Consumer TVs in a Pro World

If you are a fan of technology and gadgets, and I imagine most of us in this industry are, then you have probably “overbought” your needs or specs at some point. Maybe you went with the step-up model cell phone; or bought a bigger, more expensive TV than you need; or splurged on extra wattage for your stereo. I know I have and will again in the future. It is fun to dive into the settings and check out all the features on a new “toy.” While this may be great for techies and personal use, it is not a solid approach in the Pro A/V world. The current industry climate has customers being cost conscious due to tighter budgets and credit lines, so any savings or value you provide can swing a project or deal in your favor.

So, what better time to take an updated look at using consumer TVs in a commercial setting, than now? There has been a historical reluctance to use consumer TVs in commercial spaces due to many factors and rightly so in some applications. Displays that require long run times, will be used in harsh environments, or for digital signage projects are best suited for commercial displays designed for those use cases. However, there are applications and situations where you would be doing your customers and end-users a disservice by not considering consumer TVs for your projects. The cost and ease of use can save significant money and time. Odds are that the users will have some level of familiarity with the remote and user interface, especially when compared to a commercial display.

What markets should you focus on?

 Education Market – Focus models: Samsung Crystal UHD Series

The Education market has been one of the strongest verticals for consumer TV sales the past few years. Not all schools are looking for auto tracking PTZs or elaborate projection and audio systems. The lower cost and built-in streaming apps on Samsung TVs make them a natural fit in schools and classrooms. Work within your client’s budget and provide value beyond the price. Samsung consumer TVs come packed with features and extras. Samsung TV Plus provides free TV channels with no sign-up, fees, or cables. Choose from 350+ live TV channels and 1000s of movies and shows on demand, all for free. Streaming apps such as Netflix, Hulu, and Prime Video can be downloaded to the user interface and utilized for streaming in the classroom. You will not find these in commercial displays. Samsung Gaming Hub features cloud gaming with Xbox Online Game Pass as well as other big names in game streaming. You can play many of your favorite titles from Xbox and others without having to purchase a console. Simply connect a Bluetooth game controller to your TV and you are in the game. While educators may not be thrilled about gaming in the classroom, the rise of esports and gaming in general make this a valuable addition and can provide entertainment beyond the usual. With all these features coming stock in Samsung consumer TVs, customers are getting more than “just a TV.”

Corporate and Hotel Lobbies – Focus models: Samsung The Frame

Another area of focus and success has been corporate and hotel lobbies, specifically with Samsung’s The Frame series. This line of TVs was introduced in 2017 and has been wildly popular in both residential and commercial applications. During regular usage, The Frame is a 4K QLED TV with all the same features as Samsung’s other QLED models. In Art Mode, the set transforms into a showcase for pre-loaded or purchased works of art, or you can display your personal art or pictures. The matte display film on the screen adds texture and life to the screen while the customizable bezels help blend the TV in with the décor of its domain. The adaptability to toggle from a standard TV to a gallery for art, makes The Frame ideal for settings where a TV or shiny black rectangle may not be what is wanted all the time. The included slim fit wall mount positions the display practically flush against the wall, furthering the illusion of it being an art piece, and providing an added value. The Frame TVs have also been popular with doctor’s and dentist’s offices. We have seen several projects where the TVs were mounted on the wall or ceiling for dental patients to watch as they receive services and can then be disguised as art when not being watched.

Sell them only what they need.

If the RFQ calls for a TV rated for 8 hours and 7 days a week, there is no need to sell a display that is rated to run all day or even 16/7. If the end-user is only open 8 hours per day or closed on weekends, a consumer panel rated at 8/7 will suit them quite well.  Speaking of needs, you will want to offer an extended warranty with the TV. The manufacturer’s warranty is reduced to 90 days when used in a commercial space. This provides a nice segue to talking about accessories and your customer’s other potential needs for their project.

How to recognize a consumer TV opportunity.

