A P P L I C A T I O N A N D
Redesigning The Iconic The Royal Albert Hall’s new audio systems modernize the 19th-century landmark
Grand Scale With Private Luxury Bally’s Wild Wild West Sportsbook includes something for everyone
C O M M E R C I A L
T E C H N O L O G Y
September 16, 2019 Vol. 65 No. 9
Astral Projection CMC’s Neil Armstrong Space Exploration Gallery immerses visitors in the wonders of the cosmos
IN1800-Serie • Pixel-Perfect Video
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Features • PURE3® Intelligent Selective Streaming achieves low bit rates with low motion content while maintaining visually lossless performance
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• Enhanced security with SRTP - Secure Real Time Transport Protocol
• Supports HDMI 2.0 at resolutions up to 4K/60 @ 4:4:4 • Ultra-low latency with visually lossless compression using the patented Extron PURE3 codec
• 802.1X port-based Network Access Control for device authentication • Microsoft® Active Directory integration for user management • Multiple encoders and decoders can be deployed as an IP-based video and audio matrix
• Interoperable across 1 Gbps and 10 Gbps endpoints
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© 2 0 1 9 B o s c h S e c u r i t y S y s te m s , I n c .
2019 at NAB SHOW
I P I N T E R C O M T H AT W O R K S F O R Y O U AEROSPACE • AV RENTAL • BROADCAST • CRITICAL INFRASTRUCTURE • HOUSE OF WORSHIP • SPORTS VENUES • THEATER
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CONTENTS Volume 65 Number 9
GRAND SCALE WITH PRIVATE LUXURY
Bally’s Wild Wild West Sportsbook includes something for everyone. By Dan Daley
BEAM-STEERING FUNDAMENTALS AND APPLICATIONS The many possibilities require careful analysis and consideration. By Phillip Kimball
68 80 ASTRAL PROJECTION
CMC’s Neil Armstrong Space Exploration Gallery immerses visitors in the wonders of the cosmos.
REDESIGNING THE ICONIC
By Anthony Vargas
The Royal Albert Hall’s new audio systems modernize the 19th-century landmark.
NEW AND FUTURE TECHNOLOGY TRENDS FOR UC 2020 AND BEYOND
Helping people connect with technology. By Mark Roberts
By Peter Mapp, PhD, FASA, FAES
11 NEWSLETTER 32 INDUSTRY POV
By Dan Ferrisi
14 SOUND ADVICE
By Peter Mapp, PhD, FASA, FAES
By Mike Brandofino
20 HOUSE OF WORSHIP: BUSINESS By David Lee Jr., PhD
22 THE COMMISH
By James Maltese, CTS-D, CTS-I, CQD, CQT
Intuitive Systems, Evolved Protocols Put Video Within Reach: Interoperability, flexibility and scalability are key. By Matt Allard
34 INDUSTRY POV
The Time Has Come For AV-As-AService: Earn repeat business by fostering interdependence with clients. By Bill Mullin
36 INDUSTRY POV
Finding Audiovisual Nirvana: Fiberoptics and active optical cables are helping to By Douglas Kleeger, CTS-D, DMC-E/S, XTP-E, KCD usher it in.
26 WHAT WOULD YOU DO? 28 AVIXA POV By Brad Grimes
100 AVENT HORIZON By Pete Putman, CTS
Sound & Communications September 2019
By Samir Desai
38 INDUSTRY POV
Content For Curved Displays: Key factors to keep in mind. By Dave Merlino
40 INDUSTRY POV
The Display Dilemma: Factors to consider when deciding between LED screens and projection. By Ed Gurr
44 INDUSTRY POV
Delivering Customer Value: The key is to optimize, rather than to maximize. By Scott Freshman
46 INDUSTRY POV
Maximizing Your Corporate Conference Room Technology: Today’s technology can serve company workforces in many ways. By Gary Bailer and Vince Jannelli
83 NEWS 84 CALENDAR 87 PEOPLE 88 PRODUCTS
92 MEDIA 93 SOFTWARE 94 CENTERSTAGE 98 MARKETPLACE
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Images courtesy Shen Yun Performing Arts & Bambus Veranstaltungstechnik / ETHA International
WAVELENGTH Entertainment can take many forms: a trip to a renowned concert hall for a bravura performance; an evening at a glitzy casino or sportsbook for a chance at big-time winnings; an afternoon taking in the exhibits at a museum that honors incredible figures and momentous historical events. And those possibilities just scratch the surface of what the entertainment-venues vertical has to offer; the list of options is seemingly endless. But even though there are numerous choices when it comes to where we spend our leisure time, nearly all venues now have one important thing in common: They benefit from our industr y’s technology. Indeed, as commercial AV has come to embrace the experience, rather than focusing on the proverbial “specs and speeds,” AV professionals have become even better positioned to help deliver unparalleled entertainment offerings for audiences young and old. In this month’s issue, Sound & Communications is honored to profile the Royal Albert Hall (see “Redesigning The Iconic,” beginning on page 48),
the grand-scale concert hall in London, UK, that is arguably the most legendar y performance space in all of Europe. In recent months, the RAH under went a complete audio upgrade, its entire sound system having been replaced; the new one is composed of a wow!-worthy 465 individual loudspeakers. Befitting the RAH’s iconic stature in British society, no expense was spared to ensure outstanding results. The overall project carried a price tag of $2.8 million, which, judging by the number of performers choosing to use the new system, was money well invested. Columnist Peter Mapp, PhD, FASA, FAES, is a jovial tour guide for the largest loudspeaker install in a single room. If you live stateside, as I do, and you’re looking for entertainment that doesn’t involve international air travel, consider checking out Bally’s Wild Wild West Sportsbook in Atlantic City NJ, whose video displays are genuinely eye-popping and whose ambience is both fun and classy. That’s what frequent contributor Dan Daley did this month (see “Grand
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Scale With Private Luxur y,” beginning on page 58). At more than 15,200 square feet, the sportsbook is easily the single largest in the storied Jersey Shore locale. The Dan Ferrisi operative word is “immersive,” with integrator McCann Systems having installed tight-pixel-pitch LED videowalls to up the technological ante. It’s another showpiece project for the Edison NJ-based AV specialist, whose offices stretch from Waltham MA to Las Vegas NV. If AV integrators have evolved to become memor y-makers and smilegenerators, then there’s no better place to prove it than in entertainment venues. And if this month’s install features are any indication, our industr y’s evolution is nearly complete.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org Associate Editor Anthony Vargas email@example.com Assistant Editor Amanda Mullen firstname.lastname@example.org Contributing Editors Pete Putman, CTS Jim Stokes
Contributors Matt Allard Gary Bailer Mike Brandofino Dan Daley Samir Desai Scott Freshman Brad Grimes Ed Gurr Vince Jannelli Phillip Kimball 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 Dave Merlino Bill Mullin Pete Putman, CTS Mark Roberts Technical Council Joseph Bocchiaro III, PhD, CStd, CTS-D, CTS-I, ISF-C, The Sextant Group, Inc. David Danto, Interactive Multimedia & Collaborative Communications Alliance 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 email@example.com Digital Art Director Fred Gumm Production Manager Steve Thorakos Sales Assistant/Ad Traffic Jeannemarie Graziano firstname.lastname@example.org Operations Manager Robin Hazan Associate Publisher John Carr email@example.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
With 35 years’ digital media product marketing and management experience, Matt Allard has an established record with some of the leading IT and digital media technology companies in the world. At NewTek, Allard helps lead the discussion on the end-to-end, all-IP live video workflow and the enabling technology behind it: NDI.
Gary Bailer directs the product lifecycle of SIICA’s professional display and projector product lines. He also works closely with the factories to direct the product planning of future professional display and projector products based on the needs of the US customer and sales channel partners. Previously, he was Associate Director, Product Management, A4 MFP and Printers.
Samir Desai is SVP of Business Development at Cosemi Technologies, Inc., a global leader in designing and manufacturing active optical cables. The company offers a portfolio of quality solutions that service the data center, corporate facilities, events, home entertainment and consumer electronics markets.
Scott Freshman is COO of Visionary Solutions, a manufacturer of AV-over-IP equipment that provides realtime transport of audio and video over IP networks. Learn more at www.vsicam.com.
Ed Gurr is a Regional Sales Manager at Vivitek Corp., a projector brand of Delta Electronics. He has worked at Vivitek for nine years, and he’s a 30-year industry veteran. Gurr began his career with the CEDIA industry before moving into the commercial AV segment. He has always shared an interest for large-screen formats, both in the home and in commercial settings.
Vince Jannelli has successfully delivered products and services by leveraging extensive expertise in business development, product management and process improvement. In his current role with SIICA, his team is responsible for software product management, which encompasses device firmware, cloud services and analytics, third-party alliances and service delivery infrastructure.
Phillip Kimball is an Application Engineer at Renkus-Heinz. His background includes experience in commercial and residential integration, live sound as an FOH and monitor engineer, and work with integrated system design, engineering and commissioning. He brings real-world knowledge and support to the Renkus-Heinz applications team.
Dave Merlino is an expert communicator who has the ability to cut through noise in a timely manner. In his role as VP of Sales, he drives new and continued business for NanoLumens across the United States and around the world.
Bill Mullin has an extensive history of being a creative producer and promoter. His system-thinking includes a CTS-D engineering level of AV solution-building combined with an organizational alignment to discover and develop new methods to improve communications and performance. He is the CEO of Starin Marketing.
Mark Roberts, who serves as PGi’s CMO, is responsible for all marketing operations worldwide, driving growth opportunities and building brand recognition for the company within the communications market. A proven marketing leader, he has more than 25 years’ experience in the technology industry. He has built brands, driven demand and transformed high-tech companies.
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.
Sound & Communications
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NEWSLETTER SYNNEX BRINGS CLEVERTOUCH INTERACTIVE DISPLAYS TO THE US IT CHANNEL SYNNEX Corp. (Fremont CA) has announced that it has entered into a distribution agreement with Clevertouch (London, UK), a prominent name in the interactive display market, to bring its solutions to the US IT channel for customers in K-12 and higher education. Through the business unit, customers have access to Clevertouch’s products and SYNNEX’s services, support offerings and vertical-market expertise. “As we continue to expand our offerings to support the collaboration market, technologies specific to K-12 and higher education are particularly important to our customers,” Sandi Stambaugh, VP, Product Management, SYNNEX Corp., said. “We are pleased to work with an innovative brand like Clevertouch to help integrators more effectively capture their share of this growing market segment.” Clevertouch panels offer up to 20 simultaneous touchpoints, 4K resolution, access to device mirroring and wireless connectivity. Their warranty offerings and low failure rates reduce cost of ownership. To complement Clevertouch offerings, SYNNEX provides full video collaboration solutions for the classroom. The company also offers a portfolio of services, including certified design engineers and flexible financing options such as subscription and consumption-based programs.
AIMS INTRODUCES UPDATED IP STANDARDS ROADMAP The Alliance for IP Media Solutions (AIMS, Bothell WA) has released a significant update to the AIMS roadmap for a standards-based approach to applying IP technologies. The latest roadmap includes an important addition: JT-NM TR-1001-1, also known as the JT-NM Tech Stack Part 1. Developed by the Joint Task Force on Networked Media (JT-NM) to automate installation and eliminate complexity, JT-NM TR-1001-1 provides specifications and guidance designed to make SMPTE ST 2110-based systems easier to deploy and operate, leading to greater efficiencies. The addition of the JT-NM Tech Stack Part 1 to the AIMS roadmap is the latest in a progression of IP-based standards that launched with SMPTE ST 2022-6, which established an SDI-over-IP baseline, then added AES67 for audio-over-IP, and followed with SMPTE ST 2110 for standardized transport of audio, video and ancillary data (ANC). JT-NM TR-1001-1 enables the creation of network environments in which end users can take delivery of new equipment (compliant to the recommendation), connect it to their networks and configure it for use with a minimum amount of human interaction. The JT-NM Tech Stack Part 1 summarizes relevant standards, specifications and documents specific to additional constraints related to this domain of use.
AQAV ANNOUNCES STRATEGIC PARTNERSHIP WITH AV USER GROUP The Association for Quality in Audiovisual (AQAV, Mineola NY) has announced a new partnership with the AV User Group (Horsham, West Sussex, UK). As part of the newly formalized collaboration between the two organizations, AV User Group members will have access to AQAV training and certification tracks at a significantly discounted price. Regarded by many as the audiovisual industry’s premier quality-standards training and certification organization, AQAV offers education tracks that will give AV User Group members knowledge and understanding of how to ensure consistent quality in the systems that they design, install or otherwise maintain. Mario Maltese, Founder of AQAV, said, “We are convinced that AV User Group members, when trained, will see immediate results related to greater efficiency and cost savings in systems design and installation, documentation with which to easily train staff and users, and the ability to hold service providers accountable consistently.” Owen Ellis, Chairman of the AV User Group, indicated that the motivation to form this partnership was not only to support the end user with training of this type, but also to raise standards within the industry. He commented, “Knowledgeable, educated end users demand higher standards from their suppliers. This is generally where raising industry standards begins.” 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! September 2019
Sound & Communications 11
NEWSLETTER CISCO INVESTMENTS, HONEYWELL VENTURES INVEST IN THEATRO Theatro (Richardson TX), creator of a voice-controlled mobile platform connecting hourly employees to enterprise resources, has announced that it has joined forces with Cisco (San Jose CA) and Honeywell (Charlotte NC) to influence the future of retail, hospitality, manufacturing and other markets with large deskless workforces. The investments by these two companies will anchor an expansion of platform interoperability and its market footprint. Theatro’s voice-driven Intelligent Assistant platform, offered as a “hardware-enabled” softwareas-a-service (SaaS) solution, gives deskless employees a “heads-up and hands-free” connection to their enterprise systems and leadership teams. The investments by Honeywell and Cisco will assist in maximizing the reach of Theatro’s in-ear virtual assistant for hourly associates and expand the industries and geographies Theatro can serve. Cisco’s investment extends the company’s strategic vision of Cognitive Collaboration, which leverages software, hardware, artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML) and network synergies to drive interoperability and workforce transformation. Theatro’s mobile voice platform gives this vision reach beyond professional staff to hourly associates working on the front line. Theatro similarly aligns with Honeywell’s efforts to enable deskless workers and harness the power of Internet of Things (IoT)-generated data and insights. Through its relationship with Honeywell’s Safety and Productivity Solutions business, Theatro expands the set of options available to empower every hourly employee with mobile, hands-free information.
STEVE JAMES PROMOTED TO VP OF ENGINEERING AT EXTRON Extron (Anaheim CA) has promoted Steve James to VP of Engineering. James has a long track record of design innovation, and he has more than 25 years’ experience at Extron. According to Andrew Edwards, President of Extron, “Steve has proven his ability to lead and manage a large part of Extron’s Engineering Department. With his experience in designing advanced AV technologies, I am confident he will be even more successful in positioning us for long-term success.” James is a graduate of Purdue University, where, in addition to earning his BSEE degree, he worked in the Office of Integrated Technologies. He designed Extron’s MediaLink and PoleVault Systems, and he led the development of the Extron Pro Control Systems platform. James has held the position of Senior Director of Engineering at Extron since March. With this promotion, he succeeds Steve Somers, who retired as VP of Engineering effective April 1.
SONANCE ANNOUNCES NEW BRANDING Sonance (San Clemente CA) has announced a new brand identity. Sonance is known primarily for its speakers, but the same team also created IPORT, a brand that turns tablets into business-efficiency tools, with a range of products that hold, charge and protect these devices. Additionally, in 2009, the Sonance team created TRUFIG, a flush-mounting process that integrates technology into architecture. After a number of years with each of the brands operating under the banner name of Dana Innovations, the Sonance brand has now resumed its position in the role of “parent” and officially become the face of the entire company.
INDUSTRY MOURNS G&D NORTH AMERICA’S CARLOS E. YANEZ G&D North America Inc. (Burbank CA) regretfully reported on August 16 that Carlos E. Yanez had died several days earlier while on a territory business trip. Yanez was the first US employee of G&D in 2015. Based in Miami FL as Director of Sales South, Yanez was responsible for the south and Midwest territories. According to the company, he played a pivotal role in G&D’s sales successes and continuous growth, applying his KVM expertise and always seeking the best solutions for partners and customers. Citing Yanez’s always-ethical business approach and his friendly and winning personality, G&D affirmed that he will be sorely missed by both his colleagues and his customers. COMPILED BY DAN FERRISI 12 Sound & Communications September 2019
Talkback Communicate with camera operators and production staff.
USB Connection For updating switcher software and settings.
Program Mix Listen to the program audio mix.
Source Select Buttons Input buttons for PGM/PVW or cut-bus style switching.
Reference In Supports black burst or tri-sync reference for use with large broadcast systems.
Source and Control Downstream keyer, media players, fade to black and transition selection.
Source Inputs Connect up to 40 x 12G-SDI inputs for HD and Ultra HD or 10 Quad Link 12G-SDI inputs for 8K.
Spin Knob Control Scroll through on screen menus or adjust audio levels.
Independent Assignable Outputs 24 x 12G-SDI outputs for HD and Ultra HD or 6 x Quad Link 12G-SDI outputs for 8K.
Lock Button Locks front panel settings to protect against changes during production.
Multi View Outputs 4 multi view outputs for HD and Ultra HD or 1 Quad Link 12G-SDI multi view output when working in 8K.
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In-House Sound Systems Having control of the sound in your venue. By Peter Mapp, PhD, FASA, FAES
eading ahead to this month’s cover article, I find it interesting to note that the main reason for the Royal Albert Hall (RAH) investing approximately $2.8 million (£2.2 million) in a new sound system was to manage an ever-growing number of customer complaints about the sound in the hall. By providing a world-class, in-house sound system, the venue hoped to encourage promoters and event organizers to use the installed system, rather than bringing in and rigging their own. After all, the inhouse system is about as optimal as you can get in terms of loudspeaker positioning and alignment! What touring production has the luxur y of spending 110 hours to optimize system coverage and tuning? Equally, by creating new speaker positions for the circle and galler y areas, these can now be covered, using delayed fills, from a better angle; this helps minimize undesirable reflections back to the stage and other areas of the audience. Again, this possibility is not open to a touring setup. The RAH is an unusual venue in many ways—not only being huge and acoustically challenging, but also being held in trust for the nation. The RAH holds a unique position in the British psyche, and it’s looked upon as being “the national venue.” So, it was highly frustrating for RAH management to receive complaints about the sound of a show, over which the venue had no control. The RAH is also increasing the number of its own in-house, produced events; again, this will enable management to have better control over the sound and the audi14 Sound & Communications September 2019
A Neumann Head used to measure the performance and record samples of each sound system. (Note the red line just above the head. This is from a laser attached to the array being auditioned to check its aiming.)
ence’s audio experience. That being said, just because you provide the promoters with a great sound system, it doesn’t automatically mean the show will sound great! The proof of the pudding is in the eating, and, since the new system went live last September, and the box speakers were installed in December, the number of complaints has fallen dramatically. Indeed, the sound at the RAH is now regularly praised by critics and audiences alike. It’s still an acoustically challenging space, but plans are afoot to make some improvements acoustically, as well. But how does one define “good sound,” anyway? And, just as importantly, how does one write a specification for it? I suppose that’s what I have been doing for the past 30-plus years, but I’ve never written a specification that could guarantee I would get exactly the sound I wanted. A few times, though, I really could say, “Yep, that’s it. That’s just how I thought it would sound.” If I were to tr y to formulate it, then, in a broad-brush way, I would probably say that 50 percent of perceived sound quality is down to the loudspeaker itself. Of the remainder, perhaps 20 percent is tuning and coverage; 20 percent is acoustics; and 20 percent is system electronics, operation and mixing. (Yes, I know that makes 110 percent. But, surely, that’s what we’re after, right?) The direct sound (i.e., the sound of the loudspeaker) has a huge effect on the quality of the sound we hear. I can remember this being brought home to me a few years ago, when I was carr ying out a series of auditioning tests with a client in another prestigious concert hall that had been receiving numerous complaints about the sound of its events. This client, too, had decided to bite the bullet and ver y much go against the trend at the time—this was about 10 years ago—and provide a top-of-theline in-house sound system. However, it was the client’s intent (and such was the
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The RAH is an unusual venue in many ways— not only being huge and acoustically challenging, but also being held in trust for the nation. The RAH holds a unique position in the British psyche, and it’s looked upon as being ‘the national venue.’ So, it was highly frustrating for RAH management to receive complaints about the sound of a show, over which the venue had no control.
hall’s reputation and standing) that it would, from then on, not allow any touring systems to be used. I drew up a performance specification for the system that detailed the required sound pressure level (SPL), frequency response, permissible variation in coverage and intelligibility (STI) requirements, etc. (Actually, I can recognize parts of it in the RAH spec.) I also sent the five competing loudspeaker manufacturers plans and sections of the hall, its reverberation time (RT) characteristics and a bunch of photographs. (I wanted ever yone to be on the same page and to make the tests as productive as possible.) The hall was a classic “shoebox” shape—long and narrow—and it seated around 1,200 people. It had an RT of around 2sec. It was primarily a hall for classical music and the home of a top orchestra. However, it also put on an assortment of other events, ranging from conferences to film screenings. Taking ever ything into account, but, in particular, the lively and reflective acoustics and the relative narrowness of the hall, I specified a center line array. The hall operations team originally wanted a left-right system, but I persuaded the team to go with just one center hang, although a smaller array was attached to the back of it to cover the choir seating. There was initially some reluctance for a center (mono) system, but hall management has thanked me on numerous occasions since the installation for sticking to my guns and specifying as I did. The week of the demonstrations came, and we gave each manufacturer five hours—from 8am until 1pm—to rig and tune their arrays (for ward facing only; hoist provided). Then, the manufacturer was thrown out and told to get some lunch; they could come back in two hours’ time. We then set about a formalized review procedure, listening to given material in preselected seats. I also took impulse response (IR) and pink-noise measurements of each system at a number of seats, which were well distributed throughout the house. In addition, I made binaural recordings using a Neumann Head at three or four seat locations. Again, I wanted to be scrupulously fair to ever yone, and I wanted the process to be as transparent as possible. We were asking for quite a lot of the manufacturers’ time, after all. After we had finished, we let the manufacturer back in and let them do the sales pitch. The demo system was then de-rigged and the same procedure was applied for all four days (we lost one during the week). At the end of the first day, the operations manager, the head of sound and I summarized our feelings; it was three dismayed individuals who headed out to the nearest bar. Was the hall really this difficult? Our first big-name speaker system had been an abject failure. The second day followed the same procedure, but I was a little surprised at the length of the array to be demonstrated (or, should I say, the lack of length?). However, it was ver y carefully tuned and, as such, all was looking good when we closed the doors at 1pm. By 1:05pm, things were not looking quite so good, and, by 1:15pm, we knew we’d had another failure. However, the interesting lesson to me (and the point of this part of the column) was that the sound of the short array was excellent—pretty much ever ything I could have wished for. Except…it excited the reverberation in the hall like nothing I had heard before, and the gain before feedback with a stage mic was way too low. In essence, the array was too short to control the sound, but what came out of the array—before it hit the rest of the room—was actually stunning. At the end of day two, we dejectedly headed back to the bar. Day three saw the rigging of a monster array. It sounded good, and it controlled the sound— maybe the acoustics could be tamed! However, the rig was huge and dwarfed the space. The rest of the hall management team and the artistic director were not impressed by what they saw, and, therefore, another manufacturer bit the dust. Day four saw the rigging of a compact array system—the compact bit being the width of the boxes. The array of 10 units looked impressive, and it did the job. Good sound and good control paired with aesthetic acceptability. We had a winner! I looked long and hard at the acoustic data I had collected during the week, and, although a few characteristics were apparent, in no way could I clearly determine what made good sound and how one could specify it.
16 Sound & Communications September 2019
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IoT In Healthcare Challenges notwithstanding, the wellness benefits seem numerous. By Mike Brandofino Yorktel
ften, when we discuss the Internet of Things (IoT), we immediately think about devices connected in offices or business locations. The application of IoT within the healthcare space, however, is literally life changing. The focus in healthcare is on the continuum of care, which is the entirety of care—from birth to death— with a concentration on solutions that improve outcomes along the entire continuum. Leveraging a wide array of IoT technology has the potential to improve care drastically, yielding outcomes that benefit all of us. A great example of an amazing new use of IoT for healthcare involves ingestible sensors. These microscopic sensors can be embedded in a pill, and they can communicate to applications or devices outside the body to provide details on dosage; as such, they can help solve the problem of improper use of medications. They might also help in regulating the release of dosages in order to assist doctors in providing patients with customized medication programs. Healthcare outcomes are heavily influenced by the amount of data that can be collected, whether from individual patients or from a group of patients over time. IoT provides the major benefit of offering access to vast amounts of patient data; that data can then be collected, organized and analyzed to help caregivers identify and resolve health issues more efficiently. 18 Sound & Communications September 2019
Wearable technology that can monitor critical healthcare characteristics has been instrumental in helping capture data that can be quickly evaluated remotely, in real time, by caregivers. This data can result in immediate interaction, or it can be captured over time across large groups of individuals to help develop new approaches to combating chronic disease. Of course, the minute you say “capture data” in a healthcare setting, bells go off about security. The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) is US legislation that contains data-privacy and security provisions for safeguarding medical information. This is one of the gating factors that has stalled some of the IoT advancements as technology providers and healthcare CIOs/CTOs figure out how to support the growing number of devices, while, at the same time, also protecting patient data. IoT in healthcare isn’t only about providing better health outcomes; it’s also about providing better financial outcomes. Connected solutions that enable specialists to be accessed on an as-needed basis can relieve a hospital of having to employ certain skills full time. A growing trend is the use of a centralized core of clinicians in support of monitoring intensive care units (ICUs) remotely. This provides hospitals with 24/7 access to highly skilled and experienced caregivers who can remotely monitor patients and inter vene via two-way video communications at any time. This approach frees up local staff to perform their regular tasks, while having continuous eyes on the most critical patients. In addition, if patients are provided with equipment they can take home, it enables hospitals to free up beds more quickly, while, at the same time, delivering a high level of follow-up care to avoid patient readmittance. Insurance companies are tr ying to benefit from IoT, as well. They are leveraging wearable devices and IoT devices to monitor customer activity and adherence to treatment plans. This data helps determine the efficacy of treatments and the impact of preventive measures, and it can provide insurance companies with information that could indicate claims are fraudulent. The impact of IoT on healthcare seems limitless; however, there are challenges to adoption that are technical as well as legal. The possibility of someone hacking into a pacemaker was never even considered…until you connect that pacemaker to the internet. Your daily routine, as reported by your wearable technology, could provide someone with your exact location if the data made it into the wrong hands. Your medical condition could be exploited if details of that condition were exposed. We never had to consider those possibilities before IoT, and they are real concerns. The consensus, however, is that the obvious benefits and potential for improved outcomes will ultimately result in more IoT applications in the healthcare space.
