Our InstallMarket event on 4 September drew contributions from distinguished panels of speakers and moderators. Here are short summaries of three of the afternoon sessions, covering two vertical sectors and a general discussion of AV-IT integration.
In the hospitality session, entitled ‘What Hospitality Venues Really Want’ John Grew, MD and principal consultant, Spartan Comms, commented: “The hotel room used to be the place that had the technology that everybody wanted in the home – like a big plasma TV. What we’ve found over the past four or five years… is that the AV in there is far less than you have in your own space.”
The challenge for hoteliers, he said, is find new products and experiences for the guests, not just within bedroooms but also in their meeting spaces and public spaces.
The three panellists developed this theme by talking about three different kinds of hotel installation. Tom Blackwell, managing director of AV3, described an audio installation in the public areas of the high-end Edition hotel in London; Peter Hall, managing director of Future Projections talked about the cinema installation in the Ham Yard Hotel; and Daven Bodhani, managing director of the Hotel TV Company, talked about alternative guest-room revenue sources, given that the advent of online streaming services has had a hugely negative impact on in-room pay-TV.
The session ‘What Moves Transportation Technology’ concentrated on control room technology, as it featured specialists in this are: Paul Brooks, business development manager at AVI-SPL and Daniel Borg, managing director of Electrosonic AB.
Brooks made the point that in transportation, near real-time processing of the image is more important than high resolution. Increasingly he is finding himself talking to the large transport systems integrators, such as Siemens, to discuss how their software can be integrated into control rooms.
He also remarked that there is often the need for a consultancy approach when selling control rooms to local authorities, as the client contact may have little or no knowledge of how they should be designed and what they can achieve.
In the final session, ‘Whose Network Is IT, Anyway?’, three integrators – Mike Brooman, director of Vanti, Graham Fry, managing director of avsnet and Rich Denham, managing director of FitzPro, discussed their experiences of projects in the light of AV-IT integration. The session was moderated by Keith Humphreys, principal consultant at euroLAN Research.
Brooman pointed out that, while there are huge cost savings to be had from converged systems, that is generally not the line to take with clients: “Don’t talk to clients about about how much money they’re going to save – talk about how much better [the new system is] going to be.”
Fry said that, since his company rebranded to avsnet and expanded its skillset to include networking and telephony alongside traditional AV, it has been able to supply a larger proportion of the total project on many occasions.
Denham said that IT people can be scared off the prospect of AV people plugging equipment into ‘their’ network. Being able to demonstrate a basic understanding of IT and networking helps here, as does establishing “dialogue from day one”.