News

Christie Acquires Arsenal Media
June 5, 2014

Christie (Cypress CA) has acquired Montreal, Canada-based Arsenal Media Inc., a digital signage agency specializing in experiential installations, interactive content and strategic digital signage installations. Arsenal Media will become Christie Creative Media Services, operating within Christie’s Global Professional Services group.  
Sean James, Vice President, Global Professional Services, who will oversee this operation, said, “We are committed to better serving our customers with end-to-end digital and experiential installation solutions. Arsenal Media’s expertise in creating award-winning content, supported by a common thread strategy from concept to implementation, will allow Christie to broaden its digital signage capabilities. This acquisition is very timely, given industry participants are increasingly gravitating toward providers with comprehensive offerings.” Arsenal Media’s track record includes delivering high impact digital signage and experiential installations with high-profile companies.


As part of the acquisition, Arsenal Media’s Co-Founder, Denys Lavigne, will join Christie as the Senior Director, Experience Strategy and Creative Services within Global Professional Services. Speaking about the synergies being created, he said, “We have cultivated an excellent relationship with Christie over the past six years, and this blending of expertise makes for a natural progression for both groups. We share a common passion for exceeding customers’ expectations and, as part of the Christie family, we feel we now have all of the tools to continue delivering next-generation digital signage experiences for our clients.” The only impact to Arsenal Media’s existing client base is that they now gain access to a broader scope of services and expertise.
Founded in 1999, Arsenal Media is a creative agency specialized in the development of experiential digital signage projects and innovative interactive installations. The company’s understanding of the digital signage media blends solid creative and technical skills that help clients define, create and deploy best-of-class digital experiences. Some of Arsenal’s recent projects can be seen on Christie’s YouTube channel

VESA Announces DockPort Standard
June 5, 2014

The Video Electronics Standards Association (VESA, Newark CA) has released the DockPort standard. Developed by several VESA member companies, DockPort is an optional extension of the DisplayPort standard that will allow USB 3.1 data and DC power for battery charging to be carried over a single DisplayPort connector and cable that also carries high-resolution audio/video (AV) data.
This new extension of the DisplayPort standard is backward compatible with all existing DisplayPort devices. When a DockPort-enabled DisplayPort source, such as a computer or tablet, is connected with a DockPort-enabled DisplayPort sink, such as a display monitor or docking station, AV plus USB data and power will be transferred over a common cable through a single connector. If either the source or sink device is not DockPort-enabled, source and sink will recognize only the DisplayPort AV data stream.
“As computing platforms become increasingly mobile, it becomes necessary to reduce the number of external connectors,” explained Steve Belt, Corporate Vice President-Strategic Alliances & Solutions Enablement AMD, a VESA member company. “With DockPort, VESA has developed a technology standard that enhances elegant docking designs, reduces mobile form factors, and enriches the user experience with streamlined, one-cable access to a wide range of external displays, peripherals and storage.”
DockPort is the first royalty-free industry standard that combines these three essential interface functions into a single connector. VESA first revealed its intention to develop this standard at the 2014 International Consumer Electronics Show. “Until today, most mobile computing platforms required three separate interfaces to support power charging, data transmission and external video,” said Chris Griffith, Business Development Manager for Consumer and Computing Interface at Texas Instruments, a VESA member company. “With DockPort, VESA has elegantly merged this ungainly tangle of wires into a single, sleek connector, combining power charging with the industry’s most popular data transport (USB) and the industry’s highest-speed AV transport, DisplayPort. DockPort can reduce system implementation cost as designers can reduce external connectors and simplify docking implementations.”


VESA is developing a compliance test protocol to certify systems that meet the DockPort standard, which will then be permitted to display VESA’s new DockPort logo on their packaging as a guide for consumers seeking this capability.
“The new DockPort standard demonstrates the enormous adaptability of the DisplayPort standard,” according to VESA Board Chair Alan Kobayashi, Fellow & Executive R&D Management for DisplayPort Group at MegaChips Technology America. “On the one hand, DisplayPort is a flexible AV transport protocol that easily coexists with other protocols, like USB; it plays nicely with others. On the other hand, DisplayPort is also a robust and proven connector design whose electro-mechanical properties can accommodate data and power over a common passive copper cable and interface.”
The DockPort standard is offered to VESA members without any license fee. For more information about DisplayPort, go to http://www.displayport.org or connect on YouTube.

FCC Expands Wireless Microphone License Eligibility
June 4, 2014

The Federal Communications Commission recently completed a multi-year exploration of the role of wireless microphones in modern content production and the technical challenges that surround their use. The study included consultations with wireless microphone users across many different types of productions.
Concluding that the use of wireless microphones is an integral part of major productions and events, and essential to maintaining high standards of production quality, the FCC has adopted new rules that expand wireless microphone license eligibility to include professional sound companies and venues that routinely use 50 or more wireless microphones. The move will ensure that concert venues, theaters, convention centers, theme parks, professional sound companies and other large-scale users will continue to be able to employ wireless microphones reliably as spectrum use intensifies.

After consideration of technical and regulatory factors, the Commission concluded that the use of wireless microphones (and related equipment, such as in-ear monitors and production intercoms) at major productions and events could be effectively protected by expanding license eligibility. Wireless microphone users may request protection from interference from TV Band Devices (also known as “white space” devices) at the time and location of these events by registering in one of the FCC-approved TV Bands Devices Databases. Licensed users are able to obtain protection in a more streamlined and efficient manner. Previously, only broadcasters, cable networks and TV/film production companies were eligible for licenses.

Thanks to Shure Inc. for this update.

Industry Mourns: John R. Chase
June 4, 2014

John R. Chase, Jr., 56, of Palm Harbor FL, passed away May 15, 2014, at Tampa General Hospital surrounded by his family. Chase’s 40 years in the music industry included working for Washington Music in Maryland, he was a technician and traveled with the legendary Stevie Wonder, and he was a field representative for Mainline Marketing, Line 6 and Korg. Chase also had his own business for several years, Music Lines, where he represented some of the top companies in the music industry.


He enjoyed golf, and writing and playing music. He had a great sense of humor and loved his family. Survivors include his wife, Cheri, sons Nicholas and Andrew, mother Marie (Francis) Mache, brother Gary, father John and the Mogil family.
Throughout his career, his love of music, infectious smile and outgoing personality were all factors in his success. He had many friends worldwide and surely will be missed.

Radial Takes On Global Sales, Distribution For Jensen’s Iso-Max Line
June 3, 2014

Vancouver, Canada-based Radial Engineering Ltd. has taken on the global sales, marketing and distribution ofJensen’s Iso-Max products. Iso-Max is a range of isolators that provide ground isolation and noise abatement for audio and video in broadcast, home theater and commercial AV integration. Radial has a long history with Jensen, according to company President Peter Janis. When Radial was founded in 1992, we started life as a distributor. One of our first product lines was Jensen. Back then, we sold raw transformers to sound companies and broadcasters that, in turn, built custom multi-channel snakes and splitters. As the market for snakes matured, sound companies moved away from custom snakes and home-built isolators to buying off-the-shelf solutions.” He added, “In 1996, we launched the Radial JDI (Jensen DI), which has become the most popular passive direct box in live concert touring and has been a cornerstone for Radial sales around the globe. Over the years, Radial has become Jensen’s largest customer and as we have grown, Radial and Jensen have become synonymous.”

Janis continued, Anyone who knows Jensen knows that the company is engineering based. A few years ago, Jensen decided to take a similar route to ours by producing a range of plug-and-play solutions under the Iso-Max range. Jensen recently came to the conclusion that, unless there are feet on the street telling dealers and contractors that the product exists, Jensen would miss out on a huge opportunity. This led to discussions that culminated in Radial taking over the sales and marketing side of the business. Over the coming months we will be setting up retail and contractor partners, independent reps in the United States and Canada and formalizing exclusive agreements with distributors around the globe.” Jensen transformers are made by hand in the United States and are supported with a 20-year factory warranty..

Herman ProAV Announces Distribution Partnership With SurgeX
June 2, 2014

Herman ProAV, a provider of professional AV products, procurement services and labor resources to systems integrators in the commercial AV and broadcast industries, has a new distribution partnership with SurgeX, which provides professional grade power protection and energy intelligence solutions. “Herman’s leadership in the commercial AV and broadcast markets, and its future-facing distribution model, make it an ideal partner for SurgeX,” said Shannon Townley, President of SurgeX. “Herman recognizes the growing importance of intelligent energy management and power protection in our increasingly connected world, and we’re proud to serve the needs of its broad and growing client base.”
“We are excited to partner with SurgeX, to provide our customers with another top product manufacturer of commercial AV products,” said Jeffrey Wolf, Executive VP, Herman ProAV, adding, “SurgeX’s industry-leading energy management solutions, together with our leadership in offering systems integrators the best-in-class logistical support and supply chain solutions, provide a great benefit to our mutual customers. We continually look for opportunities to grow and enhance our value to our customers and the industry.”

As part of this partnership, Herman ProAV is also helping make SurgeX’s new international product line readily available to domestic dealers. As a stateside distributor, Herman ProAV will provide a simpler procurement process for domestic dealers working with customers outside North America.
SurgeX’s technology is engineered to properly protect commercial AV equipment from AC surges and electrical transients that can disrupt sound quality and digital performance. Herman has two distinct and complementary divisions: Herman Pro AV and Herman Integration Services. Celebrating more than 50 years in business, Herman has leveraged its industry experience to help customers improve operational efficiencies and achieve cost savings related to the procurement and management of project materials and labor resources.

Kramer Electronics Makes Strategic Investment in WOW Vision
May 29, 2014

Kramer Electronics (Jerusalem, Israel/Clinton NJ), a worldwide supplier of signal management products, has acquired 50% of Singapore-based WOW Vision. WOW Vision manufactures product solutions for corporate and hospitality meeting spaces, and educational facilities. Its products enable convenient wireless connection to, and the sharing of, large screen displays from laptops and mobile devices, and provide productive two-way collaboration. While Kramer is assuming responsibility for worldwide branding and distribution of Wow Vision’s products, Wow Vision will continue to conceive and develop products that make meetings and learning environments more productive and more interactive, they report.
“We have developed the industry’s leading technologies for facilitating the effective wireless connection of meeting participants to a large screen display, and for providing unparalleled meeting collaboration in the corporate and education markets,” stated Dr. Dinesh Tripathi, CEO of WOW Vision. “We pride ourselves on our ability to develop unique technology solutions for this market segment.”

“We are very excited about adding WOW Vision to the Kramer family because BYOD, collaboration and wireless applications are increasingly critical in today’s converging AV/IT world,” stated Dr. Joseph Kramer, CEO of Kramer Electronics. “Most importantly, though, as WOW Vision continues to design and build cutting edge product solutions to make meetings smarter and more productive in business and education environments, we can leverage the strengths of our Kramer brand, our marketing acumen and our worldwide distribution channels to get the products into the hands of our customers.”
Kramer Electronics will be launching its first two products, the Kramer VIA Collage and the Kramer VIA Connect, at InfoComm 2014.

AFMG Establishes North American Office
May 28, 2014

AFMG (Ahnert Feistel Media Group, Berlin, Germany), known for its acoustic simulation and measurement programs EASE, EASERA and SysTune, has created its first official office in the United States, in Minneapolis MN. AFMG Services North America, LLC (AFMG NA), will be taking responsibility for all inquiries in the US and Canada. This step was made to provide direct support and services to customers on the North American continent.
According to the company, constant growth and a broadening range of software tools have been the signs of success. The Berlin-based software firm assumed international distribution of its products in 2012, continuing the expansion of business in Germany and Europe. “AFMG had already been operating with a professional support team for EASE, the industry standard in modeling of electro and room acoustics,” the company said. “Now, the founding of AFMG NA further underlines AFMG’s aspiration to always be readily available for their customers.”
The AFMG NA team includes President/Founder Bruce C. Olson, Charlie Hughes and Ana Jaramillo. Olson has been an active member of the acoustics and pro audio community for many years, having worked closely with AES and ASA. He has more than 20 years of involvement with AFMG.

Hughes, located in North Carolina, joined the AFMG support team in 2010, and has more than 25 years of experience in the professional audio industry and, according to the company, “He is the authority for loudspeaker system design and assessment of quality loudspeaker data for GLL files, AFMG’s loudspeaker file format. He is also a respected expert for AFMG’s measurement programs SysTune and EASERA.” In addition to general software classes, he provides manufacturer training for EASE SpeakerLab. He is a member of the AES, CEA Standards Groups and other institutions.
Ana Maria Jaramillo, providing support in the Minnesota office, has a PhD in architectural acoustics from Virginia Tech. Her experience as a professor at two universities in her native Colombia and her focus on room acoustics supplement the team’s otherwise electro-acoustic background.
AFMG will be displaying all of its simulation and measurement programs at the InfoComm Show in Las Vegas.

Industry Mourns PreSonus’ CTO Bob Tudor
May 28, 2014

Bob Tudor, PreSonus Chief Technology Officer, has passed away. According to the company, Tudor, a legend in the pro audio/MI industry, followed a long and winding road to PreSonus. A child prodigy, he studied piano with Arthur Rubinstein protégé and Julliard fellow Josephine Bacher. He later studied electrical engineering at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute but switched to the Berklee College of Music, where he studied film scoring, jazz and music production. He cofounded Boston's Metropolis recording studio and recorded such well-known acts as Peter Wolf/J.Geils Band, Extreme, Aime Mann, New Kids on the Block and Bobby Brown. He also played keyboards and acoustic piano on numerous records as a studio musician and remixed “Cradle of Love” for Billy Idol.
Fascinated with how gear worked, Tudor eventually combined his passions for music and engineering, creating a long list of companies, products and technologies. As one of the pioneers at Mackie Designs, he created the company's line of digital mixers, hard-disk recorders and control surfaces. After leaving Mackie, he founded SaneWave, where he developed products for an assortment of pro audio manufacturers.

Overall, Tudor and the SaneWave team had designed more than 100 products, including the TASCAM US-2400 Control Surface and X-48 Hard Disk Multitrack Audio Recorder, Electro-Voice DC-1 Speaker Processor, M-Audio ProjectMix and Lexicon MX-500 FX Processor. He did additional projects for QSC, Samson, Shure, Alesis, Gibson, Fender and others. One of SaneWave's best clients was PreSonus, for which he helped define and design the FaderPort and the StudioLive digital-mixer line. That led to his decision to join the company full time in 2008. His products have garnered five TEC Awards, five MIPA Awards and numerous others.
As Chief Technology Officer, Tudor oversaw all PreSonus advanced development activities, and evaluated and implemented emerging technologies that have been used in many of the company’s most successful products. Along with PreSonus CSO Jim Odom, he developed the strategic direction of the company's innovative products and technologies.
Said Jim Mack, PreSonus CEO, “Anyone who has ever had the pleasure of working with Bob, or even interacting with him at events or trade shows, was likely touched by his energy, enthusiasm and passion for technology and, specifically, technology that allowed people to make better music. He was always fascinated with what could be done and was never really deterred by challenges or technical hurdles. He not only made things that no one else could see or do possible, he made them look easy. We have not only lost a truly amazing engineer but a very dear friend to so many people in this industry.”

Harman To Acquire AMX
May 21, 2014

Harman International Industries, Inc., has signed an agreement with The Duchossois Group, Inc. and its affiliates to acquire AMX LLC (Richardson TX) for US$365 million. AMX is a provider of enterprise control and automation systems and audio and video switching and distributing solutions. The transaction is subject to customary closing conditions, including applicable regulatory approvals.
Dinesh C. Paliwal, Chairman/President/CEO of Harman, said. “Harman is the leader in smart connectivity. Our vision is to extend our reach beyond the car into the enterprise, where we already have a substantial audio presence.” He added, “AMX is the global technology leader in enterprise control and automation, as well as audio and video switching and distribution. With the addition of AMX, Harman will be uniquely positioned to provide complete audio, video, lighting and automation solutions to our customers globally.” AMX employs more than 600 people across its operations in 19 locations worldwide.
“Starting with the acquisition of Martin lighting last year, Harman has set forth a clear strategy to add visual solutions to our legacy of audio offerings,” said Blake Augsburger, President, Harman Professional division. “AMX’s strong portfolio of video distribution hardware and software is a significant step into the video domain, reinforcing Harman’s commitment to expand our professional portfolio with industry-leading technologies and brands in adjacent and complementary markets.”

“The sale to Harman fulfills one of our fundamental objectives, which was to position this business with a leading entity that will take AMX to an even higher level of performance and success,” said Robert L. Fealy, President/COO, the Duchossois Group, and Chairman of AMX.
AMX will be integrated into Harman’s Professional division, which incorporates AKG Acoustics, BSS Audio, Crown amplifiers, dbx, JBL Professional, Lexicon, Soundcraft, Studer and Martin lighting. Harman’s Professional division designs, manufactures and markets professional audio and lighting products for recording and broadcast, musicians, cinema, touring sound, commercial applications like airports, stadiums, hotels and concert halls. Harman systems are installed in entertainment and hospitality complexes, transportation centers, and cultural and academic institutions around the globe.

Archwave Acquires Exclusive CopperLan License Agreement
May 12, 2014

Archwave (Zurich, Switzerland) has announced an exclusive licensing agreement with Klavis Technologies S.A. (Braine-L'Alleud, Belgium) for CopperLan, the networking framework for command and control of musical instruments, pro audio and show control.
Archwave has, in recent years, invested in technologies including RAVENNA and AES67 as part of its plan to become a global leader for solutions in networking, recording and USB connectivity for audio applications. Under the terms of this latest agreement, Archwave agreed to the management of existing and future licensing agreements, integrating the engineering team, and the global distribution and sub-licensing of the CopperLan technology. This transaction will leverage Archwave’s market presence and technology platforms while combining CopperLan’s existing markets and licensing portfolio.

“In its simplest form, we see CopperLan as the next ‘MIDI 3.0 on steroids,’ allowing for innovative ways to connect and control musical instruments, audio equipment and networks,” said Archwave CEO Arie van den Broek. “Besides easy integration and swift time-to-market platforms for developers and manufacturers, we believe adaptation of cutting-edge technologies will also depend on new and innovative technologies that ensure user-friendliness and ease-of-use for systems and networks that increase in complexity. CopperLan is an integral part of that vision and therefore a logical next step.”
“With this transaction, we are taking another important step in CopperLan’s journey to become the leading technology for command and control,” said Klavis CEO David Herscovitch. “Klavis and Archwave have played significant roles in shaping the MI and pro audio industries, and with this agreement the CopperLan brand will strengthen its reach beyond its current scope into the command and control of audio-networks.”

Cirrus Logic To Acquire Wolfson Microelectronics
May 2, 2014

Cirrus Logic, Inc. (Austin TX) is acquiring Wolfson Microelectronics plc (Edingburgh, Scotland) at a price of £2.35 per share in cash, implying an enterprise value of £278 million, or about $467 million. The transaction will be financed by existing cash and $225 million in debt funding. “Wolfson has a rich history of audio innovation, a broad catalog of audio products and a first-class customer list,” said Jason Rhode, Cirrus Logic President/CEO, adding, “This acquisition strengthens Cirrus Logic’s core business as a leader in audio signal processing components, enhances our ability to differentiate our products with software and adds new product categories, such as MEMS microphones to our portfolio.” Michael Ruettger, Chairman of the Board of Wolfson Microelectronics, said, “We believe this will create a powerful platform for future growth, above and beyond our standalone potential.”

The acquisition is expected to be completed in the second half of 2014. Cirrus Logic expects the acquisition to be accretive to non-GAAP earnings per share in the first full quarter after the transaction closes (excluding the impact of one-time integration and acquisition related costs). The transaction is subject to regulatory approvals and the approval of Wolfson shareholders.

VESA, MIPI Alliance Release Display Stream Compression Standard
April 22, 2014

The Video Electronics Standards Association (VESA, Newark CA), working in liaison with the MIPI Alliance, have finalized and made available the Display Stream Compression (DSC) Standard, version 1.0.
VESA developed the DSC standard as an industry-wide compression standard for video interfaces, offering visually lossless performance and low latency. DSC has been adopted into VESA’s embedded DisplayPort (eDP) v1.4 and into MIPI Display Serial Interface (DSI) Specification v1.2, which are used for embedded display interfaces within mobile systems, including smartphones, tablets and laptops. It is anticipated that the DSC standard will also be used for external display interfaces to computer monitors and televisions.
Increasing display resolution and higher refresh rates present challenges for small-display mobile devices and laptops, as well as large external displays. As display resolutions increase, the interface payload capacity must increase either with more power-consuming bandwidth, video data compression or both. Displays going beyond 4K resolutions will push the video data rate beyond the current limits of the interface standards. For example, standard 1080p displays require a video data rate of 3.5 gigabits/sec; 4K displays at 60Hz require 14 gigabits/sec and future 8K displays will require more than 50 gigabits/sec. VESA’s DSC standard v1.0 enables up to 66% data rate reduction, extending battery life in mobile systems and laptops, while simplifying the electrical interface requirements for future 4K and 8K displays.
“VESA recognized the need for display interface compression in mobile devices to extend battery life without compromising visual quality,” said Dale Stolitzka, VESA Display Stream Compression Task Group Chairman and member of Samsung Display America Laboratory. “In addition, ongoing development of DisplayPort standards, which includes 8K resolution support, foresaw the need for compression because of inherent limits in the existing display interface cables. VESA realized that compression was becoming a common need in the industry, and that a standard compression coding system could meet these common display interface needs.”

“We are pleased to have contributed to the development of the DSC standard through our liaison agreement with VESA,” said Joel Huloux, Chairman of the Board, MIPI Alliance. “We came to the same conclusion, regarding the need for a video interface compression standard, and realized that both organizations and the industry would benefit through this collaborative effort. DSC enables a single codec for system chips that have multiple interfaces.”
The VESA DSC Task Group, in collaboration with the MIPI Alliance Display Working Group, co-defined requirements for a high quality compression specification that meets the needs of today’s varied display usage, which includes a wide range of image types from still graphics and text overlaps, to photography and video. The new coding system also addresses usage on a wide variety of display types, sizes and viewing conditions.
Unlike more complex compression algorithms, such as MPEG, the DSC standard uses a less complex algorithm that provides a lower compression rate, and consumes fewer system resources including power. DSC provides low latency, which is important for interactive systems. Through extensive subjective testing of the standard, DSC is shown to deliver visibly lossless performance for graphics, text, images and video. The DSC encoding algorithm is based on delta pulse code modulation (DPCM), an Indexed Color History (ICH), an entropy encoder and a rate buffer that guarantees video data throughput for any possible display content.
The DSC standard is available free to VESA members and for $350 for non-members. For additional technical information on DSC, please see the VESA Display Stream Compression white paper. VESA eDP v1.4 and MIPI DSI v1.2 are available to the members of the respective organizations.
More information about DisplayPort is available here, or go to YouTube.

Contemporary Research Acquires J.S. Techtronics And Forms CR Assembly Division
April 9, 2014

Contemporary Research (Addison TX) has acquired J.S. Techtronics Inc. (Dallas TX) and formed a new CR Assembly division for contract electronics assembly labor. Both companies have worked closely together for more than 20 years. Contemporary Research offers professional-quality QMOD HD Modulator-IPTV Encoders, HDTV display control systems and fully controllable ATSC/NTSC/QAM tuners. In addition to undertaking all Contemporary Research product circuit board assembly, CR Assembly will offer its services to other electronics companies large and small, according to Contemporary Research President Scott Hetzler.

Morris Ngo, an industry veteran with more than 26 years of electronics manufacturing experience, will continue with CR Assembly as Production Manager. Michelle Hetzler, formerly with Contemporary Research for more than 10 years, will serve as General Manager of CR Assembly.

BICSI To Launch Expanded Authorized Design Training Program
April 2, 2014

BICSI (Tampa FL), the association advancing the information and communications technology (ICT) community, is expanding its design training delivery through its upgraded Authorized Design Training Provider (ADTP) Program. The ADTP Program further expands upon BICSI’s commitment to broader local outreach because it allows for BICSI design training to be taught by approved training organizations worldwide. This outreach helps to bring training closer to BICSI members and stakeholders, allowing them to stay up-to-date on the latest industry advancements.
ADTPs, BICSI-approved organizations licensed to offer BICSI design training, use the same quality curriculum, classroom equipment and materials offered in a BICSI-conducted class. Organizations accepted into the ADTP program can offer BICSI ICT distribution design courses, providing designers worldwide with access to training in the proper methods of design, integration and implementation of telecommunications and data technology systems and their related infrastructure.

Quality design training made available through authorized providers is the next step in BICSI’s continual efforts to bring education, training and credentialing closer to the ICT professionals. Electronic testing through Pearson VUE has helped hundreds of individuals obtain BICSI credentials without having to travel to a distant testing site. The goal of the ADTP Program is to create the same convenience with expanded access to BICSI design training.
Applications to participate in the ADTP Program are being accepted for review. The Program will officially launch on July 1, 2014. For more information, email adtpservices@bicsi.org or call 813.979.1991 or 800.242.7405 (USA and Canada toll-free).

InfoComm Launches Audiovisual Providers of Excellence Designation
March 31, 2014

InfoComm International (Fairfax VA), the trade association representing the audiovisual industry worldwide, has debuted its new Audiovisual Providers of Excellence designation. InfoComm APEx, replacing the Certified AudioVisual Service Provider Program (CAVSP), which will conclude at the end of the year. “After 10 years of CAVSP, it was time to reevaluate this initiative, and consider whether it continues to meet the goals of the members and the association. We reached the conclusion that today’s business environment demands a more robust program aimed at promoting industry quality,” said David Labuskes, CTS, RCDD, Executive Director/CEO. “For example, it is important for the AV customer to have a role in determining whether or not client satisfaction is achieved; therefore, positive customer evaluations are a program requirement.”
InfoComm APEx will also recognize a broader base of industry certifications beyond InfoComm’s CTS credential as a sign of commitment to quality. “CTS certification, while extremely valuable, should not be the lone-determinant of a company’s achievement of industry excellence,” said Labuskes. “Many InfoComm members offer product-specific certifications and courses that are valuable. There are other renewable certifications that are highly regarded and they should be considered when evaluating a company’s commitment to quality.”

The Audiovisual Providers of Excellence program also mandates the use of two industry standards to foster better communication between the AV provider and the client. “Because both the ANSI/InfoComm Standard Guide for Audiovisual Systems Design and Coordination Processes and the AV System Performance Verification Standard were developed in an open, consensus-based process, approved by an independent outside body, and are aimed at providing proper communication and documentation between the AV industry and the client, using both on several projects is a requirement. InfoComm makes all of its standards available to its members at no charge in order to drive the adoption of practices that will advance the industry,” offered Labuskes.
Creating a program that acknowledges outstanding companies of all sizes was a priority, and requirements vary based on the number of company employees. InfoComm will invest in a substantial online campaign to promote APEx companies to end-customers. A toolkit that APEx companies can use to promote their designation will be made available to participating companies.
Although this program is aimed at integrators and design consultancies, InfoComm will unveil related programs for the live events, technology manager and manufacturing communities later this year, with input from these constituencies.

dnp denmark Creates dnp North America
March 26, 2014

Danish projector manufacturer dnp denmark (Karlslunde, Denmark) is changing its distribution model to market its optical screen technology to new and existing North and South American channel and OEM partners. Located in Anaheim CA, Applied Screen Technologies (AST) will be conducting business as dnp North America. According to the company, this change in distribution strategy will maximize exposure toward the commercial market with dnp-branded channel products and its North American OEM partners. Denmark will be lending its full support to US-based dnp North America, which will provide a more concentric operation with sales, accounting, service and distribution, all in Anaheim. Jesse Walsh continues as US Sales and Marketing Manager.

On April 1, AST will begin doing business as dnp North America, with showroom and full service training facilities in Anaheim. According to Soeren Kraemmergaard, dnp denmark Global Sales & Marketing Manager, “This will enable existing and potential customers to fully explore all of dnp’s product innovations in high ambient light conditions, as well as speak directly with dnp trained and dedicated personnel to create more focus on commercial channel development and OEM business in general.”