One easy way to identify an opportunity to use consumer TVs is to look for the buzzwords and phrases below:

Consumer TVFor Crystal UHD

  • “Low cost”
  • “Cheapest you have.”
  • “Doesn’t have to run all day.”
  • “Won’t be used all the time.”
  • “Doesn’t need to be fancy.”
  • “Most bang for their buck.”
  • “Limited run time”
  • “Smart TV”

Frame TVFor The Frame

  • “Looking for something different.”
  • “Comes in different colors.”
  • “Want something to match the room.”
  • “They want the TV to blend in or hide.”

 

While consumer TVs may not be the right tool for every job, they certainly have their place in the commercial audio-visual industry and should be considered when applicable.

Contact your Exertis Almo representative for assistance in designing your next AV system or selecting the ideal audiovisual equipment for your project.

Gerry Aubrey
About the Author

Gerry Aubrey | DSCE

Business Development Manager

Supported Manufacturers: Samsung CE

Connecting the Dots in the Drone Solutions Category

Oftentimes, AV integrators do not readily understand the connection with Drone Solutions, or why they should be interested. Once they connect the dots, the value proposition is clear, and then it just becomes a discussion at the executive level on how best to move forward. 

The bottom line is that commercial drone use is expanding at an accelerated growth rate, and it is a safe bet that at least 10-20% of an AV integrator’s current customers are already using commercial drones to accomplish a variety of different commercial tasks – purchased through other channels. That would equal anywhere from $50K to $300K or more in annual sales that could be incorporated into an AV integrator’s business, simply by having the conversation with their customer to understand if they are using commercial drones and letting those customers know they could purchase the product from them.

Based on the current state of the market, those customers are in 1 of 2 stages – either exploring the adoption of a drone program or expanding/updating equipment for a current program.  If they are exploring adoption, then an experienced AV integration company that they already do business with and trust can become their go-to source for this new and confusing technology with our help, if needed.  If they are in a product refresh cycle or expanding, then an AV integrator that they already know and trust can provide the necessary product on a consolidated purchase order.

Getting involved in the Drone Solutions category is a low-cost way to enter this new market with significant demonstrated growth and opportunity.  We are here to help AV integrators get their feet on the ground in this area by providing subject matter expertise and content training to help quickly bring an integrator up to speed. 

The Drone Solutions category is meant to provide a one-stop shop for experienced and novice integrators to find relevant manufacturers that have products associated with solutions that their end-users are looking for.  The Drone Solutions category brings together the various relevant drone hardware manufacturers, along with the needed addons like software for data analysis, potential Command and Control options (think traditional AV tech), and associated services, like training, into an environment where they can all be put on one purchase order.

Contact your Exertis Almo account manager today to let them know you are interested in learning more about this exciting opportunity.

Eric Jameson drones BDM
About the Author

Eric Jameson

Business Development Manager

Supported Manufacturer: Autel

Transform Worship Spaces with Cutting-Edge AV Solutions

In the dynamic House of Worship market, the fusion of spoken word, live music, and community events offers unique opportunities for professional audio-visual integrators to elevate devotional spaces and design enriching worship experiences with comprehensive, cutting-edge AV solutions. You can rely on Exertis Almo as a resource for the technology involved in designing systems that engage every member of a congregation – whether they are in the sanctuary, in overflow rooms, or participating remotely. These solutions also enable a broader reach for the worship organization through social media and video streaming, which can expand their resources for effective fundraising – fostering a stronger, more connected community.

From live streaming to artificial intelligence, technology innovations are reshaping AV solutions for worship spaces. Adapting to these tech trends ensures that your worship projects remain relevant and technologically advanced.

