Date Archives June 2016

An Internet of Things That Helps Companies

This is the second of two posts in which David Thorson takes a look at standardization and the Internet of Things (IoT). David is AVI-SPL’s senior manager for programming architecture. Read part one here.

With the AV/IT “convergence” well behind the industry at this point, we are on to the next buzzword: “IoT,” otherwise known as the Internet of Things. So where does programming fit into IoT? Some manufacturers are positioning themselves as an IoT provider. Using human interaction, technology and hardware, and data, they provide an entire ecosystem focused on productivity, collaboration, and automation. Others are using sensors and data to drive interactive media into retail signage and extending other types of embedded systems such as smart buildings, security systems and other sub systems.

Just because we call something IoT does not make it so. Limiting the discussion to the traditional approach of the AV industry will only allow it to be part of a bigger IoT solution or remain isolated from the rest of connected systems. For example, if we consider scheduling a meeting and walking into a conference room to share a presentation from a mobile device, we are not seeing the larger picture of an internet of things.

A few manufacturers provide a complete IoT practice to support a customer end to end. Meaning the solution reaches outside the owners’ systems and into their customers’ environment. HARMAN Connected (IoT) Services and Cisco IoT Solutions are two examples of this extension. A full-on IoT solution will connect many different workflows, processes, and data sources. A rich IoT solution may capture data from sensors, people or systems to connect a business’s customers closer to companies providing a product or solution.

Think of it this way: Does the IoT solution save the customer money or make the owner money? The solution that is forward facing for our customers — making money — will have the biggest growth potential and provide for much more dynamic and custom solutions.

Implementing connected systems, sensors, applications, data, and people requires a company culture that is willing to experiment and commit to a mindset. A system expansive enough to be a true IoT solution is a custom IT solution and not a standard out-of-the-box device or software platform.

Here is how the Internet Society defines the different types of IoT communication:

  1. Device-To-Device Communications. This is what the AV industry’s has been doing for decades. Embedded systems is all about monitoring device communications and machine state to provide a level of automation.
  2. Device-To-Cloud Communications. This is relatively new for the AV industry and we’re seeing more and more manufacturers provide this type of solution. Integrators are also providing cloud services and monitoring. See AVI-SPL’s Symphony Platform, including our video from InfoComm.
  3. Device-to-Gateway Model. This is an area where we will see more interoperability between hardware sensors and devices.
  4. Back-End Data-Sharing Model. One of the top achievements of the IoT will be the knowledge that comes from sharing data to improve the delivery of technology.

Try to keep an eye on trends outside the AV world for where technology is headed. Keeping up with coming trends will ensure the industry remains relevant as hardware becomes more agnostic to solutions, and software applications and services become more advanced.

For an in-depth review of the IoT check out:
· 2015 – The Internet of Things (IoT): An Overview
· 2014 – EUROPEAN RESEARCH CLUSTER ON The Internet of Things

One box to rule them all. Then what?

This is part one of two posts in which David Thorson takes a thoughtful look at issues related to standardization and the Internet of Things. David is AVI-SPL’s senior manager for programming architecture.

Hardware assimilation and what the future may hold for the “AV” Industry

Some thoughts inspired by InfoComm 2016

The industry trend of assimilation continues and is picking up speed. We are witnessing this again and again as more features are embedded into a single device and manufacturers compete to provide a breadth of technology. One of the driving factors behind this trend starts with the technology sourced by manufacturers to build their products. (See “One chip to rule them all.”) So what will the industry look like when hardware becomes commonplace and the installation is down to a few devices? Software and application interoperability will be where specialization and ingenuity thrive.

Look no further than the iPhone as an example of where the industry is headed. The chips shrunk, more features were crammed into one device, and everyone started saying “there’s an APP for that.”

Here are some examples of industry trends fueling this assimilation:

The IT fellowship of the AV industry often views the standardized approach to technology at the protocol and hardware level. Adoption of standards at the hardware level and aligning with a smaller number of vendors will improve standardization from a design perspective. But whether that will that improve the experience of end users, I’m not so sure. Think about your personal experience with a typical information technology group. Do you have a lot of options and rich features to choose from? Likely not. We are in the midst of such a rapid growth of collaborative technology and software that it’s challenging for most businesses to keep pace with providing standards and approved solutions to their workforce.

When evaluating technology, it’s important to consider the end user experience as early as possible. An installed solution that allows for customization at the application level will allow for the richest and most intuitive experience.

In my next post, I’ll look at one of the main topics at last week’s InfoComm: the Internet of Things (IoT) and what it means for AV programmers and the customers we serve.

 

Create Your Connected Workplace

I’m excited to share a new resource that AVI-SPL has just launched, one that has been designed to not just give you information, but empower and motivate.

With our Connected Workspaces site, there are no more excuses for not getting the kind of workplace you and your coworkers need and deserve to work smarter.