WISA, ALMA Sign Membership Agreements
March 25, 2014

The Wireless Speaker and Audio Association (WiSA, Sunnyvale CA), an industry group dedicated to bringing reliable, high-resolution, interoperable, wireless, surround sound audio products to the home theater market, and the Association of Loudspeaker Manufacturing and Acoustics International (ALMA, Phoenix AZ), a not-for-profit trade association dedicated to improving the design and manufacture of loudspeakers, have signed membership agreements in each other’s organizations. Both groups are dedicated to the advancement and growth of the loudspeaker industry while focusing on different, yet complementary, areas of technology. The relationship will serve to address those common interests, such as the requirements for designing and manufacturing high-resolution digital audio.

The WiSA Association delivered the industry’s only interoperability and compliance test specification (CTS) for ensuring the quality of the wireless link between transmitting devices, such as HDTVs, AVRs, DVD/Blu-ray players, gaming consoles, set-top boxes and receiving devices like speakers and subwoofers. WiSA-compliant systems deliver cinema-quality sound with 24 bit, up to 96KHz uncompressed, interference-free audio. ALMA International, in its 50-plus year history, has set numerous standards addressing loudspeaker design, components, performance and testing.
“There is a great deal of synergy in our two associations,” said ALMA Association Manager, Barry Vogel. “ALMA and WiSA are both dedicated to the loudspeaker industry, but we come at it from different angles. We look forward to exploring areas of mutual interest and benefit to our memberships, several of whom are members of both organizations.”
“As the leader in the wireless high-resolution audio category, one of our objectives is to engage with other standards bodies and organizations that work on similar issues affecting our members, as well as set the direction for the industry,” said Jim Venable, President of the WiSA Association.

Electra Partners Acquires Calrec Audio
March 24, 2014

Calrec Audio (Hebden Bridge, UK) has been acquired by Electra Partners (London, UK), and will become a sister company to Allen & Heath, which Electra acquired last year. “When we made our initial investment in the professional audio sector by supporting the buyout of Allen & Heath, Electra provided all of the new financing to ensure flexibility with respect to further acquisitions in the sector,” said Alex Fortescue, Chief Investment Partner of Electra Partners. “The acquisition of Calrec shows the benefits of this approach, and both companies are well-placed to accelerate growth as a result.” Celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, Calrec has developed a range of digital consoles relied on by the world’s most successful broadcasters.




“We are delighted to have funded the acquisition of Calrec,” said Charles Elkington, Investment Partner of Electra Partners. “Part of our investment strategy in the professional audio sector is to acquire additional businesses to create a group of market-leading professional audio brands. We look forward to working with Roger Henderson and his team to continue to invest in developing new products for Calrec’s customers.”

Barco Acquires X2O Media
March 21, 2014

Barco (Kortrijk, Belgium/Duluth GA) has acquired Montreal, Canada-based enterprise communication specialist X2O Media. In line with Barco’s strategy to move beyond display and projection technology, this acquisition expands its portfolio with a complete solution to deliver enhanced and cross-divisional content distribution and workflow, based on advanced networking and connectivity capabilities, the company said. X2O Media was established in 2006 as a spinoff from VertigoXmedia, a company with strong expertise in the field of broadcast graphics automation. X2O’s platform enables the connection, management and delivery of real-time data through dynamic and interactive channels, from any source to any screen, anywhere.
According to Eric Van Zele, CEO of Barco, “Customers’ expectations regarding workflow and content management shift to end-to-end and easy-to-use visualization systems and cloud-based solutions. X2O Media’s platform will play a crucial role in allowing Barco to tap into these new opportunities, while differentiating itself further from competition.”



David Wilkins, President/CEO of X2O Media, said, “We are pleased to be welcomed at a major company like Barco, which will hugely expand our market reach….At the moment, our market is limited to North America, but benefiting from Barco’s global network, we will be able to grow our activities worldwide.”
X2O Media will be integrated into the Barco organization as a business venture, allowing it to continue the development of its platform technology, while leveraging its business growth from Barco’s worldwide sales and service presence. In addition, the X2O-specific capabilities and technology will be integrated gradually in solutions for all of Barco’s markets. X2O Media posted sales of $5 million (Canadian) in 2013, employs about 40 people and was backed by Propulsion Ventures. The price of this acquisition is set to $21 million (Canadian). Barco is active in more than 90 countries with 4000 employees worldwide, and posted sales of 1.158 billion euros in 2013.

InfoComm Plans Regional Shows For In-House Tech Professionals, Purchasers
March 20, 2014

InfoComm International (Fairfax VA), plans to host a new series of two-day trade shows aimed at technology managers, in-house technical staff, institutional buyers and end-users. InfoComm Connections, debuting at the Pennsylvania Convention Center in Philadelphia, October 22 to 23, will offer exhibits, speakers, industry training and networking opportunities.



“This first show will allow technology professionals from New England to the Carolinas the experience of a show within a very short travel distance from where they work,” said David Labuskes, CTS, RCDD, Executive Director/CEO, InfoComm International. “This will allow more than 2000 in-house experts, technology managers and other attendees to see a wide range of product demonstrations, attend keynote and training sessions, network and more.” It is expected that InfoComm Connections will ultimately feature about 80 exhibitors in 12,000 net square feet. In addition to InfoComm University training, InfoComm Connections will feature manufacturer training and partner group conference offerings in affordable, focused sessions.
Registration for the October event will open in July. A second InfoComm Connections show is set for March 4 to 5, 2015, in San Jose CA. With the introduction of these new shows, InfoComm will no longer host the Washington DC-based GovComm show.

Mitsubishi, Pioneer Collaborate On OLED Lighting Modules
March 19, 2014

Mitsubishi Chemical Corp. (Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo) and Pioneer Corp. (Kawasaki, Kanagawa Prefecture) began mass production and shipment of the OLED lighting module with a wet coating process for a light-emitting layer in March. Last September, the two companies began shipping samples of the module, while working on establishing mass production technology.



This module measures 92.4mm2 externally (light-emitting part is about 76mm2) and emits incandescent fluorescent light (color temperature, 2870K). Manufacturing cost is significantly lower than conventional modules with a vapor deposition film formation process for the light-emitting layer, the companies report. The module is manufactured by Pioneer OLED Lighting Devices Corp. (Yonezawa, Yamagata Prefecture), a wholly owned subsidiary of Pioneer Corp., and distributed by MC Pioneer OLED Lighting Corp. (Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo), a joint venture of Mitsubishi Chemical and Pioneer.

Hammond USA Chooses Conquest Sound
March 18, 2014

Audio wiring systems manufacturer Conquest Sound Inc. has been chosen by Hammond USA to design and manufacture all of its cables for the new Hammond USA Road Warrior cable line, which was introduced by Hammond at the 2014 Winter NAMM Expo.



In addition to the Hammond/Leslie/Instrument cables, Conquest Sound will be manufacturing and assisting in designing other proprietary cables for Hammond USA, including 8-pin, 11-pin and other assemblies used with, or complementing, Hammond Products. Nick Kutzko, Co-Owner/Vice President of Conquest Sound, said, “Hammond USA came to Conquest Sound because of our 37-year reputation of manufacturing only the highest quality American Made cables. We are proud to be associated with Hammond, one of the oldest and most respected manufacturers in the world.”

Harris Broadcast Unveils Imagine Communications And GatesAir
March 18, 2014

Harris Broadcast, a portfolio company of The Gores Group (Los Angeles CA) that offers media software, networking and over-the-air solutions serving the global media and entertainment markets, has unveiled Imagine Communications and GatesAir. Imagine Communications will be headquartered in Dallas, with Centers of Excellence in Denver, Toronto, Los Angeles, Tel Aviv and Beijing. According to the company, its five decades of media software and networking innovation has secured more than 3000 customers spanning 185 countries, with more than 3 million products deployed that support more than half of the world’s video channels, along with a rich portfolio of patents. GatesAir will be headquartered in Cincinnati, with its manufacturing, supply chain and fulfillment center in Quincy IL.


GatesAir has been pioneering over-the-air TV and radio transmission innovation for nearly 100 years.
“With vibrant new identities and focus, Imagine Communications and GatesAir are well-positioned to serve our industry and customers,” said Charlie Vogt, CEO of Imagine Communications and GatesAir. “Our vision, product direction and strategy further align Imagine Communications and GatesAir with today’s transformational trends, the networks of the future and our customers and partners. We have created two laser-focused companies that are innovating across different ends of the technology spectrum. Imagine Communications will lead the media and entertainment markets to a future defined by IP, software, the cloud and TV Everywhere, with an architecture vision for delivering and monetizing multiscreen content. Likewise, GatesAir will continue to lead the next-generation TV and radio over-the-air market, with a focus on providing wireless innovations that reduce power consumption and carbon footprint, while leveraging the growth in digital radio and TV transmission across the globe.”

Revolabs To Be Acquired By Yamaha
March 18, 2014

Revolabs (Sudbury MA) has entered into a definitive agreement to be acquired by Yamaha Corporation (Buena Park CA). Yamaha has also been developing, manufacturing and selling voice communication devices and professional audio equipment for the expanding audio equipment market for years, the company stated, and added that the sharing of product lines, technology, know-how and sales networks of both companies will enable the Yamaha Group to provide high-quality solutions for the diversifying needs of the market. 
“With the market for conference room equipment expected to expand worldwide, I am extremely happy to welcome Revolabs—a company that has earned a high level of trust from customers and grown rapidly in this market—as a member of the Yamaha Group,” said Takuya Nakata, President of Yamaha Corporation. “Revolabs’ ethos of creating products that provide value for customers with strong technical capabilities as a base meshes well with the Yamaha Group’s corporate philosophy. By combining Revolabs’ wireless microphone systems and wireless conference phones with Yamaha's voice communication devices and professional audio equipment, we expect to be able to create even more appealing solutions for our customers. In the future, we aim to accelerate our progress in expanding sales in the electronics business domain, one of the goals announced in the Yamaha Management Plan 2016, our medium-term management plan, by combining the technology and know-how of both companies.”


Revolabs will operate as a wholly owned subsidiary of Yamaha Corporation and execute on its existing roadmap with the current management team. The transaction is expected to be completed by the end of March 2014 after receipt of customary regulatory approvals. Moelis & Company acted as the exclusive financial advisor and Latham & Watkins LLP acted as legal advisor to Revolabs in connection with the transaction. 
“Since we started the company in 2005, Revolabs has shown an ability to innovate and bring exciting products to the market,” said Jean-Pierre Carney, CEO/Founder. “We’ve grown a strong team, have an exciting roadmap with industry-leading technology and were already on track to more than double our revenues this year. Taking advantage of the strengths of the two companies will make our solutions stronger and expand our reach around the globe. There are a lot of great synergies between Yamaha and Revolabs, and our customers will receive the most benefit from this merger.”
This follows Yamaha’s acquisition of Line 6, announced in NEWSLETTER, January 2014.

Dolby To Acquire Doremi Labs
March 7, 2014

Dolby Laboratories, Inc. (San Francisco CA), has signed a definitive agreement to acquire Doremi Labs (Burbank CA), provider of digital cinema video playback solutions. Together with Dolby’s Atmos object-based sound platform, Dolby and Doremi will enable exhibitors and content creators to redefine the movie experience for audiences worldwide. Dolby is acquiring Doremi for $92.5 million in cash plus an additional $20 million in contingent consideration that may be earned over a four-year period. The acquisition is subject to customary closing conditions, including review by US and international regulators. Depending on these conditions, the transaction is anticipated to close by the end of 2014. The impact of the acquisition on fiscal year 2014 revenue and non-GAAP results is not expected to be material.

“Dolby and Doremi Labs have complementary technology expertise and solutions,” said Kevin Yeaman, President/CEO, Dolby Laboratories. “Together, we’ll be able to advance the pace of innovation and create the kind of cinematic experiences that drive movie attendance for our exhibitor partners.”
“For more than 40 years, Dolby’s technology has offered storytellers the tools and technology to express their visions in new ways,” said Camille Rizko, Founder/President, Doremi Labs. “But more importantly, Dolby shares our commitment to working closely with exhibitors to bring amazing experiences to moviegoers.”

Wireless Ronin To Merge With Broadcast International
March 7, 2014

Wireless Ronin Technologies, Inc. (Minneapolis MN), a digital marketing technologies solutions provider, has entered into a definitive agreement to merge with Broadcast International (Salt Lake City UT), a provider of digital media and broadcast solutions. Under the terms of the all-stock transaction, Broadcast International shareholders and other security holders will receive about 36.5% of the outstanding shares of Wireless Ronin common stock calculated on a modified fully-diluted basis. They currently expect the merger to close in Q2/14. The closing is subject to certain conditions, including the acquisition of required consents, the approval from the shareholders of Broadcast International, and other customary conditions.

 

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Broadcast International brings to Wireless Ronin more than 20 years of experience delivering enterprise-scale digital signage solutions for large organizations, such as Caterpillar and Washington Trust Bank. Broadcast’s Managed Media Services (MMS) platform is a unified multichannel solution that allows global enterprises to centrally manage and deploy digital media assets, including signage, posters, video and music. The platform leverages Broadcast’s CodecSys software, a multi-codec video compression technology that reduces video bandwidth requirements and provides significant performance benefits. Broadcast’s digital signage solutions use CodecSys to optimize content delivery, thereby providing end users high quality video content across minimal bandwidth.
Broadcast also licenses a range of point solutions that, in addition to CodecSys, includes its Messaging and Music On Hold (MMOH) technology that allows companies to customize on-hold music, as well as broadcast promotions and important information to its customers. Wireless Ronin believes that CodecSys, MMOH and other Broadcast products will provide new licensing and revenue streams for the combined company. “Adding Broadcast’s technology to our RoninCast content management system creates what we believe will be the most comprehensive, synergistic offering in the digital signage industry,” said Scott Koller, Wireless Ronin President/CEO. “Wireless Ronin brings to the table customer omnichannel marketing capabilities, which can be sold into Broadcast’s customer base and sales pipeline along with other extended solutions and services.”
Koller and SVP/CFO Darin McAreavey will lead the combined company, and expect Broadcast Director Don Harris will join the board of directors upon closing.

CLEARONE ACQUIRES SABINE
March 5, 2014

ClearOne, Inc. (Salt Lake City UT), has acquired Sabine, Inc., a professional wireless microphone solutions supplier, offering the company exclusive access to the wireless microphones that are a critical component of ClearOne’s microphone portfolio. Under the terms of the transaction, ClearOne will pay about $7.5 million in cash and $1.5 million in ClearOne shares. In addition, ClearOne will assume and pay off Sabine debt of $1.25 million and make earn-out payments over the next three years, based on achievement of certain performance criteria.

 

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According to the company, Sabine has partnered successfully with ClearOne since late 2012, supplying the wireless microphone systems sold under the ClearOne brand. These microphones complement ClearOne’s CONVERGE Pro and INTERACT Pro products, driving sales of the company’s broader product line.
“The wireless microphone product has performed well and has driven sales across our Pro portfolio since its introduction more than a year ago,” said Zee Hakimoglu, ClearOne Chairman/CEO. “This strategic acquisition is critical to solidifying our leadership position in this high-growth market and positions us for accelerated development of installed audio and visual collaboration solutions.”
“We look forward to combining resources with ClearOne to offer a complete portfolio of professional products to a global customer base,” said Doran Oster, Founder/CEO of Sabine, Inc. “We are pleased to join a company with a track record that reflects our shared vision for product innovation and quality.” ClearOne expects to maintain Sabine operations at its current headquarters in Alachua FL.

eyevis Acquires Teracue
February 19, 2014

eyevis (Reutlingen, Germany), manufacturer of visual display and videowall solutions, acquired the business of Teracue AG at Odelzhausen near Munich, effective February 17, 2014. The new Teracue eyevis GmbH now includes Teracue, which offers hardware and software products of IPTV solutions and video networking, all of its trademarks rights, names and patents, as well as all employees. With this takeover, eyevis and Teracue are combining their strengths and resources in product development and distribution, they report.

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“We are excited about the integration into a larger corporate environment and the enhanced possibilities for further development and greater international sales opportunities that will enable further growth and, hence, will sustainably secure our expertise and our jobs,” said Wolfgang Schmiegelt and Karl-Heinz Wenisch from the former Teracue AG board of management and now managing directors of the new Teracue eyevis GmbH. “The acquisition is a win-win situation for both companies,” offered Michael W. Nagel, eyevis GmbH CEO. “With the increasing demand on high-quality streaming systems, together with Teracue we are offering unique solutions in the areas of control room, presentation and information, and broadcast from one source….Through this acquisition, eyevis will expand its expertise in streaming solutions as well as signal transmission over standard IP systems.” First joint products were presented at ISE in Amsterdam in early February, along with eyevis' eyeCON MetaWall 2.0 solution.

Belden To Acquire Grass Valley
February 10, 2014

Belden, Inc. (Richmond IN), has submitted a binding offer to purchase privately held Grass Valley (Pontoise, Cedex, France) for $220 million. The offer is subject to consultation with Grass Valley’s foreign labor works council, after which the companies will enter into a definitive agreement. Grass Valley provides production switchers, cameras, servers and editing solutions within the mission-critical applications of broadcast customers.

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“We are extremely excited to have Grass Valley join the Belden family,” said John Stroup, Belden President/CEO. “By combining Grass Valley and Miranda, we will create the broadcast industry’s largest and most complete portfolio.” This transaction is expected to close by March 31, 2014, and is subject to regulatory approvals, the completion of audited financial statements, and other customary closing conditions.

Legrand To Acquire Lastar, Inc.
February 6, 2014

Legrand (W. Hartford CT), which offers electrical and data network infrastructure solutions, has signed a definitive agreement to acquire Lastar, Inc. (Moraine OH), including its Quiktron (Albia IA)and C2G (Moraine OH) divisions. Quiktron manufactures copper and fiberoptic cable assemblies for the data communications distribution channel. C2G offers cabling and connectivity products for the AV and IT industries. Consummation of the transaction is subject to the completion of conditions for closing, including the receipt of consents and the expiration or termination of the waiting period under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act of 1976, as amended, which is anticipated within 30 to 60 days. Until then, the companies will continue to operate independently.


 


According to the company, Legrand’s acquisition of Lastar and its Quiktron and C2G brands would strengthen Legrand’s position and capabilities in the data communications and AV channels, while simultaneously providing Legrand access to new customer segments.
New breeds of digital applications and an increasing demand for streaming content at home and at work have driven rapid growth in the data center and the continued buildout of higher bandwidth communication infrastructures. Given the industry trend toward pre-terminated cable assemblies, Legrand would now offer its customers a broader array of custom and pre-terminated copper and fiber cable assemblies that are designed for flexibility and efficient installation.
“We are focused on providing a more integrated infrastructure solution, including cable assemblies, connectivity, cabinets, racks, cable tray and cable management solutions that will help address our customers’ requirements for next-generation data communications demands,” said John Selldorff, President/CEO, Legrand, North America.
Lastar, founded in 1984, has nearly 1000 employees with operations in nine locations throughout the United States, Europe and Asia. In 2013, the company achieved global revenues of more than $135 million.

Audinate Announces Support For AES67 Standard
February 4, 2014

Audinate (Amsterdam, Netherlands) plans to incorporate AES67 transport in its Dante media networking solution. The new AES67 standard, which provides interoperability recommendations for professional-quality audio networking in the areas of synchronization, media clock identification, network transport, encoding and streaming and session description, was published by the Audio Engineering Society (AES) in September 2013.
Dante is a media networking solution designed for high-quality AV streaming, which is easy to set up, delivers a broad and robust feature set and is the most interoperable networking solution available, according to Audinate. “Audinate does not see networking protocols as competing technologies but more like tools in a media networking toolbox. From the beginning, Audinate has incorporated and built upon standards to develop the Dante solution,” stated Aidan Williams, Audinate CTO. Williams added, “AES67 will provide another option for interoperable Layer-3/IP-based audio networks in the future.”



 


Dante already implements a Layer-3 IP-based transport based on the User Datagram Protocol (UDP). AES67 uses the Real-time Transport Protocol (RTP). The addition of AES67 support provides a choice of transport protocols within Dante. Both UDP and RTP were developed by the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF). To achieve interoperability, AES67 mandates a specific RTP payload format for delivering audio over IP networks, as well as methods for exchanging information about audio streams. RTP is already used extensively in communication and entertainment systems that involve streaming media, such as VoIP telephony, videoconferencing and IP television. Because the existing Dante transport and AES67 both use routable L3 IP protocols, Dante can operate in routed networks, spanning multiple IP subnets, using either protocol.
Dante is primarily built on standards, according to Audinate. AES67 will meet the desires of customers who prefer an open IP-based transport option as part of the Dante solution. AES67 can take advantage of Ethernet switches with IEEE-1588 precision time protocol support but, unlike some other network standards, does not depend on specialized switches to operate.
Audinate’s announcement has been endorsed by an extensive group of major pro-audio OEMs. Bosch has selected Dante for its networking technology in its OMNEO networked products. “Yamaha has selected Dante for several products as the default networking solution due to its automatic discovery of devices, descriptive text-based labeling, audio channel routing, control and monitoring, and its proven and scalable networking.” stated Terry Holton General Manager of the UK R&D Centre from Yamaha Commercial Audio. Focusrite has created Focusrite/Rednet with Dante as its flagship modular Ethernet networked audio interface. Solid State Logic launched its first Dante networked product at IBC 2013.
Audinate will deliver AES67 support as a firmware update to OEMs in initial Dante products within 12 months. Dante has been adopted by more than 130 OEMs.

ANSI Approves InfoComm AV Systems Performance Verification Standard
January 21, 2014

InfoComm International's latest standard, ANSI/INFOCOMM 10-2013, Audiovisual Systems Performance Verification, has been approved by ANSI, a private, non-profit organization that administers and coordinates the U.S. voluntary standardization and conformity assessment systems.


 


ANSI/INFOCOMM 10-2013, Audiovisual Systems Performance Verification provides a comprehensive, systematic, and practical approach to verifying performance of AV systems. This standard will provide practitioners the ability to produce a verifiable evaluation of the audiovisual system based on quality assurance, testing, and acceptance, and will ensure the system conforms to the owners' operational needs, as established in the system/project documentation. A one-page overview can be found at infocomm.org/standards.
"Through the development of this standard, InfoComm has achieved its goal of establishing verification guidelines to promote effective communication between industry professionals and their clients on issues relating to system performance," said David Labuskes, CTS, RCDD, Executive Director and CEO, InfoComm International. "However, in order for this standard to be a true success it must become integrated into the way the AV industry does business. I urge manufacturers to encourage their partners to use this standard, integrators and design consultants to implement the standard and technology managers to ask commercial service providers about it."

Herman Integration Services Acquires Avisys
January 17, 2014

Herman Integration Services (Herman IS, Tampa FL), provider of industry-certified technical labor resources for professional AV systems integrators, has acquired Georgia-based Avisys, Inc., a professional audiovisual contractor. Former AVISYS owner, Philip Manuel, has joined Herman IS as Regional VP-Southeast.

 


“Systems integrators rely on us for quality labor resources, engineering and many other innovative services,” said Chris Bianchet, President. “Since our launch in 2012, we have seen a very positive response from the market. What began as recognizing a need and filling it with a first-of-its-kind model has continually grown to meet the changing demands of systems integrators. Our goal is to partner with our customers and add value by meeting their needs with a single source,” Bianchet added. The company works in all 50 states on a project basis or for long-term needs.
Herman corporate offices are located in Miami FL, with additional distribution facilities in Georgia, New Jersey and Nevada.

ClearOne To Acquire Spontania
January 7, 2014

ClearOne (Salt Lake City UT) has entered into an agreement to acquire Spontania from Spain-based Dialcom Networks, S.L, in an all-cash deal for €3.65 million (about US $5.0 million). Spontania is a software-based cloud collaboration solution that combines the benefits of videoconferencing and web conferencing into an enterprise solution that can scale to tens of thousands of users. According to ClearOne, this addition makes ClearOne the only company offering an entirely software-based videoconferencing product line that provides on-premise and cloud-based Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) and Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) solutions. It complements ClearOne's existing premise-based, enterprise videoconferencing offering, COLLABORATE (VCON).

 


 


ClearOne will fund the acquisition of substantially all the assets of Spontania business with available cash. The acquisition is expected to be accretive immediately and should close by the end of the first quarter of 2014, subject to customary closing conditions, including applicable regulatory approvals.

MSE Audio Acquires Soundsphere
January 4, 2014

MSE Audio (Overland Park KS), parent company of SoundTube Entertainment (Park City UT), has acquired Soundsphere (Stratford CT), manufacturer of omnidirectional speakers and speaker systems. Founded in 1976, Soundsphere is best known for its US-made ceiling-mounted, globe-shaped omnidirectional speakers that produce a wide, diffuse sound field and are installed in offices, government facilities, warehouses and shopping centers. Former Soundsphere Owner Peter Hamilton will remain on-board as a consultant.

 

 


 


“This acquisition broadens MSE’s commercial speaker solutions, and provides a nice complement to the products offered by SoundTube and MSE’s other lines,” said Duke Ducoff, MSE Audio VP of Sales. “We plan to capitalize on the synergies with these other lines to increase visibility, sales and profitability for Soundsphere.”

Yamaha Corp. Acquires Line 6
December 23, 2013

Yamaha Corporation (Buena Park CA) is acquiring Line 6 Inc. (Calabasas CA), which expands Yamaha’s portfolio of modeling guitar processing products as well as pro-audio equipment. Line 6, which pioneered the digital modeling guitar amplifier in 1996, offers products such as POD multi-effect processors, digital effects, guitar amplifiers, modeling guitars, professional instrument and microphone digital wireless systems, digital live sound mixers, speakers, as well as iOS interfaces.

 

 


 


Yamaha will operate Line 6 as a wholly owned subsidiary, with Line 6’s operations continuing as before, and its management team remaining in place. “Yamaha’s acquisition of Line 6 will help accelerate the realization of our vision to drive innovation for musicians across the globe,” said Line 6 CEO and President Paul Foeckler. “We’re proud that Yamaha recognizes the innovation and value in our people, IP and processes and we’re excited about the opportunities ahead to expand our reach.

The Riverside Company Acquires Majority Stake In DPA Microphones
December 20, 2013

The Riverside Company, a global private equity firm that focuses on acquiring strong and growing businesses, has purchased 60% of microphone manufacturer DPA Microphones (Alleroed, Denmark). DPA CFO Christian Hoff and CEO Christian Poulsen have retained their current positions in management and on the board, along with a 40% shareholding. Riverside is now the majority shareholder and will also have representation on the DPA board.

 


 


Riverside has extensive experience in the audio and electronics industry, having previously invested in German loudspeaker company Teufel, which was successfully divested in 2010. More recently, Riverside acquired BLUE Microphones, a US manufacturer of consumer and performance microphones and related products.
“DPA is already a very successful and profitable company, which has been experiencing a 15% increase in sales, year after year, for the last five years,” said Hoff. “With Riverside involved, we anticipate even stronger sales growth in the next five years.” Poulsen said, “For our day-to-day operation, it is business as usual. What has changed is our ability to capitalize on our current success and make this even more significant in the future.” He added, “ Riverside has an extensive network worldwide, many of whom are specialists in the audio industry and have deep technical knowledge and experience that we can exploit. This investment will allow us to develop new technologies and new products at a much faster pace. It will also allow us to move into new markets and attract more good people to our brand, while still properly supporting our existing customer and partner base.”

PRITZKER GROUP PRIVATE CAPITAL ACQUIRES MILESTONE AV TECHNOLOGIES
December 12, 2013

Pritzker Group Private Capital (Chicago IL) has acquired Milestone AV Technologies (Eden Prairie MN), aglobal designer, marketer and distributor of branded AV products for consumer and commercial use, for an undisclosed price from The Duchossois Group (Elmhurst IL). The Duchossois Group will retain a significant interest in the business and continue to have representatives serve on the board of directors. Milestone’s mounting equipment and display solutions are sold principally under the Chief, Da-Lite and Sanus brands. The company serves more than 5000 global customers, including professional AV dealers, regional home theater dealers, consumer electronics retailers, mass merchants and original equipment manufacturers. The company maintains global operations with offices in the US, Europe and China.