Let’s Explore 7 AV Technologies that are Uplifting the HoW Market:

Sony SRG-A40 auto-framing ptz camera1. Video and Live Streaming – Expand Community Outreach

With the paradigm shift towards remote ministry and hybrid congregations over the last few years, AV technology has become a bridge – connecting dispersed communities and providing comfort with familiar messages. As houses of worship embrace video technology in a new way, they can leverage live-streaming technology to reach a broader audience and enable congregants to participate in services from anywhere.

Video streaming cameras range from basic PTZ cameras to advanced tracking and framing capabilities. Unattended cameras can be discreetly installed in hard-to-reach places, covering any size of worship space with powerful zoom for frame-filling close-ups. To find out how bandwidth needs have expanded for worship spaces as a result of this trend toward video streaming, check out Rob Voorhees’ blog.

Harman - JBL-pro-audio - Martin-lighting2. Sound, Lighting, and Imagery – Uplift with Immersive Experiences

AV technology, including advanced sound systems and high-quality projectors, is enabling the creation of more immersive worship experiences. Visual enhancements, dynamic lighting, and surround sound all contribute to a more engaging atmosphere.

Projection mapping techniques can also be employed to transform the physical space of the worship area. This allows for dynamic visual storytelling and thematic enhancements

CHRISTIE projectors - projection mapping
Martin Lighting color wash

3. Digital Displays and Signage – Deliver Awe-Inspiring Visuals

Samsung the Wall dvLEDDigital signage is increasingly used for displaying announcements, song lyrics, and other information. This dynamic form of communication enhances engagement and keeps congregants informed. Overall, digital signage is an excellent way to facilitate community engagement and share updates, enhancing the overall worship experience.

Direct View LED all-in-one displays, such as Samsung’s The Wall, provide integrators with a drastically improved installation process, and new avenues to create unparalleled visual statements in common areas as well as behind the pulpit or on the stage inside the main sanctuary.

Atlona Twisted Pair ExtensionEffortlessly share messages throughout the facility in stunning 4K resolution with top connectivity solutions.

4. Interactive Displays and Collaboration Tools for Hybrid Congregations

Interactive teaching HisenseCollaboration tools and video conferencing solutions are integrated into AV setups, facilitating remote participation for members who are unable to attend physically.

Interactive displays and touchscreens, like Hisense’s GoBoard, are also being used for teaching and interactive worship sessions. This allows for a more dynamic and interactional experience for congregants, especially in educational settings.

5. Accessibility Features – Ensure Everyone is Included

Houses of worship are implementing various accessibility features, such as hearing loop systems and closed captioning services, to ensure that services are accessible to individuals with hearing impairments. From incorporating additional digital signage into the space to upgrading audio systems and features, accessibility is a key factor in fostering an environment where all members of the community can participate with ease.
Assistive Listening technologies
The spoken word is the most fundamental part of a worship service. Including support for hearing-impaired members with an assistive listening system can help address regulatory compliance, increase inclusivity, and expand reach so the message can be heard by all.

6. Podcasting and Social Media Content – Amplify the Message

worship podcastPodcasting studios within houses of worship have become more common, enabling the creation of audio content for a broader audience beyond those attending in-person. Acting as a supplement to traditional worship, podcasts have become a powerful tool for sharing discussions and teachings with a global audience, extending beyond the physical congregation.

Through podcasts and social media outreach, houses of worship can share and extend their influence and inclusivity, creating a sense of unity among listeners, regardless of their location.

7. Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality – Embrace the Future

AR VRWhile still emerging, some houses of worship are exploring the use of Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) technologies to create unique and immersive spiritual experiences, transcending traditional boundaries. By embracing this new technology in the House of Worship space, spirituality can become more accessible and adaptable to the evolving preferences of congregations.

We hope you’re inspired by the potential of AV technologies playing an integral role in designing immersive worship experiences, promoting accessibility, and adapting to the changing needs of worshipers. Exertis Almo is committed to assisting our integrator partners in optimizing technology for all your House of Worship projects. Whether it involves a simple upgrade or a complete redesign, our expertise lies in the seamless integration of audio, visual, and streaming capabilities to elevate every worship space.

