Integrated Systems Europe 2016 News The Friday Five

The Friday Five: February 19, 2016

Wow! Sorry for missing The Friday Five for the last couple of weeks, I’ll try to do better and hopefully my schedule will accommodate more writing time.
ISE 2016!
Integrated Systems Europe (ISE) saw over 65,000 participants this year, a 10.7% increase from last year. Familiar names in both residential and commercial audiovisual manufacturing showcased some impressive technology last week in Amsterdam. The AVNation crew was on-site for the second straight year with thorough and thoughtful coverage, extending beyond the “tell us about your company” line we’re all-to-familiar with reading in AV journalism. Take a moment to read through AVNation’s coverage.
Diversified Acquires Technical Innovation
Technical Innovations, an Atlanta, GA-based integration firm with multiple offices throughout the southeast, was acquired by Diversified of Kenilworth, NJ last week. The expanded company will now have over 800 employees located in 22 offices throughout the United States. Diversified registered third place in SCN Magazine’s 2015 Top 50 Systems Integrators behind only AVI-SPL and Whitlock. Whitlock was the last large integration firm to acquire another large integration firm when they absorbed Xerox Audiovisual (another Atlanta-based integration firm) in July of 2014.
Read More at AVNetwork
Surfing the AV-Over-IP Wave
Sorry to be harsh, you’d be a fool not to see the future of video relies heavily on the network. Certainly not all video signals for all applications will move to the network, but a vast majority will. Manufacturers are looking at wireless audio and video bridging, an ever-growing section of the industry is dedicated to building IP encoders and decoders to move video rapidly over the network with minimal latency and TriCaster has their NDI, which they bill as “Live IP Production Workflow.” Steve Harvey has a great piece about navigating the unfamiliar terrain, or riding the wave of IP Video.
Management Two-Fer
One of the hardest things in business is firing someone. There are the people that love it and use it flippantly and others that detest it so much they can’t bring themselves to make healthy decisions for the good of their company. Don’t be like either. Firing someone is always the last resort and can be just as much the manager’s fault as the employee’s fault. Harvard Business Review (HBR) had a good post about “The Right Way to Fire Someone.” Step one, don’t drag your feet.
Now, if you’ve recently had to fire someone you’ll be needing to replace them and not just with anyone, but with the right person. There’s been a number of studies conducted about how much hiring the wrong person can hurt a company, especially if they leave early for not being a good fit, or not making past a probationary period (if one exists at your company). Quartz has a feature, “We got 10 CEOs to tell us their one killer interview question” and most of them are really good. Some I’ve heard before, some I had not; great items to think on if you’re in a hiring/interviewing mode or if you’re looking for a new job.
Microsoft Scales Back on Giant Booths, Opting for Subtle Approach at AV Industry Shows
I’m not certain what Microsoft is doing: managing expectations for a potentially slow release, realizing they may not warrant a tremendous amount of space as an industry leader or letting their integration partners take the lead on their upcoming Surface Hub launch. Either way, Microsoft won’t have a mammoth booth at InfoComm, just as they didn’t at ISE. Instead, Microsoft has elected to let their integration partners showcase the Surface Hub alongside their value adds at trade shows. This will be great in a sense for the integrators as the few launch partners with booths will be fighting for a huge number of show attendees. Customers will be anxious to see the product this summer after reading reports from ISE that it appears the platform is a bit more stable. We’ll get a good look at it in Las Vegas this June. Unfortunately, there will be no large empty booth to recharge our phones and our bodies like two years ago.
Read More at Commercial Integrator

