Date Archives May 2016

Why Microsoft Surface Hub is the Hottest Demo at InfoComm This Year

Part 2 of 3 in our InfoComm series. Contributed by Linda Civitillo, AVI-SPL VP of UCC Solutions.

In the first blog post of our InfoComm series, we introduced the three trends we expect to drive much of the conversation this year: 1) The Modern Workplace, 2) The Internet of Things, and 3) The Convergence of AV and IT. At our booth, we’ll be showcasing the Microsoft Surface Hub because (both 55” and 84” versions) it’s the perfect device to illustrate the three trends we’re talking about.

Trend #1: The Modern Workplace  

New work spaces and new user expectations for how teams and groups should collaborate are shaping the investments that AV and IT departments are making in communications technologies. Today, you can look to the features of a group collaboration device like the Microsoft Surface Hub to see just how the workplace is transforming:

  • Users Expect Natural, Inviting and Collaborative Workspaces: Surface Hub illustrates this idea that teams want to be able to share ideas and create something together. The device supports not only a touchscreen, but also multi-ink capabilities with the Surface Hub pen on the digital whiteboard, meaning more than one person can write on the screen at the same time as fluidly as pen on paper. Additionally, two built-in wide angle HD cameras and motion technology work with Skype for Business so remote team members can catch all of the discussion in the room and participate in real-time collaboration, making it easier for teams to make decisions and get work done.
  • Connect Remote People and Teams: Surface Hub includes Skype for Business integration to easily connect to people virtually anywhere in the world to brainstorm with you as easily as if they were in the room. We think of the Surface Hub as a natural extension of the enterprise-wide Skype for Business implementations we are doing for clients – now that we have individual employees connected, let’s go get the conference rooms and pop-up meeting spaces connected to Skype for Business as well.
  • Quick Meeting Start: The idea of a “group huddle” is that meetings are more productive because they are more spontaneous. So, it’s important that users don’t spend 5-10 minutes getting ready to start a meeting. With Surface Hub, you can walk up and join a Skype for Business meeting with a single tap, which immediately connects all participants, and start sharing content immediately, so your time is spent connecting to people rather than technology.
  • Connected Devices: Look around any meeting room. At some point, people are sharing something on their phones or devices with the person beside them. Surface Hub allows the team to connect their mobile and personal work devices to the large screen so that they can share their content with the whole team, not just the person sitting next to them. And with pen capabilities, people can take notes directly on the digital whiteboard as the ideas flow, and share with the group after the session, too.
  • Take the Content With You: Once the team has landed on the next great idea, they can take the meeting content with them. Surface Hub ships with Microsoft OneNote to capture all the notes, data from other applications and ink. Since Surface Hub is a Windows 10 device, you can also save content from any Universal Windows application that you have running on the device. And because nothing is stored locally on Surface Hub, once you are done with your meeting the device wipes itself, keeping your data secure and preparing the space for the next meeting or informal brainstorm, with no extra effort on your end.
  • See What We’re Talking About Here:

Trend #2: IoT

There are dozens of sessions and lots of buzz this year about the Internet of Things. We think IoT creates new opportunities for AV and IT professionals to add more value in helping their business colleagues solve problems and generate new ideas. The two scenarios that we will showcase using the Surface Hub are centralized management, and harnessing data from connected devices to make better business decisions. After all, these are devices on the network that can be managed centrally by AVI-SPL through remote monitoring, management, and administration where we monitor dashboard views that include everything from alert notifications to advanced reporting on key ROI metrics like utilization rates. Then our clients can use Surface Hub to view and manipulate that data in real-time.

Trend #3: The Convergence of AV and IT

We see the continued blending of the roles of AV and IT, with IT being much more involved in decisions around AV systems. This convergence playing out in real-time with devices like the Surface Hub which includes capabilities that cross over the AV and IT spectrum. To learn more about this trend, come hear AVI-SPL’s Senior Vice President of Unified Communications and Collaboration, Joe Laezza, talk about “AV and IT: What’s Working, What Needs Improvement:” on Wed, June 8th from 8:00-10:00 AM in Room N258.

So, on that mental check list of things to see at InfoComm this year, it’s critical to add Microsoft Surface Hub to the top of the list. You can see the device in action in our booth (N1218) or at the start of our Guided Technology Tour. RESERVE YOUR SPOT on our Guided Collaboration tour and your guide will be an AVI-SPL expert taking you through the best of the show and what these top 3 trends mean for you this year.

AVI-SPL Energy Project Featured in IT/AV Report

The spring issue of IT/AV Report is out, and it features an in-depth look at AVI-SPL’s integration work for the Calgary headquarters of energy company Enbridge. In this article, you’ll learn about:

  • Challenges we faced with placing AV gear on the Enbridge network
  • How we made new meeting rooms easy to locate and use
  • What we did to keep the rooms up to date over the course of this multi-year project

This article also delves into the specifics of the equipment used for spaces like training areas, executive rooms, and security operations.

Put our design and integration expertise to work for you. Fill out our brief contact form with your project concerns, and we will respond.

