And, for years, we've joked that BOSE is "better sound through marketing."
But, now BOSE has joined forces with companies like JBL, Bosch, Shure, Yamaha and Peavey, albeit indirectly, with its new partnership with Audinate to license the company's Dante patented media networking technology. In case you've paid ZERO attention to the dozens of times we've written about and explained Audinate, it has patented the way that AV systems are connected and transport media over standard IT networks, calling it Dante. Over 80 companies have licensed it and it's a who's who in ProAV - besides all the above companies mentioned, it includes audio and video powerhouses like Extron, MediaMatrix, PreSonus, Soundcraft, Stewart Audio, Harman, Inter-M, Lectrosonics, Ashley, Digico and 70 other companies that have all decided to incorporate it as a networking AV standard. Dante is a killer technology - I stake my reputation on that as I've personally evaluated it.
Dante is built on IT standards, and is a complete media networking solution. Truth is (and this isn't marketing-speak), Dante delivers low-latency, tightly synchronized, sample-accurate playback, while simplifying installation and configuration of AV networks.
And, this BOSE deal means it will become a household name in a matter of time - much like THX did in the 1990s. Mark my words - May 22, 2013.
If you don't understand AV over a network, let me attempt to explain (with thanks to Audinate, technically):
In the old analog universe of sources (e.g., RCA line audio, composite video, etc), a key element of the system is that the logical and physical connections were one and the same. This means that most connections were point-to-point and individual cables represent each channel - sort of a "connect everything to a home-run switcher to manage all sources and switch them to the display or speakers" situation. Implementing a complex audio system required careful design that had to be undertaken in advance and a lot of converter, interface and standards boxes had to be used whenever one signal wasn't compatible with another. In other words, if you wanted to connect an s-video signal to a projector that only had component video inputs you'd have to convert that signal.
And, analog audio required a physical copper cable for routing signals, but these systems offer little flexibility to accommodate unplanned changes. Moving or adding equipment in a location will add significant costs as AV system integrators need to run separate conduits for signals of differing voltages and pull heavy copper wire through them. We all agree with that, right?
Well, digital media distribution significantly reduces implementation by separating the logical and physical connection attributes of the AV system. Thus, doing a digital network can offer significant costs saving in time and money, while providing better performance than analog wiring. Digital audio distribution eliminates masses of bulky, heavy, expensive and inflexible copper wires. Installation is made simple using digital networking; a single lightweight, inexpensive CAT5 cable can carry all the required inputs and outputs as digital audio data.
IP (Internet Protocol) over Ethernet is the most widely deployed approach to networking and represents the best available foundation technology for media networking. Cat5 cables, switches and other hardware components used to build such networks are mass-market items in the IT domain.
Audinate’s patent-pending Dante technology is a flexible Internet Protocol (IP) and Ethernet-based digital AV network technology that eliminates the many bulky cables needed to provide point-to-point wiring for analog AV installations.
With Dante, existing infrastructure can be used for high performance audio as well as for ordinary control, monitoring or business data traffic. Digital networks utilize standard Ethernet over IP offering high bandwidth capable of transporting hundreds of high quality channels over 100MBs or 1 Gigabit Ethernet.
Set-up and configuring the system is made easy as well, saving enormous installation costs and long term cost of ownership on a digital network. The physical connecting point is irrelevant: Audio signals can be made available anywhere and everywhere. Patching and routing now become logical functions configured in software, not via physical wired links.
Dante delivers a no hassle, self configuring, true plug-and-play digital audio network that uses standard Internet Protocols over 100Mb and/or Gigabit Ethernet. Dante technology distributes digital audio plus integrated control data with sub millisecond latency, sample-accurate playback synchronization, extreme reliability and high channel counts.
This may sound like a Dante commercial, but, no dice -- they aren't an advertiser or sponsor of rAVe! I am writing this because I believe in the technology AND KNOW it will become the default-audio standard for networking. Just you wait, the other manufacturers who haven't adopted it -- it will.
What about AVB? Audio Video Bridging (AVB) is a common name for the set of technical standards developed by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) Audio Video Bridging Task Group of the IEEE 802.1 standards committee. The charter of this organization is to "provide the specifications that will allow time-synchronized low latency streaming services through IEEE 802 networks."
Well, guess what? Dante will integrate AVB protocols, so they'll be interchangeable. Audinate has announced that Dante will be AVB-compliant as these standards are ratified, and is a Promoter Member of AVnu, an industry group that seeks to promote these new standards. Add a comment
Fast forward two years and now it comes in three models. The "high-end" $249 version includes 802.11abgn networking, has the capability to do multi-party calling (up to 25 people at a time) and delivers 720p video on both ends of the call (via Wi-Fi or wired Ethernet.