HOUSE OF WORSHIP: BUSINESS
Change Orders Are they good for business? By David Lee Jr., PhD Lee Communication Inc.
ecently, I saw an integration company whose team members were wearing black T-shirts with white lettering that read, “We love change orders.” I began to think about this slogan. I tend to agree that most of us love change orders, if they are legitimately called for. They can enhance our bottom line, after all. However, many of us are aware that some companies take advantage of clients by creating multiple change orders that are not actually necessar y. Thus, I pose a question: Are change orders good for business? I will present two cases for us to consider as we examine that question. Our company insists that our clients receive clear explanations with regard to the design and integration of a project. We typically meet with clients (church leadership and tech leaders) to discover their communication needs, their communication goals and their budget. Then, we explain that our work includes four contractual agreements that require four unique payments. Phase 1 entails a detailed equipment list for gear to be purchased. In Phase 2, we receive CAD drawings from the general contractor (GC), and then we insert the gear into predetermined locations in the structure. Phase 3 entails the actual integration of the system components. Phase 4 involves training. I believe you generally understand Phase 1, so let’s skip ahead to Phase 2. Once we complete the CAD drawings, we provide them to church leadership. Then, we meet 20 Sound & Communications September 2019
with leadership at least five times over a period of a month (or more) to explain the system and the integration process. We want the leaders to have time to digest the drawings and explanations, so they can be sure the system design will address their communication needs. As you can imagine, the drawing includes the location (and elevation) of ever y speaker, light, video projector, video screen and wallplate, as well as details about cable runs, racks, the layout of the front-of-house (FOH) location, the video control room, the lighting control space and so on. Once the church leaders approve the design, we submit the CAD drawings to the GC for approval. Once the GC approves our plans, we once again—both in writing and in face-to-face conversations—explain that these are the plans we will work from and that any changes will require written amendments to the contract and incur additional fees. Then, we move to Phase 3, which is the actual integration process. We were working in a former large retail environment that was being renovated to become the worship space for a church. We were about 80-percent done with the integration when the tech director for the church informed us that he wanted to make changes. He wanted lights relocated, speaker heights changed, screens lowered, projectors lowered and racks turned, among many other changes to work we had already completed. We are typically fine with change orders, inasmuch as they provide additional income above our agreed amount. So, we listed the changes and said we would put together a change order, which would detail the changes and the cost of making them, for the leadership to sign. The tech director looked stunned and asked, “What do you mean?” We explained these changes required about two more weeks of time; thus, the cost would be substantial. He was not happy to hear that news. I said, “Let’s meet with the leadership.” In the meantime, the GC approached us and said the projectors and light bars had to be relocated to make room for air-conditioning ducts. I asked the GC, “Whom do we invoice for the changes?” He replied, “It’s your fault for hanging them in the wrong spots.” I politely disagreed. The situation suddenly was a bit messy. I called for a meeting with church leadership, the tech director and the GC in order to clear up the situation and determine the best course of action. First, we explained we were happy to make most of the changes. I advised against moving the speaker locations because the result would be some people sitting in dead zones. The other changes could be made, but they required time. Then, I provided the amount for the change order. The leadership agreed to a few changes that did not impede the quality of the system overall, so we created a final change order that the leaders OK’d. Then, we addressed the air-conditioner challenges. The GC told the church leaders that we located gear in the path of the ductwork. Of course, we were prepared
Are change orders good for business? I believe the answer is yes… when change orders are made for genuine reasons. I believe the answer is no if they’re used as an unethical strategy to bid low and then make up the difference by resorting to using numerous change orders.
to explain our position. We projected my laptop onto the large video screen in the room. Ever yone saw me open the email sent to me by the GC, which contained the link to digital CAD files. I opened the files and then overlaid our inserts. The ductwork was not impeded. A bit puzzled, the GC then realized he had sent us an early version of the drawings. I politely stated that the version might be wrong, but he had signed off on our plans with the wrong version. He conceded his mistake.
Our contracts state that all change orders must be paid in advance of making the changes. In this case, substantial fees were paid and we made the changes. The change orders increased our earnings substantially, even though it was regrettable that some of the changes were due to an error on the part of the GC. There’s another side to the question “Are change orders good for business?”, however, and it’s a deeply unfortunate one. I am aware of a tactic
used by some companies wherein they submit a ridiculously low bid that wins them the job, but then they bombard the house of worship with numerous change orders to gain money to offset the low bid. I frequently receive calls from pastors who ask me to help them resolve these issues. Sadly, this tactic is a disturbing trend that can negatively affect our industr y if it continues. So, are change orders good for business? I believe the answer is yes…when change orders are made for genuine reasons. I believe the answer is no if they’re used as an unethical strategy to bid low and then make up the difference by using numerous change orders. I believe we should always ser ve in ethical ways that enable our industr y to thrive. That is what I believe. Please tell me what you believe.
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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.
No Dumping Revisiting and expanding on a control-system mystery. By James Maltese, CTS-D, CTS-I, CQD, CQT Level 3 Audio Visual AV9000 Checklist Items Under Test: 3.5.15: The port and processor are of an adequate size and buffer given their intended function. Some functions pass an incredible amount of data and might flood a given port and/or stall a processor. Reasoning: I’ve heard a lot of people say they skip over the buffering items on the Design Review Checklist because processors today have ridiculous amounts of processing power. However, as a result of that processing power, programmers take advantage of the feedback they can gather from their devices. Despite the devices themselves having more capacity, and despite the introduction of ser ver-based control systems that manage hundreds of systems on one ser ver, it is still possible to flood the port(s) with equipment communication. We should keep this in mind while planning our devicecommunication strategies. The Stor y: A few years ago, I wrote about a control-system myster y. An operator had a control system that was able to recall presets on a digital mixing console via RS232. Seemingly at random, the control system would freeze and have to be rebooted to operate again. After several hours of investigating, we traced the issue to a Clear Solo button on the console. How could a simple Clear Solo button break down control of a system, you ask? (One might ask the same of Princess Leia, disguised as Boushh the bounty hunter, as she was tr ying to “clear [Han] Solo” from Jaba’s lair. That turned out to be more difficult than anticipated, as well! But I digress.) The Clear Solo button, for whatever reason, pushed a tremendous amount of data through the RS232 22 Sound & Communications September 2019
port of the mixer. That tremendous amount of data would stall the RS232 port of the control system and cause it to freeze. This snag was annoying enough to warrant its own Design Review Checklist item to make sure it didn’t happen again (see left). Since that time, processors have evolved to have way more power. Plus, the trend is moving away from RS232 control to IP control. Both of those factors result in “flooding the port” becomHow could a ing less of an issue in today’s simple Clear systems. Or so we Solo button thought! (*cue dramatic music* break down Dun, dun, dunnnnn!) control of a system, you ask? (One might ask the Although it is true that same of Princess Leia, disguised as Boushh the individual ports have way more bounty hunter, as she was trying to ‘clear [Han] bandwidth and resources today, Solo’ from Jaba’s lair. That turned out to be more we are asking them to handle difficult than anticipated, as well! way more information, as well. We ran into another control-system myster y just recently. We were working with a ser ver-based control system that was controlling hundreds of rooms from a single ser ver. It was incredible that each room no longer required a processor; it just required a link to the control ser ver in the cloud in order to operate. Users would walk into a room, ever ything would “magically” turn on and the calendar for scheduled meetings in the room would be shown on a small touchpanel. It worked beautifully. But, as convenient as the control methodology to add rooms was, when things did start to go wrong, it was a bit difficult to track down what exactly was going on. Ever y now and again, rooms just wouldn’t turn on. Button presses would be missed. Users would become frustrated and think there was an issue with “their room.” These issues were spread across 12 buildings in five countries. Control systems can be squirrelly enough to troubleshoot when there’s just one physical processor in the room with you—so tr y to imagine having to figure out an issue that
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24 Sound & Communications September 2019
spanned international borders, time zones and languages! Luckily, ever ything on ser ver control systems is time-stamped. The issues were happening fairly regularly. It appeared that, any time the control code subscriptions for new rooms were added before the rooms were put into production, a tremendous number of errors was generated. That makes sense, given that the rooms might not actually be installed yet. With a single-room physical processor, if a display doesn’t respond, it’s no big deal. However, when you have a ser verbased control system that manages hundreds of rooms across several buildings, and 92 of those rooms are not yet installed…well…that might generate 183,245 lines of errors (give or take) ever y time they are polled by the ser ver. This much data wouldn’t stall a network port like the RS232 ports of yester year, but it would cause a few missed commands and create quite the proverbial needle-in-a-digital-haystack scenario. What appeared to be an individual room-control issue from the user’s perspective turned out to be a buffering issue on a global-ser ver scale. The moral of the stor y is that the information-dump item on the Design Review Checklist is still valid—indeed, maybe even more so, now that we are asking our cloud-based control systems to manage hundreds of rooms at a time. As the programming is happening, we have to ask ourselves: What will the system’s responses look like when I poll XXX rooms? Do I have to chunk the rooms I am polling at one time? Do I have to distribute the control-system load across multiple ser vers? Cloudbased control systems are incredibly powerful, but we have to stop thinking of them as a cluster of individual room processors. Instead, they are ser vers that talk to hundreds or thousands of endpoints. Parsing out commands from floods of data is like filling a thimbleful of water from a fire hose at the RS232 level. At the ser ver level, the thimble is the same size, but the fire hose is more like a city water tunnel.
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‘Sounds Bad? Sounds Good?’ Redux A tale of two panels.
By Douglas Kleeger, CTS-D, DMC-E/S, XTP-E, KCD
ack in July 2017, I penned a piece entitled, “Sounds Bad? Sounds Good? Who Knows The Difference Anymore?” It’s a great read—especially if you grew up listening to music out of loudspeakers bigger than a tissue box! In fact, that column is one of my most widely read on Sound & Communications’ website. During this past InfoComm, I moderated two panel discussions. Both sessions were great, packed with industr y leaders to the point of being standing room only. The first was entitled, “AV/IT Best Practices for Unified Communications & Collaboration (UC&C)”; the second was entitled, “The Future of Workspace Design.” This was my first time volunteering like this for InfoComm, and I enjoyed doing so. However, although most of the comments—perhaps 90 percent—were positive, a few people thought I was steering the discussion toward the issue of sound quality. And, admittedly, I was! One of the foremost topics during the panel discussion on “AV/IT Best Practices for UC&C” was the increasing number of huddle-space systems being integrated. On the other hand, conference-room systems are not only not increasing, but, in fact, appear to be slowly decreasing. Numbers were thrown around (albeit with no documentation) that 60 to 75 percent of all UC&C rooms are huddle rooms, whereas there’s a downtrend of five to seven percent in traditional conference rooms. Notably, half of the attendees were end users (it felt a bit like a CES 26 Sound & Communications September 2019
show), with the other half being mostly integrators, along with a few consultants and architects. This was a change from years past, back when professionals Have the days of audiophile-level attentiveness to sound like us always outnumbered end quality yielded to a “just-get-by” mentality? users. Late in the session, I steered the discussion to the best practice of delivering quality audio and speech intelligibility. I rhetorically asked whether, with so many IT folks doing this work, they would even know good sound. After all, most (but not all) have no experience setting up and listening to traditional sound systems. Much to my surprise, this inquir y resulted in me receiving a verbal beating from both the integrators and the end users! It’s all about money, the end users said. They don’t care if it sounds good. After all, I was told, they’re used to a cell phone, set to speakerphone, being put on the table. They’d rather have 50 “just get by” rooms than 20 or 30 good-sounding rooms. Then, the integrators chimed in and said that’s what they’re hearing, as well. This was further reinforced by panel members who said that, in their experience, “good enough” is the new standard. Ouch! This is not good news to all those who have spent years tuning and tweaking sound systems. I was shocked, perturbed and surprised (assuming anyone could actually feel all those emotions at the same time). Almost immediately, I moved on to the second session, “The Future of Workspace Design.” My interest in the issue of sound quality was piqued, following the surprising results from the first session. One of the foremost topics on the second panel was the over whelming fact that open-floor-plan workspaces are a complete failure. Numerous reports have shown that employees are less productive in environments like these, being easily distracted and having trouble focusing. After the panelists slammed architects for their open-floor-plan designs, an architect from HOK stood up and I gave her the floor. She explained that her firm is now looking at implementing different types of workspace designs. We discussed reports that have found employees who work a few days from a remote office are more productive than employees who work in an open-floor-plan workspace. And, we discussed the push for smaller, more collaborative workspaces. In fact, Thomas Loza, from Intel, mentioned that folks were literally turning closets into workspaces at his company! These days, designers are starting to look not at floor space, but, rather, at individuals’ needs within a workspace. So, for example, what percentage of employees need absolute concentration when working and prefer a quiet room? What percentage has less of a need for quiet, but still prefers to work individually? What percentage is looking for small collaborative spaces? And on from there. The future of workspace (continued on page 93)
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Now That’s A Campfire
Our effort to bring together AV professionals and the markets they can benefit begins to bear fruit. By Brad Grimes AVIXA
o, this happened: I was at an event for sports teams, venue executives and designers—the kind of event I go to often to tell audiences composed of non-AV people about the business value of audiovisual solutions—and I bumped into Mark Gillis, CTS, Principal Consultant at The Sextant Group. It was a cocktail party for the Association of Luxur y Suite Directors (ALSD)’s Sports Venue Design & Build Forum. I was in full “Nice to meet you. I’m here representing the commercial AV industr y. Let me tell you what our members do.” mode. That’s when I bumped into Mark, whom I’ve known for a while, and who knows more about AV design than I ever will—not someone who needs my “Nice to meet you. This is the AV industr y.” spiel! As AVIXA has spent nearly three years going where your prospective customers meet to promote awareness of the AV industr y, I’ve occasionally run into a member here or there: AV manufacturers on an airport-trade-show floor, a solution provider at a hotel conference, consultants at an event for college planning and design. But the ALSD event was different. The AV industr y’s presence was more pronounced. 28 Sound & Communications September 2019
The author moderating a session at the ALSD Conference.
It was great to catch up with Mark over hors d’oeuvres, and there he was again, later in the week, sitting in the audience of a session that I was moderating with sports executives who were using technology to optimize revenue. That workshop, in particular, included not only representatives from sports teams and venues, but also AV consultants, integrators and manufacturers. The Design & Build Forum was held in conjunction with the group’s annual ALSD Conference, a gathering of about 1,400 in Chicago IL that included tours of Wrigley Field, Soldier Field and the United Center. Peerless-AV was in the house, as were ESCO Communications, Baker AV, L-Acoustics, DAS Audio, Belden, Contemporar y Research and Akustiks, an audio consultancy based in one of my old haunts: Nor walk CT. My boss, AVIXA’s CEO, Dave Labuskes, CTS, often tells a stor y about a campfire, back in the day, drawing together the AV industr y to promote and sell what was new technology some 80 years ago, when AVIXA started out. The campfire continues to roar—specifically, to the tune of $231 billion in global revenues last year, according to AVIXA’s Industry Outlook and Trend Analysis (IOTA) research report. These days, when Dave talks about the campfire, it’s to invite many more people—sports-venue operators, transportation executives, retail and hospitality designers, higher-education facility managers and more—to feel its warmth. Basically, anyone who could be creating better experiences for their customers and users by implementing audiovisual solutions. Now that’s a campfire. AVIXA’s market-intelligence team sees a healthy 5.5-percent annual growth in AV sales to sports venues over the next five years. Yes, the giant video boards and pervasive digital-signage displays represent one prevalent component; however, it has been my experience, meeting and talking to executives in the field, that this market is especially attuned to new ways of using AV technology to support all its goals. For instance, fans are far from the only customers at sport venues. Not surprisingly, teams work hard to apply technology to sponsors’ needs, too, such as at SunTrust Park, home of Major League Baseball (MLB)’s Atlanta Braves. In a webinar held by AVIXA and ALSD, Sara Arnold, Manager of Partner Ser vices for the Braves, told listeners about a coordinated, AV-enabled content program for Coors Light that extended from the in-stadium signage to touch-enabled kiosks outside the gates in
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the venue’s Batter y district. “We wanted to figure out how we could use all the AV on property to work together,” she said. (Find the recorded version of the webinar, “Using AV to Activate Your Sponsors,” at www.avixa.org/sportsav.) The bar is high for AV in sports venues. AVIXA’s Market Opportunity and Analysis Report (MOAR), which includes forecasts and sur vey data from not only venue operators, but also fans themselves, indicates integration is key to success. “Fans disappointed by even one AV component are likely to be ver y dissatisfied with their experience overall,” analysts wrote. This level of coordination and integration requires the right gathering of end users, solution providers and integrators. This charrette-building spans industries, too. The week after I was at the ALSD Conference, I was back in Chicago for the American Association of Airport Executives (AAAE)’s Airport Innovation Forum. Again, I was joined by a diverse group to talk about future transportation hubs and the role that AV technology will play in them. Scour headlines and you’ll perceive a trend that airports are dedicated to creating spaces and experiences that engage passengers. From The Wall Street Journal: “New Airport Terminals Where Killing Time Has its Perks.” From Bloom-
berg: “Airports Open Up to Terminal Tourists Who Just Want to Hang Out.” There are luxury brands that report selling more goods in airports than at stores, and that fact has creative people reimagining the airport experience. At the Airport Innovation Forum, Katie McCoy of Charlotte Douglas International Airport described a new concourse with a compelling AV experience. Called “Interconnected,” the installation was commissioned by the airport as a work of art, and it was designed to change dynamically based on a variety of data inputs. “We really wanted to focus on passenger experience,” McCoy said. “As you’re approaching Concourse A from the terminal roadway, you can see the artwork through the glass.” McCoy explained to Airport Innovation Forum attendees that the audiovisual experience supports positive business outcomes. “Happier passengers spend more money,” she said. “We have been doing passenger-satisfaction sur veys for 10 years, and we are seeing some increases in our net promoter score. Because we are a 70-percent connecting airport, passengers can choose whether or not to travel through CLT. We want to create an experience so that they choose our city.” The installation was one of several solutions designed for Charlotte Doug-
las’ new concourse by AV integrator Cenero. And all involved insisted it came together because the team was representative and well coordinated. Cenero’s Frank Milesky, when he described the process to Airport Innovation Forum attendees, put it this way: “We’re as much of a trade in that building as the folks putting up the dr ywall or the ceilings. It’s really critical—if you’re tr ying to do something like this that is immersive—to have us involved early. You really have to bring in stakeholders from different parts of the enterprise ver y early on to be successful.” On the one hand, it’s tempting to think that this goes without saying. On the other, we have to ask the question: Which customers are going to see AV providers as stakeholders without a fundamental understanding of the role that AV can play? Thus, the campfire and AVIXA’s commitment to drawing more and more people to it—AV professionals, experience designers, content creators, end users, sports-venue operators and airport executives, just to name a few. Will you join us? Anytime you want to lend your voice and meet people working in markets you might want to ser ve, we’d love to see you there. Where will AVIXA be next? Check at www.avixa.org/marketevents.
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Intuitive Systems, Evolved Protocols Put Video Within Reach Interoperability, flexibility and scalability are key.
By Matt Allard NewTek
orporate media has traditionally focused on AV production that relies upon legacy techniques. This has been caused by both the complexity of the tools available and the processes required to deliver videos to ser ve communications, training, marketing and other functions. As a result, the amount of content that can be created and the number of companies that can utilize video as part of their day-to-day operations have both been limited. This restriction results in businesses losing a huge opportunity to increase their top-line revenue and bottom-line efficiency by utilizing more video on a more frequent basis. Luckily, the world has changed. New technologies that enable streamlined, effective, efficient, scalable and affordable video—both live and prerecorded—now offer the ability to produce video more simply, more quickly and in ways that are increasingly accessible to more people in an organization. Or, put more simply, the solution to this challenge is to provide technology that integrates more employees into the creation process.
Who Should Be Involved? Currently, the most prevalent use of video in the corporate environment is conferencing and communications. There are now many ser vices that go beyond simple connectivity solutions. Some of the most wanted features in videoconferencing include the following: whiteboarding to help meeting participants present their points, livestreaming to deliver meet32 Sound & Communications September 2019
ings in real time over the internet, bidirectional audio and video for participants to interact easily, recording and playback ability so meetings can be reviewed later on, streaming or on-demand webcasting to deliver meetings over the internet to a wider audience, electronic hand-raising for participants to join the meeting and make their points, chat/messaging for participants to discuss items or share files, and application integrations to share various tools with others for better productivity. Note how conference calls have evolved in ways that make participants more involved. This is often an entr y point for video in a corporate environment, as it is a key enabler of new organizational competencies. With those benefits laid out, it becomes easier to envision uses beyond the conference room. It also becomes apparent that the list of employees and corporate functions that should be involved in video goes deeper into the organization than most realize. These teams include the following: • Management: communicating their goals, strategies, plans and tasks to their direct reports. • Corporate communications: delivering multiple messages from multiple departments. • Marketing: creating videos for business-to-business (B2B) and business-to-consumer (B2C) activations. • Human resources: communicating and training employees on corporate policies and benefits. • AV departments: using simpler tools to accomplish smaller projects, as well as full-production equipment for bigger projects. This encompasses the conference call, but it also extends to videowalls, digital signage, live events and more.
Enabling The Demand For Video To enable comprehensive digital-media productions, an examination must be made of the shift in AV systems and the way that common infrastructure is utilized. The shift in AV systems is being aided by an evolution of integrated video-production systems. These solutions are designed to create multi-platform productions—both live and on demand—with a set of tools and capabilities for video mixing, graphics, audio, recording, playback, streaming and social-media publishing. These integrated solutions are not only more affordable, but also increasingly intuitive thanks to userfriendly designs and layouts. (Some even go so far as to offer touchscreen solutions.) This reduction in cost and complexity enables more organizations to produce event coverage that looks polished and engaging to viewers, and the coverage might include social and second-screen experiences. Attending events becomes more engaging when augmented with live-production techniques that involve multiple cameras, capturing more action from multiple positions, as well as multiple displays throughout that can show different content. Image magnification of a camera source to a display makes presentations larger than life. Distributed outputs bring the
experience to other viewers located around a building via digital signage and videowalls. That said, the second challenge centers on infrastructure. Moving content through organizations—let alone across a business campus or to off-site locations—has long been hamstrung by the need for expensive, proprietar y video cabling and infrastructure. These sorts of bottlenecks to video distribution limit the amount of content that corporations can use to create efficiencies or market their products and ser vices to customers. Today, those barriers are being removed by technologies that of fer the ability to move high-quality content over existing corporate IT networks. The transpor t and deliver y of digital media is migrating from dedicated infrastructure and wiring to the common internet protocol (IP) technologies that are used in all aspects of ever yday life. Enormous amounts of prior development have gone into ensuring that IP efficiently handles all relevant data types, including those that are germane to media production and distribution. IP permits working in the protocols, formats and data types that suit current needs, yet it allows us to remain open to changing needs and to standards being extended, merged or other wise adapted in the future. A combination of standard IT wired or wireless networks can now be used for audio and video, and adding networking is far less complex and costly than installing dedicated wiring for traditional video and audio distribution. Cameras, production systems, graphics systems and streaming devices are increasingly working with IP protocols for media. There are also converters that will convert traditional video outputs to IP for transport. To a network, various formats and protocols are just more ones and zeros, and they are all equally viable. Moving high-bit-rate live video over ver y long distances by IP can be much faster and
more affordable than the alternatives are. A further stimulus for IP adoption is the fact that end-point creation, storage and processing of media using general software, computing and network technologies has matured to the point that they provide truly useful functionality and performance. There are several approaches in this
space. NDI technology, for example, is a royalty-free, IP-based media transport that enables applications and devices from all types of suppliers to work together—with no special hardware of any kind. The reason for this approach is a belief that the standard network is the future; thus, NDI is architected to (continued on page 93)
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The Time Has Come For AV-As-A-Service Earn repeat business by fostering interdependence with clients. By Bill Mullin Starin
he ability to accept delayed gratification is one of those silent, strength-building traits that so often are lost in the you-deser ve-it-all-right-now society of today. Indeed, there seems to be a tendency to get what you want right now and then move on to the next thing. AV people—myself included— have lived in such a world. Our mindset on the production side is often centered on the next show to set up, the next movie to work on and so on. That mindset is just the nature of things. But, sometimes, that thinking finds its way into the presentation market of building meeting and performance spaces. Does it belong there? When I was a sales engineer, the thrill of the kill—getting major projects—got my adrenaline pumping for months. Even now, I can recall Walter Payton College Preparator y High School, in Chicago IL, at $1.4 million, as well as the new campus for International Trucks. Those projects of scale, or even the one-room jobs, brought in plenty of revenue—and, yet, we were always looking for the next one. At best, our after-market thought was a break-fix maintenance contract. We trained, but we didn’t measure utilization or support ongoing orientations 34 Sound & Communications September 2019
and adoption of the tech. These were turnkey systems; we handed over the keys and the customer drove off. It’s been 15 years since those days, and things have changed…some. Services are now front-of-mind for many. One response to the “disappearing acts” of AV installers in previous years has been colleges and corporations hiring AV-savvy people for their IT departments; but, even so, they still want lifelines. If you’ve made a concerted effort to change your paradigm to embrace active, ongoing engagement with a client over the full lifespan, then I contend nothing will better cement a relationship of interdependence than AV-as-a-service. At the Salesforce Dreamforce conference, I had a stupid epiphany. (By “stupid,” I mean it was so simple that it made me feel stupid for not seeing it years ago.) The session on customer success was all about the wide array of support they have for us when using their tools. Bam!—it hit me. I realized Salesforce does not measure a customer’s success by the success they are having with the customer; instead, they measure it by the success the customer is having with them. If you’re not willing to go there—to measure your success by the success of your customer—stop reading. If that’s the case, AVaaS is just not for you. Yet, I must ask a simple question: If you have not stayed with your customers, then how do you know whether your work made them successful? (If you have Net Promoter Scores (NPS) or feedback loops—great.) AVaaS is holistic, and I don’t mean some “peace, love and granola” cosmic connotation (although it might have some side effects along those lines in that your customers might find themselves at peace). AVaaS is system thinking. In this AV-everywhere age, customers really don’t want to own stuff like AV systems. They want to use them, for sure. But finance departments are seeing the benefit of moving away from large capital expense (CapEx) outlays and toward recurring operation expenses (OpEx) over time. The pay-for-use model has existed in office equipment for years. Ricoh, Canon and Konica Minolta figured this out long ago. The structure and terms might not always be the same; in some cases, customers pay by the use, such as the number of copies made. There’s an appealing aspect of getting an $X-per-month cost of acquisition. You don’t have to have self-financing to make this possible, either, but you do need a (continued on page 96)
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Finding Audiovisual Nirvana Fiberoptics and active optical cables are helping to usher it in. By Samir Desai Cosemi Technologies
he past can teach us much about the future, especially when it comes to the rise and eventual predominance of winning technologies. Throughout the past three decades, the rapid acceleration of innovations in semiconductors, IT, telecommunications and the Internet of Things (IoT) has led consumers and businesses alike to become accustomed to more data, more connectivity, more life-enhancing applications, more artificial intelligence (AI), more ultra and virtual reality (VR), and visual and auditor y clarity enhancements that nearly blow our minds. The stunning advancements in a wide variety of technologies, which profoundly change the way we view the world and live our days and nights, are almost euphoria-inducing. Indeed, it’s reminiscent of a memorable 1969 psychedelic soul-funk song, “I Want to Take You Higher,” by Sly and the Family Stone. (If you’re not familiar, check out their amazing live rendition of the song from the revolutionar y Woodstock music festival.) The Silicon Valley version of “I Want to Take You Higher” might go something like this: Data’s gettin’ bigger. Adding ultra high-def, too. Baby, we need lots more bandwidth… computin’ power… You know it’s comin’. I wanna take you higher! Ultra-HD video, including 4K and 8K, has created the need for faster, more reliable communications over increasingly longer distances. These advances also call for translation-free data transmission and intermediate aggregation to allow 36 Sound & Communications September 2019
full-fidelity, raw, uncompressed AV data transfers. Today’s AV systems thrive on higher bandwidth, which is provided by advancements in two winning, predominant technologies: fiberoptics and optoelectronics mashed up to an interconnect solution generally called an active optical cable (AOC).
