17 Feb 2015

Is 4k here to stay?

With so many manufacturers pushing the latest and greatest in 4k or ultra HD, it can quite confusing on what it actually is. 4k technology is generally referred to as 4x times the quality of Full HD or 4x 1080p. Simple right….unfortunately not..

There are 3 things that make up picture quality. The first of these are the number of pixels. So having 4x the amount of pixels is a good start.

The second of these is the frame rate or hertz. This is the number of frames per second, so the higher the frame rate the smoother the picture quality.

Finally the colour sampling or chroma sub sampling is the final component that makes up the picture quality. This refers to the amount of true colour shown on screen at one time. Unsampled colour is referred to as 4:4:4 while it is often sampled at 4:2:2. This reduces the bandwidth required by a third without effecting the visual quality of the image.

So, now that we know what makes a high quality image, how do we get all of on the screen. Easier said than done.

Display port is capable of carrying 4k at 60 fames per second with a colour sampling of 4:4:4. As is HDMI 2.0, which has taken over from HDMI 1.4 as the new standard of HDMI as of 2014. So unless you have a source device with a DisplayPort output or HDMI2.0 chipset you will end up with 4k at 24-30 FPS. This will greatly reduce the quality of the image and a better picture would be achieved at 1080p instead of 4k.

So we have the cable and we have the TV’s that can produce a 4k image. The problem comes in when you try to switch 4k video. Currently there is little or no way of switching true 4k due to the large bandwidth required. Many of the switchers use colour sampling of 4:0:0 to reduce the bandwidth. This becomes noticeable especially on the larger 4k screens.

The other factor and probably the most important component that currently posses a major roadblock to the success of 4k is content. With no standards set for a 4k video player currently on the market and with HD TV currently being broadcast at only 720p it is hard to see 4k being available to every household. There also remains the fact that there is very little content out there recorded in 4k

On the other hand streaming services such as Netflix are starting to release content in 4k as a premium service. Using Netflix as a native application built into the display eliminates the transmission issues inherent with 4k. On the downside it is recommend to have a 25mb/sec broadband speed and unlimited data allowance to watch 4k.

While there are a number of issues currently stopping 4k from being readily available, there is no doubt that the incredible picture quality offered by 4k means it is here to stay unlike 3D which proved to be little more than a gimmick.

Ciarán McGrath, Audio Visual Consultant (Digicom)

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05 Dec 2014

Ibec Case Study

Customer Success Story – Ibec transforms collaboration with Digicom and Polycom.

“Video conferences allows us to be fluid all the time, we can stick to agendas and keep things going. Making sure we connect with everyone is very important, so we all feel like one organisation, one team.”
Martin Wells, Director of Member Services, Ibec

As Ireland strengthens its business reputation in the European marketplace, the power of relationships is paramount. Ibec is an organisation dedicated to leading, shaping, and promoting business policy and conditions to drive economic success. With 160 employees in seven offices, and over 7,000 members across numerous sectors, the organisation’s ability to communicate is crucial.

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26 Aug 2014

IFG Group Plc Case Study

With information and pension statements a critical part of its business operation, Irish financial services firm, IFG Group, needed to find a more reliable way of producing information for its clients.   After implementing a Digicom and Ricoh Office print solution IFG has reduced print cost and also improved reliability, speed and productivity.

Challenges
The IFG Group is a financial services company specialising in retirement planning solutions for Irish and multinational companies, and for all aspects of personal financial planning and pensions in Ireland. With its head office in Dublin, IFG’s international operations also include the UK and Europe. The organisation employs 800 staff, has a market capitalisation of £150 million, and manages £17 billion in assets.

IFG has pioneered the use of technology to improve its services. The IFG Pension Portal is Ireland’s most innovative interactive information source. But despite a trend towards more digital information, key parts of financial services still rely heavily on paper-based materials and documents. Pension services, which is a mainstay of IFG’s business, have regulations which require providers to issue member benefit statements as paper-based printed documents within a five-month deadline. For its customers, IFG produces these statements at its Dublin head office. Each customer can have an information pack of around XX pages, so the print runs can amount thousands of pages each time they are required.

IFG had already taken the step to change its print resources for individual desktop devices to a more unified managed print service. But the company’s business growth, increasing demand from customers and the need to produce more complex documents meant the print system was no longer meeting business needs.

The existing print devices were coming to end of life and would often break down during higher volume print runs, with frequent paper jams and other technical issues. Print software that supported Follow Me print was also old and no longer effective. It was unreliable and frequently failed to work with staff going to a printer and finding it could not print off their document. Printer downtime was increasing and staff were left for longer and longer periods without a printer.

“The slow speed of the printers and not being able to retrieve the jobs and log in to the machines, were the two key issues we had on a fairly long term basis. From a business productivity point of view, it simply wasn’t working,” says Alan Kelly, IT Director at IFG Group Plc.