Sure, it still sits on top of a TV, but now these features, along with a new wireless keyboard, a separate table-top microphone and clearly aiming itself at the videoconferencing market, Biscotti has to be bugging the heck out of companies like Polycom and Cisco. And, to top it off, they've now added XMPP and SIP. What's next? Skype compatibility?
Basically, what Biscotti is giving you is a glimpse into the future. Sure, it lacks a lot of the heavy-duty features of most professional VTC systems, but what it does do is show you how simple it is to take videoconferencing to the cloud. Basically, Biscotti is just a camera (5MP), mic and network connection to the Internet. Most of the codec functions are happening in the cloud through the company's servers. That's why it's so cheap ($150 - $250) with unlimited calling for a $25 per month plan (or free if you use less than 40 minutes a month on multi-party calls and all one-on-one calls are totally free). And, since it's completely in the cloud, they actually automatically record every VTC call for you and store it up to 30 days. Plus, you can then move the call to YouTube or download it at your convenience after that.
Now the company has officially decided the business videoconferencing market is something it wants a piece of. It's even launched a Biscotti for business site - here' a video that explains how it works: http://www.biscotti.com/business. If I were you, I'd go there and watch the two-minute video.
So, should the commercial VTC market be worried? Well, maybe a little. Biscotti is a small company and it's brand new technology. In fact, I'm betting one of the big boys of videoconferencing is already making a play to buy them. Or, if they aren't, they should.
It's only $150 for the home version. Oh, and by the way, that $150 one can handle connecting up to 25 people together on one screen, too, as long as you don't spend more than 40 minutes a month doing it -- or you'll have to pay the $25 per month fee. Why not buy one and try it? I think once you have, you'll see that this might not just be a thorn on the VTC market side -- it might be more like a stake.
For the past 20 years, projection has been the driver of our industry's engine. And, the future of projection is bright -- literally. Pico projectors are now above 500 ANSI lumens (and will be over 1000 by this time next year), projection used in digital signage was up nearly 200 percent in 2012 and, there's a game-changing technology coming to projection later this year!
Yes, I'll be speaking at this year's Projection Summit (it's all about multi-projection -- and wireless tech) but, don't come for me. Speaker include a who's who of display, including a 4K session from Sony, a GreenAV session headlined by Mitsubishi, Panasonic and Optoma, a 3D projection session with Real D (THE 3D company 90 percent of theaters use) and a laser session led by laser manufacturers themselves - this is the tech of the future!
And, 100 percent of it will affect the future of AV. All of it.
So, register today -- here: http://www.display-central.com/projection-summit-2013/ Add a comment
So, what's their epiphany?
They need to sell stuff more like Apple does. They need their own retail stores.
LG has, as they nearly always do, decided to copy Samsung's recent expansion into Best Buy with their own "store-within-a-store" concept. And, this past week, the Wall Street Journal reported that they will also build more of their own stores around the world - stores that will exclusively sell LG gear. Sony's online presence is obvious with their popular SonyStyle.com site, but now they're getting into the retail spirit with more 3D demo centers and they are reported to be looking into expanding their mall-based branded stores. Microsoft's stores not only decided to copy Apple's strategy, but apparently used the same designer because their stores look like Apple clones.
Come on! Seriously! Look, just because Apple is successful in retail, doesn't mean they will be too.
Sure, Apple's stores have a clean, hip-like feel to them. You almost feel as though being a nerd is cool when you walk into one.
But, truth be told, it isn't the store that's selling gear. It's the gear that's selling the gear.
Microsoft, you blew it. You tablet is, well, like Windows on a touch screen. It's not user-friendly; it's like you are desperately trying to convince people that it's ok to jury-rig an OS and force it to work via a touch-screen. It's stupid. Your phone OS is cool, however. But, you're late to the phone game, so you've got a long way to go. Go back to the drawing board with the Surface.
Sony, you've made it so dang hard to buy your stuff. When I go to Best Buy and ask about a Sony HandiCam, they quickly tell me why I shouldn't buy one and try to either convince me I need to mount a GoPro to my head or take a look at the new line of JVC cameras. Check it out yourself. Go to a Best Buy this week and see. And, as for your TVs, they are being used to sell Samsung TVs. Bait and switch.
Sharp - what the heck happened to you? You had the best HDTVs on the market seven years ago, five years ago, three years ago and even two years ago. Now, not only does the image quality of nearly every Samsung TV look better, but they are way, way more aesthetically pleasing. Your TVs look like they did five years ago - like a thin, black box. Heck, even VIZIO's look better.