Fiber’s Superiority Plays To Market Demands Underlying technologies cause the bandwidth gap between fiber and copper. Fiber interconnects use thin bundles of optical fibers, or strands of ver y pure glass as narrow as a human hair, to transmit data using pulses of laser light. Copper cables literally use copper wires, and they’re a significantly bulkier technology, first designed to carr y voice-call data via electrical pulse.
More Bandwidth The bandwidth differences between copper and fiberoptics are effectively the difference between electrons and photons. Copper uses electrons for data transmission, whereas fiber uses photons. Optoelectronic and data-communication technology investments over the past two decades have made it easier to transmit and receive massive amounts of data, over longer distances, using fiberoptics than had ever been previously possible using copper connections. Think about a ’69 Pontiac GTO. With all its power, it could reach 60mph in 6.6sec. Today’s base Tesla 3 can do that in 5.3sec. In many respects, it’s synonymous with opto-electrifying AV applications to enhance, extend and evolve our favorite interconnect options of HDMI, DisplayPort and USB in enterprise, medical, industrial and residential settings.
Better Durability All data signals degrade over a range, but fiber offers significantly better signal durability. Fiber only loses three percent of the signal over distances greater than 328 feet, as compared to copper’s 94-percent loss of signal. Fiberoptic bundles do not conduct electrical currents, making fiber data connections fully resistant to electromagnetic interference, lightning or radio signals. Copper cables, conversely, are designed to conduct electricity; this makes copper internet vulnerable to power lines, lightning and deliberate signal scrambling. Copper cable can easily be broken during an installation or by accident. Despite its large size, copper has a low tolerance for tension. Fiber, conversely, is smaller, lighter and more durable than copper cabling is, and it can generally only be damaged through delib-
erate vandalism (although you do have to be careful with made-out-of-glass fiber). Typically, though, fiber is sheathed in a protective coat to increase durability.
AOCs Enable AV Nirvana According to recent market trends identified by Frost & Sullivan, huddle rooms are projected to replace almost 70 percent of all meeting rooms by 2022. Huddle rooms call for equipment that delivers inspiring visual images and excellent audio quality. AOCs are vital infrastructure components of huddle rooms. Typically, huddle rooms have high bandwidth requirements, as well as a need for flexible cabling for workplace aesthetics. Here are some of the key components you would expect to find in huddle rooms: • Displays: You can use an LCD or LED monitor, or even a television. • Microphones/speakers: High-quali-
ty audio is a priority when collaborating with remote participants. Quality audio also prevents missed information and helps avoid miscommunication. • Cameras: Video collaboration is becoming an expectation. Viewing participants’ faces and body language improves communication. You can also find combination mic/camera solutions that will work for most huddle rooms. • Interactive whiteboards: These allow you to write directly on the board in various colors, annotating over webpages or documents. In addition, videoconferencing platforms enable users to whiteboard while on the call and share to other participants, either in real time or after the conference has completed. A typical enterprise conference or huddle room on today’s smart-office campus requires cabling to be tucked away under the floor, over ceilings or
behind walls. And, in order to connect to displays and cameras, at least 16 feet of cabling is usually required. This requirement, coupled with the need for a small bend radius, a low weight and a small footprint, makes it nearly impossible to choose copper cabling. AOCs, on the other hand, serve these requirements not only by providing high bandwidth for 4K video, but also by offering ease of installation. They essentially look and feel like a longer, thinner direct attached copper (DAC) cable. Sly and the Family Stone—the band that wowed Woodstock back in 1969—might be electrified by all the cool technologies coexisting with the technologies of yester year, all of which will be leveraged for tomorrow’s huddle rooms. I can hear them now, paying homage to ever ything that takes us higher, singing, “Boom shaka-laka-laka! Boom shaka-laka-laka!”
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Sound & Communications 37
where display owners and content creators will have to divorce themselves from the minds of their audiences and realize that, although your display might be physically cur ved, the digital map onto which your content must fit is still a traditional, flat quadrilateral. Content mapping is the industry term used to describe the process of configuring content to fit within these flat quadrilaterals. High-definition standards demand pixel dimensions of 1920x1080, representing a 16:9 ratio, but many curved displays will not adhere to those dimensions. If your display has measurements of 1900x500, for example, you will have to make some adjustments. Content designed for a 1920x1080 display could compress itself to fit onto your smaller display, or the display could simply cut off large portions of the content and only show a 1900x500-sized section of it. Neither of those outcomes is desirable. The right approach is, instead, to create content that conforms to the shape of your display’s map from the outset.
Content For Curved Displays Key factors to keep in mind.
By Dave Merlino NanoLumens
rganizations that purchase and install an LED display solution are not buying their display off the rack. They are partnering with a manufacturer to arrive at a solution that is built to fit a specific space and a particular purpose. LED ribbons, column wraps, life-size tunnels and 360-degree halo displays are the types of cur ved installations your audiences will never forget. But, before construction ever begins, it’s imperative to educate yourself on the intricacies of cur ved-display content. To give readers a better understanding of the complexities involved, here are a few things to keep in mind.
Your Content Is Not Curved One of the most fundamental things to understand when working with a cur ved display is that, although your display might be cur ved, your content is not. When you are designing content for any display, it is tempting to put yourself in the shoes of your audience. What are they going to see? What message are they receiving, and how does it look? From an audience’s perspective, the content on a cur ved display sure looks cur ved—but it isn’t. This is
38 Sound & Communications September 2019
Consider Audience Angles A display is ultimately designed to be a messenger. If your business is going to spend a substantial amount of money acquiring and installing an LED display, then you want to make sure it delivers your message. That means taking into account where your audiences are located. If an organization has installed a 360-degree halo display, it surely intends for its audiences to see the content from all angles. Therefore, the organization’s content ought to be segmented so that audiences from each angle can see actionable, standalone content, as opposed to simply seeing a small part of a larger, longer image. If people from four separate locations are looking at your halo display, each of them ought to be able to receive the same information, meaning you’ll probably have to include that information multiple times across your content map. The Atlanta Braves of Major League Baseball (MLB) have done a particularly impressive job with that concept. The ball club shows game updates, highlights and calls to action in four distinct segments around its halo display; that way, fans positioned at all angles can receive the same information clearly. The improved off-axis viewability of the cur ve amplifies the success of the content, as well.
Lean Into Your Curves The alternative here is to create content that leans into the cur ved nature of your display. Unlike a standard rectangle, a halo display like the one installed by the Braves doesn’t actually have any vertical edges. You can put content on there and have it rotate around to create a cool experience for audiences who are not at all used to that sort of video work. Other cur ves are ideal for showing an ocean wave or a flying flag. If your display is cur ved, then find examples of that same shape in real life and show them on the display. Audiences will appreciate the lifelike way that a cur ved display can recreate the real-world visuals with which flatpanel displays tend to struggle.
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The Display Dilemma Factors to consider when deciding between LED screens and projection. By Ed Gurr Vivitek Corp.
ithout question, LED screens remain popular in our industr y due to their wide availability and decreasing cost; however, projectors should not be overlooked, especially in commercial settings. After all, during the years that LED technology was maturing, projectors under went an evolution of their own—from lamp-based to laser phosphor. This change has resulted in a new breed of projectors that are more vivid, longer lasting and easier to care for. As a result, projectors can compete with LEDs in new ways—a fact that has brought them back into the spotlight. Although there is no cr ystal-clear solution to achieving cr ystal-clear resolution, both LED screens and projectors should be considered as options for businesses today. This evaluation should be based on a combination of several factors, such as lighting, aesthetics and construction, value and application.
Lighting Ambient light can be a difficult challenge to overcome. Light hitting a screen can dramatically hinder the image quality, leeching out color and 40 Sound & Communications September 2019
Projectors offer a cost-competitive and versatile option for large, multi-purpose environments like auditoriums.
detracting from crisp details and visual clarity. One of the biggest, most commonly made mistakes is picking a display solution too quickly. Doing so often leaves the client agonizing over how to adjust the lighting to see the best picture. Instead, it’s advisable first to evaluate a room’s light situation and determine what can be done to control it. In some cases, it’s as simple as turning off the room lights and drawing the curtains. It’s also helpful to understand how the room is affected by light at different times of day. This knowledge is instrumental in selecting a display solution that will provide the best-quality image under all conditions. Generally, the more ambient light a room receives, the brighter the display unit has to be to compensate for it. As such, rooms filled with direct sunlight tend to be better ser ved by bright LED screens as opposed to projectors. However, many high-lumen projectors do fit these applications. Furthermore, it’s worth noting that projection screens have grown more sophisticated and cost-competitive. Consider ambientlight-rejecting (ALR) screens, for example, which are designed to accept light in the path of the projector and prevent light from other sources that would wash out the projected image. A laser projector and an ALR screen, taken together, can provide the performance level of a flatpanel, which has resulted in this combination gaining adoption in the last few years.
Aesthetics & Construction In addition to evaluating lighting, consider the uses of the room in question and how a display—LED or projection screen—will fit into the environment on a daily basis. For example, some conference rooms or other commercial spaces are considered multi-purpose. Therefore, a large screen dominating the area might not be ideal. Assisted-living facilities, for instance, often use their main television-viewing room for meetings, dining and exercise. Depending on the size of the space and its layout, the presence of a permanent display might be undesirable. In those cases, a projector is a more versatile option, as it can be stowed away or rolled up into the ceiling. Because projector units are easily moved or hidden, they offer benefits for room aesthetics and functionality that LEDs do not. Another factor is how the room was constructed—in particular, the wall support
for the installation of the selected unit. LED displays tend to be heavy, requiring sturdy mounting systems and wall studs for support. If a building cannot accommodate these, then installing LED screens could incur considerable construction costs. Additionally, it’s important to assess the uniformity of the surrounding walls. This is critical when considering a ver y large viewing
area, which would necessitate putting multiple LED screens side by side to create one cohesive image. If the walls in this scenario are uneven, the connected screens will be, as well, and that will create unpleasant and distracting gaps in the image. These issues illustrate the value of factoring display-solution options into a construction project’s core design. In
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42 Sound & Communications September 2019
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doing so, clients are empowered to put the proper building blocks in place to support the displays they want. For retrofits, however, projectors might offer flexibility without time-consuming and costly renovations being necessar y.
Value All clients want to maximize the value of their display solution. As such, it is important to consider cost versus performance. LED screens can create a ver y compelling solution when smaller displays are involved. For instance, fastfood restaurants often use LEDs behind the counter to promote menu items and deals. However, considerations become more complex as screen sizes become larger. When a display’s size surpasses 86 inches, or perhaps even approaches 120 inches, the value of projectors becomes evident. Although the cost of LED screens is coming down, installations of that size can be cost prohibitive. As a result, those who utilize LEDs for that type of project often connect several smaller screens to create a single larger image. This is a widely used practice, but it can result in installation headaches related to wiring, as well as other problems. Moreover, when dealing with such a large display, brightness always poses a challenge. You don’t want executives in a conference room to be wincing due to the brightness of the screens in the room. This can be common for individuals who wear glasses, if lighting is not properly addressed. Projectors can offer relief by eliminating the glare and brightness inherent to LEDs’ light-emitting design.
Application Projectors have historically thrived in sectors like education facilities, houses of worship and government buildings, where budgetar y constraints are prevalent. Even so, ever y application is unique. For some education facilities, using smaller flatpanel screens is more costeffective than using their laser-projector counterparts. However, as laser-projector costs come down, we are likely to see more classrooms taking another look at
Courtesy Houston Museum of Natural Science.
The Houston Museum of Natural Science’s Wiess Energy Hall uses 32 laser projectors to bring Energy City, a 2,500-square-foot, 3D landscape of Houston TX, to life.
projection-based solutions, evaluating these options based on factors such as lighting and room aesthetics. With regard to entertainment venues, the display selected depends on the type of use. For example, sports stadiums and arenas that are looking for stationar y displays tend to choose LEDs. These environments often have the resources and the infrastructure to
support large direct-view LED displays. The bright, flashy lights and sleek designs of these units also satisfy the aesthetic demands of those venues. Conversely, touring bands would likely find it easier to transport and set up a projector with a rollaway screen as they travel. Ultimately, there are many factors to consider when deciding between LED-
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based displays and projection options. This is an exciting time for the AV industr y, as there are many rich products to choose from, and technology continues to evolve rapidly. Although this can be over whelming, there is also a massive opportunity for integrators to distinguish themselves by choosing the right eye-catching, captivating, unique displays for their clients.
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Sound & Communications 43
Delivering Customer Value The key is to optimize, rather than to maximize. By Scott Freshman Visionary Solutions
elivering value to the customer in the audiovisual industr y requires involvement by consultants, integrators, reps and manufacturers. Many factors have to come together to provide a useful and satisfying customer experience, as well as to make sure that the customer gets a system that performs well and that’s easy to use. Too often, it seems that confusion is created by marketing efforts that tout the merits of a product or a set of technologies, independent of the needs of the customer. Engineering is about making the best tradeoffs (optimizations) possible for any given set of workflows. Most marketing departments relentlessly push their specific set of offerings as the only way to go. We can’t blame them— after all, that’s what they are paid to do—but, often, doing this is a disservice to the customer. It is the responsibility of the manufacturer community to temper its message to the channel and maintain a focus on customer value. Many times, products that maximize, rather than optimize, are pushed as the “be all and end all” in our industr y. Specsmanship can take over as an allconsuming paradigm—one that leaves customer value behind. We see so many installations using hardware that, although it’s overkill for the particular applications at hand, was pushed under the guise of being one size fits all. One example is audio and video synchronization. If you are in a studio in which content can go through many generations of editing and modification, then ver y tight synchronization is critical. Most often, in an AV matrix, the AV 44 Sound & Communications September 2019
Many times, products that maximize, rather than optimize, are pushed as the ‘be all and end all’ in our industry. Specsmanship can take over as an all-consuming paradigm—one that leaves customer value behind.
is being sent from a source to its final point of display, and, so, the audio and video must be within lip-sync tolerances. (For more information, click to www.wikipedia. org/wiki/audio-to-video_synchronization.) With modern AV-over-IP technology, this level of sync is easily achieved without clock-locked sync between audio and video being required. This is attractive when the audio and video might take different paths to the final point of use. The video is usually just routed, whereas the audio often is processed by digital signal processors (DSPs). It is pretty easy to ensure that the final result is well within the lip-sync tolerances, without having to resort to clock-locked synchronization. Another issue for the customer relates to something we might call “manufacturers in name only.” Many of the companies that put themselves for ward as manufacturers are white labeling the vast majority of their equipment, with little or no internal engineering actually involved in the creation of the hardware, firmware and software they are selling. Taking an existing product and putting it in a new box, with some minor changes to the graphical user interface (GUI), does not make a company an expert in AV-over-IP. Even among true manufacturers, support varies considerably in quality. Being able to quickly get to someone who can help you with your issue is often the difference between wanting to be a repeat customer and wanting to look for another partner. The most important thing in network AV is the network. Most of the products on the market today can route AV in some fashion, but only with a properly specified and configured network. Networks are highly flexible systems that have a mile-long list of supported protocols. All that power, if it isn’t handled well, can add up to complexity and pitfalls. If you take some time to learn what is going on in the technology, and if you stay focused on what you really need for your application, as opposed to listening to the marketing machines that are telling you what they think you need, you can deliver great systems to your customers—systems that meet their needs, without busting their budgets.
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Maximizing Your Corporate Conference Room Technology Today’s technology can serve company workforces in many ways.
By Gary Bailer and Vince Jannelli Sharp Imaging and Information Co. of America
f you work in an office, the chances are good that you’ve had some sort of struggle with technology. Certainly, technology has taken us to places we never thought possible within corporate settings. We’re seeing users migrate in droves to the cloud, and we’re witnessing a significant uptick in videoconferencing. But with innovations happening at an accelerated rate, it’s a constant challenge for an office to stay up to date with the newest hardware and software. For those companies that keep up with tech adoption, the next challenge is to make sure your workforce is trained on the new technology. In the conference room, any lack of training becomes evident when you’re starting up a meeting. In fact, research from Forrester Consulting1 found that most gatherings in meetings, boardrooms or training rooms start up to 10 minutes after they were supposed to begin; contributing factors are waiting for the meeting to start and having to set up videoconferencing for those joining remotely. This is usually because the meeting organizers are having difficulty connecting their laptops to a display screen, dialing into a conference line or opening a video-chat application, among a myriad of other issues. Indeed, the same data found that tech issues are the root cause of meeting delays more than half the time. 46 Sound & Communications September 2019
This leads many tech decision-makers at these companies to pose a valid question: What’s the point of investing so much time and capital into technology if no one is using it properly? Perhaps there are better questions that business leaders should first be asking about their office setting: What can I do to ensure my workforce is fully utilizing the technology provided? How do I make them comfortable with the technology? In short, make your technology more accessible! The idea is to make it easy for knowledge workers to access new technology and increase their productivity by using it, rather than having them fall back to old solutions. For example, if you’ve invested in a new videoconferencing application, and you have workers who have not been trained on it, those workers will just start to use your old video-chat platform instead. Why? Because that’s what they know! Or, you might get several helpdesk calls asking for guidance on how to use the new application—each one costing precious time that could other wise be spent on more productive things (like the actual meeting). The answer is to invest in technology that makes connection intuitive. In the case of display technology, it has to be smart enough to power up instantly when users approach the room, and it should require only minimal setup to begin a meeting. Look for display solutions that allow users to plug in or cast from their laptop or mobile device for a quick start, rather than having to spend up to 10 minutes looking for compatible connection slots and cables. Another way to help with technology integration is to implement a technology-asa-ser vice (TAAS) model. Traditionally, businesses just buy the newest, most updated displays, phones, speakers and microphones for a conference room. When they become outdated, the businesses just go out and buy newer replacement equipment. But, what if, instead of buying, you could lease the hardware instead? Think of Netflix, through which, by paying a monthly subscription, you get the newest content “delivered” right to your fingertips. Comparably, a TAAS model bundles the hardware for a monthly fee. This allows users to benefit from the technological advances that are always coming up in the display industr y—for example, Internet of Things (IoT) sensors—without having to buy, discard and buy again each time the hardware or software becomes obsolete. Today, it’s not just about making your knowledge workers comfortable with existing technology—that should be a given. In addition, it’s about making your employees feel physically comfortable within your meeting-room environment. As a
result, another smart question to ask is this: What else can my technology do to help my workforce feel comfortable? A study2 conducted by researchers Nigel Oseland and Adrian Burton on workplace conditions found that providing a combination of adequate air quality, temperature and lighting could enhance overall worker performance by approximately 2.5 percent. That’s something to which all of us can relate. Have you ever tried to hold a meeting in a conference room
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in the middle of July, with the air conditioning broken? It’s not fun. Ever yone just wants to get out of there as quickly as possible to cool down, which keeps the group from being fully productive. The right conditions for a meeting will boost productivity; that means organizations should look for advanced technology solutions that can help them monitor those environmental factors. Earlier, we mentioned IoT sensors as an example of a major technology innovation within displays, and they could help with this. Including IoT sensors in digital displays equips the units to collect data about room temperature, lighting and other environmental factors. If organizations have that data, they can adjust these issues and, thus, foster a better workspace for collaboration. It’s a capability that goes beyond the video portion of the display. Smart organizations will combine this ambient information, obtained through IoT-enabled displays, with IT data collected via calendar and room-reser vation systems, such as Exchange Online. This will help to extract additional insight into how the room is being used. As an example, if there is a meeting with 10 people planned for your executive conference room, but no one ends up attending, the sensors can indicate that it was a no-show. Further, the systems can provide the information that facility managers need to make decisions about managing the temperature and lighting in a room that’s not being used. When shopping for a car, it’s important to know if it has good gas mileage, whether its brakes are top of the line, etc. But people also care about the other high-tech options, such as Bluetooth, touchscreen navigation displays and connectivity. The same can be said of your conference-room equipment. Investing in display solutions that provide easy setup and that give you environmental data will go a long way in boosting your workforce productivity. Because technology isn’t just supposed to be functional—it’s also supposed to be smart. Endnotes
1 “Total Economic Impact” study, Forrester Consulting, Februar y 2016. 2 https://workplaceinsight.net/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/2012-JBSAV-Quantifying-
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48 Sound & Communications September 2019
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By Peter Mapp, PhD, FASA, FAES The iconic Royal Albert Hall (RAH), located in London, UK, opened in 1871, and it has been renowned for its challenging acoustic environment ever since. Over the past 148 years, various attempts have been made to tr y to control the acoustics of the space, including the installation of a huge inner skin to the dome. Originally, this was a calico velarium that weighed 1.25 tons; it was replaced by the current perforated, fluted aluminum lining in 1949. This incorporates a sound-absorbing glass fiber quilt. The iconic “mushrooms,” or flying saucers, for which the hall has become so famous, were added in 1969. When it opened, the RAH had a capacity of nearly 8,000 seats; however, over the years, this has reduced to the current 5,722 seats. It has been said that, at the unveiling in 1871, the opening speech by the future King Edward VIII was heard twice due to the strong sound (echo) focusing that the domed and nearly circular space produced. This was also the case for concerts, and it was often joked that the RAH was the best value for money of the London venues. After all, you were able to hear each concert twice!
Originally, 135 mushrooms were installed, each being six feet in diameter. They act to diffuse the sound and provide “early” reflections to the audience; in addition, because the majority have acoustic absorption on the upper surface, they help control the reverberation time (RT). In the 1990s, the number of mushrooms was reduced to 85. Although this slightly increased the RT, it enabled a number of additional suspension points to become available. The mushrooms have controlled the echo and helped reduce the RT, but the hall remains an acoustically challenging environment for amplified sound. The mid-frequency reverberation time is currently around 2.9sec., although it has a well-controlled characteristic, as illustrated by the RT plots shown in Figure 1. As can be seen from the photos, the RAH also has many soundreflecting surfaces—in particular, the front of the boxes, around the entrance doors and the cornice at high level. Sound falling on those surfaces tends to come back as discrete echoes, which are audible both onstage and within the audience. Although the RAH appears to be circular, it, in fact, isn’t; in actuality, it’s elliptical, with the major axis being approximately 270 feet and the minor
REDESIGNING The Royal Albert Hall’s new audio systems
Photo courtesy David Iliff.
The Royal Albert Hall is an arresting sight in the evening. 50 Sound & Communications September 2019
being 236 feet. The apex of the dome is 134 feet above the main floor. The volume of the space is approximately three million cubic feet. The organ, which is located at the rear of the stage, is one of the largest in the world; it has 9,999 pipes and weighs around 150 tons. To give some idea of scale to the photos, the organ is 70 feet high and 65 feet wide. The RAH is a versatile space that has the capability to extend the stage out into the arena or at the downstage corners. The main audience floor can also be built up to var ying heights. The audience areas effectively split vertically. These are as follows: F stalls F mid choirs (behind stage) F upper choirs (behind stage) F loggia boxes F grand-tier boxes F second-tier boxes F circle level F galler y (standing) The RAH hosts close to 400 events in the main auditorium an-
nually, as well as additional performances in other rooms and spaces, which brings the total number of events per year to more than 1,000. That makes the venue one of the busiest in the world. In the main auditorium, the events fall into the following categories. F classical music F rock and pop F film screenings with live orchestra F film premieres F school and community performances F spoken-word performances F conferences F award ceremonies (many of which are also fully catered) F massed choirs F sports events Not only is the RAH sought by external promoters, but the RAH produces and promotes its own events, as well, which allows more creative and commercial control of the programâ€” thatâ€™s something the RAH is keen to expand. Itâ€™s a unique venue
modernize the 19th-century landmark.
Sound & Communications 51
Photo courtesy Andy Paradise.
Main hangs and circle infills. The three levels of boxes (below the circle) can also be seen.
and a registered charity; the trustees are charged with looking after the venue for the nation. It is also Grade-1 listed, which restricts any major alterations from being carried out, as well as some potential improvements.
The Current Project Although the RAH had its own in-house sound system, many promoters and events brought in their own; it would be fair to say there were varied levels of success. Over the past few years, the number of complaints about the sound in the RAH grew to the point that trustees and management felt they had to do something, even though, in many cases, the cause was out of their control. In 2017, they commissioned leading acoustics consulting firm Sandy Brown Associates (SBA) to carr y out a sur vey of the acoustics and sound-system performance, as well as to analyze the acoustic and sound-system complaints. The RAH also engaged in discussions with a number of sound advocates (leading theater and show-sound designers and operators) to get their practical and operational input. It was agreed that the RAH should install a world52 Sound & Communications September 2019
Figure 1: RAH’s RT characteristics (unoccupied–measured and occupied–predicted).
class sound system with the capability for expansion as needs and aspirations grew. A tender was drawn up, and five manufacturers were invited to submit their proposals. The tender specification, apart from setting out the operational and installation
issues, set out the basic acoustic-performance criteria that the system had to meet. The specification appears to have been pragmatically drawn up, taking the challenges of the space into account but still being sufficient to provide a sensible basis
Made in USA
Photo courtesy Sandy Brown Associates.
