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SPECIAL AWARDS 15 Years of Excellence


The 15 Years of Excellence Award goes to a company or organisation that has made a major contribution to the AV installation world, through technology, industry education or leadership. Installation has decided to present this year’s award to Barco, on account of its continued and consistent innovation in display and other technologies, across numerous markets, throughout this period. The award will be accepted on the evening by Dirk Hendrickx, Barco’s vice president strategic marketing programs, who has been with the company since before our first edition was published. “The past 15 years have

been exciting,” he said. “As a generic highlight, I think we were one of the first companies that could call themselves an AV manufacturer.

“Since 1999, I think we’ve seen the light about the

importance of networking. For instance, in our control room business, in 2001 we anticipated that by 2015 the majority of control rooms would be network-centric rather than AV-centric – and that has come true. “As a consequence of

that, your abilities and your competencies as a company change drastically. Ten or 15 years ago we were talking about RGB and all the different AV specifications for how to carry a signal over an expensive wire. Today we are there – not only for control rooms but also in corporate AV, in surgical rooms, in bedside terminals. So we’re helping to move the industry towards a network which, 99% of the time, is already there – which is the corporate IT network. I think that’s one of the not so visible, but very obvious, changes that this company has made. “Moving forward, network- centric visualisation, if you

can call it that, is going to play not only an eminent, but a dominant role.” Looking to the future, Hendrickx added: “We believe that within 10 years, AV equipment will be seen as IT equipment. Ten years ago, hanging multiple projectors on a ceiling required very specific AV knowledge – throw distance, brightness, what kind of screen and so on. When you move to LCD or rear-projection cubes, that competence becomes much smaller. The competence will lie in how you distribute the signals, make them available and make sure that, next to videoconferencing, people can share the data that they’re discussing. There’s nothing more frustrating than having the perfect HD videoconference but not being able to work with the data in a logical and easy way.

“It’s great to have AV knowledge, but make sure all 15 Years of Achievement WINNER: ROBERT SIMPSON, FOUNDER DIRECTOR OF ELECTROSONIC

The 15 Years 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. Our winner this year is someone who has contributed significantly to the industry not just over the past one-and-a-half decades, but for much longer. Robert Simpson, founder

director of Electrosonic, was one of the key figures in the genesis of the AV 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. 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: T


and Applications (2003). To coincide with Electrosonic’s 50th anniversary he has written a history of the company, its technology

and projects, entitled Electrosonic – 50 Y the Audio-Visual F

ears on ront Line.

He has also given talks on technology trends at shows including ISE and InfoComm. When asked for his thoughts on the biggest technological changes during Installation’s 15-years, Simpson replied: “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 available. It was the late 1990s when they got going, and really got motoring in the 21st century. “Similarly with source equipment: in 2000 we did one of our first high-definition installations in an exhibit environment, and we had the problem of compressing the high-definition video to MPEG-2 to run in our recently developed HD player. The actual file for a 10-minute piece of high definition was a stack of exabyte tapes that

46 June 2014

was a foot high, and it took more than 24 hours to do the MPEG encoding; whereas now a desktop computer will do it in real time. These are fantastic improvements. “Undoubtedly the flatpanel

revolution is complete. It’s a tragedy for me that plasmas have gone, because they were beautiful, but of course LCD has triumphed. And the fact that you can get them so big and so cheap is amazing. Now the idea that you bung up a videowall with 24 LCDs, you take that for granted. “In the corporate market

the revolution is much more that people are actually using AV, whereas 15 years ago often you had systems put in as a status symbol that didn’t do very much. That revolution has all happened because of the PC and particularly because of things like the iPad. The acceptance of AV as we know it in presentation and videoconferencing terms has come about because of the consumer acceptance of similarly sophisticated gadgets. It was never going to come until it was part of everybody’s life.”

your new hires are Cisco- approved engineers who have an in-depth knowledge of IT – because that’s the way to go. “An IP

network will allow you to share anything, anywhere in an easy way. It’s out there inside each corporation – and you can make use of it by putting a transport layer of AV on top of it. If you compare that with installing an in-campus network based on the old AV approach you’ll always lose the battle on cost. And if you then want to break out of that campus into other directions, doing that with an AV-centric solution will be a big hurdle. “IP networks are vulnerable

to hackers, so once they have the IP knowledge I would advise them to find out how to deal with security levels within AV over IP networks. That’s going to be the next big thing. We see it happening now: for instance within healthcare and aviation, they have very strict rules. Over the coming years we may see the same standards popping up in the video over IP domain. The information security battle hasn’t been fought, but it is coming.”

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