Category Control systems

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.

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.