The plan was to replace its printing system with a more robust and reliable solution. As well as good quality equipment and ease of use for staff, one of the key requirements was having an effective level of support. IFG investigated a number of different suppliers and, in the end, decided to work with local supplier Digicom, a Ricoh business partner.

“We were impressed with what the partnership between Digicom and Ricoh could deliver. Compared to many other manufacturers, Ricoh offered a great range of high-quality, high-specification devices. This combined with excellence service and support from Digicom meant the solution provided speed, reliability and value for money,” says Kelly.

Digicom and Ricoh were able to deliver and deploy the new print solution at IFG in just 24 hours, with little or no disruptions to business operations.

Solution
At its head office in Dublin, IFG has deployed a Digicom and Ricoh Office solution, comprising seven high volume Ricoh Multifunction Products (MFPs), three standard MFPs, Ricoh software and Digicom support. The Ricoh MFPs are networked and integrated into IFG’s existing business applications to provide the business with a single, enterprise-wide system, so that when required, information for the IFG Pension Portal and other systems can be produced easily.

Print Control software is used to manage print services and enable a more efficient and effective Follow Me print facility with staff using their security fobs to release a print job from any device. Digicom’s remote software solution enables Digicom and IFG to manage the Ricoh MFPs efficiently by providing accurate, real-time information about device and consumable use.

The software can also be used to remotely monitor the health of machines, to spot any problems before they become a fault. Regular service checks also keep the printers in good running order, and Digicom engineers are on hand to fix faults within hours rather than days.

Benefits
“Printing is one of the key services we provide to staff, and the success of the Digicom and Ricoh solution is measured by the fact that it is now one of the services they notice the least,” says Kelly. “Compared to the situation before, we can now ensure more reliable printing with both the equipment used by staff, and with the software that runs the solution. It’s faster, more efficient, delivers better quality and is helping drive up productivity.”

The Digicom and Ricoh print solution means that as well as improving standard, day-to-day printing, it is now much easier to print the thousands of pension documents required by financial regulations. A more efficient, easy-to-manage and reliable solution is helping IFG reduce print costs.
Having more efficient software enables IFG to manage and monitor how print is used across the organisation so that departments are accurately billed for their printing, These kinds of benefits and overall improvement of all printing operations helps reduce administration time associated with running print resources.

Another important benefit has been better quality output. Kelly says, “The Ricoh MFPs are a significant improvement on the previous devices we used. Not only do the higher specifications and faster print speeds cut down the amount of time it takes to run out thousands of pages of statements, the quality of the printed page is much better. While it may seem a minor thing, it’s also a key part of improving the quality of service we can deliver to our customers.”

Productivity is further enhanced by having the same type of MFP throughout IFG’s building, since staff can use any device and do not need to learn how to use different machines.

Kelly says, “We’ve been very happy with the service we get from Digicom. The company is very responsive and any minor issues have been dealt with very quickly and efficiently.”

 

“Printing is one of the key services we provide to staff, and the success of the Digicom and Ricoh solution is measured by the fact that it is now one of the services they notice the least.  Compared to the situation before, we can now ensure more reliable printing with both with the equipment that staff use and the software that runs the solution.  It’s faster, more efficient, delivers better quality and is helping drive up productivity.”

Alan Kelly, IT Director | IFG Group Plc

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13 Aug 2014

Shanahans Engineering

Shanahan Engineering requested Digicom to design and deliver a state of the art boardroom and presentation facility at their new Dun Laoghaire HQ.  The requirement was to provide an integrated AV solution to deliver a premium Audio and Video Conferencing experience for participants.

The deployed technologies were to be ‘best of breed’ and should handle HDMI signalling and scaling and overcome the challenges of HDCP and HDMI signalling over distances.   The equipment deployment needed to occupy a minimum of  real estate and be housed in a local credenza to ensure the boardroom retained its clean lines and remained clutter free.  Users needed to be presented with an effective and intuitive Graphical User Interface in a familiar form.

As the user base were familiar with Apple Tablets, the AMX TPContol application was selected to deliver AMX Touch Panel functionally on the familiar Apple iPad tablet.

AMX and the Enova DVX All-In-One Presentation Switcher was chosen as the core AV Platform as it addressed all of the client’s key technology requirements in a single compact enclosure.  The DVX delivered all of the components required to control/automate the boardroom  environment into a simple, flexible, comprehensive solution including control, video switching, transcoding and scaling, and local and remote distribution – all in a single, compact enclosure. In addition to these capabilities available on   either solution, the DVX offers room-level capabilities such as multi-format local inputs, audio mixing and amplification in the same enclosure.

The key features of the AMX Enova DVX are as follows:

All-In-One Boardroom In A Box Solution: Control, audio & video switching/distribution, scaling, converting, transcoding, amplification, plus built-in professional-grade DSP audio mixing and twisted pair distribution, all in a single   chassis.

