Staging AV systems

Thinking about testing AV systems….

Staging systems is a crucial process for all providing AV systems. All devices are tested and proven to be functioning well before shipping to the site! The control system is sorted out at the shop. All firmware and communication conflicts are addressed. Network devices are pre-configured with their actual IP information, so they can be plug and play when they are delivered. Staging certifies that the system is ready to be installed. All the bugs are flushed out so that, if anything arises during the installation, the issues are mostly reduced to field cabling problems, because everything else has been thoroughly tested. It makes the installation go like a hot knife through butter.

So, why doesn’t everyone do it?

The major reasons are as follows:

1. No buy in from management. Quality has to come from the top down to be truly effective. And, if the boss continually pushes for systems to be delivered without having been totally staged, it sends a clear message to the entire company where the priorities of the organization lie (sizzle > steak).

2. No holistic vision of the project. It is very easy for companies, especially large ones, to adopt a “not my monkeys, not my circus” attitude between departments. A shop manager might be inclined to ship a system before it has been staged, just to pass the buck, despite the fact that doing so will jam up the installation team. It might be great for the shop schedule, but the installation schedule is destroyed, the project schedule sees delays and the service team might be tasked with finishing the installation…again. If people are focused only on their piece of the puzzle, rather than the big picture, it is very easy for them to ignore the value of quality.

3. Lack of education or experience. If people don’t understand the purpose and/or value of staging, they are less likely to do it. If the people building the racks never had an AV Installation Nightmare (check them out on “The Facebook”), they are less likely to do it. Whenever staging is taught in an AQAV class, participants—designers, installers and technology managers alike—are constantly saying things like, “This would have saved me a week in the field…if I knew about this.

4. Lack of discipline. If a single person isn’t responsible for the staging, and the company just expects “the team” to get it done, it very rarely happens. The responsibility of staging must be designated to one person on the team, and it must become a habit of the organization. It takes discipline, but, once the process is ingrained in the entire team, projects begin to go smoothly. As Jocko Willink says, “Discipline Equals Freedom”—freedom from stress, worry, having to remember every little thing…oh…and losing profits.

Applying cute, little project-management tools and tricks won’t produce the results that adopting the AV-9000 approach can. Your team has to live, breathe and be quality. It’s gains o’clock, my AV peeps. Let’s gooooooo!

Four Reasons Room Scheduling Platforms Simplify Collaboration

Let’s imagine a scenario. Your business meeting is the epitome of collaboration, where great minds get together to discuss what makes your business tick, the entire team sharing ideas and making a brilliant plan. Yet, during the think tank of your dreams, you are interrupted by the next team, who seems to have forgotten to check the conference room schedule. Insisting that the meeting must happen, yours is shut down and you hope that you remember where you left off.

Does this sound familiar? Offices and meeting spaces are often chaotic, especially in booming businesses. Trying to keep track of which conference rooms are in use can be very difficult – more complicated than it needs to be.

New tech like room scheduling platforms can help. These platforms are designed to create an easier and more effective way to schedule meetings and keep track of which meeting places are in use to avoid the above scenario. True collaboration should be simple, and these platforms deliver. Here are four reasons why room scheduling platforms simplify collaboration.

Scalability

It is critical to be scalable in business today. This includes your strategy, your goals, and your tools. Room scheduling platforms are built to offer scalability, no matter the current size of your business. The room schedulers will fit, no matter the number of rooms or the size of your staff.

Options such as the meeting room booking by Condeco offer a 100 percent scalable solution to fit your business, no matter how fast or slow your growth. According to Pam Hildebrand, Condeco’s web services manager, “We’re seeing a major improvement in meeting room booking efficiency. With around 90 percent adoption rate in just one month, due to ease-of-use and the digital touchscreens, we’re already observing a positive change in behavior in how people book and manage their meetings.”

The word flexible is music to business’ ears, especially when tech grows so fast. Room scheduling platforms are created to work seamlessly with your other tools such as Office 365 and Google Suite. This means that your unified collaboration (UC) strategy doesn’t have to change to implement these platforms. Your team can collaborate through the UC channel and schedule meetings using the platform at the same time.

