03 Mar 2015

ISE 2015 Review

ISE 2015 was certainly a spectacle to behold, there were several hundred exhibitors showcasing the latest and greatest on offer.

Cisco had a very impressive magician at their stand drawing the crowds toward the new sleek MX series products, I kept hearing the same tag line from Cisco reps around the stand “they are now just big phones”.  You order one part code and parachute it in.

Maybe not quite as simple as that but it’s certainly getting there with the integration of the Cisco Be6K which allows phones and VC systems to seamlessly operate within the Cisco environment.

The real magic however came from a smaller stand behind, and they were creating quite a stir.

Pexip makes a virtualized software infrastructure which transcodes communication types and lets everybody meet in the middle. It can be deployed on premise, or run in a private or public cloud, and even supports connecting the two if you require scale and flexibility.

To date it was able to take feeds from traditional video conferencing units, soft clients, Lync, Web RTC through your browser or traditional phones and because everybody is meeting in the cloud you are not as worried about firewall traversal.

The Pexip team were showing off some new releases which will allow users to integrate Skype, yes Skype! Not just Skype for business/Lync and the new release also allows a very cool feature where you can leverage your existing video conferencing systems and make a live broadcast through YouTube.


Image: Crowd getting treated to some slight of hand.


Conor O’Neill, Digicom Audio Visual Consultant

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25 Feb 2015

How to Make Friends and Influence End-Users

The delicate process of relationship-building was explored in all its psychological depths yesterday in the InfoComm Professional Development Training “Needs Analysis of End-User Requirements — What Are They Really Saying?” session taught by Bill Thomas, CTS-I, a staff instructor from the association.
Detailing the finer points of “getting to people’s real feelings” from the initial project interview through to a follow-up survey after commissioning, “it’s all about creating comfort,” Thomas emphasized. “Our end-users aren’t technologists like us. Create an atmosphere where it’s okay for them to say what they think and what’s on their mind, rather than talking them through ‘Technology, technology, technology’ and ‘We really want to look smart.’ If we make them feel bad that they don’t know as much about technology as us, then we haven’t connected with them.”
To gain better results from meetings, take careful note of the atmosphere you’re generating, the body language you and your client are using, and continually check understanding. “Keep asking, “Does this seem right to you? Am I understanding what you’re asking for? Do you understand what I am talking about? Is that what you think too?”
Tailoring your interview to the person with whom you are speaking is key, asking questions about the aspects of the system with which they will connect and interact on a daily basis.

The classroom was abuzz with discussion on the best questions to ask in the interview process, and how to elicit ideas and needs from potential clients. In general, InfoComm training at ISE is a tremendous draw, particularly for Peter Fox, sales director of Digicom in Dublin, Ireland. “I come to this event for the learning, to learn more about the industry and the happenings within the industry. I concentrate more on attending classes than going to stands,” he said, adding, “I’m basically in these classrooms or in one of the show-floor Unified Communications or Commercial Solutions Theatres all day.”

By Kirsten Nelson, www.avnetwork.com

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24 Feb 2015

HDBaseT Alliance – The Standard of the Future, Today.

Defining the standard of the future

The HDBaseT Alliance advances and promotes the adoption of HDBaseT technology as the global standard for high definition, digital connectivity. Since its founding in 2010 by LG Electronics, Samsung Electronics, Sony Pictures Entertainment, and Valens, the Alliance has brought together the leading names in the Consumer Electronics and .Professional AV manufacturers, and it counts today with more than 100 members and hundreds of products

Enabling 5Play over a single cable

HDBaseT technology has become the new standard for home and professional networking. It brings a rich feature ,TMset, increased reach, and better performance than existing solutions. The cornerstone of the technology is 5Play the converged delivery of uncompressed high-definition digital video, high-quality audio, Ethernet, up to 100 W .power, and various control signals, through a single LAN cable.