 


 


“Our acquisition of Milestone demonstrates Pritzker Group Private Capital’s strategy of investing in clear market leaders with excellent management teams. We are well aligned with the Duchossois family in the view that our permanent, proprietary capital base allows our management teams to build great businesses over the long term,” said Tony Pritzker, Managing Partner, Pritzker Group Private Capital. “Together with the Milestone management team, we have a clear path forward that continues the company’s long history of new product innovation, international growth and add-on acquisitions.”

“Our two families have enjoyed both a personal and business relationship for over 40 years,” said Craig Duchossois, CEO of The Duchossois Group. “We look forward to our next generation of partnership. This transaction is representative of the types of opportunities that will be pursued by Duchossois Capital Management, the company we recently formed to manage our family’s strategic investments.”

“Our partnership with Pritzker Group Private Capital and Duchossois will launch Milestone into its next phase of growth, providing resources to help us meet the evolving needs of our customers,” said Scott Gill, Milestone CEO. “The resources and experience of both organizations will drive our continued investment behind the innovative products, exceptional service and operational excellence that make a difference for our customers.”

OCA Expands, Releases OCA 1.2 Specification
December 10, 2013

The Open Control Architecture (OCA) Alliance, the industry collective developing a standardized media networking system control architecture for professional applications, has added Focusrite (El Segundo CA) and RCF Corp. (Emilia Italy/Edison NJ,) to its roster of members.

 


The organization also has completed and released OCA Version 1.2 of its base specification, and forwarded it to the Audio Engineering Society (AES, www.aes.org) for review as part of the X210 standardization of OCA. OCA V1.2 continues the development roadmap and schedule. It enhances OCA’s ability to work with different media transport technologies, and incorporates significant feedback from early adopters. According to Morten Lave, OCA Alliance Vice Chairman and CEO/Managing Director of TC Applied Technologies Ltd., “2013 has been a very active and productive year for OCA. These new partners will add to our efforts to bring an open control architecture to the industry.”

Baker Audio Visual Rebrands, Expands Into New Markets
November 20, 2013

This week, Baker Audio Visual, a 60-year-old AV integration firm previously known as “Baker Audio,” launched a new corporate brand identity and strategic direction as it announced new locations throughout the US. Headquartered in Atlanta GA, the company now has offices in Charlotte NC, Miami FL, Boston MA and New Orleans LA. Its new logo, website, social media presence and revised name reflect its continued commitment to providing clients with the latest, customized audiovisual technology, the company reports.


Keith Hicks, CEO, said, “Baker Audio Visual has been doing business outside of Atlanta for years. Expanding into new markets is about our continued growth, for sure, but our first priority is to better serve existing clients in those areas.” Baker Audio Visual provides large-scale audiovisual solutions for corporations, college and pro stadiums, mission-critical areas, training and educational facilities, transportation systems, performance venues, hospitality spaces and houses of worship.
The new name better reflects its services in audio and visual solutions. The company states that it was the first AV company in the Southeast and one of the first in the United States. “Organizations like Delta Airlines and the University of Alabama come to us because we’re audiovisual technology experts,” said Hicks, “It just made sense to update our name.”
With new branding, including a logo design, the redesigned website, www.bakeraudiovisual.com, focuses on easy navigation and showcases the company’s services and past projects. In conjunction with a revised site, Baker Audio Visual began a full-scale social media presence on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and Google Plus.

Cambridge Sound Management, Lencore Acoustics Settle Patent Litigation
November 20, 2013

Cambridge Sound Management, LLC (CSM, Waltham MA), and Lencore Acoustics Corp. (Woodbury NY) have agreed to settle the patent infringement lawsuit initiated by CSM in 2008 over the sale of multiple products by Lencore that CSM claimed infringed on its US Patent #7,194,094 covering direct field sound masking systems using loudspeakers with a low directivity index.


In 2009, Lencore petitioned the US Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) to reexamine the validity of the ‘094 Patent. CSM subsequently modified the patent to include systems only employing cone loudspeakers and, after four years of proceedings at the PTO, the Patent examiner ruled, and the PTO Patent Trial and Appeals Board affirmed, that all claims in the ‘094 Patent are valid. (The patent was originally assigned to Acentech (Cambridge MA), a multi-disciplinary acoustics, audiovisual systems design and vibration consulting firm. On August 7, 2013, CSM purchased Acentech’s outstanding ownership interest.)
Under the settlement, Lencore agrees that CSM’s ‘094 Patent is valid, and CSM agrees that Lencore will be permitted to sell direct field sound masking systems that use cone loudspeakers having an Effective Aperture Diameter of four inches or greater. In addition, CSM has agreed to dismiss its infringement action against Lencore and Lencore has agreed to withdraw its federal court appeal in which it has sought to overturn the PTO’s finding of patent validity.

Kramer Electronics, Calibre UK Sign Global Business Cooperation Agreement
November 20, 2013

Electronics designer, manufacturer and supplier, Kramer Electronics, Ltd. (Jerusalem, Israel/Clinton NJ) and Calibre UK (Bradford, Yorkshire, UK), British electronics manufacturer, have signed a global joint sales, supply, development and business cooperation agreement. Calibre’s key models for the commercial AV and broadcast industries are being incorporated into Kramer’s product lineup in Q4/2013. According to the companies, “This strengthens Kramer’s range by the addition of a new line of scalers, including low-latency processing, warping, geometry correction and edge-blending, with models for fixed installation and rental and staging, as well as models targeted at LED videowalls and television broadcast studios.” The two companies have also agreed to work together to accelerate Calibre’s future product developments and have plans to roll out a range of video processing, routing and control products. To support customers and the implementation of new product introductions, Kramer Electronics will supply dedicated resources to support and market these new models throughout its worldwide network of more than 20 regional offices.


Tim Brooksbank, Calibre Chairman, will head up this effort within Kramer, as well as maintaining his Calibre role. “Having just passed our 25-year anniversary at Calibre, this cooperation with Kramer marks an exciting start to our next quarter century,” he stated. “We will continue independently with our OEM and own-label business activities, but with Calibre-branded products being progressively merged into the Kramer range. This opens up access to a far wider market for our products and helps Kramer strengthen its presence in its premium markets.”
“This strategic cooperation with Calibre is of great benefit to both companies and to our customers alike,” said Dr. Joseph Kramer, Founder/President/Chairman of Kramer Electronics and recent recipient of InfoComm’s 2013 Pioneer of AV Award.

BICSI, CCCA Address Counterfeit Cabling
November 15, 2013

In response to increasing global distribution of counterfeit cable products, BICSI President Jerry Bowman, RCDD, NTS, RTPM, CISSP, CPP, CDCDP, detailed research and activities of the Washington DC-based Communications Cable and Connectivity Association (CCCA) in fighting counterfeiting and substandard cabling at Europol’s Awareness and Knowledge Building Conference on Counterfeit Household Products and Fake Automotive Parts. Held earlier this month in Alicante, Spain, the conference included speakers from the European Union (EU), world law enforcement and customs officials such as Europol, Interpol and World Customs Organization, as well as private sector experts from major household, industry and automotive brands. Tampa-FL-based BICSI is the international association supporting the information technology systems (ITS) industry with information, education and knowledge assessment.


“All ITS industry stakeholders are affected by counterfeit and substandard product,” Bowman stated. “Everyone in the supply chain has a duty of care to ensure that the product they are purchasing or installing conforms with safety and quality standards and regulations. When a counterfeit product is installed, it’s more than a performance issue: It can threaten the safety of the workplace and put the consumer at risk. CCCA has made significant strides in educating the ITS consumer and US law enforcement in order to ensure that the consumer is not deceived into buying cabling that is counterfeit or does not meet advertised standards. While the work of CCCA is outside of BICSI’s charter, CCCA member cabling manufacturers and distributors have banded together to serve as the industry watchdog for these quality and safety issues.”
Frank Peri, CCCA's Executive Director said, “This is an excellent example of CCCA and BICSI leadership working together to educate international law enforcement on counterfeit cables that threaten a global industry and risk public safety. When the layers of protection to assure that cables meet essential transmission and fire safety requirements are circumvented by counterfeits, end users and the entire supply chain suffer.”

One Systems Receives Two US Patents
November 8, 2013

One Systems, Inc. (Nashville TN) has been granted patents by the US Patent Trademark Office for its horn and driver design, “Equivalent Throat Technology” and “Inside/Only Voice Coil” design, both designed by Mike O'Neill, Chief Engineer.
US Patent No. 8,477,979,979 B2 includes the compression driver and horn structure used in ET and ETS horn/driver designs. The Equivalent Throat system’s driver is capable of producing wider dispersion and beamwidth than a conventional driver because the exit radius is coincident with the phase plug summation plane. As a result, a smaller radius exit will produce a wider dispersion. “Prior art for large format drivers/large exit diameters required either limited bandwidth or diffraction slots to achieve the desired ‘low Q’ response,” explained O'Neill. “When this technology is incorporated into One Systems products, they maintain excellent time domain response over a wide frequency range.”

US Patent No. 8,542,865 B2 includes the voice coil design used with the ET and ETS horn/driver designs. The Inside/Only design dissipates heat continuously in any voice coil position, minimizes voice coil “rubs” as a source of reliability problems and minimizes power compression. “The Inside/Only voice coil design ensures that our direct radiator designs provide high output and intelligibility from a very compact enclosure,” O'Neill continued. “Both of these technologies are at the heart of One Systems’ design philosophy and allow us to continue to be technology leaders in the industry.”

Panasonic Formally Ends Production Of Plasma Display Panels
November 1, 2013

Panasonic Corp. (Osaka, Japan) formally announced today that, “in order to create a business structure that can respond to changes in the business environment and to accelerate the growth strategy of the company, the company will end the production of plasma display panels (PDP) in December 2013, and stop business operations at the Amagasaki P3 Factory (production currently stopped), the Amagasaki P5 Factory (production currently suspended) and the Amagasaki P4 Factory, which is currently operating, by the end of March 2014.”
Here is the rest of the company’s announcement:
“In the display panel business, Panasonic has been promoting the development of non-TV applications and carried out various restructuring measures, such as reduction of fixed costs, for both PDP and LCD panels. Through further fundamental business restructuring, the company is aiming to optimize the business and focus its management resources.
“Since 2000, Panasonic has promoted its PDP business and led the global flatpanel display market with its strategy of utilizing PDP for large displays and LCD for small- and medium-sized displays.


“However, with the rapid development of large-screen LCDs, and facing the severe price competition in the global market brought on by the Lehman Shock in September 2008, the company consolidated production in the Amagasaki P4 Factory, made a shift toward commercial applications and worked to improve the earnings of the business.
“Until now, due to the superiority of the picture, Panasonic’s PDPs have received high appraisal and there has been firm demand from customers worldwide. However, due to rapid, drastic changes in the business environment and a declining demand for PDP in the flatpanel display market, it was judged that continuing the business would be difficult and a decision was made to stop production.
“The company will end sales of plasma TVs for consumer use and PDP related products for commercial use, such as Interactive Plasma Displays, with the products for FY 2014 (ending March 31, 2014). However, by selecting display panels that are most suitable for each product for both consumer and commercial use, Panasonic will work to develop and provide appealing products that meet the demands of customers, and will aim toward new development of its visual and display businesses.”

Samsung Display Starts Up First LCD Fabrication Plant Outside Korea
October 29, 2013

Samsung Display Co., Ltd. (SDC) held an inauguration ceremony for its new SSL (Samsung Suzhou LCD) plant at Suzhou, China, on October 25. The ceremony was attended by Kinam Kim, President/CEO of Samsung Display; Wonkie Chang, President/Head of Samsung China; Jiang Hongkun, Secretary of the CPC Suzhou Municipal Committee, and Li Dongsheng, Chairman/CEO of TCL Corp., among others. SSL has started fab operations for LCD products that include 48-inch and 55-inch HD/UHD TV panels.


This SSL facility represents SDC’s first non-Korean LCD fabrication plant. SSL was established April 21, 2011, as a joint venture between Samsung, Suzhou Industrial Park and TCL Corp. SDC has a 60% stake in SSL, SIP (Suzhou Industrial Park) has a 30% stake and TCL has a 10% stake. Kim said, “We will continue to strengthen our market edge by embracing a differentiated product strategy with SSL, and providing the world’s best grade of display products as we increase our cost competitiveness.”

MSE Audio Acquires Museum Tools, Secret Sound
October 29, 2013

MSE Audio (Overland Park KS) has acquired Museum Tools (Healdsburg CA) and its Secret Sound parabolic-dome loudspeaker, which was developed in the late 1980s to address the targeted audio requirements of museum exhibits.

Now part of the SoundTube speaker brand, the Secret Sound line will be focused on delivering high quality audio to museum exhibits, digital signage and themed displays. Products include the original Secret Sound domes and accessories, along with SoundTube’s FP dual-parabolic dome speakers, the SoundTube 31 series of three-inch speakers and SA mini amplifiers, SolidDrive invisible audio solutions and selected Rockustics rock speakers.

VESA Publishes Multiple Projector Standard (MPCDI) Specs
October 28, 2013

The Video Electronics Standards Association (VESA, Newark CA) has published the VESA Multiple Projection Common Data Interchange (MPCDI) Standard, developed by VESA’s Multi-Projector Automatic Calibration (MPAC) Task Group to create a standard data format for projection calibration systems to communicate with devices in a multi-display configuration. The standard allows multi-projector systems to generate the data required to combine individual display components into a single, seamless image. These systems can produce data that can be consumed by a variety of devices, other programs and displays without requiring individual integration efforts. Rather than having to worry about integrating with multiple systems, the new piece of hardware and software can be integrated easily with the standard.

“The MPCDI standard will be vital for the longevity of currently implemented projection systems for industries, such as corporations, education, information management and telecommunication [that are] increasing their use of projectors to display information in a broader form,” said Daniel Baker, Assistant Producer, Creative Technology Group, Walt Disney Imagineering. “In any market, there are constantly changing technologies with new capabilities. Upgrading and replacing components means new custom software. With a common standard such as MPCDI, existing systems are supported because components can be replaced interchangeably, therefore conserving costs when replacing and upgrading systems.”
VESA’s MPCDI standard defines how multiple displays—typically projectors—are combined to create a single, seamless display. Currently, multiple projector systems require the integration of many different components. With custom multiple-projector displays, this can require combining projectors, image generators, warping boxes, media servers, splitters and distribution amplifiers.

Harman International Acquires Duran Audio
October 18, 2013

Harman (Stamford CT) has acquired privately held Duran Audio BV (Zaltbommel, Netherlands). The acquisition provides Harman with access to electro-acoustic and software-based directivity control technologies, including the AXYS Intellivox line of “steerable” columns, which will become an integrated part of the Harman Professional audio product line.

“Today’s acquisition…bolsters Harman’s stated commitment to advance our technology leadership through both R&D and acquisitions,” said Dinesh C. Paliwal, Harman’s Chairman/President/CEO. “Over the years, Duran Audio has established a distinct and loyal customer base built on innovative technology. By leveraging Duran’s unique product lines with Harman’s global footprint and product synergies, our business is optimally positioned to serve new customers around the world with expanded audio solutions.” Harman has a workforce of about 14,000 people across the Americas, Europe and Asia and reported sales of $4.3 billion for the fiscal year ended June 30, 2013.

Gerrit Duran, founder of Duran Audio noted, “Our focus has always been on innovation. Over the years, we have developed a range of solutions for some of the most difficult problems facing sound system designers, architects and acoustic engineers. Today’s acquisition by Harman presents many wonderful opportunities to push the R&D boundaries even further and to deliver some truly unique technologies to a wider customer base.” He founded the company in Zaltbommel, The Netherlands, in 1981.

Mitsubishi Exits Front Projector Business
October 14, 2013

Mitsubishi (Cypress CA) is no longer manufacturing front projectors. There has been no official “statement,” but Sound & Communications spoke with James Chan, VP of Marketing, Pro Visual Systems, to learn about the corporate decision. According to Chan, Mitsubishi’s decided to discontinue production/manufacturing of front projectors (and, earlier, single-unit large-format monitors) from its lineup.

The company is continuing with production and sales of its datawall/display wall and LCD wall business, as well as photographic and medical printers, based on the fact that these products are rated #1 or #2 in marketshare in their segments. Chan reported that the change is being handled in two stages, the first of which occurred on October 11, with halting of manufacturing, at which time 20 staff members were let go; another 10 will be let go at year’s end. The second stage involves the need to sell through worldwide inventory. He stressed that any currently installed Mitsubishi products, and those that are bought during the inventory drawdown, will be fully supported with warranty coverage, parts and lamps, for about five years or until “end of life” for the products. The company is “maintaining its commitment to its customers,” Chan offered.

Riedel Communications Acquires Code One
October 9, 2013

Riedel Communications (Wuppertal, Germany), a provider of real-time video, audio, data and communications networks, has acquired Düsseldorf-based mobile streaming specialist Code One. According to the company, as a developer of solutions for video streaming over wide area networks (WANs), Code One brings Riedel a valuable portfolio of WAN-focused solutions, as well as innovative technology for distributing video, audio and data via mobile networks. “In order to guarantee further expansion of our company, we needed a partner with the capacity to support our portfolio in a competent and future-proofed manner,” said Code One CEO Sven Hanten.

“Riedel Communications is an experienced company that offers a positive business environment, including a firmly established presence in key markets and a strong financial position, that will fuel our ongoing and future development of innovative solutions.” Code One video streaming technology enables broadcasters and other content producers to achieve greater mobility in live production environments. The company’s application-oriented products empower users to distribute live content anywhere, at any time.
“Code One complements our portfolio perfectly,” said Thomas Riedel, CEO of Riedel Communications. “This young company’s key areas of expertise, such as mobile streaming and innovative solutions for data transmission, offer Riedel unique technology that we can use to elevate our solutions to a new level.”

Gefen Changes Executive Leadership
October 8, 2013

Gefen, LLC (Chatsworth CA), founder, Hagai Gefen, has left the company to pursue other interests. Gefen is now led by Sean Burke, Group President, Nortek Technology Solutions group. “This is a natural evolution that we have all been anticipating for some time now,” said Burke. “We have worked very closely with Hagai and his executive team at Gefen to ensure a smooth and effective transition. Best of all, our new team is extremely excited about the opportunities to propel the Gefen business into the next generation of premium audio/visual solutions.”

During his 25-year tenure with the company, Hagai Gefen became recognized for his first-to-market developments, including being one of the first to implement connectivity solutions for the emerging DVI, HDMI and 3G-SDI formats, as well as being among the first to bring reliable wireless high-definition video extension to market. He grew the company from a small, localized business into a multi-national signal management solutions company that was purchased by Nortek in 2006.
Burke’s team includes Kevin E. Weiss, Vice President, Global Sales and Business Development, who brings more than 20 years of experience in developing and growing small, mid-size and large enterprise technology businesses.

Toshiba Cuts Staff, Shifts Marketing To 4K
October 7, 2013

According to reports, Toshiba Corp. is withdrawing from unprofitable markets, cutting 50% of its staff in its TV unit, and will discontinue production at two of its three overseas facilities (in China, Indonesia and Poland) before the end of the current fiscal year; the factories to be shuttered were not specified. At the same time, the company announced that it is increasing, from 40% to 70%, its outsourced production, and reducing the division’s staffing by 3000.

 

The company’s TV group has lost money over the last two years ($166 million in the most recent fiscal year that ended March 31st), partially because of market saturation after the short-term boost from the shift from analog to digital broadcasting.
Toshiba is moving toward making large screen ultra high-definition 4K LCD TVs, “where growing demand is expected.” The company said it expects these changes to help its TV division move into profitability in the second half of this fiscal year.

SG Audio Appoints Rational Acoustics As Exclusive US Distributor
October 2, 2013

SG Audio (Copenhagen, Denmark) has appointed Rational Acoustics LLC (Putnam CT) as its exclusive US distributor for 10EaZy SPL monitoring software and hardware systems. (Distribution rights have also been granted for Canada on a non-exclusive basis.)
Developed in 2005 by SG Audio Aps, 10EaZy is a European standard for IEC/ANSI Class 1 and Class 2 compliant SPL monitoring solutions for live sound. It is available in four product variations: a Class 1 system with fully featured software and Class 1 compliant hardware; a Class 2 system with the same fully featured software and Class 2 compliant hardware; a reduced feature-set software version with Class 2 hardware known as 10EaZy RT; and a software-only dongle version called 10EaZy SW, which requires users to provide their own microphone, i-o and cables and that cannot be certified Class 1 or Class 2 compliant by the manufacturer.

 

 

According to Karen Anderson, Rational Acoustics COO, “As soon as we saw what 10EaZy was capable of, we knew that it would make an excellent tool for the Smaart user base, and an excellent match with Rational’s overall product philosophy.” Jacob Navne, SG Audio Founder/President, said, “We see a very high level of synergy between 10EaZy and the core competences of Rational Acoustics, and we are very much looking forward to even greater cooperation between our companies in the future.”

Sony Electronics Completes Sale Of Convergent Corporation
October 2, 2013

Sony Electronics Inc. (Park Ridge NJ) has completed the sale of its wholly owned subsidiary, Convergent Corporation (Alpharetta GA), to Ballantyne Strong, Inc. (Omaha NB), a provider of digital equipment, screens, and managed services, as well as specialty lighting equipment. The companies, which have worked together for years to support the digital transition for cinema customers, stated that, with the addition of Convergent, Ballantyne Strong’s level of service and technical assistance to Sony’s customers in digital cinema will be even stronger, offering end-to-end system solutions and managed services to Sony customers in digital cinema, digital signage, content distribution and other markets.

 

Sony has worked closely with both Convergent and Ballantyne Strong in the past,” said Alec Shapiro, President, Professional Solutions of America at Sony Electronics. “We anticipate this relationship will continue and grow in the future and we’re pleased to complete this transaction.”

Wegener Corp. Board of Directors Prepares Terms for Acquisition
October 1, 2013

The Board of Directors of Wegener Corp. (Johns Creek GA), a provider of products for television, audio and data distribution networks worldwide, including media players and servers for digital signage applications, has unanimously approved a Term Sheet for the company’s acquisition by a soon to be announced public company. “I am very pleased and enthused by the improvements this acquisition provides for Wegener Corp. and its shareholders,” said Troy Woodbury, President/CEO. “This acquisition will provide long-term financial stability for Wegener and is providing a near-term source of working capital. There are real synergies with the company acquiring Wegener and with another company currently under negotiations to be added to the group.” He added, “We are working on some major projects in Latin America, and we believe we will make real progress in the domestic digital signage market during fiscal 2014. We are in the process of coming through a very difficult financial period for Wegener, and we are encouraged by the opportunities in the future.”

 

Woodbury concluded, “This acquisition of Wegener should give renewed confidence to our customers, shareholders, employees and our creditors. After shareholder approval is received, it is anticipated that this acquisition will be completed in or before the first calendar quarter of 2014.”

 

Global Cache, Intesis Form Alliance
September 27, 2013

Global Caché (Jacksonville OR), manufacturer of WiFi and network enabling connectivity products for the control and automation market, and Intesis (Barcelona, Spain), a home and building automation manufacturing company focused on producing hardware and software control and automation solutions, have formed a strategic alliance. The agreement ensures product compatibility and provides a platform for the working together in product development and marketing activities.

Global Caché's products connect almost any electrical device to a WiFi and/or IP network so it can be controlled, automated and maintained by network-based software. The company offers other connectivity products and capabilities, including IR learning, IR receivers and sensors, that can be connected to a network. Global Caché devices are designed to work with other standards-based products.
Intesis, a hardware and software company serving building management and home automation markets, offers the Houseinhand control app for iOS and Android that delivers control of any household device, including KNX, IP devices such as cameras and door phones, and any multimedia equipment through IP/WiFi to IR. The new Houseinhand 2.0 release adds Android compatibility, new design, support for new devices and other features.

SIGNET Electronic Systems Acquires CompuTel
September 17, 2013 (5:30 pm)

SIGNET Electronic Systems, Inc. (Norwell MA), the largest privately held systems integrator in New England, has acquired CompuTel, a Manchester NH-based telecommunications technologies firm. A family-owned business founded in 1974, SIGNET provides clients with the products and solutions required for the integration of mission-critical building system technologies including communications, integrated security, life safety and healthcare communications. Clients include corporations, educational and medical facilities, and government and judicial institutions. SIGNET represents more than 300 product lines and manufacturers, has annual revenues of $24 million, employs 140 people and has offices in Scarborough, Maine and in East Providence RI.


According to the company, the asset purchase further strengthens SIGNET’s position in the region. “SIGNET has a significant client base across New England,” said SIGNET President/Owner Bradford S. Caron “We are looking forward to continuing CompuTel’s service standards to its legacy base.”
The purchase marks SIGNET’s fourth acquisition within an eight-year period. In August 2011, the company acquired Massachusetts-based American Business Telephone Company, following the May 2008 acquisition of the telecommunications technology portion of New Hampshire-based IDeACOM Integrated Technologies, Inc., and the February 2006 acquisition of Executone of Rhode Island, a telecommunications company serving southern New England.
In addition to inheriting the 20-year company’s client base, SIGNET will be welcoming CompuTel Owner/President John Kerr to the SIGNET team, along with Donald Leblanc, CompuTel’s service manager and senior technician.

Audio Engineering Society Announces Networked Audio-Over-IP Interoperability Standard
September 13, 2013 (9:30 am)

The Audio Engineering Society (AES) has announced the publication of AES67-2013, a new engineering standard for networked/streaming audio-over-IP interoperability.
High-performance media networks support professional quality audio (16 bit, 44.1kHz and higher) with low latencies (less than 10 milliseconds) compatible with live sound reinforcement. The level of network performance required to meet these requirements is available on local-area networks and is achievable on enterprise-scale networks. A number of networked audio systems have been developed to support high-performance media networking, but until now there were no recommendations for operating these systems in an interoperable manner. This standard provides comprehensive interoperability recommendations in the areas of synchronization, media clock identification, network transport, encoding and streaming, session description and connection management.  

The project was initiated by the AES in December 2010 under the project name AES-X192. In August 2012, the AES and EBU jointly announced an active collaboration to achieve interoperability of networked audio. The intent was not to invent new technology, but to identify an interoperable subset of existing technologies to achieve this goal. Task Group SC-02-12-H, under the leadership of Kevin Gross, met regularly using web conferencing and email to refine and clarify the necessary parameters. 

ISA Forms New Digital Signage Advisory Committee
September 12, 2013 (2:50 pm)

The International Sign Association (Alexandria VA) has formed a Dynamic Digital Advisory Panel to guide the association as its members learn and expand their businesses into rapidly growing digital signage technologies. The panel includes experts in digital display (such as Alan Brawn, Brawn Consulting, and Mike White, President/CEO of Multi-Media Solutions, Inc.), content and delivery, as well as end users. “It is clear that dynamic digital signage presents a tremendous opportunity for static sign companies to take many of the skills that they already have and transfer them to a new medium,” said Lori Anderson, ISA President/CEO. “The Advisory Panel will provide insights to help ISA lead the traditional sign market into this new field and to fill any knowledge gaps that may exist. Bringing together sign experts and digital network operators and integrators will help both sides see the business and partnership opportunities that exist as we work together.”

ISA has been active in exploring opportunities for static sign companies in dynamic digital signage for several years. At ISA International Sign Expo 2013, ISA offered its first dynamic digital signage park and related presentation area. Most of the presentations were standing-room only. Sign Expo also included a well-attended track of educational sessions on various aspects of digital signage. The educational sessions are currently available via ISA’s online learning system. The ISA website also includes several case studies of static sign companies that have made in-roads into dynamic digital signage. For more information, contact Sandy Smith at 703.836.4012 or sandy.smith@signs.org.

Stolen Equipment Surfacing On The American Continent
September 9, 2013 (1:50 pm)

In January 2012, L-Acoustics sent out a notification that a trailer in Mexico City had been stolen on December 8, 2011, following a Britney Spears concert. The missing trailer contained 24 L-Acoustics K1 and 18 V-DOSC line source elements, 12 K1-SB low-frequency extension enclosures and 48 SB-218 subwoofers, among other items. Some of this equipment has started to surface on the American continent and has been offered anonymously to a third party.

