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Liberty For All Statue of Liberty Museum engages, informs and immerses visitors

C O M M E R C I A L

A V

T E C H N O L O G Y

A N D

A P P L I C A T I O N

July 22, 2019  Vol. 65 No. 7

What’s In Store For Retail?

The AV Experience

Digital signage, touchscreens and engagement are helping retail

Inside The Living Retail Lab How a dream becomes a beacon


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Sound & Communications July 2019


A BOLD REVOLUTION OF AN INDUSTRY

STANDARD

July 2019

MEYERSOUND.COM/SAC Sound & Communications 5


CONTENTS Volume 65 Number 7

F E AT U R E S

T E C H N O L O G Y

A N D

A P P L I C A T I O N

42 LIBERTY FOR ALL

Statue of Liberty Museum engages, informs and immerses visitors. By Dan Daley

54 WHAT’S IN STORE FOR RETAIL? THE AV EXPERIENCE Digital signage, touchscreens and engagement are helping retail. By Dan Daley

62 INSIDE THE LIVING RETAIL LAB How a dream becomes a beacon. By Laura Davis-Taylor

COLUMNS 11 NEWSLETTER 24 EDUCATION: TECHNOLOGY

School District Soars With Digital Signage: Large Georgia school district reaches new heights in achievement and communications. By Claudia Kienzle

36 INDUSTRY POV

Branding For AV Integrators: Five surefire ways for AV integrators to build their brand. By Steven Picanza

38 INDUSTRY POV DEPARTMENTS

A V

8 WAVELENGTH By Dan Ferrisi

14 SOUND ADVICE

C O M M E R C I A L

By Peter Mapp, PhD, FASA, FAES

6

18 IOT

By Ken Scaturro

20 HOUSE OF WORSHIP: BUSINESS By David Lee Jr., PhD

30 THE COMMISH

By James Maltese, CTS-D, CTS-I, CQD, CQT

32 WHAT WOULD YOU DO?

By Douglas Kleeger, CTS-D, DMC-E/S, XTP-E, KCD

34 AVIXA POV

By Joseph Valerio

84 AVENT HORIZON By Pete Putman, CTS

Sound & Communications July 2019

Digital Signage And Retail: Growing Customer Engagement: Key aspects of creating an enticing retail experience. By Rob Meiner

40 INDUSTRY POV

IoT Devices And Pro Audio: The next big thing is happening now. By Blake Augsburger

68 MARKET BRIEF 70 NEWS 71 CALENDAR 75 PEOPLE 76 PRODUCTS 78 MEDIA 79 SOFTWARE 79 CENTERSTAGE 82 MARKETPLACE 54


WAVELENGTH Last month’s InfoComm show underscored that our industry is changing faster than any of us could have imagined possible even a few years ago. AV-over-IP is everywhere, as are unified communications and collaboration (UCC) solutions that seek to deliver a streamlined, frictionless experience. In previous editorials, I’ve argued that Sound & Communications must evolve at a pace equaling that of the industry if we are to remain the preeminent source for news and analysis; that need for change extends to our ancillary offerings, as well, including our annual Commercial Systems Integration Survey report. For 34 years, AV integrators, consultants, design engineers, manufacturers and distributors have relied on the Commercial Systems Integration Survey report for unbiased, agenda-free data about the commercial AV industry. The report covers everything from business trends, to uptake rates for new technologies, to vertical-market profitability, to issues related to certification and standards. Over the last several years, however, a conflu-

ence of factors—the blurring of commercial AV, information technology and UCC; the profusion of statistical information from AVIXA, Futuresource Consulting, IHS Markit and many others; and extensive merger and acquisition activity—have made it necessary to change our approach. We believe that doing so will serve you, our readers, even better. So, in lieu of a 12-page Commercial Systems Integration Survey repor t full of pie char ts and bar graphs, we present the Commercial Systems Integration Study, available exclusively at www.sndcom.us/integration-study-2019. We spoke to some of our industr y’s leading lights and asked them about ver ticalmarket specialties, newly embraced technologies, and organizations and associations that ser ve to bolster their business. And, knowing that the study’s greatest strength is its participants’ insights, we asked open-ended questions to allow them to speak at length about important topics. We’ve paired those comments with statistical information we’ve pulled together, as well as additional information about com-

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mercial AV trends and developments. We think you’ll like this online-exclusive package. Speaking of things you’ll like, we’re proud to unveil the first “Education: Dan Ferrisi Technology” feature, entitled “School District Soars With Digital Signage,” beginning on page 22. In my editorial in May, I explained that we’ve chosen to expand our “House of Worship: Technology” feature to include an infinite variety of vertical-market categories, all with the goal of ensuring that you, our readers, get the broadest possible perspective on outstanding applications of AV. And, next month, Associate Editor Anthony Vargas will present the first “Retail: Technology” feature, exploring a video-packed duty-free shopping area at DFW International Airport that’s anything but your typical magazine nook. As the industry—and the world—is changing, so, too, are we.

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CONTRIBUTORS A V F O R S Y S T E M S I N T E G R AT O R S , C O N T R A C T O R S A N D C O N S U LTA N T S

Editor Dan Ferrisi dferrisi@testa.com Associate Editor Anthony Vargas avargas@testa.com Assistant Editor Amanda Mullen amullen@testa.com Contributing Editors Pete Putman, CTS Jim Stokes

Contributors Blake Augsburger Dan Daley Laura Davis-Taylor Claudia Kienzle Douglas Kleeger, CTS-D, DMC-E/S, XTP-E, KCD David Lee Jr., PhD James Maltese, CTS-D, CTS-I, CQD, CQT Peter Mapp, PhD, FASA, FAES Rob Meiner Steven Picanza Pete Putman, CTS Ken Scaturro Joseph Valerio Technical Council Joseph Bocchiaro III, PhD, CStd, CTS-D, CTS-I, ISF-C, The Sextant Group, Inc. Douglas Kleeger, CTS-D, DMC-E/S, XTP-E, KCD David Lee Jr., PhD, Lee Communication Inc. Peter Mapp, PhD, FASA, FAES, Peter Mapp Associates Pete Putman, CTS, ROAM Consulting LLC Art Director Janice Pupelis jpupelis@testa.com Digital Art Director Fred Gumm Production Manager Steve Thorakos Sales Assistant/Ad Traffic Jeannemarie Graziano jgraziano@testa.com Advertising Manager Robert L. Iraggi riraggi@testa.com Classifieds classifiedsales@testa.com Circulation circulation@testa.com Operations Manager Robin Hazan Associate Publisher John Carr jcarr@testa.com President/Publisher Vincent P. Testa Editorial and Sales Office Sound & Communications 25 Willowdale Avenue Port Washington, New York 11050-3779 (516) 767-2500 | FAX: (516) 767-9335 Sound & Communications Sound & Communications Blue Book IT/AV Report The Music & Sound Retailer DJ Times • DJ Expo ConventionTV@NAMM ConventionTV@InfoComm

Blake Augsburger is the Founder and CEO of LEA Professional, a global amplifier company for the pro-audio industry. As a global senior executive, Augsburger has led public companies in senior leadership and board director roles, driving global business expansion and competitive positioning for more than 20 years.

Laura Davis-Taylor is Co-Founder of HighStreet Collective, an innovation consultancy focused on expanding the boundaries of brick and mortar. You can sign up for updates on the Living Retail Lab at www.livingretaillab.com. If you’re interested in having your solution screened for a future sprint sponsorship, contact her at ldt@highstreetx.com.

Claudia Kienzle is a freelance media technology writer who covers the technology and trends that shape the way we communicate today. She has produced thousands of bylined articles for the industry’s top trade journals, and she’s written marketing materials for many of the video industry’s top vendors.

As Peerless-AV’s Kiosk Business Unit Manager, Rob Meiner oversees the company’s kiosk business, ensuring the team meets goals that contribute to the overall success of PeerlessAV. Appointed to this position in 2011, Meiner regularly works closely with sales, customer care, design, manufacturing, purchasing and marketing.

Steven Picanza is an awardwinning global brand strategist and marketer helping business leaders simplify their messaging while creating impactful marketing materials to connect them with their core audience. He runs Latin & Code, a B2B-focused brand and marketing consultancy with his wife, Melissa, while also serving as a strategic advisor with The Agency Guy, Inc.

Joseph Valerio is Program Director for the AVIXA Foundation, the charitable arm of AVIXA. In his role, he oversees all programs and partnerships with schools and allied organizations, scholarships, internships and workforcedevelopment efforts devoted to creating opportunities for tomorrow’s AV professionals.

Dan Daley has covered the confluence of technology, business and culture for almost 30 years. He has also been a successful composer and recording studio owner, and he authored the book Unwritten Rules: Inside the Business of Country Music.

Technical Council member Douglas Kleeger, CTS-D, DMC-E/S, XTP-E, KCD, shares insights gained from more than 35 years’ experience in the AV industry in his “What Would You Do?” column, as well as “Secrets To Success.” He offers a unique perspective on the AV industry and how it affects our lives.

Technical Council member David Lee Jr., PhD, is CEO of Lee Communication Inc., Orlando FL. He is a licensed minister who has more than 25 years’ experience as a systems integrator. He writes the monthly “House of Worship: Business” column. Contact him at dlee@testa.com.

James Maltese, CTS-D, CTS-I, CQD, CQT is the VP of Quality Standards at Level 3 Audio Visual, where he has commissioned thousands of AV systems. He is a board member of the Association for Quality in AV Technology (AQAV). He is a Senior Academy Instructor for AVIXA, and he was Educator of the Year in 2017.

Sound & Communications (ISSN 0038-1845) (USPS 943-140) is published monthly for $25 (US), $35 (Canada & Mexico) and $65 (all other countries), by Sound & Communications Publications, Inc., 25 Willowdale Ave., Port Washington, NY 11050-3779. Periodicals postage paid at Port Washington, NY, and additional mailing offices. Copyright © 2019 SOUND & COMMUNICATIONS PUBLISHING, INC. Reprint of any part of contents without permission is forbidden. Titles Registered in the U.S. Patent Office. POSTMASTER: Send U.S. address changes to Sound & Communications, PO Box 1767, Lowell, MA 01853-1767. Canada Post: Publications Mail Agreement #40612608. Canada Returns to be sent to Bleuchip International, P.O. Box 25542, London, ON N6C 6B2.

July 2019

Sound & Communications

9


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NEWSLETTER GLOBAL COMMERCIAL AV INDUSTRY TO REACH $325 BILLION IN 2024 The global commercial audiovisual industry will grow to more than $325 billion in 2024, from $247 billion this year, according to updated forecasts in the new 2019 AV Industry Outlook and Trends Analysis (IOTA) Global Summary produced by AVIXA (Fairfax VA). Overall, the demand for commercial AV products and services is driven by rising gross domestic product (GDP) across much of the globe because the commercial AV industry provides solutions to nearly all facets of the economy. “Those who have followed AVIXA’s previous forecasts will note the new estimates represent an upward revision,” Sean Wargo, Senior Director of Market Intelligence, AVIXA, remarked. “The hike in the revised forecasts reflects strong economies and demand for new products and services. The growth in commercial AV revenue is actually outpacing expectations for global GDP growth.” For the first time, the new IOTA report includes additional data from distributors and integrators to track the amount of markup over the manufacturer price that is applied by the commercial AV channel. This year, markups are projected to represent an additional $22 billion in revenues globally, before accounting for services revenue. Until the latest report, the Americas had consistently represented the largest commercial AV revenue-producing region. The new forecast shows the Asia-Pacific (APAC) region overtaking the Americas this year. The Americas represent $89 billion in revenue for this year, as compared with $90.6 billion for APAC. The gap swells to more than $15 billion by 2024. APAC’s growth is spurred in part by the region’s demand for security, surveillance and life-safety solutions, which, in turn, fuels growth in the streaming media, storage and distribution (SMSD) product segment. SMSD is forecast to expand at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 10.5 percent in the APAC region from this year through 2024. The commercial AV market in the Americas is projected to continue its growth, although at a slower pace than APAC.

VECTORWORKS ACQUIRING CONNECTCAD Vectorworks, Inc. (Columbia MD), has announced the pending acquisition of connectCAD (Stockport, UK), a systems-design solution geared for the audiovisual industry. Since 2009, connectCAD has been offered as a plugin for Vectorworks software, offering the ability to design broadcast, AV, lighting, IT networks or any other type of connected system. connectCAD ensures that as-built drawings and cable lists exactly match the completed cabling architecture, avoiding expensive or even impossible reworking with other methods. As part of the pending acquisition, connectCAD’s Founder, Managing Director and Programmer for the tools, Conrad Preen, will be committing to a minimum of two years with Vectorworks to continue the development of connectCAD. “Part of the Vectorworks family, connectCAD is poised to enter a new era and will be able to realize its true potential,” Preen said. “We’re looking forward to introducing many new features in the coming years with the expertise of Vectorworks engineers fine-tuning our existing features.” As part of the acquisition, the first priority will be to convert all Vectorscript tools and commands to C++ using Vectorworks SDK, thus enhancing the performance of the connectCAD plugin. Once completed, connectCAD will be offered as an add-on module for Vectorworks Spotlight or Designer in English and German.

PSA ANNOUNCES NEW LEADERSHIP TEAM STRUCTURE PSA (Westminster CO), a consortium of professional systems integrators, has announced a restructuring of the senior management teams within its security and commercial AV divisions. Several current PSA executives and directors have assumed new responsibilities as the company starts its 2020 fiscal year. You could have received this NEWSLETTER information about three weeks ago, with more detail and live links, via email. Go to www.soundandcommunications.com to sign up! July 2019

Sound & Communications 11


NEWSLETTER The changes are as follows: Ric McCullough, President; Tim Brooks, VP of Sales and Vendor Management; Carol Philp, VP of Accounting and Finance; Anthony Berticelli, VP of Operations; Chris Salazar-Mangrum, VP of USAV; and Diana Hanna, National Director of Business Development and Strategic Accounts. Bill Bozeman, PSA’s CEO, unveiled the promotions to the PSA network as part of the company’s strategic growth plan. “The announcements come at a time of sustained, continual growth and success at PSA,” he said. “We are implementing senior management changes allowing us to build the correct leadership, sales and support structures for continued growth and success in the future.” Bozeman will continue to serve as CEO, and Steve King will continue to serve as PSA’s CFO. PSA’s commercial AV division will be directed by Salazar-Mangrum.

LIBERTY AV SOLUTIONS, TELEPORTIVITY ENTER DISTRIBUTION AGREEMENT WESCO (Pittsburgh PA) subsidiary Liberty AV Solutions (Colorado Springs CO) has entered into an agreement with Teleportivity (Sydney, Australia) to be the exclusive US distributor of its cloudbased Software as a Service (SaaS) video-based platform. The platform allows integrators to provide face-to-face technical-support conversations from remote locations. “A large portion of the service calls integrators receive are user-related and require some form of on-site diagnosis,” Ed Jankowski, Liberty AV Solutions, explained. “Rather than deploy a service technician to the location, integrators can use the Teleportivity platform to interact with a customer, provide live support and solve issues from any location around the world.” Teleportivity also uses QR and SmarTag NFC codes that can unlock access for the customer to selfguided resources, including tutorial videos and instructions.

USERFUL SECURES FIRST FUNDING ROUND Userful Corp. (Calgary, Alberta, Canada) has announced that it has closed its first round of funding, led by Accelerate Fund II, managed by Yaletown Partners (Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada) and with support of The A100 (Calgary, Alberta, Canada). The investment in Userful represents the largest single investment by Accelerate Fund II to date. In addition, Userful also announced three new members of its Board of Directors: Karen Willem, John LeMoncheck and David Edmonds. Userful’s Visual Networking Platform enables IT teams to display content from any source, on any screen, at any time, for communication and collaboration enterprise wide, improving an organization’s operating efficiency up to 80 percent, while reducing total cost of ownership (TCO) by 40 percent or more.

PROMARKBRANDS ACQUIRES NADY SYSTEMS Nady Systems (Richmond CA) has announced that it has been acquired by PromarkBRANDS (Chicago IL), a company that manufactures, distributes and markets lines of photo, video and audiovisual equipment. Going forward, Nady will be a division of Promark. The addition of Nady’s line of wireless/ pro-audio gear will complement Promark’s current lineup and expand its reach into this market. In the 1970s, John Nady founded a company, Nasty Cordless, Inc., which developed and patented a companding process for wireless that improved sound quality and range. The name changed to Nady Systems in 1978. The impetus for the sale of Nady at this time is John Nady’s decision to retire after 43 years as President/CEO of the company. His development of modern-day analog wireless microphone technology earned him an Emmy Award in 1996, one of many highlights of his long career. Nady Systems will maintain an office in the San Francisco Bay Area, working in conjunction with the new Chicago-area offices. Until further notice, the company will remain in its current office in Richmond and can be contacted there. COMPILED BY DAN FERRISI 12 Sound & Communications July 2019


Speaker Built in speaker for monitoring audio.

Control Buttons 7 buttons for transport controls, remote and 3D LUT.

LCD Display Shows video, transport controls, audio meters and menus.

Cache Optional media cache for fail safe recording.

Headphone 1/4" audio jack for monitoring audio with headphones.

Transport controls Touchscreen transport controls for easy playback and record.

In and Out Points Set in and out points for performing “tape to tape” style editing.

Audio meters Monitor up to 4 channels using VU or PPM metering.

Playback and Record Select Select which deck you want as a player or a recorder.

Transport controls Traditional broadcast deck transport controls.

Time Display Monitor deck timecode on clear LED display.

Shuttle/Jog Knob Large knob with electronic clutch for jog, shuttle and scrolling recordings.

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SOUND ADVICE

What Do Sine Waves Have To Do With Anything? What happens when real-world signals and digital amplifiers meet. By Peter Mapp, PhD, FASA, FAES

I

guess the title of this month’s column summarizes exactly what I am about to regale you with. A few months ago, I was checking to see if a particular amplifier that a national body wanted to use on a ver y large project actually did what it said it could do. So, I connected it to a test load and monitoring loudspeaker and courteously introduced it to a number of test signals, beginning with a series of sine waves. I should add at this point that the amplifier was a digital, high-impedance unit designed to drive distributed public address and voice alarm (emergency communication) loudspeakers with matching transformers. It was rated at 150W at 100V or 70V output. Given that I reside in Europe, we, of course, employ 100V line amplifiers and distribution, so I conducted my testing on that basis. However, where appropriate, I am also giving the 70V results or equivalent readings. Back to sine waves! The amplifier did exactly what it said it could do and produced 100V or 70V into a 150W load. In fact, it produced 10 percent more than this, yielding 110V (~77V) before distorting unacceptably. This actually appeared to be input-overload distortion, but that’s rather academic; as far as sound-system design is concerned, distortion is distortion, regardless of whether it occurs at the front end or the nether regions of the beast. (Actually, I don’t want to take that metaphor too far, given that, in real life, the distortion from the front and rear of a beast (amplifier?) can be 14 Sound & Communications July 2019

Figure 1: Typical speech announcement, shown with “fast” and “slow” time weightings.

Figure 2: Typical speech announcement signal from an amplifier output or loudspeaker input perspective.

rather different in character, if you get my drift!) Now, a nice thing about a sine wave is that it is ver y easy to tell when it is being distorted—visually, aurally and electronically. Furthermore, its crest factor is well known so that the peak signal associated with 100V RMS is 141V (or +3dB); meanwhile, at 70V RMS (OK, 70.7V), it is 100V. Furthermore, at 110V RMS (the max output), the peak is 155V. Indeed, these are effectively the numbers I obtained using a peak reading voltmeter. Great…so what’s the problem? (There has to be one, after all, as I am only a third of the way through this piece!) To come to grips with this, we have

to consider three things. First is the misconception that 100V and 70V PA amplifiers actually normally operate at 70V or 100V. Second are the dynamics of a speech signal. Third is the protection that is often applied to digital PA amplifiers. Let’s begin with the common 100V/70V operating misconception. Many in the industr y seem to think that these are the nominal or average operating voltages; in fact, they are not. They are effectively the maximum operating audio voltages that the amplifier can provide. (And do not forget that it is the voltage, not the power, that drives a loudspeaker.) To put this into perspective, take a look at Figure 1. It is the voltage–time histor y of a


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PA speech announcement voltage signal, though measured in decibels. I measured it using two different time constants, equivalent to the “slow” and “fast” weightings as found on a soundlevel meter and shown by the left and right halves of the screenshot, respectively. (The “fast” values are around 3dB to 4dB higher than the “slow” ones.) In Figure 2, I have superimposed the associated potential voltages, assuming an average operating level of 100V or 70V.

As the figure shows, in order to notionally accommodate the speech signal, the amplifier would have to generate 200V if operating on a 100V line system (LHS scale) or 140V if operating on a 70V line system (RHS scale). Now, back in analog times, many power amplifiers could generate more than 100V or 70V, and, so, often, they didn’t distort the signal too badly—at least, assuming they were not overloaded from the start. However, digital am-

Figure 3(a): Comparison of sine-wave and pink-noise input signals.

Figure 3(b): Amplifier output with pink-noise signal.

