Category AV Everywhere

AVI-SPL Acquires Iformata Communications LLC

Leading audio video communications provider AVI-SPL announced today the acquisition of Iformata Communications LLC, a leading provider of video managed services. This acquisition includes the Iformata Video Network Operations Center (VNOC) business and the VNOC Symphony® management platform. AVI-SPL views this acquisition as a critical move in the company’s continuing drive to become the dominant player in the video communications solutions and services space.

“In 2009 we set forth on an initiative to grow our video communications business. In 2011 we succeeded in growing video related revenue to over $200 million and video is now included in over 50 percent of the projects we do,” said AVI-SPL CEO John Zettel. “With that growth, we recognized the importance of expanding our capabilities in the video services we provide our customers. Acquiring Iformata shows our commitment to expanding our video communications strategy with a strong managed services offering.” Click here to view Zettel’s video announcement of the acquisition.

“This acquisition is a major win for both AVI-SPL and Iformata,” reports Ira M. Weinstein, senior analyst and partner at Wainhouse Research. “This combines AVI-SPL’s strong A/V integration experience and 150+ strong, video-savvy, field sales force with Iformata’s robust, multi-tenant Symphony videoconferencing management system.

“The result is an immediately available, mature service offering from a well-known and trusted technology partner. Hosted video managed service offerings, like AVI-SPL’s Unify ME™, play a key role in helping enterprise organizations maximize the benefits they receive from their collaboration investments.”

Founded in 2004, Iformata has built a reputation as the leading innovator of VNOC tools and end-to-end automation services through its VNOC Symphony platform. Providing managed conferencing services to global enterprise firms, equipment manufacturers, and top-tier carriers and networks, Iformata’s 450 claim patent portfolio and platform has features for every aspect of managing an enterprise’s fleet of video systems, including call setup, intelligent framing, automated monitoring, event correlation, and call tear down – even for disparate immersive telepresence systems.

The addition of the Iformata VNOC service bureau, associated services and innovative technologies to AVI-SPL’s current Unify ME offering provides a more robust total managed services solution to customers. The enhanced services brought by Iformata is a strong addition to AVI-SPL’s portfolio, which currently includes cloud-based services, remote services and onsite services with long and short term Strategic Onsite Solutions and professional services.

“With the acquisition of Iformata, we become one of the only video solutions providers who can truly provide every aspect of the video communications experience.” said Mike Brandofino, AVI-SPL executive vice president of video and unified communications. “We think it is critical to be at the point of sale when selling services and the fact that we design, build and now provide VNOC managed services across any video platform, clearly differentiates us from anyone else in the space.”

The new operations and the associated employees will join AVI-SPL’s Support Services group under the leadership of AVI-SPL’s Executive Vice President of Video and Unified Communications Mike Brandofino.

For additional information, please contact

Back to the Future

By David Jones, Director of Business Development, Control Room Group

As we head into 2012, it occurred to me that the marketplace looks eerily familiar to one that some of us experienced 20 years ago.
"Control Room Group"
Twenty years ago, the AV systems integration business was shaken by the fear that commoditization of the products that we used to create fully integrated system solutions would spoil margins and drive the true system integration company out of business. There was some fallout, but for the most part the system integration industry survived by educating clients about and differentiating the integration business from the “box house” businesses that were becoming a growing part of the market’s landscape. A similar situation exists today where “video wall systems” are being sold online after being advertised as a solution that anyone can design and install after selecting one product from column A, one product from column B and one product from column C.

Consequently, I believe our task is the same as it was 25 years ago: To educate the client and explain the value of having a systems integration company like the Control Room Group (CRG) design a system which specifically addresses their requirements (wants and needs) versus thinking they are saving a little money by purchasing a plug-and-play system online and settling for a “good enough” system.

With perhaps the exception of Pajama Jeans, there really isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution for anything of value, and having been focused on the control room market for over 10 years now, CRG knows that as fact. CRG creates and supports 24/7 mission critical control rooms which are custom designed to meet the unique requirements of the client using common off-the-shelf components. The difference in cost between the one-size-fits-all “good enough” system and the fully-supported and specifically designed CRG control room system built to fit your exact needs – RARELY MORE THAN 10%.