The company is asking the industry to be vigilant “in keeping a lookout for this equipment.” Any knowledge of the existence and/or whereabouts of this equipment should be shared with L-Acoustics, Procolor or local law enforcement authorities. Product returns or submissions of information can be made anonymously. Serial numbers are available upon request.
For additional details, contact Jochen Frohn, L-Acoustics’ Director of Business Development (jochen.frohn@l-acoustics.com) or Javier Barba, Owner/General Director of Procolor (contacto@procolor.com.mx).

Vitec Group Acquires Teradek
September 3, 2013 (3:32 pm)

The Vitec Group plc (Bury St Edmunds, UK), which provides products and services for the broadcast, photographic and MAG (military, aerospace and government) markets, has acquired Irvine CA-based Teradek, which will form part of its Vitec Videocom division. Teradek, which designs and manufactures in the US and sells internationally, is a provider of wireless HD video devices and platforms used in broadcast contribution and distribution, video production, webcasting and digital cinema.



According to Vitec, the acquisition is in line with Vitec Videocom’s strategy to bring forward innovative products and solutions that improve its customers’ operational efficiency. “Teradek’s low-cost, easy-to-use solutions sit firmly in the camera peripherals space and contribute to the transmission of exceptional images.” The company will promote and sell Teradek’s products and solutions to its wider client base. Vitec Videocom CEO Matt Danilowicz commented, “…Teradek’s products will enable us to provide an affordable solution for our customers’ wireless transmission requirements.”
Teradek which employs about 60 people, was founded in 2008 by Nicol Verheem, a former GE engineer. Nicol, who will join the Vitec Videocom Divisional Management Team, stated, “This represents a major step forward for Teradek, which I believe will expand our reach, fuel our continued growth and enhance our focus on product innovation. We will undoubtedly benefit from the resources and reach of Vitec Videocom and will embrace the opportunity to work alongside some of its other market-leading brands.”

HDBaseT Alliance Releases 2.0 Specification, Introduces HomePlay
August 14, 2013 (10:32 am)

The HDBaseT Alliance (Beaverton OR) has released the specifications for HDBaseT 2.0, making the latest version of the HDBaseT technology available to manufacturers of professional AV and consumer electronics products. The new HDBaseT HomePlay feature set, based on the HDBaseT 5Play capabilities, will make it simpler and more cost-effective for consumers to turn their entire homes into multimedia entertainment centers, according to the alliance


“Over the last three years, HDBaseT has become the digital connectivity standard for professional AV installations, and we have leveraged our experience working with the pros to ensure that HDBaseT 2.0 will enable consumers to enjoy the same benefits and user experience: highest video quality, reliability and multi-room support, all over a single inexpensive cable,” said Micha Risling, Marketing Chair of the HDBaseT Alliance. “The HDBaseT 2.0 specification defines the required adaptations across all seven layers of the Open System Interconnection (OSI) model to support time-sensitive, high throughput video/audio and other time-sensitive applications,” said Eyran Lyda, HDBaseT Technical Committee chairperson. “The HomePlay switch is designed to provide all required services for the multimedia home.”
HDBaseT 1.0 only addresses the Physical and Data Link layers; HDBaseT 2.0 adds networking, switching and control point capabilities, and also defines point-to-multi point connectivity, providing multi-stream support. HDBaseT 1.0 defined a point-to-point connectivity standard. Spec 2.0 also adds inherent support for USB 2.0 and other native interfaces that enable manufacturers to remove multiple interfaces and conversion components required for HDBaseT 1.0 products. The result is a smaller and a simpler-to- implement switch, which means vendors can produce HDBaseT switches with a consumer-friendly price tag.

HR 2911 PROTECTS WIRELESS BANDS
August 7, 2013 (5:32 pm)

Rep. Bobby Rush (D-IL) has introduced HR 2911, the Wireless Microphone Users Interference Protection Act of 2013, which would create two “safe haven” channels for wireless mics and otherwise attempt to shield them from interference. The National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) is backing the bill that would help protect wireless microphones in an FCC-repacked spectrum world. According to NAB President Gordon Smith, who wrote to Rush, “Without safe haven protections for these operations, broadcasters may not be able to provide on-the-scene coverage of breaking news, emergency information and political events….” He also said available spectrum is likely to become more congested in the future and called Rush's bill an important step toward trying to safeguard licensed mic use.

Shure Inc. President/CEO Sandy LaMantia, in a letter to Rep. Rush, praised his efforts in helping to protect wireless microphone users, including houses of worship, government facilities, schools and universities, convention centers, theaters and live entertainment venues, and stadiums, from the loss of available spectrum.

HR 2911 would require that wireless mics have access to the TV band databases the FCC created to try and ensure that unlicensed wireless devices operating in the “white spaces” in broadcast spectrum do not interfere with licensed services, such as TV stations.

Avolites Signs With Group One Professional Audio & Lighting
July 29, 2013 (6:08 pm)

British lighting console manufacturer Avolites (London, England), which produces control solutions for all aspects of the professional lighting industry, has signed an exclusive distribution deal with Farmingdale NY-based Group One Professional Audio and Lighting. “This…will enable Avolites to extend its product reach into the US market while being able to service already existing US clients more efficiently,” explained Koy Neminathan, Avolites Sales Director. The company’s decision to partner with Group One Ltd. was based on the US company's extensive industry experience, as well as the opportunity for Avolites to be part of Group One’s growing lighting division.

According to Avolites Managing Director Steve Warren, “Avolites has made great strides with the introduction of the Sapphire Touch and Titan Mobile, expanding our popular range of Titan family consoles all powered by the Titan engine. With Titan V7 set for release, the best is yet to come! Hold onto your hats USA and get ready for it!” Group One President Jack Kelly commented, “Avolites is one of the great legacy brands in the lighting industry and all of us at Group One are looking forward to further developing the US market for a great range of products from a great company.”
Brad White, who is heading up Group One’s Avolites division as National Sales Manager, has extensive experience with Avolites products. He will focus on development of the Avolites brand in America, working with lighting designers, specifiers, dealers, production companies and facilities.

Conference Technologies Acquires United Visual, Inc.
July 29, 2013 (12:20 pm)

Audiovisual systems integrator Conference Technologies, Inc. (St. Louis MO), which offers AV system design, engineering, installation, service, rental and event production, has purchased the assets of United Visual, Inc. (Itasca IL), and hired its key personnel. The move is part of an expansion strategy that has helped the company open five new offices since January 1, including this move into the Chicago area.


The company has almost 200 employees in 14 offices. “We see tremendous opportunities for technology companies that are well managed, well staffed and financially secure,” said Conference Technologies President/CEO, John Laughlin. In addition to the geographic expansion, Laughlin has led an effort to hire more IT engineers and technicians, a crucial move as audio and video systems become more closely tied to IP networks. As part of this strategy, Conference Technologies has formed strategic partnerships with Microsoft, LifeSize, Crestron and SMART Technologies.

BICSI Releases Electronic Safety And Security System Design Standard
July 29, 2013 (8:20 am)

BICSI (Tampa, FL), the international association supporting the information technology systems (ITS) industry with information, education and knowledge assessment, has released its latest standard, ANSI/BICSI 005-2013, Electronic Safety and Security (ESS) System Design and Implementation Best Practices. The need for security is almost as old as mankind itself. Today, security systems are converging onto the network and its cabling infrastructure at an increasing rate. As the systems used within security have become more complex, so, too, has the cabling infrastructure to address both communication and security requirements.

BICSI 005 bridges the worlds of security and communications by providing the security professional with the requirements and recommendations of a structured cabling infrastructure needed to support today’s security systems while providing the cabling design professional information on different elements within safety and security systems that affect the design. BICSI 005 also provides information about the concept of “direct attach” and how it may be used within many forms of ESS systems.
The BICSI Standards Program is an ANSI-accredited, consensus-based standards development organization. It creates standards and guidelines for use in the design, installation and integration of information technology systems and related telecommunications fields. BICSI standards are written to define current practices and drive improvement in quality and performance over the spectrum of voice, data, electronic safety and security, project management and audio and video technologies, and encompass optical fiber, copper and wireless-based distribution systems.

Community CEO Timothy Dorwart Dies
July 16, 2013 (4:20 pm)

Timothy Dorwart, CEO of Community Professional Loudspeakers, died July 15 due to illness. Dorwart became Community's CEO in March of this year and led the company through its introduction of several important new products at InfoComm. His previous roles included Director and VP positions with Bose Corporation and DMX Music.

He also led the Stanton Group through a successful turnaround as their CEO. Dorwart came to Community from Gibson Guitar Corporation where he held the position of General Manager, Pro Audio and guided the integration of Stanton Group assets to form Gibson's new Pro Audio Division. Bruce Howze, Community's President, said, "We are deeply saddened by Tim's death. We mourn the loss of our chief executive and a good friend and we extend our most sincere condolences to his wife and family."

Bose Founder, Dr. Amar Bose, Dies
July 15, 2013 (11:30 am)

Amar Gopal Bose, Founder/Chairman of Bose Corp., died July 12 at his home in Wayland MA, at the age of 83. His death was announced by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where Dr. Bose began his acoustics research and was on the faculty for more than 40 years.

According to the report, as a student at MIT in the early 1950s, he was appalled at the poor sound quality of an apparently highly rated record player. He became almost obsessively devoted to improving the loudspeakers and to the study of acoustics. He was asked to join the faculty in 1956, where he remained until 2001. Dr. Bose started a research program in physical acoustics and psychoacoustics, leading to the development of patents in acoustics, electronics, nonlinear systems and communication theory. In 2011, Dr. Bose gave MIT the majority of Bose Corp. stock in the form of non-voting shares whose dividends are used to support education and research. MIT does not participate in management or governance of the company.

With several others, Dr. Bose founded his company in 1964. The company’s products include Wave system radios, cushioned QuietComfort headphones for reducing background noises, home theater accessories and computer speakers. Starting in the 1980s, high-end auto makers including Ferrari, Audi, Mercedes and Porsche began including Bose systems in their cars. Bose sound systems can also be found in such varied locations as the Sistine Chapel, the Japan National Theatre and the Superdome in New Orleans.

Dr. Bose received many awards and honors during his lifetime. He was an elected member of the National Academy of Engineering and of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and a fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers. He was inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame in 2008.

Control4 Files IPO
July 8, 2013 (5:30 pm)

Control4, a provider of automation and control solutions, has filed with the SEC to raise up to $60 million in an initial public offering.

The Salt Lake City UT-based company, which was founded in 2003 and booked $113 million in sales for the 12 months ended March 31, 2013, plans to list on the NASDAQ under the symbol CTRL. Control4 initially filed confidentially in February 2013. BofA Merrill Lynch and Raymond James are the joint book runners on the deal. No pricing terms were disclosed.

John Wiggins Retires from Community
June 27, 2013 (12:16 pm)

Community Professional Loudspeakers (Chester PA) has announced that John T. Wiggins, Vice President, will retire after a distinguished career spanning 41 years with the company. Wiggins joined Bruce W. Howze, Community's Founder/President/Chief Engineer, in 1971, and became a partner in 1972. He has held multiple roles, including VP of Sales, VP of Marketing and his current position as VP of Business Development. In 2003, John Wiggins and Dave Howden, Community's Director of Technical Services, created the Community TAG Team, the Technical Applications Group. Throughout his career with Community, Wiggins has worked closely with countless audio luminaries, contractors, consultants, musicians, film studios, NASA, professional sports venues, motorsport tracks, cruise ships, themed entertainment and amusement parks, and government organizations. Wiggins is a member of SMPTE, ASA, AES, TEA, IAVM and InfoComm, and is active with NCAC and various theatrical groups. He was awarded a patent for the voice coil centering method used in the Community M4.

Bruce Howze stated, “It is with equal parts sorrow and joy that we accept John’s decision to retire. John has been a trusted partner and colleague for over 40 years and has made numerous contributions to Community. He leaves the company at a time of unprecedented achievement, much of which can be credited to his contributions. We will miss him. However, I am pleased that he is making time to pursue other passions in his life. Christine and I wish him success, health and happiness.” Wiggins stated that he will continue to pursue several academic and professional interests.

Electra Partners Acquires Allen & Heath from D&M Holdings
June 21, 2013 (3:43 pm)

Electra Partners (London, UK) announced the acquisition of mixing console manufacturer Allen & Heath (Cornwall, UK) from D&M Holdings today. £43 million of equity and debt has been provided by Electra Private Equity PLC and Allen & Heath’s management.

Founded in 1969, Allen & Heath designs and manufactures audio mixing consoles for live sound, including concerts, theatres and houses of worship. Based in London, Electra Partners is an independent private equity fund manager. Allen & Heath’s existing team and distribution networks will remain in place. 

Charles Elkington, Investment Partner at Electra Partners, commented, "Allen & Heath is a leader in a niche market with an excellent track record of year-on-year growth. We believe that the company has a bright future and we will be looking to work with Glenn Rogers and his team to grow the business through further investment in new product development, improved marketing and distribution, and through acquisition."

Glenn Rogers, Managing Director at Allen & Heath, said, "We are very excited about working with Electra Partners and the opportunities it presents for the next phase of Allen & Heath’s growth. We have an excellent catalog of existing products and a number of exciting prospects in development. We see opportunity for expansion into new areas and look forward to building Allen & Heath’s long-term future alongside Electra Partners."

InfoComm Cancels Medical Alert
June 19, 2013 (4:43 pm)

Sound & Communications has learned that InfoComm has canceled the medical alert that we reported on yesterday.

Here is the official statement from Jason McGraw, CTS, CAE, Sr. Vice President of Expositions for InfoComm: “InfoComm International previously informed you that a participant at our recent InfoComm 2013 trade show was diagnosed with Legionnaires’ Disease. Fortunately, InfoComm just received news that the participant has been re-diagnosed, and does not have Legionnaires’ or any other communicable disorder. Our member is being hospitalized this week, but is on the mend.”

InfoComm 2013 Medical Alert
June 18, 2013 (1:26 pm)

InfoComm International was informed on June 17 that a participant at last week’s InfoComm 2013 trade show was diagnosed with Legionnaires’ Disease. The individual is being hospitalized this week. Upon learning this news, InfoComm immediately checked in with the Orange County Convention Center and was told that no other cases have been reported. InfoComm also contacted the Holiday Inn Resort-Castle, where the guest lodged during the trade show, to see if additional incidents have been reported. At this time, there has been no confirmation of further reports.

 

Most people exposed to the bacteria do not become ill, InfoComm stated. However, if you attended InfoComm 2013 and are suffering from symptoms of Legionnaires’ Disease, you should seek immediate medical attention and mention that you may have been exposed to the Legionella bacteria. Signs of the disease can include a high fever, chills, cough and fatigue or weakness. Some people may also suffer from muscle aches and headaches. Chest x-rays are required to find the pneumonia caused by the bacteria, and other tests can be done to find evidence of the bacteria in the body. These symptoms usually begin two to 14 days after being exposed to the bacteria. Each year, between 8000 and 18,000 people are hospitalized with Legionnaires' Disease in the US. More illness is usually found in the summer and early fall, but it can happen any time of the year.
If you attended InfoComm 2013 and a medical professional diagnoses you with Legionnaires’ Disease, contact Betsy Jaffe (571.265.8590, bjaffe@infocomm.org) at InfoComm International.

NSCA Unveils New Logo, Tagline
June 13, 2013 (1:11 pm)

Chuck Wilson reports that NSCA (Cedar Rapids IA,) is unveiling a new logo and tagline: NSCA is “Your Voice, Your Business Resource and Your Trusted Advisor.”

 

He told Sound & Communications, “Through several years of strategic planning sessions and a lot of member input, we narrowed down the key elements of our mission to three categories,” which are spelled out in the tagline. “Many of our members wanted this new logo to reflect that connected look and feel of these three elements. What really makes NSCA unique is the community it supports and, through services, benefits and information, this community will continue to thrive and produce sustainable, profitable integration companies.” For more details, read Chuck Wilson’s “NSCA POV” in our July issue.

Herman Partners With Ophit/Foreseeson
June 12, 2013 (1:10 pm)

Herman (Miami FL), provider of AV products, procurement services and labor resources to systems integrators in the commercial AV and broadcast industries, has announced a strategic distribution partnership to distribute digital audiovisual DVI and HDMI products from Ophit (Suwon, Korea/Anaheim CA).

 

“We are very excited to represent Ophit’s world-class solutions to the commercial AV industry,” said Herman Executive VP Jeffrey Wolf. Herman’s commercial AV customers will be able to further consolidate product sourcing for their projects through Herman and will also have access to Ophit products via Herman’s online store. “Ophit’s partnership with Herman ProAV is significant in growing our reach within the commercial AV industry, and gives more customers the ability to choose our signal converters, switchers and fiberoptic solutions for their projects,” said Mark Uchino, Sales Manager, North America. Ophit concentrates on digital video (DVI), IEEE 1394 and Fast/Gigabit Ethernet converters based on fiberoptic technology for long-distance, low-loss video signal transmission.

Que Audio Appoints Starin Exclusive US, Canada Distributor
June 11, 2013 (10:34 am)

Starin (Chesterton IN) has been appointed by Que Audio (Northridge CA) as exclusive distributor in the US and Canada of its Performance and Solution Series product lines, effective July 2013. “Que Audio was initially recommended to Starin via a mutual associate at Revolabs,” said Que Audio General Manager Paul Heaton, adding, “ After first contact between both companies, we soon realized that there was huge potential to partner the Revolabs system with our DA12 headworn and DA04 lavalier Performance Series mic line …[which] will work perfectly with Revolabs systems, as well as most wireless systems, with the available range of Q compact connectors. Our brand new Revolabs connector solidifies this notion,” he said.

Que Audio currently runs US distribution with in-house staff handling all facets of the market via an office and warehouse in Northridge CA. This facility will now be shifting its functionality to support Que Audio global sales and marketing, with a major focus on supporting Starin through the transition, and on an ongoing basis.
Que Audio also delivers the Solution Series line of microphone kits. The combined lines accommodate a multitude of applications in pro audio for video, DSLR, ENG, location sound, broadcast, house of worship, presentation, theater and corporate market segments.

'Lamp Freedom' Program
May 10, 2013 (5:34 pm)

Digital Projection International (DPI, Atlanta GA) is offering a “Lamp Freedom” program for purchasers of HIGHlite Series or TITAN Series projectors from authorized DPI Commercial AV or Home Cinema dealers in the Americas or Canada, from May 1, 2013 and June 30, 2013. The program qualifies the end user for a free set of replacement lamps in years two and three of each projector’s three-year warranty.


Because lamp replacement costs are a key concern when calculating the long-term cost of ownership of high-brightness projectors, this program ensures that end users purchasing these displays will receive a dramatically reduced cost of ownership benefit. Depending on the model purchased, the program can represent more than $10,000 in lamp savings during the three-year warranty period. For customers with typical use applications (defined by DPI as 1000 to 1500 hours per year), this program will eliminate lamp purchase costs during the warranty period. For more details go to digitalprojection.com/freedom

Magnetic 3D Purchases Stock From Former Partners
May 1, 2013 (3:24 pm)

Magnetic Media Holdings, Inc. (Magnetic 3D, New York NY), which offers autostereoscopic, “glasses-free” 3D displays and digital signage solutions, has purchased 240,000 shares (18% of the company’s outstanding equity) from former shareholders Peter Zahakos and James Zahakos. In addition, Magnetic 3D satisfied all outstanding loans and other obligations to the Zahakoses.


These transactions have terminated their involvement with the company and have further solidified Magnetic 3D’s financial position. “Given the underlying strength of Magnetic 3D’s glasses-free 3D technology and long-term business prospects, we felt that the timing was right to repurchase the stock from the Zahakoses," said Norm Jacobs, the company's lead investor and largest shareholder. “We look toward a bright future with investors who share a common vision for Magnetic 3D.”
“Our glasses-free 3D technology is ripe for adoption in a wide array of industries where 3D glasses are undesirable and no longer necessary,” said Tom Zerega, company Founder/CEO. “The stock repurchase allows us to be more agile and consider other strategic partners or investors that will directly benefit from our unique, robust technology platform.”

GIBSON GUITAR TO BUY TEAC
March 29, 2013 (12:34 pm)

NashvilleTN-based Gibson Guitar Corp. is buying TEAC Corp. of Japan for about $52 million, continuing the company’s push into the audio equipment industry. TEAC provides audio, video and data-storage equipment. According to a news release, upon completion of the acquisition, through Gibson’s purchase 157.4 million shares of TEAC common stock, TEAC will become a member of the Gibson family. This will not only expand the size and reach of Gibson’s Pro Audio business, with products that both complement and build upon the KRK, Cerwin-Vega! and Stanton portfolio of studio monitors, sound reinforcement equipment and DJ gear respectively, in addition to strategic partner, Onkyo Corp. (Osaka, Japan), but also in future product development, has the potential to add value to the Gibson MI segments, as well as the fretted instrument category.

TEAC is recognized for its Esoteric brand, including multichannel recorders, handheld recorders and Apple iOS devices, with growing opportunities in mixers and computer audio interfaces. TEAC has been acknowledged as initiating the home recording revolution that changed the face of the music industry by introducing affordable multitrack recording, a technology invented by Les Paul.
TEAC’s product lines range from industrial data acquisition and storage, high-end audio, disc publishing, medical video and broadcast into the consumer market through its TASCAM division. The company’s activity in multichannel recorders, sound contractor products, field recorders, audio interfaces and more, has resulted in products, such as the self-contained Portastudio for producing professional-quality recordings at a consumer-friendly price. According to the company, the implications of integrating these diverse elements into the Gibson family of brands are far-reaching, and further enhance Gibson’s diversification into the lifestyle arena.

A-T U.S. MOURNS THE LOSS OF HIDEO MATSUSHITA
March 18, 2013 (1:53 pm)

Hideo Matsushita, Founder and Executive Emeritus of Audio-Technica Corp., died on March 5 at the age of 93. He is being mourned by Audio-Technica U.S. (Stow OH). Phil Cajka, Audio-Technica U.S. President/CEO stated, “Hideo Matsushita was a wonderful person and a true visionary, laying the foundation for Audio-Technica to grow over the past 50 years. He exemplified true leadership, with commitment to and passion for music, and an unmatched work ethic. His loss is felt not only by everyone in the A-T family, but also by the entire music industry.”

On the eve of A-T’s 40th anniversary in 2002, Hideo Matsushita reflected on the company’s early beginnings: “I came to Tokyo at age 32 and, thanks to an introduction by my uncle, went to work for the Bridgestone Museum of Art. At the urging of the museum’s director, I began organizing LP concerts. These were much more successful than anyone imagined. After a decade at the Bridgestone Museum, I struck out on my own and established Audio-Technica in 1962.” The company, headquartered in a rented one-story barracks in Shinjuku, immediately launched its first product, the AT-1 Stereo Cartridge. “We started out with three employees, but quickly grew to 20. We worked late each night, stopping only for dinner at the ramen shop in front of the premises.” Decades of growth followed. In 1993, Hideo Matsushita took the position of Chairman, and his son, Kazuo Matsushita, became President of Audio-Technica Corp., a position he still holds today.

SAMSUNG TO BUY 3% STAKE IN SHARP
March 7, 2013 (2:30 pm)

Samsung Electronics Co. (Soul, Korea) has agreed to buy a 3% stake in Sharp Corp. (Osaka, Japan), making Samsung the biggest individual shareholder that isn’t a financial institution and the fifth-largest stakeholder overall. The ¥10.4 billion ($111 million) investment comes as Sharp, a supplier to Apple Inc. (Cupertino CA), scrambles to raise funds and secure customers for its liquid-crystal displays in an effort to prove to its bank lenders that its business prospects remain solid. The investment fortifies the partnership between Samsung and Sharp, and also lays a foundation for Samsung to secure a steady supply of LCD panels. Samsung was once Sharp’s most feared rival in LCD panels and television sets. Sharp needs capital injections to secure its balance sheet after a planned ¥66.9 billion investment from Taiwan’s Hon Hai Precision Industry Co. (trading as Foxconn, New Taipei City, Taiwan) fell through last year. Samsung will have no involvement in Sharp's management.

Sharp is the only LCD manufacturer currently operating an advanced manufacturing facility (in a separate partnership with Hon Hai) capable of turning out TV panels from the industry’s largest sheets of glass. As a result, Sharp can lower the manufacturing costs of screens larger than 60 inches. Samsung may also rely on Sharp to supply panels for tablets.
Samsung has been shifting its focus to produce organic light-emitting diode (OLED) screens, which are brighter and more energy efficient than LCDs.

LG Display Invests In 8th Generation OLED TV Panel Line
February 22, 2013 (1:00 pm)

LG Display (Lincolnshire IL) is investing KRW 706 billion (about US$650 million) in a new 8th generation OLED TV panel manufacturing line, to be installed at its P9 plant in Paju, South Korea. The company plans to begin investment in the line, which will focus on WRGB OLED evaporation process, in the first quarter of 2013, with mass production scheduled for the first half of 2014 at a monthly capacity of 26,000 input sheets.

LG introduced what is called “the world’s first 55-inch OLED TV” in January 2013. The company moves a step ahead in the emerging OLED TV market through new investments with a strategy of providing differentiated value to customers. Additionally, LG Display’s adoption of WRGB OLED technology addresses limitations inherent with large-sized OLED, such as productivity and lifespan issues. According to forecasts by research firm DisplaySearch, the OLED TV market will experience dramatic growth starting in 2014, to become a US$3 billion market by 2015.

ClearOne's Board Of Directors Authorizes Stock Buy-Back
February 22, 2013 (10:00 am)

ClearOne’s (Salt Lake City UT) Board of Directors has approved an increase in the company’s stock repurchase program from $3 million to $10 million of its outstanding shares of common stock. Under the initial program implemented May 16, 2012, ClearOne was authorized to repurchase up to $2 million of its outstanding shares of common stock over a 12-month period.

On July 30, 2012, the Board increased that amount to $3 million. On February 20, 2013, the Board’s further increased that to $10 million. All purchases will be executed in accordance with applicable federal securities laws. “We believe our current stock price does not reflect our intrinsic value and the growth opportunities available to us,” said Zee Hakimoglu, President/CEO/Chairman of ClearOne. “Our comfortable cash balance will support our decision to invest in ourselves by increasing the volume of the repurchase program,".
[ClearOne was also in the news last month (NEWSLETTER), related to the resolution of two arbitration hearings.]

Peerless-AV Acquires Ciil Technologies
February 20, 2013 (10:00 am)

Peerless-AV (Aurora IL) has acquired Ciil Technologies, LLC, a manufacturer of environmental/weatherproof outdoor TVs and displays marketed under the UltraView and Xtreme brands. According to the company, the acquisition expands Peerless-AV’s portfolio of audiovisual technology, mounting, accessory and digital content delivery solutions with a high-demand product category providing new commercial and residential business opportunities for AV dealers, distributors, integrators and installation professionals.
The company stated that Ciil’s 26-inch to 55-inch products are the only outdoor displays that are completely sealed and use no external vents, exhaust fans or filters. The design holds the highest protection rating in the industry at IP 68 and NEMA 6, allowing the products to be submerged in water for 30 minutes without failure. Applications range from professional and college stadiums, public transit, marinas, cruise ships, yachts and factory floors to residential backyards and poolside patios. The Ciil line joins Peerless-AV’s portfolio of outdoor solutions, including mounts and enclosures, enabling the AV community to purchase multiple components for outdoor installations from a single source.

“The market for outdoor TVs is growing rapidly in commercial settings, where weatherproof displays are replacing expensive enclosures, as well as in residential environments, where the backyard has become the new living room,” said Michael Campagna, President of the Peerless Technology Division. “At the same time, this is a strategic acquisition that extends the investment in emerging technology that led to [our] announcement that we have formed a separate technology division [see NEWSLETTER, January 2013],” Campagna added. “Our goal is to build a global technology business on a par with our global AV mounting solutions business.”
Ciil’s manufacturing and operations will be relocated to Peerless-AV’s headquarters and 320,000-square-foot manufacturing facility in Aurora, and products will be produced in a dedicated 10,000-square-foot area, including a 3000-square-foot clean room for assembly and testing. All Ciil products will continue to be manufactured in the US, all personnel and management will be retained and the Ciil trademark and UltraView and Xtreme brand names will be maintained.

