Category Control systems

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.

Crestron Masters and the AVI-SPL Programming Awards

Today’s post is part three of David Thorson’s look 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 two of his entry here.

Programming Awards
To keep the fun rolling in this reflection on the Crestron Masters event, let’s look at the AVI-SPL programming awards. This was a first-ever event for AVI-SPL. To be fair, the categories were kept a secret up until this event. If you know any programmers, then you know they will find a way to get creative with systems to work in their favor. Manipulating data and technology is the definition of a programmer. This year’s awards went to:

Master Debugger. Keeping up with Crestron Support.

  • Tim Fauser (Calgary)
  • Albert Sottile (Seattle)

Master Commutator. Always willing to chime in and share expertise and feedback.

  • Brian Troy (Northeast-Philadelphia)

Master Behind the Curtain. Supporting others remotely in times of need.

  • Sean Kemp (Boston)

Master of Multithreading. Supporting numerous continuous projects throughout the year.

  • Larry Kuehner (Houston)

Master of Version Control. Keeping the source code repository and libraries well maintained.

  • Colin Denig (Northeast-New York)

Panel Discussion
Next up on the agenda, AVI-SPL and Creston participated in a joint panel discussion. The topics ranged from open APIs enhancing systems interoperability. Network security within an AV deployment. And Crestron Fusion adapting to the Cloud.

Participants

  • Jason Muldon Crestron Technical Director, Midwest
  • Jon Ottesen Creston Director, Cloud Solutions
  • Nic Milani Crestron Exec Director, Sales
  • Toine Leerentveld Crestron Technology Manager, Control Systems
  • David Thorson AVI-SPL Sr. Manager, Programming Architecture
  • Kerry Myers Programmer AVI-SPL TSG
  • Larry Kuehner Sr. Programmer AVI-SPL Houston

In part four of my recap of Crestron Masters 2016, I’ll look at the final session with Crestron, which looked at the underlying software and hardware programmers use every day.

Crestron Masters and the Spaghetti Challenge

Today’s post is part two of David Thorson’s look 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 one of his entry here.

This year at Crestron Masters, AVI-SPL extended the momentum to bring all of AVI-SPL’s 32 Crestron Certified programmers together. The time together consisted of team building, programming awards, panel discussion, targeted Crestron training, and AVI-SPL specific topics and an open discussion.

We kicked things off just after the Crestron Masters closing ceremony. As programmers we’re queuing up for their Crestron give away AVI-SPL was just getting started.

Team building
To break up the classroom overload that we just survived, we started with a fun teambuilding activity: the Spaghetti Tower Challenge! If you’re not familiar with this activity, let me set the scene. Each team consisted of three programmers, one Crestron technical director and 30 minutes on the clock. Each team had to gather the following supplies and given a limited set of instructions.

Supplies

  • 20 sticks of spaghetti
  • One yard of tape
  • One toothpick (flagpole)
  • One piece of paper (flag)

Instructions

  • Build the tallest tower
  • Create team flag
  • Tallest tower wins

Each team gave their best shot at building the tallest tower. We saw a lot of creativity and ingenuity. As the clock approached the deadline teams were still feverishly working. A few did not hold up to test, others pushed the rules, and the majority constructed a tower to be measured. The winners of this challenge went to:

  • Kevin Rusch (AVI-SPL Detroit)
  • Mario Roman (AVI-SPL Detroit)
  • Stan Pawlowski (AVI-SPL TSG Crestron Developer)
  • Jason Moulden (Technical Director Crestron Midwest)

So why a tower made of dry spaghetti? This exercise was more than just way to bring people together. This was about building something fast. Demonstrating that it’s important to learn from mistakes early. And proving that continuous iteration to improve a solution pays off.

In part 3 of my recap of Crestron Masters 2016, we’ll look at the winners of the first-ever AVI-SPL programming awards, and touch on the joint discussion panel between Crestron and AVI-SPL.

At Crestron Masters, a Focus on Programming

Today’s post on the Crestron Masters event is written by David Thorson, AVI-SPL’s senior manager for programming architecture. David’s a recognized expert within the AV industry, and I think you’ll enjoy his thoughts below.

This year’s Crestron Masters took place off the beaten path in Rye Brook, NY, at the Doral Arrowwood Resort. Those that remembered the fog that descended at the start of last year’s Crestron Masters appreciated the fair weather that got us off to a good start. The highlight for me was the extra event “AVI-SPL Masters” that took place when Crestron Masters concluded, more about that later.*

I was pleased to see Crestron continue with the format they instituted last year. Attendees were free to sign up for classes that interested them or delve into topics to challenge their abilities. There were also the core sessions that everyone attends, allowing Crestron to level set important technology, such as Crestron PinPoint™ and Crestron Fusion®, and focus on areas that will improve delivery, such as network streaming and deploying narrow RF (2.4 GHz) among WiFi rich environments.

The banner topic this year was Crestron Fusion, with five individual courses to choose from. Crestron is expanding this enterprise management software to the cloud and focusing more on IoT style workflows and features. We heard again and again, “no more secrets.” This message resonates on many levels, one of which is about the features and project requirements of deployments. Another level is about the best practices to ensure that end users can reap the benefits Crestron Fusion has to offer. This will be an exciting year for Crestron Fusion as we explore the integration features and benefits with customers in much deeper ways.

This year Crestron offered a programming challenge to those that wanted to participate. It turned out to be a fun exercise and let us focus on of the primary reasons we attend: programming.

With regard to programming courses, Crestron offered a new class focused on introducing object-oriented programming concepts. There was more content diving deeper into SIMPL# and SIMPL# Pro. I commend Crestron on providing the platform and tools to enable the AV programming experts to grow their skill set. Bringing true object-oriented programming to mainstream AV will have its challenges, but the benefits are immense. I think the AV programmers are quickly approaching a crossroads where each person will need to decide if they are up for challenge of developing software or deploying configurable systems in the field.

In total, an impressive 650 certified programmers turned out for the event spanning three days. The awards ceremony for Diamond master programmers was new. Crestron also recognized Platinum, Gold, and Silver master programmers.

As Crestron concluded the event they opened the floor to hear from the attendees in an open forum. This always generates feedback, collaboration, and news about features and products that may be just around the corner. It’s hard to say how Crestron will rank the requests back at HQ, a few hot button items generated fanfare from the audience, so I hope that carries back to the develop roadmap. Attendees discussed enhancements to the DMPS-3 Series firmware and changes to the touch panel development application, known as VTPro-E.

Crestron Masters 2016 is not over yet. The EMEA event held in Amsterdam begins on May 17th.

Thank you Crestron for continually improving the Masters event each year. From the registration, logistics, courses, instructors, and everything that goes on behind the scenes, we appreciate the hard work. See you again next year!

*Stay tuned to hear about the “AVI-SPL Masters” that brought together 32 Certified Crestron Programmers.