The Friday Five

The Friday Five: January 29, 2016

Cramer Remix: What Apple should buy next
I love money articles. Usually the money articles, or those generating for money sites, whether venture funding or in this case CNBC intrigue me. These are sites that sit outside our industry and are not invested in the perspectives we are. Jim Cramer, the rambunctious host of Mad Money offered his plan for the next big company the Cupertino, California-based technology giant should purchase; a name familiar to many of us in the AV industry: Harman International. Harman has been in the news lately as one of their semi-recently acquired companies (AMX) had some “issues” with back-door security holes causing some in the industry to want to rethink how AV devices perform in network security, and others to claim much adieu about nothing . However, one of the larger portion of Harman International’s business is car audio. A natural relationship exists there for the two companies, especially with Apple looking to grow their Apple CarPlay platform and increase their market share. Also, Apple has been rumored to be working on an electric car, although the person overseeing the project has recently departed for personal reasons. Other industry insiders are conjecturing Apple could eventually purchase smaller AV (in relation to Harman International) company, Savant. As the old adage goes “time will tell.”
Yet another bill seeks to weaken encryption-by-default on smartphones
Technology, politics and security converging to form quite the article in this one. State lawmakers are introducing bills that would prohibit smartphones from being sold with unbreakable encryption. Government and technology manufacturers have been at odds over this issue for some time now, I wrote about it in November 2014. The rationale isn’t evil, in this case California Assemblyman Jim Cooper wants this provision included to fight human trafficking; recently in New York a similar bill was introduced, except to fight terrorism. However, there are incredible implications for privacy, free speech and for people who don’t want to see government regulate every piece of their lives. I’m not minimizing the importance of fighting human trafficking, or terrorism for that matter, I think we can all agree these are two important issues that need to be addressed. I just don’t think infringing on consumer privacy or manufacturer’s products is the way to accomplish this and I’m not even a tin-foil hat wearing, “the government is out to get us” conspiracy theorist either.
Similarly there was a bill introduced which would require IT workers to report child pornography
Read More at ArsTechnica
These Smart Light Bulbs Play Music, Boost Your Wi-Fi Signal, and More
Light bulbs. We’re talking about smart light bulbs. Ten years ago we were enamored with smartphones, and now we look at people who carry “dumb phones” as fringe-of-society crazies. Now we’re talking about smart light bulbs. Not just smart in the sense they don’t waste all your money because they are energy efficient, but they can be controlled by apps and do cool stuff. A few years back a smart light bulb was able to be turned on and off, dimmed and possibly even change the color. Now those light bulbs are dumb, and technology has given way to newer, smarter light bulbs. I won’t spoil all the amazing things these light bulbs are capable of (other than the title) so you’ll have to actually click the link. However, I will say this: the more objects get labeled as smart, the dumber I feel.
Read More at Yahoo
103 #AVTweeps You Must Follow on Twitter
103 seems to be an arbitrary number, to say the least, but Commercial Integrator selected 103 Twitter accounts and labeled them ‘must follow.’ For some reason, probably due to my affiliation with AVNation, I was selected as one of the ‘must follow’ accounts. When asked how they determined which accounts to follow, the list’s author, Craig MacCormack, said it was mostly a discussion among the CI team, some were obvious and they’re already looking to compile a new list. MacCormack and Commercial Integrator are no strangers to industry lists, publishing two 40-under-40 lists for our industry in addition to this Twitter list. If you’re not on Twitter, sign up for an account right now and come back when you’re done. If you are on Twitter click the link to the article and get prepared to click the follow button as many as 103 times.
Read More at Commercial Integrator
Microsoft wants to improve video calls by projecting people into your room
I like the idea, Microsoft, but if it looks half as bad as the image on the article, please don’t move forward. Video conferencing can be weird. I do it often for work so I’m used to communicating with remote coworkers, or with office mates when I’m on the road, and that doesn’t bother me. However, it is still somewhat unsettling when video chatting with friends (in full disclosure I also hate talking on the phone). Microsoft gets that it’s weird, or uncomfortable to stare at someone’s head on a 15.6″ laptop in a video call. So they’re working on a way to make it less awkward by putting a life-size 3D image of a person in the same room with you during video calls. What a world we live in. What a time to be alive.
Read More at The Next Web

The Friday Five

The Friday Five: January 15, 2016

Welcome all, to the first Friday Five of 2016. I hope that your new year is off to a swimming start. It’s been a while since I’ve written the last Friday Five, so bear with me while I catch up on a lot of information.
CES 2016
AVNation’s own, David Danto attend CES 2016, the trade show for consumer electronics, the first week of January in ‘not-as-cold-as-the-rest-of-the-world Las Vegas, NV.’ Danto, an industry veteran, offered his appraisal of CES for his AV Nation show Connected as well in written form for his own website. The consumer electronics market drives the professional AV Market, for better or worse, so CES is something every Audiovisual Professional should keep their eye on. Despite the hype, the New York Times says its better to wait on 4K, from a consumer standpoint I’d tend to agree. Forbes also had a great piece about ‘The 6 Things CES Taught Us About the Internet of Things’ Although lurking beneath the IoT is a host of security fears Heather Sidorowicz, another good friend of the program, offered her take on CES 2016, with the 8 technologies people actually need, most of which I’d tend to agree with.
Bronx Science Bans Cellphones From Wi-Fi as Students Devour It.
Kids these days and their internets. In all seriousness though, mobile data consumption accounts for a huge impact on corporate and especially education networks. When I was last in higher-ed we had approximately 3500 students and over 10,000 connected devices on our network, or roughly 3 devices per student. Bronx Science is no different.
Read More at New York Times
FTC Proposes Legislation Against Hidden Resort Fees
Resort fees are especially annoying. I hate them. It’s a real burden when you travel often, and when you travel to resort-area destinations (phoenix, las vegas etc). One of the things that are rolled into resort fees are internet. All hotels charge for internet, but being deceptive about it is frustrating. Thankfully, the FTC is attempting to put a stop to it by proposing legislation. Eager business travelers look on with anticipation.
Well, that’s more than five articles. Hope you enjoyed the first week back from the Friday Five.