16 Sound & Communications July 2019

plifiers grossly distort when overdriven, and, so, manufacturers add in limiting to stop that from happening. As far as a 70V or 100V sine wave is concerned, all is fine, given that the amplifier is designed to produce those signals. However, if you apply a real-world signal, such as speech (admittedly, it’s a novel idea to apply a real signal like the kind the amplifier will have to deal with in practice), most digital amplifiers will limit the signal to prevent objectionable distortion from occurring. When I applied a speech signal to the amplifier I was testing, all I could get out was around 50V (or 35V, when operating at 70V). That’s only half of the rated output voltage. Now, speech is a difficult signal to measure, and, so, the results don’t quite form a smooth cur ve. For that reason, I also measured the output using a pink noise and speech-shaped pink-noise signal. The maximum output that I could get out of the amplifier when using pink noise was effectively half of what I was ostensibly expecting, with the amplifier limiting at 49V for the 100V output and at 34V on the 70V output. Figure 3(a) compares the results obtained when operating the amplifier with sine-wave and pink-noise signals that had exactly the same input levels. As can be seen, the sine-wave signal generates the expected 100V/70V output, but the pink noise does not. Figure 3(b) shows the output in more detail with both 100V and 70V scales. With a speech-like modulated signal (STIPA), although I could get a couple of volts more output, distortion set in. This can be seen in the falling speech transmission index (STI) values, as shown by the orange cur ve in Figure 4. In fact, the STI started to drop at about 40V output (equivalent to around 28V for 70V line). So, why aren’t these amplifiers producing the output I might have been expecting? Well, part of the answer is the energy in, and the dynamics of, the signals. Speech can have a crest factor of up to 20dB, although there is


Figure 4: Amplifier output with STIPA signal.

virtually no energy in the majority of the transient peaks. To accommodate speech, without audibly clipping the signal, peaks or maxima 10dB to 12dB above the average (or RMS) level must be allowed for. That is a lot of head-

room, but it’s needed. (I will discuss this in more detail another time.) Pink noise typically has a crest factor of 12dB to 14dB, although, again, there is little or virtually no energy in the peaks. Manufacturers must allow some

headroom protection in their designs; however, there is no consensus as to how that should be done. For example, I have measured various 100V amplifiers where the protection cut in at 32V, 50V, 70V and nearly 100V. Only being able to obtain 32V when you are expecting nearly 100V comes as quite a shock, and it explains why a PA system using that amplifier could not generate the SPLs required. So, be warned: Just because an amplifier says it will generate 70V or 100V does not necessarily mean it can do so in the real world. As we have seen, real signals and sine waves are ver y different. A sine wave only has a crest factor of 3dB. This, therefore, can sneak in and not trigger the protective circuits that speech, pink noise and STIPA signals do. So, maybe it’s time that we also started to test amplifiers with real signals and leave the sine waves in the lab, where they are more at home!


IoT

Could Your MSP Be Your New BFF? Managed services has emerged as one of the top trends of the year.

By Ken Scaturro Yorktel

B

etween digital transformation, the future of work and the next-gen workplace, communications and collaboration technology is evolving so quickly that for ward-thinking organizations are struggling to keep up. As internal IT teams become consumed with managing these new initiatives, the value of outsourcing the associated responsibilities to managed-ser vices experts has become one of the top trends of the year. Cloud computing, the need for enhanced security, growing network complexity (or hyperconvergence), supporting seamless AV within a chosen platform and the demand for quantifiable data are some of the primar y drivers that are inspiring partnerships with managed ser vice providers (MSPs) that can demonstrate proven expertise in these areas. According to a recent report from MarketsandMarkets, Managed Services Market, “The managed-ser vices market is expected to grow from $180.5 billion in 2018 to $282 billion by 2023, at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 9.3 percent during the forecast period. The major factors driving the managedser vices market include the increasing dependence of organizations on IT assets to boost their business productivity and the need for specialized managed ser vice providers….”1 Security is perhaps the primar y driver of the dramatic anticipated growth in the managed-ser vices market, thanks to sweeping changes across the communications and collaboration landscape. Although many businesses prefer not to outsource control over private data and infrastructure, the fear and potential devastation of network vulnerabilities 18 Sound & Communications July 2019

seamless AV hyperconvergence critical security MANAGED SERVICE PROVIDER quantifiable data

real-time analytics cloud computing

supersede concerns about control. For example, initiatives such as cloud computing, which can create enormous savings for organizations by eliminating their hardware infrastructure, also create openings for cyber invasions that target the organization’s private data. This common scenario presents an opportunity for businesses to engage with MSPs that offer expertise in maximizing the security that will best protect organizations’ private assets in a cloud arrangement, blending both efficiency and effectiveness. As companies decide to adopt the new and exciting technologies that are driving how, when and where we work, these choices have a significant impact on internal infrastructure. Businesses are gravitating toward hyperconvergence, which is “an IT framework that combines storage, computing and networking into a single system to reduce data-center complexity and increase scalability. [Gartner predicts] as much as 20 percent of business-critical applications currently deployed on three-tier IT infrastructure will transition to hyperconverged infrastructure by 2020.”2 A hyperconverged infrastructure has terrific appeal in its goal of consolidating IT tiers into a single system, but, in light of the multitude of factors around integrating audio, video, voice and data solutions, to get there involves tremendous complexity. MSPs generally have specific expertise in this area, and they can supply the guidance to get businesses from here to there. This spares internal IT teams the time hit caused by these ver y complex undertakings (which, in addition, might be beyond the internal team’s specific skill set). Security, as always, remains a top concern; that is another aspect that MSPs can oversee during these transitions, helping protect against potential vulnerabilities and breaches. Measurement and data analytics also play a significant role in new-technology adoption, and many businesses are demanding real-time evaluations of their progress toward the aforementioned trends: digital transformation, the future of work and the next-gen workplace. The data quantification behind these initiatives is critical for businesses that want to have granular insights into their progress and determine how to shift strategies or investments. MSPs can mine the quantitative analytics and real-time measurement of specific data, and they can report outcomes in measurable terms. This analysis can reveal how well a company’s selected technology, application, process or initiative is performing, and it can arm decision-makers with the information required to make strategic and tactical evaluations. As businesses realize the potential benefits of cloud computing, hyperconvergence, real-time analytics and the critical security that must wrap around all those technologies, it is no wonder that managed ser vices has emerged as one of the top trends of the year; what’s more, it’s projected to grow exponentially in the coming years. If you are considering implementing any communication or collaboration initiatives—or if you already have one under way—consider bringing in an MSP. They might just become your new BFF. Endnotes 1 Retrieved from www.marketsandmarkets.com/pressreleases/managed-ser vices.asp. 2 Retrieved from www.networkworld.com/article/3207567/what-is-hyperconvergence.html.


HOUSE OF WORSHIP: BUSINESS

Design And Integration One-stop shops…and include the kitchen sink! By David Lee Jr., PhD Lee Communication Inc.

D

o any of you recall the era in which our primar y task was to evaluate the worship space in a house of worship (HoW) and then specify a suitable sound-reinforcement system? Designing and installing sound systems was our primar y focus. During that era, HoW leaders contacted sound-reinforcement companies to address their sound needs. They contacted lighting companies to address their lighting needs. And, when the use of video projection began to emerge, HoW leaders contacted companies that specialized in video projection. Finally, when videoproduction equipment began to be used in HoWs, leaders contacted companies that specialized in video-production gear. AV integrators were often hired to install all this equipment. And, if and when the gear experienced problems, the dealers, designers and manufacturers often blamed the AV integrator. Naturally, the worship leaders became frustrated with the finger-pointing and with the unwillingness to step up to solve the issue. This year, I’ve met with hundreds of HoW leaders from more than 30 nations, and they told me they no longer compartmentalize technologies. Instead, these leaders perceive sound, lights, video projection, video displays, video production, security and IT as comprising one holistic system. That holistic system is used to accomplish the overarching goal of sharing the faith in ways that the congregants desire. These worship leaders no longer want to wrangle numerous companies; rather, they’d prefer to hire one company that can design, specify and 20 Sound & Communications July 2019

I was told that the leadership also wanted to be able to monitor the flow of water throughout the campus, as well as being able to turn off water should a faucet be left running in a bathroom.

integrate all their systems—plus, as needed, repair them. At first glance, that seems like an amazing direction for our industr y. I believe that many of us can handle the audio, video and IT needs for most worship-related jobs. But, as I begin to think a bit more deeply about the future, I am concerned. Those concerns relate to the following areas: (a) demands of large and mega-sized HoWs are growing; (b) having multiple experts under one roof is a ver y costly proposition; and (c) large, one-stop shops that have vast expertise could end up putting smaller shops out of business. Admittedly, items (b) and (c) are my own suppositions. Time will tell if those suppositions are accurate. But I believe I can demonstrate that many leaders today are demanding a level of expertise from one shop that might or might not be reasonable. The question, then, is how to respond to those demands in order to win the job. What follows is a brief look at a mega-church with which I am familiar. I’m also familiar with the groups with which the church worked to build its new campus. The new facilities sit on 90-plus acres of land and contain multiple worship, social and learning spaces. The main worship space seats 3,500 people; the youth worship space seats 1,500 people; the worship space for children is actually two worship spaces that each seat 300; and the nurser y holds 200 babies. The lobby is so large that, often, it’s used to host large banquets and social events. The campus also has a wedding/funeral chapel that seats 300 people. Attached to the youth worship space is a large, two-floor area in which teenagers play video games, basketball or ping-pong, and where they can skateboard, listen to live music, search the internet, purchase food and just hang out. The campus hosts a K-12 school of more than 1,500 students. There’s also an outdoor display that can play video clips and present information about upcoming events. Plus, there is an outdoor football field, baseball field and soccer field used by the school. The leadership wanted lights, sound, video projection, video production, security cameras and IT in ever y one of those spaces. They also wanted the media created in


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HOUSE OF WORSHIP: BUSINESS

any one of those areas to be able to be recorded and bused to any of the other locations (venues, classrooms, lobby, etc.) throughout the campus—and to a livestream, if desired. The leadership also wanted a state-of-the-art security system for the entire campus. That included a security check-in/check-out system for the youth facility and the

gaming area, along with a secure checkin/check-out system for the nurser y and preschool kids’ areas. Security systems were also to be implemented for the K-12 school. In addition, the leadership wanted to be able to monitor and turn on or off ever y light on campus. That included having the ability to program specific

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22 Sound & Communications July 2019

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times when the lights and air-conditioning of any venue (ever y room, including bathrooms, classrooms, etc.) could be turned on or off. I was told that the leadership also wanted to be able to monitor the flow of water throughout the campus, as well as being able to turn off the water should a faucet be left running in a bathroom. I applaud the for ward-looking perspective of these worship leaders and their desire to be energy efficient and purchase high-end media gear. I would have been thrilled to tackle this job! Early on, however, I wondered whether one company, within tight budgetar y constraints, could meet all those requests, including taking full responsibility for any subcontractors brought on. One of the largest production companies in the US—one with deep pockets—was hired to do the work. Yet, after a few months, the company realized the scope was beyond its abilities and negotiated a way out of the contract. Then, a second group was hired under the agreement that it would only address the media needs throughout the campus. It did a good job. Many of you are experts and can handle the scale of most any project that involves media technologies. However, I don’t know anyone in our industr y who can specify and design systems that can turn off a running faucet. That said, I believe one-stop shops will soon become the norm in our industr y. We will not often be asked to design a system that will turn off a sink, but the uses of media gear by content creators are certainly becoming more creative and sophisticated. This requires us to broaden our knowledge base in order to address our clients’ expanding needs and desires. I believe that, by forging fluid relationships with those who are experts in areas in which we lack knowledge, we can broaden our knowledge base so we can seamlessly function as a powerful one-stop shop that leaders will hire to address their media needs. That’s what I believe. Tell me what you believe.


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EDUCATION: TECHNOLOGY

School District Soars With Digital Signage Large Georgia school district reaches new heights in achievement and communications. By Claudia Kienzle

Inside classrooms and elsewhere, digital signage is used to publish student achievements and other authentic evidence of learning.

Digital signage keeps visitors, faculty and students very clearly informed of events and happenings that were often challenging to communicate via traditional means.

24 Sound & Communications July 2019

Higher-education institutions have embraced digital signage to a point where it resembles a catchall medium. From wayfinding and interactive directories, to student and faculty communications, digital signage is clearly the most effective way to disseminate meaningful information that covers all the bases. K-12 school districts have also found digital signage effective for a more focused set of needs. Specifically, schools have embraced digital signage as a centralized, district-wide communications and safety tool to inform, educate and engage ever yone roaming the halls. And, as the technology continues to evolve and mature, users such as Hall County School District, located outside Atlanta GA, are unlocking new ways to leverage the technology. “Digital signage provides opportunities for school districts to move beyond simple information messaging,” Dr. Aaron Turpin, Assistant Superintendent of Technology, Hall County School District, said. “With our recent upgrade, we are making a push to have student achievement infiltrate the instructional environment.” Based in Gainesville GA, Hall County School District covers 10 adjacent communities with 20 elementar y schools, seven middle schools and seven high schools, as well as two academies and an alternative learning center. The district has long been a propo-


EDUCATION: TECHNOLOGY

Social-media integration has been one way for Hall County School District to keep digital signage content fresh and relevant.

nent of digital signage, boasting several disparate systems used across various schools. The architecture called for local school staff to manage multiple screens; often, support was required due to a lack of user friendliness. “Our challenges quickly escalated with the user and management experience, and keeping content fresh and relevant,” Turpin admitted. “The content-uploading tasks at each school were putting a burden on local staff. There were also stability problems with some of the systems, and [there was] a lack of professional resolution in presentation with others. Essentially, there was nothing consistent about the operation, and the burden on our support resources grew.” Turpin began to have discussions with the team at Nisewonger AV, an Atlantaarea AV integration firm that has long

The presence of network drops at many locations limited integration labor to connecting Cat6 patch cables to the drops, and HDMI cables to the displays.

School spirit has grown stronger at schools with the presence of digital signage. The school district even expects to extend the network to support booster clubs and sports events. 26 Sound & Communications July 2019


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EDUCATION: TECHNOLOGY

The new system has proven to have a manageable learning curve, with grade-level teachers often posting their own content.

Digital signage powers a dynamic visual presence at Hall County Schools’ Instructional Support Center.

specified and installed audiovisual systems at Hall County School District. Beyond digital signage, the company is in the midst of installing new AV collaboration systems in select Hall County schools. Those systems include collaborative workstations utilizing Solstice wireless collaboration systems, Cloud Electronics presentation systems with zoned audio control, Epson projection systems and Clear Touch interactive panels. Other manufacturers in the AV design include Tannoy for ceiling speakers, C2G for cabling and control, and LG Electronics for displays. “I’ve been a superintendent for tech28 Sound & Communications July 2019

nology over my years as an educator, beginning as a teacher and then a principal at several schools,” Turpin stated. “With digital signage specifically, what I really wanted was a singular system that would limit support constraints for my engineers. I also wanted to give our teachers a way to visually and accurately depict work samples that demonstrate student exemplars.”

Digital Transformation Adam Yates has watched Nisewonger AV transform into a full-ser vice AV integrator over the past five years. The timing couldn’t have been better given

the enormous business opportunities in the commercial AV universe. The company’s Founder, Jim Nisewonger, and its current President and CEO, Randy Nisewonger, have spent their careers making Nisewonger AV a trusted name in the Georgia education market. “We just celebrated our 50th year in business, and 2018 was our strongest year in a decade,” Yates, a CTScertified Project Sales Engineer with the company, enthused. “Over the past five years, technology has changed and progressed at a rapid rate. The K-12 market is particularly exciting given that many are just beginning to move away from legacy systems that simply don’t perform as needed in today’s education environment.” Digital signage has been a particularly lucrative segment for the company, as increasing numbers of schools seek ways to communicate and market more effectively. “School districts want to market themselves and showcase their student achievements, both in visual presentation and through social-media feeds,” Yates explained. “They also want to provide information to parents, students and faculty—from general information, to events happening in the district and around the county.” He added, “That is exactly what Hall County wanted to do, but they needed a more effective digital signage system to accomplish their goals.”

Trust Established Nisewonger AV’s track record with Hall County dates back to 2010, when the company began to update classrooms with cabling, wallplates, displays and audio systems. With that trust established, Turpin looked to Yates to recommend a digital signage solution that would meet all his goals, while also offering a manageable learning cur ve for his staff district-wide. Yates’ choice was to transition the entire school to a Visix AxisTV digital signage software solution, spanning from the content management system (CMS) through to the media players at each display. The rollout began in mid-2018 across two phases, with “about 200”


locations live for the star t of the 2018-19 school year. “They piloted some sites earlier in the year, and then we started to deploy the Visix network in three renovated schools over the summer: Cherokee Bluff Middle/High School, Flower y Branch High School and Davis Middle School,” Yates revealed. “As we had modernized the cabling and infrastructure in all these schools, we quickly installed displays in the front offices, front hallways, cafeterias and media centers, as well as in other strategic areas…. We installed more than 30 professional 55-inch LG LED displays in Cherokee Bluff alone. This gives you an idea of the expansive nature of the network once fully deployed.” The Nisewonger team installed custom flat-tilt mounts from Crimson AV with each new landscape LG display. “They are fairly basic, but [they] work ver y well on cinder-block and dr ywall surfaces,” Yates affirmed. “They are extremely flexible and perfect for education environments.” Existing LG displays were used in most of the remaining schools; mainly, they required that old players be swapped out and replaced with new Visix digital signage players. With network drops in place at most locations, integration labor was mainly limited to connecting Cat6 patch cables to the drops and HDMI cables to the displays. “Technically, most of these schools were running an IPTV system that carried their digital signage,” Yates remarked. “The network connection and power were already in place at the displays. The district provided us with static IP addresses, and we programmed all the Visix players with IP addresses, domain names and other configurations to ensure network and player security. That provides added value for the district, as they can more easily maintain and monitor the complete network.” Yates emphasized that he recommended this particular solution because it’s a true enterprise-level system. He noted its benefits with regard to network growth and user friendliness. “There are a number of digital

signage systems out there that market themselves as enterprise-level, when, in reality, they fall short,” he opined. “From an integrator’s perspective, the simple scalability of the AxisTV architecture makes it easy to add more screens quickly, without high costs or extensive labor. From an end-user perspective, there are just a ton of options as to how you can use the system.” For Hall County School District, that included extensive user-defined control.

With it, a broad array of users can have various levels of access to the network. “A good example,” Yates began, “would be if a cafeteria manager wanted to publish menus on their digital boards. They can set it up in a way that the cafeteria manager can only see his or her displays, and [can] only post content to those displays. Someone in the front office might only be able to post a message to that local screen, whereas (continued on page 80)

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Sound & Communications 29


THE THECOMMISH COMMISH In the AV industry, the end users are typically represented by two separate, yet equally important, groups: the designers, who specify the systems, and the integrators who install them. My company acts as a third party to commission these systems. These are our stories.

Manufacturers’ Specifications Show me! By James Maltese, CTS-D, CTS-I, CQD, CQT Level 3 Audio Visual AV9000 Checklist Items Under Test: 3.3.1: The sound system(s) will be “loud enough.” 3.4.12: The control system can span the required number of networks if there are two (or more). Reasoning: I’ll be the first to admit that I can be skeptical when it comes to manufacturers’ specifications. All too often, the marketing department sneaks in there to muddle an other wise-accurate reporting of what devices can do. Sometimes, they just plain get creative with their wording. As they say, “If something sounds too good to be true, it probably is”…unless you have an opportunity to test it for yourself. As they also say, “Seeing is believing.” There were a few devices shown at InfoComm that made me do a double take. They also sparked excitement in me about being part of this incredible industr y, as well as about what magical engineering can accomplish. The Stor y: My daughter, Iris, has been known to spin a wild tale or two, and it’s usually ver y obvious when she is being “imaginative” versus when she’s telling us something that really happened. The other day, she came up with a whopper! Iris and her friend were playing in the backyard. Her friend apparently got “an urge,” dug a hole, dropped trou, took care of business, covered up the business in the hole with the misplaced dirt and continued playing. In my head, I was thinking, “Man! I have the most creative daughter in the world! Where does she come up with this stuf f?!” That’s when I looked at my son, Lucas, who always tells the truth. He was laughing his head off, squealing, “She did! She did! It was so funny!” This couldn’t possibly be true, could 30 Sound & Communications July 2019

it? I asked them to show me, because I just couldn’t believe it. Sure enough, there was some raised dirt in the backyard by the shed. (I didn’t investigate any further than that.) I was flabbergasted. Naturally, this got me thinking about reviewing AV system designs. AV designers rely on equipment specification sheets to confirm that the designed system will be able to perform as expected. However, sometimes, the spec sheets are just silly. Audio cables that have “voicing” to match that of the loudspeakers to which they connect, or that change the shape of the flow of electrons within the cable for a more authentic sound, are perfect examples of lofty specsheet claims. I was convinced that two devices shown at InfoComm employed such “creativity” in their specifications. The first was a PoE amplifier that claimed to be able to drive four channels of amplification with 50W/channel into 4Ω…off a 30W PoE+ port. [raises hand] “Uh, excuse me…. Math was never my strong suit, but how can you drive 200W of loudspeakers of f a 30W power supply?!” Amplifier efficiency will only get you so far. They explained that they have a batter y (bank of capacitors) in the amplifier that stores energy. During normal operation for speech, the amplifier can drive the signal easily enough because of the somewhat-limited frequency bandwidth required. When music is played, the amplifier can tap its power reser ves to supply the additional power. I still wasn’t convinced. And then, I heard it. True, they might have used ver y efficient loudspeakers in the demo; however, that amplifier made the room rock off the power provided only from a PoE+ port. Magic! The second device was in the wireless-presentation-products range. The bane of wireless-presentation devices is coordinating the wireless networks users must access to show their screens. So, when a manufacturer claimed that its device creates a peer-to-peer (P2P) connection that won’t interrupt or require a primar y Wi-Fi connection, I thought those guys were smoking something. They claimed partnerships with Intel and Microsoft, along with years of research. Blah, blah, blah! It didn’t make any sense. But then, the manufacturer set up the demo. My laptop was connected to its normal company Wi-Fi. The manufacturer’s device was connected to the display via HDMI only, and nowhere near the network. And it worked! I was presenting wirelessly on the screen, and I still had access to the internet and all my files. The salesman, who had no Wi-Fi credentials, was also able to present wirelessly. The special sauce is the fact that Wi-Fi-direct (for Miracast from Windows computers) can establish a P2P connection at the same time as Wi-Fi. So many obstacles are avoided. Magic! These types of innovations get me really excited to be in the AV industr y. The engineering is sound and legit. It is simply using well-known principles in a novel way to make people’s lives easier (that is, to improve the user experience). Arthur C. Clarke said, “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.” Granted, these two products are just the work products of some really smart engineers, but they inspired the same sense of awe as “magic acts” did when I was a kid—or when my daughter’s friend randomly buries her own “magic act” in my backyard. Ta-da!