UNIV Acquires Americas Broadcast System Integration Unit From KIT Digital
February 13, 2013 (12:19 pm)

Unified Video Technologies’ Broadcast subsidiary (UNIV, Miami FL), specialists in developing, integrating and operating complete high-performance media and broadcast ecosystems for broadcasters and enterprises, has acquired KIT Digital’s Broadcast System Integration Unit for the Americas (New York NY). KIT Digital divested the Unit as part of its restructuring process.

 

According to the company, UNIV will enhance the system integration services that had been provided by KIT Digital through its consultative approach, which focuses on understanding and addressing the needs of customers in media-rich environments by developing and implementing high-performance workflows, providing media processing and introducing managed services.
“UNIV recognizes that enterprises in almost every field, including broadcasters, must quickly find solutions for effectively managing their video assets,” said Pablo Goldstein, UNIV CEO. “With media becoming essential for corporate functions, such as marketing, product development, in-house training, sales, product documentation, investor relations and more, video management solutions are a must for every company that has a growing library of video assets, as well as for companies in the media and entertainment industry. UNIV is committed to creating easy-to-use workflows that empower each enterprise to get the most out of its media assets, with the least hassle and expense.”
UNIV is headquartered in the former KIT Digital Broadcast System Integration Unit facilities and staffed by Unit professionals to ensure service continuity.

BEHRINGER APPOINTS STARIN AS EXCLUSIVE US DISTRIBUTOR
February 12, 2013 (4:50 pm)

MUSIC Group, the corporate parent of pro audio brand BEHRINGER has appointed Chesterton IN-based Starin Marketing as its exclusive Fulfiller for all 50 US states and protectorates. Starin had previously represented BEHRINGER in selected territories, with the rest of the country served by Shoreview Distribution. David O’Kelly, Vice President of Global Sales for MUSIC Group, stated, “Starin has proven to be an exceptional partner, delivering service levels that are earning praise from our dealers across America. I want to thank Shoreview for their loyal support but it became clear to us that a single source for BEHRINGER products was in the best interest of our dealers and in turn our end users.”

Starin already distributed MUSIC Group brands MIDAS, KLARK TEKNIK and TURBOSOUND across the US exclusively. Founder/Principal Jim Starin offered, “We have a greatly expanded stock of goods that will vastly improve availability as well as national Freight and MAP programs that will greatly enhance profitability for our dealers.”.

Confiance IP Solutions To Operate As Onepath Systems
January 16, 2013 (4:50 pm)

Confiance IP Solutions, Inc., is operating as Onepath Systems (Atlanta GA), effective January 1. Last February, Onepath Systems, LLC, acquired the company, which has provided consulting services that help its customers incorporate advanced technologies into their core business for the past five years. Their work has been recognized as the 2010 Cisco US and Canada South Region Services Partner of the Year, the 2010 Cisco Carolinas Select Enterprise Partner of the Year and the 2011 Triad Business Journal’s Fast 50 Award as one of the fastest growing companies in the region. The merger with Onepath has allowed it to reach a broader audience to offer quality products and services, including its network and system infrastructure monitoring service, Guardian Support Services.

“The Confiance team is excited take the final steps to fully integrate our business into the Onepath family. We are already reaping the benefits of our expanded geographic presence in the Southeast, as well as adding Onepath’s intelligent building technology solutions and services capabilities,” said Mike Cotrone, Executive Vice President of Onepath Systems, and Confiance cofounder.
Created by a team of professionals with more than 100 years of combined experience, Onepath Systems’ services and products include consulting, design, implementation and maintenance of audiovisual, IT, fire and life safety, security, structured cabling, access control and distributed antenna systems for Fortune 500 companies, academic institutions and state and local government agencies.
The company, with almost 200 employees, also announced that it has achieved the Cisco Advanced Data Center Architecture Specialization, which recognizes it as having accomplished the training requirements and program prerequisites to sell, design and deploy Cisco Data Center’s comprehensive solutions in the US.

ClearOne Resolves Arbitration Proceedings
January 16, 2013 (2:20 pm)

ClearOne (Salt Lake City UT) previously reported in its periodic filings that it expected resolution by the end of 2012 of two pending arbitration matters concerning auction rate securities sold to ClearOne by Morgan Stanley & Co., Inc., and UBS Financial Services, Inc. ClearOne has determined the outcome of both matters, involving substantially identical claims against two different parties, effective January 14, 2013.
Regarding the Morgan Stanley arbitration, the arbitration panel denied ClearOne’s claims in their entirety.

 

With respect to the UBS arbitration under a different panel, ClearOne has settled its dispute for $45 million, effective December 10, 2012. The settlement agreement was subject to a confidentiality provision pending resolution of the related Morgan Stanley arbitration matter. The settlement award is subject to a 15% contingency legal fee payable to ClearOne’s litigation counsel.
“We are pleased the litigation surrounding auction rate securities has been settled in favor of ClearOne,” said Zee Hakimoglu, President/CEO/Chairman. “We will carefully evaluate over time opportunities available to us and use the cash for selective infusions of technology, sales and marketing, infrastructure, and other investments to fuel our growth, as well as acquisitions that may strategically fit our business and are accretive to our performance.”

Renkus-Heinz Appoints Scott Leslie As President
January 11, 2013 (10:20 am)

Renkus-Heinz (Foothill Ranch CA) has appointed Scott Leslie to the position of President. Formerly Vice President of Engineering with JBL Professional, Leslie’s background includes stints at technology companies, including Sun Microsystems, Tektronix and Altec Lansing. Leslie is founder of Evidant Corporation, providers of Business Intelligence for IT solutions, where he has held executive-level positions since 2002.

 

According to Renkus-Heinz, despite the economic downturn, the company has seen a substantial surge in sales and has significantly grown its engineering staff. Leslie’s new position will see him spearheading the company’s continued expansion, working closely with company founder and Chairman Harro Heinz.

Casio Creates Digital Signage Business
January 9, 2013 (6:12 pm)

Casio America , Inc., (Dover NJ) and its parent company, Casio Computer Co., Ltd., plan “to revolutionize storefront advertising by launching a new digital signage business” at the end of this month. Driving this business is Casio Signage, a newly developed tool for helping retailers gain an edge over the competition by attracting new and repeat customers. According to Casio, “Storefront advertising needs to catch the attention of customers and be interesting and relevant enough to entice them to enter. The Casio Signage business takes a revolutionary new approach, leveraging optimum advertising tools and cloud services to attract new customers and increase repeat business.”

“Casio Signage offers a unique way to make audiences feel welcome and deliver content in a more personal manner than simple words or images,” said Shigenori Itoh, Chairman/CEO of Casio America, Inc. “This technology is only limited by the number of applications that designers can imagine using it.” Casio Signage is a storefront advertising tool with the ability to captivate passers-by with a realistic-looking character that talks to them. Using a custom-designed screen shaped like a character, content is created to match the characteristics needed to bring people into a store. The character’s appearance and voice can be changed easily to keep customers from losing interest and to increase store traffic. Casio Signage requires no installation work. It also offers multilingual support or multifunctional options creating a fully customizable system with content that is most relevant for the customer base.

Peerless-AV Launches Technology Division
January 9, 2013 (5:48 pm)

Peerless-AV (Aurora IL), supplier of audiovisual mounting solutions and accessories, has launched the Peerless-AV Technology Division, dedicated to digital content delivery solutions for the commercial and residential markets. The division will expand the company’s existing technology portfolio, including wireless connectivity, wireless broadcast, kiosk, digital audio and touch products, to provide a comprehensive catalog of digital content delivery tools for AV dealers, distributors, integrators and installation professionals.

The product line also includes wireless flatpanel and projector mounts, wireless AV carts and stands, kiosk enclosures, wireless digital audio connectivity solutions and touch-enabled pens and pointers for uses, such as interactive business and classroom presentations. The division is equipped with its own engineering, product development, product management, field applications engineering and customer care staff, as well as select manufacturing capabilities and testing facilities for all products, setting the stage for major innovations while also ensuring technical support for channel partners, the company stated.

Shure Distributes DIS Products
January 8, 2013 (5:48 pm)

Effective January 1, 2013, Shure Inc. (Niles IL) began distributing conferencing products manufactured by Danish Interpretation Systems (DIS), a division of Informationsteknik Scandinavia Group of Copenhagen, Denmark, which Shure acquired in February 2011. “When we acquired Informationsteknik two years ago, we saw it as an opportunity to significantly strengthen our position in the installed sound market, specifically conferencing, by increasing our presence with customers in the corporate, government and education sectors,” said Mark Humrichouser, General Manager of the Americas Business Unit at Shure.

 

“We want to continue to build on the successful foundation of the DIS brand by using our strong, well-established network of sales reps throughout the US and engaging our talented market development team with these customers.”DIS conference electronics provide conference solutions to the global meeting industry, offering solutions for simultaneous interpretation, discussion, voting, language distribution, online streaming of meetings and software management.
“In the US, we recently adapted our organization to better fit the needs of our customers with the creation of our Systems Support Group,”Humrichouser added. “With multiple layers of support now available, we are well-positioned to take over distribution of DIS products.”
Former distributor of DIS products, Listen Technologies (Bluffdale UT), now distributes Televic Conference (Izegem, Belgium) in the US.

Mood Media Acquires Technomedia Solutions
January 2, 2013 (5:53 pm)

Toronto, ON, Canada Mood Media Corp. (Concord, ON, Canada), designer of in-store consumer experiences, including audio, visual, interactive, scent, voice and advertising solutions, has acquired the assets of Technomedia Solutions and sister company, GoConvergence, both of Orlando FL, for about $23 million in cash plus contingent consideration payable in 2014, which is based on the profitable growth of the operations.

Technomedia Solutions and GoConvergence provide media and technology innovations for multiple industries, including retail, hospitality, theme parks, performing arts, museums, special venue, education and others. Formed in 2001, Technomedia’s clients include Abercrombie & Fitch, Hard Rock Café International, Cirque du Soleil, Wanda Group, as well as leading entertainment and education clients globally. In 2012, Technomedia was expected to generate annual revenues of $43 million and EBITDA of $5.7 million.
“Technomedia’s leadership in the entertainment, education and consumer experience categories worldwide will not only be a core focus of our collective growth and development plan, they are a great fit with our assets and strategy of transforming the point-of-sale environment using cutting-edge media and technology solutions,” stated Lorne Abony, Chairman/CEO of Mood Media. “We see substantial opportunity to leverage the strengths of our combined businesses to build a truly first class consumer-experience powerhouse.”
“The transaction will be immediately accretive to Mood Media’s shareholders while accelerating the growth profile and competitive positioning of the combined businesses. We are excited about the opportunity ahead and look forward to utilizing our combined strengths to build on what Technomedia has established in concert with Mood’s initiatives to help our customers achieve their goals.”

Industrial Video LLC Changes Name To iVideo Technologies LLC
January 2, 2013 (1:33 pm)

Industrial Video LLC, headquartered in Cleveland OH, with additional offices in Columbus and Cincinnati, has changed its name to iVideo Technologies LLC. According to the company, now in its 45th year, its new name is also a reflection of the company’s past as iVideo Technologies will continue to serve clients through its.


www.ivideo.com website. Tim Czyzak, President, said, “When Industrial Video was founded in 1968, its name was representative of our services; however, with technological advances in our industry, our name became less of a representation of who we are and what we do. As a niche information technology firm focused on engineering, installing and supporting advanced audio, video and broadcast systems, iVideo Technologies is a name that will support our growth for the next 45 years.”
The company’s client base ranges from Alabama to California, and covers diverse end markets including health care, hospitality, house of worship, corporate, education, municipality and broadcasting. By representing more than 150 leading equipment manufacturers, iVideo Technologies offers a wide range of solutions. It is the largest audio, video and broadcast technologies company in Ohio and one of the largest in the country, according to the company

Barco Acquires Majority Share In projectiondesign
December 19, 2012 (3:33 pm)

Barco (Kortrijk, Belgium) has acquired 61% of projectiondesign’s (Fredrikstad, Norway) shares from private equity fund Herkules Capital (Oslo, Norway). The remaining shares of projectiondesign are held by minority shareholders. The transaction advances Barco’s strategy to expand into the mid-segment of its target markets and to strengthen its position in high-performance projection technology.

projectiondesign develops and manufactures compact projectors for professional markets, including training and simulation, visitor attractions (museums, theme parks), scientific visualization, collaboration rooms (corporate AV) and control rooms. The company custom designs and develops all optics, hardware, software and industrial design for each projector model in-house. Founded in 2001, projectiondesign has 17 international offices, employs about 200 people and achieved sales of about €57 million in 2011.
According to Jørn Eriksen, President of projectiondesign, “Barco, being a European-based world leader in large venue projection, is the perfect match for projectiondesign. Barco represents world class competencies in three-chip DLP, while projectiondesign is well renowned for its innovative one-chip DLP projectors.” He added, “Together, we combine an unsurpassed lineup of highly competitive premium projectors for mid-size and large venues, with the broadest distribution across both specialty and corporate AV markets. This was an unusual opportunity to join forces with one of the strongest players in the projection industry that we simply could not ignore.”

Harman Acquires Martin Professional
December 19, 2012 (3:00 pm)

Harman (Stamford CT) has reached an agreement to acquire Martin Professional A/S (Aarhus, Denmark), a provider of lighting solutions for the entertainment, architectural and commercial sectors founded in 1987, for EUR 110 million. Subject to regulatory approvals and customary closing conditions, the deal is expected to close early in 2013. According to the companies, this transaction will create a One-Stop-Shop for the professional entertainment market. Adding Martin to Harman’s $4.4 billion organization and combining two of the largest R&D budgets in the audio and entertainment lighting industry will enable the companies to grow and improve the lighting and video product offering to the benefit of all existing and new customers.

“We look forward to welcoming the talented employees and dynamic innovations of Martin Professional to the Harman organization,” said Dinesh C. Paliwal, Chairman/President/CEO. “This acquisition will be an excellent complement to our professional business serving all our global markets, including the fast-growing BRIC nations. With the acquisition of Martin Professional, our strategy to provide system solutions to our customers will be further enhanced as we will be able to offer a full audio and lighting electronics solution for the live stage and events, as well as permanent avenues and installations. We look forward to unlocking this new business potential.”
Blake Augsburger, Executive Vice President and President of the Harman Professional Division, stated, “Martin product lines are an excellent complement to our professional audio business. …We will be able to offer a full lineup of audio, lighting and video solutions for the live stage as well as permanent venues and installations.”
“We are excited at the prospect of a strong integrated solution incorporating Martin Professional’s products with Harman’s professional audio brands and technologies,” said Martin President Christian Engsted. “Our customers expect increasingly advanced and integrated solutions and Harman’s rich portfolio of technologies will enable us to drive new business opportunities.”
Martin Professional will continue as an independent business unit within the Harman Professional Division, with the existing points of contact.

Electrosonic Acquires Global Immersion
December 11, 2012 (1:00 pm)

Electrosonic (Los Angeles CA) has acquired Global Immersion (West Sussex UK), a designer and integrator of high performance digital immersive theater attractions. Global Immersion will continue to serve the planetarium, institutional theater and giant screen markets, and this positions Electrosonic as the only company to offer digital immersive solutions across the theme park, museum, giant screen cinema and planetarium markets, the companies report. The acquisition was completed on December 10, 2012.
"As a single operation, we will service an even broader range of markets, bringing further innovation and an expanded offering to our customers," stated Jim Bowie, President of Electrosonic Group. "Our goal to attract and develop the best industry talent has been one of the drivers of the acquisition. Together, we will lead by consolidating our strengths and delivering the best visual systems in the world."

Founded in 2007, Global Immersion is known for its work with highly specialized and technically complex digital immersive theaters. The company has won multiple project and business awards, and its project portfolio includes the California Academy of Sciences, Adler Planetarium, Moscow Planetarium, Swedish Museum of Natural History, Peoria Riverfront Museum and Reuben H. Fleet Science Center.
Martin Howe, Global Immersion CEO, commented, "…This transaction allows us to further expand our activities and develop our product and service offering, opening up new doors and bringing with it many synergies. The planetarium and giant screen markets are undergoing significant change as the digital revolution pace quickens. Electrosonic offers a range of benefits that our customers can immediately enjoy. Its international reach and broad technical expertise and capacity mean that we can more cost-effectively service a wider range of customers in more locations, while building upon our shared reputation for quality, performance and support."



eyevis Under New Ownership
December 3, 2012 (2:30 pm)

eyevis, a German supplier of large screens and videowalls for control rooms and monitoring centers, has a new owner: Frankfurt-based private equity fund Brockhaus Private Equity. (eyevis is available in the US from Aydin Visual Solutions (Tucker GA), which is a subsidiary of Video Display Corporation (Tucker GA).) The company said that the change in the ownership structure provides eyevis with a secure succession arrangement as well as first rate prospects for further international growth. Financing is being provided by Brockhaus Private Equity II, a fund specially focused on medium-sized growth companies. All current eyevis shareholders will remain closely associated with the company. In particular, Heiko Schaich, one of the two incumbent managing directors and the company's "technological mastermind," will continue in his dual role as a shareholder and as a managing director.

The changes are aimed at providing eyevis with an ideal succession arrangement and, in doing so, enabling the company to continue its growth strategy with a view to further business development and expansion. "The eyevis succession arrangement is an outstanding achievement that gives us a perfect framework for the continuation of our long-term growth strategy," said Michael Schuster, Founder/outgoing CEO of eyevis.
"I greatly look forward to my future responsibilities and to joining eyevis' proven team," said eyevis's new CEO, Michael W. Nagel. "The company has evolved superbly over the last few years and offers outstanding growth prospects. Based on my wide-ranging international sales experience, I will help to ensure that the eyevis success story now moves on to the next level."



Presentation Products Acquires Presentation Media
December 3, 2012 (11:35 am)

Presentation Products, Inc., has acquired Presentation Media, an audiovisual integration firm based in Fairfield NJ. The integrated team of certified designers, engineers, programmers and technicians will combine strengths and resources to set a new standard for the world of audiovisual design/build firms, the companies said.



Both fast-growing companies share complementary client portfolios, common strategy and a focus on providing cutting-edge AV to the corporate and education markets.
Headquartered in New York City, Presentation Products’ staff of more than 40 provides audiovisual integration services including design and engineering, project management, installation, training and support to clients on a national scale, with multiple product lines and a Diamond Level AVSP designation from InfoComm.
Presentation Media, an audio/visual integrator with a focus on green solutions, offers AV services to clients such as Dow Jones, Daiichi Sankyo and Benjamin Moore Paints. Carol Emmens, President of Presentation Media, will transition into a new role with Presentation Products as a consultant to ensure a seamless transition and continued service to existing and new clients.

Meyer Sound Settles Trademark Lawsuit Against VUE Audiotechnik
November 30, 2012 (1:00 pm)

Meyer Sound Laboratories Inc. (Berkeley CA) has settled the lawsuit it filed last June. The lawsuit was filed in the Federal District Court for the Northern District of California against VUE Audiotechnik, LLC (Escondido CA). In its suit, Meyer Sound alleged VUE infringed Meyer Sound’s iconic wave trademark, and asserted other claims against VUE and a former Meyer Sound employee currently working for VUE.

“This legal action was necessary to protect Meyer Sound’s intellectual property rights and to prevent confusion in the marketplace,” said Helen Meyer, Co-Founder/Executive Vice President of Meyer Sound. “We are pleased with the settlement. It resolves issues related to our company’s valuable trade secrets, and eliminates the possibility that people might be misled into assuming that VUE or its products are associated with or endorsed by Meyer Sound.”
The terms of the settlement agreement are confidential.

WiSA Association Establishes Tech Advisory Committee, Special Interest Groups
November 6, 2012 (3:20 pm)

The Wireless Speaker and Audio Association (WiSA Association, Sunnyvale CA), founded in 2011, has created a Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) and associated Special Interest Groups (SIGs) to advance the development of wireless audio solutions for home theater, consumer electronics and professional AV markets. Participation in both groups is open to members of the association and the activities pursued by each group may influence the WiSA Compliance Test Specification (CTS) as well as the technology roadmap.

The Technical Advisory Committee will work with other standards bodies such as the IEEE, AES , HDMI and MHL to advance wireless HD audio in their respective specifications. Special Interest Groups will address various challenges facing the audio industry today, such as DTV applications, 802.1 AV bridging, interoperability with other radio technologies and other topics. The focus of the first two Special Interest Groups is on addressing DTV connectivity and multi-room wireless HD audio technology.
"We are at a pivotal point in time for providing leadership and new direction for the wireless speaker and audio industry, and we welcome the participation of Technical Advisory Committee and Special Interest Groups members in charting the course for wireless HD audio in the home theater," said Jim Venable, President of the WiSA Association. "The WiSA Association has gained significant momentum with the recent release of the industry's first Compliance Test Specification for interoperability, and I expect our engagement with the Technical Advisory Committee and Special Interest Groups to be equally ground-breaking in driving additional areas of application for high-performance wireless audio."

InfoComm International Names David Labuskes Next Executive Director/CEO
October 11, 2012 (9:20 pm)

The Board of Directors of InfoComm International (Fairfax VA) has named David Labuskes, CTS, RCDD, the association’s next Executive Director/CEO, effective January 1, 2013, succeeding Executive Director/CEO Randal A. Lemke, PhD, who is retiring at the end of 2012. Vice President of RTKL (Baltimore MD) for more than 13 years, he founded the company’s Technology Design Practice, overseeing the delivery of audiovisual, voice, data, wireless, environmental media, electronic security and acoustics services. “David Labuskes is a leading expert on the intersection of technology and the built environment,” said Greg Jeffreys, InfoComm International President. “He is the executive who can help chart the course for InfoComm and our industry when it comes to the future of networked AV, smart building technology and more.”
Responsible for RTKL’s operations, finances and marketing of technical services globally, Labuskes has led projects in the corporate, government, commercial and healthcare spaces. Previously, Labuskes was President/CEO of Premier Technology services, a software and systems design consulting firm and Executive Vice President of Accelerated Payment Systems, an electronic payments processing firm.

Jeffreys added, “David Labuskes is a leading expert on the intersection of technology and the built environment. He is the executive who can help chart the course for InfoComm and our industry when it comes to the future of networked AV, smart building technology and more. His commitment to creating excellent environments will help the industry continue the quest for quality experiences for the industry’s end-customers.”
Labuskes has been a long-time volunteer with InfoComm, BICSI, NSCA and TIA, offering guidance in industry training, best practices and credentialing. “As an integrator, I think David Labuskes is the ideal choice to share his unique insights on the future of AV in the built environment, and advise the integration community on the IT skills that our businesses will need to acquire,” said Jim Ford, PE, Chairman of the InfoComm Leadership Development Committee.
The executive search committee remained committed to finding a candidate with practical business experience. “As the President of a leading company in the live events space, it was very important to me that the next Executive Director and CEO of InfoComm International have a solid corporate background,” said Johanne Belanger, InfoComm Secretary-Treasurer. “InfoComm is a $40 million association, and keeping the organization in solid financial condition is of paramount importance if the group is to continue serving the industry with training, certification, networking opportunities and more.”
Labuskes will begin preliminary work at InfoComm on November 26, transitioning into the Executive Director/CEO position on January 1, 2013.

Open Control Architecture Alliance Incorporates
October 3, 2012 (4:20 pm)

The Open Control Architecture (OCA) Alliance (San Francisco CA), the industry collective developing a media networking system control standard for professional applications, has incorporated as a non-profit trade association. The incorporation represents the latest milestone for the Alliance, which was founded in June 2011 to develop a standardized control and monitoring architecture for professional media networks. The Alliance released initial technical documents to its Observer members in October 2011, and the complete OCA 1.0 Specification to the Observers in May 2012. The Specification now stands at Release 1.1. Coincident with its incorporation, the Alliance has placed the entire Release 1.1 Specification on its public website for free download.
In the coming months, the Alliance will transfer the Specification to a public standards organization for ratification as an official open public standard, free for all to use at no cost. Subsequently, the Alliance will actively support the standards-making process, and will simultaneously promote and support the adoption of OCA as a tool for the professional media systems industry.
“Incorporation represents another major step forward in the creation of a robust, feature-rich media networking control solution,” said Terry Holton, Senior Manager-Product Planning at Yamaha Corporation’s R&D Centre. “We are making significant progress, with excellent participation from all our founding member companies.”

Bob Tudor, Presonus CTO, added, “The cooperation between the founding members was critical to the success of OCA 1.0. We are achieving cross-brand control of parameters in our devices as a result, which is good for our respective customers and a stimulus for market growth.”
Nathan O’Neill, LOUD’s VP Engineering, noted, “A key aspect of the OCA specification has been to allow for common control functionality yet provide manufacturers the ability to customize the protocol to their own needs, much like MIDI Sysex messages. In this way, they get the best of both worlds: the ability to control functions across a multi-manufacturer system, yet the ability to keep manufacturer-specific algorithms proprietary.”
“With the OCA Alliance moving forward, integration of an audio system with a media control system will definitely get a lot simpler,” commented Marc Weber, Product Manager, d&b audiotechnik. “This means that the integrator can concentrate on the interface to the user rather than on the actual programming itself.”
In its new role as a trade association, the Alliance invites all interested companies to join. The former Observer membership status has ended; it is no longer necessary because the Specification is now public. But there are new membership options that will allow both large and small companies to participate in the further development and adoption of OCA generally.
“Opening the Alliance to a broader mass market is a pivotal step for the future. The groundwork has been done and we are now at the leading edge of what will be the most dominant of all networking technologies. With input from a broader industry group, the standard will evolve and provide a wider range of affordable solutions,” said Graham Hendry of TC Group. “Another very encouraging aspect is that we are not limited only to audio applications; we have received encouraging interest from manufacturers looking to add video and monitoring control to the specification.”
Alliance founders are Bosch Communications Systems, d&b audiotechnik, Duran Audio, LOUD Technologies, Media Technology Systems, PreSonus Audio Electronics, Salzbrenner StageTec Mediagroup, TC Group, and Yamaha Commercial Audio.

Michael MacDonald Joins ATK Audiotek
September 25, 2012 (1:28 pm)

Industry veteran Michael MacDonald has joined audio production company and sound reinforcement provider ATK Audiotek (Valencia CA) as President, coincident with the retirement of outgoing President Michael Stahl. MacDonald’s responsibilities will involve leadership of the company’s business development, sales and marketing programs. MacDonald has more than 30 years of experience in the professional audio industry, most recently as Vice President of Sales and Marketing at Harman Professional for five years. He previously operated a consulting business at Pilot Business Strategies, working with more than 30 professional audio clients and trade organizations on product and program development, business planning and marketing and sales. MacDonald has held senior roles at other professional audio manufacturers, including president of JBL Professional and 10 years in executive positions with Yamaha International.

He began his career in the audio business in the production industry working as lead audio engineer on major tours and projects, including Olympics Opening and Closing Ceremonies, the GRAMMY Awards and Presidential debates.
“Having Michael MacDonald join the company is a natural extension of the relationships we have enjoyed for over 30 years,” commented Mikael Stewart, Partner/Vice President of Special Events, ATK Audiotek. Scott Harmala, Partner/CTO/Vice President of Engineering, added, “Michael not only brings decades of experience and industry contacts, but a proven, high energy, creative approach to building new business.”
MacDonald noted, “I am really excited to be moving to ATK Audiotek for the next phase of my career. ATK Audiotek is a great company that has been a pioneer in the live event industry and has built a solid business by focusing on superb customer service.”