Contact your Exertis Almo representative for assistance in designing your next AV system or selecting the optimal audiovisual equipment for your project.

The Modern Meeting Room

Our modern meeting rooms are full of the latest technology, but the humans in them are still using the same eyes and ears (interfaces) we were using since we started drawing pictures on cave walls.

Meeting RoomIt would seem to make sense then that we should be designing the room, and the meeting environment, first around the human and then applying the appropriate technology within the boundaries of human factors and ergonomics.

Designing for human factors reduces fatigue and stress, increases comfort, and provides greater user acceptance.  These sound like some pretty good goals for an audiovisual system and where we should first focus our attention.  In other words, we should be designing according to the limitations and needs of people.

So, what does the human need to do?  The human needs to be able to see and not just see but read and comprehend.  The human also needs to be able to hear clearly.  Further, the human needs to be heard clearly and intelligibly to those who are listening regardless of whether the listeners are in the same room or on the far side of a videoconference.

As far as reading and comprehension, there’s an ANSI (American National Standards Institute) standard for this, the ANSI/AVIXA V202 Display Image Size for 2D Content in Audiovisual Systems.  This handy little standard defines content size, image size related to content size, farthest viewer limits, closest viewer limits, and off-axis viewer limits. These limits draw the boundary lines for where to place the humans in physical relation to an image.  And this is within the context of being able to assimilate the content over time without fatigue.  This is not about testing the limits of human vision like with a Snellen chart during an eye exam.  It’s about making sure the humans are comfortable in the viewing environment whether it’s a one-hour meeting or an 8-hour class.  Keep in mind that the content to be comprehended by the viewers may only be a portion of the overall image size and you may need to design for the content portion and not solely the overall image size.  The ANSI/AVIXA V201 Image System Contrast Ratio standard is a companion piece and defines the minimum contrast ratio needed for a good image.  If you’ve done enough system measurements, you know there are way too many projected systems running at a 3:1 contrast ratio.

The human also needs to be able to hear.  While our Acoustic Echo Cancellers (AECs) and Digital Signal Processors (DSPs) have gotten much better at removing steady-state background noise out of the audio being sent to the far side in a videoconference, what about the people trying to communicate with each other in the same room?  Typically, the biggest noise offender is the HVAC system.  For many years now, the American Society of Heating, Refrigeration and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) has published Design Guidelines for HVAC-Related Background Sound in Rooms in the Sound and Vibration chapters of their Handbooks.  You will find that the maximum background noise in conference rooms and classrooms should be no more than NC/RC 30 (approximately 35 dB SPL A-wtd).  The ANSI/ASA S12.60 Acoustical Performance Criteria, Design Requirements, and Guidelines for Schools agree with the maximum background noise level of 35 dB SPL A-wtd.  Again, if you’ve done enough measurements, you know most spaces fall far short of these criteria.  You can think of this as an acoustic signal-to-noise ratio – the ratio of background noise compared to speech level.

Conference MeetingA close second to the maximum allowable background noise level is the acoustical performance of the space.  This is the actual sound signature of the room, and I can think of nothing more important that is also the least considered or even ignored.  While the trend has been towards glass walls, shiny floors, wood panels and other acoustically “hard” surfaces, these materials are the least friendly when it comes to the acoustical criteria needed for human communication.  Jun Lim recently wrote, “No matter how excellent an audio system is, it cannot surpass the limitations imposed by the acoustic environment.”  The late John Murray once said, “Once the sound leaves the loudspeakers, it’s out in the wild”.  “Acoustically friendly” doesn’t have to mean plain or ugly but aesthetics devoid of acoustical considerations impedes the ability to communicate.