Coming to a home near you

With the recently released HDBaseT 2.0 specification, the Alliance is now enabling the development of consumer .electronics devices to better address the needs of the connected home HDBaseT 2.0 brings the quality of pro-AV to the cost-conscious consumer electronics market, for an unparalleled user ,experience. From simple point-to-point applications and up to the most cutting-edge multimedia home solutions. HDBaseT 2.0 delivers the 5Play feature set, from any source to any display around the house, using a simple control app.


Via: www.hdbaset.org

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19 Feb 2015

Future Trends in Audio Visual – Destination 2020

Brad Grimes chaired an interesting panel discussion with knowledge experts, from within the industry at this years ISE Trade Show in Amsterdam. The internet of things or the automation of internet things, will be the most influential change in our lives in the coming years. We will track the behaviour of users of Audio Visual and automate it. Smart technology will be the unique buying trigger to decide what technology will be procured by organisations.

 The technology will always be evolving and adapt to people’s behaviour, in many cases, without them even noticing. Currently the industry is guilty of building silo’s. IoT will change this with presence and intelligence, that will end integrators building dumb rooms.

 With the ongoing integration of IT and the presence of Cisco and Microsoft at this years event, the panel described how important it will be for integrators to build their eco systems around their platforms. They are the largest enterprise platforms in B2B offices now.

 So, as a result the top 5 trends to watch for by the panel are:

  1. Intelligent Devices
  2. IP Version VII on the 5G Network.
  3. Remote engagement
  4. Software as a service, cloud based technology. Particularly in the video area. And oh, finally
  5. Watch your teenager. Their behaviour with technology is naturally collaborating and multi tasking. Observe it and see the future in the enterprise space.

So the future of Audio Visual is challenging, as we learn to stay expert in this exciting industry.  

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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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29 Jan 2015

Kramer VIA Connect

Kramer VIA lets you connect wirelessly, collaborate easily, and engage everyone in the room in the work you’re doing. It provides a common platform for all those laptops, smartphones, and tablets in real time on one digital canvas. So things get done right then and there—not afterwards or through email.
Kramer VIA is a shared workspace for team collaboration in real time. Anybody who’s in the room can help create and edit a common document through their individual devices, then share and save it. Designed to eliminate wasted time, lack of productivity, and distracted attendees in meetings, classrooms, and presentations, Kramer VIA is the enemy of inefficient meetings. That’s because VIA acts as a collaboration hub so you can:

VIA is a solution that enables you to bring your own device (BYOD) to a meeting: Mac® or Windows laptops, tablets, iOS or Android based Smartphones. Just log on using Wi-Fi or LAN connections and you are connected. It’s wireless, it’s instantaneous and it’s easy!

Attendees can work together in a meeting, using VIA’s network. All you do is click “Step-In” and your screen is integrated on the main display. Then, you can start collaborating and interacting with other participants, work on a shared document, save it and send through the VIA Cloud or even use the interactive whiteboard.

VIA enables authentic engagement in meetings. You can share your files with other participants, chat or stream full HD videos in perfect quality. Everyone gets to participate, interact and be involved. Attendees become active participants – not bored bystanders.

via Kramer Electronics

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09 Dec 2014

Samsung Smart MultiXpress Wins

Samsung Smart MultiXpress Wins 2 Editor’s Choice Awards

The critical acclaimed Samsung Smart Print range – Samsung has brought smartphone-like ease of use and expandability to its new MFPs.

Samsung is shaping its print offering to meet the challenges of the office of the future

Launched at September’s IFA 2014 consumer electronics exhibition in Berlin, the ten new MFPs are the first of their kind to be equipped with an Android operating system. The combination of Android OS and Samsung’s Smart UX Center, the same touch technology used in Samsung Galaxy smartphones and tablets, provides a familiar user interface and a scalable platform for individual printer apps – just like a smartphone. It also allows the printers to operate independently of a PC with on-the-go connectivity through Samsung Cloud Print.
This, says Mark Ash, General Manager of Samsung Electronics’ Print Division in the UK and Ireland, makes the Smart MultiXpress series ideal for the flexible working practices employed by businesses today.