Global Caché Signs New CTO, Acquires Stardraw Control's Technology
September 4, 2012 (9:47 am)

Global Caché (Jacksonville OR), which provides IP and WiFi-enabling products for homes and businesses, has has appointed David Snipp as Chief Technology Officer. Snipp founded and acted as CEO for Stardraw.com (Surrey, England), developer of software applications, including Stardraw Design 7 and Stardraw Control. The company also acquired intellectual property from Stardraw.com consisting of Stardraw Control's technology.
Snipp, who also worked as Development Manager at Microsoft, and senior software engineer and architect of major components of Windows NT, said, “I’m especially experienced in managing development teams and pushing forward exciting new products. I’ve enjoyed working with Global Caché as a corporate partner over the last several years. I’ve always admired and appreciated their innovation, proven product reliability, and significant global client base."

Walt Keller, Global Caché CEO, added, "Having David join us, and the acquisition of important web services from Stardraw, is really an important event for our company as it allows us to expand our current end-point hardware offerings to our software and system partners. This positions us well to better address new emerging vertical markets due to the availability of control apps on smartphones and tablets.”At the same time, software developer Stardraw.com announced major changes to its company structure and operation. Rob Robinson, formerly marketing director, is now CEO, with David Snipp remaining a major shareholder and assuming a role of non-executive board director.
The new structure will see Stardraw.com focusing on its core business of software tools and services for system design and documentation, and the development of custom (OEM) software solutions for corporate clients. The company will continue to support its existing Stardraw Control products and customers, including the addition of new drivers as a free service for registered users.

Update: NSCA, InfoComm End Partnership
August 29, 2012 (1:12 pm)

NSCA responded to yesterday's News Update (reported below), with this statement: "NSCA would like to set the record straight. While the NSCA and InfoComm contract under its current arrangement has expired, NSCA is committed to continuing its support of the InfoComm show moving forward. NSCA will be present on both the show floor and in hosting the NSCA Education Foundation Industry Charity Concert featuring the Drunk Unkles in 2013."
However, InfoComm disputed NSCA's statement with this response from Randal A. Lemke, PhD, Executive Director/CEO: "In light of a recent article in Sound & Communications, and a subsequent statement by the National Systems Contractors Association (NSCA), InfoComm International is compelled to set the record straight regarding NSCA's participation in future InfoComm Shows.

"In June 2011, NSCA formally notified InfoComm via written letter that it would no longer participate in InfoComm Shows beyond InfoComm 2012, which took place this past June in Las Vegas. The original agreement between the two associations, signed in 2007, was for five years, with an optional extension for three years.
"InfoComm and the InfoComm Board spent the intervening year, from receipt of NSCA's letter in June 2011 to InfoComm 2012, attempting to find a solution that would preserve NSCA's participation in the InfoComm Show, which we felt was in the best interest of the industry. When NSCA did not respond to InfoComm's overtures to extend their participation in the Show, InfoComm acknowledged NSCA's request to terminate the agreement in writing and wished them well in the future.
"To date, InfoComm has received no further proposals from NSCA to participate in InfoComm 2013 or beyond, and InfoComm is not in receipt of any ratified contracts from NSCA. It is InfoComm's position that, as of today's media publication, and in spite of NSCA's subsequent statement...NSCA is not a participant in InfoComm 2013, by NSCA's own request."

NSCA, InfoComm End Partnership
August 28, 2012 (12:12 pm)

The partnership between NSCA and InfoComm International has officially ended, with the five-year contract the organizations signed back in 2007 expiring this year. NSCA communicated with InfoComm that it did not want to extend the contract, confirming its non-renewal in June 2011, which InfoComm accepted following this year’s show in June.
“We said, when we got the letter, that we would continue to talk and see if we could make it work, and we weren’t able to make it work; but I would still call it a friendly split,” said Randy A. Lemke, Executive Director/CEO of InfoComm.
According to InfoComm, NSCA will not take part in next year’s show, per its request, leaving its 200-square-foot booth area up for grabs, and also freeing up time and space for classes and other educational opportunities.
Although the exact terms of the contract are confidential, we will not be seeing NSCA in all the old familiar places as a result of the split. However, the organization is committed to becoming more visible and relevant to its integrator members, per members’ requests, according to Chuck Wilson, NSCA Executive Director.
Lemke added: “We paid a fair sum for [NSCA’s] exhibition and we need to protect our investment by requiring the non-compete just like any other business does.” Wilson explained that, contractually or not, NSCA does not intend to sponsor, endorse or organize trade shows in the future. They intend to go out to where their members are and discuss issues such as prevailing wage, regulations and licensure, and work on issues that make it difficult to be profitable as a systems integrator.
“It just didn’t seem to make sense for us to have that big of a presence at the show and to do that many courses,” Wilson said. “So we’re going to submit a new proposal [to InfoComm] and see where that takes us.”

Wilson and NSCA President Ingolf de Jong, told Sound & Communications that the organization’s visibility focus has shifted from trade shows to more frequent educational opportunities for members at smaller venues and events all around the country. Members are looking for NSCA to provide more local services, so the organization plans to visit the six regions of the US and Canada about four or five times per year. They explained that education is NSCA’s main source of revenue, based upon manufacturer sponsorship, and that trade shows aren’t necessary to keep the organization afloat. NSCA is also planning to focus on emerging markets, such as Mass Notification and Emergency Communication systems.
“We want to make sure that we are providing products and services to the integrator community that help better businesses–and that’s singularly what we want to focus on,” said de Jong.
Shifting concerns to the business side of the industry is important for NSCA as its members’ businesses grow. When the industry was struggling, according to Wilson, as many as 150 of NSCA’s members’ businesses either went under or merged, but he added that this is changing, that business is bouncing back, and that NSCA wants to prepare members for new issues that might arise. They want NSCA to be the go-to resource for troubleshooting within the industry, in order to help better its members’ businesses.
“There’s a lot of stuff on the horizon that we need for our industry to be aware of, that we want to share with them before it costs them real money,” said Wilson. “We really want to be that think tank or that leadership institute organization that takes people to the next level,” he added.
Betsy Jaffe, Director of Public Relations for InfoComm, stated, “NSCA has always had a business-oriented focus and we definitely think that the industry needs that kind of council and advice,” adding, “We still consider [NSCA] to be a valued part of the greater AV community.”
NSCA has is concentrating its focus on North America. With mutual members and similar educational programs, both organizations are building their interests separately.
“We, of course, had to talk about them leaving,” said Lemke. “After a whole year of asking them to come back, for us it was finally time to say goodbye.”
Lemke, who has had a large part in discussion and negotiation with NSCA, is also saying goodbye at the end of the year when he retires, and the relationship between NSCA and InfoComm will be facilitated by his successor. “We’ll see what happens with their new leadership for next year,” said Wilson. “But I certainly look toward us having a great relationship, and that we find ways to work together to improve the industry as a whole.”


Nortek Launches 'Core Brands' Group
August 27, 2012 (2:06 pm)

Nortek, Inc. (Providence RI), a global diversified company offering technology-driven products and solutions for residential and commercial applications, has formed Core Brands, combining the product and marketing strengths of 10 of the company’s formerly independent audio, power management and control brands operating within its Technology Solutions segment. Including Nortek’s Aton, BlueBOLT, Elan, Furman, Niles, Panamax, Proficient, SpeakerCraft, Sunfire and Xantech brands, Core Brands has more than 190 years of combined experience in the residential, commercial and professional markets and more than 4300 direct customer accounts in multiple distribution channels in the US and worldwide.
Core Brands will be based in Petaluma CA, with offices in Carlsbad and Riverside CA, and Marblehead MA. Bill Pollock, who has served as Panamax President, will lead Core Brands. Dave Keller, Vice President of Sales and Marketing for Panamax/Furman, will handle worldwide sales. Keith Marshall, President of SpeakerCraft/Proficient, will be in charge of channel management, and Paul Starkey, President of Elan, will lead marketing for all brands.


“The formation of Core Brands reflects the strategic refocusing currently taking place as we pursue new markets and new opportunities to serve our dealers, channel partners and end users,” said Nortek President/CEO Michael J. Clarke. “We expect that combining the unique capabilities of each of these 10 formidable brands will deliver new and powerful benefits they can only achieve as a group.”
“Operating as Core Brands will enable us to leverage economies of scale while strengthening our ability to invest in launching innovative technologies and a range of new marketing programs designed to increase the value, clarity and acceptance of each brand,” said Sean Burke, Group President of Nortek’s Technology Solutions segment. “In addition, combining these market-leading brands will allow us to deliver more localized and responsive factory training and product support expertise. These initiatives should position the brands not only to improve their business performance, but also to increase their penetration of unserved and underserved market segments during a period of generally improving business conditions in their respective distribution channels.”


Verrex Restructures
August 17, 2012 (10:04 am)

Verrex (Mountainside NJ), the 65-year-old design-build integrator and managed services provider of conferencing, collaboration and presentation technologies, is restructuring, moving to a more visible global alliance model, the company reported. This network of AV systems integrators and service providers has been in place for the past several years led by Verrex and includes more than 200 firms worldwide serving 300-plus metropolitan areas across 37 countries. An official announcement about this network will be made in early September. In preparation, Verrex will restructure its own UK and Asia Pacific presence by year’s end. US regions have been realigned to support the restructured organization.

“We have had significant success with our network of allied firms in helping to serve our clients globally for the past 10 years,” said Thomas Berry Jr., President/CEO. “Their local resources, coupled with Verrex’s proprietary quality management process, our global expertise and full service offerings is the ideal model. Verrex’s core competency remains global deployment. We look forward to our allied firms leveraging this experience while we in turn leverage their local proficiencies.”
Verrex will continue to centralize global systems and service deployments from its full-service offices in the US. This includes the company’s service desk, where the global allied network is managed and deployed.


Leviton Acquires Home Automation, Inc. (HAI)
August 3, 2012 (11:04 am)

Leviton (Melville NY) has acquired Home Automation, Inc. (HAI, New Orleans LA), which offers home automation controls for residential and light commercial applications. According to the company, HAI enhances Leviton’s current home automation offerings by providing solutions that combine security, energy management and entertainment controls, in user-friendly applications. Integrating HAI products with Leviton’s solutions provides with a smart choice for automation and remote access capabilities, the company offered. HAI has a wide-ranging product offering, from systems that allow control of automated video surveillance systems and audio devices over the internet to programmable thermostats and light switches accessible directly from a smartphone.

“Leviton’s acquisition of HAI represents a significant expansion of our offerings in the residential market, and furthers Leviton’s commitment to providing customers with the latest technologies as affordable, easy-to-use solutions,” said Daryoush Larizadeh, Chief Operating Officer of Leviton.
HAI will operate as a new, standalone business unit, branded HAI by Leviton, and maintain operations in New Orleans. The new business unit will be managed by Jay McLellan, current HAI CEO/president, who will report directly to Larizadeh. HAI product lines will soon be available through Leviton’s US and international channel partners and distributors. Leviton also plans to provide its builder and contractor network with the necessary training for installing HAI systems.
This acquisition continues Leviton’s commitment to strategic growth and innovation. Leviton has evolved into a global provider of electrical wiring devices, data connectivity solutions and lighting and energy management systems for a variety of end-use markets.

AFMG And Renkus-Heinz Transition With EASE
August 3, 2012 (10:45 am)

Renkus-Heinz (Foothill Ranch CA) and Ahnert Feistel Media Group (AFMG Technologies GmbH, Berlin, Germany) are restructuring their long-standing strategic relationship, with AFMG stepping into a more prominent role. AFMG will provide direct sales, technical support and training worldwide for its acoustical measurement and simulation software products, including EASE, EASERA and SysTune, with Renkus-Heinz continuing to offer support to customers during the transition beginning on October 1, 2012. Both companies will keep working together on educational seminars, marketing of technology solutions, as well as software development and other projects, they report.
AFMG's Berlin offices, which already provide support for Europe including Russia, the Middle East, Africa and India, will take this role on globally. Covering the Americas will be Bruce Olson and Charlie Hughes from AFMG’s US branch, with AFMG representatives and distribution partners providing local assistance, as well.

“The relationship between AFMG and Renkus-Heinz goes back more than 20 years, and will continue well into the future,” remarked Renkus-Heinz President Harro Heinz. “As AFMG keeps growing, the company is ideally suited to provide the best support for its products, and we stand behind its decision to do so.”
“Renkus-Heinz has always been one of our biggest supporters,” added AFMG Managing Director Stefan Feistel. “The enthusiasm and professional attitude of Harro Heinz and his team helped us get on the road in our early years, for which we are deeply thankful. Our companies will continue to have a great working relationship in future projects.”
The transition beginning October 1 will be seamless to all AFMG customers, with Renkus-Heinz continuing to provide assistance as needed, and AFMG taking on all functions effective January 1, 2013.

SYNNEX VISUALSolv Group Completes Pro Audio Portfolio With TC Group Americas Inc.
August 3, 2012 (10:15 am)

SYNNEX Corp. (Greenville, SC), a distributor of IT products and services, now offers a complete professional audio portfolio through its VISUALSolv group with the signing of a strategic distribution agreement with TC Group Americas Inc. (Kitchener, Ontario, Canada). SYNNEX now can create audio solutions for commercial AV integrators with the full line of Tannoy professional audio products and Lab Gruppen amplifiers, the company reports.

“SYNNEX’s VISUALSolv group is opening up new markets for us and driving our products in verticals that are currently untouched for TC Group,” said Ben Cook, Key Account Manager for TC Group Americas Inc. “We are pleased that we now can offer a full array of professional audio products for our commercial AV integrators to create high-end, audio solutions in a variety of end-user verticals,” said TJ Trojan, Senior Vice President, Product Management for SYNNEX Corp. “Tannoy and Lab Gruppen’s leading products, combined with the VISUALSolv dedicated, industry-trained team’s comprehensive services and support, position our commercial AV integrators to be heads above their competition.”

Warning About Copper Clad Aluminum Conductors
July 23, 2012 (9:22 am)

According to a posting on Chuck Wilson’s NSCA LinkedIn Discussion by Dave Jeskey, National Accounts Manager at Sentinel Connector Systems, we have learned that, in 2011, the Fiberoptic Industry Association (Buntingford, Hertfordshire, UK) issued FIA-IAN-002 Infrastructure Advisory Note, which summarized concerns about Cat5/5e cables using Copper Clad Aluminum (CCA) conductors. The Communications Cable and Connectivity Association (CCCA, Washington DC) continues to encounter several sources in the US promoting Cat5e and Cat 6 cables made with copper clad aluminum (CCA) conductors. CCA is not permitted for Category UTP cables and is not compliant to Telecommunications Industries Association (TI) standards and National Electrical Code (NEC) requirements for fire safety.


According to the FIA’s document, “The terms Category 5 or Category 5e have become synonymous with ‘entry level’ 4-pair balanced cables. Many users and installers have an ambivalent view of what constitutes these cables. As a result, there is significant pressure on pricing, which has encouraged the importation of lower cost products in order to boost supply chain margins or to reduce the capital expenditure of users. This Infrastructure Advisory Note reviews the implications of one specific implementation of these low cost products that claim to be ‘Category 5’ or ‘Category 5e’ using CCA conductors. This document supports many others prepared by suppliers and trade associations around the world. More worryingly, cables containing CCA conductors masquerade as standards-compliant ‘Category 5’ or ‘Category 5e’ products, tempting users to specify them and installers to use them. However, they do not comply with any recognized cable standard in the North America, international or European arenas.”
Also from the report, “More worryingly, from a contractual, and therefore potentially financial, sense, when used in generic, structured, cabling systems in accordance with the various premises-specific versions of ANSI/TIA-568-C, ISO/IEC 11801 or BS EN 50173 standards, they may:
•           fail basic transmission performance tests during commissioning acceptance tests
•           exhibit poor flexibility leading to failed connections during both installation and operation
•           produce higher than expected temperature rises when used to provide power using applications such as Power over Ethernet (PoE and PoEplus)
•           exhibit oxidation of exposed aluminum at points of connection which may reduce lifetime of those connections, particularly when they are subject to vibration or other movement.
For these reasons, the Fibreoptic Industry Association cautions against the use of cables containing CCA conductors as an alternative to cables of a specified category (i.e., where the term is not explicitly used but is implicitly indicated as the
intended utilization of the cable).

Sony And Panasonic To Cooperate To Make OLEDs
June 29, 2012 (6:15 pm)

Rival Japanese television makers Sony Corp. and Panasonic Corp. have stated that they will cooperate to make OLED (organic light emitting diode) sets as they battle Korean rivals Samsung Electronics and LG Electronics in the next-generation TV market. The race to garner a lead in OLED, widely touted as the successor to liquid-crystal displays, will depend on which company is able to mass produce screens at a price that will attract consumers to the new technology. According to Sony and Panasonic, they will develop technologies to fabricate the screens and aim to establish a mass-production process in 2013.


Samsung and LG Electronics have displayed 55-inch OLED prototypes, with the sets expected to go on sale this year for about $10,000, approximately four times the cost of an equivalent LCD model. OLED TV shipments may reach 2.1 million sets in 2015 from 34,000 this year, according to research firm IHS Inc. With tough Korean competitors in the LCD segment, Sony and Panasonic might better be able to compete in the next generation market by combining their OLED technologies and development budgets. Losses on TVs at Sony have mounted to about $12 billion in the past decade.
Sony pioneered OLED technology, which boasts sharper images and does not require backlighting, selling the world's first OLED TV in 2007. It halted production of the $2000 screens three years later amid the post-Lehman global downturn. Sony still makes OLED screens costing as much as $26,000 for high-end customers.
According to Reuters, an industry sourse stated that Panasonic plans to invest about 30 billion yen ($373 million) in its Himeji plant in western Japan for a test production line of OLED panels.



Board Approves InfoComm Audiovisual Systems Energy Management Standard
June 29, 2012 (1:51 pm)

InfoComm International's latest standard, 4 :2012 Audiovisual Systems Energy Management, has been approved by the InfoComm Board of Directors and submitted to ANSI for approval. This standard defines and prescribes processes and requirements for ongoing power-consumption management of the audiovisual (AV) system.


The standard identifies requirements for the control and continuous monitoring of electrical power for audiovisual systems, conserving power whenever possible and operating components at the lowest power-consuming state possible without compromising the system’s performance for the needs of the user. Audiovisual systems in conformance with the standard will meet the defined requirements for automation, measurement, analysis and training. A one-page overview can be found at infocomm.org/standards.
The following subject-matter experts were involved in developing this standard: Matthew Kosel, CTS-D, CTS-I, Spinitar (Moderator); David Barnett, CTS-D, The Sextant Group; Steven Greenblatt, CTS, Control Concepts Inc.; Jacob Jackson, CAP, Assurity Design Group; Rahul Karnik, St. John's University; Christopher Maione, CTS-D, Christopher Maione Associates; Peter Pekurar, CQE, CET, Christie Digital Systems USA, Inc.; Jonathan Rutledge, CTS, AMX Corp.; Bob Schluter, Middle Atlantic Products, Inc.; Jennifer Willard, CTS, Administrative Office of the Courts of California, and Scott Woolley, CTS, RCDD, LDS Church.
The standard will be available in July at the IHS standards store at global.ihs.com or from ANSI at webstore.ansi.org


AVTEQ Acquires Furniture Companies
June 29, 2012 (10:51 am)

AVTEQ, Inc. (Dallas TX), manufacturer of videoconferencing and telemedicine carts, has acquired KLN Steel Products Co. (San Antonio TX) and its two sister companies, Dehler Manufacturing Inc. (San Antonio TX) and Furniture by Thurston Inc. (Grass Valley CA). “We’re excited about the acquisition,” said John O’Donnell, AVTEQ Vice President. “We’re in similar business, so it makes sense for our growth.” With this acquisition, AVTEQ will significantly expand its US manufacturing capacity and increase revenue to a projected $60 million.

KLN Steel Products was established more than 40 years ago in San Antonio and manufactures furniture for the institutional metal dormitory market. Furniture by Thurston was founded in 1980 in Grass Valley CA, and manufactures furniture for the commercial wood market. “They both have a great reputation with customers in their respective markets and AVTEQ is excited to apply its special style of innovation and flexibility to both companies,” he said.


MUSIC Group Acquires Turbosound, Launches Professional Division
June 22, 2012 (12:30 pm)

MUSIC Group (Singapore) has acquired Turbosound (West Sussex, England), a 30-year-old professional loudspeaker manufacturer that has earned the Queen’s Award three times, including for Innovation in 2012. At the same time, MUSIC Group announced the formation of a global Professional Division, with Philip Hart as Vice President, bringing together the Midas, Klark Teknik and Turbosound brands.
According to MUSIC Group Founder/CEO Uli Behringer, the addition of Turbosound allows MUSIC Group to round out its professional and touring sound offerings alongside Midas and Klark Teknik. “Since the acquisition of Midas and Klark Teknik, we have been pursuing a loudspeaker brand that complements the consoles and processing offered by these historic brands. Throughout our search, Turbosound has stood out as the ideal match because of its extensive IP, sterling reputation and a first-class team of people. I am very proud to welcome Simon Blackwood and his team to our family.”

He added, “We will invest heavily in positioning Turbosound at the very pinnacle of the industry, as we have done with Midas and Klark Teknik, where we have financed over $20 million in new automated manufacturing, quality control systems and engineering resources, including a new Center of Engineering Excellence in Manchester, UK.”
In addition, Behringer stated, “The new Pro Division brings together three of the most respected brands in professional and touring sound under one roof. Our goal is to offer exceptional pre and post-sale support with a team of dedicated professionals who operate at the elite level of our most demanding customers, while maintaining the independent character of each individual brand. At the same time, this division will accelerate the development of new technologies that will better integrate all components of the signal chain.” According to the company, the new Professional Division follows the launch of the Instrument Amplification Division in April 2012 and is part of the MUSIC Group’s commitment to a more focused and agile management structure.




Jenne Signs Distribution Agreement With ViewZ
June 22, 2012 (10:30 am)

Jenne Inc. (Avon OH), a value-added distributor of IP telephony, audio and videoconferencing, unified communications, data networking and IT security products, has signed a distribution agreement with ViewZ (Anaheim CA), a manufacturer of professional-grade monitors for video surveillance and digital signage applications. With the addition of ViewZ to its linecard, Jenne now offers resellers competing in the security market a turnkey surveillance solution because it already carries the Panasonic's line of i-Pro cameras and security products. The addition of ViewZ also increases Jenne's presence in the commercial integration market, where digital signage applications are expected to grow exponentially over the coming decade.

“ViewZ’s LCD and LED monitors integrate seamlessly with Panasonic i-Pro security solutions to provide our resellers with best-in-class video surveillance cameras and high-resolution monitors,” said Tom Yuhas, Product Manager, Security, Jenne. “These monitors are very durable and of proven quality, helping resellers deliver the highest performance and clarity for video surveillance and also digital signage applications.”
ViewZ manufactures commercial-grade monitoring solutions in sizes ranging from eight inches to 70 inches. Built to run constantly, the monitors provide ultra-high contrast up to full HD and with wide viewing angles. Additionally, ViewZ offers HD quality digital signage displays in its NL series, which is deployed in airports, restaurants and other applications.
Jenne is building on its leadership as a provider of video surveillance, videoconferencing and AV solutions to AV, IT and commercial integration channels. The company works with more than 150 major manufacturers.


Miranda Board Agrees To Recommend Belden Purchase Offer
June 5, 2012 (3:56 pm)

Miranda Technologies Inc. (Montréal, Canada) has entered into an agreement with Belden Inc. (Richmond IN) to offer to purchase all outstanding common shares of Miranda by way of a take-over bid at a price of C$17.00 per share in cash. The Offer represents the culmination of the strategic review process initiated by the corporation’s Board of Directors in March 2012. A special committee of the Board of Directors, which led the review process, considered how best to ensure that any transaction would both recognize Miranda’s value and its success to date, as well as its future prospects, and position Miranda’s business effectively for continued growth.

The corporation had discussions with a number of parties, including Belden, which expressed an interest in acquiring Miranda. After consultation with its financial and legal advisers, and after receiving the unanimous recommendation of the Special Committee, Miranda’s Board of Directors has unanimously determined that the offer is fair to the holders of Miranda common shares and is in the best interests of the Corporation, and has agreed to recommend to shareholders that they accept the offer.
Miranda President/CEO Strath Goodship stated, “The offer by Belden reflects the value created by our employees, management team and Board of Directors. This is an attractive opportunity for Miranda shareholders to realize a significant premium for their shares in an all cash deal. Belden has a strong portfolio of successful businesses, proven experience with many of our broadcast customers, and a solid reputation in Canada and Montreal. Our businesses and technologies are highly complementary, and bringing them together will generate a more complete set of end-to-end solutions for our customers. Together, we can continue to build on our success as a premium provider to the broadcast industry.”
Miranda and Belden will develop an integration plan that best leverages the combined capabilities of the two companies. Belden has no plans for any changes to Miranda’s existing operations, including the R&D and manufacturing operations located at its Montreal base, and it is not expected that there will be any significant changes to employment levels. With no significant product overlap, the primary focus will be to ensure continuity of supply and support for customers of both companies.
The obligation of Belden to take up and pay for Miranda common shares pursuant to the Offer is subject to certain conditions, including a sufficient number of shares being tendered to the offer for Belden to acquire at least 66⅔% of the corporation’s shares on a fully diluted basis and the absence of a material adverse change with respect to Miranda. If the offer is successful, Belden has indicated that it intends to take steps available to it under relevant corporate and securities laws to acquire any remaining outstanding Miranda common shares.
Details can be found at http:investor.belden.com/news-events.cfm.



Digital Projection Chooses IAVI As North American Distribution Partner
June 4, 2012 (3:40 pm)

Digital Projection International (DPI, Atlanta GA) has selected IAVI (International Audio Visual, Fort Lauderdale FL) as the commercial AV distributor for DPI's line of displays in North America. Working side by side with DPI’s own established dealer network, IAVI will now offer DPI’s displays directly to its extensive dealer network, effective immediately. 
IAVI is a wholesale supplier of professional AV technology products to value-added resellers worldwide. Founded in 1997, IAVI has offices staffed with CTS- and DSE-certified AV professionals across the US. IAVI’s customer base consists of independent dealers, systems integrators and custom installers. According to the companies, “Through this partnership, IAVI gains a stable, well respected and diverse projector line, and DPI gains a robust sales and marketing partner.”

Chuck Collins, DPI’s Vice President of Sales, stated, “Over the past few years, Digital Projection has extended our product line in dramatic ways. So much so that DPI now offers solutions that serve a much larger segment of the market than what we have addressed in the past.” He continued, “With its extensive team of knowledgeable sales professionals, and its focus on customer service, we saw important parallels between IAVI and DPI's business philosophies. We believe it is the perfect distribution partner to help DPI bring our extensive product line to benefit more customers.” 
Bill Woodard, IAVI’s Vice President of Purchasing and Marketing, stated, “The opportunity for IAVI to distribute the Digital Projection line of projectors is a privilege we embrace wholeheartedly and enthusiastically. Our sales representatives are committed to representing this outstanding brand with expertise, and pledge to offer our existing and prospective customers a consultative approach to choosing the very best products DPI has to offer. We look forward to a solid and profitable partnership with Digital Projection Inc. for many years to come.”



BroadSign Completes Sale To JedFam Group
June 1, 2012 (11:20 am)

BroadSign International, Inc. (BSI; Montreal, Canada), has been acquired by JedFam Group, LLC (JedFam), almost three months after it filed for protection under Chapter 11 of the United States Bankruptcy Code in the United States Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware. The Bankruptcy Court recently approved a sale of BSI's assets to JedFam, and BSI will emerge from bankruptcy as BroadSign International, LLC. Brian Dusho will remain as Chief Executive Officer of the digital signage software provider.

“Today marks the start of a new chapter for BroadSign,” Dusho said. “Thanks to widespread support from our lenders, customers, partners and friends, our operations have remained robust through this process.” Dusho reported that BroadSign has experienced unprecedented growth in recent months. “I am especially grateful to our employees around the world whose continued hard work and focus have been instrumental in enabling us to reach this achievement, and who will be important contributors to our future success."