 

3 Industry Trends for #AVTweeps to Watch out for at InfoComm 2016

Part 1 of 3 in our InfoComm series. Contributor: Linda Civitillo, AVI-SPL VP of UCC Solutions

As you head to InfoComm, you probably have a mental check list of the “must-see” stuff at the show this year. To help you focus your list, there are three big trends shaping the AV industry and that are driving a lot of what you’ll see and experience on the Show Floor in Las Vegas next week.

Trend #1: The Modern Workplace

Whether it’s a sleek executive boardroom, an open-concept workspace or a classroom full of college freshmen, the concept of the ‘work place’ is fundamentally changing. Walls are eroding – both physically and virtually. The new expectation for Modern Work is the idea that we can bring people together to “huddle up” spontaneously to share ideas whether they are physically in the office or working remotely. In the AV community, we’ve seen the convergence of video conferencing, unified communication and collaboration solutions for years to support these new user expectations.

Trend #2: IoT

For the first time on Super Tuesday at InfoComm this year, there is a whole day of education sessions dedicated to the Internet of Things. IoT creates massive opportunities for AV and IT teams to add more value to their business colleagues.

There are two immediate scenarios: 1) Centralized Management: When more of the devices we work with contain sensors, are connected to the network, and are sending usage and other data back to a central location, AV teams can more effectively centrally manage systems in NOCs, as an example. 2) Harness the Data from Network-Connected Devices to Make Better Business Decisions. Even more important than device management, we can now analyze the data coming in to help generate new business ideas.

Trend #3: The Convergence of AV and IT

Finally, the roles of AV and IT professionals are starting to blend based on the two trends above. We’re finding that the IT department is much more involved in decisions around solutions like digital signage, video conferencing, and AV systems than they may have been in the past. This means that the AV community has a great opportunity to educate IT on how to harness new usage scenarios as well as manage the interoperability of traditional AV systems with these new smart, networked devices. To learn more about this trend, come hear AVI-SPL’s Senior Vice President of Unified Communications and Collaboration, Joe Laezza, talk about “AV and IT: What’s Working, What Needs Improvement:” on Wed, June 8th from 8:00-10:00 AM in Room N258.

You can find out what these top 3 trends mean for you this year, if you visit our booth (N1218) or RESERVE YOUR SPOT on our Guided Collaboration Tech tour. Your guide will be an AVI-SPL expert taking you through the best of the show and what these top 3 trends mean for you this year.

Crestron Masters and the AVI-SPL Session

Today is the fifth and final post in David Thorson’s look at the Crestron Masters event. David is AVI-SPL’s senior manager for programming architecture, and a recognized expert in the industry. Read part four of his entry here.

AVI-SPL Session
The final session of Crestron Masters was focused on AVI-SPL. This year’s event took place the week after AVI-SPL’s Sales Acceleration Summit. We carried the momentum about focusing on the user experience to the programmers. This is a natural discussion for programmers. Let’s face it, in traditional AV the focal point in making systems easier to use started and ended with control system programming and user interface design. Today the demands for user experience are on the top of everyone’s minds and developing new tools, modules, and user interface designs is something that is very important to AVI-SPL programmers.

As this session rolled on we reviewed a shift in programming methodologies that is happening before our eyes. Waterfall and Agile. These two approaches to software development are very different. Being aware of this shift, and defining the difference between the two kinds of development was the goal. Learning how to fit these different methodologies into AV projects and knowing when to use them was the take away.

To have a little fun, we watched a short movie clip to set the stage for talking about Scopes of Work.
Back to the Future Part 3 – Train Ride to the Future (1990)

I hope you had fun mentally associating Clara, Emmett (Doc), and Marty with different personas in your workflow. The point being that a solid SOW will avoid the train wrecks that impact delivery.

We closed the AVI-SPL session with an open floor. A lot of good ideas were pitched and constructive feedback was discussed. I’m excited to be a part of constantly evolving our skill, technology and reach to the industry.

Thanks again to Crestron to providing the Masters format to the AVI-SPL programmers. Look out for AVI-SPL at Crestron Masters next year! Thanks for reading.

See Sony’s New Display Technology at InfoComm 2016

One of the many cool stops along AVI-SPL’s Guided Technology Tour at InfoComm 2016 is the Sony booth. In reading the description of what Sony plans to showcase, I noted its reference to “giant canvas technology.”

Curious, I dug a little deeper and found a recent Sony blog post on its new high-end visual display technology. The power behind this display is Crystal LED Integrated Structure (CLEDIS™), which combines ultrafine LEDs into what Sony calls a “unique surface mounting structure.” From that surface, each tiny pixel (just 0.003mm-squared) emits its own light, while the rest of the surface area remains black.

The result is a high-contrast ratio across a wide canvas, and efficient use of light energy. You can combine the individual display units with no bezels to create a seamless, large-scale set of visuals.

Sony is showing this technology to the public for the first time at InfoComm 2016 in Las Vegas this June 8-10. And you can get a personalized look at it when you sign up for AVI-SPL’s Guided Technology Tour. We’re hosting three tours twice each over the course of the three-day exhibit, and Sony is one of our stops. So click the link above to sign up and see what Sony and a host of other leaders in audio, visual, and collaboration systems have in store for professional organizations of all types.