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Why Unified Communications Makes Sense Now

Businesses that have been cautiously waiting and watching have yet another good reason to enter the rewarding world of Unified Communications (UC).

Earlier this month, Polycom, a noted partner of AVI-SPL, announced it is developing standards-based H.264 Scalable Video Coding (SVC) technology for both current and emerging UC technologies.

What does that mean for you and your business?  To put it simply, you can invest in UC without worrying that your infrastructure will suddenly become outdated. More to the point, you can continue to reap the benefits of UC that make it so attractive to companies like yours – its user-friendly integration of real-time communication services, including presence, email, instant messaging and video conferencing. Companies will also profit from SVC’s ability to deliver high-quality video and audio at any bandwidth.

Because of SVC’s interoperability and backward compatibility, companies can protect the value of their current and future UC investments, an advantage that is especially important for small businesses that must be cautious with their budgets.

Featured Polycom solutions

To learn about Polycom’s Unified Communications solutions that are available through AVI-SPL, click here »

Speak to a Unified Communications Expert!

Overwhelmed by the need to expand your UC capabilities or just don’t know where to start with UC? Speak to an AVI-SPL representative. Complete our short needs analysis form and we’ll have a UC expert give you a call. You can also contact us at (866) 559-8197 or email us at

Be Heard With a Classroom AV System

Any teacher who’s ever had to shout above the din knows how helpful a high-quality classroom AV system can be.   Students can’t learn if they can’t hear you or the audio from your teaching materials.

The Chief Manufacturing CoPilot Wireless Audio Systems for Classrooms fulfills that need by amplifying sound. It also includes assisted listening capabilities, RF wireless microphone, and GUI and IP networking that can monitor and control a single room or group of rooms.

With this complete AV room system, you can connect a host of devices that enhance the learning experience, including:

  • PA system
  • DVD or VCR
  • Projector screen
  • Up to two computers or a document camera

Cables and microphones are also included, as well as system administration software, so all you need are the audio and video sources, and you’re ready to teach. The CoPilot Wireless Audio Systems for Classrooms was designed for users of all experience levels.

This white paper on classroom acoustics stresses the positive impact an AV room system can have on the quality of classroom sound and how it can facilitate the learning process.  It also reveals how important a classroom AV system is for students who are hearing impaired or may have trouble distinguishing certain language sounds.

Watch the following video – taken at the October AVI-SPL University event in Tampa – and learn more about the advantages of adding the CoPilot system to your classroom.

Featured Chief Manufacturing classroom solutions

To see more of Chief Manufacturing’s AV solutions for the classroom that are available through AVI-SPL click here »

Easily Terminate HDMI 1.4 in the Field

Professional audio-visual installers can quickly and effectively terminate HDMI 1.4 capabilities in the field, as recently demonstrated by audio-visual cable expert Comprehensive. The following video — taken at the October AVI-SPL University event in Tampa — showcases the HDMI-EZ termination system and its ease of use:

HDMI 1.4 is a big improvement over previous standards because it supports high-definition video resolutions of up to 4096×2160. Another advantage of HDMI 1.4 is that it enables high-speed networking – at speeds up to 100 Mb/sec – and features an audio return channel that reduces the number of cables needed to send audio upstream from a TV to an A/V receiver.

As HDMI 1.4 connections are increasingly applied in commercial installations, it’s become important for pro AV installers to make efficient use of their time and quickly terminate them in the field. With this ability, they can create custom lengths ideally suited to any particular job.

Featured Comprehensive Audio and Video Cables

See more of Comprehensive’s premium audio and visual connectors, cables and multimedia solutions that are available through AVI-SPL. »

AVI-SPL Employees Team up to Stomp out Breast Cancer

In honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month this October, several employees threw on their tennis shoes and hit the pavement in order to raise money for the cause. For many who have had personal battles with the disease, their stories are very near and dear to their hearts.

Brenda Curry, producer for Creative Show Services, joined the American Cancer Society (ACS) Making Strides Against Breast Cancer 5k walk for her first time ever. She led her team “Adventurous Hearts” which included employees Ivy Peterson, Stephanie Cobb, Lisa Nieto and Leisha Fotopoulos among other friends and family.

They gathered Saturday, Oct. 23, and began their walk at the St. Pete Times Forum on Channelside Drive, trekked down past the Convention Center and onto Bayshore Boulevard and then routed back to The Forum.  Through donations from friends, family and colleagues, the “Adventurous Hearts” team raised $855 for the American Cancer Society.

Brenda Curry shares her experience:

“I am a Breast Cancer Survivor (9 1/2+ years).  My diagnosis totally changed my life. But through the love and care of my family and friends, the amazing support of AVI (now AVI-SPL), the excellent care of four great physicians and their staff, and through an internal strength that I wasn’t even aware I had within me,  I made it through the hard times, and now see my 10 year anniversary approaching in February 2011. I have lost a lot, but I have gained much more.  I am here today because others came before me and helped to find treatments and ways of coping with the cancer diagnosis that helped make my road an easier one.  I will always be eternally grateful and hope that my efforts will do the same for others.  