The AVC Group, Panamax/Furman, SpeakerCraft Integrate Brands
May 25, 2012 (12:00 pm)

The AVC Group (Carlsbad CA), Panamax/Furman(Petaluma CA) and SpeakerCraft (Riverside CA) announced a significant strategic move to address the rapidly changing needs of technology consumers and dealers alike. The resources of The AVC Group, Panamax/Furman and SpeakerCraft, Proficient brands will align under one centralized division with a focus on customer-centric product development, brand innovation and dealer support.
Mark Terry, President of The AVC Group, will leave the company, they report. “Mark and his team have done an outstanding job combining The AVC Group brands together and creating a world-class infrastructure to service our customers and dealers,” stated Sean Burke, Group President of Nortek’s Technology Products Segment. Also, Jeremy Burkhardt is leaving SpeakerCraft.

Heading up the new organization will be Bill Pollock, President of Panamax/Furman. Paul Starkey will direct Marketing, Dave Keller will head Sales while Keith Marshall will lead SpeakerCraft/Proficient. “This...represents an important and historic step for our industry,” said Pollock. “We’ve joined the expertise and efficiency of the industry’s most important technology brands and formed a new resource for our dealers that represents a unique opportunity for them to grow both ROI and competitive standing.”
The change is effective immediately. No changes are currently planned for existing dealer contacts, customer service, tech support and credit operations.



Industry Veterans Form Entertainment Technology Solutions Company, Zeehi
May 22, 2012 (6:00 pm)

Industry veteran Danny Abelson has announced formation of Zeehi LLC (Boulder CO), an entertainment technology company dedicated to developing solutions to improve the workflow of global entertainment production professionals. Zeehi’s management team consists of industry engineering and marketing veterans with a combined 75 years of experience in professional product design, portable system design, stage lighting, audio engineering, production management and fixed installations in some of the largest entertainment facilities in the world.
Abelson, formerly the US partner and distributor for Turbosound, noted, “The Zeehi team includes some of the top professionals in the industry: designers, builders and/or high-profile users of professional entertainment products.

We’re leveraging that industry knowledge, and have brought on board some of the most experienced software developers anywhere, in the interest of helping the user community. We have spent the last year interviewing production personnel on multiple continents to identify the challenges today’s dedicated professionals face. Our company was formed to create solutions to many of these challenges, based on a genuine understanding of entertainment production.”
Also on board are software developers Vineet Joshi and Atul Barve, who bring extensive experience coding solutions for the airline, energy, medical and online retail industries. Joshi noted, “We see a great opportunity to adapt software technologies developed for global industries, and apply them to solving entertainment industry problems. This is a very exciting opportunity for us. Zeehi is currently Beta-testing our first solution, which has been warmly and enthusiastically received by the production companies that have tried it.”
Abelson indicated, “Having started in the 1970s, I have witnessed the analog-to-digital transition in entertainment equipment. The opportunities digital has given us have been remarkable, but with these improvements come greater expectations by performers and management for crews to do more in less time. On a surprising number of occasions, the digital solutions unintentionally create obstacles for the production team. Zeehi speaks directly to production managers, designers, technicians and crew members to identify these obstacles, and we are writing applications to help production staffs overcome these day-to-day challenges. In time, we envision a family of software solutions to solve problems throughout the entertainment industry.”
Zeehi’s first entertainment technology solution, CueCast, will debut this summer.



Martin Audio Sounding Out Strategic Options
May 22, 2012 (12:40 pm)

LOUD Technologies Inc. (Woodinville WA) has appointed Lincoln International to conduct a strategic review of its UK-based division, Martin Audio, with a view to finding private equity backing to support Martin Audio into the next phase of its development plan. In sourcing the right investment partner, and forging a more independent path, it will further assist in the realization of the growth strategy and objectives of the business.

Following the introduction of its MLA system in 2010, sales at the UK designer and manufacturer of professional loudspeaker systems have grown more than 40% in the past 12 months, driven by growing demand for its products in new markets—particularly in the Asia Pacific region—despite the current global economic position. Martin Audio also has a wide range of speakers used in an array of venues including cinemas, theaters and churches, benefiting from its engineering and acoustic excellence.
The company, a prime example of what the UK government has actively encouraged, is a British company with more than 90% of sales exported to China, North America, Europe and the Middle East.


Polycom To Divest Its Enterprise Wireless Voice Solutions Business
May 11, 2012 (2:20 pm)

Polycom, Inc. (Pleasanton CA), has announced a definitive agreement to divest its enterprise wireless voice solutions business to an affiliate of Sun Capital Partners, Inc., for gross proceeds of about $110 million in cash, subject to certain adjustments set forth in the agreement. The sale is expected to close within the third quarter of 2012, following the satisfaction of regulatory requirements and other customary closing conditions. Polycom’s Board of Directors has approved an increase in its current share repurchase authorization to include net proceeds of about $104 million from this transaction, contingent upon the sale of the enterprise wireless voice solutions business and receipt of the net proceeds from the sale.

“Polycom has evolved rapidly over the last 18 to 24 months, and taken actions designed to capture and lead the fast-growing video collaboration market through traditional and new delivery platforms, including mobile, social and cloud. The sale of our wireless handset business is a further step toward focusing our product and technology portfolio on our core unified communications and video collaboration solutions, including extending the reach of the Polycom RealPresence Platform,” said Andy Miller, Polycom President/CEO. “The closing of this transaction will allow Polycom to concentrate on initiatives that support our vision of making video collaboration ubiquitous through open, standards-based software delivered to anyone, across any environment and device. Moreover, the divestiture of the enterprise wireless voice solutions business will allow us to focus on the stronger sales growth and higher gross margins of Polycom’s core unified communications business.”
According to the company, this strategic decision to divest the wireless voice business reflects its focus on initiatives that extend the company’s leadership in its unified communications business. Polycom’s enterprise wireless voice portfolio, which is part of the UC personal product category, includes WiFi and DECT handsets, related infrastructure and accessories, and generated revenues of about $94 million in calendar year 2011. 
“This is a logical next step for our business and a strategic decision that should enable the wireless voice organization to flourish as a standalone company,” continued Miller. “Polycom has selected Sun Capital because of its commitment to support Polycom’s wireless handset partners and customers, as well as its strong operational expertise, particularly in corporate divestitures that require seamless transfers of significant business operations.”
“This is a good and not surprising move for Polycom, as it allows them to concentrate their energy and resources on the core, strategic components of their business in order to drive further innovation and adoption of video collaboration,” said Rich Costello, IDC Senior Research Analyst.


INDUSTRY VETS LAUNCH FiROBO CORPORATION
May 2, 2012 (4:30 pm)

A group of AV and IT industry veterans led by David Robbins (former integrator and Klipsch regional sales manager) and Douglas Bowman (more than 15 years in IT network deployment and management for Fortune 500 companies), have launched FiROBO Corp. (McKinney TX) to provide to residential and commercial AV integrators enterprise-level managed network solutions that are easy to install, maintain, expand and support. The result, they report, is increased productivity, increased profitability and peace of mind for all stakeholders in the value chain.

“We formed FiROBO to address the unique needs of the AV integrator in an IT world,” commented Robbins. “The growth in complex networked entertainment and automation systems has been driving the demand for enterprise-level managed backbone IP networks. However, design, deployment and remote management of those networks is a challenge for AV integrators. FiROBO’s products and services provide the ultimate solution.”


Harris To Sell Its Broadcast Communications Business
May 2, 2012 (10:45 am)

Harris (Englewood CO) announced its decision to divest the Broadcast Communications business on May 1, according to Harris Morris, President, Broadcast Communications Division, Harris Corporation: He stated, “I fully support this decision and believe that the timing is right for both Harris and Broadcast Communications.
“Harris has supported us by investing in our business, allowing us to develop some of the market’s most innovative, solution-based technologies. However, over time, Broadcast Communications has become less aligned with the Harris core businesses and long-term strategy.
“Operating independently or as part of a broadcast or media-focused enterprise will provide us with strategic investment, increased competitive flexibility and customer focus to lead the continuing transformation in this competitive marketplace.
“The decision to divest in no way reflects the quality of the work Broadcast Communications performed in support of our customers and our company. Harris simply determined that Broadcast Communications could provide higher value and operate more effectively under a different ownership model.

 

“In the interim, Broadcast Communications will continue to be a part of Harris Corporation and operate business as usual. Our valued relationships, both longstanding and new, remain our top priority. The global team will continue to work diligently to ensure our commitment to our customers and partners remains steadfast, our execution to fulfill commitments is flawless and our progress against strategic objectives remains focused.”
In exclusive comments to Sound & Communications, Denise MacDonell, General Manager, Digital Out-of-Home Solutions, Harris Broadcast Communications, said, “The Harris digital out-of-home business is a unique media opportunity within the company’s greater broadcast portfolio, and therefore provides a unique opportunity for potential buyers of the Harris Broadcast business.” MacDonell added, “We are not planning to exit the digital out-of-home market per the rumor mall. It’s business as usual. We’ll continue to support our dealers and integrators—as well as our end customers—and provide answers to problems with technologies as we always have. All of our customers can expect the same level of attention and support they are used to receiving from Harris.”


InfoComm Opens Review Of Draft Energy Management Standard
April 25, 2012 (10:19 pm)

InfoComm International (Fairfax VA) has opened the public review and comment period for the proposed draft standard, INFOCOMM 4: 2012 DS1, Audiovisual Systems Energy Management, which addresses power consumption management of AV systems. Although there is no requirement for a specific percentage of energy reduction, the Standard requires preparation of an energy management plan that will assist users in formulating their energy reduction goals by requiring baseline measurements; automation; ongoing monitoring, measurement and analysis; and education/training for owners and users of the AV systems. The Standard addresses power consumption requirements of the AV system as a whole, while allowing the user of the Standard flexibility in system design, as well as selection of individual components.


This review public review process is being administered in accordance with the ANSI Accredited Standards Developer process. Commenting procedures and the draft standard are available from the InfoComm website at www.infocomm.org/standards. Comments are encouraged from InfoComm members and all interested parties, internationally. The review period will remain open until June 4, 2012.


VIZIO Licenses Patent Portfolio to Westinghouse Digital
March 30, 2012 (8:52 am)

Westinghouse Digital, LLC (Orange CA), has become a licensee under VIZIO’s (Irvine CA) QAM patent portfolio by virtue of a cross-license between the two. VIZIO, an American LCD HDTV company, owns a substantial worldwide patent portfolio directed to digital television technology. The parties have not disclosed financial terms of the agreement under which Westinghouse has agreed to make royalty payments to VIZIO for sales of licensed products.

“We are pleased with the result of our patent licensing efforts. It further demonstrates the technical strength and value of VIZIO’s patent portfolio,” said Rob Brinkman, VIZIO Chief Administrative Officer. The signing of the QAM License with Westinghouse Digital, LLC, also concludes actions brought by VIZIO. “Having successfully resolved the disputes, we shall continue to aggressively protect our rights and actively expand VIZIO’s licensing program,” Brinkman added.


Sharp Enters Into An LCD Joint Venture
March 30, 2012 (7:02 am)

A major change is afoot in the LCD manufacturing sector, with the announcement of a joint venture between Sharp Corp. and Hon Hai of Taiwan, which will purchase half of Sharp’s share of Green Front Sakai, the world’s largest (Gen 10) TFT-LCD factory, for the Yen equivalent of more than 600 million Euros. Hon Hai, which has capital ties with FoxConn (a key supplier of Apple), will be guaranteeing at least 50% capacity production at Sakai.
As part of the deal, Sharp will issue 50,000,000, 32,477,000, 31,143,000 and 8,029,000 new shares each to Hon Hai, FoxConn Technology Co., Ltd, FoxConn FE and Q-Run Holdings (the “Allottee”), which is 4.50%, 2.92%, 2.80% and 0.72% of 1,110,699,887 shares, the total of issued common stock of Sharp as of February 29, 2012.
According to Sharp’s Executive Managing Officer, Takashi Okuda, “The market surrounding the electronics industry is becoming severe, with rapid price declines due to the development of digital technology and increasing competition in a global market. We believe the timely action is necessary to tackle these changes in the market...
“This partnership allows each company to establish a new business model, combining each company’s strength, to launch cost-competitive components and products fit to market demand by utilizing Sharp’s potential for the development of one-of-a-kind components and products with Hon Hai group’s mounting technology and cost competitiveness.

Summit Partners, which has raised more than $14 billion in capital since inception, has invested in a number of industry-leading companies in the software, internet and media sectors. “The investment by Summit Partners affirms Wowza’s leadership position within the fast-growing and ever-evolving streaming media space,” said Stubenvoll. “Summit has deep expertise and a strong track record in supporting rapidly growing technology companies, as well as a history of investing in companies with proven business models, records of revenue and earnings growth, and the leadership capable of sustaining that growth. Summit’s support will help us continue to provide outstanding service and innovative products to our customers, as well as expand beyond our current offerings.”
“Sharp plans to enhance this partnership by broadening the collaboration field, to allocate funds received from Hon Hai group by the issuance of new shares through third-party allotment, to the investment for the new technology introduction, to increase mid- and long-term profitability, and to strengthen competitive edge in the global market.”
In a separate statement, Sharp outlined the capital and business alliance: “The purpose of the Capital and Business Alliance is to realize vertical integration on a global level and to expand business and improve the corporate value of Sharp through creating the world’s top one-of-a-kind products and reinforcing the value chain by establishing a strategic partnership between two globally-competitive companies, Sharp having the development capability of the one-of-a-kind devices and products and Hon Hai, an EMS giant of electronic devices having outstanding industrial technology and cost competitiveness.”
Over the next year, the main use and purpose of Hon Hai’s investment will be “Enhancement, rationalization and expansion of facilities for the manufacturing and R&D in Fukuyama Plant, Mihara Plant, Mie Plant, Kameyama Plant, Katsuragi Plant, Sakai Plant, etc.,” from May 2012 through April 2014.


Summit Partners Invests In Wowza Media Systems
March 27, 2012 (6:02 pm)

Summit Partners (Palo Alto CA) has completed a minority investment in Wowza Media Systems, LLC (Evergreen CO), the “Any Screen Done Right” media server software company. According to the companies, this investment positions Wowza for continued strong global growth and opens up opportunities to expand the company’s product offering.
Wowza CEO/Cofounder David Stubenvoll and CTO/Cofounder Charlie Good remain majority owners and lead the Wowza Board of Directors. Greg Goldfarb, a Summit Partners Managing Director, has joined the board. The transaction was completed March 1, 2012; financial terms were not disclosed.

Founded by Stubenvoll and Good in late 2005, Wowza is a media server software brand delivering ever-evolving disruptive software that has redefined multiformat streaming across all screens. Since the release of its first version of Wowza Media Server software in 2007, the company has reached more than 100,000 licensees in more than 150 countries. Customers include service providers, radio and TV broadcasters, media properties, enterprises, educational institutions, OEMs, government agencies and other organizations that need reliable, extensible, affordable delivery of video to any digital screen.
“Wowza is a market leader in the streaming media industry, providing an expansive product portfolio to a diverse range of organizations around the world. The company offers customers an unprecedented user experience and dependable, uninterrupted streaming of their media,” said Goldfarb of Summit Partners. “As a long-time investor in media technology and software companies, Summit Partners is pleased to support this strong team of entrepreneurs that has built a rapidly growing and profitable company poised for significant expansion.”


Berger, Sides Create VUE Audiotechnik
March 19, 2012 (5:02 pm)

VUE Audiotechnik (San Diego CA) has been created by Ken Berger and Jim Sides as a professional audio company “set to redefine high-output, low-distortion loudspeaker performance through road-tested design expertise, advanced technologies and global manufacturing—all backed by an unwavering focus on service and long-term partnerships.”
According to Ken Berger, CEO, “Today’s system designers are pushing the boundaries of performance at an exponential rate. At the same time, many loudspeaker companies are struggling to keep pace as they adapt to modern manufacturing or navigate the murky waters of buyouts and acquisitions.” He added, “We’re launching VUE Audiotechnik to meet the growing demands of today’s market with innovative design, advanced technology and responsive global manufacturing. But even more, VUE is about a return to long-term relationships and exceptional service. These are the values that launched our industry decades ago, and now is the time for a return to those principles.”

The company reported that its R&D effort is led by Head of Engineering Michael Adams, an acoustic engineer whose design talents balance science with a practical, real-world approach honed from nearly four decades as a FOH/monitor engineer and system designer for one of America's top touring and installation sound companies. “Michael's approach now forms the genesis of VUE Audiotechnik’s own design philosophy: Tackle commonly accepted compromises with a perspective born from real-world “know-how” and backed by the most advanced technologies and manufacturing resources available worldwide.” With a global R&D and manufacturing infrastructure in place, VUE has a founding partnership with Speaker Trade of Solingen Germany, and its wholly owned, 290,000-square-foot production and R&D facility in Asia.
According to VUE, its global network provides immediate access to purpose-designed transducers, world-class enclosures with precision-engineered transport and flying hardware, as well as an expanding range of digital and analog electronics, all manufactured in full compliance with the strictest ISO quality control standards.
Jim Sides, former CEO of Meyer Sound Germany and now VUE’s Executive Vice President added, “I’m very excited about the resources and passionate team that have come together to make VUE Audiotechnik a reality. We all share a deep appreciation for the products and people that have forged our industry’s history. This passion fuels our commitment to the future, and VUE Audiotechnik is the vehicle we will use to get there. I can’t wait to show you what’s next.”


Avaya To Acquire Radvision
March 16, 2012 (6:02 pm)

Avaya Inc. (Basking Ridge NJ) has signed an agreement to acquire Radvision Ltd. (Fair Lawn NJ), a provider of videoconferencing and telepresence technologies over IP and wireless networks. Through this acquisition, Avaya will provide customers a highly integrated and interoperable suite of cost-effective, easy to use, high-definition video collaboration products, with the ability to plug and play multiple mobile devices including Apple iPad and Google Android.

Upon closing, Radvision’s enterprise video infrastructure and endpoints will be integrated with Avaya’s Aura Unified Communications (UC) platform to create a compelling and differentiated solution designed to accelerate the adoption of video collaboration. The Radvision portfolio includes a full range of videoconferencing products, technologies and expertise serving enterprises, small business and service providers. It includes standards-based applications, open infrastructure and endpoints for ad-hoc and scheduled videoconferencing with room-based systems, desktop and mobile consumer devices. The integrated Avaya and Radvision portfolios will extend intra-company business to business (b2b) and business to customer (b2c) video communications, and also supports internal “Bring Your Own Device” (BYOD) initiatives.
According to the company, Radvision’s SCOPIA Video product line and expertise integrated with the open architecture of Avaya Aura will bridge existing H.323 communications networks and SIP-based environments, delivering scalability and a user experience designed to be intuitive and easy to operate. At the close of the transaction, Radvision and Avaya channel partners will be positioned to deliver complete UC Video integration, operational support and professional services.
In the transaction, which has been approved by each company’s Board of Directors, Radvision shareholders will receive US$11.85 per share, valuing the transaction at about $230 million. The acquisition is expected to close within about 90 days, assuming the satisfaction of agreed-upon closing conditions.
Entering into this agreement highlights Avaya’s commitment to bring “The Power of We” to every Avaya customer, helping businesses to drive faster collaboration, smarter decisions and better business results.


 

Onepath Systems Acquires Confiance IP Solutions
March 13, 2012 (11:10 am)

Onepath Systems LLC Atlanta GA) has acquired Greensboro NC-based Confiance IP Solutions, Inc. Confiance, a Silver-Certified Cisco Partner, Cisco Master Managed Services Partner and an EMC Velocity Affiliate Elite Partner, has provided consulting services that help their customers incorporate advanced technologies into their core business for five years. Confiance was recognized as the 2010 Cisco US and Canada South Region Services Partner of the Year, the 2010 Cisco Carolinas Select Enterprise Partner of the Year and a winner of the 2011 Triad Business Journal’s Fast 50 Award as one of the fastest growing companies in the area.
“The Confiance team is excited about becoming part of the Onepath family and expanding our geographic presence in the Southeast, as well as adding Onepath’s intelligent building technology solutions and services capabilities,” stated Mike Cotrone, CEO of Confiance. “Onepath shares our strong customer-focused philosophy and we believe that the combined organization will only enhance that focus as we provide our customers with a broader range of solutions and services.”



Created by a team of professionals with more than 100 years of combined experience, Onepath Systems is an established leader providing consulting, design, implementation and maintenance of audiovisual, IT, fire and life safety, security, structured cabling, access control and distributed antenna systems for Fortune 500 companies, academic institutions and state and local government agencies in the Southeastern US building technology industry. Onepath Systems was honored as #2 on the 2011 Georgia Fast 40 in the Small-Middle Market category, as well as #12 on the Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s Top Workplaces for 2011.
“We are pleased to have the fantastic team at Confiance on board at Onepath. This partnership enhances our Cisco capabilities, while adding EMC solutions and valuable managed services offerings through Confiance’s proprietary Guardian managed services. Now, with nearly 200 employees, along with our resources in north Florida and Alabama, we have a very strong footprint in the Southeastern US and can reach even more customers with our expanded offerings,” said Chad Merrill, Vice President.


InfoComm To Revise Membership Structure, Discount Education
March 13, 2012 (11:01 am)

InfoComm International (Fairfax VA) has announced that it is simplifying its membership structure and expanding the amount of free and discounted education offered to members, effective early 2013.
“In 2011, the Membership Committee dedicated themselves to resolving long-time challenges voiced by InfoComm’s members, including reducing the number of membership options and addressing the administrative constraints revolving around InfoComm’s EduBucks program,” said Duffy Wilbert, CTS, CAE, Senior Vice President, Member Services. “The result is a streamlined membership structure, more free online education, and a standard discount for other training and publications.”




Along with these enhancements, the EduBucks program will be retired at the end of 2012. Corporate membership, for businesses, institutions and organizations, will be priced at $500 per year, and will include unlimited access to selected online classes free ($100 value per student), discounted education, free copies of InfoComm/ANSI Standards, discounted market research and other benefits. Individual membership, priced at $150 annually, will include discounted training and selected free market research. Both membership levels will include free access to all InfoComm trade shows around the world.
“As an organization dedicated to the advancement of the industry, InfoComm is pleased to offer a wide variety of free and reduced-cost training to our members,” said Wilbert. “Because we are discontinuing the EduBucks program, we want to encourage our members to spend their allotment this year at InfoComm 2012 and other in-person and online training sessions by the end of the year.”
Although the EduBucks program was initially well received, confusion about eligibility and concerns about administration have lingered. “By offering our most popular online programs at no cost, and a standard discount on all other classes, InfoComm is making it easier to train the next generation of AV professionals,” said Wilbert.
For more information, go to infocomm.org/membership.

Elma’s Optima EPS Acquires Stantron And APW Mayville Cabinets
March 12, 2012 (4:45 pm)

Elma (Fremont CA), an international provider of embedded computer and technology solutions, has expanded its Optima EPS operations with the acquisition of Stantron broadcast cabinets and APW Mayville datacenter cabinets (Mayville WI).
“These newest assets demonstrate Elma’s commitment to providing rock-solid infrastructure to broadcast, communications, military, datacenters and many other industries,” said Fred Ruegg, President of Elma Americas. “Adding Stantron and APW Mayville’s specialized products to the extensive offering of cabinets and enclosures, Optima EPS extends and expands our ability to safely and securely house high-availability datacenter assets and other specialty equipment regardless of the environment.”



Optima EPS, an Elma company, manufactures cabinets, desktop/wallmount enclosures, rackmount chassis, consoles/desks and specialty instrument carts. Synonymous with broadcasting, Stantron, including Pioneer Cabinets, provides specialized enclosures for audio and video equipment, cables, servers and much more for television, radio and other broadcast production. APW Mayville provides a variety of datacenter racks and enclosures including the 19-inch NexServ Cabinets.
“Stantron and APW Mayville found the perfect home,” said Dan Eder, owner of Mayville Products Corp., which sold the two brands along with existing products, designs and equipment. “Elma and Optima EPS provide expertise and a path for the future for Stantron and APW Mayville.”
Just outside Atlanta, Optima EPS customizes cabinets and enclosures based on a customer’s specific needs, often for harsh environments, ruggedized for military use, reinforced for seismic events, shielded against electromagnetic interference, protected against fire/heat, or any combination thereof.
Elma will be exhibiting Stantron and Optima EPS cabinets at the National Association of Broadcasters Show in Las Vegas, April 16 to 19.
Current Stantron and APW Mayville customers won’t notice an interruption of service or support while ELMA assumes responsibility. New customers will get an opportunity to choose from an expanded line of choices as Optima EPS, Stantron and APW Mayville products are combined.
Optima EPS customers should continue to call 770.496.4000; the Stantron and APW Mayville toll free number will be forwarded to Optima EPS. Sales and informational inquiries should be directed to sales@optimaeps.com.


BroadSign Files For Bankruptcy With Plan To Sell Most Assets
March 12, 2012 (5:40 pm)

Digital signage software company BroadSign International Inc. (Boise ID), has filed for bankruptcy and intends to auction almost all of its assets. The company listed debt of $10 million to $50 million and assets of $1 million to $10 million in Chapter 11 documents filed in US Bankruptcy Court, re. BroadSign International Inc., 12-10789, U.S. Bankruptcy Court, District of Delaware (Wilmington). Two affiliates also sought court protection. BroadSign and its affiliates owe their 20 largest unsecured creditors about $2.3 million, according to court papers; Olton Management the largest, with a $1.3 million claim.



In court documents, BroadSign CEO Brian Dusho stated, “The most effective way to maximize the value of their estates for the benefit of creditors is to complete a prompt sale of substantially all their assets.” BroadSign and its affiliates are insolvent and income is “insufficient to continue their operations without an infusion of further capital,” he offered. The company will seek court approval to borrow as much as $328,295 to help fund operations until it completes the sale.

SpinetiX Chooses Convergent Media Systems As US Distributor
March 5, 2012 (5:05 pm)

SpinetiX (Lausanne, Switzerland) a Swiss digital signage manufacturer, is now distributing its hyper media player technology in the US through Convergent Media Systems, a Sony Company (Alpharetta GA). SpinetiX appointed Convergent Media Systems as Certified Distribution Partner for the US for all of its products.



“The appointment of Convergent Media Systems as distribution partner reflects our growth in the US,” stated Serge Konter, SpinetiX Marketing Manager. “The Convergent team has great experience with helping its dealers and integrators on small and large digital signage installations, and the company offers training, a call center and high-level technical support services.”
Bryan Smith, Channel Manager at Convergent Media Systems, added, “Our dealer-network offers SpinetiX products as single screen installations or as part of large-scale and complex digital signage projects. We find SpinetiX technology to be easy to use, flexible and it comes with a limited lifetime warranty, which our clients just love.”

Atlas Sound Acquires A-Line Acoustics
March 2, 2012 (10:05 am)

Atlas Sound (Phoenix AZ) has acquired A-Line Acoustics, a company specializing in the design and manufacture of powered and non-powered professional speaker systems using a variety of technologies, with an emphasis on line array speaker systems. A-Line will be incorporated into the Atlas Sound family of products under the Atlas A-Line Acoustics product category.
A-Line Acoustics was founded in 2001 by Tony Faranda, an audio professional with more than three decades of experience in the pro audio industry. The company has developed products for a variety of venues including arenas, amphitheaters, parks, nightclubs and houses of worship, and holds multiple patents including the EZAL rigging system, which allows the angle adjustment of individual line array speaker cabinets while the speakers are flown or ground stacked under load.

An extensive product lineup will be manufactured in Atlas’ multi-fab facility in Monroe WI, and will be available to select Atlas Sound dealers and distributors beginning in July.
“For some time, our dealer and rep networks have been asking for a great sounding, made-in-the-USA solution for engineered and design/build systems that require high performance at a reasonable price,” said Atlas Sound Chairman/CEO Loyd Ivey. “Our immediate priority is to provide the consultant community with measurement data for all models and then hit the streets with demo systems so everyone can experience the sound quality of these exciting new products.”
Added Faranda, now A-Line Sales Manager for Atlas A-Line Acoustics, “This is the perfect marriage for us, with the backing of Atlas Sound’s manufacturing and sales arms, there is no limit to where we can go in the pro audio industry.”