Call me or send me an email and I’ll give you more specifics as to how we’ll go about creating an affordable, fully-functional and scalable control room system designed to meet and exceed your unique requirements.

I have another déjà vu experience to talk about but we’ll save that for the next blog. In the meantime, let me know how we can help. Give me a call at 1-888-619-9083 or send me an email –

AVI-SPL Employees Ham it up on the Air

Did you know there are a number of ham radio operators that work at AVI-SPL?  

Ham radio (AKA amateur radio) is two-way radio communications for people to talk to friends across town, in another country or even orbiting the planet (yes, people can, and do, use ham radios in space!). The amateur radio frequencies are the last remaining place in the usable radio spectrum where individuals can develop and experiment with wireless communications. 

When cell phones, land-line phones, the Internet and other systems are down or overloaded, amateur radio is a reliable communication method. The government gives many privileges to hams because they regularly assist the community during emergencies. They can play a major part in communications during virtually any catastrophe, from natural disasters (extreme weather like tornadoes or hurricanes, major earthquakes, tsunamis), or man-made problems (industrial accidents, chemical spills).

“The National Weather Service and other government entities cannot see what is happening on the ground during a disaster,” said Jim Kelly, AVI-SPL videoconferencing engineer. “They need real world feedback on what is happening.  About 10 years ago North Carolina had several tornadoes come through so I reported back to the National Weather Service about the size of hail in addition to details about the shapes of the clouds.”

Tod Andrews, design engineer from our Columbia, MD office, recalls assisting in a natural disaster more than a decade ago. “I remember being the packet hub coordinator for health and welfare during the 1994 Northridge earthquake into the affected area. It felt really good to help so many families reconnect after an awful earthquake.”

Connie Valentine, AVI-SPL senior design engineer adds: “The storm watchers and the emergency people do it to help other people.  The FCC is making a real effort to eliminate the radio bands that hams talk on.  Cell phones have given a way for people to communicate easily, but in a real emergency, when the cell phone towers are down, the ham radio operators will be there.”

In addition to helping the community, Andrews also enjoys amateur radio as a hobby.  “You can go camping and bring your ham gear; you can get involved in public safety with local officials. You can even communicate with the space shuttle or the International Space Station!”

Project Manager Doug Wilkens got involved in ham radio while growing up in India where his family was without much contact to the rest of the world. Wilkens began listening to BBC and Voice of America over a shortwave radio to stay connected. His interest in radios grew from there and he began building his own when he was still just a kid. When he returned to the U.S., Wilkens immediately began working on getting his ham radio license. Like all radio, Amateur Radio is regulated by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and must abide by international agreements.

“I wanted to be able to make my own transmissions to virtually anywhere in the world, just like the operators I listened to,” Wilkens said. “Now years later, I’ve made friends all over the world through ham radio.”

Kelly, Andrews, Valentine and Wilkens are a part of nearly 700,000 Amateur Radio operators in the U.S. and more than two million more around the world. Want to join this group of “hams” or learn more about amateur radio? The ARRL has some great resources on their website!

AVI-SPL Tops Systems Contractor News 2011 Integrator List

In Systems Contractor News magazine’s just-released Top 50 Systems Integrators for 2011, AVI-SPL led all other companies with projected revenues of $550 million – nearly $50 million more than its 2010 total, and over $100 million more than its nearest competitor.

It’s the second number-one ranking for AVI-SPL in recent weeks. The company was also named the integrator of the year by Commercial Integrator magazine, which profiled AVI-SPL for the cover story in its December issue.

AVI-SPL has earned the trust of its collaborators and customers because of our dedication to providing the best service from project consultation all the way to support. Through solutions that include telepresence, Unified Communications, audio conferencing, video conferencing and digital media, we help businesses communicate, collaborate and compete, and have completed over 30,000 integrations worldwide.

Take a look at a sampling of our integrations in the following markets:


Control rooms


Government & Military


House of Worship

Hospitality & Entertainment

Stadiums & Arenas

AVI-SPL also offers the full production resources of our Creative Show Services, a team of directors, project managers and audio-video engineers dedicated to helping you engage with your audience.

To find the AV solution that’s right for your business, complete this brief needs analysis form, and an AVI-SPL representative will give you a call. You can also contact us at (800) 282-6733 or via email at