Photo courtesy Sandy Brown Associates.
Figure 2: SBA computer model image.
Figure 3: Computer model that shows reflection pattern ray tracing. Genre
In-House System Use
Rock & Pop
Figure 4: Design sketch that shows circle infill arrays, main hangs and outfill arrays. * Cirque du Soleil usually has a residency each winter in the new year.
for performance and control. In short, I think they got it about right. I have summarized the main acoustic requirements: F Sound Pressure Level (SPL) > 103LAeq with pink-noise test signal F Average Speech Transmission Index (STI) > 0.6, with minimum of 0.5 STI F Frequency Response 50Hz to 10kHz Âą 6dB (-10dB @ 40Hz) F Coverage â€“ SPL variation to be within 6dB (4kHz octave band) F Distortion < 2 percent total harmonic 54 Sound & Communications September 2019
distortion (THD) F Residual noise < 20dBA Those requirements apply over 95 percent of the audience area. The electronic requirements were ver y much tighter, as there were no mitigating reasons to reduce them from the best possible performance. The specification also required the loudspeaker system to be designed to avoid the excitation of long-path echoes, and it required the production and submission of an EASE model. SBA also included data from
its acoustic survey and extensive computer modeling, which the firm carried out using ODEON. [See Figures 2 and 3.] By early spring 2018, the shortlist was reduced to three manufacturers, and then, in April/May 2018, two manufacturers were asked to progress with demonstration systems that would be rigged and auditioned. In May, the decision was made to go with d&b audiotechnik, and the nitty-gritty design work really began. Several approaches and solutions were looked at and modeled,
as was the practicality of mounting the loudspeakers in a historic building. However, the RAH’s management effectively told d&b that it should pick the optimal positions for the loudspeakers; then, ways of achieving them (or satisfactory nearby locations) would be found. (This wasn’t an easy task, considering the roof was not designed for tons of loudspeakers to be hung from it, and there were 85 six-foot mushrooms to avoid. That’s not to mention several lighting bridges and the orchestral canopy, together with all the other junk that typically adorns concert-hall roofs.)
Installation SFL was appointed to install the system, and the installation was a minor miracle of coordination and engineering. All work had to be carried out at night after each evening’s performance. During the six-month installation period (some 693 man-days of time), not one of the 327 shows that took place was lost or seriously affected. During that time, some 50,167 feet of cable were installed, as were 465 individual loudspeakers. That makes it the world’s largest loudspeaker install in a single room!
The galler y infill loudspeakers are 23 flown d&b Ti10Ps. [See page 55.] In addition to those, there are four flown cardioid subs (d&b SL-SUBs) and two floor subs (also SL-SUBs). After initial testing, it was felt that the coverage and connection to the main body of the auditorium within the 144 boxes that ring the arena was not as good as the rest of the auditorium and could be improved; as such, a plan to provide local coverage within the boxes was brought for ward. At the same time, it was determined to be ex-
System Design d&b’s designer, Steve Jones, began by considering which of the four d&b line-array models would be best suited to the job; key considerations were their size, weight and acoustic output. Also feeding into the decision was how best to cover the circle and gallery areas. They could be covered by making the main hangs longer and directing the sound from the front of the hall, or, alternatively, by using a shorter main system with delayed infill arrays or cabinets. Part of the decision also came from achieving a good understanding of the RAH program and likely bookings by external promoters and event organizers who would be using the new in-house system. An interesting table of the typical RAH program and likely system use was drawn up [see Figure 5]; it bears review. Interestingly, since the new in-house sound system has been installed, the take-up has been even greater than expected! After a number of options were considered, and after many hours of EASE modeling, the final design resulted in the use of three main hangs of V Series boxes. Each hang is composed of nine d&b V8s and three d&b V12s. Those are supplemented by seven hangs of six d&b Y8 infill arrays to cover the circle. A further two sets of eight V8 outfill arrays cover the sides of the stage, whereas the audience/choir seating behind the stage is covered by two hangs of Y8s, each employing four units. Figure 4 shows a plan-view sketch of the loudspeaker locations to cover the circle, together with the main hangs and the choir coverage. The yellow splodges are the mushrooms, whose locations are not totally symmetrical. The main hangs and circle arrays can be seen on page 50.
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Photo courtesy Andy Paradise.
Loudspeakers covering individual boxes. (The surround-sound units are mounted at the rear of each box.)
pedient to install surround-sound/ambience loudspeakers in the boxes. Therefore, 338 d&b 4S loudspeakers were integrated, in three custom colors, to match the décor of the boxes. The delayed infills have been found to enhance detail, speech and vocal intelligibility significantly. Getting cables to the infill speakers and fitting them discretely into the boxes produced a set of unique problems, but it was only the tip of the iceberg as somewhere also had to be found—and relatively close by—to house the associated power amplifiers. The solution was to build a set of three new, discrete enclosures in the circle corridor. This was not a straightfor ward task in a historically listed building. Each new enclosure houses two amplifier racks, one of which can be seen on page 57. The new enclosures fit in beautifully, and they look as though they were always there.
Wiring & Cabling With regard to wiring and cabling, SFL mainly used 16x4mm2 multicore for the big hangs, with some 8x4mm2 and 2x4mm2 for smaller hangs and the galler y fills. The integrator opted for Van-Damme Black Series. (Van-Damme is widely recognized 56 Sound & Communications September 2019
as one of Europe’s top cable manufacturers for pro audio and AV.) All the cables are a minimum of 4mm2; however, for some hangs, they actually doubled up the cabling to achieve an 8mm2 cross-sectional area due to the length of the cable run. For the main arrays, the amplifiers are on the galler y level (in a ver y cramped space behind the organ). The cables go up and across the roof, and then they drop down into position. There is enough slack on the cable-management system so that the arrays can reach the floor for ser vicing. In some cases, this arrangement resulted in a total cable length from amplifier to loudspeaker of up to 430 feet. Fortunately, all the main arrays use d&b array processing; that means there is only a single loudspeaker per amplifier channel, so the loudspeaker nominal impedance is helpfully high at 8Ω per channel. Even so, cable impedance can really start to have a tangible effect on system performance at this length, if it isn’t properly managed. So, SFL upgraded all cable runs in excess of 300 feet to 8mm2 to meet performance requirements.
Photo courtesy Andy Paradise.
A shot of the gallery infills.
Because the subs are a lower-impedance cabinet (nominal impedance of 3Ω for the channel driving the forward-facing drivers), the decision was made to reduce the total cable length by locating the sub amplifiers within the roof void. Once again, the 4mm2 cable was doubled up to achieve an 8mm2 cross-sectional area. They also drove the gallery fills from amplifiers within the roof void for the same reason, as some channels link up to four cabinets in parallel (which brings nominal impedance per channel down to 4Ω). For the box loudspeaker wiring, YY 2.5mm2 speaker cable by Van-Damme was employed. This is SFL’s regular stock loudspeaker installation cable, and it’s a great all-around workhorse. Short sections of 1.5mm2 were used where the cable is visible to patrons, as there was a desire to keep the installation as neat and subtle as possible. That being said, the majority of the backbone uses a combination
Photo courtesy Andy Paradise.
Close-up shot of circle infills.
Sound & Communications 57
EQUIPMENT Main Left 9 d&b audiotechnik V8 high-performance 3-way passive line-array speakers 3 d&b audiotechnik V12 high-performance 3-way passive line-array speakers Main Center 9 d&b audiotechnik V8 high-performance 3-way passive line-array speakers 3 d&b audiotechnik V12 high-performance 3-way passive line-array speakers Main Right 9 d&b audiotechnik V8 high-performance 3-way passive line-array speakers 3 d&b audiotechnik V12 high-performance 3-way passive line-array speakers Outfills Left 8 d&b audiotechnik V8 high-performance 3-way passive line-array speakers Outfills Right 8 d&b audiotechnik V8 high-performance 3-way passive line-array speakers Circle Delays 42 d&b audiotechnik Y8 high-performance 2-way passive line-array speakers (7 hangs) Gallery System 23 d&b audiotechnik Ti10P installation-specific 2-way point-source speakers Choir Stalls Left 4 d&b audiotechnik Y8 high-performance 2-way passive line-array speakers Choir Stalls Right 4 d&b audiotechnik Y8 high-performance 2-way passive line-array speakers Flown Subs 4 d&b audiotechnik SL-SUB large-format flyable cardioid subs Floor Subs 2 d&b audiotechnik SL-SUB large-format flyable cardioid subs Frontfills, Floor Sidefills & Choir Frontfills (deployed as needed) 12 d&b audiotechnik 16C installation-specific cardioid column speakers (rigged horizontally) 2 d&b audiotechnik 24C installation-specific cardioid column speakers 6 d&b audiotechnik Y10P high-performance 2-way passive point-source speakers Boxes/Delayed Infill & Surround 338 d&b audiotechnik 4S installation-specific 2-way compact coaxial speakers Stage Monitors 8 d&b audiotechnik E5 2-way compact coaxial speakers 8 d&b audiotechnik E6 2-way compact coaxial speakers 8 d&b audiotechnik M4 2-way stage monitors Processing 10 d&b audiotechnik DS10 audio network bridges 1 d&b audiotechnik DS100 signal engine Amps 40 d&b audiotechnik 10D installation-specific 4-channel amps 24 d&b audiotechnik 30D installation-specific 4-channel amps 6 d&b audiotechnik D20 4-channel amps 3 d&b audiotechnik D80 high-power 4-channel amps FOH Mixing Consoles 1 DiGiCo SD7 Quantum digital mixing console w/optical connections and Waves DMI card 1 DiGiCo SD10 digital mixing console w/optical connections and Waves upgrade kit Stage Racks 2 DiGiCo SD-MiNi Rack compact 4RU racks w/32-bit, 8-channel mic/line input cards, 8-channel line-out cards, 8-channel AES output cards 2 DiGiCo SD-Rack input/output racks w/32-bit, 8-channel mic/line input cards, 8-channel line-out cards, 8-channel AES output cards 58 Sound & Communications September 2019
Audio Networking 1 Audinate Dante network, run on an installed Ethernet network, with connection points both FOH and onstage 1 DiGiCo OptoCore Loop, run on an installed fiber network, with connection points both Photo courtesy SFL. FOH and onstage Junction box within the roof void. 1 DiGiCo Orange Box 2RU bidirectional multi-channel audio-format converter (OptoCoreâ€“Dante) System & Amp Control 1 d&b audiotechnik DS100 signal engine (combined w/d&b audiotechnik DS10 audio network bridges) Monitor Mixing Console 1 DiGiCo SD10 digital mixing console w/optical connections and Waves upgrade kit Cables Van-Damme Black Series tour-grade twin-axial speaker cables Wireless IEMs 8 Shure PSM 1000 in-ear personal monitoring systems w/P10T dual-channel transmitters and P10R bodypack receivers (dual/stereo channels) Wireless Mics 2 Shure Axient Digital AD4Q 4-channel digital wireless receivers 8 Shure Axient Digital ADX1 wireless bodypack transmitters w/DPA d:fine 4066 omnidirectional headset mics 8 Shure Axient Digital ADX2 handheld wireless mic transmitters w/Beta 58 mic heads Rock/Pop Mics 6 AKG C414 condenser mics w/shock mounts 2 Audix D6 dynamic instrument mics 4 beyerdynamic M201 TG moving-coil mics (hypercardioid) 6 Neumann KM 184 small-diaphragm condenser mics 2 Neumann TLM 102 large-diaphragm condenser mics w/shockmounts 12 Radial J48 high-performance active direct boxes 2 Sennheiser e 609 silver supercardioid silver instrument mics 6 Sennheiser e 904 dynamic cardioid instrument mics w/drum clips 2 Shure BETA 52A supercardioid dynamic kick-drum mics 12 Shure BETA 57A supercardioid dynamic instrument mics 10 Shure BETA 58A supercardioid dynamic vocal mics 2 Shure BETA 91A half-cardioid condenser boundary mics 6 Shure BETA 98AD/C clip-on condenser mics w/drum clips Orchestral Mics 40 DPA d:dictate 2011C compact twin-diaphragm cardioid condenser mics 36 DPA d:screet 4061 omnidirectional miniature low-sensitivity mics w/preamp violin clips 8 DPA d:sign 4098 supercardioid mics w/long 122cm booms 14 DPA d:vote CORE 4099 instrument mics w/preamps and various instrument clips 35 Neumann TLM 102 large-diaphragm condenser mics w/shockmounts List is edited from information gathered by Peter Mapp, PhD, FASA, FAES.
Proof Of The Pudding
this brings the nominal loudspeaker impedance down to 4Ω. Fortunately, the cable runs for the boxes are all generally shorter, with the amplifiers housed in the three new cupboards around the circle corridor; the cables then cascade down through the floors below. The maximum cable run is around 130 feet, which keeps performance using the 2.5mm2 cabling within tolerance levels. The junction box shown on page 56 ser ves all the main hangs, including ever ything above the stage (except for the subs) and Photo courtesy Peter Mapp. the circle delays. To run New enclosure housing equipment rack feeding the box infill the cable most efficiently, loudspeakers. Note the curvature of the corridor. SFL bought the minimum of 2x2.5mm 2 or 8x2.5mm 2 cabling. The necessary quantity of 16 core lines up from 4S loudspeakers in the boxes are mostly the amplifier room and then reconfigured linked in pairs or threes, although, in a few everything at the junction box to break out cases, there are linked sets of four; again, to each hang.
The proof of any design, of course, is how it works in practice. Since the system’s first use in September 2018, and its official launch in March of this year (the boxes didn’t come on stream until December 2018), the system has been met with universal approval—if not rave reviews!— from audiences and critics alike. One way of measuring the project’s success would be the system’s take-up among promoters and event organizers; currently, the new house system is being used by around 90 percent. Although there were no surprises for many of the categories listed earlier, both d&b and the RAH technical team have been surprised by the usage among rock and pop bands.The system is “soundscape ready,” so I suspect it will not be long before the audio experience at the RAH is even more immersive. Sound & Communications’ and my thanks to Ollie Jeffery, Head of Production & Technical at the RAH; Borneo Brown, Audio Manager at the RAH; Stephen Stringer, Partner at SBA; Steve Jones from d&b audiotechnik; and Pat Smith, Project Manager for SFL.
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Grand Scale With Private Luxury By Dan Daley When the Supreme Court ruled last year that states could make their own rules around sports betting, it unleashed a spate of new sportsbook planning and construction, as casinos sought to leverage the equivalent to the end of Prohibition in the legalized-gambling industry. That’s not surprising, either. It’s a sector worth $430.2 million in 2018—up nearly 65 percent from $261.3 million in 2017— after only a few states came online in late 2018, according to the American Gaming Association (AGA)’s annual “State of the States” survey of the nation’s commercial casino industry. The industry is expected to achieve between $5 and $10 billion in revenue in just the next few years as more and more states come online. One new venue that is setting quite a high bar is Bally’s Wild Wild West, located between Bally’s and Caesars hotel/casinos in Atlantic City NJ and 60 Sound & Communications September 2019
part of the Caesars Entertainment casino/hotel/resort portfolio. At 15,228 square feet, it’s easily the single largest sportsbook in the storied Jersey Shore town. The new venue, which opened in July, is immersive even before visitors enter. To the left of the sportsbook’s sprawling entrance is a 46'x8' series of Unilumin 3.9mm LED screens, with tickers scrolling underneath, above 10 betting windows and betting kiosks. On the opposite side of the betting desk, there’s a bar over which four 55-inch Samsung displays are in a side-by-side configuration, while a pair of rack-card walls is supported by a 65-inch Samsung screen above each. But you don’t even have to be in the casino to notice the sportsbook’s rear wall: Its luminance can be noticed from the boardwalk out front, more than 50 yards away. A breathtaking 98'x18'
2.6mm LED wall reveals like a Michael Bay movie. This massive display, also by Unilumin, is the linchpin of the venue, both visually and in terms of what it took to get there. (In fact, as we were going to press, two 10-foot-wide wing panels, which will display betting odds, were in the process of being added to the sides.)
‘The World’s Largest Erector Set’ “The two biggest challenges on this project were coordinating schedules with ever yone else, including the general contractor and the electricians, because we were all on a tight schedule and installing the extremely large videowall,” Eric Winnicki, Senior Project Manager for McCann Systems, the AV integrator on the project, said. “Getting the wall to properly curve, to create this huge immersive effect, while keeping it
A custom-curved support frame was designed and fabricated to hold the more than 5,200 LED tiles attached to approximately 660 cabinet chassis.
absolutely even and getting ever y tile to match—that started long before we put it in.” Winnicki said that pre-engineering in the design phase—basically, making sure that every millimeter was accounted for—was critical to getting it right. That required considerable planning and collaboration with multiple project partners, with McCann Systems project managing and engineering in the field, led by industr y veteran Al Ragone. Responsible for the testing, programming and commissioning of the sportsbook, Ragone was vital to the AV integration of Wild Wild West. His team designed and fabricated (and helped install onsite) a custom-curved structure to hold the more than 5,200 LED tiles attached to approximately 660 cabinet chassis, which, in turn, are mounted to the support frame. A key collaborator was Uni-
Bally’s Wild Wild West Sportsbook includes something for everyone.
lumin, which fabricated the wall in its facility in Shenzhen, China; then, it was air freighted to the site. “It’s the largest—and the only 4K—LED wall we’ve ever installed in Atlantic City,” he said. The wall was originally going to be hung from a curved steel pipe that runs along the top of the interior wall, above where the wall was to be installed, and then tied back to the structural rear wall. However, a change in architectural plans saw another steel tube installed along the bottom of the wall in the same space. “We didn’t ask for that bottom steel pipe, but it was perfect for what we thought would be an even sturdier installation solution,” Winnicki remarked. Ken Newbury, SVP of Technical Sales & Engineering on the project for McCann Systems, said that the use of specialty bolts from Hilti, which self-thread with epoxy when fired in using one of
Hilti’s drill guns into the upper and lower steel, created a virtually unmovable surface without having to connect the structure to the interior wall. “The additional rigidity of the upper and lower horizontal steel bars created a ver y, ver y rigid installation,” Newbury said. “At that point, it became the world’s largest Erector Set.” That fact, however, put an enhanced criticality on getting the mount installed perfectly. This was done using a combination of lasers and very nondigital plumb lines to determine absolute straightness, thereby ensuring that the tiles would fit perfectly and provide an immersive experience for viewers. The installation of the main videowall took nearly three weeks, Winnicki recalled, and the Uslim model videowall allows all maintenance to be done from the front of the wall. September 2019
Sound & Communications 61
No matter how distant from the screens you are, you never feel far from the action.
The videowall above the betting windows had its own challenge: Instead of a cur ve, it turns sharply at an obtuse, 145-degree angle away from the front of the book. To achieve a seamless effect here, the tiles at the turn had to be mitre-cut, which was done at the factor y. Newbur y explained that the angle was based on McCann Systems’ measurements, matching the cut of the backing cabinets that McCann’s team did. “It’s another example of how important pre-engineering the systems is,” Winnicki affirmed.
Audio: Point-Source And Distributed Visitors to the sportsbook can watch the action on the wrap-around screens while getting a sense of being at the stadium thanks to a densely apportioned audio system. It uses a point-source center cluster composed of a JBL AC Series loudspeaker on either side of an ASB7118 subwoofer. In the rear of the main venue, over the VIP seating area (which accounts for about a tenth of the book’s 102 semi-reclining seats), four JBL AC28/95 loudspeakers are hung in a single array to put the energy directly on those seats; their signal is delayed to match the audio from the front array via a Biamp Tesira processor. No sub was used for that array to keep low-frequency energy from spilling out into the concourse area. Those arrays are coupled with 25 JBL Control 47HC ceiling-mounted speakers and seven Control 312CS ceiling-mounted subwoofers. The tight Q on 62 Sound & Communications September 2019
‘This is not a music environment. [...] It’s like [what] you’d want to have in a stadium or an arena. The crowd in here wants to hear what they’d hear at a game, and they’ll want it loud.’
these speakers allowed them not to have to use pendants, Newbur y confirmed, which helped avoid sightline issues. Winnicki said that the team checked the room’s acoustics as part of the sightlines study for the videowalls and determined that the LED wall’s sonic reflectivity would be minimal, as long as the speaker arrays were flown above and facing down from the center of the wall, with the ceiling speakers picking up audio coverage from about a third of the way across the room. “This is not a music environment,” Winnicki said. “They can take a feed from the casino’s music channels if they want and it’ll sound great, but the room and the sound system are really geared toward getting it loud and for highly intelligible speech.” He added, “It’s like [what] you’d want to have in a stadium or an arena. The crowd in here wants to hear what they’d hear at a game, and they’ll want it loud.” That volume is provided by four Crown DCi Series amplifiers managed by the Tesira DSP. The audio system also includes a pair of Shure wireless SM58 handheld microphones used with a Shure ULXD digital wireless system.
Fan In The Stands Caves Ever y casino has options for high rollers, and the Wild Wild West sportsbook is no exception. Five Fan Caves, which can hold up to 15 people each, are carved out into the space under the main videowall. Each has a video complement of two Samsung 49-inch LED displays atop one Samsung 98-inch QM98F screen, creating a mini videowall that can be controlled using either a wireless Samsung Galaxy
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AV Is Critical For The Sportsbook Sector
The Wild Wild West name might evoke a 19th-century sensibility, but its sportsbook is very much part of a 21st-century strategy by parent company Caesars Entertainment to reinvent the notion of the casino sportsbook. The initiative, which began with the first reimagined sportsbook at the company’s LINQ Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas NV, is part of its “casino of the future” effort. That initiative began in 2017 to attract and accommodate younger customers. The Supreme Court’s 2018 ruling to allow states to determine their own sports-gambling regulations has been like adding an afterburner to that engine, according to Walt Fales, SVP of Strategic Development for Enterprise Gaming at Caesars Entertainment. He is the company’s strategic visionary behind all its next-generation sportsbooks. “The Supreme Court ruling was definitely an inflection point for sports gambling across the nation, and, by extension, for sportsbooks in casinos,” he affirmed. “We expect that, within the next three to five years, a majority of states will allow sports betting. That’s going to drive considerable sportsbook growth in the coming years.” What’s also driving that growth is the ready availability of more sophisticated AV systems, such as large, tight-pitch LED walls, coming at steadily declining costs. This, Fales said, encourages experimentation and innovation in the sportsbooks, as these new amenities become a more important marketing element in the highly competitive world of casinos. “AV is very important, because customers have become attuned to a much higher level of quality for their audio and video in their everyday lives,” he stated. “Everyone has a 65-inch 4K television these days. We have to make sure we meet and exceed their expectations.” At Wild Wild West, nestled between Bally’s and Caesars hotel casinos in Atlantic City NJ, there is also the luxury of high ceilings, which enabled Fales to include both intimate “Fan Caves” as well as the imposing 100-foot videowall. Taken together, these elements created a hybrid sports-betting experience. Fales said he had worked with McCann Systems once before—namely, on the renovations that led to the LINQ’s own innovative sportsbook, where the Fan Cave concept originated. “Caesars also had worked with McCann on the renovations of two of our 13 sportsbooks in Nevada in years past, and they have a very good reputation for their work on other sportsbooks in Las Vegas,” he said. “We can’t do cookie-cutter designs—we have to continue to iterate—and McCann is great about being innovative and willing to try new things, yet execute reliably. As such, they’ve become our go-to for our enterprise sportsbook projects going forward.”