SmartScale Technology: Automatically ensures signal output is scaled to every    display’s native resolution glitch free every time.

HDMI/HDCP Compliance: End-to-end distribution of HDMI signals with full HDCP, with the simplicity of analog, without interruption or key constraints using AMX’s InstaGate Pro technology.

Game Changing Device: Standardizing on this box reduces Total Cost of Ownership, including substantial savings in maintenance and energy utilization.

 

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13 Aug 2014

Arvato

Arvato offers managed services and integrated outsourcing services and solutions. Arvato’s more than 63,000 employees are engaged in designing and implementing integrated solutions for business processes.

Project Summary

Digicom were responsible for the design, build and on-going support of the Audio Visual Integrated solution at Arvato. Arvato are well recognised for delivering excellence in customer service and fundamental to their approach, is to retain their people, in order to exceed client expectations.

Arvato had a passion to deliver a ‘Best Place to Work’ environment and sought many unique and affordable idea’s that was intricate with the detail. Digicom fitted out twenty two AV enabled Meeting rooms, including Training Room, Boardroom, AV enabled Creative Areas, Restaurant, plus Small Meeting Rooms and several large meeting rooms with Video Conference Facilities.

This comprised of Cisco Video Conferencing and Interactive Touch Screens and dual large LED   displays. While at reception and other key strategic viewing areas Digital Signage was installed to share corporate information neatly and dynamically. In all these areas there was a striving to ensure that the AV installation fitted the buildings aspirational brief so slim bezel LED Screens where adopted throughout the building.

Arvato also created conference facilities where they can engage with clients or staff alike. Here as well as having a hospitality facility, the clients can view presentations comfortably. This is achieved by a Ceiling Recessed Motorized Screen and a Projector on a hoist, coming down from the ceiling, when required. If the room is filled to capacity, a further two Large Format LCD Panels come down on Butterfly Hoists, from the ceiling. The room also has an even distribution of ceiling recessed speakers, in order to allow the even amplification of voice enhancement, throughout the room.

“Digicom were able to provide a team that supported developing the conceptual aspirations of the Project Design Team, right through the sales stage and to the infrastructure design of the project.  They also provided project management to ensure that the project deliverables were achieved under pressurised projects timelines, while slotting in with the other contractors.  The results and successes of these attributes contributed to them being awarded the maintenance contract which we hope will lead to a fruitful relationship in the future.”

– Ruairi Adam, Arvato

 

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13 Aug 2014

Allegion

Allegion requested Digicom to design and deliver two integrated boardroom presentation solutions at their new HQ offices in Dublin.  The brief was to have the best possible presentation images delivered at the best possible resolution and quality with the need for minimum user intervention.  It was proposed that the new HQ location was to have no local Technical Support so the chosen solution should be self    contained with a minimal amount of   cabling and an intuitive mode of operation.

 

Project Summary

With the clients aspiration for a simple, self contained and robust presentation solution there was only one manufacturer who was able to address the Audio Processing, Video Scaling, Switching and Control requirements in a single integrated solution; AMX and the Enova DVX All-In-One Presentation Switchers were chosen as the AV Platform.

 

The Enova DVX All-In-One Presentation Switchers Switchers combine all of the   components you need to control/automate any environment into a simple, flexible,   comprehensive solution including control, video switching, transcoding and scaling, and local and remote distribution – all in a single, compact enclosure. In addition to these    capabilities available on either solution, the DVX offers room-level capabilities such as multi-format local inputs, audio mixing and amplification in the same enclosure.

 

The key features of the Enova DVX are as follows:

 

All-In-One Solution: Control, audio & video switching/distribution, scaling, converting, transcoding, amplification, plus built-in professional-grade DSP audio mixing and twisted pair distribution,   all in a  single small chassis.

SmartScale Technology: Automatically ensures signal output is scaled to every display’s native resolution.

HDMI/HDCP Compliance: End-to-end distribution of HDMI signals with full HDCP, with the simplicity of   analogue, without interruption or key constraints using InstaGate Pro technology.

 

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15 Mar 2012

Fidelity Investments Case Study

Fidelity Investments is an international provider of financial services and investment resources that helps individuals and institutions meet their financial objectives

 

Project Summary

Digicom’s challenge in Fidelity Investments was to install a dual screen video conferencing system with the obstacle of a bright backdrop. The system also had to be suitable for presentations. The high resolution that the Cisco C40 offers made it an ideal choice to use in the difficult lighting conditions posed by the room. Two ceiling microphones were chosen to eliminate table noise. The PrecisionHD Camera which was deployed boasts 12x zoom for reaching people at the bottom of the table. The camera was mounted below the screen for the best eye to eye communication.

 

 

 

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