Widgets Magazine

Everybody Does Everything

One of the themes from InfoComm this year was the introduction of companies into new areas. In years past, if you wanted a control system there were-*a handful of companies you would seek out. You need a DSP? Then these are the three companies that-*make the products. Now if you need a touch panel controller you can get one at AMX, Crestron, or Extron. You can also get one at QSC. Yes, I said QSC, the audio amplifier manufacturer. If you are in the market for shades, you would probably start with Lutron, go by Draper, and then head to… Crestron? Sure.
In the past I would criticize this lack of focus. Why does FSR make a control system again? At some point during this year’s show it became evident that manufacturer product expansion is a good thing for those of us in the industry. This is due to the need and desire for variety. There’s a reason the big companies who control their various market segments are called the “big” companies. It’s because-*they enjoy a healthy market share. It doesn’t mean they are the only ones in that segment, though. Sometimes it’s worth it to look at the other players.
The same goes for when the big companies step into other arenas. Engineers are fascinating people. They enjoy inventing new things and pushing their companies forward. That’s how you end up with some of these new product lines from well-established companies. Extron makes amplifiers, Biamp has control, and nearly everyone has a version of audio DSP somewhere in their lines.
Are all of these the best products? Well, no. There are some control/audio/video boxes I have serious problems with their DSP solutions. Not many companies have touch interfaces as sexy as some of the big companies’. They are solutions and they have use cases. It makes our jobs a bit harder in that we cannot just throw in the old stand by products. We need to do our homework, talk with these new entries, see where they are best suited. That’s sort of our job as AV professionals. Some are going to be great in K-12, other will be better-*in huddle spaces. It all come down to where you live on a daily basis and which one works best. I would just encourage you not to get stuck in a rut of using the same company over and over again. Stop for a second and look around. You might miss something if you don’t.
That’s all for this week. Thank you for taking the time to read my blog. Have a great week.

About Author

Tim Albright is the founder of AVNation and is the driving force behind the AVNation network. He carries the InfoComm CTS, a B.S. from Greenville College and is pursuing an M.S. in Mass Communications from Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville. When not steering the AVNation ship, Tim has spent his career designing systems for churches both large and small, Fortune 500 companies, and education facilities.

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