64 Sound & Communications September 2019
The Fan Caves are seen lined up underneath the main screens. Slatted millwork at the Fan Cave entrances helps keep their sound and light from getting out into the book.
tablet within the Fan Cave or remotely via the admin controller. A high-end hometheater audio effect comes from the Leon Horizon Series ultra-thin soundbars—four three-inch woofers and two 28mm audiophile tweeters in a single cabinet built to the exact width of, and placed under, the 98-inch Samsung displays. Each Fan Cave also has a dedicated Control 312CS ceiling subwoofer to help with the low frequencies. Slatted millwork at the Fan Cave entrances helps keep their sound and light from getting out into the book. “The concept of the Fan Caves is that groups will rent them out as kind of stadium suites,” Winnicki said. He noted that the 98-inch displays could be split into four images, putting as many as six discrete screens into your very own, personal-sized sports bar. Newbur y added that the programming that the McCann team did for these spaces helps define them as much as the installed AV does. “Every Fan Cave tablet has custom graphics that we created in Adobe Illustrator so that, when the users in the Caves are deciding what to put on each screen, they can see themselves moving
EQUIPMENT Video Display Equipment (Sportsbook Primary Videowall) 3 NovaStar MCTRL4K 4K LED system controllers 1 rp Visual RPMM-L-FX-CM custom curved ceiling attached visual structure 1 Unilumin Uslim 98.43'x18.04' LED display Video Display Equipment (Above Betting Desk) 5 NovaStar SD700 LED system controllers 1 RPV RPMM-L-FX-WA custom convex faceted wall attached visual structure 1 Unilumin Uslim 45.9'x8.2' LED display Video Display Equipment (Betting Desk) 6 Chief LVS1U ConnexSys videowall landscape mounting systems 6 Chief PAC526F in-wall recessed AV backboxes 6 Comprehensive CAT6-7BLK-USA 7' Cat6 snagless patch cables (black) 6 Comprehensive MHD-MHD-6PROBLK 6' Microflex HDMI cables 6 McCann Systems CUS-CTRL custom system control cables 6 Samsung QM65H 65" LED-backlit LCD displays Video Display Equipment (Behind Bar) 4 Chief LVS1U ConnexSys videowall landscape mounting systems 4 Chief PAC526F in-wall recessed AV backboxes 4 Comprehensive CAT6-7BLK-USA 7' Cat6 snagless patch cables (black) 4 Comprehensive MHD-MHD-6PROBLK 6' Microflex HDMI cables 4 McCann Systems CUS-CTRL custom system control cables 4 Samsung QM55 55" LCD displays Video Display Equipment (Rack Card Walls) 2 Chief PAC526F in-wall recessed AV backboxes 2 Chief TS525TU ultra-thin articulating wallmounts 2 Comprehensive CAT6-7BLK-USA 7' Cat6 snagless patch cables (black) 2 Comprehensive MHD-MHD-6PROBLK 6' Microflex HDMI cables 2 McCann Systems CUS-CTRL custom system control cables 2 Samsung QM65H 65" LCD displays Video Display Equipment (Fan Caves) 15 Chief LVS1U ConnexSys videowall landscape mounting systems 15 Chief PAC526F in-wall recessed AV backboxes 15 Comprehensive CAT6-7BLK-USA 7' Cat6 snagless patch cables (black) 15 Comprehensive MHD-MHD-6PROBLK 6' Microflex HDMI cables 15 McCann Systems CUS-CTRL custom system control cables 10 Samsung QM49H 49" LED-backlit LCD displays 5 Samsung QM98F 98" LED-backlit LCD displays Video Source Equipment 6 Altronix VertiLine33TD rackmount 16-amp DC power supplies 4 Cabletronix CT-8PK-H25 rackshelves 85 Comprehensive MHD-MHD-6PROBLK 6' Microflex HDMI cables 6 Contemporary Research 232-ATSC 4K HDTV tuners 1 C-Scape i-Candy ticker software (1-year) 1 Dell Optiplex 3050 AV system control PC 33 Extron DSC HD-HD HDMI-to-HDMI scalers 9 Extron RSB 129 1RU 9.5"-deep basic rackshelves 4 MCM 555-15480 1RU rackshelves 9 Middle Atlantic U3V 3-space vented rackshelves Routing & Distribution Equipment 1 EvertzAV custom video-distribution system Audio Equipment 5 Attero Tech 900-00201-U unHX2D Dante networked audio interfaces 1 Biamp Tesira DAN-1 Dante audio module 2 Biamp Tesira DSP-2 DSP cards w/2 DSPs 2 Biamp Tesira SERVER-IO AVB audio DSP card chassis w/AVB 12 Biamp Tesira SIC-4 4-channel input cards 11 Biamp Tesira SOC-4 4-channel output cards
66 Sound & Communications September 2019
3 Crown DCi 4|1250 4-channel, 1,250W @ 4Ω analog power amps 1 Crown DCi 8|300 8-channel, 300W @ 4Ω analog power amp 36 Edcor S2M stereo-to-mono couplers 4 JBL AC28/95 2-way 8"x2 speakers 2 JBL AM5212-95 medium power 12" 2-way full-range speaker systems 1 JBL ASB7118 ultra-high-power 18" sub system 12 JBL Control 312CS high-output 12" coaxial ceiling subs 25 JBL Control 47HC high-ceiling speakers 12 JBL MTC-300BB12 backboxes for Control 312CSes 7 JBL MTC-300T150 150W transformers 4 JBL MTU-28 U-brackets for AC28/95 speakers 5 Leon Speakers custom grilles 5 Leon Speakers Hz300UX-C ultra-thin, audiophile Horizon Series speakers (featuring 4 3" woofers and 2 28mm audiophile tweeters in a single cabinet built to the exact width of the 98" Samsung QM98Fs) 5 Leon Speakers HzUMB-OS mounting brackets for Horizon Series speakers (mounts Horizon speakers directly below 85"-plus TVs) 5 Leon Speakers OTO MCA 200 compact amps 2 Shure SB900 lithium-ion rechargeable batteries 1 Shure SBC200-US dual-docking battery charger w/power supply 2 Shure UA864US wall-mounted wideband antennas 2 Shure ULXD2/SM58 handheld wireless transmitters w/SM58s 1 Shure ULXD4D dual digital wireless receiver Control Equipment 3 Crestron C3IR-8 8-port IR expansion cards 1 Crestron CEN-CI3-3 3-Series card interface (3 slot) 2 Crestron DM-TXRX-100-STR HD streaming transmitters/receivers 1 Crestron PRO3 control system processor 2 Crestron TS-1542-TILT-C-B-S 15.6" HD touchscreens 1 Crystal Image Technologies RM-F117A-DVI8 1RU 17" 1920x1080 rackmount monitor 1 Dell Optiplex 3050 AV system control PC 1 Extreme Networks 10099 power cord 1 Extreme Networks 10941 power supply for network switch 1 Extreme Networks 10945 fan module for network switch 1 Extreme Networks 16169 SX450-G2 multimedia AVB pack 1 Extreme Networks X450-G2-48p-10GE4 48-port AVB network switch 1 Middle Atlantic RM-LCD-PNLK rackmount LCD holder 1 Middle Atlantic U3V 3-space vented rackshelf 1 NEC EA275UHD-BK 27" 4K ultra-HD sRGB desktop monitor w/IPS panel 27 Xantech 282D designer emitters 27 Xantech 28DES designer emitter shields AV Racks & Hardware 1 Corning CCH-04U 12-card slot fiber cable chassis 12 Corning CCH-CP24-E4 closet connector housing (CCH) panels 4 Middle Atlantic EB1-CP12 12-piece contractor pack of 1-space blanks 1 Middle Atlantic HW500 500-piece premium rack screw set 5 Middle Atlantic LACE-44-OWP 4-3/4"-width lacing strips (44 spaces w/tie posts) 8 Middle Atlantic LBP-1.5 lace bars (1.5" offset, round, 10 pieces) 8 Middle Atlantic LBP-1R4 lace bars (4" offset, round, 10 pieces) 5 Middle Atlantic PD-2420SC-NS 24-outlet, single 20-amp circuit slim power strips 1 Middle Atlantic SPN-44-312 side panel for racks 1 Middle Atlantic UD2 2-space rack drawer 4 Middle Atlantic UPS-OL1500R Premium Online Series UPS backup power systems 4 Middle Atlantic UPS-OLIPCARD online UPSes, network interface cards 5 Middle Atlantic WRK-44-32 44-space equipment racks 5 SurgeX SX1120RT surge eliminators and power conditioners List is published as supplied by McCann Systems.
the [avatar] screens on the controllers,” he explained. “It’s one of the things we’ve been getting some ver y good feedback on. It’s been ver y impactful.” The sportsbook’s AV is controlled using a Crestron PRO3 processor, which Winnicki said helped make the venue’s audio and video easy for its staff to manage. Crestron touchscreens at the bar and the betting windows allow staff to change content sources (much of that is owner-furnished equipment), as well as videowall configurations and audio volume. “It’s pretty intuitive,” Winnicki affirmed. “They can ‘Brady Bunch’ the main screen with a couple of button pushes.” He added, “It’s a big screen, so it can be intimidating, but they see it’s pretty easy to operate the way we set it up for them.” Scale and scheduling—two of AV integration work’s universal challenges— were in ample supply on this project. Winnicki graciously noted how much help the McCann team received from other trades, which helped keep ever ything on track. In particular, he noted Calvi Electric, the electrical contractor. Several of Calvi’s employees had never worked on a giant LED wall before, but, after this project, they’re almost experts at it, having been helped by McCann’s team members—for example, McCann’s own LED installation gurus, Tony Nardini and Jonathan Begyn. But Winnicki and his colleagues also realized that they were part of larger trend in the culture, as that pivotal Supreme Court decision opens the floodgates for sportsbooks around the countr y to flourish. “This one,” he predicted confidently, “will definitely not be the last one we do.”
Five Fan Caves that can hold up to 15 people each are carved out into the space under the main videowall. Each has a video complement of two 49-inch LED displays atop one 98-inch screen, creating a mini videowall that can be controlled using either a wireless Samsung Galaxy tablet within the Fan Cave or remotely via the admin controller.
To the left of the sportsbook’s entrance is a 46’x8’ series of 3.9mm LED screens, with tickers scrolling underneath, above 10 betting windows and betting kiosks. On the opposite side of the betting desk, there’s a bar over which four 55-inch displays are in a side-by-side configuration, while a pair of rack-card walls is supported by a 65-inch screen above each.
Astral Projection CMC’s Neil Armstrong Space Exploration Gallery
immerses visitors in the wonders of the cosmos.
By Anthony Vargas These days, it seems like America is falling in love with space exploration all over again. With NASA gearing up for the launch of the Mars 2020 rover, billionaire-fueled space races between private companies like SpaceX and Blue Origin, the Alienstock festival that started as a viral Facebook event inviting attendees to “storm Area 51” in order to “see them aliens,” the controversial proposal to establish a United States Space Force and celebrations of the 50th anniversar y of the Apollo 11 moon landing, the “final frontier” has captured the American imagination all over again. And—as proof that AV technology has the potential to harness this enthusiasm—a recent event commemorating mankind’s first steps on the moon drew an estimated half a million people 68 Sound & Communications September 2019
to the National Mall to watch a 17-minute video recounting the Apollo 11 mission that was projection-mapped onto the Washington Monument. With its finger firmly on the pulse of this renewed interest in all things cosmic, the Cincinnati Museum Center (CMC) recently unveiled its own projection-based tribute to Apollo 11’s mission commander Neil Armstrong, the man who took those first fateful steps on the moon 50 years ago. The Neil Armstrong Space Exploration Galler y, presented by the Harold C. Schott Foundation, was the result of a collaboration between CMC; Australia-based creative design firms Flying Fish Exhibits, Round Table Studio and Chronica Creative; and Dataton North American partner Show Sage. The gallery
uses dynamic projection-mapped imager y and surround sound to tell the story of Neil Armstrong’s amazing journey from smalltown Ohio to the lunar surface. The Neil Armstrong Space Exploration Galler y was added to CMC as part of a recent renovation and overhaul of the museum’s exhibit space. Many of CMC’s exhibits serve to educate visitors on the historical and scientific contributions of Ohio natives, so the decision to add an exhibit highlighting the life and accomplishments of Armstrong—Wapakoneta OH’s favorite son—was a no-brainer. As Flying Fish Exhibits’ Principal and Managing Director, Jay Brown, put it, “Telling Neil’s stor y, and that of NASA’s Apollo program, was a natural fit for [CMC’s] space gallery. And what better way to achieve this than by telling it through a synchronized, 360-degree immersive display? The gallery enables visitors to experience the enormity of Neil’s life, and of the Apollo space program, through innovative stor ytelling and large-format, kinetic imager y.” Sarah Lima, CMC’s Senior Exhibits Project Director, explained how each of the parties involved came together to make the Armstrong Galler y a reality. “Flying Fish Exhibits quarterbacked the creation of the entire immersive theater experience from an original design based off a theater in one of the company’s touring exhibits,” she said. “They created the theater for our galler y as a custom design and recruited the entire fabrication and procurement team, as well, marshaling their contacts with Chronica Creative, Round Table Studio and Show Sage, along with local fabricators, to actualize the project. Round Table Studio served as the architect of the projection and audio systems. They interfaced closely with
The Neil Armstrong Space Exploration Gallery’s 360-degree panoramic display surfaces create an immersive audiovisual experience that allows visitors to take in the presentation from any angle. September 2019
Sound & Communications 69
The Neil Armstrong Experience combines archival footage and animation with moving and static imagery to create an engaging narrative about the life and career of the Apollo 11 mission commander, who took mankind’s first steps on the moon 50 years ago.
In addition to the immersive theater experience, the Armstrong Gallery features a number of artifacts from the Apollo 11 mission, including an exact replica of Armstrong’s space suit and his actual mission-worn flight jacket.
Chronica Creative in order to optimize the presentation with the specified equipment and theater design. Show Sage designed and built the servers and provided backend support for the Neil Armstrong Experience immersive theater presentation.”
The Neil Armstrong Experience The Armstrong Gallery features a number of artifacts connected to Armstrong, thanks to CMC’s close relationship with the Armstrong estate and the man himself; in fact, he collaborated with, and contributed to, CMC prior to his death in 2012. The gallery’s traditional exhibits include donated artifacts from the Apollo 11 mission (such as a replica of Armstrong’s space suit, the actual in-flight jacket Armstrong wore under his space suit, his mission-worn communications cap and “Bok the Rock,” a moon rock sourced from the Tranquility Base landing site and gifted to CMC by Armstrong). Complementing those artifacts, the galler y also 70 Sound & Communications September 2019
features a 360-degree immersive theater experience centered on Armstrong’s life and ser vice. As Marc Staubitz, CMC’s Exhibits AV/IT Coordinator, described it, “The Neil Armstrong theater experience is approximately 11 minutes long and runs continuously throughout the day, with brief intermissions. Three cur ved wall screens show panoramic content, with accompanying projections on the three floor screens and central dome. Video content is a mixture of custom 3D animation, image montages and historic footage.” Lima added, “Andrew Turland of Chronica Creative developed the story, as well as the audio and video content, for the Neil Armstrong Experience. [CMC] took part in concepting, design review and content review, which involved everything from recommending imaging shifts to construction and framing of the narrative.” Regarding the audio and video content shown during the Neil Armstrong Experience, Chronica’s Executive Creative Director, Andrew Turland, said, “At present, the cinema displays a film telling the story of Neil Armstrong’s development as an aviator—from the time he first encountered an aircraft as a two year old through to his most famous flight and landing on the moon.” He continued, “At certain points in the film, all three screens join up to place the audience in a location—a form of shared virtual reality. For example, in 1932, they are at the Cleveland National Air Races; then, we place them on the deck of an aircraft carrier during Armstrong’s Korean War service; [and then], the audience is [placed] on the surface of the moon. The content is a mix of archival film from the Apollo missions, historic photographs, cell-shaded animation and high-fidelity 3D animation, all set to a custom soundtrack and mapped to the space in 6.1 surround sound.” Turland provided the following breakdown of how a museum visitor would experience the Armstrong Galler y from entrance to exit: “Visitors enter the galler y via a mezzanine, which gives them a sightline into the cinema over the top of one of the three cur ved projection screens. Upon descending the stairs into the galler y, artifacts and interactives are displayed in a more traditional galler y style. A high-fidelity replica of Neil Armstrong’s spacesuit is [placed] alongside historically valuable artifacts from
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the Apollo 11 missions.” Turland continued, “The cinema is a triangular configuration that feels round due to the cur vature of the screens. There are entrances at each tip of the triangle that allow visitors to move through the cinema into other areas of the galler y. Inside the cinema, the audiences are surrounded by three multi-projector panoramic screens. Central to these screens, on the ground, are floor screens that the audience is encouraged to stand on, especially when the film reaches the surface of the moon. In the center of the cinema is a hemisphere sitting on a plinth. With the use of projection, this can become any of the planets of the solar system; for the inaugural film, it is the earth and the moon. The audience is encouraged to walk around the cinema space and engage different viewpoints, as each screen displays different content for a majority of the film.” According to Lima, CMC wanted to include an AVbased presentation in the Armstrong Gallery because AV technology can create a more immersive, engaging experience for museum visitors than traditional exhibits and artifacts can create on their own. “High-end AV technology can bring some of museums’ unsung and underappreciated assets—photos, moving-image footage, ephemera and small objects—to epic, living-and-breathing life,” she said. “Likewise, if a collecting institution has a partially incomplete collection or a few key items that they want to give broader context to, AV can help fill in those gaps to create a holistic story.”
Flexibility With Projection CMC leadership wanted to design a galler y that could initially be used to highlight Armstrong’s life and contributions to space exploration, as well as the efforts of all involved in the Apollo missions; however, it also wanted the galler y to be flexible enough that it could be repurposed to display other programming in the future. “The Neil Armstrong Experience is the first film in a program of short films being created for the cinema,” Turland shared. “It is intended that there [will be] a number of films on different topics of space exploration playing in a loop, with a short intermission between films. The potential is vast: Mars, the Cassini Spacecraft and the Hubble Space Telescope have all been discussed.” In order to ensure the galler y would have the flexibility required to display different content—in addition to the immersive experience desired by the client—the decision to use projection mapping on custom-designed surfaces was made. 72 Sound & Communications September 2019
“I believe that projection exhibitions can really support and enhance that traditional museum experience in a way that provides a huge amount of flexibility from an education and content-deliver y point of view,” Round Table Studio’s Co-Owner, James Calvert, stated. “We love the concept of delivering content in a large-scale immersive environment such as this, because it’s super engaging. [It’s] also ver y practical in the fact that you can swap out content and deliver a completely different experience at the press of a button. Immersive galleries such as this captivate visitors and draw them in, and they thoroughly enjoy and are truly
Visitors are encouraged to get close to the panoramic screens and walk across the display surfaces cut into the carpet. Great care was taken to minimize shadows on the display surfaces and glare from the projectors.
inspired by the experience. As far as delivering varied content, captivating people and maintaining their attention, it’s really hard to beat.” The projection-mapping approach provided flexibility for future presentations thanks, in large part, to the Dataton WATCHOUT software that was used to create the theater experience. According to Calvert, “Once we’ve gone through the process of mapping all the content, we can retain the geometr y within WATCHOUT, making it a seamless process to load future shows”
Gallery Infrastructure The Armstrong Gallery’s theater infrastructure was fabricated from scratch by Flying Fish. “This included design and engineering for three permanent cur ved walls, each 60 feet in length, the design and fabrication of the projection-mapped [eight-foot-diameter] dome and plinth, [and] the design, engineering and install
of the 26-foot-diameter truss ring, which is suspended in the ceiling, from which the projection equipment was hung,” Brown described. The physical footprint of the theater itself—from the 360-degree immersive layout of the curved screens, to the floor screens, to the elevated half-sphere surface in the center of the theater—was designed to support future presentations, as well as the gallery’s initial Neil Armstrong Experience content. According to Dave Duszynski, President of Mercury Museum Services (a subsidiary of CMC), “The design of the theater was chosen not necessarily because of the content of the Neil Armstrong film, but, rather, due to the long-term intended uses of the theater. As a theater embedded in a gallery of astronomy and space, it is desirable to immerse the audience on alien-feeling planetary surfaces. The panoramic nature of the three screens is ideal for creating that reality immersion. To achieve this immersive environment, the theater utilizes 13 projectors with a mix of short-throw lenses.” CMC is located within the Cincinnati Union Terminal, which has been designated as a National Historic Landmark. As such, renovating the space and designing the galler y infrastructure presented some challenges. “Perhaps the most significant challenges involved work with the building itself,” Brown shared. “As Union Terminal is historically significant, there were a number of considerations in the way the infrastructure of the theater was designed. The existing heating, ventilation and air-conditioning (HVAC) systems in the ceiling space posed many attachment issues, but we overcame each as [it] presented [itself].” One of the biggest infrastructure-related challenges involved getting power to the 13 laser projectors in the central truss ring. “We discussed a number of different ways of handling the power supply,” Calvert recalled. “In the end, we [obviously] wanted to make sure that the load on all the circuits was even and safe and well within its limits. So, the electrical contractor ran power to the control room, and then the intention was to run power directly up into the truss, so we didn’t have to rely on a central power distro. We were able to plug projectors and speakers into preterminated and completed power supplies up in the ceiling space. So, that was awesome for us, because it meant running far less power cable.” Calvert continued, “The electrical contractor got the install to a certain point, [and] then waited for us to arrive onsite and hang all our projectors and get them in relative location. [Then], the finishing step for the electrical contractor was to actually install those power outlets. It was a collaborative approach, and those guys were really great to deal with. There were a few challenges, but we overcame them really easily because we all got along really well and ever ybody was ver y flexible and accommodating.” September 2019
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The speakers for the theater’s audio system receive power from the control room, which, according to Calvert, is “tucked in behind one of the cur ved walls.”
The WATCHOUT System
crowded. We wanted to make sure that there were no projectors shining in people’s eyes and tried to minimize shadows while allowing people to get as close to the large panoramic screens as possible.” Each of the three curved panoramic screens is fed by two projectors, with their images edge-blended in the center. The half-sphere surface in the center of the room is fed by four projectors, whose images are blended to fit the sphere. The three floor screens are each served by their own dedicated projectors, which are pointed straight down in such a way as to minimize the shadows of the visitors as they walk across the screens. All of the six projectors feeding the cur ved panoramic screens are equipped with ELPLX01 ultra-short-throw lenses; the remaining seven projectors are equipped with ELPLU03 short-throw lenses. “The projector model we ended up using wasn’t determined by the projector but by the lens,” Calvert shared. “The ELPLX01 range, which is the ultra-short-throw lens, allowed us to hit the panoramic screens with the amount of available height that we had. It was a happy combination of trust in the brand for the projector—we knew they would be reliable and had the lumens that we needed to provide a really engaging and punchy experience—and the physical practicalities of the short-throw and ultra-short-throw lenses that we ended up using. They enabled us to position the projectors in the optimal locations to avoid glare in the eyes and minimize shadows.” The projectors are also 4K compatible, which helps to futureproof the installation. “Being a permanent install, we wanted to futureproof the system to allow for 4K,” Calvert said. “At the moment, it’s not a 4K show, but next year it could be. The 4K enhancement feature of those projectors is something that should give us lots of flexibility going forward. And we considered that when we chose the computer system to run the WATCHOUT software. We really over-catered from a system point of view to allow for upgrading to 4K in the future.”
The control room is also where the WATCHOUT ser ver system and equipment racks reside. “We considered building our own computer rack to run the show, but we decided to go with Show Sage for a number of reasons,” Calvert explained. “They have years and years of experience working with WATCHOUT and producing systems to run data from WATCHOUT. [That’s] really great for peace of mind.” When asked for the single most important reason why the team decided to engage Show Sage, he responded, “From the client’s point of view, [this] being a permanent installation, we wanted them to have really good support going forward if there were any technical issues or problems with the computer system. And us being on the other side of the world, it makes sense to engage some local experts in the area. Show Sage is based in Chicago IL—not that far away—and is very responsive from a customer-ser vice point of view.” According to Show Sage’s Director of Marketing and Business Development, Marty Karp, “At first, [Show Sage was contracted] just for the computer servers to run WATCHOUT. However, as we dug deeper into the requirements, we worked with Round Table Studio to lay out and build the entire AV rack for the exhibit. The build includes our Show*Server media servers and Show*Station production workstation, as well as the audio interface, HDBaseT video-signal extenders, power conditioning, network switch and custom-built shock-rack road case. We also connected Round Table with our North American contact at Epson to help with determining the optimum projectors and lenses for the exhibit.” He added, “After the hardware was installed at the museum, two members of our team assisted with the onsite commissioning, dome projection mapping and programming of the show-scheduling software. We worked with Round Table to understand all the parameters of the system, including the number of video outputs, the proThe central dome becomes the surface of the moon or takes on the appearance of Earth itself jector parameters, performance requireat various points throughout the presentation. Speakers installed in the truss ring above the dome make it seem as though the video’s narration is emanating from a central location, in ments, content details, audio outputs and contrast to the ambient surround sound emanating from the panoramic screens. the physical layout of the exhibit. All this information was needed to determine the correct hardware and options to build a complete digital-media deliver y system.”
Projector Layout Thirteen Epson Pro L1405UNL WUXGA 3LCD laser projectors installed in the central truss ring deliver video content to the theater’s various projection surfaces. “CMC definitely didn’t want to go with traditional DLP projectors, just from a maintenance point of view—having to swap out lamps and then having to dispose of those lamps, which is becoming more and more challenging,” Calvert said. “We had 13 projectors in the space, and, when you squeeze in so many projectors, it actually gets quite 74 Sound & Communications September 2019
As previously mentioned, all the display surfaces were custom fabricated by Flying Fish. “The large cur ved walls are a stud frame and dr ywall construction, and they have gray projection paint on the face,” Calvert described. “The central dome is fabricated out of acrylic and then coated in the same projection paint. With the projection paint, [Flying Fish] went with a low-gain paint as opposed to high gain, due to the fact that high-gain paint can increase the brightness of the projection, but it’s typically only at its most effective when you’re looking at it straight on. Low gain disperses the reflection; it reflects light more widely. So, [although] it doesn’t produce as bright an image, it’s much better for viewing the image at an angle. And seeing as this is a
circular space, which is designed to be completely immersive and looked at from all angles, we went with a low-gain paint. [We] knew the projectors had enough punch to get the brightness we were after anyway.” Calvert added, “The floor [screens] are white commercialgrade linoleum that’s been installed into the floor; the floor itself is a concrete slab, and then, on top of that, it’s got a commercialgrade carpet, which the floor screens are recessed into.” Mapping the projected images onto the display surfaces posed a challenge due to the unique shapes of the surfaces involved, but the WATCHOUT software was up to the task. (continued on page 82)
The plinth supporting the central dome serves as a place for visitors to sit down, relax and enjoy the immersive theater experience.
EQUIPMENT Production, Media-Playback and Show-Control System 1 Focusrite Scarlett 18i20 USB audio interface 2 Lightware 12V 160cm power cables (10 packs) 4 Lightware 1U rackmount shelves 14 Lightware HDMI-TPS-TX95 HDBaseT transmitter 1 Lightware rackmount power supply (400W, 20x12V output) 1 Middle Atlantic UPS-S2200R Select Series UPS backup power (2RU, 2200VA) 1 Middle Atlantic 2U locking drawer 1 MOTU UltraLite-mk4 USB audio interface 1 MT Cases 30U shock rack 1 Netgear XS508M 8-port gigabit Ethernet unmanaged switch 2 Show Sage Show*Server XHD R6 six-output display server with WATCHOUT 2 Show Sage Show*Server XHD R4 four-output display server with WATCHOUT 1 Show Sage Show*Station PRO-Rack production workstation with WATCHOUT
1 StarTech RACKCOND17HD 1RU 17" HD 1080p dual rail rackmount LCD console w/fingerprint reader and front USB hub 1 Tripp Lite rackmount 12-outlet power strip 1 TP-Link unmanaged rackmount network switch (24 port) Video 7 Epson ELPLU03 short-throw lenses 6 Epson ELPLX01 ultra-short-throw lenses 13 Epson Pro L1405UNL WUXGA 3LCD laser projectors w/4K enhancement Audio 6 QSC K10.2 2,000W 10" powered speakers 3 QSC K8.2 2,000W 8" powered speakers 3 QSC KS112 2,000W 12" powered subs List is edited from information supplied by Round Table Studio.
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Beam-Steering Fundamentals And Applications The many possibilities require careful analysis and consideration.
