Category Control systems

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.

 

Catch Up on Our Big AV Device Monitoring News

If you’re interested in better ways to monitor the quality of AV and collaboration devices that you and your coworkers have to manage in the workplace, I encourage you to listen to rAVe’s AV Power Up podcast, episode 60.

For the first 14 minutes of this chat recorded at the Las Vegas Convention Center at last week’s annual InfoComm trade show, three of AVI-SPL’s senior executives talked about the one-touch and recording capabilities we’ve added to our Virtual Meeting Room service, and about our enhanced Symphony® device monitoring and management platform.

Through Symphony, we’re giving IT departments a way to measure the customer experience. Symphony launches a quality of experience measure that combines a user’s subjective assessment of a video call with objective reports about packet latency, bit rate, bandwidth, etc., and then ties those subjective and objective measures into a quality of experience score.

Our team also discusses an app we’ve launched called Symphony Capture, which, if you’re an AVI-SPL Symphony customer, you can download  to your Microsoft Surface Hubs in order to keep track of their health and usage.

Listen to the rAVe Publications AV Power Up podcast episode 60.

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.

 

Crestron Masters and the Architecture Session

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

Crestron Architecture
The final session with Crestron was conducted by John Pavlik, Crestron Director, Architecture & Design. This session was designed to provide a deeper look at the underlying software and hardware programmers use every day. We started with talking about strategies in for efficient programming on large scale projects. Then covered multi-slot programming guidance and best practices. AVI-SPL’s Larry Kuehner walked everyone though a massive project he’s undertaking in a code-review format.

We also learned more about processor task switching to understand the underlining processor behavior in greater context. I learned that in the 3-Series processor, all the Simpl+ code is compiled to S#.

There was more information about Crestron’s Auto Update that will be extremely helpful when deploying software in the field.

We concluded the architecture session with Crestron’s .AV Framework. This topic may have been mistakenly overlooked by a lot of those that attended Crestron Masters this year. The .AV Framework is a tool to save time for programmers or can be used in simple systems as a WYSIWYG tool (What You See Is What You Get) or a configuration-based type of systems deployment. This is viewed by many programmers in the industry as encroachment on their turf. I don’t see it that way. A well-versed programmer uses any and all tools at their disposal.

The most exciting part about Crestron’s .AV Framework is it will be published in SIMPL# code. This object-oriented language is being levered to build very robust programming. Even if a programmer is not interested in using the out-of-the-box .AV Framework programming, don’t overlook this approach. The work that Crestron is doing to obscure the underlining SIMPL# code, design the classes and methods, and provide a foundation for code reuse for AV systems is a roadmap to creating the Crestron programs of the future. Those looking to bridge the knowledge gap from introduction to object-oriented programming to SIMPL# libraries or SIMPL# Pro will be well served to focus their time learning more about the underlining code in the .AV Framework.

In the fifth and final part of my Crestron Masters recap, I’ll share the conversation around programming methodologies in the AVI-SPL session that concluded the event.