The best part? Some of these tools can interact and integrate with standard calendar platforms, allowing you to book meeting rooms from anywhere. The Creston Enterprise Room Scheduling tool, for example, allows you to book meetings in the hallway, in the room and from your mobile device using the application. Your favorite calendar works seamlessly to give you the best overall view of the rooms available, while not sacrificing a quality platform.

Plug-and-Play Speed

A slow solution for collaboration isn’t a solution at all. Room scheduling tools should offer plug-and-play speed, working as soon as you need them, where you need them. They are incredibly easy to install and even easier to connect. Most of the features of the solution such as the mobile applications can be downloaded and then used straight away. There isn’t much of a learning curve, allowing your employees to book meeting rooms and make changes efficiently, without the overwhelming cost of extra training.

Optimization

Room scheduling platforms give you and your employees a chance to truly optimize your meeting room space for the best usage. Tools such as the Condeco from above, offer reporting that gives detailed intelligence on room and resource usage and user activity. Using this information, the platform can help you decide what meeting room space you need, instead of using space that you don’t. The result? Money saved in resources and the decrease of overhead costs.

These platforms also offer video conferencing for those outside of the meeting space and optimized visitor management to keep track of meeting invites and visitor passes. Are you the host? They can also notify you of arrivals as they come.

Meetings and conferences are a huge part of collaboration within your business. By optimizing your space by creating an easier way to schedule rooms, collaboration will go on without fail. Room scheduling platforms offer flexibility for scalability and integration with speed and agility for busy and booming business.

New Crestron AirBoard™ Displays Whiteboard Content on Any Display

The only enterprise-grade appliance that provides ideal viewing of whiteboard annotation from every seat in the room, or for remote conferencing participants

Amsterdam, The Netherlands – February 5, 2018 – Crestron, a global leader in enterprise control and automation technology, announced today it will debut its new Crestron AirBoard PoE electronic whiteboard technology at ISE 2018. Crestron AirBoard enables viewing of electronic whiteboard content on any display device, thereby solving the problem of meeting participants – remote participants, especially – not being able to see the whiteboard unless they’re seated with a direct line of sight. Crestron is demonstrating the Crestron AirBoard in Hall-2, Stand 2-C20 at ISE 2018, 6 – 9 February, 2018.

“The whiteboard is the last analogy device in the room, and with so much competition for ‘front of the room’ space, they are typically installed on the extreme sides of meeting rooms, where visibility is limited,” explains Dan Jackson, Director, Enterprise Technology at Crestron. “Now, with Crestron AirBoard, the center room display or projector screen can show the whiteboard so everyone can easily see it. Plus remote participants can actually see when someone writes on the whiteboard without holding up a phone or laptop camera.”

Attaches to any whiteboard
Crestron AirBoard is essentially a camera on an arm that attaches to any electronic whiteboard via the included mounting kit. With PoE, only a single Ethernet cable to the LAN is required for video, communication, and power.

Easy to operate
With Crestron AirBoard, annotations can be saved and then posted, emailed, or texted to either a central web page (education applications) or to invited participants (corporate applications). Meeting participants simply choose “whiteboard” as a source on the in-room Crestron TSW or Crestron Mercury touch screen to start the session. When “end meeting” is selected, the user is prompted to save and send the file.

Remote conferencing participants can access the whiteboard session much like they would connect to Crestron AirMedia®, by entering the URL (or friendly name) shown on the room display in their web browser. Once on the web page, the user simply enters the dynamic PIN or access code, which is also shown on the room display.

Learn more
Crestron is demonstrating Crestron AirBoard, along with its other solutions that meet the challenges of the modern workplace in Hall-2, Stand 2-C20 at ISE 2018, 6 – 9 February, 2018.

About Crestron
At Crestron we build the technology that integrates technology. Our automation and control solutions for homes and buildings let people control entire environments with the push of a button, integrating systems such as AV, lighting, shading, security, BMS and HVAC to provide greater comfort, convenience and security. All of our products are designed and built to work together as a complete system, enabling you to monitor, manage and control everything from one platform.