By Phillip Kimball Renkus-Heinz
Figure 1: Line-array directivity is determined by array height and driver spacing. 76 Sound & Communications September 2019
Beam steering is an advanced application of the line-array principle, which was first laid out in Harr y F. Olson’s classic 1957 text Acoustical Engineering, which is essential reading for anyone who is interested in loudspeakers. The elemental principle of line arrays is that putting a number of identical loudspeaker drivers in a vertical line causes acoustical phase interactions that result in the array’s vertical output being focused into a narrow, for ward-projected beam with a cylindrical— rather than a spherical—expansion characteristic. (Horizontal directivity in a line array is a function of the dispersion characteristics of the individual drivers.) With modern line-array loudspeakers, the output level falls off precipitously outside the beam’s coverage area. The change from hearing full level to hearing a considerably attenuated signal can transpire when the listener moves only a few feet, and the effect can be quite pronounced. This enables sound from a line array to be precisely directed. Because the energy is so focused, it can be thrown for a long distance in comparison with a point-source loudspeaker. Since the effect is a result of phase interaction, the spacing between the acoustical centers of the drivers required to achieve a line-array pattern is wavelength-related. The overall height of a line array determines the frequency at which high directivity is exhibited. The spacing of the drivers determines the high-frequency limit the beam can attain without off-axis or grating lobes. [See Figure 1.] Given the typical dimensions of a two-way or three-way loudspeaker cabinet used as a single line-
array element, the practical result is that it is easier to achieve line-array driver spacing between cabinets for the wavelengths produced by low-frequency drivers than for the wavelengths produced by high-frequency drivers. However, greater flexibility, if less maximum sound pressure level (SPL), can be obtained using an array of more, but smaller, drivers in a line-array cabinet. Beam steering employs sophisticated digital signal processing (DSP) to exploit the line-array effect. Each driver in a cabinet is given its own amplifier and DSP channels. Given that the propagation time of a signal from a driver to a listener’s ear is distance-related, adding delay to the signal that feeds a driver is equivalent to moving its acoustic center. By applying different delays to each driver, it is possible to manipulate phase interactions between the drivers systematically. Progressively adding delay to each driver in succession produces an ef fect nearly equivalent to tilting the line array, thereby directing its beam. [See Figure 2.] In the most advanced
implementations of beam steering, multiple beams can radiate from a single cabinet. The net ef fect is that energy from a steerable line array can be directed ver y specifically to desired areas, with virtually no energy straying from the target area.
array of identically sized drivers is much less complex as compared to the interaction of drivers of var ying sizes, making beam-steering processing more straightfor ward. Finite Impulse Response (FIR) filters are key to beam steering, as they allow magnitude and phase to be adjusted independently, at the expense of incurring additional latency. Constant Lambda arrays prevent excessive directionality at high frequencies by making the array shorter at high frequencies. This is accomplished by shutting off drivers in the array as frequencies increase. Shutting off drivers also moves the location of the beam center, which is often critical for steerable line arrays. If drivers are turned off at the top and bottom of the array symmetrically as frequency increases, then the array grows shorter toward the middle. Directionality is not greatly increased, and the beam center is in the middle of the array. Shutting off drivers from the bottom of the array up moves the beam center up-
Beam Manipulation There are always multiple ways to implement basic physical principles, and most manufacturers of line-array and beam-steering loudspeakers have their own ideas and twists on Harr y Olson’s amazingly cogent concepts. This discussion is far too brief to be comprehensive in this regard, so, here, we look at only a few implementation techniques. Olson’s original line-source idea referred to drivers of consistent size and spacing. Using an array of identically sized drivers simplifies the system, as it requires only one kind of module, as contrasted with a two- or three-way system that requires multiple modules to cover the different frequency ranges. The interaction of an
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Figure 2: Applying increasing delay to successive drivers in a line array simulates moving the drivers, equivalent to tilting the array. Figure 3: A top-centered beam is formed by shutting down lower drivers at high frequencies. Figure 4: At top, a typical low-ceilinged hotel ballroom. A bottom-centered beam (shown second from top) can too easily be obstructed and cause rear-wall reflection. A mid-centered beam (second from bottom) still exhibits problems. The top-centered beam (shown at bottom) is the best solution.
ward. High-centered beams can be useful for reaching balconies and other areas farther from the stage; however, if a beam is centered too high, then it can become difficult to cover the front rows without adding a number of additional beams, which reduces overall loudspeaker directivity. [See Figure 3.] Shutting down drivers from the top of the array on down centers the beam closer to the bottom of the array. Centering the beam too low can incur a couple of problems: First, and probably most importantly, people standing in the front can create obstacles that block the beam from reaching listeners farther back. Second, a low angle of incidence can generate a substantial reflection off the back wall that propagates back toward the front as an echo. Given individual, per-driver DSP and amplifier channels, beams can be centered almost anywhere on the vertical array column.
Figure 4. 78 Sound & Communications September 2019
The basic advantage of digital beam steering is the ability to direct sound precisely. This is useful for numerous applications. Weâ€™ll look at just a few to convey some idea of how to approach venue coverage issues with beam steering. In practice, however, training and acoustical-simulation software are vital to devising solutions. To take this principle one step further, some of the guesswork has been taken out of tuning even the most reverberant spaces by using geometry-optimized beams. These beams are designed to be deployed quickly and efficiently. By making note of the distances from the back of the listening area to the array and from the front of the listening area to the array, software can calculate the optimal beam angle for filling the space with quality, intelligible sound. The goal of this technology is simplicity, removing all the guesswork for integrators and end users.
Figure 5: Multiple beams are useful for accommodating architectural features like balconies.
One of the most common applications of beam steering is for maintaining speech intelligibility in reverberant environments, such as churches. Churches generally have a lot of hard surfaces, including the pews. In many venues, seating is absorptive, but, even though there are often pads on the pew benches (the standard unit of measurement for sound absorption, the sabin, was based on the absorption of seating pads from the pews of Har vard University’s Sanders Theater), traditional churches tend to be very reverberant. That might be great for musical sources like organs and choirs, but it seriously degrades speech intelligibility. A digitally steered loudspeaker can be configured to direct sound to seating in the pews, while keeping it off the walls and the ceiling. In a small church, it could be as simple as mounting one or two (if wider horizontal coverage is necessar y) steered array loudspeakers on a wall near the front of the church. Then, the integrator would configure them to deliver two beams—one with a lower angle to cover the front rows, and another with a higher angle to throw sound back to the middle and rear rows. Careful placement of the beam center and vertical coverage angle can avoid generating significant rear-wall reflections.
Now, let’s look at an example of a room with a low ceiling, such as a typical hotel ballroom. In this situation, reverberation is less of a concern; however, even, unobstructed coverage can be tricky to attain. When the height of an array is large relative to wavelength, directionality at the frequency corresponding to that wavelength is increased. This suggests that we would like to use as tall of an array as possible in this ballroom, so that coverage is even front to back, and so we achieve controlled directivity down to the lowest frequency we can manage. If we set a low beam center, we risk rear-wall reflections, beam blockage by people standing in the front and lowered gain before feedback. Setting the center in the middle eases, but does not eliminate, these issues. In either of those cases, we could shorten the array to deal with the problems, but to do so would reduce flexibility and increase the frequency at which we can get controlled directivity, making for a poor compromise. The solution here is a high beam center. This approach allows us to keep the beam above the microphones, yielding better gain before feedback, enough down angle to avoid rear-wall reflections, and the ability to optimize beams for both the front and
the back of the room, whether listeners are seated or standing. [See Figure 4.] Lastly, let’s look at a theater with a balcony. This is another case for which multiple beams could be useful, with one directed toward the floor and another toward the balcony. [See Figure 5.] However, if the balcony is set far back in the room, this configuration could have problems, as the balcony beam would have to go over the heads of a good portion of the floor listeners, who would hear it going by. This could be overcome if the array could be mounted higher in the room, in which case the floor beam would act as front fill. This solution also makes it easier to direct the beams to avoid hitting the balcony front. In some venues, though, delay loudspeakers might provide the better solution.
Conclusion Beam steering is a valuable extension of the line-array effect, made possible by giving each driver in an array separate control and amplification. Great flexibility is available in forming and directing beams, but, as it is said, “With great power comes great responsibility.” Choosing which of the many possibilities to employ requires careful analysis and consideration of the strengths and weaknesses of each approach. September 2019
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By Mark Roberts, PGi Technology has transformed the way that companies operate and people work; in the process, it has turned our perceptions of and our expectations for “the work experience” upside down. We’re now on the cusp of some new experiences, supported by new and emerging technologies. Unified communications (UC) platforms have increased in complexity, moved to the cloud and empowered workers to get more done. Increased productivity is imperative, as, according to Deloitte, 70 percent of workers don’t sit behind a desk on a daily basis. How can enterprises determine the technologies that will
to engage with customers and employees in ways that demonstrate an understanding of their needs and that deliver a personalized end-user experience. Even employees who regularly sit in the office move from cubicles to conference rooms to nearby restaurants during their lunch hour. Remote workers venture from their homes to the store to their child’s school. Either way, employees must access critical information and connect with key team members to maintain momentum. Mobile working is the norm, and employees in all roles and with all titles are using technology to complete tasks,
have the most significant impact on their business and their people? How can they identify ways to leverage those technologies to elevate enterprise communication effectively? Technology undoubtedly improves our ability to complete tasks with more quickness, efficiency and effectiveness. Although that’s the key value driver for all businesses, hyperconnectivity has shifted how employees work as well as the relationships between businesses, workforces and customers. Every organization is unique, just as every employee and customer is. Different people prefer different channels for and methods of connecting and collaborating with partners and colleagues; often, one solution isn’t superior to the next. As new generations enter the workforce, their relationship with technology will be different from those of the generations that came before. With that relationship will come an expectation that technology will be intertwined with ever ything they do and that, ultimately, it will help people connect and it will increase productivity.
collaborate with team members, and connect with customers and prospects.
Mobility Rules The Day For years, organizations discussed the emergence of the mobile workforce. Now that it has moved from being a future trend to being a way of life, its arrival has required organizations of all sizes to revisit their structures and implement systems that support working anywhere, anytime. Five years ago, mobile devices surpassed desktop computers as the platform that defines our daily routine. Today, more than five billion people are connected to mobile devices, making them the “go to” for ever ything from advice to news to work. This attachment has pressured companies 80 Sound & Communications September 2019
Technology Is Elevating Communication Visionary technologies—from artificial intelligence (AI) to mobile to livestreaming—elevate communication, making digital interactions more intelligent, more seamless and even more human. Utilizing the power to make what other wise would be cold interactions more relevant and authentic will ultimately separate business leaders from ever yone else. Customers want their experiences to be both seamless and tailored to their needs and preferences. They judge organizations on their ability to meet—and exceed—those demands. For businesses today, customer experience is the currency that matters; indeed, 51 percent of customers have switched companies because of a poor experience. Estimates indicate that those unhappy customers cost US businesses $537 billion a year, according to Vision Critical. Conversations surrounding digital transformation in the workplace and the rise of the “digital worker” revolve around speeds and feeds. Seamless communication and information-sharing yield heightened productivity and faster time to market.
Communications-Platform-As-A-Service The rise of Communications-Platform-as-a-Service (CPaaS) —a solution that enables more seamless and contextual communication experiences—is perhaps the most significant transformation in recent years. It lets people integrate
real-time communications applications within other apps. This offers the ability to communicate fluidly, enables myriad use cases and helps businesses solve problems. For example, you might use your native mobile phone to dial your bank; with CPaaS, however, a customer can click anywhere on a company’s website and instantly reach a support agent the moment he or she requires assistance. CPaaS eliminates the idea of “separate apps” and embeds communications in the place where the team is working. It doesn’t have to stop there, though. Video-enabled helpdesks allow customers to receive more personal and engaging
speech. ML continuously improves its programming based on real-world interactions and data. By automating mundane processes and applying context and understanding to complex interactions, AI ensures that customers can quickly find the accurate information they need, helping agents deliver maximum value whenever and wherever they engage with customers. Research from Frost & Sullivan shows one clear trend in customer engagement is the shift to digital interactions. Traditional voice—a high-touch and high-cost channel—is still valuable, but today’s buyers are often more interested
New And Future Technology Trends For
UC 2020 And Beyond Helping people connect with technology.
ser vice, introducing the possibility of video chatting with a representative right from a mobile banking app. Additionally, CPaaS integrates all components of a conversation into a single workflow, even if they are delivered using different channels. This integration helps ensure that everyone has a complete picture of discussions and the information that the team is sharing. Companies can also use CPaaS so as better to track customer engagement across various platforms. On the backend, enterprises have access to user segmentation and reporting, providing deeper insights into behaviors and preferences to improve experiences even more. For example, if a customer uses text messaging to get in touch with a service representative, but then switches to phone to have a more detailed conversation, the business will have that insight. We expect communication to be immediate and contextual, and we will discount businesses if they are unable to meet that expectation.
Artificial Intelligence And The Rise Of Data Modern companies have employed machine learning (ML) and artificial intelligence (AI) to support their initiatives to use data intelligently and automate manual processes. This frees up time, allowing teams to focus on driving organizational innovation. These tools already power so-called “bots” to deliver more personalized and effective customer experiences across channels and devices. As customers become more knowledgeable and empowered, AI improves the customer experience by using natural-language processing to understand actual human
in automated channels because they want access to help on their timeline and their channel of choice.
The Best Is Yet To Come As technology continues to evolve, shrewd organizations are looking for new ways to leverage existing technology. Blockchain-based solutions, which allow companies to unify their communications and store everything on a shared but private ledger, are one such example. Blockchain can streamline processes, such as recording, filing or deleting a piece of data. In the process, it can significantly lower the operational costs of running legacy systems and ensuring compliance. This solution has positive implications for the overall cost to the organization, and it enables more efficient communication and collaboration across the extended workforce. Introducing blockchain-based systems into a communication-wide IT infrastructure can streamline processes—from staff development, to brainstorming ideas, to business planning. When integrated into the fabric of how firms communicate and interact with their employees and stakeholders, the technology will enable the human talent of tomorrow to focus on the creative and value-added tasks of their work; as such, they can create the positive impact they strive for and support business growth. By harnessing the latest technology, teams have the power to connect, collaborate and communicate based on their unique needs and lifestyles. Meanwhile, organizations have the ability to navigate the ever-expanding number of digital channels and touchpoints, while also creating contextual and enjoyable experiences for ever yone. September 2019
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ASTRAL PROJECTION: CMC’S NEIL ARMSTRONG SPACE EXPLORATION GALLERY IMMERSES VISITORS IN THE WONDERS OF THE COSMOS (continued from page 75) “Each of these surfaces needed var ying degrees of projector warping, alignment, blending and masking to create the seamless mapped images viewed by visitors,” said Jim Testa, President of Show Sage. “For tunately, WATCHOUT’s flexibility, granular warping capabilities and built-in masking made this challenge achievable in the short timeframe available to us.” Much consideration was given to the layout of the various projection surfaces, particularly the central dome. “The dome sits on top of a circular plinth that has a kind of seat/flange going around it,” Calvert described. “Being on a plinth raises the dome up to be closer to eye level. In the design process, there was a lot of consideration given to the size of that dome. [We] needed the size to be big enough to be impressive…big enough to have the dome at eye level and really create that impact that we were after. But we didn’t want it to be too large from a footprint point of view, because we didn’t want it to feel too cramped in the space. We also didn’t want it to obscure the view across the galler y, because the curved panoramic screens provide the highest impact in the space. So, we didn’t want to obscure too much of that. [It] was a design challenge.” Flying Fish also had to consider some practical concerns when designing the three approximately eight-foot-wide apertures between the panoramic screens, which serve as entrances to the Armstrong Galler y. “Part of the reason why [Flying Fish] had to have those apertures or entrances the width that they are is [for] practical reasons,” Calvert said. “Down in that gallery is the museum’s access to their loading dock. People have to go through this galler y when they’re bringing deliveries in from the loading dock to other galleries. So, we had to make sure that a pallet trolley could be pushed through this central space. It’s interesting—exhibition design—because there are all these challenges that you have to consider.” The audio portion of the Neil Armstrong Experience consists of a surround-sound track that is synced up to the video content that plays on the panoramic screens, as well as a voiceover narration track that emanates from the central truss ring. “There are two [QSC K10.2] speakers mounted on the top each cur ved wall, and 82 Sound & Communications September 2019
then a central [QSC KS112] subwoofer mounted on the top of each cur ved wall, and they deliver the surround-sound track from the show. The speakers on the walls are designed to have ver y even coverage and emit an immersive surround sound,” Calvert described. “Mounted on the truss in the center of the space, there are three smaller QSC K8s. They are pointed down toward the central dome, and they deliver the narrative. The reason for their direction and location is that CMC wanted the narrative to appear as though it was coming from that central dome. So, you’ve got surround sound washing the entire space, and then you’ve got the central narrative that appears to be coming from the center of the space.” Calvert added, “There are a number of quite amazing audio effects in the show. An example that comes to mind is, there’s an early section where they’re talking about how Neil Armstrong went to an air show as a boy and got his inspiration to become a pilot. In a certain scene about the air show, there’s an aeroplane that flies around the space, so it flies from the start of one curved screen and goes 360 degrees around the space. The surround sound really comes into its own in scenes like that, where the audio follows the plane going around the space.” The media-playback system is designed for redundancy in case of a failure of one of the WATCHOUT ser vers. “[The playback system] basically consists of one WATCHOUT production ser ver, and then two six-output and two four-output display ser vers,” Calvert described. “Only three of the display ser vers are required to run the show, and then we have one six-output ser ver as a spare. So, if anything [were] to happen, it’s a ver y quick and easy process to fire up a show again with minimal downtime and have that backup machine working while the other machine can be either repaired or replaced.” The Armstrong Galler y also features a robust remote-management and monitoring system. This allows Show Sage in Chicago, as well as the Australia-based Flying Fish, Round Table Studio and Chronica Creative, to modify the program content and troubleshoot the system should the need arise. “We ensured that the whole system is fully accessible and monitorable and con-
trollable remotely,” Calvert explained. “So, we can log in from Australia, power up the show and restart the rack.” He continued, “We’ve got some PTZ cameras in the space that can fully zoom in and check the show and see if anything’s out of sync or having a problem. We can swap out content remotely, as well. So, there’s a level of remote support that we are capable of. But, should there be a need to actually get somebody on the ground in the space quickly, then Show Sage, being just up the road, can make that happen.” All told, CMC is extremely satisfied with the Armstrong Galler y and the quality of work done by the project’s various collaborators. “The creative individuals brought in to accomplish this project worked with a challenging galler y space in innovative, often ingenious ways,” Lima said. “There was scope overlap in all of their responsibilities, as well as in the responsibilities of Chronica. The collage of footage and audio marshaled across floor and wall-based screens, the symphony of audio dispersed across a network of sound components and the interface of projectors with built walls within our historic architecture all required significant coordination between our [collaborators]. We may not have gotten the same unique presentation without their collaborative involvement in this linchpin experience, facilitated in large part by Flying Fish.” And, according to Lima, feedback from museum patrons has been overwhelmingly positive. “We gauge responses via our floor staff, through a combination of techniques including timing and tracking data, through our social-media pages and through focus groups,” she shared. “One of the chief ways visitors describe the galler y is ‘beautiful.’ Another adjective is ‘awesome.’ We think these two adjectives, while terse, express a lot about the dramatic, dark, evocative lighting and images within the galler y, [as well as] the impact of the powerful theater experience we’ve created.” When asked what she hopes visitors will take away from the exhibit, Lima summed up the raison d’être for the entire project, saying, “We hope that museumgoers leave feeling a sense of discovery and connection to the moon landing achievement and inspired that they, too, can contribute to humans’ understanding of the universe.”
Compiled by Amanda Mullen
NSCA Releases Details, Dates For Pivot To Profit Conference NSCA has released the agenda for the Pivot to Profit Conference, taking place on September 24 and 25 at Sheraton DFW Airport Hotel in Irving TX. The event is hosted by NSCA, PSA Security and SYNNEX. The event will kick off with a vital discussion, entitled “Balancing Innovation with Unprecedented Regulations,” which will be led by Cisco Technical Leader Jason Potterf. Although it might be too early to write a business plan around emerging applications like 5G and the Internet of Things (IoT), it’s never too early to start paying serious attention to industry-shaping developments—both the technology behind them and the regulations that might guide them. The session will also cover the impact of new regulations and licensure, which will influence the rate of innovation adoption. Other sessions will cover topics such as moving upstream in the architectural-design process; strengthening cybersecurity defenses and developing risk-mitigation strategies; shifting from project-centric to service-centric thinking; implementing advanced client-retention strategies and pricing modifiers; incorporating machines and technology to crunch data; picking the right innovation partners, tools and approaches to make you successful; navigating potential risk through best practices; and fighting back against offthe-shelf commodity solutions. “Innovation impacts revenue,” Chuck Wilson, NSCA’s Executive Director, said, “and it’s time for integrators to embrace that opportunity. The fourth-annual Pivot to Profit discusses innovation in every aspect of business—from customer experiences to new technology—and prepares integrators for the inevitable shift to recurring revenue.” Attendees are also invited to participate in the NSCA Ignite Golf Outing on September 23 at the Cowboys Golf Club in Grapevine TX. All funds raised will go to Ignite, an initiative meant to attract students and new talent to the AV industry.
Guitar Center Opens Multi-Functional Experience Center In Nashville Guitar Center has announced the opening of its Nashville TN-based Custom House, a new Audio Visual Design Group (AVDG) and Guitar Center Professional (GC Pro) multi-functional experience center. This location features the latest audio and video solutions that showcase the combined capabilities of GC Pro and AVDG. The facility was developed as a platform to start the conversation of how to provide clients with AV solutions that focus on the commercial, entertainment and residential market sectors. Custom House is meant to create a comfortable and casual environment in which current and future clients can spend time with Guitar Center’s account executives to exchange ideas and goals. Additionally, Custom House highlights technology and case studies that have been created by the AVDG/GC Pro teams. “With the opening of Custom House, we are now able to provide Nashville and the southeast region with new, expanded resources and services to handle our clients’ [commercial or residential] needs,” Doug Carnell, Guitar Center’s VP of Business Solutions, stated. “Nashville has been rapidly expanding, and we wanted to give our customers a full understanding of what the AVDG/GC Pro teams can do for them. Custom House is an experience center that not only showcases the latest, state-of-the-art, customized AV solutions, but also provides clients [with] an environment to relax and discuss their specific needs with Custom House staff.”
Broadsign Partners With Place Exchange Broadsign and Place Exchange have announced an integration to enable digital buyers to transact digital out-of-home (DOOH) programmatically as a simple add-on to existing digital-media buys. The combined platforms enable DOOH media owners and advertisers to utilize a single set of digital creative assets that can be easily adapted to suit a variety of digital, mobile and DOOH destinations. “Broadsign has led the charge in [DOOH] for many years, and it has access to an incredibly robust global inventory of signage in some of the most highly trafficked locations in the world,” Dave Etherington, CCO, Place Exchange, said. “We’re excited about the possibilities this integration brings to our vast network of digital media buyers.” Lightbox OOH Video Network (formerly known as Adspace), which owns and operates 4,500 video screens with sound throughout premium retail centers, is one of the first media owners to leverage the integration between Place Exchange and Broadsign. The company has already benefitted by tapping into previously unavailable digital campaigns for a number of consumer brands. “For Lightbox, the Place Exchange and Broadsign Reach integration further enables access to digital campaigns and incremental revenue streams,” Peter Krieger, President and COO, Lightbox, said. “It makes it very easy for digital marketing teams to discover and buy DOOH media alongside other channels.” September 2019
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NEWS SnapAV Merges With Control4 SnapAV and Control4 have announced the successful completion of their merger. Unified into a single organization, Control4 becomes a professional brand in the company portfolio, whereas SnapAV continues to bring technology professionals an end-to-end partner that invests in growing the industry and helping their businesses succeed. The combination of these two companies brings together a robust product catalog of inhouse brands and third-party products, backed by experienced product-engineering teams, quality customer service, education and training programs, and in-field technical support. Together, the companies have the resources and logistics infrastructure to be a one-stop shop that drives value-added services for technology professionals across the industries the companies have served. Dealers can expect to see continued investment in both local and international expansion. Ordering products will remain the same for now, but, over time, the combined portfolios will be made available through easy online ordering, convenient shipping and local pickup. SnapAV intends to invest further into the international markets that Control4 has established, including the UK, Ireland, China, Germany, Australia, New Zealand and Switzerland. With a combined 1,200 employees, SnapAV’s CEO, John Heyman, will lead the merged teams as CEO, whereas former Control4 CEO Martin Plaehn joins the Board of Directors of SnapAV’s parent company. Jeff Hindman joins the executive team as CRO, whereas former Amazon Alexa executive and Control4 SVP of Products and Services Charlie Kindel is named Chief Product and Technology Officer. Mike Carlet will serve as CFO. Additional executives of the combined company include Jeff Dungan, G. Paul Hess, JD Ellis, Barrett Schiwitz, Bryce Judd, Carmen Thiede, Graham Jaenicke and Wally Whinna. The company will have headquarters in Charlotte NC and Salt Lake City UT, with offices and local facilities around the world.
AVIXA Foundation Welcomes Students And Educators To AV Event The AVIXA Foundation hosted 140 students, educators and community leaders from southern California for an AV experience event at the newly renovated Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles CA on September 12. Attendees toured the Coliseum to get an up-close look at the new AV technology in action—from scoreboards to displays—and meet with AV professionals to learn about careers in the industry. “It’s so important to help young people visualize future career possibilities,” Joseph Valerio, Program Director, AVIXA Foundation, said. “At the Coliseum, students [saw] firsthand the vibrant experiences that AV professionals create in their own community. Events like this are an essential part of the AVIXA Foundation’s mission to showcase the exciting opportunities in the AV industry and help build more bridges from school to the workplace.” The 96-year-old stadium, home to the University of Southern California (USC) Trojans and the Los Angeles Rams, recently underwent a $300-million renovation to bring it up to modern standards in preparation for its 100-year anniversary celebration in 2023 and the 2028 Summer Olympics. During the event’s tour, attendees explored the coliseum’s AV technology, including two LED displays measuring 26.5'x 99.5' on the east side of the stadium, LED ribbon boards in the press box, a 6,000-square-foot LED scoreboard and more. Students also learned about careers in the AV industry from Atomos, Canon, Sony and Shure representatives, as well as those from other companies. The event drew students from several southern California school districts, including Bellflower Unified School District, Downey Unified School District, Fullerton Joint Union High School District, Huntington Beach Union High School District and Newport Mesa Unified School District. 84
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Almo Professional A/V Opens Registration For Fall E4 Events Almo Professional A/V has announced that registration is open for its fall E4 Experiences, which are coming to the New York NY metro area on September 25 and Atlanta GA on October 15. As always, the E4 partnership with AVIXA allows Almo to offer attendees a range of AV courses and certifications worth CTS renewal units (RUs). This fall marks the 10-year anniversary of the E4 platform, which has grown substantially since the inaugural event in fall 2009. The fall E4 Experiences will include more than 40 manufacturing exhibitors, courses led by industry experts and autograph sessions with local professional athletes. “It has been exceptional to watch the E4 format blossom over the last 10 years into an experience that AV resellers and integrators cannot and will not miss,” Melody Craigmyle, VP of Marketing and Communications for Almo Corp., said. “Our attendees rely on E4 for local connections; as a way to [get] free, high-quality industry education; and to see the latest AV gear, especially if they are unable to travel to major industry trade shows. We also like to host a local celebrity at every E4 Experience, and we are looking forward to having Lawrence Taylor and Spud Webb join us this fall. We are expecting a record-breaking crowd at our New York metro area E4 Experience, which will include both manufacturer and channel partners who were at our original event 10 years ago.”