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WHAT WOULD YOU DO?

Bidding On Large Projects

Here are some tips!

By Douglas Kleeger, CTS-D, DMC-E/S, XTP-E, KCD

W

ith the economy continuing to rise, so, too, is the number of construction projects. That means more architects are designing spaces, more consultants are designing systems and more contractors (electrical, in our case) are receiving projects that require a bid. Of course, this trickles down to audiovisual integrators, too. Many of the projects out there are quite large; in many, the audiovisual portions alone are in the millions of dollars. These projects are sent out for bid to large contractors, and we must partner with them if we want to bid. It could be a 40-stor y building, for example. The electrical contractor is aware of the audiovisual aspects of the bid documents, and the contractor knows it doesn’t have the expertise to provide those systems and ser vices. Typically, the contractor reaches out to AV integrators with which they’ve partnered before and wants the integrator to work as a subcontractor (in the event the contractor wins the bid). In fact, I can recall a few times when an integrator I was working for was asked to bid on the audiovisual portion of a university by three dif ferent electrical contractors! Of course, an instance like that can almost assure you of getting the project, right? Wrong! Developing relationships with large electrical contractors is key to winning these large projects. Relationships are critical because you might not be the only audiovisual integrator that the contractor asked to provide a bid! Take your contact out to a ballgame or to dinner. Develop the relationship so that, 32 Sound & Communications July 2019

when it comes time to choose one of the bidders, the decision-maker chooses you! Trust me when I say there is more to this than just the numbers. People prefer to work with people they like! Working on these large projects requires a good amount of effort on our part. First and foremost, you must meet the deadline that the electrical contractor has given you; after all, the contractor has to prepare the bid documents being submitted. Remember that we are only a small portion of the project. Although it’s a big deal to win a few-million-dollar bid, the contractor’s overall bid could be $50 million or more! It’s also imperative that you read and understand all the submission documents. Often, there are many unique aspects that must be followed. A scope of work is often necessar y, and, with regard to brands, there are often no substitutions for certain systems. Note that and don’t change the brand! Pricing can be a variable aspect. A contractor might request line-itemized pricing or might request just an overall number. Another approach is pricing divided by space and/or building. When bidding on a university with 10 buildings, the requirement might be to break out your audiovisual numbers by building; for other bids, the breakout might be by system. If you are one of a few audiovisual integrators submitting a bid and you miss those instructions, one of the other bidders is likely to be chosen instead. You don’t want that! Another way to lose a bid with a large electrical contractor is if the contractor misses the deadline and/or decides not to bid. That’s right—you could spend 80 hours preparing your bid, do ever ything right and meet your deadline, only for the electrical contractor to decide at the last minute not to bid. That’s why I say relationships are so important. Tr y to know the electrical contractor you are bidding to and its reputation. (Disappointments like this have happened to me, and they were heartbreaking. All that effort, all ultimately for naught!) Another important piece of advice is just to be careful. If you’re asked to do 10 things for the bid and you only get eight right, that’s a sign you would not be a good partner to do the audiovisual aspects for the electrical contractor. After all, for projects at this level, there could be hundreds of spaces and thousands of pieces of equipment. If you start out not getting just 10 things right…well…you get the picture! I also have tips that relate to engineers like us—in particular, the stresses that we


face. To start, let’s talk about deadlines. Oftentimes, these projects have been in the hands of others for a while, and, by the time we get them, there’s a time crunch. There might be a mandator y walkthrough in two days, or maybe the requests for information (RFIs) are due the day after you received the bid documents, or, worse yet, maybe the RFI date has passed and all you have are others’ answered RFIs! Well, those are small potatoes compared to, say, having a week to go through the entire project and provide line-itemized pricing for 15 types of spaces and rooms…even though there’s not enough information to do it. How do you do that?! I can say that I’ve developed a system that I use for this very issue, given that it happens more often than I would like. I’ll share my system with you. Step One: You must compare the drawings with the specifications (typically, division 27), identify each space that has an audiovisual requirement and create a list. You must also identify quantities of identical rooms. Step Two: Whether using a spreadsheet or D-Tools, create a tab or location for the spaces/rooms. Then, get started designing/entering in the equipment. I always start with the largest, most complicated systems first. That’s because, when your time runs out, if you have anything undone that you’ll need to estimate, you’ll want it to be one of the simpler systems—for example, signage, which might require only a display, signage player, surge protection, mount and wall box. Step Three: This is by far my most important tip for providing a complete, accurate bid when you have a time crunch and don’t have all the information you’d like. I call it “The 80/20 Rule.” My starting point is only to complete each space’s design to 80 percent, working from more complicated to less complicated, in the hope that I can complete every space’s design to 80 percent; then, if there’s enough time at the end, I’ll go back and, starting from the most compli-

cated, fill in the remaining 20 percent. In a perfect world, you would have time to sketch out all the ins and outs, and you’d have a full count of everything you need. Take, for example, a DSP frame that needs cards. Ideally, you’d be able to identify each card by type, submit to the manufacturer for a quote and get a real number. The reality is, you’ll probably have to make an estimate of cards for inputs and cards for outputs and just move on! I’ve been doing this for some time now. I’ve learned that, when I estimate, sometimes I’m a little low and sometimes I’m a little high, but, at the end of the day, they balance out and the bid is quite accurate. Why? Because I’ve done at least 80 percent everSquare ything! ad for Platinum Toolsof1/3 Let’s say you don’t use this tech-

nique, you become bogged down on a complicated system and you lose a day. At submission time, you’ve done nothing on some of the spaces and their systems! That’s when you end up guessing instead of estimating! The 80/20 Rule is key. Offer some of your expertise for every space’s system, and then, when done, go back and complete the design to 95 percent. Most importantly, even if you never get anywhere past 80 percent, it’s a lot easier to estimate some of the remaining system components off what you have than to look at completely blank tabs or locations that you never even got to. Eighty percent of everything is better than 100 percent of one thing! Please write in and let me know your experiences. Send me your thoughts at S&Comm (Size: 4.75”x 4.875”) dkleeger@testa.com.

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Residential Sound & Communications 33


AVIXA POV

The Quest For Tomorrow’s AV Workforce

By Joseph Valerio AVIXA

The AVIXA Foundation is making big strides in developing new AV professionals.

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t AVIXA, we hear time and again that a top concern for AV companies is the need for more talent that is qualified. This need is driven by the fact that our industr y is flourishing, and the opportunity for work has increased as a result. Employers can’t find enough qualified employees to meet the current level of demand. On the other side of the equation, many young people aren’t even aware of AV as a career option. To correct this imbalance, the AVIXA Foundation is working to raise awareness of AV careers among pools of potential future employees. Most students already have many of the skills required to get started in an AV career. The next step is simply to enhance what they already know through some specific industr y training and certification. For instance, someone is already in a strong position to enter this industr y if he or she runs the audio board at his or her house of worship, makes music or videos with friends, or manages the sound and lighting in his or her school’s theater. Potential employees like these simply have to professionalize their passions. Many young people are already doing AV; they just don’t realize it. The AVIXA Foundation is working to build a clear, appealing career path for students to join the AV workforce. We’re doing this by providing AV curriculum and resources to high schools, 34 Sound & Communications July 2019

vocational/technical schools, community colleges, universities and other education programs. Many of our education partnerships begin with introductions by AVIXA members. For example, an AV company in northern California did digital signage work for local community colleges and technical schools. The AV firm’s Owner knew California was ramping up its school-to-career programs, so he saw value in bringing more AV-skills training to the region. After conversations with state representatives, we knew that a formal AV-education program would benefit California’s schools substantially. We knew there were myriad ways we could help students in California, one of the biggest markets for AV jobs in the US, make AV their career choice. The first step was to show educators in the San Francisco Bay Area the viability of building AV-career pathways from their classrooms. The fundamental skills required to work in AV overlap with countless existing study areas in schools, including audio recording and acoustics, theater and lighting, engineering, hospitality, digital media and network security. In 2016, we hosted several groups of teachers and leaders from community organizations in northern California and around the US at our InfoComm trade show. The evidence of how exciting and expansive our industr y really is hit home with them. Supporting market data also made a compelling case as regards the number of jobs available at our top AV companies. Once instructors and administrators saw how AV skills translate to opening doors for students, they were committed to bringing AV coursework into their classrooms. The first large-scale education partnership began in the Bay Area with Laney College in 2016, when the college was looking to grow its media-arts program. Nearby City College of San Francisco also had its sights on expanding its parallel audioproduction and recording program. AVIXA worked with both schools to outline how an AV curriculum best could fit into a dual program. Today, the colleges’ students can receive credits toward graduation for classes based on AVIXA’s Essentials of AV Technology, installation coursework and CTS exam preparation. And, the courses are taught by CTS-certified faculty. As the courses have grown in popularity, local AV professionals who ser ve on the schools’ industr y advisor y board are speaking at career days, as well as hosting job shadowing and internships. And, they’re first in line to hire students from the program. From these beginnings, the AVIXA Foundation has forged partnerships with schools far and wide, from Full Sail University in Orlando FL, to Columbia College in


tions to classes that teach parallel trade skills. This comes down to taking some risks. Reach out to communities around you and show the next generation they can pursue their passions, while also making a great living. Learn more about the AVIXA Foundation’s workforce-development initiatives at www.avixa.org/foundation.

vast, and the industr y is flourishing. With the help of the AV community, the AVIXA Foundation can make strides in building an even stronger workforce. Begin the conversation about opportunities in our industr y with schools and non-profits that help young adults plan for a career. Represent the industr y at career fairs and make presenta-

Chicago IL, to Secretaría de Educación de Distrito de Bogotá in Colombia. The AVIXA Foundation’s newest education partnership will bring fundamental AV-skills training to secondar yschool students all over southern California. Another pillar of our mission is to bring career awareness to students who might wish to get straight to work, rather than attending college full time. Fostering hands-on work experiences for students like these is integral. Through a new online-learning system hosted by West Hills College Coalinga, students in the Fullerton CA, Huntington Beach CA and Downey CA high school districts, along with those in Newport-Mesa Unified School District, have a chance to prepare for careers in AV. This statewide program is the first of its kind. We are thrilled to see how many students will see themselves as future AV professionals. These education partnerships are still in their infancy. We’re concentrating our efforts on ensuring our pilot programs have all the resources and industr y support required to achieve positive outcomes. As we do regular check-ins with partner schools, we learn about small victories and hear stories of students receiving internships and jobs. There is no better time for AV companies to become ambassadors for our industr y. The job opportunities are

“One of the things that we really tried to do was make it intimate. At the end of the day, we wanted to have the best viewing possible. If you were that close, we want you to be able to enjoy that viewing. If you were sitting further back, we wanted to make sure you had the same experience. And for me, being an avid sports fan, this was an easy project to kick off because I love sports, and this is like the dream—it’s like a mancave on steroids.”

ook portsb J S t e g Nug City, N Golden Atlantic

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INDUSTRY POV

Branding For AV Integrators Five surefire ways for AV integrators to build their brand. By Steven Picanza Latin & Code

B

randing for AV integrators shouldn’t be an afterthought, especially considering that you’re in the business of executing great customer experiences and bringing them to life using the power of audio and video solutions. With endless touchpoints and mediums, and with venues ranging from houses of worship to large commercial installations (and ever ything in between), your offering must be articulated and portrayed with the keenest set of eyes and in the simplest ways. With “experience” at the heart of ever ything you work on, why shouldn’t your organization have a great brand? There’s been a recent shift in the AV industr y; we’ve gone from a dr y business-to-business (B2B) approach and come to incorporate more of a business-to-consumer (B2C) “brand experience” feel. Integration companies looking to excel in this new world have to stand out and continue to differentiate—not just from a product or solutions perspective, but also from the perspectives of messaging, marketing and brand experience. This year and beyond, having a concrete brand (and subsequent marketing strategy) is a “must have,” not a “nice to have.” It truly is the audio to your video, or the yin to your yang. With so much online chatter and noise about which steps to take and how to take them, coupled with endless technology systems and platforms to ponder, I want to make thinking about 36 Sound & Communications July 2019

branding your AV integration business as easy as possible. Because, in the end, it’s not about justifying your worth by being a complicated brand; instead, it’s about being a relatable, easy-to-understand brand that ser ves as a guide to your customers. What follows are five tips to elevate your AV integration brand.

Don’t Be The Hero, Be The Guide Want to dominate your industr y? Listen up! Most brands want to position themselves as the hero. They want to be the Luke Skywalker of their industr y, saving their customers from impending doom. In fact, though, this formulation couldn’t be further from the truth. You aren’t the hero; it’s your customers who are the heroes. You’re the guide, and, with your framework for success, you can guide your customers to a long-lasting, positive relationship not only with their customers, but also with you.

Focus On Building Trust There is a magic formula in branding and marketing, and it all comes down to trust. As a brand and marketing consultant who works in the AV industr y, I often partner with business leaders to simplify their messaging and create awesome marketing materials. However, my underlying angle is always to help brands build trust with their audience. When we break it down to its simplest form, trust equals Reliability + Delight. When we can push out a reliable product (or message) in a consistent manner, we build brand equity and audience trust. That’s exactly how brands like Apple, Amazon and Starbucks have been able to stay on top for so long. They’re predictable, and they always aim to please their customers—no matter the cost (because they know the lifetime value of that customer is a lot higher than the transaction of the moment).

Be Proactive, Not Reactive I see it all the time, but especially at conferences and trade shows: Integration companies taking a back-seat approach to executing on their marketing and being reactive to their competitors and day-of trends. A lack of planning leaves so many opportunities on the table—opportunities not only to sell, but also to build brand equity and awareness. A proactive approach, by contrast, plans ahead with goals and key performance indicators (KPIs) in mind, often working backward from those goals to achieve them in the simplest, easiest ways possible. With the right strategy in place, you’re able to connect with your audience and serve them content that’s not only relevant, but also timely. When working with brands, we often loosely plan our yearly marketing strategy


around larger events, trade shows and conferences because, often, doing so gives us the opportunity to really home in on what offering or products we want to lead with; then, we can craft messaging, creative and content around that.

Messaging Matters One of the biggest opportunity areas for commercial AV and integration companies looking to differentiate and build their brand centers on the messaging. I’m not talking about a mission statement (which I have a hard time believing in these days), but, rather, about all the messaging that surrounds your organization—from your website, to social-media posts, to your sales lingo, to the way you answer the phone. It all matters more than you think. Let’s take your website, for example. With the average B2B website bounce rate hovering around 15 percent higher than for a B2C website, it is clear that

messaging and calls to actions are not being articulated clearly. If you are not leading with a message such as, “We solve X problem(s) for Y audience(s), so contact us now,” then you are clearly missing what should be the main idea of your website. It’s about lead generation. Why be cute and confuse your prospective client? Tell him or her the problem that you solve and how to contact you; then, watch your bounce rate go down and your leads go up.

Design For Conversion, Not To Win An Award I’m a design and brand guy. I love the interplay between the two. However, I also understand when it’s time to tone down the design and just focus on optimization and the conversion rate for the brands with which I consult. Too many times, websites and brands become their own worst enemy by

being over-branded or over-designed. It can happen to all of us. But all is not lost—you’ve just lost track of your goals and the core tasks at hand. To circumvent this, I often do checkups with my clients to make sure all our sails are facing in the right direction and we’re not doing things just for the sake of doing them. Purpose and context should drive all your actions; if that is so, your audience will thank you with their business, their affinity and, hopefully, their referrals. Branding might seem intangible and mystical to some, but, with the right mentality, team and guidance, small actions can turn into large initiatives, which can then spread like wildfire until you have a living, breathing brand. And, if you achieve that, it’ll bring in new business as it nurtures existing business and builds an enduring legacy. It just takes commitment. Are you ready for the journey?

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INDUSTRY POV

Digital Signage And Retail: Growing Customer Engagement Key aspects of creating an enticing retail experience. By Rob Meiner Peerless-AV

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s any retailer will tell you, a positive customer experience is one of the most important pieces of the puzzle for success. With technology advancing at rapid rates, and with more and more customers turning to ecommerce for their shopping needs, right now, more than ever before, is a crucial time to create meaningful in-store experiences. An ideal way to do that is by using in-store digital signage. In fact, retail digital signage makes up 28 percent of the market share for the entire digital signage business.1 There is more to customer engagement with digital signage, however, than just picking a hardware solution and selecting an image. Retail businesses today are finding ways to turn digital signage into a fully immersive experience for their customers, while also offering them pertinent information. What follows are some important areas to consider when selecting digital signage to help gain the highest level of customer attention.

Make It Interactive Although providing relevant information to customers is necessar y, if there is an opportunity to immerse the customer in an experience through digital signage, do not hesitate to take it. That being said, it’s best to keep in mind the type of interactivity, as some elements can be too distracting and, thus, decrease the effectiveness of its usage. A variety of examples showcase how retailers use interactive digital signage 38 Sound & Communications July 2019

to get customers excited about a product or brand. The best examples are those where the interaction is directly relevant to the retail environment. For example, if a clothing retailer is seeking to implement digital signage, it would be off-message and irrelevant for consumers to utilize a solution with interactive content offering racing or puzzle gaming. Instead, retailers should focus on an interaction that immerses the customer in the experience, while, at the same time, keeping the brand and products top of mind. A better interactive solution, in this case, would be a kiosk that allows guests to search through store inventory based on their preferences with regard to clothing style.

Pick The Best Location Many details must be considered when selecting a location for digital signage. Typically, the best spot would be the area of the store where the retailer receives the most traffic—usually, that would be the entrance of the retail location. This is why so many retailers put their most appealing signage at the front of their stores. Even if a customer was not planning to enter the store, highly engaging signage can draw in customers or, at the ver y least, get them talking about the brand. Another important location that retailers sometimes overlook is the checkout queue. According to a study conducted by Popspots, 67 percent of retail customers said the checkout process significantly affects their overall perception of their instore experience.2 As such, the checkout line is the perfect opportunity to use digital signage to engage customers who will be in the location long enough to become engaged with the signage. Content could alert customers to sales they might have missed, or it could provide an opportunity to sign up for coupons or discounts. It doesn’t overpower or detract from the brand or product, and it can even help cut down wait times by gathering customer information that usually would be collected by a store employee during checkout.

Don’t Skip Over The Technical Aspects Another key focus area is the quality of signage used. The worst mistake a retailer can make is to have a broken or unused digital display hanging in the front window. That is a surefire way to lose customer engagement, taking them out of the experience that the retailer has worked so hard to cultivate. Although a multitude of


Interactivity makes digital signage even more engaging and immersive. Retailers should focus on an interaction that immerses the customer in the experience, while, at the same time, keeping the brand and products top of mind.

technical factors must be considered when installing digital signage in a retail location, two major components that are often overlooked center on the mounting solution. Specifically, it’s important to (a) choose the right mount for the installation and (b) conduct thorough testing before mounting and displaying any digital signage. When selecting a mounting solution that will support the display or videowall, it’s necessar y to consider size, color, safety and ease of installation. If the display is going to be located where it’s easily accessible to customers, the mount has to be extremely durable and safe. Retailers should also look for a mount that makes installation and/or repairs seamless. Finally, before the digital signage is available to the public, a retailer must test the entire system. The display, the content and the media player should all be working, free from any errors. Each of the aforementioned aspects is key to creating an enticing retail experi-

Digital signage can help entice customers to come into retail stores.

ence for customers—one that will keep them coming back. Further, providing information while also offering engagement will lead to a boost in retail traffic and sales. The right type of digital signage can help retailers realize all these benefits. Endnotes 1 Brawn, A.C. (2016, Januar y 5). Recognizing and Embracing the Opportunities in Dynamic Digital Signage. Retrieved from www.dseg.org/recognizing-and-embracing-the-opportunities-in-dynamic-digital-signage. 2 Popspots (2018, August). Why the checkout line is retail’s next gold mine. Retrieved from www.getpopspots.com/ resources/popspots-ebook-check-it-out.pdf.