In this site, we’ve included four main resources that are most valuable when used together:

  • Tech briefs tailored to job responsibility
  • Business case starter
  • Assessment quiz
  • Business case toolkit

Tech Briefs

IT managers, IT directors, CIOs, facilities managers — all need to take be proactive in order to improve the way people at their companies collaborate. We’re empowering you to take that lead with these short articles that acknowledge your concerns.

  • What different managers expect to get out of connected workspaces
  • Their challenges to improving the workplace
  • What they expect from vendors in this process

Business Case StarterBusiness_Case_Starter

This downloadable document is a great way to start the conversation among the colleagues and decision-makers in your organization. Choose the desired outcomes that are driving your need for a connected workplace. This tool does the rest, generating a shareable report.

 

Assessment quiz blogAssessment Quiz

Here’s your chance to let us know what a connected workplace means to you, the current state of your meeting rooms, and the benefits you expect for your workplace.

Business Case Toolkit

This three-piece toolkit simplifies the process of creating a business case for a digitally connected workplace.

  • Real-world examples and sample formulas for metrics
  • Gap analysis tool that compares your current workplace to its target
  • Definitions and descriptions you should understand

Plan your connected workplace >

Canon Projectors Win Twice at InfoComm

Canon doubled up on projector awards while at the annual InfoComm trade show last week. Industry publication AV Technology named Canon’s REALiS 4K500ST projector as one of its Best of Show winners.

Systems Contractor News named Canon’s REALiS WUX500 projector as its Most Innovative Video Display Product.

REALiS 4K500ST features include:

  • LCoS technology with AISYS enhancement
  • 5,000 lumens
  • Short throw
  • True 4K

REALiS WUX500 features:

  • LCoS with Canon lens
  • 5,000 lumens
  • Constant brightness
  • Native widescreen resolution – 1920 x 1200
  • DICOM simulation mode (D model)

Order the REALiS 4K500ST, the REALiS WUX500 and WUX500 D (DICOM compliant) at AVI-SPL’s Canon product page.

Microsoft Surface Hub at InfoComm 2016

Today’s post is contributed by Linda Civitillo, AVI-SPL VP of UCC Solutions. Linda was at InfoComm 2016, where she showed visitors to the AVI-SPL booth the collaboration power of the Microsoft Surface Hub.

If you were at InfoComm last week, you know that it was a massive, exciting show. From breathtaking canvas displays to huddle space solutions that are transforming the workplace, there was something to inspire everyone attending. As the leader at AVI-SPL for our Microsoft Surface Hub practice, I didn’t actually get to see much of anything outside of our booth, and that was just fine with me.

Microsoft Surface Hub demo
Microsoft Surface Hub demo at the AVI-SPL booth at InfoComm

Why? The excitement and foot traffic at InfoComm in front of the 84” and 55” Surface Hub devices in our booth was non-stop. Both devices are now shipping and attendees were eager to interact with them.

After three very full days at the show, here’s what stood out to me about the opportunity organizations have with the Microsoft Surface Hub:

#1: Shoulder-to-Shoulder Productivity
The feature that immediately grabbed the attention of InfoComm attendees experiencing the Surface Hub was the OneNote whiteboard. There are a lot of interactive whiteboards on the market, but on this feature alone, attendees were blown away by the Surface Hub: the responsiveness of inking with the pen, the sensitivity of the input from pen to screen, and that there was no lag time between the flow of ideas and the ability to capture them on the display. Even more compelling was the ability to ink within and “grab” content from any Windows universal app to pull into the whiteboard session. Oh, and while we’re at it, let’s connect some content from personal devices or dial-in that subject matter expert using Skype for Business. These scenarios are where the Surface Hub shines. On the 84” device, it is possible to have three people standing shoulder-to-shoulder working together drawing on the OneNote whiteboard and collaborating rapidly. I call this shoulder-to-shoulder productivity and it’s a vastly improved experience compared with sitting around a conference table with laptops when you’re working on something together.

WATCH MY DEMO

#2: The Surface Hub in the Lecture Hall
One of the use cases for the Surface Hub that was made even more intriguing to me after InfoComm was in Higher Education. Imagine a professor at the front of a lecture hall using Surface Hub as a platform to teach new concepts. This teacher now has the ability to bring learning to a new level as she interacts with related content pulled from digital source materials wherever they are, connects with other classrooms or experts remotely, and extends out the display format so that students can capture or contribute content from their personal devices. Wow.

#3: Next Generation of Collaboration Services
At InfoComm, we were also excited to announce the next generation of our Collaboration services. As a Microsoft Gold Partner, we are continuing to boost our Microsoft practice with advanced expertise in Microsoft Skype for Business deployments and Microsoft Exchange integration. AVI-SPL offers support to clients with Skype for Business rollouts, providing professional services to onboard users and devices like the Surface Hub with Skype, and fostering productive adoption of group collaboration tools to “…continue AVI-SPL’s pioneering of the AV/IT convergence, and remain at the forefront of today’s transforming workplace,” according to Dale Bottcher, our senior vice president of sales.

Ready to Experience the Microsoft Surface Hub in your organization?

You can PREORDER YOUR SURFACE HUB today or REQUEST A LIVE DEMO.