LG - you need to hope Samsung slips up. You're always going to be a follower to them. You're that other Korean company to most of us.
Where's the innovation? Maybe I'm giving Samsung too much credit as, in reality, they need to be thanking Google - their adoption of the Android platform for their phones and tablets was timing at its best. Kudos for that. But, they do deserve props for their SmartTV branding as it was marketing genius. They hijacked a term that everyone uses to describe a connected (to the Internet) TV.
But, none of you need your own retail stores to be successful. You need innovation, creativity and you need to listen to what the customers are asking for - and give it to them.
Yes, Sony, you need to seriously fix the relationship with Best Buy. I'm not sure who you've apparently pissed-off over there in Minneapolis, but you need to get that hole plugged because they're trying as hard as they can to not sell you.
But, short of that, you need to think outside the box. Here are some helpful facts that might help you catch up with, or maybe even leapfrog Apple:
1. People hate cable TV. Not watching TV -- people love watching TV. But they hate having it delivered to them by a cable TV or satellite company (and hate being forced to buy a "package" of channels when they only watch 10 of them). If you ask a hundred people, 95 of them would likely tell you they want to pick and choose TV shows they want to watch and pay a-la-carte. You want to innovate, fix that problem. And, for those of you who are stuck in hardware mode and thinking that this issue is one for Hollywood to fix, think again. Remember, Apple's iTunes Store sold all those iPods, not the iPod itself.
2. Mobile Entertainment. We want to watch stuff, seamlessly, anywhere. We want to be able to start watching a TV show in the living room, continue watching it on a tablet as we brush our teeth for bed and finish watching it in bed. The devices should communicate with each other so we don't have to tell the show where to start and stop as we switch devices.
3. Simplicity. Apple doesn't ship a user's manual with anything they sell. They want you to figure out how to use it on your own - they designed the product this way - so that even a kid can use it. Most of you out there have gear that's so complicated to use, you have to include a manual -- in four languages. Figure out how to stop that. If it's so complicated to use, redesign it not to be. Samsung, here's where you need help. The user-interface design of the Smart TV is, well, horrible. It's way, way too cluttered and the gesture control is pathetic.
4. Aesthetics. Well, this one's aimed at Microsoft (and Sharp). With all that money, you can't design something that doesn't look cool? Your stuff is, well, UGLY. Both of you. Even Target hired a professional designer for their $15 kitchen utensils. Can't you hire one for $1,000 TVs and $800 tablets? There are ways to make the shape of a rectangle look appealing (see: Apple).
I could go on and on. And, I suspect many of you out there reading this have all sorts of ideas too. Please feel free to post yours below. But, point is, opening your own store isn't the one and only solution.
Oh, by the way, my mention of Target isn't by accident. They are the coolest discount retailer in the world. Everyone -- LG, Sony, Sharp and Samsung -- all seem to be hung up on Best Buy. I'd take a serious look at Target as a partner. They don't attract the Wal-Mart crowd (so it's a higher-end clientele) and they have plenty of space for consumer electronics store-within-a-store concept. But, that's only after you've fixed your gear.
I am writing to you to ask for your help. We are on a mission to make this year's InfoComm show the highest attended AV show, ever. And, there's no reason that it can't be.
Why do we care?
Well, at rAVe we spend a lot of time and money carefully tracking the industry trends, product impact, technological movements and the communication between people in AV. And, we've noticed a shift. And, a good one.
But, as timing has it, the shift of a giant wave of growth and expansion in AV happens to be timed (based on all our research and our knowledge-base) to happen this Fall. So?
Well, right now -- and heading into InfoComm -- that means that your boss, your manager and the owners of the big AV integration firms, design consulting firm partners, digital signage dealers and AV manufacturers are all moving very timidly. But, they don't see what we see. We are focused on ALL aspects of AV - not just the segment of the market they are in; you are in. We are seeing a shift -- and it's a good one. And, it's coming. But, the great majority of the shift will occur this fall -- well past InfoComm.
But, unfortunately those same leaders (your bosses) may not see it by the time they have to approve YOU attending InfoComm -- a show that ALL of you reading this NEED to attend.
So, we're going to try and HELP you convince them. Over the next few months through our writing, we'll point to specific trends that bode well for the health of the VA market and, especially, the positive shift we see this fall. And, you can watch for these articles and point them out to your manager, your boss, your owner -- your decision maker.