A group of us were in a 42 ft. x 32 ft. conference room in an Experience Center of a well-known audio manufacturer in the Chicago area back in November and I stopped everyone and measured the background noise of the room at RC29.  The room was a delight.  Conversation was easy anda low noise floor helps people to relax because they aren’t having to work to understand what’s being said.  An ambient noise problem is magnified if not everyone is able to communicate using their first language.

A major audio manufacturer did a survey just prior to the pandemic.  The survey revealed that 96% of professionals were frustrated with their virtual meetings and 4 out of the top 5 frustrations were related to audio and that “flawless” audio was four times more important than video.  Two of the top five identified frustrations were background noise and not being able to hear each person.  Unfortunately, most buyers responsible for outfitting meeting rooms will be inundated with the lure of new aspect ratios, ever higher resolutions and other shiny audio and video objects that promise to bring all your meetings into the next dimension.  A proper meeting room should first focus on the criteria required for excellent human communication.  While all of us, myself included, absolutely love the look of the latest technology, getting the room itself right should be the priority.  As Pat Brown once said, “The Cloud won’t fix your room.”

I am betting that the leading cause of “Zoom fatigue” is actually the result of the effort and concentration it takes to try and overcome poor audio issues and improperly sized content.

Selling the latest 64:9 display with 32K resolution along with the newest gamma ray-focused mic array and volcanic loudspeakers does not guarantee a high-performance meeting room.  I would argue that a modern high-performance meeting room is one that is designed considering human factors and comfort and adhering to the standards and references mentioned above.  Make it comfortable and easy for the humans to see and hear and they’ll be free to spend their energy on the topic at hand.Exertis Almo Calculators

If you’re interested in how to work towards implementing an actual high-performance meeting room, reach out to anyone here at Exertis Almo and let us help you make your rooms better than anyone else’s.

To make some of this easier, we’ve developed a new online calculator for image sizes and PAG-NAG that can be very useful: https://www.exertisalmo.com/tools/calculator.aspx

If you enjoyed this blog, you’ll enjoy watching these on-demand, educational webinars hosted by Tom.

Tom Kehr

About the Author

Tom Kehr

CTS-D, CTS-I, Network+, LEED Green Associate, ISF-C, ATD Master Trainer

In-House System Designer and Trainer

Supported Applications: System Design

 

Revolutionizing Collaboration: Emerging Trends in All-in-One AV Solutions

In the fast-evolving landscape of professional audio-visual (AV) technology, a notable trend is gaining momentum – the integration of content sharing, conference cameras, microphones, and speakers into all-in-one solutions. This shift is not only transforming the way we approach collaboration, but also streamlining solution designs for integrators and enhancing the overall user experience.

Simplifying Integration for Designers and Installers

Traditionally, AV integrators and installers faced the challenge of coordinating various components for seamless collaboration setups. The emergence of all-in-one solutions, such as those combining content sharing, conference cameras, microphones, and speakers, significantly simplifies the integration process. This not only saves time for designers but also reduces the complexity of installations, making it easier to deliver polished solutions.

User-Friendly Collaboration

End users benefit from the intuitive nature of these integrated solutions. With a unified system, users can effortlessly share content, engage in video conferences, and enjoy high-quality audio without grappling with a web of devices and cables. The simplicity enhances productivity and encourages more effective communication in diverse settings, from boardrooms to remote work setups.

 Affordable and Compact Deliverables

The integration of multiple functionalities into a single device also contributes to cost-effectiveness. The streamlined design eliminates the need for purchasing and maintaining separate components, resulting in a more budget-friendly solution. Moreover, the compact form factor not only saves space, but also allows for flexible deployment in various environments.

Leveraging Cloud-Based Platforms for Advanced Features

Cloud-based platforms play a pivotal role in advancing AV systems. Barco’s XMS Cloud, for instance, empowers integrators to engineer, modify, and monitor AV setups remotely. This capability ensures proactive maintenance, reducing downtime and enhancing overall system reliability. Cloud-based solutions offer scalability, making it easier to adapt to evolving technological needs.