147th AES Convention Oct. 16–19 New York NY AES www.aes.org/events/147 NAB Show New York Oct. 16–17 New York NY NAB www.nabshowny.com Collaboration Week Silicon Valley Oct. 28–30 Silicon Valley CA IMCCA www.imcca.org
AV Executive Conference (AVEC) Nov. 5–7 New Orleans LA AVIXA www.avexecutiveconference.com
NEWS Competition In The AR/VR Ecosystem Heats Up More companies are joining the pursuit to offer new immersive realities to the enterprise and consumer markets. Meanwhile, many established companies are expanding their collaborations with hardware and software providers, enriching their portfolios by supporting more verticals and/or covering augmented reality (AR)/ mixed reality (MR) and virtual reality (VR) solutions to meet enterprise and consumer demand. Global tech market advisory firm ABI Research has tracked more than 750 companies that operate or support these technologies, highlighting both new players and companies that have ceased operations. Trends surrounding enterprise digitization continue to push the market forward, while consumer opportunities are beginning to slot into a realistic market rollout and size. “AR and VR companies enrich their product portfolio by supporting more verticals and by covering both AR/VR solutions to meet customers’ expectations and [to help] businesses efficiently move in the digital age,” Eleftheria Kouri, Research Analyst at ABI Research, said. “Enterpriseoriented use cases remain the focus of AR and VR, with AR continuing growth in remote expertise and training, while VR moves from a consumer entertainment focus to more corporate VR training and simulation opportunities. Consumer companies and use cases still show promise, with retail and e-commerce apps still flourishing, but not at the rate that other enterprise pathways offer today.” AR and VR companies tend to expand their partnerships with more hardware and software providers to increase the value of their services. Oculus and HTC remain the leading players in VR, whereas HoloLens, Vuzix and Realwear are primary smart-glass providers in AR. Some consumer opportunity is beginning thanks to hardware players like North and nReal. Apple’s official role in the space is still to be determined. Other notable names have been part of mergers and acquisitions in the past year: PTC acquired TWNKLS; Apple acquired Akonia Holographics; and UltraHaptics acquired Leap motion. A handful of small startups were also acquired, hinting at a maturing market with increasingly capable operators.
Combined Flatpanel And Projector Market Shows Growth PMA Research (PMA) published its latest sell-through tracking report on large-format (55-inch and larger) flatpanel displays and projectors being sold by US AV/IT distributors that serve commercial markets. PMA Research combines monthly sell-through tracking data for these two product categories into one report to allow for total display market tracking and easy comparisons between product segments. Second-quarter sales grew dramatically over Q1/19 in what has historically been the biggest quarter for professional-display sales. Projector growth (+39 percent) topped flatpanel-display growth (+12 percent) in quarter-over-quarter comparisons. However, unit sales were down in both categories as compared to last year. Overall display sales were down 4 percent in volume versus Q2/18. Education sales (K-12) generally dominate second-quarter sales; this year was no different. However, data from other sources indicated that, particularly for flatpanel displays, more of the K-12 volume went direct rather than through distribution. Revenues for combined display sales in Q2/19 rose by more than 20 percent compared to the previous quarter, but overall revenues still fell four-percent short of last year’s high-water mark. Projector revenues grew 5 percent over Q2/18 and rose to 44 percent of total revenue share for Q2/19. That’s up four share points from last year, making projector sales the bright spot in Q2/19 display-sales trends. PMA’s “Professional All Displays Distributor Tracking Report” offers timely sell-through data and analysis on unit sales and true volume-weighted wholesale prices of large-format flatpanel displays and projectors sold by leading distributors in the US. This report is unique in that it combines flatpanel and projector sell-through data into one report, making it easier to compare and analyze these different display-product segments.
LSI Industries’ Lighting Facilities Awarded ISO 9001:2015 Recertification Eagle Registrations, Inc., has awarded LSI Industries’ lighting facilities ISO 9001:2015 recertification. During the three-year cycle for a recertification audit, multiple site visits were conducted, during which ISO clauses and sub-clauses were reviewed across key business processes, including sales and quotations, product development, procurement (global sourcing and purchasing) and production. Support processes were also examined in the areas of leadership, support and performance. LSI Industries’ lighting facilities passed the audit without raising a single non-conformity. As a result of this thirdparty recertification process, Eagle Registrations has formally issued an ISO 9001:2015 certificate. “This ISO recertification adds to LSI Industries’ growing list of operational excellence accomplishments, and it’s a significant achievement, realized through the hard work, dedication and commitment of all LSI Industries’ employees,” Mike Beck, LSI Industries’ SVP for Operations, said. “We couldn’t be prouder of what our team has achieved.” Beck added, “In conjunction with the LSI Business System, LSI’s own quality management system (QMS), the ISO recertification further demonstrates our commitment to continuous improvement and provides additional assurance to our customers about the quality of our products and services.” September 2019
Sound & Communications
Professional Microphone Market To Exceed $1.8B This Year The professional microphone market continues to display healthy growth, and it’s on track to exceed revenues of $1.8 billion worldwide this year, according to a new market report from Futuresource Consulting. That’s an increase of six percent from last year, with a similar compound annual growth rate (CAGR) out to 2023. The live-events market, which includes touring bands, concerts and festivals, theater events, sports arenas, concert halls, houses of worship (HoWs) and karaoke, continues to experience steady growth, with installed applications in theaters and HoWs leading the growth charge. The karaoke phenomenon is also a significant driver of microphone sales, especially in Asia and, in particular, in the northern Asian countries of Japan, South Korea and China.
Karaoke accounts for more than a quarter of the handheld-microphone market, with most karaoke setups built around wireless-mic technology. “The corporate segment is the rising star of the professional microphone market,” James Kirby, Research Analyst at Futuresource Consulting, said, “outperforming all other applications by some distance. As AV conferencing moves center stage as an essential organizational function, businesses want to be certain that conferencing conversations are clear and make the most of higher bandwidth. They are placing more and better microphones in meeting rooms to make sure people can be heard, and to present themselves to customers and prospects in a professional manner. For a
long time, visual has been by far the primary focus of meeting-room purchases, but, as visual-technology penetration reaches record levels, end users are increasingly aware of the high-quality audio systems needed to support seamless AV collaboration.” Recently, Futuresource conducted end-user research with corporate AV purchasers and meeting-room users in France, Germany, the UK and the US. A combination of 579 telephone interviews and more than 2,000 web surveys revealed that more than a quarter of companies expect their number of meeting rooms to increase over the next three years, with only a small percentage expecting a decline.
Portrait Displays Unifies Under One Name
Chinese Videowall Companies Weigh International Business Options
Portrait Displays has announced the next phase in the company’s evolution: Following its acquisition of SpectraCal’s assets in 2016, it will now operate as a single unified company under the Portrait Displays name, retiring the SpectraCal brand. According to its announcement, Portrait Displays will continue to provide color display solutions that combine color science with advanced display control. It will also continue to serve its customer base of global device manufacturers, content creators, content distributors and consumers. A new logo for Portrait Displays has been established, and the company also launched an updated website, which includes all of its color calibration and display control solutions. More information about the decision to unify is available on the company’s website.
The global LED videowall market achieved revenues of $5.7 billion last year, with year-on-year double-digit growth expected out to 2023, according to a new worldwide industry report from Futuresource Consulting. As the trade war between the US and China intensifies, and with political indications suggesting a continuing period of punitive tariffs, Chinese companies are exploring ways to accelerate their expansion into southeast Asia, the Middle East and Latin America. Speaking at the recent Macroblock LED Display Conference, in Shenzhen, China, Hope Lee, Senior Market Analyst at Futuresource Consulting, summarized global LED display trends and presented on the shifting market landscape. Lee explained, “Upwards of 500 companies in China have R&D and manufacturing capabilities for LED videowalls. With all this competition, the sector is going into overdrive, and vendors are not only considering new international markets, but also placing renewed focus on durability, reduced power consumption and innovation.” “Narrow pixel pitch (NPP) remains a key battleground, with companies migrating more of their products to sub-2.5mm,” Lee added. “With stiffer competition, vendors are now focusing on quality as a differentiating factor, and our forecasts show that, by 2021, NPP will have overtaken LCD videowall in annual revenue terms.” As international expansion becomes a core business objective for many China-based companies, understanding local markets is a fundamental requirement. There are many elements to consider for success—from business culture, to channel dynamics, to vertical demand—apart from simply securing a local physical presence. In addition to geographic expansion, many Chinese companies are also focusing on acquisition and business-model flexibility, completing a three-pronged strategic plan that is likely to yield strong financial growth.
Sound & Communications September 2019
Compiled by Amanda Mullen
LSI Industries announced that Ross Horton was promoted to CCO for Atlas Lighting Products, and Richard Abernethy was named Senior Director, Product Management, Outdoor Products and Controls…Lawo appointed Jamie Dunn as CCO and Phil Myers as CTO…Eiki International named John Schippers as COO…Design Electronics promoted Khalil Williams to CEO…Arista Corp. appointed Martin E. Fishman as VP…LEA Professional promoted Brian Pickowitz to VP of Marketing…Stampede appointed Jim Reddy as VP of Sales of a newly formed Stampede United States Field Sales Team, and Eric Lookenott and Mark Cunningham expand that team further…QSC promoted TJ Adams to VP, Systems Product Strategy and Development…MultiDyne appointed Kevin Dowd
as Director of Business Development for the APAC region, and Sebastian Mucha as Director of Business Development for the EMEA region…A.C. ProMedia welcomed Sarah Lima as A/V Brand Manager for the Luminex and HARVEY product lines…URC promoted Lee Rambler to National Sales Manager for Direct Accounts…Riedel hired Ash Condon as Regional Sales Manager, Southeastern US…ADJ Group welcomed Robert “Bob” Mentele as Vertical Market Manager…Futuresource Consulting appointed Ashwin Venkatchari as Principal Analyst, Custom Projects… FSR welcomed Philip Klinkenborg as Western Regional Sales Manager… Countryman Associates hired Brian Hillenbrand and Benjamin Lacasse as Design Engineers…. September 2019
Sound & Communications
Compiled by Amanda Mullen and Dan Ferrisi Epson’s Laser Projectors
Epson’s 9,000-lumen white Pro L1490U and black Pro L1495U are joining the company’s Pro L large-venue laser-projector lineup. The new models deliver vibrant, clear images and feature a full range of inputs, edge blending and 10 optional powered lenses (1 standard lens included), making them suitable for conference rooms, auditoriums and live events. Both projectors come equipped with 3-chip, 3LCD and WUXGA resolution with 4K Enhancement Technology. The new models’ laser light source and electrostatic air filter provide virtually maintenance-free operation for up to 20,000 hours. Additionally, using the brightness-lock feature allows users to set the maximum brightness level securely to meet brightness needs across a range of environments. Coming in a sleek chassis, the new models combine advanced projection and installation features to deliver premium projection that blends discreetly into virtually any environment. Epson www.epson.com
All product information supplied by manufacturers and/or distributors.
Extron’s 4-Input Switcher
Extron’s DTP2 T 204 is a 4-input switcher with integrated DTP2 transmitter for sending HDMI and control up to 330' over a shielded Catx cable to an Extron DTP-enabled product. It supports computer and video resolutions up to 4K/60 at 4:4:4 chroma sampling. This HDCP 2.2-compliant switcher includes features such as EDID Minder, Key Minder and selectable HDCP authorization. Ethernet control enables centralized system management. The half-rack-width enclosure enables discreet placement within lecterns, beneath tables or wherever necessary to meet application requirements. The DTP2 T 204 switcher provides reliable routing of HDMI video at data rates up to 18Gbps, along with HDR, deep color up to 12-bit, 3D and embedded HD lossless audio formats. For simplified installation, it can be remotely powered by a DTP2-enabled product over the twisted-pair connection. It can also be configured to provide power to the connected DTP2 receiver product. Extron www.extron.com
Tripp Lite’s Mobile Display Solutions
Tripp Lite’s mobile display solutions make it convenient to bring video presentations to audiences, set up all-in-1 mobile workstations and create functional videowalls for digital signage. These solutions complement the company’s wallmounts and deskmounts. Rolling TV/monitor carts allow video presentations to travel directly to audiences. Available in single-screen and dualscreen styles, the carts transform any area into a demonstration space. Rolling workstations feature height adjustment for user comfort. The workstations accommodate peripherals, and they’re suitable for applications where a stationary computer desk is impractical. Videowalls give customers flexibility in how messages are displayed. Available in wallmount and rolling models, the videowalls allow micro adjustments, making it possible to align all screens in an installation. Tripp Lite www.tripplite.com
Audio-Technica’s Modular Mic Systems
Audio-Technica is shipping its Engineered Sound line of modular mic systems with several dozen variations of the ES925 gooseneck mic. All ES925 modular mic components are interchangeable with one another, allowing users to configure each mic system from a choice of 3 different polar patterns; 4 power-module options (DS5, FM3, FM5 and XLR designations); and 6 different gooseneck lengths—a total of 72 new offerings. Each new ES modular mic system includes a mic element, gooseneck and a power module. Compatible low-profile mic elements are offered in 1 of 3 polar patterns: cardioid, hypercardioid and MicroLine; respectively, they offer 120°, 100° and 90° acceptance angles. (An omnidirectional element is available separately.) The interchangeable condenser mic elements provide full-range, natural sound. The desk stand, flush-mount power modules and all mic element housings feature highly visible, 2-state RGB LED status indicators. Audio-Technica www.audio-technica.com
Audio-Technica’s ES925 Systems
Extron’s DTP2 T 204
Epson’s Pro L1490U
Sound & Communications September 2019
Tripp Lite’s Mobile Display Solution
PRODUCTS Key Digital’s Matrix Switchers
Key Digital’s KD-MS4x4G and KD-MS8x8G 4x4/8x8 4K/18G HDMI matrix switchers offer users independent audio switching or de-embedding of balanced/unbalanced and PCM digital audio. Both matrix switchers support HDCP 2.2 and all SD, HD, VESA and ultra-HD/4K video standards up to and including ultra-HD/4K 18G 4096x2160 or 3840x2160 24/25/30/60Hz at 4:4:4 and 1080p. All ultra-HD/4K EDID handshake files include HDR header information. The KD-MS4x4G and KD-MS8x8G feature HDMI matrix switching for 4/8 HDMI sources to 4/8 HDMI outputs and 4/8 analog and digital audio outputs, which can be independently controlled to follow the HDMI output selection or separately switched to accommodate a wide variety of usage applications in commercial AV systems integration, such as corporate conference rooms, boardrooms, huddle spaces and auditoriums. The matrix switchers are fully licensed and compatible with HDCP 2.2, and they support HDR10 video. Key Digital www.keydigital.com
Keatona’s Audio Transformer Set
Keatona’s KXA 4-pack audiotransformer set is designed for systems and interconnect schemes requiring total, passive galvanic signal isolation at high-bandwidth, high-power operation. The KXA can be used as a 1-by-4 passive line-level distribution unit or a 4-by-1 summing system, both through use of standard 1/4" phone or XLR “Y” adapters. The KXA 4-pack audio-transformer set features high-quality, high-bandwidth, powerful transformers providing transparent analog audio interface with galvanic electrical isolation. Use of combo 1/4" phone and XLR3F XLR connectors facilitates interface translation of balanced and unbalanced circuits. To maintain the XLR I-O interconnect standard, 4 XLR3Mto-XLR3M adapters are included with each KXA unit. Housed in a rugged, die-cast aluminum enclosure, which is powder-coat painted soft satin white with UV digital black printed legends, the unit adheres to the Keatona standard color scheme. The text can be seen easily in darkened stage and studio environments. Keatona www.keatona.com
KanexPro’s High-Speed HDMI Cables
KanexPro’s line of HDMI cables includes the Super Slim Certified Premium High-Speed HDMI Cables, Certified Premium HighSpeed HDMI Cables, Active Fiber High-Speed HDMI Cables, Active Fiber High-Speed DisplayPort 1.4 Cables and Active 18G HighSpeed HDMI Cables. Designed for 4K ultra-HD with HDR content, the Active Fiber High-Speed HDMI Cables deliver uncompressed, full-bandwidth 18Gbps HDMI content in various lengths, including 20 meters (CBL-HDMIAOC20M), 30 meters (CBL-HDMIAOC30M) and 50 meters (CBL-HDMIAOC50M). Featuring plenum (CMP) fire safety, the Active Fiber HDMI Cables are approved for use in air-duct spaces of commercial buildings. The Active Fiber HDMI Cables support HDR, HDR10, HLG and DolbyVision, as well as HD Multichannel up to DTS:X and DolbyAtmos, SA-CD, DVD-Audio, DTS-HD Master Audio and Dolby TrueHD. KanexPro www.kanexpro.com
Sharp’s Interactive Display Systems
Sharp Imaging and Information Co. of America (SIICA), a division of Sharp Electronics Corp., launched 3 4K, ultra-HD-resolution, large-format AQUOS BOARD interactive display systems with built-in wireless and whiteboard functionality utilizing its embedded SoC (system-on-chip) controller. Sharp’s 85"-class (84 9/16" diagonal) PN-L851H, 75"-class (74 1/16" diagonal) PN-L751H and 65"-class (64 1/2" diagonal) PN-L651H interactive displays are built for users who require the ability to deploy easy-to-operate, high-resolution meeting communications. The 4K ultra-HD (3840x2160) resolution allows meeting participants to see details and small text in professional settings in which precision is important. The displays’ InGlass touch technology provides a semi-flat surface for more comfortable writing and more accurate touch response. And the SHARP Touch Viewer application enables easy manipulation of different types of files. Sharp Imaging and Information Co. of America siica.sharpusa.com
Key Digital’s KD-MS8x8G Keatona’s KXA
Sharp’s AQUOS BOARD
KanexPro’s Active Fiber High-Speed DisplayPort 1.4 Cable
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PRODUCTS Radio Active Designs’ Headset
Radio Active Designs (RAD)’s SPX-1 headset is ultra-lightweight for comfort, while also featuring a rugged nylon body and heavyduty construction suiting busy professionals. The SPX-1 features a flexible, dynamic mic that can be configured for left- or right-ear use. The dynamic speaker unit offers an impedance of 200Ω, frequency response of 150Hz to 6,000Hz and SPL of 106dB. A convenient flip-up boom switch automatically turns the mic on when in the horizontal position and off when in the vertical position. The RAD design team worked to create a headset that would not only offer optimal audio quality but also be reliable and durable enough for tough applications, yielding the SPX-1. Radio Active Designs www.radioactiverf.com
Leyard and Planar’s LCD Videowall Displays
Leyard and Planar have introduced 4 offerings to the company’s VM Series line of LCD videowall displays. All 4 additions to the Planar VM Series are ENERGY STAR 8.0 certified, ensuring customers receive an energy-efficient videowall solution. 2 new 55" models are the VM55MX-M and the VM55LX-M. These models have a 0.88mm tiled bezel width. Both models feature native full-HD resolution, and the VM55MX-M offers 700-nit brightness to support high-ambient-light environments. The VM55LX-M model delivers 500-nit brightness, suitable for slightly dimmer viewing environments. 2 new 49" models with native full-HD resolution have also joined the VM Series. The 49" videowall displays empower organizations to deploy a wider variety of videowall sizes and configurations to suit more diverse spaces. The VM49MX-X offers 700-nit brightness and a tiled bezel width of 1.8mm. The VM49LX-U offers 500-nit brightness and a 3.5mm tiled bezel width. Leyard and Planar www.planar.com
Optoma’s High-Brightness Projectors
Optoma’s 2 new professional projectors are designed to bring high brightness, dependability and clear image technology into classrooms, meeting rooms and training rooms. The Optoma EH412 and EH412ST deliver powerful image performance with flexible installation features and extensive connectivity options, meeting the needs presented by professional environments. The Optoma EH412 and EH412ST deliver 4,500 and 4,000 lumens of brightness, respectively, with 1080p HD resolution, along with support for 4K HDR input sources, sRGB and REC.709 color profiles. Combined with their 50,000:1 contrast ratio, the projectors ensure sharp and vivid images. Both projectors also deliver keystone correction and RS232 control, providing adaptability for corporate and education settings. The EH412 features a 1.3x motorized zoom and vertical lens shift. In addition, both projectors feature an ultra-low 26dB fan noise to minimize disturbances during operation. Optoma www.optoma.com
QSC’s Network Video Endpoint
QSC has released the Q-SYS NV Series (NV-32-H) network video endpoint. This native, multi-stream HDMI encoder/decoder provides high-quality (resolutions up to 4K60 4:4:4), low-latency and networkefficient video distribution across a standard gigabit infrastructure. As a native peripheral to the Q-SYS ecosystem, NV Series allows integrators to add HDMI video distribution to an existing Q-SYS system in a matter of minutes, without any control programming being required. Furthermore, each NV Series video endpoint is software-definable as either a video encoder or decoder, allowing this drag-and-drop, singleSKU solution to reduce necessary hardware pieces from the system and provide greater stability and predictability. Optimized specifically for the meeting room, the NV Series features the Q-SYS Shift technology, a network video compression scheme that dynamically adjusts network bandwidth consumption based on video content. This affords network savings for common meeting room content, without compromising on the ability to stream full-motion video. QSC www.qsc.com/systems
Radio Active Designs’ SPX-1 Leyard and Planar’s VM Series
QSC’s Q-SYS NV Series (NV-32-H)
Yamaha’s PC Series
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PRODUCTS Camplex’s Steel-Wrapped Fiber Cables
Camplex is shipping a new line of armored fiberoptic patch cables that feature bend-insensitive fiber for maximum flexibility and a stainless-steel tube that is wrapped around the fibers for durability. These riser-rated cables with a flame-retardant PVC jacket are moisture-, crush- and rodentresistant, while also maintaining the flexibility found in standard fiberoptic cables. Lightweight and easy to handle, Camplex armored patch cables are suitable for intrabuilding applications that require long-term, reliable protection, such as data centers and patching backbone trunks to high-speed network devices. Available as simplex and duplex with singlemode, OM4 multi-mode or OM1 multi-mode fiber, and LC and ST connector configurations in 1m to 10m lengths. Camplex www.camplex.com
Ross Video’s Ultra-HD Production Server
Ross Video has expanded the Abekas Tria production-server line with the launch of Tria+ UHD. It provides 2 symmetrical 4K ultra-HD video channels that can be instantly configured as 2-play, 2-record or 1-play and 1-record. The 2 independent video channels can be configured as a single video+key channel. Tria+ UHD supports HDR by natively recording 10-bit XAVC-Intra Class 300/480, and it offers a maximum of 120 hours of Class 300 4K ultra-HD media-storage capacity. Although Tria+ UHD might be the newest member of the Tria+ production-server family, it maintains the same operational look and feel as other Tria+ products. As such, it will be extremely familiar to existing customers. Built-in media-file import and export tools are a standard feature, along with 16-track embedded digital audio on every video I/O. Ross Video www.rossvideo.com
Bose Professional’s Processors
Bose Professional has introduced 2 ControlSpace EX processors that are designed for conference rooms (EX-440C and EX-12AEC), as well as 1 dedicated to generalpurpose applications (EX-1280). With an open-architecture, all-in-1 design, the ControlSpace EX440C facilitates high-quality mic integration and audio processing for small-to-medium-size conference rooms. Various inputs and outputs allow for flexible configuration: 4 mic/line analog inputs, 4 analog outputs, onboard VoIP, PSTN, USB, Bose AmpLink output, 8-channel AEC and 16x16 Dante connectivity. The ControlSpace EX-12AEC, meanwhile—with an open-architecture design, 12 AECs and 16x16 Dante connectivity—provides a robust expansion for conference rooms using ControlSpace EX-conferencing processors. The ControlSpace EX-1280, finally, leverages advanced signal processing and a floating-point open-architecture DSP to create dynamic, yet predictable, audio installations. Bose Professional pro.bose.com
Apantac’s KVM-Over-IP Card
Apantac’s new KVM-over-IP card for openGear is a modular and scalable KVM-over-IP solution. When combined with the Apantac KVM-over-IP receiver and an offthe-shelf gigabit Ethernet switch, it functions as an expandable KVM switch to allow multiple users to have access to multiple computers. The OG-KVM-IP-Tx card for the openGear chassis brings 2 benefits: First, rather than using individual standalone transmission boxes for each of the source computer in the technical operations room, up to 10 OG-KVM-IP-Tx cards can be installed in a single openGear 2RU chassis using a single power supply (can be redundant). Second, the cards all have a common configuration, control and monitoring interface via the openGear Dashboard software. AV integrators can mix and match different cards from Apantac and multiple manufacturers in a single openGear frame, depending on their application and needs. Apantac www.apantac.com
Bose Professional’s ControlSpace EX-440C, EX-12AEC and EX-1280 Apantac’s OG-KVM-IP-Tx
Camplex’s Armored Fiberoptic Patch Cables
Ross Video’s Tria+ UHD September 2019
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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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Compiled by Amanda Mullen
Sennheiser’s Headset Study
Recently, Sennheiser conducted a survey of 2,500 employees throughout the US, Germany, the UK, France, Singapore and Hong Kong, asking how office workers are leveraging their headsets. The study shows that 29 percent of office workers use a headset when they need to concentrate. The office space per person has declined over the past 20 years and open offices are on the rise; this is making it harder for us to concentrate without being interrupted by our coworkers. Sennheiser’s study shows that almost a third of office workers use a headset to concentrate without distraction. Additional data from the study shows that flexibility is more important than ever. Professionals are working in the office, as well as from home and on the go, and they like being able to switch between business calls and music during their workdays. Sennheiser en-us.sennheiser.com
NanoLumens’ Display Survey
According to the results of a recently completed online industry survey of 454 participants, conducted by NanoLumens, the future of LED displays looks promising. AV integrators, designers and end-user customers are coming to understand how better to assess the total cost of ownership (TCO) of LED and LCD solutions. AV integrators accounted for 50 percent of survey participants, with architects, designers and end users making up the other 50 percent of respondents. The 24-question survey, conducted between November 2018 and this past February, aimed to reveal how perceptions about LED and LCD display technologies compared among industry professionals, what their experiences with each technology were and what they thought the future might hold for each display format. NanoLumens www.nanolumens.com
A.C. ProMedia’s New Website
A.C. ProMedia, which is a division of AC Lighting Inc., has launched its new website at www.acpromedia.com. Designed to deliver a seamless user experience, the website features a clean design and easy-to-use menu functionality, with fast navigation and fully responsive programming. It adapts to the best layout for viewing on mobile, tablet and desktop. On the website, users can find a selection of products available from manufacturers that include Chroma-Q, Luminex Network Intelligence, ProLights, Prolyte Group and LumenRadio. New manufacturers, including DSPECIALISTS, are also featured. There are plans to expand the product offering in the future. A.C. ProMedia www.acpromedia.com
SDVoE Alliance’s Mobile App
The SDVoE Alliance launched its SDVoE Academy learning-platform app, which is now available in the App Store for iOS and via Google Play for Android. The SDVoE Academy app offers free, self-paced courses for AV professionals to help them develop the skills they require to take advantage of the latest technologies for AV signal management. Short, animation-based lessons and case studies cover video and networking basics, system-design considerations and sales tips. There’s even a track that leads to SDVoE Design Partner certification. Although the focus of SDVoE Academy is on SDVoE technology, the lessons are broadly applicable to the world of AV-over-IP. The SDVoE Academy is available online at www.academy.sdvoe.org. SDVoE Alliance www.sdvoe.org 92 Sound & Communications September 2019
Information about the latest software releases, apps, online tools, and software and firmware updates. Send details, with supporting graphic, if available, to email@example.com.