Our products are backed by more than 90 fully-staffed offices that provide 24 x 7 x 365 sales, technical, and training support across the globe. In addition to its World Headquarters in Rockleigh, New Jersey, Crestron has sales and support offices throughout the U.S., Canada, Europe, Asia, Latin America, and Australia. Discover Crestron by visiting www.crestron.com.
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All brand names, product names, and trademarks are the property of their respective owners. Certain trademarks, registered trademarks, and trade names may be used in this document to refer to either the entities claiming the marks and names or their products. Crestron disclaims any proprietary interest in the marks and names of others. Crestron is not responsible for errors in typography or photography. ©2018 Crestron Electronics, Inc.

Prysm Launches LPD 6K Interactive Large-Format Display

New Single-Panel Laser Phosphor Displays Aim to Set New Standards for Video Walls

Prysm has unveiled the Prysm Laser Phosphor Display (LPD) 6K Series. These interactive, large-format, single-panel displays represent a significant improvement over the company’s previous technology, with panoramic images uninterrupted by seams or bezels. The displays are shatter-resistant, flexible, and can even be rolled up for transport.

The LPD 6K is available in two sizes—135 inches and 190 inches—and can display content in both 4K and 6K resolution.

“Our LPD 6K is extremely versatile,” said Hannah Grap, vice president of marketing at Prysm. “We’re introducing a digital signage solution, a broadcasting solution, and the ability to create up-close and one-on-one interactive experiences right next to the video wall.”

Initially created as a means to work in tandem with Prysm software, the screen is compatible with the Prysm digital workplace platform for interactive operation.

“Most of our implementations go back to the need of video content sharing,” Grap said. “Whether that is in a boardroom or an experience center, we have quite a few customers using it in that high-versatility space.”

The LPD screen is touted to use 20 percent less energy than the standard LCD screen, making it extremely energy efficient; according to the company, its power consumption similar to a commercial coffee maker. The screen itself does not require a separate cooling system and 96 percent of materials used in the production of the screen are recyclable.

Enterprise Room Scheduling Platform

AV Control v2.0: The Industry’s Long Overdue Firmware Update

By Greg Mattson, product management, Installed Systems, QSC

You ever wonder why people avoid pressing that “upgrade firmware” button on their devices? I have a theory:

    • Some people suffer from a basic lack of awareness. They don’t know that a better solution is out there.
    • Some people are busy. They flat-out avoid updates because it might require them to learn something new.
    • Some people are weary of the consequences. It’s just easier to suffer through the quirks and simply turn a blind eye to the promise of improvement.

This scenario is pretty similar to the world of AV programmers. As control programmers, we struggle on a daily basis with the outdated process of AV control, dedicated hardware strung together with old tech, and antiquated programming languages. We either accepted these issues as necessary evils, or cling to the “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” mentality. Or maybe we are simply unaware of the alternative.

Enter the new breed of AV customers: IT end users and decision makers. This shift changed the world of AV control overnight. They are demanding control solutions that can easily integrate with standard IT infrastructures, and they want to enable their teams to potentially monitor and service these systems.

All of a sudden, the “firmware update” within our industry, which I’m calling “AV Control v2.0,” can no longer be ignored. It’s time to hit the “update button” and challenge our existing toolbox, and align our work with more standard IT environments and modern programming methodologies.

Step One: Remove the Complexity
In a typical meeting room, we are programming up to 90 separate control links. When a small change is made to the system—a control ID change, a component added, or even a simple gain structure change—there are repercussions that require several back-and-forth conversations between us and the DSP programmer, which can hinder getting a space up and running.

I ran into problems on a recent install that required me to sit down with the DSP programmer to assess the issue. The back-and-forth interplay between us took hours; the process can be maddening!

With a system that combines DSP duties, control processing, conference camera control, and routing under one platform, you start to eliminate hardware and more importantly, tons of integration points. There is no back-and-forth because the platform manufacturer has done that work for you!

Suddenly, the repercussions of one change aren’t quite as daunting and the complexity of building a system is dramatically reduced.

Step Two: Embrace Open Standards and Modern Languages
Our AV programming toolkit has remained relatively contained within our industry, primarily because the programming languages we use have not evolved at the same pace as the IT world. We have spent a good portion of our careers learning the ins and outs of these arcane languages with only a few outlets for training and sharing.