July 2019

Sound & Communications 39


INDUSTRY POV

IoT Devices And Pro Audio The next big thing is happening now. By Blake Augsburger LEA Professional

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nternet of Things (IoT) devices are becoming more prevalent in our daily lives at home, at work and on the go. An IoT device can simply be defined as an object that’s connected to the internet that’s able to collect and exchange data. These objects can communicate data either wired or wirelessly with little to no human intervention. IoT devices can provide notifications of events, predict patterns of behavior, and capture relevant and useful data based on the user’s habits, interests and needs. IoT-generated notifications can include object health updates and/or requests for inputs or actions. Familiar consumer IoT devices include thermostats, lights, blinds, kitchen appliances and security cameras. In industrial applications, factories typically use machine-to-machine (M2M) systems, or IoT devices in production-line machiner y, and even robots to make critical decisions that affect both quality and safety. Within the rail, air and sea transportation networks, and even in the future autonomous car, IoT is a key element of infrastructure communication and decision-making. Isn’t it time for pro audio to take advantage of IoT?

Delivering Enhanced Service There are multiple advantages for AV integrators to use IoT devices within an audio installation. For starters, systems become easier to use because devices can be controlled and monitored without having to virtual private network (VPN) into the local area network (LAN). Depending on the device’s IoT architecture, two types of data are typically available: hot- and cold-path data analytics. 40 Sound & Communications July 2019

Hot-path devices provide real-time notifications, allowing the integrator to observe and analyze performance data that is occurring in real time. Cold-path systems gather historical data and enable long-term analytics. With these cold-path analytics, the device can send notifications before a failure occurs or if maintenance is required, notifying the integrator of a proactive service call. With the data, the integrator can make faster and better decisions about service and preventative-maintenance schedules, maintaining the overall system performance. Having a connected IoT device inform technicians of breakdowns and preventative-maintenance recommendations in advance results in optimized system performance and increased system uptime for everyone. Within a pro-audio IoT device, there could be hundreds of data points available for control, monitoring and/or analysis. This is typically accomplished using web-application software and local-device firmware. Using a web app, the integrator can easily set up a device and monitor performance status. This type of control architecture is perfect for reading real-time meter data. Critical data sets can be grouped around system I/O such as health, DSP and even external load conditions. Because IoT devices are connected, updates related to security, software and firmware can be downloaded by simply accepting a notification, which is then followed by an over-the-air update. This platform also allows for software plugins, enabling easy integration with other devices within the integrator’s system design.

New Revenue Streams IoT technology simplifies audio-device installation and configuration, and it improves overall system control and monitoring. This presents an opportunity for an IoT ser vice model and recurring monthly revenue (RMR) for the integrator. Remote scheduled maintenance, along with monitoring and notification of faults and data variances, gives the integrator the opportunity to solve problems before they happen, in real time, with the hot-path analytics. Implementing a cloud solution further enhances this model by providing advanced data-analytic capabilities with the cold-path analytics, and it allows for manufacturer storage of data like factor y presets and firmware updates. Expanding beyond the web app with a mobile app brings in simple notification capabilities and offers further ease of use. The IoT architecture is a solid foundation for building connected integrator solutions that pay back.

IoT Device Security IoT devices can utilize the same globally accepted security protocols that large organizations like the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and Netflix use with the Amazon Web Ser vices (AWS) IoT core. You can read more about the security of this ser vice by visiting aws.amazon.com/security/introduction-to-cloudsecurity. There are several unique certificates available for IoT devices—for example, (continued on page 80)


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Liberty For All Five years and $100 million in the making is the new, 26,000-square-foot Statue of Liberty Museum. That the new museum is tied to the single most iconic symbol of immigration in United States histor y makes its mission all the more challenging at the moment. The self-standing museum’s designers relied heavily on AV technology to help them tell a uniquely, singularly American stor y. Inside, three main gallery spaces create a flowing narration. It starts with the Immersive Theater, a stand-up cinema in which videos describe the statue’s origins and its journey to New York Harbor. Then, it’s on to a galler y on the building of the statue, with exhibits illuminating sculptor Frederic-Auguste Bartholdi’s studio, the models and molds used to make the statue, and a replica of its foot; there are also explanations of how iconic the statue

has come to be, with items like a menorah on which each candle holder is a small Lady Liberty, as well as comic-book art, license plates and dolls. In the final section, visitors, using interactive touchscreen kiosks, are encouraged to take digital self-portraits and add their thoughts on what liberty means to them. Well-known AV integrator Diversified was brought onto the project by ESI Design, the experience-design firm behind the new museum’s exhibits, as its technology partner; later, the firm contracted directly with the Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation (SOLEIF) as the AV integrator. (What made this project different from most was that ever yone on the job could trace their family back to a generation that sailed past Liberty Island, and likely even stopped at the nearby Ellis Island immigrationprocessing center.)

The brand new Statue of Liberty Museum on Liberty Island. Courtesy Kevin Daley, National Parks Service.

42 Sound & Communications July 2019


Statue of Liberty Museum engages, informs and immerses visitors. By Dan Daley (second-generation American—Ireland and Belarus) A core starting point was to give each of the three abovementioned areas, as well as the Donor Wall located outside the Immersive Theater, a high degree of technical autonomy, even as their messaging was connected. “Each area of the museum is equipped with its own self-contained systems, built with extensive redundancies, meaning each area can operate independently and continue to operate normally in the event there is a problem in another area,” Carol Feeley-Vario, Diversified’s Project Manager, said. A second-generation American, with family roots in Germany,

Vista from the roof of the Statue of Liberty Museum, giving a new perspective of Lady Liberty. Courtesy © David Sundberg/Esto. July 2019

Sound & Communications 43


it was for some of the team’s grandparents to cross the Atlantic Ocean. “The logistics were the first and most enduring challenges,” Feeley-Vario affirmed, citing in par ticular the task of getting a 43'x11' videowall onto a barge and into the new building through a temporar y construction dock established on the island. And, if that wasn’t complicated The display cases hold a combination of actual and virtual enough, the dock had artifacts, with video displays providing context. Keeping actual to be removed before artifacts safe in the kinds of heat-inducing environments that AV can create is a challenge particular to museums. a protected species of Courtesy Kevin Daley, National Parks Service. perch began spawning in the Hudson River, or Lithuania, Italy and Ireland, she added that operational economies else it would be stuck there through the following spring. But the were also part of the plan. “The technology platform is based AV logistics were relatively easy as compared to the challenges on digital, solid-state components wherever possible, and all disthat the general contractors had to manage. plays use laser-phosphor or LED light engines, eliminating the One AV challenge was the speed with which product models need ever to replace a lamp. The platform is controlled through changed during the project’s timeline, creating ongoing variations a dedicated, segregated AV-system network, including all necesin the equipment lists. Mark DiQuinzio (a second-generation Amerisar y switches, cabling and other hardware. And ever ything is can—Abruzzo, Italy), Diversified’s Lead Engineer, noted that, when designed [to guard against] a potential failover, because, after the project’s technology was first being specified, the control system all, this is an island.” was going to be based on generic HDBaseT; that is, until Crestron’s (The attention to costs is part of a much older and ver y grassNVX became available. “That literally didn’t exist when we were roots theme around the statue. The new museum was funded planning this in 2016,” DiQuinzio said. “When it became available, mainly through small-dollar individual donors, with $35 being the we switched it out as a value-engineering move and took the savings average gift amount; Liberty Mutual Insurance, which features the and applied them toward upgrading the Panasonic 4K projector statue prominently in its television commercials, made the largest in the middle lobe of the Immersive Theater, [going] from 12,000 single donation of $5 million. That’s not unlike how the pedestal lumens to 20,000 lumens. And that newer projector came here lititself was paid for in 1885, drawing from donations from more than erally right off the assembly line. Things change faster than ever 160,000 donors, including young children, businessmen, street now, so we have to learn how to leverage that.” cleaners and politicians. In fact, more than three-quarters of the donations amounted to less than a dollar. The original crowdfundStep Inside ing moment, as it were.) Viewed from the outside, the glass walls and copper-hued roof of the Statue of Liberty Museum seem like an organic extension Dedicated AV Network of the land around it. The museum structure is meant to connect In each exhibit, both audio and video content play out from to Lady Liberty, using the same granite that’s part of the statue ser ver-class computers that each include at least one backup pedestal and the statue’s copper cladding. playout ser ver. The video outputs of all ser vers are via videoThe first stop inside for visitors is the Immersive Theater, a over-IP over a dedicated AV network; the audio-distribution syskind of informational triplex; there are three areas, each playing tem is fully redundant, and it runs over a dedicated digital audio distinct content on deeply cur ved Novawall screens through a network. Additionally, audio is driven to the speakers through combination of eight Panasonic laser-phosphor projectors and a dedicated amplifiers with at least one backup amplifier in each proprietary media player supplied by Float4, the content designer. system. The master and audio control systems continually moniThe images in each area are created by overlapping and blendtor the status and operation of every audio and video server, and, ing multiple projections. BrightSign media players are also used when necessar y, they’ll trigger an automatic switch over to the to provide static images between video loops. (Donna Lawrence backup ser vers. Productions produced the videos, as well as their audio.) Getting the Statue of Liberty’s new museum together through The Crestron CP3N control system for the theater allows the New York Harbor was, in some ways, nearly as challenging as content in each area to be repeated in a regular loop. The con44 Sound & Communications July 2019


the size of the area, along with two Bag End custom-shaped 10inch subs for each screen. The audio playback in each theater is reproduced through a sound system that Haas, of SH Acoustics, designed. Two speakers and subwoofers placed behind each screen are complemented by an array of compact speakers firing upward through floor grilles under the audience. “We worked closely with the media producers for this project, as we always do, but this was different,” Haas (a second-generation American—Germany and Hungary) revealed. “It wasn’t the largest Twenty interactive kiosks attached to either side of 10 stands allow visitors to insert themselves virtually into a media presentation along a 43-foot LED wall. Courtesy Kevin Daley, National Parks Service.

tent in the second and third area is timed so that each loop starts slightly after the finish of the loop in the previous area. The control system also raises the lighting in each area as the content loop finishes, which is also timed with the The Immersive Theater has three areas, each of which plays distinct content on deeply video and audio content; this encurved Novawall screens through a combination of eight laser-phosphor projectors, with courages patrons to move on to the the images in each area created by overlapping and blending multiple projections. Courtesy Kevin Daley, National Parks Service. next screen. Although an operator will be able to start and stop each museum we’ve ever worked on, but it was one of the biggest in loop independently, the system will allow the preset sequence of terms of throughput of visitors. So, keeping the sound [in] each loops to continue to run, with no intervention, throughout the day. area of the multi-zone theater separate was paramount, [but we DiQuinzio said the projection screens presented the main visual also had to maintain] a high degree of immersiveness in each challenges in this space. “We were originally going to paint the lobe of the theater.” drywall with screen material, until our acoustical consultant, Steve That immersiveness is achieved through a combination of direcHaas, recommended using speakers behind the screens in addition tional speaker placement on a grid underneath the theater floors to the floor-mounted speakers,” he explained. “We then looked at in front of the screens. That, Haas said, sufficiently localizes the perforated cinema screens, but realized we weren’t going to get a sound to each theater area and distinguishes the upward-moving 43-foot screen that could make the turns these had to make. The effects sound, which are delayed to match the arrival of sound fabricator, Maltbie, suggested the Novawall stretch material, which from the ear-level speakers behind the screens. Those reproduce they had used successfully in previous museum installations.” most of the dialogue, and they’re set at a 100-degree angle for It worked well for this application too, although not without optimal dispersion over the 30 to 50 people each lobe comforta little help. Steven Esposito, Diversified’s Project Engineer (a ably holds, without interfering with adjacent viewing areas. This second-generation American—Italy), noted that several seams were configuration also keeps the sound focused on each area, creating noticeable when the material was illuminated by the projectors. a transitional portal between theater lobes as prompts from the So, Panasonic engineers helped by applying the projectors’ warp Crestron automation system help move the crowds along. engine and software to map around the seams. “It required a lot of Finally, the theater areas are treated with absorptive material mapping,” he explained, “but, in the end, it looked great. Panasonic on the walls and ceiling, which also help hide the wall-mounted was a huge help to us through the project.” subwoofers. Three global volume settings—one for three possible The audio in each theater area is also immersive, playing out crowd sizes—are loaded into the QSC audio processor for the through six or seven JBL Control 25AV speakers, depending on 46 Sound & Communications July 2019


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The original torch, removed during the 1985 renovation, is on display in the new museum. No AV magic was needed. This one speaks for itself. Courtesy Kevin Daley, National Parks Service.

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Sound Design Meets Sound Systems The sound design for the Engagement Gallery is both technically adroit and historically accurate. Sound designer Jeremy Bloom, whose work is heard in films, podcasts, theatrical shows and museums, including New York’s Tenement Museum, went so far as to bring a field recorder to the Paterson NJ-based metalworks firm that worked on the statue’s 1984 restoration project. With it, he captured the authentic sounds of copper being hammered onto the actual molds used to make the statue. Bloom said the playback system for the soundscapes had been largely specified before he became involved. “But it was designed in such a way as to be very flexible, so it could support a wide range of audio elements,” he commented, adding that the Q-SYS DSP also added flexibility in areas such as equalization and complex routing. The soundscapes were recorded in a New York NY post facility and mixed through Dolby’s object-based Atmos immersive sound platform to create a pre-installation mock-up of the playback configuration. Several dozen sound files of stems from those mixes were then loaded as .wav files onto the Q-SYS system, and they’re played back through a matrix that focuses the appropriate suite of stems on a particular part of the exhibit through its particular assortment of transducers. For instance, the “Constructing Liberty” exhibit area uses four separate channels in a semi-circular layout, whereas “Opening Ceremony” has five separate channels spread linearly across a wall. There is a certain amount of overlap between galleries to suggest continuity, with highly precise timing of key elements within the mixes to reinforce immersiveness. For instance, oral histories from one gallery are punctuated by cannon shots from another gallery. “There’s some overlap between galleries, but the sound effects never interrupt the voices in the other,” Bloom explained. The seamlessness of the soundscapes is further enhanced by the fact that all the music used to underscore them is in the same key; meanwhile, the tempos, although they do vary, are always in beats-per-minute (BPM) values that are divisible by each other. The effect, he explained, is analogous to a DJ moving the fader between turntables. “The audience, as they move between galleries, is creating their own seamless crossfades,” he noted. Q-SYS network that moves sound around the venue. The Crestron system activates this capability, as the visitor tide ebbs and flows during the day. The Donor Wall, a transitional point ahead of the Immersive Theater, includes a total of five Elo 22-inch touchscreen displays, driven by Seneca NUC media players that run custom software. (As backups, there are also BrightSign players.) These show information about selected donors to the museum. Underscoring the project’s time span, the Samsung touchscreens originally specified had gone out of production by the time installation was scheduled.

Engaging The Audience The Engagement Gallery, the next set of exhibits, is where visitors can get handson with historical information on topics that include fundraising, envisioning the sculpture and how the Statue of Liberty has influenced culture. There’s even an opportunity to look at sculptor Frederic-Auguste

Twenty interactive kiosks allow users to take a selfie with the statue. Note the three cameras on the left side. They are set at different heights to accommodate various visitor heights, thus complying with ADA regulations. Courtesy Kevin Daley, National Parks Service.

Bartholdi’s sketchbook. Displays throughout this galler y play continuous video and audio loops. The first section of the Engagement Galler y is the “Constructing Liber ty” area, which is built around four fixed graphic walls with overlaid, projected video images from four Panasonic 6,500-lumen projectors. Different sections of the walls are highlighted and complemented with explanator y text. In front of the walls are three smaller Planar video display panels that cycle through additional information. A single multi-output video ser ver feeds the projectors in this area; an additional ser ver with the same number of outputs ser ves as the backup. Each flatpanel display is fed by a single-output BrightSign XD1033 digital video player; there is a backup player for each. An issue that museums face today is how to integrate actual physical artifacts with digital ones—for instance, an actual period letter versus a scan. Although that might

be largely a historical and an aesthetic concern, it also can be an AV issue. Feeley-Vario pointed out that the heat generated by AV systems in close proximity to physical artifacts could result in accelerated deterioration or damage to those artifacts. Feeley-Vario explained, “We worked with the National Parks Service preservationist to determine how best to keep heat away from the artifacts that were in climatecontrolled cases” when the artifacts themselves and informative digital signage about them were sharing spaces. Esposito was tasked with checking the manufacturers’ spec sheets on the projectors and other devices for their heat output; when those data weren’t available, he said, he calculated the values himself by extrapolating them from voltage and amperage information in the device manuals. “The preservationist gave us the temperature ranges and we worked from there,” he explained. “Each display (main story continued on page 53) July 2019

Sound & Communications 49


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The 43-foot LED wall where visitor-generated photos end up. Courtesy Kevin Daley, National Parks Service.

52 Sound & Communications July 2019


A view of the museum’s “Embracing Liberty” exhibit, designed by ESI Design. Here, interactive and multimedia elements converge with curated artifacts from the National Parks Service collection. Courtesy © David Sundberg/Esto.

(main story continued from page 49) case is sort of its own little building.” The project required some fairly unique pieces of equipment. For instance, the “Pedestal & Fundraising” section of the Engagement Galler y required video displays that could go transparent when not showing content. Fifty-five-inch transparent LCD screens made by a UK-based company, Cr ystal Display Systems (CDS), were sourced. Also, environmental-soundscape playback around some of the exhibit galleries uses Acoustic Enhancements transducers attached to dr ywall or plywood backing so that sound literally comes out of the exhibit walls and display cases. In those cases, ever y outcome was unique. “Not ever y surface sounds great right out of the box for this type of application,” Haas remarked. “So, we had to test a few different materials, and we’ve gotten ver y good at EQ-ing them.” The last stop in this area, “Becoming Liberty,” is the most complex: a 43'x12' 1.5mm LED wall, brought in via barge, pairs with 20 interactive touchscreen kiosks attached to either side of 10 stands. The Unilumin wall (partially donated by the company) and its rear-ser viceable, 20x10 cabinet configuration is suppor ted by an RPV floor mount and fed by three BrightSign media players. It’s surrounded by a combination of JBL Control 25 speakers, three

CBT100LA columnar arrays and three Innovox Microsub6 subwoofers, powered by six QSX CX203 amplifiers. DiQuinzio revealed that the wall wasn’t even part of the original plan. As it happened, the Foundation decided to remove a gift shop that had been planned for that space. That created an oppor tunity for more storytelling, and the Diversified team went through a list of possibilities before deciding on the 1.5mm LED (7,680x2,160 pixels) videowall. Better still, Unilumin’s donation brought the videowall within budget. “The process of creating and installing it went on while the general contractor was still constructing the building,” DiQuinzio commented. “We had to ask for a lot of extra cooling for it.” With a laugh, he quipped, “It didn’t make us a lot of friends with the contractors!” ESI Design, the Manhattan-based firm that designed the new museum’s content and visitor experience (the Brooklyn Children’s Museum is also in its portfolio), worked closely with Diversified from the systems-design phase of the project. Offering an example of how content and technology can interact on complex projects like this, Charles Deluga, a Designer and AV Technologist at ESI Design, noted that the original specification for the “Becoming Liberty” wall called for front projection.

Concer n about how ambient light in the area might af fect the installation’s impact, however, led the ESI team to bring the matter up to Diversified’s designers; they then suggested using rear projection. Ultimately, the matter was resolved when the Unilumin option became available and practicable. “We always want to make sure that the design’s intent is carried out the way we envisioned it,” Deluga said. “Sometimes, decisions have to be made based on changes in budget or how constr uction takes place, but we always want to find a way to make sure the original design intent is carried out.” The two-sided kiosks have 86-inch, ultra-HD LG 86BH5C (3,840x600 pixels) displays on each side, connected to a local mini PC. Patrons can create their own content on any one of the displays, including taking a photo from one of the three Logitech 4K Pro USB PTZ cameras mounted to the left of each display. The three cameras are set at different heights to accommodate var ying visitor heights, ensuring compliance with federal Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) regulations. Once a patron has completed his or her input, he or she can send it to the LED wall over the AV network to a set of content playout computers that ingest the local content, overlay it on background video and distribute the total image out to the large LED videowall. There, it “travels” the length of the wall. Here, the challenge was getting all the necessar y technology into the kiosks, Feeley-Vario revealed. Citing the large size of the displays, she said the project team chose to use an infrared (IR) overlay on the screen glass. However, due to the frequency and force of the touches the screens would have to endure, they needed to physically buffer between the display (continued on page 80) July 2019

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What’s In Store For Retail?