In the meantime, one BIG thing (and very simple step you can take) is to click here: http://bit.ly/13wYHNv and register for InfoComm using the code: MCTRA
Prepare to be there. Register for InfoComm NOW!Add a comment
But, we got rid of it.
Why? Well, the truth is, free job listings have no incentive. The manufacturers or integrator lists a job, but once it's filled, there's no incentive to tell us and have us take it down. So, the job lived there even if it wasn't available. That's the same complaint everyone has about all the other job boards. And, with little or no management capability from the job poster, there was no way for them (the manufacturer or integrator looking to hire someone) had no way to track their listing.
Not any more.
We've spent four months launching a new service called rAVe Audio Visual Jobs: http://bit.ly/WJiWT3
It's new, brand new. And, we're looking for BOTH job seekers and companies looking to hire!
As a job seeker, you can upload your resume (or CV) and let people know you are available. You can do it as yourself, or anonymously!
As a company looking to hire, you can post a job that's available and tell the industry you are looking to hire.
For those looking to hire, we have a 90-day free trial for you to try it out risk-free. After that, we will start to charge you (but, you will like the quality of this so much, we think you'll pay). We get detailed reporting on what's going on. You job isn't just listed, it's tracked, managed and reported back to you...
Try it out - after you do, we're convinced this will be THE ONLY job board in AV within a year! And, you'll see why! Add a comment
But, as the saying goes, better late then never.
This year's Integrated Systems Europe (ISE) Expo Jan. 29 - 31, was, in a word, AWESOME.
And, kudos is in order for a host of people who made that show what it really was -- the world's largest AV show with a total attendance of more than 44,000 attendees.
For those of you who aren't familiar with ISE, imagine if InfoComm partnered with CEDIA and co-hosted their shows together - that's ISE. In fact, LITERALLY, that's what it is. Some 10 years or so ago, CEDIA and InfoComm got together and decided to do a show together that hosted both HomeAV and ProAV gear all in one place. And after stops in Belgium and a debut show in Switzerland, the show settled in Amsterdam - where it's going to stay at least through 2019.
Enter Michael Blackman. Now the managing director of Integrated Systems Events (the official name for Integrated Systems Europe's planning organization), Michael has been at the helm of ISE since its first year - 10 years ago - in Geneva, Switzerland, where the show attracted 120 exhibitors and just under 3,500 attendees. He's overseen it's growth and, more importantly, assembled a team that is simply amazing. Congratulations!!
But, as I said earlier, he's got a team behind him that deserves to be recognized, too. His press and marketing guru is a guy by the name of Dan Goldstein. You may know him as the guy you always see wearing bow ties and is likely the best dressed guy at both InfoComm and ISE. He's made it easy for the press to cover the show by giving us all stands on the show floor as well as giving us access to just about anything you'd need to cover a show. Thanks, Dan! And, finally, two others I persoanlly worked with to help organize our coverage of the ISE 2013 show, Danielle Inostroza and Stefanie Hanel -- two amazing women who seem to know every exhibitor by heart and who make participating fun and easy. Thank you!!
This year's show occupied 14 halls of the Amsterdam RAI convention center and not only had 44,161 attendees, but also had over 900 exhibitors and nearly 1,000 new product launches over the three day event. Michael has overseen flawless growth and has established the ISE show as the perfect European AV tradeshow. We covered the show with a custom MicroSite where you can watch all the videos we recorded, read all the blogs we wrote and see all the photos we to: http://www.rAVeNOWise.com
Kudos to all four of you and to the rest of the Integrated Systems Events team! Add a comment
At NAB, they'll demo that capability by showing movie footage in all sorts of frame rates. In addition, they'll have a 4K demo as well as show some new products in the U.S. for the first time. Watch this video so you'll be ready for what Christie's going to launch at NAB on April 8-11 in Las Vegas:
Add a comment
STEP was envisioned to encompass all low-voltage building and communication technologies into a phase-by-phase, sustainable deployment process. STEP not only accounts for the ongoing energy consumption of information technology systems but also for the reduction of raw materials in the deployment of information technology solutions and indoor environmental quality of technology-rich environments. STEP also encourages the use of information technologies to make buildings smarter and reduce paper consumption, as well as reduce greenhouse gas emissions associated with travel.
I spoke to InfoComm's STEP Foundation director, Allen Weidman, and he told me, "The STEP Foundation remains strong, despite the departure of one of its supporting members. CCCA, COMPTIA, InfoComm and TIA are strongly committed to continuing the mission of the STEP Foundation and advancing the mission of promoting sustainability in the built-environment.