However, the available tools have evolved. There are better control solutions out there that use standard IT languages and paradigms that are far easier to use and much more accessible outside of this industry. This is a huge opportunity for us!

Transitioning to more open standards and modern control programming languages will enable AV programmers to work even more efficiently. Our value of that code does not diminish simply because we arrived at the solution with better tools. Quite to the contrary; working in some of these streamlined toolsets is going to open up countless business opportunities that the older architecture simply would not allow. It also frees us up: we can now have more bandwidth and resources to focus on developing solutions that are more advanced.

On top of that, being able to offer a system to the IT customer that empowers them to make those minute-to-minute troubleshooting adjustments will ultimately open more doors. The IT customer is more likely to embrace the solution if they know it is as accessible as the rest of their infrastructure.

Step Three: Allow for Scalability
As companies start to expand their AV capabilities on a global scale, they are looking to invest in technology they can grow at the pace of their business. Platform-based solutions built around IT standards eliminate the need to “rip and replace” the technology, and allow the end user to scale up or down while maintaining their entire AV programming design and end point configuration.

Furthermore, as these systems scale within the IT infrastructures, the need for system-wide management of AV devices becomes vitally important. Becoming familiar with software-based management will open doors for additional value-added programming opportunities and even additional revenue streams for our companies.

Let’s do this.

This a firmware update that our AV programming community deserves. It’s time to simplify our process and expand our business offering.

Crestron, Amazon Web Services Launch Alexa For Business

From launching a web conference to pulling up presentation materials on-screen, together Crestron and Amazon Alexa will help ensure meetings are timely and productive.

With Alexa for Business, Crestron is bringing voice control to conference rooms across North America with the availability of its enterprise skill for Amazon Alexa. Alexa for Business is a new service by Amazon Web Services (AWS) that lets you use Amazon Alexa to voice-enable your workplace. Now, employees can start a meeting simply by saying “Alexa, start my meeting.” From launching a web conference to pulling up presentation materials on-screen, together Crestron and AWS will help ensure meetings are timely and productive.

Alexa for Business
Photo: Amazon Web Services (AWS)

“Everyone has a meeting horror story, and it often involves trying to use the technology for collaboration or a presentation,” said Fred Bargetzi, Chief Technology Officer at Crestron. “It isn’t just annoying – meetings start an average of 10-12 minutes late, and unproductive meetings cost American businesses an estimated $37 billion annually. Now, leveraging the power of Amazon Alexa voice control, Crestron can handle it all for you. Today’s announcement is just the beginning – enterprise voice control is going to be a productivity game-changer.”

Crestron and AWS have been working together for more than a year in the residential and hospitality markets, using voice control to optimize living situations. For example, asking Amazon Alexa to set the mood for dinner could lower the shades and lights, and turn on a specific selection of music. Now, the many Fortune 500 companies that use Crestron technology can add similar voice-controlled skills to manage their office space.

“Voice control is transforming the way we live and work, so the enterprise skill is a natural extension of our existing collaboration,” said Dan Jackson, Head of Enterprise Innovation at Crestron. “People already love Amazon Alexa in their homes, and importantly, they already know how it works. We’re creating one consistent, responsive experience to anticipate your needs, no matter where you are.”

Blended Projection Solutions

Vaddio Launches DocCAM 20 HDBT In-Ceiling Document Camera

Vaddio has launched the DocCAM 20 HDBT Camera, a new high definition, recessed in-ceiling overhead document camera which features 20x optical zoom and high-definition 1080p/60Hz resolution.

DocCAM 20 HDBT features a 59.5-degree horizontal field of view to capture more of the tabletop in the camera view. Its laser dot alignment feature frames the subject matter quickly and easily with a remote control.

With its USB 3.0 output, end users can send uncompressed, high resolution video over USB by pairing with the OneLINK AV Bridge AV Interface. It has a web-based user interface for remote configuration, management, and control. Users can automatically or manually adjust image color, shading, backlight, and wide dynamic range to optimize color for various settings.

Equipped with a OneLINK HDBaseT port, the DocCAM easily connects to Vaddio’s OneLINK extension systems or other HDBaseT-compatible devices to simplify cabling installation and extend video, power, control and network up to 328 feet (100m).