The AV Experience

Digital signage, touchscreens and engagement are helping retail. By Dan Daley

Transportation? Now that’s an industr y sector with a great future; driverless cars alone are projected to hit $3.6 trillion in a decade. Construction opportunities also abound. A McKinsey study predicts that, by 2025, a third of the world’s urban population will struggle to get safe, secure housing. What about healthcare? That sector will add around four million new jobs by 2026, accounting for about a third of total job growth, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics data. But retail? Meh. The retail industr y has been in a tailspin for much of this decade, and that trend has only been accelerating. According to data cited by CNN in April, US retailers announced that 5,994 stores had closed so far this year. That number already exceeds the 5,864 closures that took place in all of 2018. The problems facing retail, including the challenge posed by online sales, affect the entire spectrum of the category—from budget chains like Payless, Gymboree and Shopko, all of which have filed for bankruptcy this year, to white-collar/white-glove department stores such as Nordstrom, Kohl’s and Macy’s. The near- and intermediate-term future does not look especially encouraging. Online sales, which make up about 16 percent of retail sales today, will rise to 25 percent of the market by 2026, UBS analysts estimated. That could force up to 75,000 stores to close by that year. Rising interest rates and commercial real-estate values, along with an incipient trade war with China, American retail’s single biggest source of wholesale goods, are creating ongoing headwinds, as well.

On The Other Hand… When Amazon Go opened a cashless, but digitalsignage-rich, quick-stop grocer y store in New York NY earlier this year, it was front-page news in the New York Times. The company now has a dozen such stores in 54 Sound & Communications July 2019


The object of desire can be stoked by a clever audio and video display.

“The Beacon� is a three-story-tall techno-sculpture composed of 29 video screens, 70 programmable lights and 36 loudspeakers suspended in the atrium of the new 68,000-square-foot Nike NYC House of Innovation 000 in New York NY.

July 2019

Sound & Communications 55


the US, and it plans to open more, all of them relying heavily on technology. The debuts of new Apple and Microsoft stores also garner plenty of attention and news stories, not to mention customers. One thing those stores all have in common is AV technology—not only as their stock in trade, but also as an integral part of their sales strategies. Touchscreens are a consumer feature not only of Apple’s phones and iPads, but also of the compact and plentiful sales-information kiosks in Apple stores. In Microsoft stores, large-screen LED displays create a virtually immersive sales environment. The integration of AV technology and systems with retail operations was clearly

evident at the National Retail Foundation’s main annual trade show, NRF 2019, which took place in Januar y at New York’s Jacob Javits Convention Center. Although the NRF does not track operational retail AV technology, MarketScale, a Dallas TX-based business-to-business data and analytics firm, cataloged a slew of retail applications for AV there. Here is a taste. • 22MILES, a digital-signage company that helps retailers create unique spaces through commercial-AV ser vices, delivers interactive navigation, 4K videowalls, dynamic retail signage and mobile web to smartphone indoor positioning. • Elo, whose commercial-grade interactive displays and signage components, ranging

in size from 10 inches to 70 inches, encourage interactivity on the store floor or at the point of sale. • Samsung, no stranger to retail environments, at this year’s event highlighted its Nexshop solution, which offers cloudbased analytics and real-time behavioralsensing technology. This enables retailers to gain more insights through data collection. • Converge Retail uses its platform to bring elements of online shopping to the in-store experience. At this year’s event, it shared demo stations that included inline displays for beauty and cosmetics, as well as a large-scale concept of a Tesla auto-configurator, showing the ability to personalize the car-shopping experience. In short, retail has a brighter future than some indicators might suggest it does, and audio and video technology can play a significant part in that.

Style vs. Substance

Visual representation of audio makes AV a part of the retail strategy. For example, look at this instore physical manifestation.

56 Sound & Communications July 2019

Retail can present a challenge to AV experts, and vice versa. For instance, Apple stores offer a design chimera for retailers who see nice displays on antiseptic white walls and assume that’s all that is required to turn a store into an experience. AV designers, on the other hand, see the displays, but they often don’t see what’s on them, nor do they necessarily understand what the retailer is actually tr ying to achieve. “Retailers see the displays on the wall, but not what’s behind the wall—the infrastructure needed to support it and make it work,” Bryan Meszaros, CEO and Founder of OpenEye Global, remarked. OpenEye is an experience-design agency whose retail portfolio includes wayfinding systems for Nordstrom’s stores and a Hugo Boss storytelling display for upscale visual marketing firm Coloredge. “There are a percentage of user-experience (UX) designers out there that know AV technology, but most of them don’t,” he added. “They see an Apple store and say, ‘That’s easy. I can do that.’ But they struggle with it because they don’t know how to accommodate the technology—for instance, by having content that’s appropriate to the type of technology and its scale.” That, Meszaros said, can lead to AV in a retail environment looking like an afterthought. As he put it, “An iPad in a corner.” That


Ethan Rose

‘Retail is a particularly good application for AV technology, because it draws attention and draws people into a physical space, which might be the biggest challenge for retail in a time of widespread online shopping.’

effect can extend even to videowalls—themselves increasingly popular in retail—which, without appropriate content, become less experiential and more distracting. Another area in which retailers tend to fall short is bandwidth— namely, not having enough of it to support a truly experiential AV installation. It’s just another manifestation of seeing only one side of the wall: the pretty screens, but not the foundational infrastructure that will help them deliver a coherent, memorable experience. “[Customers] go into stores now expecting an experience, some theatrical moments,” Meszaros opined. “The store is tr ying to keep up with how the [retail] brands present themselves in other ways. But a lot of them are just not connecting the dots between AV and content.”

More Opportunity For Experiences It helps to think about retail less in the conventional sense— that being, as a specific place to go and buy products—and more as a destination for experiences, TJ DiQuollo, Director of Creative Services for Diversified Media Group, explained. Diversified Media Group is the division of large integrator Diversified that focuses on digital signage and experiential-systems development. “The ‘death’ of brick and mortar is a myth. What we’ve seen in the last few years has been a lot of consolidation [of physical locations], and that’s created more opportunities for experiences at retail,” DiQuollo declared.

AV systems, in the form of videowalls and digital signage, are useful for attracting consumers to store locations, but, according to DiQuollo, AV and IT being combined is what synthesizes the online-shopping experience and the physical store. He pointed to kiosks that Diversified developed for Lexus dealerships that let buyers take the car they’ve “built” at home, online, and call it up on a screen in the dealership; then, they can further modify it, based on features that are illustrated on the dealership’s screens. Finally, they can search for that actual car in the dealer’s inventory or the inventories of nearby dealerships. Those same screens can also offer information and user tips for various car systems to owners who are there for vehicle ser vicing. “It’s pulling information from a huge database, but the trick is to make that experience seamless for the buyer,” DiQuollo emphasized. “It’s critical to make it fluid, without duplicate experiences.” Another retail encounter is the Samsung 837 experience center in New York’s Meatpacking District, where Diversified constructed an 8x8 videowall of Samsung 55-inch displays, spanning two floors, among other signage elements. This integrated technology suffuses a location where consumers can find the brand’s various products being integrated into events such as celebrity cooking, fitness and fashion sessions. “The signage reinforces the brand…the culture,” DiQuollo obser ved. “The products come in and out over time, like museum exhibits, but the brand is always there. It really shows that a store doesn’t have to be just a point of sale.”

The Same Up North Two retail projects by Vancouver, British Columbia, Canadabased integrator CONTI, which operates a retail division, reflect that region’s attractiveness to stylish retailers. A recent store for Japanese minimalist home-goods seller Muji includes an LG videowall that CONTI’s President, Colby Harder, said was specifically installed to meet the city’s increasingly tight retail regulations. If the wall, which is installed to be visible through the store windows by passersby on the main street, is deemed too bright or overly distracting, it can be turned 180 degrees on a Chief mount to face inside the 18,000-square-foot store. “Videowalls that would have been seen as unique or uncom-


‘There are a percentage of UX designers out there that know AV technology, but most of them don’t. They see an Apple store and say, “That’s easy. I can do that.” But they struggle with it.’

couple of years. “Hershel’s use of those videowalls, however, is a creative application that is unique in the market, proving that the application of the technology and the creative content [are] as important as the technology itself,” he affirmed.

Sounds Good

Bryan Meszaros

When Amazon Go opened a cashless, but digitalsignage-rich, quick-stop grocery store in New York NY earlier this year, it was front-page news. That underscores AV’s role in retail’s potential renaissance. Courtesy SounderBruce – own work, CC BY-SA 4.0.

mon even five years ago are now becoming routine in retail,” Harder admitted. “So, in this case, we had to make provisions for it to accommodate any changes in local retail codes. It shows how videowalls are becoming everyday tools, but they still may need to have some innovative aspects to them.” The area flagship store of fashionfor ward bag maker Herschel Supply also wanted to make a statement using a videowall. In their case, however, they asked for a decidedly 1980s look by using a 9.5mm-pixel-pitch resolution on a wall that’s virtually at head height and arm’s length from the store entrance, creating a pixelated look reminiscent of vintage Nintendo. In the same store, though, a much finer-resolution, 1.56mm-pixel-pitch wall mounted on the ceiling is paired with an “Infinity Glass”—a ceiling-mounted glass cube that holds products while the videowall sends images of airplanes and airports overhead, creating an immersive feel. According to Harder, what’s notable here is how the videowalls, whose deployment, in and of itself, might have been considered an event in a retail store just a few years ago, have become a fairly conventional tool in the AV toolkit in the last

Although audio, in the form of background music, remains a foundational element of retail AV, sound has been taking new forms in this environment. Switzerland-based Barix makes the RetailPlayer, an audio media-streaming player that targets this sector. The company’s CEO, Reto Brader, said that background music has come a long way from the days when it was a store manager playing a local radio station over the PA system. (Although, he said, he thinks that the localized nature of that content might have had its own kind of salubrious effect back in those days.) However, he added, although background music and themed announcements are still useful tools for customer engagement in retail, he believes that kind of audio content has to be better synchronized with video digital-signage content in stores. “Now, they tend to be disconnected from each other,” Brader said of background audio and digital signage. “If you can make them into more of an integrated experience, you can make the entire retail experience more dimensional.” That sort of synchronization, he believes, is the penultimate step to retail creating a truly personalized shopping experience. “What it can do, if done properly, is cause the customer to stop asking, ‘Is this the best price I can find for this product?’, and, instead, start feeling good about being in the store,” Brader argued. He also recommended another technique: Choosing background music according to store departments instead of by time of day, which is still a methodology in wide use, if only because many media players are easily time-programmable.

Nike’s Beacon AV technology is looked to as a way to create event-level situations that both draw attention to retail brands and position those brands as technology-savvy thought leaders. A particularly large-scale example of that was the installation, back in May, of “The Beacon”—a three-stor y-tall techno58 Sound & Communications July 2019


a way that retail can leverage AV beyond what he calls “the usual playlist curations.” He said that AV can act as practical art, existing for its own sake in the form of installations like The Beacon, even as those installations draw crowds that result in transactions. “We’ve done a lot of pop-up stores, and AV is important for those,” he affirmed. “But it can be taken much further than some screens and a few speakers.” Although oversized, AV-centric elements like The Beacon will doubtless turn heads,

AV can stay closer to the ground and still be ver y ef fective. Carl James, Account Executive at AV integrator Vistacom, believes that advanced AV systems such as facial recognition will play a major role in reinvigorating retail in some sectors. The key is that the content that such identification systems utilize—these would be based on general characteristics, such as male, female, youth, mature, etc.—must be properly aligned with the identified demographics. These applications will also

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sculpture composed of 29 video screens, 70 programmable lights and 36 loudspeakers. It’s suspended in the atrium of the new 68,000-square-foot Nike NYC House of Innovation 000 on New York’s Fifth Ave. The temporar y installation included vitrines with privacy glass for sneakers on display, enabling patrons only to see products from certain angles. Meanwhile, immersive waves of directional ambient soundscapes, delivered by Holosonic Audio Spotlight self-powered AS-16i beam-forming speakers, rippled up from beneath the floor grating. The sonic aspects of The Beacon are there for a reason: Its main purpose is to herald the arrival of Nike’s new “Noise Cancelling” sneaker model. The name is figurative—it’s intended to convey how athletes using Nikes can shut out the clatter around them as they perform amazing feats of sport—but it underscores how a particular audio technology—that is, noise cancellation—has become part of the culture, as well as a technique for focusing listeners’ attention in environments like museums. (It’s something that vocal-tweaking software Auto-Tune has already accomplished.)

Quite A Spectacle “It’s quite a spectacle,” Ethan Rose, Creative Director at Parallel Studio, declared. The motion-design studio designed and fabricated The Beacon, with content developed by Hovercraft, which also did the device’s lighting, along with AV integration assistance by TCI, which mounted the LED screens. “We relied on directional speakers to give The Beacon a sense of the sound [panning] to different floor levels and areas in the space,” Rose said. “Retail is a particularly good application for AV technology like this, because it draws attention and [draws] people into a physical space, which might be the biggest challenge for retail in a time of widespread online shopping. We can use AV to create a unique experience that shoppers can only get at the store. It’s storytelling for the brand, and it’s a spectacle that attracts people to hear and see that story.” Rose said The Beacon, which was envisioned by Nike, which then brought the idea to a variety of vendors to flesh out the design and execution, represents

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‘We’ve been working on digital-signage applications that focus on other-than-traditional aspect ratios, such as diamond shapes. They can have good outcomes for retail because the unique shape helps create an emotional response to the message.’

Carl James

have to find ways to prove their return on investment (ROI), he added, to demonstrate that those who encounter technology of this kind at retail respond to it by actually spending money at the store. “The technology itself is already commercially available,” James stated. “It’s a matter of a small camera that can read faces, so it’s not a big stretch when it comes to the AV. The challenge is in software that can accurately match prerecorded content on hand with each type of person, [and] then determine that any spend was influenced by that content. The AV part is relatively easy.” In fact, James added, in many larger

Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada-based integrator CONTI custom designed the “Infinity Cube” in the center of home-goods seller Muji. The four walls are mirrored glass, with product on display inside. An LED videowall is mounted on the ceiling to convey visual content, which is reflected on the walls of the Infinity Cube.

60 Sound & Communications July 2019

retail environments, much of the infrastructure is already installed in the form of security and loss-prevention systems that also search faces; as such, associated costs would be reduced. James also recommended that store designers consider that AV, in itself, can come in many sizes and shapes; indeed, the form factor alone is often an attention grabber. “We’ve been working on digital-signage applications that focus on other-than-traditional aspect ratios, such as diamond shapes,” he explained. “And although these began for corporate applications, they can also have good outcomes for retail because the unique shape helps create an emotional response to the message.” Thus, he said, integrators and content developers can create significant synergies by collaborating on both the medium and the message.

John Miceli spent most of the last six years as President of Technomedia, the AV integrator behind the US debut of Primark, an AV-heavy, fast-fashion European clothing retailer. (This installation was profiled in Sound & Communications’ July 2016 edition.) He’s still a proponent of that kind of bombastic design through DE-ZYN Studios, an AV design and envisionment firm he founded this year in Orlando FL. However, from his perspective, retail’s future with AV is one that will eventually synergize the online experience with the brick-and-mortar one. “The great attraction of traditional retail is the ability for customers to touch and feel things they may want to buy,” he opined. The challenge is finding ways to get customers into the store in the first place. Miceli believes that fairly conventional AV techniques—for example, projection mapping colors onto a couch and various environmental elements around it—can still be useful. Customers, in that case, can experience the actual couch they’re considering, and they can do so with all the possible options—color, fabric, etc.—in a familiar setting. Stores, meanwhile, can realize cost reductions by, for instance, minimizing on-hand inventory. The back half of that equation is evident in the newly opened IKEA outlet in New York, a location where astronomical square-footage costs compel smaller stores. IKEA customers can touch and feel the couches, but they won’t be able to walk out of the store with one because there’s no inventor y; instead, purchases will be delivered from warehouses. (IKEA, which has a mobile app aimed at enhancing, but not replacing, the in-store experience, is making these new, smaller urban stores a strategic priority this year.) Miceli’s notion is ver y much a logical next step in a scenario like that one, and it’s likely to become ever more common as traditional retail seeks ways to reduce costs. “What they don’t have to spend on overhead for things like floor space, they can invest in the AV technology that will make those stores more like the onlineshopping experience they’ve come to enjoy,” he concluded, “just minus the hassle of having to return things [you] saw online but couldn’t properly experience online. If retail can make this kind of connection— between immersive experiences and reduced overhead—then AV in retail has a ver y long future ahead of it.”


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Inside The

Sprint #1, the first of a year-long series of tests the Living menu boards—how to use them, what it takes to install approaches pull in both attention and transactions.

62 Sound & Communications July 2019


HOW A DREAM BECOMES A BEACON.

Living Retail Lab By Laura Davis-Taylor HighStreet Collective

I’ve been in retail, marketing, technology and in-store digital for decades. I’ve written a book, and I’ve spent countless hours writing thought-leadership pieces, speaking on stage, teaching and tantalizing operators on the topic of retail innovation. I’ve also tried to help anyone who has asked for guidance. I love it, I live it and I believe in it with every fiber of my being. Yet, five years ago, I found myself awake at 5am on a Saturday morning, feeling stressed out, perplexed and frustrated. The cracks in the retail industr y were becoming chasms. I was battle-wear y from clients who didn’t want to evolve and coworkers

Retail Lab will conduct, is focused on digital and manage them, and how different creative

July 2019

Sound & Communications 63


studies with the kind of real, unfiltered results that we’ve desperately sought.

Where Is The Living Retail Lab? Citizen Supply is a 12,000-square-foot store that sees 20,000 visitors per month. It’s located inside the trendy Ponce City Market, now one of Atlanta’s top destinations. It was chosen for its ideal location, the owner’s appetite for experimentation, its unique and innovative store design and experience, and, importantly, its unique model. The store is a “maker’s market,” meaning all the products are curated from artisan designers. It includes housewares,

A key feature is the ability to trigger content to specified attributes. The Living Retail Lab is testing offers and images against male/female viewers. Already, it has found that 65 percent of the attention is coming from women.

who all seemed to know better. And, I was frustrated by the constant fight for longterm sustainability over short-term profits. (That’s not even to mention the everpresent non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) that kept me from sharing the fruits of my team’s labors.) Ever yone had speeches and pitches on what to do, but no one had proof. Of course, I did have proof—not just on how to do retail innovation, but also on the results that could be had from doing it right—but I couldn’t share it. Naturally, a lot of questions are at play. For example, how do we do the following: • harness what people love about online shopping and bring it to ever y touchpoint • bring agile design into physical brick and mortar • suspend disbelief of what’s possible • stop testing in labs and theory and prove it in the real world • show by example how to pivot—and show what happens when you do The answer was obvious. It had to be a real store, with an already-ideal customer experience, led by an enlightened retail owner. It had to be an agile test environment, with just as much learning as proving. And it had to bring together a collective of brainpower, all with specialty skills 64 Sound & Communications July 2019

and products, and with pioneering spirits. Most importantly, it couldn’t be built for revenue generation; rather, it had to serve as a guiding light for the industry. After years of pitching this idea to bosses, industr y influencers and potential investors—and following an initial attempt being thwarted by the store burning down (really!)—my HighStreet Collective partner, Ed King, looked at me and gave it to me straight: If this was going to happen, we would have to do it on our own. Which is what we did. It’s called the Living Retail Lab.

What Is The Living Retail Lab? The Living Retail Lab is a HighStreet Collective initiative in which an Atlanta GAarea retailer, Citizen Supply, was chosen to participate. With it, we have a runway to create in-store experiences that define industry best practices. It gives Citizen Supply an opportunity to install free technology to help grow its business. It also gives retail real-estate investor Jamestown Properties a platform for innovation. It gives sponsor technologies the opportunity to gain real-world case studies and proof points, all sharpened by HighStreet’s strategic, creative and customer experience (CX) chops. And, it gives the industry case

apparel, health and beauty items, gifts, and food and beverage—all in one place.

Why Is ‘Living’ Important? Our industr y has many closed-to-thepublic “lab” stores, and we’ve been involved in many of them. Based on what we’ve witnessed, we felt it vital to have uninterrupted shoppers spending real money interacting with realistic, financially feasible solutions in a real store. Only then could we trust their responses and determine if different experience designs, technologies and innovations actually generate return on investment (ROI).

How Does It Work? First, we identify a specific business or shopper challenge to solve. Then, we create a unique solution strategy to address it. Sponsor technologies are vetted, and a collaborative team led by HighStreet creates the in-store experience. Then, we test, learn and iterate for a number of weeks via experiment-based “sprints.” We capture the process, insights and results via a range of methods, and we share it in many formats. This culminates in our version of an immersive whitepaper called a “Sprint Story.” We can’t wait to publish the first one; it’s


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Software-Based Solutions in Commercial AV

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Perspectives from the show floor on the emergence of software solutions. (2 minutes 26 seconds) Featuring representatives from ENCO, QSC and NEC.

Leaders in corporate AV opine about contemporary corporate interactions and how corporate communications represents a ripe opportunity for AV integrators. (2 minutes 25 seconds) Featuring representatives from SYNNEX, Yorktel and Poly.

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Is 8K a Pipedream or the Way of the Future?

Milan and the Emergence of an Open-Standard Audio Protocol

Leaders weigh in on whether 8K fever is overblown, or whether 8K is truly the way of the future. (2 minutes 22 seconds) Featuring representatives from Digital Projection, Barco and Unified Technology Systems.

Insights into the latest developments with Milan, a standards-based, user-driven, deterministic network protocol. (2 minutes 6 seconds) Featuring representatives from d&b audiotechnik, Meyer Sound and Luminex.

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The Complexities of Dealing with Global Enterprise Clients

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Team Chat

Challenges and opportunities with global enterprise clients. (3 minutes 11 seconds) Featuring James Maltese, CTS-D, CTS-I, CQD, CQT.