The Foundation is grateful for the valuable contributions made by BICSI in the early years of the organization and we will continue to work with BICSI members and staff to find common points of interest and mutual support to help advance a smart and sustainable Information Communications Technology (ICT) industry."
And, in reality, with the convergence of AV and IT, the support of COMPTIA is way more important than BICSI. I'd like to have seen BICSI continue to support STEP, but we respect its decision.
Below is the letter that BICSI sent to its members regarding STEP:
Dear BICSI Members,
In November of 2011, BICSI’s Board of Directors voted to become a Sustaining Member of the Sustainable Technologies Environment Program (STEP™) Foundation. At that time BICSI joined InfoComm, CompTIA, and the Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA) as Sustaining Members in STEP. In 2012 the Communications Cable & Connectivity Association (CCCA) also joined STEP as a Supporting Member. Becoming a member of STEP was a continuation of BICSI’s effort to leverage the increasing focus on sustainability that we began with the Green Building Technology Alliance, and had the promise of enabling BICSI to add programs, publications and services to our educational and credentialing portfolio.
The original STEP Foundation concept was a fairly simple one. Its Mission was to bring sustainability to the process of planning, designing, integrating and operating technology systems, as well as to reduce the long-term environmental impact from technology deployment. The fulcrum of STEP would be a STEP sustainability rating system, and STEP membership would require a manageable start-up investment by BICSI.
Over the past months the STEP Board of Directors has been involved in a series of long term strategic planning activities. During this process it has become evident to us that STEP’s direction was changing and the new direction was significantly different from the original STEP concept and not consistent with our BICSI sustainability vision and not in the best interest of our members. Given these differing visions the BICSI Board voted during the Winter Conference to have BICSI withdraw from the STEP Foundation, effective immediately. Our partner associations in STEP have been notified. Although BICSI will no longer be a STEP member, early indications are that BICSI’s withdrawal from STEP will not hurt our relationships with InfoComm, TIA, CompTIA and CCCA, and we intend to continue working with them in the future.
With our STEP withdrawal I have also suspended activity of the STEP Committee until we have a new direction for our sustainability efforts. Brian Hansen and the STEP Committee have worked very hard, and I wanted to express my personal thanks for Brian’s leadership and the exemplary way he has represented BICSI on the STEP Board of Directors.
In the interim I have appointed U.S. Western Region Director Larry Gillen, RCDD, ESS, OSP, CTS, to head up a BICSI Sustainability Task Force, with the mission of exploring options that will enable BICSI to continue to provide industry leadership in the sustainability arena. I will provide updates on these efforts as they emerge.
More as I know it.
Jerry L. Bowman, RCDD, RTPM, NTS, CISSP, CPP, CDCDP
BICSI President Add a comment
In explaining the decision to their channel, SMART said, "This decision was made based on how SMART can best utilize our budget and resources to deliver the best programs to you in 2013."
Unlike Extron, who also pulled out of the U.S. InfoComm show, SMART's leadership role in the interactive whiteboard market isn't increasing; it's declining. In fact, about 20 percent of classroom and meeting room projectors sold now are pre-integrated with built-in interactivity.
Here's a copy of the letter that went out this morning to their sales channel:
Dear valued channel member,
I am writing to advise you that SMART will not be exhibiting at InfoComm 2013 in Orlando, Florida. This decision was made based on how SMART can best utilize our budget and resources to deliver the best programs to you in 2013. We look forward to sharing these plans with you throughout the year.
In the mean time, please take advantage of some of our other customer engagement opportunities.
Engage your customers with the following opportunities:
- Executive Briefing Centers and Microsoft Technology Centers -- Did you know SMART has over 30 Executive Briefing Centers and Microsoft Technology Centers around the world? Let me know if you would like to book a customer event at one of our Executive Briefing Centers or Microsoft Technology Centers.
- Join us at other trade shows and events including, Enterprise Connect in Orlando, on March 18 -- 21 -- Bring your customers to see how SMART has transformed the face of collaboration at Enterprise Connect. Use this priority code to receive a Free ExpoPlus pass or 40% off a conference registration package; priority code: CMSMART. Check Sourcewire regularly for updates on additional trade shows and events throughout the year.
- Scheduled meetings with me to support your customer engagements -- Need support on an upcoming sales opportunity? I’m here to help.
- Invite SMART to attend your events -- Whether you’re hosting an exclusive or non-exclusive event, I’m happy to support you in making this event successful. Let me know how I can help.
- Leverage Campaign Central campaigns to nurture your customers -- From assessment tool to events and webinars, SMART’s Campaign Central has several customizable campaigns you can run to turn your prospects into customers.
Area Manager for Eastern Canada Add a comment
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