The Bottom Line: The DocCAM 20 HDBT Camera is designed for use in higher education classrooms, board rooms, city council chambers and courtrooms, or settings where getting a clear overhead picture is required for presentations.

Using TesiraFORTÉ DAN with Shure MXA310 and MXA910

The purpose of this article is to provide a starting point to aid in the successful deployment of the TesiraFORTÉ DAN with Shure MXA310 and/or MXA910 microphone arrays. Specific understanding of the Shure MXA products is best gleaned from documentation and training provided by Shure. Links to these resources can be found later in this article.

TesiraFORTÉ DAN

Interoperability

The TesiraFORTÉ DAN product family uses the same TesiraFORTÉ base platform we know and love and adds Dante audio networking. This offers streamlined interoperability with Shure MXA and MXW products as well as Dante products from other manufacturers. Each TesiraFORTÉ DAN is capable of 32 channels in and 32 channels out via the Dante network port. If you are working with an AEC capable TesiraFORTÉ DAN, then you now have up to 12 channels of AEC processing available for Dante microphone sources. This means that a single TesiraFORTÉ DAN can provide AEC processing for up to (3) MXA310 (4 channels each) or a single MXA910 (8 channels each). We’ll borrow some imagery from our System Design Guides to help illustrate these examples:

    

Biamp_System_Design_Guide_Boardroom_TesiraFORTE_DAN_MXA310_EN-US.pdf

Biamp_System_Design_Guide_Boardroom_TesiraFORTE_DANMXA910_EN-US.pdf

Entire System Design Guide suite.

Tesira Software

When designing a system file in Tesira software, there are now custom MXA310 and MXA910 blocks located under the “SHURE Mic” option.  This can be found in the “Network I/O Blocks” segment under I/O Blocks within the Object Bar.  Once selected, you’ll be prompted to choose the desired Microphone Model and Channel Count. The channel or lobe count will need to match the number of lobes expected from the source microphone array. It has been observed that using four individual lobe outputs with Biamp per channel AEC processing performs better than the mixed output option. However, each room and system is unique, so please select the appropriate initialization state.

  

Now that the appropriate input block is created, add the corresponding Control IP Address of the respective MXA mic array in the SHURE Mic Configuration menu. Though not required, this will allow quick access to the Management Web GUI for this specific set of inputs. If the MXA mic array IP address has not already been documented, the Shure Web Device Discovery tool can be used to discover and adjust this information and as needed.

clipboard_edb5688c0f4d6ca3ce686d142c621a67d.png

clipboard_e87bc0ac383f438757e833e288d69c5c4.png

 

Once the Biamp configuration is sent to the Tesira, available Dante channels will populate within Dante Controller for proper routing.

MXA LED Control & Example Files

Below are some example files, images and downloadable resources. These example files include examples of how to control Mute state and LED’s of the MXA310 & MXA910 from Tesira.

Dual MXA310 System:

Single MXA910 System:

Processing Library:

File download: MXA910_-_Starting_Points_Catalog_v03.tlf

The Processing Library is a little known tool within Tesira software that allows users to create catalogs of their favorite blocks. These catalogs can be exported and shared with other Tesira users. The following image shows the icon used to import the library that was just downloaded.

Now, when the Processing Library is opened you will see all of the items that comprise the selected catalog. This catalog contains all the blocks that were used to build the example files above. These items can be added to the current system file simply by dragging and dropping them into the file.

 

Tips & Tricks:

  • It is a good idea to plan out the IP scheme for each system ahead of time.
    • Each Shure MXA device requires two IP addresses, one for control and one for Dante.
    • The TesiraFORTÉ DAN will also require two IP addresses, one for control and one for Dante.
    • If these addresses are statically set, they will remain the same.
    • If these addresses are set to DHCP and drop to link-local (169.254.x.x), the microphones may hop to different IP addresses with each reboot. This would break control and auto-launch functions that were configured in Tesira.
    • If there is a DHCP server, it may be best to reserve the necessary IP addresses for the respective devices.
  • It is also helpful to strategically name and document each Dante endpoint as this will make routing flows in Dante Controller much more intuitive.