Today, there is more hope than ever for people facing breast cancer. However, there is much work to be done. Every day, the American Cancer Society is helping people stay well by taking steps to reduce their risk of breast cancer or find it early when it is most treatable; helping people get well with information, day-to-day help, and emotional support to guide them through every step of a breast cancer experience; by finding cures and promising new treatments through funding and conducting research; and by fighting back by working with lawmakers to help all women get access to screenings and care. 

I have hope that one day we will live in a world with less breast cancer and more birthdays. That’s why I walked in the American Cancer Society Making Strides Against Breast Cancer event. Not only was this my opportunity to join my community to fight back against breast cancer, it was a way to inspire hope by raising funds and awareness to help those facing the disease and save more lives.”

Vivian Sola, sales consultant for Creative Show Services, also participated in the ACS 5k walk. Also her first year joining the walk, she was asked to recruit five team leaders and ended up becoming one herself.  She led of team of about 45 people made up of family, friends and church members.

Vivian Sola shares her story:

“I have friends that have been affected by this disease and could only hope for the day when we celebrate that a cure has been found.   It was a great experience to see the world come together as one (regardless of race, religion and age) for such a great cause. Hence, I called my team “Caring Friends.”  Everyone in the team got a white shirt and painted the name of the team on the back so that we could be recognized in the crowd!  Everyone in my family played an active role in the process.  My husband and daughter helped me make some bows to give to those that had contributed towards the team goal.  My 9-year-old boy collected $50 from school.  He went to teachers and friends asking for anything from coins to dollars!  My parents recruited other walkers who also helped in the fundraising. Ultimately, our Caring Friends team ended up raising more than $2,600 dollars which far surpassed our original goal of $1,000.”

Gail Fitzsimmons, benefits manager for AVI-SPL, joined 1,600 others in the Tampa Bay Susan G. Komen 3-Day for the Cure 60-mile fundraising walk to benefit breast cancer research Oct. 29-31. Participants walked 20 miles a day (from around 8 a.m. to nearly 6 p.m. each day) and camped overnight in local parks. There are 15 3-Day for the Cure walks nationwide each year, and this year’s Tampa Bay event raised $4.5 million for breast cancer research.

Gail Fitzsimmons shares her story:

“I was personally touched by breast cancer in 2008 when my younger sister Laura was diagnosed.  Laura would share with me the horrible experiences that she went through and it just broke my heart.  That’s when I felt the need to get involved and help in the fight to end breast cancer.  I saw a commercial for the Susan G. Komen 3-Day for the Cure event and signed up and joined a team called “The Breast of Times.” This year’s event was even more special to me since my last walk in 2008, because I knew what to expect and the emotions that I would experience during the 3-days– lots of crying and laughing.  These are three days full of an overwhelming outpouring of love, kindness, sadness, but also hope.  The Tampa Bay Susan G. Komen 3-Day for the Cure event raised $4.5 million to be used for community outreach and research so someday soon we’ll be able to say we have found a cure for breast cancer and all cancers.  A lot of people don’t know that when you sign up for this event, you don’t just have to walk 60 miles in three days, but you’re also committing to raising a minimum of $2,300.  I am thankful to have very generous family, friends and co-workers.  I can’t wait for next year so I can do it again; this is my small part in the fight to eradicate breast cancer.”

Congratulations to everyone who teamed up for this wonderful cause.  Whether you donated to a walker or sweat your heart out for 60 miles, you’re making a difference in someone’s life.

To view a gallery of photos from the walks and our Breast Cancer Bake Sale, click here.

Polycom Announces Expansion of UC

Today, Polycom announced plans to expand video communications solutions to the masses through its new product and service offerings specifically for mobile users, small and medium businesses (SMB), and consumers (who, up ’til now, had all been relatively left out of the video communications market).

This announcement is based on Polycom’s new vision of “Unified Communications Everywhere” and its plan to open video communications to everyone on any device.

John Vitale, our director of product management for Video & UC commented on the announcement: “I like what I’m reading in Polycom’s announcements. To me, this is saying Polycom is expanding its  product and technology reach beyond the enterprise market and is looking to position itself as a formidable player with Service Provider grade solutions, strengthening its relationship with Microsoft and addressing the ever growing mobile device market needs. With Smartphones dominating 50%+ of the market and still growing, and the constant improvements in 3G and 4G wireless networks, high-end applications like video calling are becoming more desirable and something that mobile users will eventually expect to be on their mobile phone.”

Read more about Polycom’s plan to bring unified communications to everyone.

What do you think?