This year at InfoComm 2017, HARMAN Professional Solutions displayed the many ways audio, video, lighting and control (AVLC) technologies can come together to create innovative solutions for a variety of markets. One of the important capabilities HARMAN showed was distributing AV and control over the network, which offers the ability for more flexible, scalable and seamless solutions. Since HARMAN is a provider of complete networked AVLC solutions, this opens up powerful new opportunities for corporate, education, retail, hospitality and more—all leveraging the best of HARMAN’s legendary brands.
To demonstrate how this capability works, and its benefits for large venues in particular, HARMAN created an area in the booth that brought all of this technology together in a complete working system. I wanted to learn more about how this system worked, so I reached out to Iain Gregory, Director of Solutions and Marketing, Large Venues, for HARMAN Professional Solutions.
[SKD]: Why is it important for integrators to see all of this working together?
[IG]: The system we’re showing represents the kind of system you’d see in large venues, such as stadiums, arenas and convention centers, but it’s obviously a subset of what you’d have. Instead of four amplifiers, you may have 400 amplifiers, but the technology and capabilities are the same. You just scale it up and have more endpoints on the network. Still, what we’re showing is a complete content delivery system with a sampling of the products you might find—all of it using either HARMAN or Samsung equipment.
AV manufacturers talk a lot about systems, but we at HARMAN actually have the end-to-end capabilities. We wanted to show that actually working, rather than just talking about it conceptually. We have an AMX Modero X touch panel controlling quite a sophisticated system, using a really simple and intuitive interface, and when customers see it, it makes a difference—and they believe us. They know we can actually deliver it.
[SKD]: What’s in the AVLC demo? What technologies do you have coming together?
[IG]: The AVLC demo is not only an audio, video, lighting and control demo, it’s also a content delivery system. For the show, we had content on a lot of the different products across the various brands, including videos, product information, case studies, etc., which we loaded onto four AMX Enzo content-sharing devices. The Enzo devices, which were connected to AMX Networked AV encoders, sent the content over the network to decoders for each of the four Samsung UHF-E Series video wall displays we had in the demo.
For audio, we’re breaking away audio from the Networked AV encoder and using AES67 to send it over the network to the BSS Soundweb London signal processor. Once processed, the audio is sent to the amplifiers in two ways: via Dante directly to the Crown DCi-DA Dante amplifiers or via Dante to the BSS BLU-DAN device, which coverts from Dante to BLU link for distribution to Crown CDi DriveCore and DCi Network BLU link amplifiers in the rack. We did that to show the two different ways you can distribute audio to amplifiers, depending on the number of equipment locations and number of amplifiers in each location. These amplifiers then output to various JBL speakers, including JBL Intellivox Series and CBT Series speakers, among others.
All of this is controlled by a really simple and intuitive user interface that we created for the application. At the press of a button, the AMX NetLinx NX Series central controller can cause the video to switch to any or all of the screens as well as trigger public address messaging from a BSS Contrio Server to user-defined zones, and recall pre-programmed lighting cues on a Martin lighting controller.
[SKD]: Why should the end user care about all of these technologies coming together? On its face, it may sound like a pretty technical or boring thing. Why is it so important?
[IG]: A major benefit that the customers have with this technology is that you can have a lot of advanced functionality, but still have a really simple user interface. We have a multitude of different control options from touch panels all the way up to lighting and audio mixing consoles, so you can have control that’s appropriate for the different types of users.
Another major benefit is the scalability. If you want to add another input or output, you can do that easily. For example, we have some GoPro cameras around the booth connected to AMX encoders. So, if we want another camera, we add another GoPro and another encoder. If we want another display, we add another decoder and another display. If we want to add another 10 screens, we add another 10 decoders. We can scale the system up however we need to as the situation warrants.
Thanks so much, Iain, for speaking with us today! It’s very exciting to see AVLC come together in a real and meaningful way.
Didn’t make it to InfoComm to see the demo? Watch this video and hear Iain explain the demo from the 2017 InfoComm booth.
Do you have experience with integrated AVLC in large venues? Share your insights in the comments.