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INSTALLAWARDS


‘Technology is something that will continue to be fun’


The 15 Years of Achievement Award at the InstallAwards will be presented to Robert Simpson, founder director of Electrosonic, in recognition of his work as an author, his involvement in industry education programmes, and his status as an ‘elder statesman’ of the AV industry. He spoke to Paddy Baker about how the industry has developed over Installation’s lifetime The 15 Y


ears of Achievement


award is presented to an individual who, through the lifetime of Installation, has built up a body of work that has left a lasting impression on the industry. We’re delighted to announce that the recipient of the award is Robert Simpson, founder director of Electrosonic. One of the key figures in the genesis of the A


V industry, Bob


Simpson’s entire working life has centred around the company he helped to found in 1964; Electrosonic works as an integrator, mainly in corporate and entertainment markets, with offices in the UK, US, Sweden, China and the UAE. He remains a director of


, and an advisor


to, the company: when we speak, he’s just back from


10 May 2014


a trip to the Middle East, helping a client get to the next stage of a difficult projection installation. He also does a lot of writing: he has written three books, Effective Audio Visual: A User’s Handbook (1987), a slim volume on Videowalls (1991) and Lighting Control: Technology and Applications (2003). T


o coincide with


Electrosonic’s 50th anniversary he has written a history of the company, its technology and projects, entitled Electrosonic – 50 Years on the Audio-Visual Front Line. He has also given talks on technology trends at shows including ISE and InfoComm.


How do you choose what to work on, on a day-to-day or week-to-week basis?


Wey


I try and get to see the major projects that we do. If I’m over in the States, for instance, I’ll try and get to see something that we’ve worked on and something that I may well have given advice on to begin with. A great pleasure last


November was to go to Kennedy Space Center, which has been a client of ours for 20 years or more. They’d just opened a new exhibit hall about the Space Shuttle programme; it’s a very nice exhibition and I’m delighted we got involved with it. They’ve actually got the real Shuttle there – not a model or a projection of it. It was nice that we could help with the interpretation and the conventional AV exhibits there – and also it’s


the fact that technology now enables us to do things like a 120ft wide picture of the Earth behind the Shuttle. I help out quite a lot with projects like that. Personally I don’t get out the slide rule any more, but I do try and keep in touch with the client and with all the other people working on a project, and particularly our own people – and when possible, carry the torch for them.


While Electrosonic is celebrating 50 years, Installation is marking its 15th anniversary. Can you pick out what were the biggest technological changes in that timeframe? The big change that had already happened then was the move to digital video


sources. We had the first move to standard definition video sources, which got us going in the 1990s, then the big shift to high definition. As for the very big changes… people forget that, for example, slides were still being used right up to the end of the 20th century for major business presentations and so on because they were the only things that would give you the resolution that you needed. It’s only in the 21st century that electronic projection got good enough to use. Now we take it for granted, and of course it’s now much better than slides, but there was a crossover period when it most definitely wasn’t – and it really only became viable when sensibly priced and reliable projectors became


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