SOFTWARE Compiled by Amanda Mullen
A.C. ProMedia’s Software Functionality
Audinate’s New Feature
WHAT WOULD YOU DO?: ‘SOUNDS BAD? SOUNDS GOOD?’ REDUX
INDUSTRY POV: INTUITIVE SYSTEMS, EVOLVED PROTOCOLS
(continued from page 26) design might finally be based on employees’ needs, rather than jam-packing workers into a cost-saving design. Eureka! When I brought up the issue of sound quality to this group, filling them in on what the previous group said, and asking for their experiences, I was surprised to find the exact opposite answers! All four panelists claimed that many of their customers complain if the audio quality is not great—that, in fact, audio quality is one of the most important aspects of UC&C. This session also earned positive feedback (about 85 percent), although, again, a few felt that the audio part of the session was more a pet peeve of mine. Well, yes…especially after the first session! Apologies to those few who
(continued from page 33) work on most existing GigE networks without special switches or cabling. The goal is to diminish complexity and reduce infrastructure costs. With this type of IP approach, media devices freely interoperate with one another over a network—without the usual physical restrictions. The location of various equipment is much more flexible. IP offers liberation from the traditional mediaproduction model, permitting the entire process to be handled on location, as well as across locations, with far more ease than that to which organizations have been accustomed. Most of the component devices in many modern production facilities are described by—and limited
A.C. ProMedia, which is a division of AC Lighting, has announced the availability of HYPERMATRIX within HARVEY configuration software. DSPECIALISTS, provider of development services and products for digital audio signal processing, has been focusing on the further development and expansion of the HARVEY product family with new features and components. This includes the new version of the configuration software with HYPERMATRIX functionality. HYPERMATRIX makes it possible to configure several HARVEY devices as if they were a single device. The simple implementation of large projects using numerous HARVEY systems is available. Several HARVEYs can be installed centrally in a 19" rack or distributed over a large area. All previously known features and functions are maintained. A.C. ProMedia www.acpromedia.com
felt I took things in the wrong direction! The takeaway here on audio quality is this: One size does not fit all. With such extremes on either side—and, of course, many clients likely in the middle—we must remember that each client’s needs must be established at the beginning. We must delve deep into what they have used, what they have now, what their experiences have been, and what their current and future needs and wants are. End users, integrators, manufacturers and consultants—what have your experiences been with regard to audio quality? Please write in and let us know. Perhaps I’ll write a future follow-up on this all-important matter. Please email me at dkleeger@ testa.com.
Audinate has announced the availability of Dante Controller 4.2.3 with Dante Updater. Dante Updater is a new feature that makes it easy to update firmware in Dante devices. Firmware files are hosted by Audinate, so they are always up to date. Dante Updater allows product manufacturers to bring critical updates to customers more easily by making them available directly in Dante Controller with 1-click installation. Dante Updater continues Dante Controller’s ease of use, automatically discovering and associating updates with connected devices in a clear, unambiguous interface. Now, customers can take full advantage of new Dante features and capabilities without hunting for product-specific installers, and they can deploy updates to an entire system at once. Dante Controller with Dante Updater is free for all users, and it’s available now at www.audinate.com/dc. Audinate www.audinate.com
by—the number of physical connections they provide. With IP-connected devices, the number of channels that a system handles is freed from legacy physical constraints. IP connections are two-way, so a video source device can be instantly alerted with a specific notification for connection to any one of the available channels. Scaling to more systems that distribute work in real time, based on actual utilization, is entirely possible. IP is an aspect of IT, so corporate IT departments have to be involved in all phases of media projects. When choosing suppliers, carefully review what software and hardware they offer that will integrate easily into IP-based mediaproduction and -deliver y scenarios.
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THE CENTERSTAGE AN ADVERTISING SUPPLEMENT TO SOUND & COMMUNICATIONS
Electro-Voice MFX Multi-Function Monitors The MFX-12MC (12”) and MFX-15MC (15”) utilize high-output coaxially aligned HF and LF transducers matched with an innovative new Constant Directivity waveguide. The dimensions and location of the waveguide interact with the woofer to effectively create a dipole output, resulting in precise coverage control through the midrange frequencies. In addition to providing a stable sound image as the performer moves off-axis, the compact coaxial design presents a significantly lower-profile footprint on stage in comparison to competitive high-end monitors. Both models feature pole sockets recessed into the side handles for use as short-throw reinforcement in portable applications. A full range of mounting accessories is available for temporary or permanent installation. MFX multi-function monitors are optimized for use with the new TGX10 or IPX10:4 DSP amplifiers from EV’s sibling brand Dynacord. Multiple DSP settings optimize the speakers for specific uses, and they can be deployed in passive or bi-amp configurations. WEB ADDRESS: www.electrovoice.com
Extron Electronics TLC Pro Complete Control Systems Extron TLC Pro Control Systems are complete solutions that combine a TouchLink Pro touchpanel with a built-in IP Link Pro control processor. This all-in-one approach streamlines system designs by consolidating essential control system components, freeing up space, and easing integration. The included port expansion adapter makes it easy to add traditional control ports when needed, directly at the touchpanel. All TLC Pro control systems maintain the same stylish appearance and high performance of our TouchLink Pro touchpanels and are ideal for any environment requiring a customizable, all-in-one touchpanel control system. WEB ADDRESS: www.extron.com/article/tlcseriesad
Meyer Sound ULTRA-X40 New Generation Compact Loudspeaker The ULTRA-X40 is the first in a completely new generation of Meyer Sound point source loudspeakers that will redefine the category of compact loudspeakers much as the UPA-1P did when it was first introduced back in the late-nineties. The ULTRA-X40 offers significant advantages across an exceptionally broad range of portable and installed applications. Drawing from the proven design approach of LEO Family loudspeakers, the ULTRA-X40 employs a concentric driver configuration with dual 8-inch neodymium magnet cone drivers coupled to a low-mid waveguide surrounding the single 3-inch diaphragm high-frequency compression driver. The 110° x 50° Constant-Q HF horn is easily field rotatable, and working in concert with the concentric design it ensures that the full bandwidth coverage pattern will be uniform with either horizontal or vertical orientation. WEB ADDRESS: www.meyersound.com/product/ultra-x
94 Sound & Communications September 2019
Hall Research VERSA-4K Versatile AV over IP Solution for Tomorrow The VERSA-4K is the latest addition to the Hall Research AV-over-IP product line. The system extends multiple 4K HDMI video and USB data to an unlimited number of receivers on a simple Gigabit network. Bidirectional IR, RS-232, and auxiliary audio are also extended. Advanced features include low latency, video wall mode, image rotation and flipping, IR, CEC and Serial-over-IP for control of 3rd party devices. The system also offers automatic KVM switching, Telnet and Web GUI control, USB Device Class Filtering, and PoE (power over Ethernet) support. The Sender/Encoder accepts any HDMI resolution including 4K, 60 Hz with HDCP 2.2 and it includes an HDMI video loop output plus extracted HDMI audio in stereo format. The Receiver/Decoder provides an HDMI output with extracted HDMI audio, bidirectional IR, RS232, and 4 USB ports. WEB ADDRESS: www.hallresearch.com/page/Products/VERSA-4K
THE CENTERSTAGE AN ADVERTISING SUPPLEMENT TO SOUND & COMMUNICATIONS
Littlite Introducing the LED-3 Series of LED Task Lights Littlite introduces the LED-3 series of LED task lights. The LED-3 series comes in two different configurations each with three selectable, discrete light outputs. The LED-3 features a trio of white light outputs: 6500K (Cool), 5000K (Daylight) and 3000K (Warm). The LED-3-UV is selectable between White, Red and UV (365 nm) light outputs. Both models are available in several lamp set configurations with a 12-inch or 18-inch gooseneck and include a power supply. Littlites are designed and manufactured in Michigan and come with a limited lifetime warranty. WEB ADDRESS: www.littlite.com
Riedel Communications BOLERO v2.1.1 Continues to Raise the Bar for Wireless Comms In addition to the Integrated/Artist system mode and the Standalone/Link system mode, Bolero now has a Standalone/AES67mode. While Standalone/ Link mode uses a configuration-free, proprietary ring topology with optional power distribution, Standalone/AES67 mode relies on standard Gigabit Ethernet connections and switches between the antennas. This allows Bolero antennas to be distributed over new or existing AES67 IP networks. Other new features include DECT Master selection that gives users more control over which antenna takes over should the designated master antenna go offline, the maximum number of supported Beltpacks in Integrated/Artist mode has been raised to 250, and the E Ink display on the entennas includes several improvements including the ability to be inverted, the display of far more detailed information, and the ability to perform configurations from scratch without need for the web interface. WEB ADDRESS: www.riedel.net
DiGiCo SD7 Quantum
ACE Backstage Color Tabs for Connectivity Recognition At ACE Backstage we like to keep things simple; both at the order point and at installation. As a full-charge custom panel manufacturer, ACE introduces bright color connector identification tabs for wall, rack or floor box panels. Color coded tabs are used to increase connectivity recognition, and are now available in three problem-solving styles. Your customized panels arrive on the job site ready to terminate - layered, loaded, and labeled. Consider updating an existing panel by overlapping existing labels with tall labeled tabs. Panels can ship directly to your project address for just-in-time project management. ACE Backstage offers many flexible solutions that save integrators time and money, because we keep things simple. WEB ADDRESS: www.sndcom.us/ace-backstage-connectquick
Developed with seventh generation FPGA devices for unprecedented power, speed and flexibility, DiGiCo’s new Quantum engine for its flagship SD7 expands the console to over 600 channels of processing in 96kHz operation that can be connected in the outside world to approaching 3000 potential I/Os. The engine is also equipped with eight newly assignable MADI connections and two DiGiCo Multi-Channel Interface (DMI) slots for AoIP and other connectivity options from the complete family of DMI card options. The groundbreaking Nodal Processing feature uniquely allows processing to be applied to any node on the auxiliary section of the console, enabling engineers to send unique processing on each send from a single, or multiple channels. And Quantum’s True Solo system allows the operator’s monitoring system to replicate almost any section of the console, and how that source is being processed and heard. WEB ADDRESS: www.digico.biz
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THE CENTERSTAGE AN ADVERTISING SUPPLEMENT TO SOUND & COMMUNICATIONS
Digital Projection New M-Vision 21000 WU Projector
L-Acoustics New A15 and A10 Systems Featuring Adjustable Directivity The new A15 and A10 systems deliver renowned L-Acoustics concert performance and reliability for audiences from 50 to 5,000. Mounted on a pole, stacked on the companion KS21 or flown in vertical or horizontal arrays, the new A Series family combines plug-and-play ease and international market acceptance. This versatile solution, with adjustable directivity, scales with the needs of your company and is your gateway to the L-Acoustics rental network. A Series can take you anywhere you want to go. WEB ADDRESS: www.l-acoustics.com/en/product/a15-wide
Entertainment venues can be wildly different, making it difficult to choose a singular solution to fit an already complex market. That’s why Digital Projection developed the new M-Vision 21000 WU projector. Powered by 21,000 lumens, this laser illuminated powerhouse is the brightest single-chip projector on the market, creating high quality imaging even in high-ambient light environments. The versatile M-Vision 21000 WU is designed for a wide variety of public spaces. Featuring DP’s innovative COLORBOOST+ Red Laser technology, this model ads a direct red laser to bolster an already impressive color space; producing more vivid, saturated, and true-to-life imaging than previous possible on single-ship DLP models. Delivering near 3-Chip performance at a 1-Chip price point, the M-Vision 21000 WU can transform any space into a captivating experience with truly stunning visuals. WEB ADDRESS: www.sndcom.us/digital-projection-m-vision
INDUSTRY POV: THE TIME HAS COME FOR AV-AS-A-SERVICE: EARN REPEAT BUSINESS BY FOSTERING INTERDEPENDENCE (continued from page 34) finance partner who’s willing to cover the ser vices part of the contract (rather than the traditional limit of the hardware). Once the financing is arranged, what you put behind the quote that lives on past the installation itself will make a big difference in how your company is perceived. Now that AV equipment is networked, remote monitoring is the lifeline to enabling operational assurance. Dedicated care and attention include keeping updates current, offering live assist and reporting helpdesk episodes, as well as offering power management and meeting analytics. And, for the ambitious, it could mean venturing into bridges to security, IT and other smart-
building interconnectivity. The recurring revenue stream you enjoy will be directly proportional to the value you can create as a user-experience guardian and a protector of company resources. Have you considered offering the wetware ser vices of effective meeting training? The book Death by Meeting can be used to orient customers’ staffers toward getting down to business in their meetings. Have you connected to the resources of the American Management Association (AMA)? Have you thought of making an ecosystem of complementar y offerings to aid in the customer’s success? Organizations like ours are helping integrators train their
96 Sound & Communications September 2019
clients to become CTS certified. Additional training can help clients look out for their own investments and be more self-sufficient. Some might think an uneducated customer makes for a dependent customer; what people are really striving for these days, however, is interdependency. We’ve evolved past the days of you-can’t-have-the-controlcode slaver y. Sorr y, but the world has figured out AV isn’t the “black magic” we’ve made it out to be (and that it might, at one point, have been). At this point, many integrators might not be equipped to offer and manage the whole complement of AVaaS offerings. Let’s face it—it’s just hard. For instance, who’s
going to carr y instant advance replacements in stock to mitigate risk? Organizations that have scale and that use standards have a big advantage. Regardless of whom you’re working with or whether you’re going on your own, you should get started! Starting down the road to success can be as simple as asking your customer and getting permission to include AVaaS in the quote for comparison purposes. If you can, put it in ever y quote. The most overlooked stage in the full lifecycle of the customer experience is the refresh or renewal period. AVaaS has a built-in milestone for you to remain in touch with clients and earn their repeat business.
THE CENTERSTAGE AN ADVERTISING SUPPLEMENT TO SOUND & COMMUNICATIONS
Lowell Manufacturing New VRI and VRIC Series Vandal-Resistant Intercom Stations Lowell Manufacturing has broadened their commercial audio line with new vandal-resistant intercom stations—the VRI Series (intercom station) and VRIC Series (intercom station with call switch)—ideal for training centers, warehouses, public garages, lobbies, correctional facilities and similar areas. Each two-gang or three-gang station features a robust 11-gauge stainless steel wall plate with brushed finish, and vandal-resistant hardware. An internal offset baffle provides added protection against vandalism. The 45 ohm moistureresistant speaker for clear one or two-way communication is available with or without a 25V transformer. Pigtail connections promote easy field installation, while the shallow 1.75 inch depth allows the station to be mounted to a standard two-gang or three-gang box. An 11-gauge steel hooded box for two-gang units is also available (#PHB-2). WEB ADDRESS: www.sndcom.us/lowell-intercom-stations
Rose Electronics Extensiv Active Optical Cables Rose Electronics provides a comprehensive range of Active Optical Cables for extending HDMI 2.0, DisplayPort 1.4, and USB 3.1. Active Optical Cables deliver one of the most competitive long reach signal connection solutions on the market. These state-of-the-art cables transmit uncompressed video, audio, and data up to 330 ft (100 m). The conversion from electrical to optical fits inside the metal cable head to provide a sleek and streamlined installation. No external power is required. They come with fixed or detachable heads to simplify pulling through conduit. Other features include signal conversion, remote power over USB, plenum or low smoke jacket, and armored jacket for rugged environments. Active optical cables are perfect for digital signage, control rooms, presentation venues, medical facilities, retail locations, industrial settings, military and government sites, and many other environments. See our ad on the inside back cover. WEB ADDRESS: www.rose.com/aoc E-MAIL: firstname.lastname@example.org
Yamaha Pro Audio New VX Speakers and System Design Software The newest additions to the Yamaha VX Series of loudspeakers include the latest VXC2F and VXC8S in-ceiling models, and the latest version (3.0) of the Yamaha Commercial Installation Solutions Speaker Calculator (CISSCA) system design software –designed to make system installation safer, easier and efficient. The expanding VX series is divided into three categories: VXC ceiling loudspeakers, VXS surface mount loudspeakers and VXL slimline, column, line array loudspeakers. VX models range from compact full-range units to subwoofers and include a power-over-Ethernet (PoE) VXL enclosure. The CISSCA software complements the deployment of VX loudspeakers. Version 3 now provides easy access to an expanded library of in-depth speaker technical data which can be accessed through a new, intuitive user interface. Entry-level or experienced users can choose AUTO or ADVANCED modes. The online VXL Selection Assistant is also available to assist with selecting the right model for an application. For more information, visit our website. WEB ADDRESS: www.yamahaCA.com
Absen America Acclaim Plus Series The Acclaim Plus series offers the flexibility and performance to design seamless, digital art. With the same great display and mounting interface as the Acclaim, the Acclaim Plus series is thinner and lighter! The Acclaim Plus series can be wall-mounted, hung or stacked from the floor. The SlideTrack technology allows for an easy front installation with better flatness and connection precision. As the most versatile video solution on the market, the Acclaim Plus series provides a picture-perfect, bezel-free video display to take your message to the next level. WEB ADDRESS: www.usabsen.com E-MAIL: email@example.com
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Absen America...................................... 33 Acoustics First...................................... 67 Atlona Technologies............................. 30 Audio-Technica..................................... 29 Audix...................................................... 35 Blackmagic Design.............................. 13 Clear-Com............................................. 17
The Easy Sell.
See those Churches & Schools you drive past everyday?
d&b audiotechnik................................. 71 D.A.S. Audio.......................................... 25 DiGiCo/Group One.............................. 45 Digital Projection.................................... 7 Electro-Voice......................................... 31 ENCO Systems..................................... 24 Extron Electronics......................... 2, 102 IDK America......................................... 48 IMCCA................................................... 37 L-Acoustics............................................ 15 Listen Technologies............................. 10 Lowell Manufacturing.......................... 23 Luminex................................................... 8 LYNX Technik...................................... 41 Maxell Corporation of America........... 39 Meyer Sound........................................... 3
Chances are they DON’T have a lockable, easy-to-use, and beautiful HSA Rolltop Desk A/V Workstation. So it’s YOUR chance for an easy sale by helping them organize and secure their Audio, Video & Lighting Control systems. Make your next sale the easy way - call or firstname.lastname@example.org www.hsarolltops.com email HSA today for dealer tm info and design ideas! The Rolltop People
NAB Show New York........................... 49 NACE....................................................... 5 Platinum Tools...................................... 24 Pliant Technologies.............................. 59 RCF-USA............................................... 55 Renkus-Heinz........................................ 21 Rose Electronics................................. 101 RTS/Bosch Communications Systems................................................ 4 Sescom.................................................. 65 Sound Control Technologies............... 48 Stardraw.com........................................ 43 TASCAM............................................... 42 Toner Cable Equipment....................... 19 Whirlwind.............................................. 53 Williams AV........................................... 47 Yamaha Pro Audio................................ 27
Sound & Communications September 2019
AVENT HORIZON: THE INCREDIBLE VANISHING WIRELESS SPECTRUM (continued from page 100) All was well and good…until 2009, when the digital TV transition took place. Now, another block of TV channels (52 through 69) was chopped off and reallocated for other ser vices. No worries, though; wireless microphone manufacturers came out with new models (all had been using PLLs and frequency synthesizers for several years by this time) that stayed within the new 470MHz to 700MHz range of channels. It was a tight fit, especially in large cities, but, most of the time, it worked. Now, the FCC has pulled out its chainsaw and hacked away another 84MHz, representing channels 38 through 51. But, this time around, the repacking of TV stations will be much more difficult. There just aren’t enough physical channels to go around, even if some stations pack up and move to high band
or those previously detestable low-band VHF channels. To solve the congestion problem, some stations are even sharing the MPEG multiplex: In some markets near me, as many as four separate TV stations travel on the same channel, distinguished from each other by their unique minor “virtual” channels in the bitstream. And where does this leave wireless-microphone operations? In some markets, out in the cold. There just aren’t enough UHF channels available, and co-channel operation is out of the question because of interference problems. FCC rules mandate that wireless mics can’t interfere with licensed TV broadcasts, but those same stations can wipe out a wireless mic system—and there ain’t nuttin’ you can do about it, either. So, what’s the FCC’s position? To
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Coming soon: the new BLUE BOOK web app! quote from its website: “Wireless microphones that operate in the 600MHz service band (the 617MHz to 652MHz and 663MHz to 698MHz frequencies) will be required to cease operation no later than July 13, 2020, and may be required to cease operation sooner if they could cause inter ference to new wireless licensees that commence operations on their licensed spectrum in the 600MHz service band. Spectrum will continue to be available for wireless-microphone use on TV channels 2 through 36 (TV band frequencies that fall below 608MHz), on por tions of the 600MHz guard band (the 614MHz to 616MHz frequencies) and the 600MHz duplex gap (the 653MHz to 663MHz frequencies), and in various other spectrum bands outside of the TV bands. “In 2015, the Commission provided for
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new opportunities for licensed wireless-microphone operations in spectrum outside of the TV broadcast band, including in the 169MHz to 172MHz band and portions of the 900MHz band, the 1435MHz to 1525MHz band and the 6875MHz to 7125MHz band. Unlicensed wirelessmicrophone operations are permitted in several bands outside of the TV bands, including the 902MHz to 928MHz band, the 1920MHz to 1930MHz band, and portions of the 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands.” So, there you have it. You can (a) take a nostalgia trip and go back to the 1970s to tr y operating on noisy low-band VHF channels with enormous antennas, (b) tr y to find some open slots on high-band VHF channels with not-quite-as-largebut-still-big antennas, (c) tr y to find some open slots on channels 14 through 36 (37 was and remains reser ved for
radio astronomy), or (d) play with one of the next-generation systems that operate at 900MHz, 1.9GHz, 2.4GHz or 5GHz. Are wireless audio systems going to be hammered by the FCC repack? You betcha! I’ve had good experiences testing 2.4GHz wireless mics, but I can’t speak to the ef ficacy of a multimic installation that’s also competing with 2.4GHz Wi-Fi operation. Based on my experiences with wireless HDMI links at 5GHz, there might be some operating-range issues. (That limited range will provide some level of added security, however, which, I guess, is a silver lining of sor ts.) For additional information about what to expect, browse around the FCC Mobility Division website, which is linked via sndcom.us/fcc-gov-wireless-mics. Good luck! September 2019
Sound & Communications
The Incredible Vanishing Wireless Spectrum And what it means to you. By Pete Putman, CTS, KT2B ROAM Consulting LLC If you haven’t been paying attention, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) concluded a big spectrum auction two years ago. (Yeah…I know… it was kind of a yawner.) Unlike the era almost five decades ago when I first got my ham radio license, when the FCC “regulated the radio and TV spectrum in the public interest,” it’s now clearly all about the Benjamins. If you have enough of them, you can buy megahertz and gigahertz for whatever purpose you have in mind. Back then, TV stations wanted to be on channels 2 through 6 (54MHz to 88MHz) and channels 7 through 13 (174MHz to 216MHz). That’s where the eyeballs were, and those channels were easy to tune in with (mostly) reliable reception. By contrast, the UHF band of channels 14 through 83 (470MHz to 890MHz), which started in 1952 with just 15 TV stations, was largely considered an RF “desert,” populated by independent and public stations, along with TV repeaters.
100 Sound & Communications September 2019
The reason? It just wasn’t easy to make a stable UHF TV receiver with a low-noise figure. On the transmitter side, it cost more money to operate on UHF channels because of the power required to overcome the problems with receivers. Fewer viewers meant reduced advertising revenue. In fact, way back in 1962, the FCC had to issue a mandate that all new televisions include a tuner for UHF—other wise, no one would watch! UHF reception on a TV was still a novelty in 1970. By 1990, it was just as easy to tune in to as any VHF station was. Why? Over time, as electronics transitioned from vacuum tubes to transistors and then to integrated circuits, the phase-locked loop (PLL) came into existence. The PLL and its descendants have made not only UHF television practical, but also frequency synthesizers from audio to RF, mobile phones, satellite broadcasts and super-stable oscillators. Even so, there still weren’t ver y many UHF stations in the US three decades after the first broadcasts, so channels 70 through 83 were removed from TV use and reallocated for early cell-phone communications. (Allegedly, you could pick up many of those calls simply by using the UHF tuner on your TV!) There just weren’t enough stations in that part of the band to warrant continued operation. Separately, a new categor y of audio products had come to market in the 1970s. These “wireless” microphones were low-power transmitters, typically using less than 100mW per FCC rules, operating on unused television channels. These products started out on the so-called low-band VHF spectrum, but operation there proved to be unreliable due to poor selectivity of the receivers, impulse noise from appliances and motors, and interference from distant “skip” signals. So, wireless mic manufacturers moved up to the high-band VHF spectrum in the 1980s, dodging and weaving around TV stations from channels 7 through 13. Operation was with frequency modulation (FM) and instances of interference were considerably reduced—that is, as long as the receivers had decent selectivity, and as long as there was no noise or tropospheric signal ducting taking place that would wipe out your receivers. With the coming of the 1990s, wireless mic manufacturers tried different bands, including the UHF television band and even the 902MHz to 930MHz industrial, scientific and medical (ISM) band. Digital TV was on its way, and some more advanced brands were building expensive digital wireless mics with ver y selective receivers, immune to just about all interference. By the mid-’90s, it was generally conceded that the UHF spectrum was the best place for wireless-microphone operation, and VHF was to be left behind with dial phones and iceboxes. (continued on page 98)
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This month, we dive into the AV science of entertainment venues. The iconic Royal Albert Hall’s new sound design and audio systems bring it...
Published on Sep 13, 2019
This month, we dive into the AV science of entertainment venues. The iconic Royal Albert Hall’s new sound design and audio systems bring it...