What are the benefits of it? Can it be scaled to the global enterprise level? (3 minutes 2 seconds) Featuring David Danto.

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The Living Retail Lab is a HighStreet Collective initiative in which an Atlanta GA-area retailer, Citizen Supply, was chosen to participate.

ALP At Citizen Supply The NEC Analytics Learning Platform—NEC ALP—is an anonymous business-analytics platform designed to elevate businesses by tapping into unique customer insights. Using video sensors mounted throughout a store, ALP delivers non-identifying, anonymous demographic data that gives retail operators insights into store traffic, customer dwell times and more, all in service of triggering tailored content. The data gathered is correlated into message impressions and conversion, and it’s delivered via reporting and a customizable dashboard that gives retailers a more accurate look at just how effective their digital signage is at engaging customers and creating sales. Taking things a step further, ALP Pro has all the functionality of ALP, but it has deeper reporting functionality and utilizes artificial intelligence (AI) or machine learning. For example, if ALP Pro knows that, every day between the hours of 3pm to 5pm, there’s a greater influx of women between the ages of 18 and 27, it can tailor digital signage content to appeal to that demographic. In addition, ALP can use weather data to tailor content. So, for example, it can push an ad for sunglasses on a sunny day and an ad for umbrellas on a rainy day. ALP also uses location-based event data to trigger content to drive traffic and conversion of merchandise and services in a particular store area. At Citizen Supply, ALP is used to provide baseline analytics to generate traffic, dwell and demographic data. In future sprints, ALP will be utilizing the insights gathered to drive strategy for targeted messages and to drive conversion within the bar and lounge space and the retail space within Citizen Supply. ALP was the right choice for Citizen Supply because the owner had to drive traffic and conversion in the bar and lounge area by delivering dynamic content, targeted to specific demographics. In addition, the retailer would like to use the platform to promote events, while also measuring conversion and message effectiveness for the many makers (vendors) in the space. Without the insights that ALP provides and the ability to trigger targeted ads, Citizen Supply would not have access to the actionable business intelligence with which it can increase traffic and drive conversion.

66 Sound & Communications July 2019


a completely refreshing approach to what can be complex and hard-to-apply information.

What Kind Of ‘Experiments’? First and foremost, you won’t be seeing robots or any of the emerging technology that’s getting lots of “retailing 2025”-type coverage. We’re focusing on today’s issues using today’s technology. And the experiments are designed the same way we work with clients. Citizen Supply’s Owner, Phil Sanders, shares his business challenge; we dig in on the shopper pain points and opportunities we see around them; we prioritize the goals; and we form the team and get busy. Only then do we explore which technologies make sense and how we can weave them together to create signature, measurable experiences that result in one statement: “With this, we forecast X in cost and Y in ROI in Z amount of time.” For example, Sanders just built an amazing bar and lounge inside the store, called Likewise. He first had to convert more shoppers to patrons, so Sprint #1 is on digital menu boards. We’re testing static boards, a 1x3 videowall of NEC Display Solutions digital menu boards and a standalone “promo” screen, where we’re using NEC ALP and some other partners to test triggered content mapped to specific customer attributes. We’re testing and measuring a myriad of content and strategy approaches, ensuring that we include ones that are common to the industry (think point of purchase (POP) on steroids) and those we wish we saw more of and that we, ourselves, have used successfully. We’re working on the bones of Sprint #2, which will be addressing Sanders’ challenge to convert more passerby traffic into store visitors. Sprint #3 is under discussion, with the idea centered on how to infuse more stor ytelling and emotional engagement into the selling strategy. Further off, we’re discussing artificial intelligence (AI), creating more “social selling” in the physical store and interactive showrooms.

How Are The Results Measured? Historically, we’ve installed technologies to gather benchmark data, and then used various tools to measure things like presence, gaze, engagement, basket, sales, emotion and transaction. It’s all tested against content approaches and strategies, collated, results shared, “optimization” decisions made and executed, and then learnings and best practices documented. We always say it’s like treating the store as a “physical website,” where we have a stream of store-based data not terribly different from online web-stream data. Because ever y tool used was often in a different data cloud or system, it took a lot of work to collate whatever we were doing into usable information and dashboards. Some clients took our model in house and invested in employing systems, application program interfaces (APIs), data scientists and dashboards to automate it. Others just paid us a nice retainer to keep doing it with algorithms and sweat. And that was the original plan. However, while getting the idea off the ground, we learned about ALP, which was built to address these complexities and more. With it, we can see what’s happening in real time, and we can test out triggering content tied to attributes (age, sex, weather, etc.) so as to deliver content that is audience-tailored.

What Other Technology Suppliers And Brands? As noted, we never start with the technology. ALP offered what the lab required first and foremost—a hub to the many spokes on this wheel. We’ve engaged other partners for Sprint #1, but we’re actively seeking, screening and finalizing sponsor technologies for Sprint #2 and beyond. Regarding brands, we have no others involved—on purpose. If we bring in a retailer or consumer-packaged goods (CPG), the NDA nooses will kick in and we will become ser vants versus Sherpas. It would also mean that we’d be ser ving their business goals, rather than Sanders’ goals. (Note: Some other labs that are built for retail brands to play, explore and hone their chops have recently hit the press wires. We love the idea! We’re just not doing it here.)

What Is The Result? We’re creating an enlightened strategic approach for store innovation that the industr y can model. We’re creating irrefutable proof that the technologies available today can influence the bottom line. We’re teaching retailers how to utilize new systems to measure, optimize and monetize their own experiments. We’re helping an amazing owner become even more amazing. And, finally, we’re providing living proof that, to ignite change for the greater good, you sometimes just have to get out of bed and make it happen!

Delivering Dynamic Digital Displays


MARKET BRIEF Compiled by Amanda Mullen

Retail Environments With online shopping becoming increasingly convenient, the buzzword surrounding brick-and-mortar retail these days is “experience.” Stores can no longer attract customers simply by selling products that are in demand because, when it comes down to it, retail giants like Amazon and Walmart are offering the same items—often at cheaper prices—online. And that’s not even to mention the convenience of consumers not having to leave their homes to shop. Brick-and-mortar retailers can draw in customers, however, by appealing to them in other ways. By making the experience of shopping at a physical retail outlet memorable, shopping malls and individual stores can gain an advantage over their online competitors— something made evident by the fact that digital retailers like Amazon are beginning to open physical shops of their own. After all, anyone who has ever sat on the phone with a company’s automated customer-ser vice system, repeatedly asking for a representative, can attest to the fact that there’s something to be gained by shopping in person. Although perks like one-click checkout are appealing in the moment, it’s always useful to have a salesperson nearby when additional help is required. And if the store or salespeople can make the shopping experience not only easy but also fun, they’re sure to earn brownie points with customers. Those brownie points are what keep shoppers returning to brick-and-mortar stores in the digital age. 68 Sound & Communications July 2019

The American Dream mega-mall is combining the traditional retail experience with an extravagant, entertainment-based one that includes features like indoor theme parks.

Living The Dream New Jersey Meadowlands’ American Dream mega-mall is one retail center that’s taking the value of the customer experience ver y seriously, holding nothing back when it comes to ensuring its visitors have as memorable an experience as possible there. Although the project has seen multiple delays and several developer changes since its groundbreaking 15 years ago, construction has been in full swing recently, with plans to complete various portions of the five-million-square-foot complex in stages throughout the year. With so much space to fill, the mall has big plans. In fact, Triple Five, the company that took control of the project in 2010, stated that only 45 percent of the space is dedicated to “traditional retail”; for the other 55 percent, the focus is on entertainment. This includes two eight-acre indoor theme parks, one of which is a traditional Nickelodeon-themed amusement park and one of which is a DreamWorks water park. There will also be an indoor ski park, featuring a 16-stor y, 800-foot ski slope and ice-climbing wall. On the smaller side, the American Dream also boasts a luxur y movie theater, more than 100 dining options, an ice-skating rink, an aquarium and more. As of this writing, the cost of the American Dream mega-mall has already exceeded $5 billion. Triple Five has invested $3 billion, whereas the previous developers were responsible for the other $2 billion. To finance the American Dream project, Triple Five has recruited several partners. J.P. Morgan and Goldman Sachs arranged a $1.7 billion construction loan, as well as proceeds from a $1.1 billion tax-exempt bond offering, in order to assist with costs. Part of the bond financing also stems from a $390 million state grant. Other firms involved in the project include PCL, GH+A, Adamson Architects, McNamara Salvia Structural Engineers, Gensler, Langan Engineering, Torcon and more. The mall in its entirety is expected to open toward the end of this year, and it will house at least 450 tenants when it does.

When Life Gives You Lululemon Although the American Dream is about as immersive as it gets when it comes to the retail experience, plenty of individual stores are pushing the boundaries of what they have to offer on a much smaller scale. One such company is Lululemon, a chain that sells athletic clothing. Lululemon is in the process of opening an “experiential” flagship store in Chicago IL. The experiential descriptor stems from the fact that the new location will do more than just sell clothing; the more than 20,000-square-foot building, which will be located at 938 W. North Ave., will also include workout rooms, meditation spaces and food vendors for its customers. In order to include these ser vices, the building will be renovated to add extra space for them. The architect working on this build-out is Jonathan Splitt Architects, and the building is owned by Rye, Acadia Realty Trust and Jenel Management Corp. This experiential store could also become Lululemon’s standard going for ward, with


MARKET BRIEF Lululemon CEO Calvin McDonald revealing at an event earlier this year that these types of flagships could eventually make up about 10 percent of the retailer’s locations. At the time of this writing, it’s unclear whether the company will utilize the entire building at 938 W. North Ave. or just a large portion of it; however, an executive has confirmed that the new location will contain two workout studios that offer daily exercise classes, as well as the aforementioned meditation area, and “fuel space” selling juices and smoothies. By expanding its offerings, the company eventually hopes to push business into new countries and attract new demographics of customers.

Lululemon will renovate 938 W. North Ave. in Chicago IL (shown here in its current form) to open its first “experiential store.”

Nordstrom’s first full-price women’s department store in Manhattan NY is said to be the largest singleproject investment in the company’s history.

Big Moves In A Big City Manhattan NY is known for its high-end department stores, and it’s adding two more huge names to its list of retailers this year: Nordstrom and Neiman Marcus. Nordstrom is in the final stages of building its first women’s department store in Manhattan, with expectations to open its doors on October 24. This store comes on the heels of the company’s first full-price store for men in Manhattan, which opened in April of last year. The women’s store, however, will purportedly be the largest single-project investment in the company’s history. When it comes to the design, Nordstrom seems to be going for size as one of its main draws. The new store, which will be located on W. 57th St., will be seven stories high, encompassing a total of 320,000 square feet. Not only will the new Nordstrom location sell apparel, but it will also offer a number of dining spaces and coffee bars—things most luxury retailers seem to be incorporating into their locations as of late. And, in addition to its main flagship, the company intends to open two Nordstrom local shops, which emphasize experience rather than inventory. Instead of selling items like the flagship does, these two hubs will offer services like tailoring and nail painting to cater to customer needs that go beyond purchasing designer apparel. The local shops will be located in the West Village and Upper East Side, and they’ll open sometime this fall. Neiman Marcus has also recently expanded its pres-

Neiman Marcus has opened a flagship location at Manhattan’s The Shops & Restaurants at Hudson Yards, a retail hub drawing shoppers to the city’s West Side.

Neiman Marcus utilizes technology to enhance and simplify the shopping experience at its New York-based flagship location.

ence to Manhattan, opening a flagship location at the Hudson Yards on March 15 of this year. The three-stor y, 188,000-squarefoot department store encompasses the fifth, sixth and seventh floors of The Shops & Restaurants at Hudson Yards, a new retail hub drawing shoppers to the city’s West Side. The new Neiman Marcus location strives to outdo its competitors with experiential concepts similar to those embraced by the American Dream and Lululemon projects, offering visitors much more to do than just shop. Within its retail space, Neiman Marcus offers three dining choices, a stage for live performances, a personal shopping suite, and even a demo kitchen for tastings and mixology classes. The store also utilizes technology to enhance the shopper experience, with digital signage dispersed throughout that offers consumers promotional messages and important updates. Eleven digital directories can be found within the store, simplifying the shopping experience by allowing visitors to search for various departments and vendor locations, as well as deals and events. Rockbot audio ser vices also enable visitors to choose new songs for the store’s music playlist. Neiman Marcus Hudson Yards worked with Related, Janson Goldstein and Avro | Ko on this project, attempting to mesh the aesthetic of Manhattan’s West Side with its own well-known image of modern luxur y. July 2019

Sound & Communications 69


NEWS Compiled by Amanda Mullen

D-Link Joins SDVoE Alliance D-Link Systems, Inc., a global supplier of network solutions for home and business, has joined the the SDVoE Alliance as an adopting member. “We’re very excited about our new partnership with the SDVoE Alliance,” Matthew Vaillancourt, Senior Director of Business Sales at D-Link, said. “As the commercial AV space evolves, we look to be a true partner with everyone in this market, giving as much as—and more than—we get. For us, it’s not about leading in market share; [rather, it’s] about leading together in innovation!” “We welcome D-Link to the SDVoE ecosystem and look forward to tapping into their networking and switching expertise to provide solutions that AV professionals can depend on as we transform the matrix,” Justin Kennington, President of the SDVoE Alliance, added. “D-Link’s participation and support will expand the knowledge base that guides AV designers and users to take full advantage of the flexibility and scalability of Ethernet to deliver 4K video without compromise.”

InfoComm Southeast Asia 2019 Achieves Success InfoComm Southeast Asia 2019 made a strong debut, attracting 7,743 visitors and 152 exhibitors who made in-roads into the burgeoning southeast Asia market. The three-day show was highly anticipated. There is no other regional showcase for commercial AV and integrated-experience solutions on the scale of InfoComm Southeast Asia to serve businesses that want to penetrate the region, as well as commercial AV professionals and end users within southeast Asia who are hungry for the latest technologies. Asia is poised to take the lead as the largest commercial AV market in the world, growing by 5.3 percent yearly, and, eventually, by 2023, capturing 36 percent of the commercial AV market. Richard Tan, Executive Director of event organizer InfoCommAsia, said, “The fantastic response to the show confirms our sense that there is huge potential for the future growth of the [commercial AV] industry within southeast Asia. During the show, many told us that they are looking forward to next year’s edition. Moving forward, we are confident that InfoComm Southeast Asia will become an annual fixture, playing a relevant and critical role in helping both visitors and exhibitors to tap into the latest [commercial AV] innovations, establish new partnerships and seek out new opportunities to grow their business.” InfoComm Southeast Asia will return to the Bangkok International Trade and Exhibition Centre (BITEC) from May 27 to 29, 2020.

Almo Professional A/V Becomes National Distributor For Absen Almo Professional A/V has been chosen as the largest national distributor for Absen, Inc., a large producer and exporter of LED displays. According to Sam Taylor, Executive VP and COO, Almo Professional A/V, “Absen is a global leader in direct-view LED manufacturing—a technology that is skyrocketing for AV installations due to increased demand for high definition. This distribution partnership gives our resellers and integrators access to Absen products, along with the ability to maintain healthy margins and highly focused preand post-sales support. Additionally, we have an Almo Business Development Manager on staff, with expertise in this technology, who is available to work with our channel community on education and design.” “Almo’s wide distribution network is extremely beneficial to our resellers and integrators,” James Liu, President of Absen, added. “By providing broader coverage across the United States, we are better able to service our customers and end users.” 70 Sound & Communications July 2019

Esports Revenues To Reach $1 Billion, According To Futuresource Esports has been a growing market on the fringe of gaming culture since the late 1990s, but it has exploded in popularity in recent years, attracting a massive audience to the world of competitive gaming. Major competitions, such as the Intel Extreme Masters, already attract more than a hundred thousand spectators; meanwhile, millions of fans follow esports broadcasts on streaming channels like Twitch. This is fueling opportunities for sponsorship, as well as earnings from prizes and advertising-revenue streams for the best players. According to Futuresource Consulting’s “Esports Opportunity for the Broadcast, Pro-AV and IT Industries” study, overall esports industry revenues are set to exceed $900 million this year, with an 18-percent compound annual growth rate (CAGR) expected for 2019 through 2023. That will drive revenues past the billiondollar mark in 2020, and onto about $1.8 billion by 2023. As key events attract viewing figures comparable to top-tier sports competitions, securing exclusivity of major esports events will become strategically important for both traditional sports broadcasters and the largest esports streaming platforms. Varsity esports is becoming increasingly popular, and, already, it forms part of college life—especially in North America. Universities are building esports labs, equipped with high-end gaming PCs and broadcast equipment, where local teams can practice. Some universities even have their own esports arenas, where hundreds of spectators can watch major live competitions on giant screens. Esports requires specific, high-performance gaming PCs that have advanced graphics and various gaming-related peripherals. In addition, special gaming chairs are required, as is appropriate AV equipment for streaming. Large events usually require pro-video cameras, high-end sound systems and giant screens. There are huge opportunities in this growing market, especially on the education side, as esports becomes even more mainstream across schools and universities.


NEWS SYNNEX Teams With AVIXA To Open Three Regional Learning Centers SYNNEX Corp. has signed an agreement with AVIXA to launch three regional learning centers across the US. SYNNEX is the first AVIXA partner to invest in regional learning centers, which will be located in Greenville SC, Fremont CA and Downers Grove IL. According to Sandi Stambaugh, VP, Product Management, SYNNEX Corp., “We are pleased to invest in continuing education and certification offerings for our partners through this exciting new agreement. By working with AVIXA and our team of industry experts, our goal is to help partners grow their businesses by providing the proper training and tools needed [so as] better to service end customers.” Each regional learning center is designed to keep integrators up to date on industry best practices, while also introducing them to the latest AV technologies. Powered by SYNNEX VISUALSolv, the program is part of SYNNEX’s larger SERVICESolv training initiative, which includes education from dedicated design engineers, including licensed prep courses for AVIXA’s Certified Technology Specialist (CTS) certification. Additional offerings include AVIXA courses in AV installation, AV design, networking technology, project management for live events and managing AV staff. The three regional learning centers will open to current AVIXA members and nonmembers in Q3/19. In addition to AV integrators, vertical-market end users and those interested in attaining education for future AV career opportunities are eligible to participate.

CALENDAR August

The DJ Expo Aug. 12–15 Atlantic City NJ Testa Communications www.thedjexpo.com Integrate in Association with AVIXA, CEDIA Aug. 27–29 South Wharf, Australia Diversified Communications Australia www.integrate-expo.com

September

InfoComm China Sept. 4–6 Chengdu, Sichuan Province, China AVIXA chengdu.infocomm-china.com/en CEDIA Expo 2019 Sept. 10–14 Denver CO CEDIA www.cedia.net

PLASA Show 2019 Sept. 15–17 London, UK PLASA Events www.plasashow.com

L-Acoustics Extends AVIXA CTS Certification L-Acoustics has expanded its AVIXA Certified Technology Specialist (CTS) Renewal Unit (RU) Provider status to include two new training modules. Following the announcement at Integrated Systems Europe (ISE) that Soundvision Basics training (1.5 RU) and LA Drive System Training (2 RU) were the first L-Acoustics education program offerings to receive certification, L-Acoustics continues to partner with AVIXA to offer continuing education to professionals around the world. Engineers who participate in L-Acoustics’ Variable Curvature Line Source (3.5 RU) or Loudspeaker System Calibration (3.5 RU) training modules—either at an L-Acoustics location or via L-Acoustics Certified Providers throughout the world—will now also be able to receive CTS RUs. “Across the globe, our L-Acoustics training programs are on track to deliver more than 6,000 certifications in 2019,” Etienne Corteel, Director of Scientific Outreach at L-Acoustics, explained. “Expanding the AVIXA CTS offering to two of our strategic trainings is a mark of quality for the engineers who look to L-Acoustics to provide not only the highest standard in equipment, but also the highest standard in education for the professionals who design, implement and calibrate our systems around the globe.” Variable Curvature Line Source training teaches systems engineers and designers how to optimize a line source for coverage, sound pressure level (SPL) and frequency response. The course offers an overview of rational design methodology using Soundvision modeling and simulation software, including an introduction to the new Autosolver tools. Loudspeaker System Calibration training teaches system engineers how to calibrate a speaker system in a touring, rental or fixed-installation project. The course covers both verification and tuning of the system. Loudspeaker System Calibration training is currently in the pilot phase, and it’ll be available widely in October.