Barco’s All-in-One Innovation

Barco takes a leap forward in embracing these industry trends with the introduction of an all-in-one video bar – a ClickShare, camera, micorphone, and speaker Bar. This innovative product not only aligns with the growing demand for integrated AV solutions but also reflects Barco’s commitment to simplifying collaboration while maintaining high-quality standards and eco-friendly mentality.

By combining the power of content sharing, conferencing capabilities, and audio features in a single device, Barco’s solution caters to the changing dynamics of modern workspaces. The integration of such features into a compact, user-friendly package ensures that end-users experience a seamless collaboration environment.

In conclusion, the emergence of all-in-one AV solutions represents a significant leap forward in the professional audio-visual industry. This trend not only simplifies integration processes for designers and installers, but also enhances the user experience through user-friendly design, affordability, and compactness. The incorporation of cloud-based platforms further ensures that these systems remain adaptive, efficient, and easily maintainable. Barco’s latest offering stands at the forefront of these advancements, showcasing a commitment to innovation and meeting the evolving needs of the modern workplace. While all-in-one are well suited for small- to medium-sized rooms, larger rooms still benefit from the features offered in separate components as they are more suited to the complexities of covering larger spaces. It’s important to keep in mind that all-in-one solutions, as beneficial as they are, are not “once-size-fit-all” solutions.

Reach out to your Exertis Almo rep for assistance in determining which product will be best suited for your project.

Nathan Dwelly BDM
About the Author

Nathan Dwelly

BDM – Brand Specialist

Supported Manufacturers: Barco (East)

What is TAA?

What is TAA compliance, and why do I keep getting asked for it?

Suppose you were like me ten years ago, when I started my new journey selling in the government sector. You may keep hearing terms like TAA (Trade Agreements Act), COO (Country of Origin), DPAS (Defense Priorities and Allocation System), SLED (State, Local, Education), Federal buying season (which starts around August and runs until September 30th), and the dreaded EOD (End of December).

The last one is a joke. I’m sorry that you had to hear that, but the dad in me can’t let those slide.

So, what is TAA?

TAA, or Trade Agreement Act, is a government program that restricts the procurement of goods and services from non-designated countries that do not conform to what the United States regards as a reliable or acceptable procurement source.  To simplify it, countries that may not have the best relationship with our government would benefit from our information. There are some exceptions to that. China and Russia are two examples of countries not part of the Trade Agreement Act.

So why do we keep getting asked for TAA?

Knowing the above and thinking more deeply about the situation, it is to keep our government safe from foreign countries that don’t have our best interest in mind. An example would be if we were selling displays to the FBI and a non-TAA-compliant country found the end user, they could tamper with the processors and Wi-Fi module inside and hack any information that may be shared during a debriefing. You may be asked more in-depth product questions than the simple, “Is it TAA?” They may ask for no Wi-Fi, or maybe, no USB ports. These are requirements for a secure device, and taking these precautions serve as bigger steps to prevent the example above from happening.

FlagsIs Country of Origin (COO) the same as TAA Compliance?

The short answer is, No. COO can be mended in a couple of different ways, which is why it’s important to make sure our manufacturers are stating TAA-Compliance on the product. Here’s a quick example of why this is important. In 2013, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) found that a company was building Ethernet Switches in Malaysia (a non-TAA Compliant country) and the product was being shipped to Singapore (a TAA compliant country) and had the US-based software downloaded while in Singapore.  Under the agreement act, this would not count as building or programming the device which would make the COO Malaysia and not Singapore.

As salespeople, it’s our job to help ensure we try to meet these requirements when asked. My hope is, next time you are asked the simple question, “Is this TAA?” you can look at it a little differently and with a better understanding.

Nick Carnahan

About the Author

Nick Carnahan | DSCE

BDM – Brand Specialist

Supported Manufacturers: Avocor and Christie

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