the hardest to control, without making the speaker cabinet impractically large. So instead, the line array modules feature cunning geometric design that takes into account acoustic path lengths from port to port and from cone to cone – so that audio signals reinforce at the front of the cabinet and cancel out at the rear. The GSL8 (80º horizontal dispersion) and GSL12 (120º) modules each feature two 14in LF drivers mounted at the front, and two 10in LF drivers at the sides – but the shape of the sound is almost the same as if all four drivers were at the front. The mid-range is handled by a horn with a 10in driver, and there are three HF drivers (with a 1.4in exit and 3.4in voice coil). Each cabinet uses two amplifier channels – one for the front-facing 14in drivers, and one for all the other elements. The result is a loudspeaker that offers accurate directivity control down to 45Hz, and for many applications does not need to be supplemented by a subwoofer. (The series does include two subs, though: the GSL-SUB for flown applications and the GSL-GSUB for groundstacking.)

Configurations The proof of this particular pudding comes in the listening, of course, and the GSL series was demonstrated in a number of configurations: first, a single hang of eight GSL8 and two GSL12; then two such hangs in a left-right configuration; and finally with the addition of 12 GSL-GSUBs, stacked in pairs on the floor with a single outlier on each side. We were encouraged to walk around the auditorium and around the speakers as various styles of music were played. With the mono hang, my chest was vibrating as I stood about 4m in front – but I could stand right behind it comfortably; no sound appeared to be coming from the speakers themselves. During the second part of the demo, I walked around the auditorium and found the coverage to be very even across many tiers of seats. For the final part, with the subs, some guitar music made my scalp tingle when I got as close as I dared to the front of one of the arrays; but approaching from behind, the music didn’t get any louder. All in all, this was a very impressive demonstration. The GSL System’s sound quality was of course excellent, and the way the sound is directed away from where it is not needed – avoiding potential problems with unwanted reflections or transmission to adjoining buildings – is a property that many users will be interested in. The promise in the invitation was right – the demo was certainly worth leaving the Messe for.

Europe’s leading strategy conference for the Digital Signage and Digital out of Home (DooH) industry PRESENTATIONS | PANELS NETWORKING | WORKSHOPS EXHIBITION | AWARDS

4-5 July 2018 Sheraton Airport Frankfurt (Main), Germany Tickets and further information:



May 2018

Chris Austin This technical sales manager shares some of the ideas, tools and techniques that he uses to address his day-to-day working challenges Sound affects… The audience is there to see the performance and to let the actors take them into their world. They haven’t come to listen to a PA, they want to hear the words coming out the mouth of the performer. Different sound designers have different approaches, but I place sonic imaging and naturalness at the top of my priority list when designing.

‘Using online collaborative tools only works if the customer buys into it’

Working all hours Working in busy performance venues means working around their schedules and interrupting them as little as possible, ideally not at all. Our installers all have backgrounds in theatre work, many still do production and touring between installs, so are well accustomed to the unusual hours that many projects dictate. A portion of our work is on new builds or major refurbishments, which means you are then working on a construction site – this takes away any unusual working hours but brings its own challenges. It requires hands-on project management, as the key is being flexible. When you can’t work in one area, knowing what else you can move people on to so as not to waste time is key.

online collaborative tools on very large projects in operating venues, but this approach only works if the customer buys into it. We naturally keep the client involved as we go along; we want to ensure what we are putting in meets their expectations and that we benefit from their in-depth knowledge of their own building and its secrets. If we are working directly with the client, they place the trust in us that we are getting things done as efficiently as possible and we make sure to flag up very early if things look like they are straying from the agreed plan.

Training adds critical value On any system we install, training is always included. This isn’t a half-day whip-round and a lever arch file of drawings, it’s the start of a relationship. As we provide customers with more opportunities through the upgraded technology we install, they find more creative ways to use it, but it’s a gradual process. It’s vital we continue to go back and work with them to achieve their goals, and make a point of empowering them to make their own changes. No password-protected design files here. With so much of what we do now being software defined (open architecture DSP systems or audio networking, for example) rather than hardware defined, the documentation we provide can become rapidly outdated. For these types of projects, we now run ‘living documentation’ which is updated by both the customer and us, usually through Dropbox. This not only means they have access to the most up-to-date docs all the time, it means we can support them remotely by being aware of changes they have made too.

Keeping everyone informed There are dozens of project management and collaboration tools out there now, but if the project scale is modest you can’t beat oldfashioned face-to-face talking. We have used

volume of work (both project work, and the business functions) often outweighs the amount of hands. I keep on top of it by having a very thorough to-do list, so I can record tasks as soon as they enter my head but make a plan for doing them later. I come into the office an hour or so early and take the time to plan out my day. It stops the tendency to get carried away in the first thing that crosses your desk, otherwise before you know it the day is over and you haven’t ticked anything off your list.

Leadership starts with self-discipline Balancing my workload is the most difficult aspect of my job. I’ve always been guilty of taking on too much, but in a small team the

‘On any system we install, training is the start of a relationship’

Email is the killer, there is just far too much of it. Keeping on top of it could be a full-time job in its own right. I try not to keep it open, only checking it a few times a day so I can stay focused on the tasks I have chosen for the day. Finally, I have one secret weapon to increase the signal-to-noise ratio of my inbox: a mail rule to put any email with the word ‘unsubscribe’ in it straight into the bin. [Hang on – what about the Installation newsletter? – Editor] Chris Austin is technical sales manager of Autograph Sales & Installations. AS&I is the sales arm of the Autograph Group, whose work in audio for theatre spans over four decades and is responsible for many of the techniques that are now global industry standards.

Installation May 2018 Digital Edition  

AV integration in a networked world

Installation May 2018 Digital Edition  

AV integration in a networked world