Kramer Electronics Joins Logitech Collaboration Program Kramer Electronics has joined the Logitech Collaboration Program (LCP) in the program’s Complimentary Solutions track. Through the LCP, Kramer delivers a user experience through a proven and mutually validated integration. Customers who purchase Logitech Video Collaboration products, along with Kramer@Work meeting rooms, now receive a solution that is optimized for groups to collaborate anytime and anywhere. According to the company, Kramer continues its focus on elevating customer experience by partnering with technology providers like Logitech. Kramer@Work meeting-room solutions using Logitech MeetUp conference cams leverage both companies’ core conferencing capabilities. “It’s an exciting time in the world of commercial AV,” Neta Lempert, VP, Digital Business Development, Kramer, said. “The opportunity to partner with industry leaders like Logitech ensures that our shared customers will all benefit from seamless integration and enhanced innovation.” July 2019

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NEWS AVIXA’s AVEC To Feature Robyn Benincasa, Mark Levy AVIXA has announced that Robyn Benincasa, a world-champion adventure racer and CNN Hero, and Mark Levy, the creator of Airbnb’s employee-experience program, will headline the seventh annual AV Executive Conference (AVEC), taking place from November 5 to 7 in New Orleans LA. AVEC gathers executives from AV integration firms, design consultancies and live-events companies to share new ways of excelling in commercial AV through thought leadership, workshops and networking. This year’s edition will take place in a new location. New Orleans’ River City Venues is located on the banks of the Mississippi River, in and around the massive warehouse spaces, where the city’s many groups build Mardi Gras floats each year. Benincasa, a former corporate sales expert and full-time firefighter, Robyn Benincasa currently advises Fortune 500 companies, including Starbucks, Nestle and Hewlett Packard, on how to build world-class teams. With 20 years’ experience as a competitive adventure racer, Benincasa will share how she mastered the skills required to inspire groups of semi-exhausted people through a seemingly endless series of checkpoints, working against crazy deadlines, in constantly changing conditions, all in pursuit of an audacious goal. Levy also brings a unique business perspective to AVEC. As the creator of the employee-experience program at Airbnb, Levy introduced new ways to support the entire employee journey— from recruitment to alumni status. Last year, Levy joined Allbirds, an environmentally friendly footwear company, to lead its global expansion and scale the company’s people and culture, all with Mark Levy a focus on employee experience. At AVEC, Levy will discuss how aligning a company’s culture and growth strategy allows it to tap into more engaged and productive employees, with an increased focus on meeting customers’ needs.

Shure, Anonymous Integrator Launch $100K NSCA Ignite Challenge The NSCA Education Foundation has announced the $100K NSCA Ignite Challenge, sponsored by Shure Inc. and an anonymous integrator donor. These two organizations have agreed to donate funds raised by other industry manufacturers and integrators. Shure will match manufacturer donations up to $25,000; the anonymous integrator will match funds raised by other integrators up to $25,000. This challenge will provide a sizable financial donation to the NSCA Education Foundation, specifically for its Ignite initiative, which increases awareness among students and young professionals of the communications-technology industry. “Shure has always placed a high priority on being a good corporate citizen,” Kevin Smith, US Director of Integrated Systems, said. “We are deeply committed to the Ignite initiative to help raise awareness and create a pipeline between educators and our industry organizations. The partnership with NSCA provides us with an opportunity to support the next generation and aid in the continued growth of the audiovisual industry.” With its matching donations, Shure and the anonymous integrator are challenging other manufacturers and integrators to support the NSCA Education Foundation, as well. The donations will be used to support Ignite, fund the AV integration industry’s workforce-development program (reaching out to science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) program leaders, educators, guidance counselors, technical colleges and higher-education institutions to attract the next generation to our industry) and support internship programs. Additional funding will be used to make continued updates to www.igniteyourcareer.org, host events to attract new industry talent and develop marketing-related materials to raise industry awareness. 72

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SiliconCore Announces Licensing Of Common Cathode LED Technology SiliconCore Technology will be entering licensing agreements with a select number of LED display manufacturers, granting the rights to use its patented Common Cathode technology. Having patented the technology in 2011, SiliconCore developed its Common Cathode process after the company realized its benefits relative to direct-view LED. “The team at SiliconCore recognized almost a decade ago the opportunity to innovate within the LED display industry and produce higher-resolution, better-performing displays,” SiliconCore’s CEO, Eric Li, explained. “We focused our research and development on inefficiencies in designs of LED displays, and Common Cathode technology was the result. With the trend toward higher-resolution LED displays of competitive performance specifications, and the added pressure to produce more efficient larger displays, managing the power, heat and brightness of displays based on the Common Anode technology was fast becoming an insurmountable challenge. The Common Cathode technology provides the perfect answer for overcoming this challenge.” He added, “This puts us in the perfect position to license our technology for wider use, enabling further innovation across the industry in the production of highly efficient, highresolution LED displays.” So far, three brands have confirmed partnerships with SiliconCore, with a number of additional collaborations to be announced throughout the remainder of the year. SiliconCore has expertise in digital and analog mixed-signal semiconductor integrated circuit design. The Common Cathode LED technology is implemented as a chip-level technical solution that enables key features, such as low power and heat dissipation, high refresh rates, low-brightness gray scale and low EMI. This allows adopters of Common Cathode technology to create efficient, long-lasting displays—from larger pixel pitches down to very fine pixel pitches.


NEWS Vistacom Earns PSNI Global Deployment Certification Vistacom, a provider of audiovisual and communications solutions, has announced that David Jaques, Director of Operations at Vistacom, has received PSNI Global Deployment certification. That certification ensures that customers receive a standardized approach to service and integration, irrespective of where in the world their project is located, because they are working with a PSNI-certified integrator. With integrators on six continents and more than 170 offices around the world, PSNI Global Alliance is a fast-growing private network of premier technology integrators and service providers. “By having this certification process in place, our members’ customers can be assured they’re always going to get the same standardized, superior service from region to region, country to country,” Chris Miller, Executive Director of PSNI Global Alliance, said. To become certified for Global Deployment, employees of the member company must pass an exam that demonstrates mastery of global AV deployment practices as outlined in the PSNI Global Deployment handbook. Skill areas include contracts, meetings, expectations, design, programming, end-user training, project templates, project workflow and more. To ensure that each project adheres to PSNI Global Deployment practices, PSNI integrators provide peer reviews that focus on response time, information accuracy, and whether expectations were met or exceeded. “We’re excited that Dave has been certified for Global Deployment with PSNI on behalf of Vistacom,” Angela Nolan, COO, and PSNI Global Alliance Board Member, said. “Dave is a valuable part of our Operations team, and this certification allows us to work in sync with other integrators so we can focus on the same goals for the best outcome for our customers.”

ClearOne Goes to School With PEPPM Underscoring its commitment to making its product portfolio available to the widest possible K-12 education audience, ClearOne has announced its participation in the PEPPM technology cooperative purchasing program administered by the Central Susquehanna Intermediate Unit (CSIU). The CSIU staff solicits bids on popular lines of hardware, software and services satisfying legal bid requirements. Local education agencies (LEAs) can then release purchase orders for technology products without having to solicit their own bids. PEPPM bids on behalf of thousands of schools and agencies—public

QSC Opens SAARC Headquarters In India QSC has opened its new South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) headquarters in Bengaluru, India. The office is 9,270 square feet, and it serves as a businessdevelopment, management and support hub for QSC Systems, Live Sound and Cinema businesses in the region. It also serves as a dedicated training and demonstration area, and it includes a capacious terrace space for customer events. “Over the last few years, QSC has been dedicated to growing its international presence, and this new entity is a crucial piece of that strategy,” Markus Winkler, SVP, EMEA South Asia, and Managing Director, QSC EMEA GmbH, said. “As we continue to experience tremendous growth in SAARC year over year in all our business units, this dedicated facility will allow us to accelerate our growth trajectory in the coming years.” “Our business partners in SAARC have been instrumental to our success, and [they] will continue to be our main focus as we work together to develop new opportunities in all vertical markets,” Rajesh Mittal, Managing Director, QSC India and SAARC, added. “The ability to offer in-region support resources, in addition to our comprehensive solutions portfolio, allows us to better equip our partners with the right tools to grow their business and deepen customer relationships. In addition, we can give customers a firsthand experience of QSC solutions, as well as local training, including the Q-SYS Architect training program, enabling our customers and partners to understand the QSC difference.”

schools, vocational/technical schools, approved private schools, intermediate units, nonpublic schools, charter schools and community colleges, as well as public libraries. And, with vendor approval and permissible by statute, four-year colleges and universities, local and state governments, and other non-profit agencies are eligible. “Participation in the PEPPM cooperative purchasing program will help schools and districts all across the country to receive the very best possible pricing on the industry’s best line of pro-audio, conferencing and collaboration solutions,” ClearOne’s Chair and CEO, Zee

Hakimoglu, said. “Learning institutions of every size and type are increasingly AV centric in the way they deliver content, and our involvement with this program is going to make it easier than ever for these institutions to leverage the unique performance benefits our products deliver.” PEPPM aggregates demand across thousands of buyers, resulting in better pricing than sole-bid efforts can provide, and there is no maximum spend limitation. In fact, PEPPM has provided more than $500 million in savings while exceeding more than $1.8 billion in sales since the program started in 1982. July 2019

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NEWS DAS Audio Provides Magical Sound For ‘Criss Angel Mindfreak’ DAS Audio worked with producer, director and artist Criss Angel and his sound designer, Aaron Beck, to design an audio system for the new illusion spectacular “Criss Angel Mindfreak” at Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino Las Vegas in Las Vegas NV. The DAS Audio team worked with Angel to design the acoustic installation for the theatrical concert experience. The aim of the system design was to provide an emotionally stimulating and engaging audio experience for the audience. Sound Engineer Jimmy Kwon pointed out the requirements for the show: “Criss needs a sound system that can handle a diverse spectrum of sound—from EDM to rock—while also delivering crisp clarity while he performs….” Taking this into account, the project focused on designing a multi-channel sound system that would create a consistent, high-quality, immersive audio experience throughout the show. According to Kwon, “After fine tuning the time alignment and EQ, the system really proved that the design team would be able to deliver whatever Criss wanted, however he wanted. Criss’ vision, supported by Aaron’s system design and DJeff’s (Music Director) programming, was able to come true because of the DAS Audio system’s capability.” The sound system in this production receives

DAS Audio worked with producer, director and artist Criss Angel and his sound designer, Aaron Beck, to design an audio system for the new illusion spectacular “Criss Angel Mindfreak.”

23 different input signals. System processing is handled by three DSP 4080 processors controlled by DASnet and three DAS DX Series amplifiers with built-in processing, controlling 41 independent audio outputs feeding a multichannel system. The multi-channel design consists of a main system of two clusters of custom Aero-20A and Aero-20.120A, the UX-218RA flown subwoofer and two Aero-8A central systems, along with Artec-510A and

Shure Chosen As One Of 2019’s Best And Brightest Companies To Work For Shure Inc. has been selected as one of the Best and Brightest Companies To Work For by the National Association for Business Resources (NABR). An awards competition that honors employer excellence, Shure was selected for acknowledging its associates as the company’s greatest asset and for showcasing best practices across human resources and employee-enrichment programs. This marks the 11th time Shure has received this recognition from the NABR. An independent research firm evaluates each company’s entry based on key measures in several categories, including Compensation; Benefits and Employee Solutions; Employee Enrichment, Engagement and Retention; Employee Education and Development; Recruitment, Selection and Orientation; Employee Achievement and Recognition; Communication and Shared Vision; Diversity and Inclusion; Work-Life Balance; Community Initiatives; and Strategic Company Performance. “Now, with the war on talent hitting the doorsteps of the Best and Brightest, this achievement means even more than a year ago,” Jennifer Kluge, President and CEO, Best and Brightest Programs, said. “As we continue to raise the bar, these companies rise to the challenge through their cultural innovation by maximizing their workforce potential.” “We are thrilled to be recognized, once again, as a Best and Brightest Company,” Chris Schyvinck, President and CEO of Shure Inc., added. “Our associates are the number one reason for our success, and we applaud and congratulate our talented workforce for their world-class work ethic, creativity and achievements.” 74

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508A systems for fills. The installation was reinforced with six powerful UX-30A for the reproduction of very low frequency program material, and Artec-510 and 526 systems along with the Vantec-15 as side and rear reinforcement powered by the DX Series amps that work as part of the sound immersion of the show. Additionally, the main system used DASaim, optimizing SPL distribution and frequency response throughout the audience.

Harman Appoints SYNNEX As Distributor Harman Professional Solutions has entered into a US distribution agreement with SYNNEX Corp. The distribution agreement makes the company part of a select group of preferred Harman Professional Solutions distributors in the IT channel through SYNNEX VISUALSolv, which specializes in digital signage, commercial AV, physical security and collaborative communication offerings. SYNNEX customers will have access to the Harman portfolio of brands and products that are required to help grow business in the corporate, government and commercial-contracting business sectors. The agreement strengthens SYNNEX’s audio portfolio and expands Harman’s reach. “We are excited to partner with SYNNEX Corp. and expand our distribution channels within the US,” Michael Schoen, VP of Retail and Distribution, North America, Harman Professional Solutions, said. “We are looking forward to our collaboration with SYNNEX, and we’re confident their experience and in-depth knowledge of the IT and [commercial AV] markets will help us deliver the most relevant technology solutions to our customers.” “By working with Harman Professional Solutions, we are able to deliver a range of competitive new audio offerings to our customers,” Sandi Stambaugh, VP, Product Management, SYNNEX Corp., added. “Harman also helps customers meet strategic vertical-market needs with one of the industry’s most trusted brands.” The agreement includes audio products from JBL, AMX, BSS and more.


PEOPLE

Compiled by Amanda Mullen

N. Agevik

V. Schuster

J. Parson

C. Waters

G. Booth

M. Daskalopoulos

J. Eisenberg

A. Maxson

T. Wolf

F. Bjerke

S. Bini

D. McKenzie

H. von Falkenstein

D. Cotter

N. Mehta

R. Mappin

J. Coccaro

M. Chowdhury

A. Lodico

L. Marrin

Propellerhead Software named Niklas Agevik as CEO…Atlona appointed Vince Schuster as Senior Director of Sales, covering the North American commercial and residential AV markets, and Jason Parson as Regional Sales Manager, Pacific Northwest…Pro Media Audio & Video hired Chris Waters as Senior Sales Director…Yamaha Corp. of America named Glenn Booth as Director of Marketing for Professional Audio…ScreenBeam appointed Mike Daskalopoulos as Director of Strategic Platform Technology, Jason Eisenberg as Territory Sales Manager for the East Coast, and Alison Maxson as Senior Manager, Marketing and Communications…Just Add Power welcomed Taylor Wolf as Director of Branding…Listen Technologies appointed Flemming Bjerke as Managing Director, Listen Technologies Europe…Exterity welcomed

Simone Bini as Head of Sales, UK…Riedel North America appointed David McKenzie as Manager of Service and Support…dBTechnologies hired Harald von Falkenstein as Sales and Brand Manager for the dBTechnologies, MIXARS and ANT IntoMusic brands…LSI Industries appointed Doug Cotter as National Sales Manager for Retail National Accounts…Proel S.p.A. named Nitin Mehta as Regional Sales Manager for the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) countries…Broadcast Pix hired Rhett Mappin as Central/South Regional Sales Manager…Reflex Marketing named Jon Coccaro as Contractor-AV Division Sales Manager…beyerdynamic Americas hired Maureen Chowdhury as Marketing Manager, Angela Lodico as Sales and Marketing Coordinator, and Laura Marrin as Online Sales Manager…. July 2019

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PRODUCTS Compiled by Amanda Mullen Extron’s Digital Matrix Processors

Extron’s DMP 128 FlexPlus series of compact Dante Digital Matrix Processors features 12 FlexInput channels with full DSP, including AEC, and Dante connectivity, in only a half rackspace. With an extensive mix matrix, a USB audio interface and analog compatibility, the DMP 128 FlexPlus provides the ability to connect and route multiple types of source signals to accommodate diverse analog- and digital-system requirements. For collaboration applications, the V model includes up to 8 VoIP lines. Featuring an ACP bus for audio control panels, an expansion port for bidirectional digital audio connection with a DTP CrossPoint or another DMP, 8 audio file players and configurable macros, the DMP 128 FlexPlus can be used anywhere—from a collaboration space, to a large conference room. The Dante-enabled DMP 128 FlexPlus series suits applications that utilize Dante ceiling mic arrays and other Dante-enabled devices. Extron Electronics www.extron.com

All product information supplied by manufacturers and/or distributors.

DEXON Systems’ 3-In-1 Solution

DEXON Systems’ DIMAX-Pro is the company’s new flagship product, which is a 3-in-1 solution that integrates a presentation matrix, routing matrix and video processor into a single chassis. It’s a Swiss Army knife of a product, and it has applications that relate to many verticals. The DIMAX-Pro also offers increased flexibility by integrating the functionality of 3 products into 1 core system. DEXON Systems www.dexonsystems.com

Biamp’s Mic Family

Biamp’s Parlé family of mics expands on the company’s pendant beamtracking mics. These sleek new models come in desktop (TTM-X) and ceiling (TCM-X) versions. At less than 6" diameter, their unobtrusive design allows them to virtually disappear into any conference room; as such, users can focus on the meeting, rather than on the technology. These mics feature 16 mic arrays and 4 zones to dynamically track voices of meeting participants. Unlike traditional beamforming mics, Biamp’s Parlé mics’ beamtracking technology works right out of the box—no need for any lobe aiming or room mapping. Biamp www.biamp.com

Leon Speakers’ Speaker Series

Working with Sonos to develop a line of lifestyle products powered by the company’s new amp, Leon Speakers has released the Ente Series. Composed of 3 products, the Ente Series includes the Ente Sound Sculpture, the Ente SoundTile and the Ente Soundbar—all of them powered by the Sonos Amp. The Ente Sound Sculpture brings together sound, light and form to create an enhanced entertainment experience. Black-andwhite Baltic Birch panels are interspersed between audio channels, creating a piece that integrates into any Sonos system. The Ente SoundTile provides referencegrade audio and power by Sonos, but concealed with screen-printed artwork on a perforated metal that can be customized to match any décor. The Ente Soundbar features reference-grade audio by Leon Speakers and power by Sonos in a sleek, handcrafted Baltic Birch cabinet with a stylized center grill. Leon Speakers www.leonspeakers.com

Biamp’s Parlé TTM-X, TCM-X

DEXON Systems’ DIMAX-Pro

Extron’s DMP 128 FlexPlus

Leon Speakers’ Ente Series 76

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PRODUCTS Hear Technologies’ Pro-Audio Tool

Hear Technologies’ new pro-audio tool, the Switch Back M8RX, offers robust capabilities and an intuitive design. It combines 2 products into 1: a personal interface to be used for live sound or recording, as well as a multichannel headphone monitoring system. With the M8RX, users are given the choice to play live, record or monitor their mix, all with a single tool. Compact in size to fit any situation, the M8RX allows individuals to use it in multiple ways, such as in a mini-recording-studio setup or as a simple communication system. The Switch Back M8RX has a total of 8 channels of audio mixing: 2 studio-quality mic preamps, 2 channel line inputs and 4 Dante network audio inputs/outputs. Hear Technologies www.heartechnologies.com

Audix’s Integrated Mic System

Audix has added the benefits of digital networking to its family of installed ceiling mics. The Audix Dante | AES67 integrated mic system is an easy-to-install system that consists of 2 Dante | AES67 mic interface models and RJ45-equipped versions of the popular M3 tri-element hanging mic, the steerable, flush-mount M70 ceiling mic, and the M55 hanging ceiling mic. High-quality audio and all mic functions—including on-off contact closure and LED status indicators—are available through a single Cat5/ Cat7 cable with RJ45 connections at both interface and mic. And the gain structures of all Audix RJ45-equipped analog mics are optimized for their intended placement, providing quality audio at the DSP. At the heart of the Dante | AES67 integrated mic system are the DN4 and DN43 mic interface units. The DN4 features 4 inputs for Audix RJ45-equipped, singleelement mics; the DN43 features 1 mic input designed for the Audix M3 tri-element mic and 1 input for Audix RJ45-equipped, single-element mics. Audix www.audixusa.com

Yamaha UC’s Collaboration Kit

The Yamaha Collaboration Kit, currently available only in North America, combines Yamaha’s ESB-1080 Enterprise Sound Bar and Huddly IQ AI-powered conference camera, which is tailored to deliver a high-quality video-collaboration experience. Yamaha’s ESB-1080 provides an immersive feeling, offering clear, dynamic, full-range speaker output for conference rooms. The sound bar’s 2 built-in subs and bassreflex port deliver clear, dynamic, full-range sound in conjunction with 2 dome tweeters and 2 woofers. Its conference-mode preset is specialized for installation in conference-room spaces that have enterprise-demanded functions for easy administration. The compact and elegant design, automatic sound optimization and versatile mounting options suit the solution for various enterprise needs and designs. The Yamaha ESB-1080 is available as a sound solution for any enterprise room to provide or expand speaker output, or as part of a bundled solution with the Huddly IQ AIpowered conference camera. Yamaha Unified Communications uc.yamaha.com

Audinate’s SoftwareBased Dante Products

Audinate has announced 2 software-based Dante products. Dante Embedded Platform enables manufacturers to add full Dante functionality in software running on Linux for x86 and ARM processors. The Dante Application Library allows software developers to integrate Dante functionality directly into their PC and Mac applications. These software-based solutions give manufacturers and developers the ability to deploy Dante into products where it wasn’t previously feasible. Dante as software provides more flexibility, with the potential to enable new capabilities, such as Dante being deployed retroactively to products already in the field, the ability to add new features and functions to products on the fly, and the possibility for manufacturers, integrators or customers to configure the number of Dante channels they want for a particular application. Audinate is introducing these software products in conjunction with lead customers that include QSC, Analog Devices and Zoom Video Communications. Audinate www.audinate.com

Hear Technologies’ Switch Back M8RX

Audix’s Dante | AES67

Yamaha UC’s Collaboration Kit July 2019

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MEDIA

Compiled by Amanda Mullen

The latest literature, whitepapers, new or updated websites, course materials, webinars, training videos, podcasts, online resources and more. If you can read it, watch it or listen to it, you’ll find it here! Send details, with photos, if available, to dferrisi@testa.com.