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05 Dec 2014

Ibec Case Study

Customer Success Story – Ibec transforms collaboration with 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.

“Video has been transformational for us,” says Martin Wells, director of member services at Ibec. “It’s imperative we connect with people in the regions, not just for Ibec staff, but for our membership and organisations. It makes things more immediate.”

The Ibec Board comprises of CEOs and business leaders scattered across Ireland and working from every corner of the globe. Connecting them is critical. “These guys are busy. You’ll never get them all here physically, so video has been great for us that way,” says Wells. “It means we’re fluid all the time and we can stick to agendas and keep things going.”

Beyond its Irish borders, Ibec maintains a European team in Brussels, Belgium that is instrumental to the governance and regulation process. Bridging that gap has been a win for all. “Rather than having to fly back and forth, we can meet quickly now. We can make the sessions and understand the impacts,” explains Wells. “It just makes us that much more agile and flexible in the way we work.”

Time and distance greatly impacts planning and Ibec has enhanced work-life balance for its internal staff, while ramping up value. “By using the system, we don’t have people traveling from Cork or Waterford or Donegal to Dublin for a meeting or training workshop that might only last an hour or two,” says Yvonne Clancy, director of talent at Ibec. “It’s much more time effective for people.” With the video solutions, training is much more effective, and so is general communications internally. Clancy points out the importance of addressing the entire company as one, with one video meeting.

Ibec has pieced together all the components to better serve its members and customers, and operate internally at best capacity. Wells notes the importance of collaboration. “Making sure we connect with everyone is very important, so we all feel like one organisation, one team.”

Dave Curtis IT infrastructure manager at Ibec confirms that their objectives were met by deploying Polycom. His mission as IT Infrastructure Manager was to enhance meeting capacity, deliver a solution that would be easy to use, and be adopted by the staff. Digicom, his local audio video partner, and Polycom certified reseller designed and supports the successful project. Curtis confirms, “We exceeded the plan we had put together with Digicom the first year, and we far ahead of our forecast for video meetings this year.” The future plans for Curtis, at Ibec are to deliver greater flexibility by rolling out Polycom RealPresence Desktop.

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04 Dec 2014

Cloud Video Conferencing from Digicom

Digicom to white label the Cirrus-Connects cloud video conferencing for the Irish market

Digicom has chosen to add the Cirrus-Connects cloud video conferencing solution to their product portfolio. Cirrus-Connects is now amongst an already impressive list of Digicom partners such as Polycom, Cisco, LifeSize, Samsung, Sony, NEC and Ricoh. As the number one choice for Print and Audio Visual/Video Conferencing solutions to the business sector in Ireland, Digicom recognise their clients changing needs for video conferencing solutions. Digicom aren’t just looking for a solution that looks great, they want a technologically robust solution that delivers significant benefits to their customers.

Not only do companies wish to continue using video conferencing at the boardroom level but due to the power from desktop/mobile hardware devices and the ever increasing telecommunication networks, companies want to easily connect their offices, customers, suppliers and partners and remote staff by video. “It’s all about the user experience! I’ve been so impressed with the reliability of Cirrus-Connects”, says Digicom Sales Director Peter Fox “the interoperability it offers and how simple it is to use, especially when running it from a webbrowser without the need to download any software plugins. With immediate effect, Digicom will be deploying Cirrus-Connects for use in our own business process”. Digicom has white labelled Cirrus-Connects under the Digicom brand.
Cirrcom Limited Managing Director, Steve Roberts is very proud and privileged for Cirrus-Connects to be associated with Digicom.

For further information, please contact:
Peter Fox, Sales Director
T: +353 (0)1 460 0022
E: peter.fox@digicom.ie

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01 Dec 2014

How I Made It | Greg Clarke

The Sunday Times recent ‘How I Made It’ article on Greg Clarke (Managing Director, Digicom). Read how Greg has grown the business since 1997, and also what lies in store for the future: “We have a good management team in place and good systems and processes. This means things are handled better, which means [profit] margin is better too. All in all, we have a good platform for growth”

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