NanoLumens’ Whitepaper

NanoLumens has released a whitepaper focused on how advanced visualization solutions are playing a key role in defining the contemporary airportterminal experience. The whitepaper, “The Role of Dynamic Digital Signage In The Airport Information Economy,” is available for download online. According to NanoLumens’ VP of Global Marketing and Business Development, Joe’ Lloyd, the most effective solution for airports is dynamic signage. The whitepaper spotlights specific airports that are ahead of the curve in realizing the full benefits of integrating LED visualization solutions into their terminal operations. Highlighted airports include John F. Kennedy Airport in New York NY; Changi Airport in Singapore; Toronto Pearson International Airport in Ontario, Canada; Vancouver International Airport in British Columbia, Canada; McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas NV; Stansted and Heathrow Airports in London, UK; and Charlotte Douglas International Airport in Charlotte NC. NanoLumens www.nanolumens.com

Gorman-Redlich’s Facebook Presence

Gorman-Redlich has launched a new social-media presence on Facebook. The company has more than 45 years’ experience in commercial, industrial and broadcast alerting, and it is dedicated to staying in touch with its users. According to the company, it has had a number of requests for additional avenues of communications for users to learn more about its product capabilities. Although much of the user base prefers receiving information over the telephone or via email, more and more want to interact over new media. Gorman-Redlich Mfg. Co. www.gorman-redlich.com

AIMS’ Positioning Paper

The Alliance for IP Media Solutions (AIMS) has released a new positioning paper, entitled “AV-Over-IP: It’s Real, and It’s Transformational.” The paper examines the impact of the media-over-IP movement on the commercial AV and installed-systems markets. A key focus centers on AIMS’ efforts to promote a single set of common, ubiquitous protocols for interoperability over IP in the commercial AV industry, based on the SMPTE ST 2110 standards suite for video, audio and data transport. The AIMS AV-over-IP paper is now available for download at www.aimsalliance.org/white-papers. AIMS www.aimsalliance.org

Stewart Filmscreen’s Redesigned Website

Stewart Filmscreen has unveiled a completely reimagined website at www.stewartfilmscreen.com. With the new site, customers can dig deeper

ClearTech’s New Website

ClearTech, a prominent AV integrator based in Altadena CA, whose projects Sound & Communications has covered extensively, recently updated its website. By launching its new website, the company intends to reflect its growth and service offerings, in addition to reflecting the overall growth of the commercial AV industry. The website features case studies, client testimonials and details about the company’s service program, as well as information about ClearTech’s involvement in the greater community. ClearTech www.cleartechav.com into Stewart Filmscreen’s offerings, including a host of new options, tools and content. Included in the design is a Screen Finder capability that allows users quickly to find a screen for any project; meanwhile, the Configurator Price Quote (CPQ) tool has built-in drawing and quote capabilities that speed up the design process for integrators. The site features quick-access menus, original content and clear visuals. Visitors can quickly sort through all 35 options by filtering based on screen type, image width, mounting method, masking options or special features. Once a product is selected, visitors can learn more about the product and its ideal applications, see it in a gallery of real-world installations and access a printable brochure. Stewart Filmscreen www.stewartfilmscreen.com

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Audix Dante | AES67 made simple – by Audix

Barco New LED XT Series Barco’s new LED XT Series, powered by the industry leader in image processing, Barco Infinipix™, gives you superior image quality and reliability. Barco is the brand you trust for unmatched visual performance. With the Barco XT Series, you now have an LED product to fit any budget and project need. We’re changing the LED market one image and screen at a time. You deserve the best. Your projects deserve Barco XT LED. WEB ADDRESS: www.sndcom.us/barco-xt-series

The Audix Dante | AES67 Integrated Microphone System is an easy to install system that consists of two Dante | AES67 microphone interface models and RJ45-equipped versions of our most popular ceiling microphones: the M3 tri-element hanging microphone, the steerable, flush-mount M70 ceiling microphone, and the M55 hanging ceiling microphone. High-quality audio and all microphone functions — including on-off contact closure and dual color LED status indicators — are available via a single CAT5 - CAT7 cable. This simple configuration eliminates wiring errors, accelerates installation, and reduces cost. Low-pass and high-pass filter settings are available on each audio channel, as are eight selectable gain levels. And all Audix Dante I AES67 microphone gain structures are optimized for their intended placement, providing quality audio at the DSP. The result is true plug-and-play installation. Learn more at AudixUSA.com/Dante. WEB ADDRESS: www.audixusa.com/dante.shtml E-MAIL: info@audixusa.com

SOFTWARE Compiled by Amanda Mullen

PreSonus’ Software Update

PreSonus’ Studio One 4.5 update to its recording and production software includes more than 70 new features and improvements. This free update for Studio One 4 users adds advanced tools that streamline professional audio and MIDI production workflows. The redesigned input-channel section adds updated hardware preamp controls for selected PreSonus audio interfaces, as well as software-based input gain and phase controls to every input. This combination of hardware- and software-based gain controls offers more flexibility and control throughout the entire recording and mixing process. All audio and instrument channels, effects channels and buses also feature gain and phase controls, so users can manage perfect levels across the entire mix without increasing event gain. Grouping has been completely redesigned: Groups now have attributes for defining edit groups or mix groups using attributes for volume, pan, mute/solo, inserts and sends. PreSonus www.presonus.com

QSC’s Firmware Update

QSC has released a firmware v2.0 update to its TouchMix-30 Pro compact digital mixer. There is a new custom fader banks function supporting three fader banks assignments, each for eight channels, that are saved as part of a mixer scene. There’s a capability to interface with 3rd-party external control surfaces with motorized faders. (QSC has verified operation with iCon Platform M+, Behringer XTouch Compact and PreSonus FaderPort 8 control surfaces.) Nearly 30 new instrument presets include cajon, accordion, harmonica, ukulele, cello, clarinet and various percussions. CP Series compact powered speaker presets are available directly in the mixer, as well as CP8 and CP12 speakers’ input gain settings recommendations QSC www.qsc.com July 2019

Sound & Communications 79


EDUCATION: TECHNOLOGY: SCHOOL DISTRICT SOARS WITH DIGITAL SIGNAGE: GEORGIA SCHOOL DISTRICT REACHES NEW HEIGHTS (continued from page 29) a school administrator might have access to the entire network. From a district IT level, this was ver y attractive to them.” With more than half of the schools now “live” with the new system, Hall County School District is already finding new efficiencies in how it creates, manages and delivers its digital signage content. It’s also broadening applications as a result—notably, expanding to booster clubs and concession stands at sports events. “The most immediate benefit was that the learn-

ing cur ve was ver y quick,” Turpin affirmed. “Principals can assign management tasks to virtually anyone in the district; they don’t need to be media specialists or have technical engineering degrees to operate the system. We have grade-level teachers posting their own content. That has been especially helpful in accomplishing our goal of publishing student achievement on a regular basis. We are publishing authentic student work on these screens.” Turpin added that the district has been leveraging social media more than ever,

which, he said, aids in his goal of keeping content fresh and relevant. He also noted that, since the upgrade, an environment of effective communication has been fostered district-wide, with regular posting of timely and useful information. The system transition has also resolved the reliability and stability problems typical of the previous systems. “It has worked ever y minute of ever y day,” Turpin enthused. “We don’t have to deal with the headache of resets anymore, and [we don’t have to] unplug and re-plug boxes.”

But, for Turpin, it really comes back to demonstrating student exemplars—and the students taking that satisfaction home with them when they leave school at the end the day. “We expect our kids to take the knowledge that they are gaining and produce new heights of knowledge with it,” Turpin said. “That often comes in some sort of class project…oftentimes digital. [Our new systems] mean we can publish authentic evidence of learning on a daily basis. That simply was not possible before.”

INDUSTRY POV: IOT DEVICES AND PRO AUDIO: THE NEXT BIG THING IS HAPPENING NOW (continued from page 40) the Device Certificate, the SSL Certificate and the Repair Tool Certificate. The Device Certificate is used for authentication and encr yption between the IoT device and the AWS IoT core. This certificate is installed on the device at the factor y and cannot be modified or changed, thereby ensuring the intended communication path to the cloud is both

authentic and encr ypted. The SSL Certificate is used for any communications between devices and the HTTP/Websocket Ser ver. This ensures the communication path while on the LAN cannot be compromised locally. Finally, the Repair Tool Certificate is used when the IoT device is returned for ser vice. This tool gives manufacturers the ability to erase all previous cloud

data and any private settings, and then reassign a new certificate to ensure nobody who has access to that device can retrieve any data before the device is put back into ser vice after a repair. New IoT technology is becoming the foundation of the pro-audio-innovation roadmap. Utilizing cloud connectivity for data analysis and storage will be a huge benefit

to the professional integrator for measuring system health, creating and accessing speaker tunings, updating software and firmware, remote monitoring easily over firewalls and more. The future truly lies in building platforms that are secure, flexible and easy to adjust as integrators create recurringrevenue models. IoT is the gateway to that future.

LIBERTY FOR ALL: STATUE OF LIBERTY MUSEUM ENGAGES, INFORMS AND IMMERSES VISITORS (continued from page 53) and the overlay, using quarter-inch-thick glass. A thin, conductive, acr ylic strip was also added to cover the space between the frame and the IR overlay; this helped avoid having a gap large enough where debris could enter and interfere with the IR function. ”LG was the only manufacturer that made these sized screens, but they weren’t touchscreens,” DiQuinzio added. “So, we improvised.” The densely packed kiosks underscore the museum’s infrastructure in general. FeeleyVario noted that the venue’s 80

heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) could have to accommodate as many as 400 visitors in the museum at the same time; this resulted in a lot of ductwork, leading inexorably to “a lot of cabling [and] a lot of conduit, which we had to work around,” she said. She added that there are virtually no 90-degree angles in the entire venue, meaning most of the cabling has to navigate cur ving walls. “It reminded us why we paid attention in school during math,” she quipped. Most of the infrastructure uses copper cabling between the ex-

Sound & Communications July 2019

hibits and the two rack rooms, since those runs are less than 100m. The two rack rooms themselves, which are filled with a combined 13 Middle Atlantic rack units, are connected to each other over the Q-SYS network by fiber. The Statue of Liberty Museum comes at a pivotal moment in time, when the very peregrinations it celebrates are taking place again, albeit under different circumstances, but in search of the same ends: a chance to start over in a new land. Each of the AV team members went into this project with his or

her own immigrant legacy, and each came out of the experience having become more aware of it. And, just as the statue has always done, it presided over yet another generation being “delivered” to America: Three babies were born to team-member families during the years-long integration process, including Feeley-Vario’s son, born this past September. A fourth—the first child for Diversified Account Manager Rudy De La Uz—is on the way. As John Mellencamp would say, “But ain’t that America.”


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Atlona

Yamaha Pro Audio

The AT-OME-PS62 6×2 Matrix Presentation Switcher

Yamaha Releases 4th Generation of Active Field Control System

The Atlona AT-OME-PS62 is a 6×2 matrix presentation switcher with HDMI, USB-C, and HDBaseT inputs, plus HDMI and HDBaseT outputs. Part of the Omega™ Series of integration products for modern AV communications and collaboration, the OME-PS62 features HDBaseT extension for video up to 4K/60 4:2:0, plus embedded audio, control, Ethernet, and USB over distances up to 330 feet (100 meters). The HDMI and USB-C inputs support video up to UHD/60 4:4:4. The OME-PS62 features 4K/60 4:4:4 upscaling and downscaling for the HDMI output. The integrated USB extension addresses the challenge of connecting between USB devices at remote locations and is ideal for software video conferencing such as Skype®, WebEx®, BlueJeans® and others. The OME-PS62 includes USB 3.0 and USB-C interfaces for three host PCs, plus two peripheral devices such as a camera, microphone, speakerphone, or keyboard and mouse. WEB ADDRESS: www.atlona.com

The fourth generation of the Yamaha Active Field Control (AFC) acoustic conditioning system features significant upgrades in digital signal processing (DSP) and hardware. When combined with optimally placed microphones and loudspeakers, AFC4 operators can greatly enhance or create any space, from a cathedral to an outdoor or roofless venue, with an organic-sounding acoustical environment. Active Field Control systems augment the architectural design of facilities while maintaining the natural sonic characteristics of a space and providing alternatives to physical renovations. The AFC4 system processor’s sampling rate, fixed FIR taps, FIR presets and configurable FIR tap settings are upgraded, and the system is now equipped with a FIR EQ in favor of the previous AFC3 version’s parametric EQ. Combined with 32 mic inputs and 96 output channels, this DSP upgrade lets users realize a broader range of sonic “experiences,” from subtle and nuanced to dramatic and extreme. For information, visit our web address. WEB ADDRESS: www.yamahaca.com

Arista Video Projection Mapping Turnkey System Arista’s Video Projection Mapping Turnkey System is a compact, all-in-one solution for projection mapping applications. The system is pre-configured, producing a streamlined setup that merely requires connecting / disconnecting etherCON cables to and from the projectors. The system integrates a 4U rack mount computer named QuadMosaic. Powered by an Intel Xeon 10-core processor, it can be upgraded to a 22-core processor. The system is populated with 128 GB DDR4-2400 system memory and is upgradable to 512GB. Five swappable 2TB SATA HDDs are installed and configured in a RAID-5 configuration with one hot spare SATA HDD. The second section is Arista’s ARD-5816-A07-TX HDBaseT Cluster, accommodating up to sixteen HDBaseT transmitter blades. Each blade is located on the unit’s front and is hot swappable. There are up to sixteen I/O blades located at the rear of the unit—each being hot swappable. WEB ADDRESS: www.aristaproav.com/projection-mapping E-MAIL: sales@aristaproav.com

Whirlwind Custom Design Your Own Distro, Panels and Plates With DesignPRO DesignPRO is Whirlwind’s new free downloadable software for PCs by Stardraw® which allows you to custom design your own distro, panels, plates or boxes and submit them directly to us for quotation. Simply drag and drop everything from the vast array of connectors, to where you want them, and how you want them labeled... It couldn’t be easier! Download it today and get started at the web address below. WEB ADDRESS: www.sndcom.us/whirlwind-designpro

July 2019

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AD INDEX Company

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AVENT HORIZON: SO MUCH EYE CANDY!: INFOCOMM FEATURED EXCITING ADVANCEMENTS (continued from page 84) curved surfaces, a task once performed at the LG Display factory in South Korea, but that can now be executed by an integrator with a special tool. There weren’t many significant technology demos at the show, but one, in particular, was a harbinger for display technology. LG showed a super-widescreen microLED display prototype that looked to be about eight feet across and that absolutely dazzled with its high contrast and saturated colors. Many consider microLEDs—emissive devices that measure just .05mm in size—the next wave in display technology. It might take a decade for them to arrive, but I believe they’ll push other direct-view display technologies off the stage when they do get here. Another interesting concept was found at the Samsung booth, in which a 98-inch 8K LCD panel was showing multiple

windows of video, graphics and super-fine text. Yes, you can get to 8K resolution by tiling smaller panels, but this display has no mullions and a thin frame. Plus, it supports high dynamic range (HDR) video with a wide color gamut (WCG). Nearby, there were LCD monitors for outdoor use with ver y high brightness levels and saturated colors—an alternative play to LEDs. And, for extreme detail, Leyard and Planar featured a 3x3 LCD wall composed of 4K panels that had a combined resolution of 11,520x4320 pixels. Ever y LED wall manufacturer was showing cur ved and “wrappable” LED products. Christie’s new MicroTile platform uses fine-pitch LEDs in small tiles for precisely that application. Leyard and Planar also exhibited some clever LED tile configurations, as did Absen, Unilumin and ROE Visual. (There were so


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many LED wall brands on the floor bendlumen 4K offering. DPI’s been showing ing, cur ving and flying their products an 8K DLP projector Denver • Austin • Houston • Dallas • Phoenix for more than a that they’ve all become a blur to me.) LG year, but it actually uses a 4K DLP chip Oklahoma City • San Antonio • Tulsa • Las Vegas even came up with a 130-inch fine-pitch with image shifting. Atlanta • Blackwood, NJ • Washington, DC What made that mobile LED wall that can be assembled demo most compelling was a 3D active by two people in six hours, and that fits shutter system with glasses that would to a stand (with and without wheels) to change perspective as you moved closer go into classrooms and meeting rooms. to and farther from the screen. For projector manufacturers these Fujifilm, a newcomer to the show, had days, it’s all about higher power, shortera laser phosphor projector fitted with a throw lenses and more pixels, not to unique .34:1 to .37:1 zoom snorkel lens mention the complete dominance of laser that can shift in real time to multiple illumination technology. Panasonic had a optical planes to accommodate unusual new 4K DLP chassis with 50,000 lumens projection installations. Epson boosted of brightness to go along with a 10,000the light output from its Pro-L line with

a 30,000-lumen model and some really short-throw lenses (.3:1), following a trend among other manufacturers to keep raising light output and remain competitive with tiled LCDs and LED walls. Over at Casio, a new 4,000-lumen WUXGA projector debuted, using the company’s laser/LED hybrid illumination engine. (This might be the brightest model employing that technology.) Sony unveiled a new 4K SXRD projector, rated at 2,000 lumens, that is one of the smaller offerings in its product categor y and that’s tailored for commercial/defense flight simulators and small planetariums. Down that aisle, Optoma was demonstrating 8K image blending using a new pair of 10,000-lumen 4K DLP models. If you took only one thing away from InfoComm ’19, it would be the realization that you really can construct super-bright and colorful displays in any size and shape these days. If you can dream it, you can do it! Between LCDs, OLEDs, LEDs and those ever-powerful laserengine projectors, we’ve never had this many attractive options from which to choose. Is a day coming when “one display size will fit all”? Stay tuned…. July 2019

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AVENT HORIZON

So Much Eye Candy!

InfoComm ’19 featured exciting advancements in display technology. By Pete Putman, CTS ROAM Consulting LLC I’m writing this one day after my 26th consecutive InfoComm show, and there’s a lot to process. Attendance appeared to be strong, and the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando FL was chock full of booths from one end to the other. AVIXA, which runs the InfoComm show, has notably shifted its messaging in recent years. It has gone from, “Look at all the cool technology our industry offers!” to “Look at all the cool things we can do with our technology!” Even the acronym that is the association’s name reflects the shift; AVIXA stands for the Audiovisual and Integrated Experience Association. And “experience” was the preferred messaging across all the booths by which I walked and into which I stepped. That messaging indicates a level of technological maturity in our industry that is both encouraging and concerning. Let’s start with what’s encouraging. It’s a positive that we’re able to come up with a mix of products that will satisfy the requirements of even the most demanding clients. From projection mapping with many tens of thousands of lumens, to flexible and transparent OLED displays, to super-sized LCD panels and tiles with up to 8K resolution per screen, to bright LED walls with pixel pitches as fine as 0.7mm, the sky really is the limit for AV design. What’s concerning is that we’re entering an era in which there’s more of an emphasis on operating expenses (OpEx) and less demand for large capital expenditures (CapEx). Given the steady decline in display prices (especially for large LCD monitors and TVs), it’s becoming harder to make a profit from selling such products. Indeed, some manufacturers to which I spoke are exploring alter84

Sound & Communications July 2019

native ways to boost revenue—for example, by leasing through select integrators. Consider the wireless collaboration product categor y. There are so many players in that space that it’s difficult to differentiate between the various platforms; often, that results in decision-making based on price. Yes, each platform can allow users to share screens and cast videos. Yes, they offer annotation. Yes, they all reside on networks, and they’re monitored and managed by custom software. On what basis can anyone say he or she has the “best” product out there among all these “me, toos”? The pitch to clients now goes along the lines of this: “We’ll put together a complete package for each room with an appropriate wireless presenter, display, audio playback, videoconferencing cameras, microphones, and all the required network interfaces and control devices for this much money per month, with a one- or two-year lease.” After that, all the gear is removed (and possibly replaced), seeing as it has been completely depreciated and much of it has likely become obsolete. Not surprisingly, the main hall was dominated by big, bright, colorful displays. Also, not surprisingly, the majority of them were LED walls and tiles. It seems like ever ybody and their brother is in the LED business, including many prominent projector brands like Christie, DPI, Barco, Optoma, Sony and NEC. And why not? There are an increasing number of applications for which tiled LED displays can replace, and have replaced, two-piece projection solutions. As such, it’s a smart defensive play to offer both options. It wasn’t that long ago that a 3mm LED wall was considered a “fine-pitch” product; by contrast, now, we’re routinely seeing specifications for walls with a 1.5mm pitch, which, in large screen sizes, can display 4K video and graphics content. But we can get to 4K—and even 8K—resolution in other ways, too, using the latest in OLED technology as seen in the LG booth. And we can physically warp these displays to fit (continued on page 82)


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Profile for Sound & Communications

Sound & Communications July 2019, Vol 65 No 7  

Retail environments remain a key vertical market for AV integrators, even as the retail segment continues to struggle to find its footing ag...

Sound & Communications July 2019, Vol 65 No 7  

Retail environments remain a key vertical market for AV integrators, even as the retail segment continues to struggle to find its footing ag...