Samsung Electronics Board Approves LCD Unit Spin-Off
March 1, 2012 (1:30 am)

Samsung Electronics (Ridgefield Park NJ,) has moved a step closer to spinning off its liquid crystal display (LCD) unit after its board of directors approved the plan. According to BBC News, the firm said it will launch the spun-off unit, Samsung Display Company Ltd., as a new corporation on April 1. The move, which still requires shareholder approval, comes amid slowing demand and falling profits for LCD products.
The report states that Samsung said it is planning to focus on new technologies to maintain its edge over the competition. “The spin-off will allow us to make quicker business decisions and respond to our clients’ needs more swiftly,” according to Donggun Park, Executive Vice President and head of Samsung's LCD business. “Through enhancements in business competitiveness, we will continue to provide superior products and services for the market.”


LCD manufacturers worldwide have been going through a tough time in recent years. Not only has demand for the product been slowing, but increased supply has also seen manufacturers slash their prices in a bid to attract consumers. Analysts said that the sector had lost its niche factor and that had hurt electronics makers.
“LCD used to be one of the cutting-edge technologies but it is now a commoditized business,” Jasper Kim, Chief Executive and Founder of Asia-Pacific Global Research Group, told the BBC, adding that “It can be replicated and reproduced easily.”
Samsung is the world’s biggest TV and flat screen maker and is likely to be affected the most by a slowdown in the sector. Analysts said that, although the move was part of Samsung's efforts to ensure that it remains highly competitive, it is too early to say whether it was a step in the right direction. “It is unclear whether it’s a good move or not; you never know until a few quarters have gone by,” Kim offered.


Extron Pulls Out Of InfoComm, ISE
February 29, 2012 (11:30 am)

On a day that happens only once every four years, we expect something different to happen. However, finding this in our inbox this morning was not quite what we expected. Here is the official statement from Extron President Andrew Edwards:
“After serious reflection and review, I have decided to make a significant change to our tradeshow schedule. Effective this year, Extron will no longer exhibit at the InfoComm USA and ISE Integrated Systems Europe tradeshows.
“As I said, this change is significant, so let me give you some background. Extron has exhibited at every InfoComm USA show since 1986 and at ISE Integrated Systems Europe. We were instrumental in the creation and organization of the InfoComm Shootout and Extron has had the largest booth at InfoComm USA for the last four years. We have enjoyed and appreciated what InfoComm USA and ISE have become. However, at Extron we have concluded that the time and energy put into exhibiting at these short three-day events, can better serve you by being repurposed toward activities that provide direct benefit and support for you, our customers. Specifically, we are focused on the creation of additional Extron support and training facilities both domestically and internationally.
“We have a great deal of respect for the InfoComm organization and its role in our industry. Extron provides training staff for InfoComm CTS-D and CTS-I courses, and our Extron Institute courses are approved for InfoComm certification renewal credit. This decision affects the InfoComm USA and ISE tradeshows only. Extron will continue to support the InfoComm organization in all other ways.
“Let me assure you that Extron is in a strong financial position. 2011 was a record year for Extron. We introduced over 75 new products including our new XTP Crosspoint Systems line of digital matrix switchers, and the SME 100 H.264 Streaming Media Encoder, which, I’m pleased to announce, is now shipping. To make you, our customers, more aware of these new products, requires training. Extron is built on the philosophy of training and education, and each year thousands of you attend Extron Institute, worldwide. Much of the effort that previously went into preparing for and exhibiting at InfoComm USA and ISE will now go toward making Extron training and support even more accessible.

“I’m excited to announce that we have completed construction on two new buildings: our 200,000-square-foot worldwide support and training headquarters in Anaheim CA, and our 144,000-square-foot training, support and engineering facility in Raleigh NC. Also, in 2011, we opened training and product demonstration facilities in Washington DC, London, Paris and Frankfurt. We have announced our plan to open an additional training and product demonstration facility in Dallas TX and expect to have our Dallas location online by summer of this year. 2012 includes plans for training facilities in New York and Toronto, with additional facilities to be announced shortly.
“In 2011, we hired 425 new employees, bringing the total number of Extron employees to over 2000. We will continue to hire Field Support Engineers, Trainers and Field Sales Staff as fast as we can locate them. I am told our support is the best in the industry. We intend to keep that reputation and the additional staff will be dedicated to supporting you, our customers. Remember, Extron is an engineering-driven company, not a sales-driven company. With over 2000 employees worldwide, not a single person at Extron is on commission. Our objective is to see that you, our customers, receive the support you need to be successful and get the job done.
“There is no doubt we will miss being at these shows, and seeing those of you who chose to attend InfoComm USA and ISE. Those of you who know me, know I love being on the show floor meeting you face-to-face and talking about our new products. We’re all going to miss the Extron Bash. However, with our increased facilities and staff, it will make attending an Extron Institute course easier and more convenient. If you’ve been to a class in Anaheim, you know that I make a point of connecting with you here, and the conversations are always more detailed and more candid, which I love.
“On behalf of everyone at Extron, I would like to thank you for your continued support, and I look forward to seeing you at an Extron Institute event soon. Call or write me with your feedback at President@Extron.com. I would love to hear your thoughts.
“For more information, please visit extron.com/andrewonline.”
Here is a statement from Randy Lemke, Executive Director/CEO of InfoComm: “For 25 years, Extron Electronics has been an exhibitor at the InfoComm event in the United States. Over the years, Extron has added its imprint to our shows around the world, including our Integrated Systems events, which we co-own with CEDIA.
“Extron has cancelled its space at the InfoComm 2012 event in Las Vegas and has decided not to exhibit at Integrated Systems Europe in 2013. Extron will remain a member of InfoComm International and will exhibit at our other events around the world.
“The space reserved by Extron will quickly be taken by other exhibitors. In addition, InfoComm 2012 will be our biggest show ever held in the United States.
“Our association has produced trade shows continuously since the 1940s and we have seen many exhibitors come and go. We wish Extron the best of luck with their new business strategy.”


Mersive Investment From Razor’s Edge Ventures To Drive New Class Of Displays 
February 29, 2012 (11:04 am)

Mersive (Denver CO), a provider of visual computing software that creates and manages high performance displays, has received a multi-million dollar investment from Razor’s Edge Ventures (Herndon VA). The investment will help to fund the expansion of Mersive’s sales and marketing efforts to deliver a new class of displays to government and commercial markets. In conjunction with the investment, Razor’s Edge Managing Directors, Mark Spoto and Rob Painter, have joined the Mersive board of directors.
According to the company, Mersive’s Sol visual computing software provides auto alignment and display correction capabilities that leverage low cost display hardware to create ultra-high resolution, large scale, professional quality displays. The resulting reduction in cost, maintenance time and specialized room requirements delivers the performance of professional displays to the ‘general purpose’ display market.


“Mersive’s unique software-based approach to the delivery of high performance display solutions eliminates the bottleneck caused by legacy display solutions that rely on complex and expensive optical/mechanical technology. Legacy hardware has limited innovation and market growth in the display sector despite advancements in GPU, high performance computing and graphics intensive software,” said Spoto. “Mersive’s software injected into what has traditionally been a hardware model will transform complex ‘project-based’ solutions into a broader ‘product-based’ market.”
“We believe that Mersive’s visual computing software is wildly disruptive, relevant and timely for a whole host of applications across both commercial and federal markets, including military simulation and planning platforms, data-intensive analytic environments, command and control centers and geospatial visualization, just to name a few,” said Painter.
Mersive Founder/CTO, Christopher Jaynes, said, “Razor’s Edge offers its portfolio companies direct and practical operational support derived from the partners’ decades of collective experience. Their role on our board will be incredibly valuable.”
Rob Balgley, Mersive CEO, added, “Razor’s Edge has a unique understanding of the national security community’s strategic priorities and they work tirelessly to identify and deliver disruptive technologies capable of advancing critical mission needs. The Razor’s Edge investment combined with our recently announced investment and technology development agreement with In-Q-Tel provides a powerful combination of new resources to fuel our growth.”


Savant Acquires LiteTouch
February 21, 2012 (4:54 pm)

Savant Systems LLC (Hyannis MA) has acquired LiteTouch, Inc. (Salt Lake City UT), an industry pioneer in the residential and commercial lighting control marketplace since the late 1970s. The acquisition provides Savant with a widely recognized lighting control platform as well as a broad range of keypad offerings to complement the company’s iOS user interface solutions for residential and commercial control applications.
The LiteTouch keypads will fully support a wide array of controlled devices including third-party lighting systems as part of Savant’s ecosystem of advanced automation. “Our sales channel has been asking for a lineup of lighting control and integrated keypad products from Savant that operate in concert with Apple iOS devices to manage and control a vast array of connected home and commercial technologies,” explained Savant CEO Robert Madonna.

“LiteTouch is proud to join the Savant Family,” said Angie Larson, LiteTouch Vice President of Sales & Marketing. “Savant's acquisition of LiteTouch creates unique opportunities for industry innovation, design collaboration and product development.” Madonna added, “By leveraging LiteTouch’s three decades of lighting control success coupled with Savant's TrueImage interface, users will now have access to the most powerful automation, lighting and media control platform.”
Savant’s automation and control solutions will gain more visibility within the electrical specifier/builder community due to the powerful brand recognition of LiteTouch in this market segment, according to the company. Savant’s new lighting control group will continue to operate out of the Salt Lake City area.  


BTX Chosen As US Distributor of Net Display Systems’ PADS Digital Signage Software
February 21, 2012 (12:54 pm)

BTX Technologies (Hawthorne NY), a value-added distributor and manufacturer of interface, integration and system products, has been named the US distributor and technical support provider for Net Display Systems’ PADS digital signage software. Net Display Systems is a Microsoft Gold ISV Partner with signage solutions designed to handle applications with requirements ranging from thousands of displays down to just one. These products are available as software-only solutions or pre-installed on media players that are custom configured by BTX for content levels ranging from basic to media-intensive. 


“PADS software provides a simple and powerful solution for any digital signage application,” said Greg Schwartz, BTX Technologies President. “Because the software isn’t tied to any specific player, we are able to offer it pre-installed on our custom-configured hardware solutions. An integrator can mix and match players in an individual project depending on the needs of an application. This allows for truly customized and economical solutions that meet the unique needs of each individual client.”
BTX has designed two media players to complement the Net Display Systems digital signage solution, the low-cost Simple Content Media Player for digital signage environments with PowerPoint content, rotating pictures, 720p video and static text, and the Multimedia Intensive Content Media Player that adds support for Flash, 1080p video, scrolling text and more.
“We are thrilled to have BTX as our US channel partner,” said Peter de Jong, business partner manager at Net Display Systems. “BTX has the knowledge and experience to assist our mutual customers in the selection and implementation of a wide variety of digital signage applications. Their national outside sales force has been factory-trained, and we’ve already seen immediate success. We look forward to a long and mutually beneficial relationship with BTX.”

Stampede Named US Distributor Of Sony EVI Series Video Cameras
February 8, 2012 (5:42 pm)

Building on the success of its relationship with the Sony Visual Imaging Products Group, Stampede Presentation Products, Inc. (Amherst NY), has been named a United States distributor of the Sony EVI Series of pan-tilt-zoom (PTZ) video cameras. According to Stampede President/COO Kevin Kelly, effective immediately, Stampede assumes responsibility for the sales and marketing of the Sony EVI-HD7V, EVI-HD3V, EVI-D70, EVI-D70/W, EVI-D100, and EVI-HD1 video cameras.
“These Sony EVI cameras provide added choices for the growing range of video conferencing, distance learning, house of worship, hospitals, nursing homes, event center, concert hall and remote justice applications where imaging superiority, reliability and installation flexibility are critically important,” Kelly emphasized. “The addition of these cameras to our product offering provides our dealers with a new product line to bring to their end-user customers. We are expanding the range of possible installation environments our dealers can pursue—and that is what Stampede is fundamentally all about: creating new market opportunities while strengthening core channel strengths.”


Stampede is the exclusive North American distributor of Sony Video Conferencing solutions. According to Tim Henry, National Sales Manager, Visual Imaging Products Group, Sony Electronics, Inc., “Stampede has already taken the Sony videoconferencing line to an unprecedented new level of success. The addition of Sony EVI video cameras to their product portfolio is the next logical step in our expanding business relationship. We believe the combination of our videoconferencing solutions, together with our EVI video cameras, provides Stampede dealers and their customers with an unbeatable range of systems to choose from.”

Yamaha Announces Merger Of Two US Subsidiaries; No Effect On Commercial Audio
February 3, 2012 (5:20 pm)

Effective April 1, 2012, Yamaha Electronics Corporation, USA (YCA, Buena Park CA), the US sales and marketing company for audiovisual products, will be merged into Yamaha’s US sales and marketing subsidiary, Yamaha Corporation of America (YEC) was originally established as a 100%-owned subsidiary of YCA in 1981.)


According to the company, the merger objectives include realizing maximum synergies, increasing management efficiency, principally in administrative business processes, and implementing closely coordinated sales and marketing of musical instruments and AV products.
However, according to Larry Italia, VP/GM, Yamaha Commercial Audio Systems, Inc. (YACS), “The recently announced merger of Yamaha’s YEC and YCA groups has no organizational impact on the Yamaha Commercial Audio Systems Inc. subsidiary. There will be no changes regarding YCAS staff, structure, distribution or policies. The Commercial Audio B-to-B markets and their channels are unique to most of YCA’s scope of business and was one of the reasons YCAS was established as a separate subsidiary. YCAS will not be distributing YEC consumer products, musical instruments, etc., as result of this merger. We congratulate our colleagues at YEC and YCA on their new organization and will be strongly supporting their efforts as always.”

Blonder Tongue Buys R.L. Drake
February 3, 2012 (4:19 pm)

Blonder Tongue Laboratories, Inc. (Old Bridge NJ) has completed the acquisition of R.L. Drake, LLC (Franklin OH), including substantially all of the assets of R.L Drake for about $6.5 million, subject to certain adjustments based on a post-closing audit of the balance sheet of R.L. Drake and additional contingent purchase price payments of up to $1.5 million in the aggregate that may be made over the next three years if certain financial results are realized. R.L. Drake’s unaudited net sales for 2011 were approximately $10.0 million. Both companies supply CATV and satellite signal processing and distribution equipment.
“As respected leaders in the field of cable television communications, Blonder Tongue and Drake together offer customers more than 125 years of combined engineering and manufacturing excellence with solid histories of delivering reliable, quality products,” said James A. Luksch, Chairman/CEO. “Continuing with our strategic plan, by maximizing synergies among our highly respected engineering, manufacturing and marketing teams, customers will reap multiple benefits including additional new and innovative products delivered to market faster and more affordably.”


“For many reasons, a void has developed in the CATV industry leaving even the largest cable MSOs searching for companies capable of developing and delivering innovative new products. Blonder Tongue and Drake plan to fill that void by shortening the development and manufacturing cycle to deliver the most complete compliment of business and product solutions in our industry,” added Luksch. “To maximize customer support, both companies will continue to operate separate entities in two locations: Blonder Tongue in Old Bridge and R.L. Drake in Franklin, respectively.”
Blonder Tongue Laboratories, Inc. provides system operators and integrators serving the cable, broadcast, satellite, IPTV, institutional and professional video markets with comprehensive solutions for the provision of content contribution, distribution and video delivery to homes and businesses. With more than 60 years of experience, the company designs, manufactures, sells and supports an equipment portfolio of standard and high-definition digital video solutions, as well as core analog video and high-speed data solutions for distribution over coax, fiber and IP networks.
R.L. Drake delivers electronic communications solutions for cable television systems, digital television reception, video signal distribution and digital video encoding. For more than 65 years, R.L. Drake has been committed to developing quality communication products that enrich the lives of consumers.

Middle Atlantic, Extron Electronics
Initiate Half Rack Standard for AV Integration

February 2, 2012 (5:19 pm)

Middle Atlantic Products (Fairfield NJ, www.middleatlantic.com), in conjunction with Extron Electronics (Anaheim CA, www.extron.com/halfracksystem), is initiating and supporting the establishment of a new standard for half-width rack systems for AV integration.
Working in cooperation with the Electronic Components Industry Association (ECIA, Alpharetta GA, www.eciaonline.org), Extron and Middle Atlantic are seeking to establish and maintain a specific ECIA standard for what typically has been offered as a custom rack offering until now. To further strengthen the quality and application of the standard, the two companies are inviting manufacturers of compact-format devices to join a communication and working group for this effort.
Both manufacturers recently developed product families (the Extron Half Rack Shelf System and Middle Atlantic’s HR Series Half Racks) that fit within and incorporate the proposed 10-5/8ʺ overall width defined in the proposed new standard.


Commenting on the introduction and standard effort, Middle Atlantic Director of Marketing Kevin Handerson, stated, “We are pleased to be working with device manufacturing partners to seize the initiative for establishing an ECIA standard for AV half-rack systems. Having a workable, clear standard will greatly facilitate the installation of half-rack products in useful applications.”
Dave Pincek, Vice President of Product Development for Extron Electronics, stated, “Extron has long advocated the use of standard, rack-mount enclosure dimensions as a means of improving AV system designs and integration. With this proposed new standard for a compact mounting system, key AV equipment can now be more easily integrated into lecterns, columns, table legs and similar spaces without sacrificing system functionality, thermal management or room aesthetics.”
Device manufacturers that would like to participate in the working group should contact Mark Tracy, Director of Product and Business Development at Middle Atlantic Products at standards@middleatlantic.com.

Black Box Acquires InnerWireless, Inc. 
February 1, 2012 (4:05 pm)

Black Box Corp. (Pittsburgh PA), a communications systems integrator dedicated to designing, sourcing, implementing and maintaining today’s complex communications solutions has acquired privately held InnerWireless, Inc. (Richardson TX), which enables mission- and life-critical in-building wireless in every industry from healthcare to Fortune 500 enterprises. The InnerWireless Horizon4GTM Distributed Antenna System (DAS) delivers wireless coverage and engineered capacity for maintaining mobile connectivity and optimizing wireless service levels. InnerWireless sells and services solutions throughout the continental US. InnerWireless is the first Black Box acquisition in the rapidly-growing in-building wireless market.

Chris McCoy, former InnerWireless CEO, commented, “We are very excited to merge our advanced wireless capabilities with the broad geographic footprint and deep organic resources of Black Box. The InnerWireless team has built a unique and valuable value proposition in the DAS market. As part of Black Box, we will be able to combine our efforts to bring our solutions to a larger, growing market.”
Commenting on the acquisition, Terry Blakemore, Black Box CEO, stated, “I am delighted to welcome the entire InnerWireless team to Black Box. They have built a leadership position in the in-building wireless market, and adding their expertise to our broad portfolio of communication solutions will enable Black Box to continue to serve our clients with the very latest in communications technologies.”
InnerWireless recorded annual historical revenues of approximately $26 million.


ClearOne Acquires VCON Video Conferencing Ltd. 
January 27, 2012 (12:05 pm)

ClearOne (Salt Lake City UT) has acquired Israel-based VCON Video Conferencing, which offers high-performance, end-to-end, software video conferencing solutions. Under the terms of the asset purchase agreement, ClearOne will pay $4.5 million in cash. The acquisition is expected to close by the end of this quarter, subject to customary closing conditions, including applicable regulatory and court approvals.

According to the company, VCON has established a comprehensive portfolio of industry-leading HD videoconferencing solutions comprising feature-rich room systems and desktop video applications, as well as enhanced network management and infrastructure solutions. With the acquisition of VCON, ClearOne will offer a complete suite of audio and videoconferencing, and collaboration solutions. 
In addition, the company stated that “VCON brings cutting-edge software-based full HD (1080p) videoconferencing technology with H.264 High Profile encoding that reduces bandwidth utilization up to 50%.”
Zee Hakimoglu, Chairman/CEO of ClearOne, stated, “The acquisition of VCON will bring us a wealth of knowledge, technology and experience in the growing videoconferencing market to complement ClearOne’s leadership in audio conferencing. VCON's software-based technology opens the gate to multipoint HD videoconferencing for a broad spectrum of platforms.”
“ClearOne is an ideal match for VCON as it enhances the quality of video conferencing with ClearOne’s HDConference audio processing technology and products,” said Isaac Ben Ezra, CEO of VCON. “Customers, channel partners and end-users will all benefit from the strengths of these two world-class leaders as innovative technologies are brought to market.”


Solotech Acquires Specs Audio
January 26, 2012 (5:22 pm)

Solotech (Montreal, Quebec, Canada) has acquired privately held Specs Audio (Gatineau, Québec), an audiovisual systems integrator with both sales and rental departments.
The addition of Specs Audio to Solotech’s expanding number of regional offices adds significant logistical resources to Solotech’s growing presence in the Ottawa/Gatineau and Eastern Ontario market, the company reported. Specs Audio is active in specific market segments and will continue to develop these markets to compliment Solotech’s sales and integration business.

“Specs Audio is a dynamic company and we are pleased to add its team of talented individuals to help contribute to Solotech’s growth in the Canadian market, especially in Western Quebec and other specialized markets where they show great strength,” stated Solotech President Denis Lefrançois. Solotech was founded in Montréal in 1977. “Specs Audio will continue to operate as a distinct entity in order to continue to serve its loyal customers and to meet its contractual obligations.”
“We are very pleased to join Solotech in their continued development and to contribute to the incredible success story that Solotech has become. We will now have access to additional resources to allow us to improve our customer service and technological infrastructure,” said Specs Audio President Claude Régimbald.
Solotech will operate its Gatineau sales and integration office from the same location as Specs Audio. With sales offices now in both Ottawa and Kingston, this ensures the physical space and logistical infrastructure required by Solotech to support its growing presence in the Eastern Ontario market.


AVI-SPL Acquires Iformata Communications LLC  
January 26, 2012 (3:49 pm)

Audio video communications provider AVI-SPL (Tampa FL) has acquired Iformata Communications LLC, a provider of video managed services. The acquisition includes the Iformata Video Network Operations Center (VNOC) business and the VNOC Symphony management platform. AVI-SPL views this acquisition as a critical move in the company’s continuing drive to become the dominant player in the video communications solutions and services space.
“In 2009, we set forth on an initiative to grow our video communications business. In 2011, we succeeded in growing video-related revenue to over $200 million and video is now included in over 50 percent of the projects we do," said AVI-SPL CEO John Zettel. “With that growth, we recognized the importance of expanding our capabilities in the video services we provide our customers. Acquiring Iformata shows our commitment to expanding our video communications strategy with a strong managed services offering.”
“This acquisition is a major win for both AVI-SPL and Iformata,” reported Ira M. Weinstein, senior analyst and partner at Wainhouse Research. “This combines AVI-SPL’s strong AV integration experience and 150+ strong, video-savvy, field sales force with Iformata’s robust, multi-tenant Symphony videoconferencing management system. The result is an immediately available, mature service offering from a well-known and trusted technology partner. Hosted video managed service offerings, like AVI-SPL’s Unify ME, play a key role in helping enterprise organizations maximize the benefits they receive from their collaboration investments.”

According to AVI-SPL, Iformata, founded in 2004, has built a reputation as the leading innovator of VNOC tools and end-to-end automation services through its VNOC Symphony platform. Providing managed conferencing services to global enterprise firms, equipment manufacturers, and top-tier carriers and networks, Iformata’s 450 claim patent portfolio and platform has features for every aspect of managing an enterprise’s fleet of video systems, including call setup, intelligent framing, automated monitoring, event correlation and call tear down–even for disparate immersive telepresence systems.
The addition of the Iformata VNOC service bureau, associated services and innovative technologies to AVI-SPL’s current Unify ME offering provides a more robust total managed services solution to customers. The enhanced services brought by Iformata provide a strong addition to AVI-SPL’s portfolio, which currently includes cloud-based services, remote services and onsite services with long- and short-term Strategic Onsite Solutions and professional services.
“With the acquisition of Iformata, we become one of the only video solutions providers that can truly provide every aspect of the video communications experience,” said Mike Brandofino, AVI-SPL executive vice president of video and unified communications. “We think it is critical to be at the point of sale when selling services and the fact that we design, build and now provide VNOC managed services across any video platform, clearly differentiates us from anyone else in the space.”
The new operations and the associated employees will join AVI-SPL’s Support Services group under the leadership of AVI-SPL’s Executive Vice President of Video and Unified Communications Mike Brandofino.

MOVEK LLC Receives First Patent 
January 26, 2012 (2:49 pm)

MOVEK,LLC (Edina MN) has received its first patent for its myMix personal monitoring and recording system. The patent is for the user interface for network audio mixers, which means that, even though each unit operates independently, every unit recognizes the information provided by the other units once they are connected on the network. 

According to the company, myMix, the first of its kind, decentralized monitor mixer, was designed to be a solutions-based product, specifically addressing the challenges that musicians face on a regular basis. It is an intuitive, simple-to-use personal monitor mixing system that allows each listener/musician to be in control of his music/sound, pulling from the different channels available on the network. The one-touch multitrack recording and play back functionality, combined with pristine audio quality, ease of use and extreme versatility have made it the monitor mixing system of choice for many since its 2010 launch at NAMM.
Mathias von Heydekampf, owner and co-inventor of myMix, said, “I’m proud to see the first of our patents being issued in such a short time. myMix has so much new technology under its hood: some true inventions. The patent was issued for the myMix user interface which, along with the automatic recognition of names on the network, makes myMix a plug and play system that doesn’t require an expert to set up. The patent is a great official recognition that myMix solves monitoring issues second to none.”

InfoComm International Executive
Director/CEO Randal A. Lemke To Retire
 

January 23, 2012 (2:39 pm)

Randal (Randy) A. Lemke, PhD, Executive Director and CEO of InfoComm International (Fairfax VA) since 2000, has announced his retirement at the end of 2012, capping off 16 years of service to the commercial audiovisual association. "It has been an honor to serve the needs of such an exciting and innovative industry these past years," Dr. Lemke stated, "and it's with mixed feelings that I leave the wonderful team of professionals and close friends I have made here at InfoComm."
Dr. Lemke holds board positions, and has been the chairman of, Integrated Systems Events, LLC (a joint venture European trade show company) and InfoComm Asia PTE, Ltd. (a joint venture company in Singapore operating InfoComm's Asian tradeshows). He is the founding and current Chairman of the STEP Foundation, a jointly supported foundation composed with other industry associations to bring sustainability to the process of planning, designing, integrating and operating technology systems and reduce long-term environmental impact from technology deployment. He has also served as chief executive of ICIF, InfoComm's charitable foundation.
The InfoComm International Board of Directors will be undertaking an extensive search for Dr. Lemke's successor, with the selection anticipated by the fourth quarter of this year.
On behalf of the Board of Directors, the Chairman of the Leadership Development Committee and Past President of the Board, Jim Ford, said, "We are proud of Randy's extraordinary service to InfoComm International. During an economy when many associations are struggling to survive, InfoComm International has enjoyed tremendous growth under Randy's leadership, quadrupling revenue and expanding our tradeshow presence to 10 shows worldwide. His leadership has taken us from being primarily a dealer trade association, to a global industry association for the entire AV value chain. His dedication to the industry has inspired all of us."
 Looking toward the future, current Board President Greg Jeffreys, stated, "Randy is leaving the Association healthy and well-positioned for continued success. Although we are sorry to see him go, we're pleased he will continue to lead the organization throughout 2012, and we anticipate that even more innovations and exciting opportunities will come to fruition with his successor." 

The search committee for the new Executive Director will be headed by Tony Warner, Board President-Elect. Warner commented, "Our search will focus on a visionary leader who will maintain the strength and culture of the Association, while furthering our international presence and continuing to raise the profile of our industry. We will retain an executive search firm by the end of the first quarter of 2012 to conduct an extensive search, and we are confident we will be able to identify the best candidates to meet these requirements. At a later time, an announcement will be made calling for any potential candidates to submit their materials to the search firm."
Dr. Lemke joined InfoComm International in 1996 as Vice President of Education, at which time he supervised the development and delivery of the association's seminars, workshops, advanced schools, international education and certification programs. In 1997, he pioneered InfoComm Academy Online, an internet-based training system for the AV industry, which currently has 3000 students enrolled daily. This innovation has become deeply embedded in the AV industry, and forms the core of many companies' training programs.

In addition to initiating online education at InfoComm International, other highlights of Dr. Lemke's legacy with InfoComm International include:
  • An extensive international expansion, launching audiovisual exhibitions, events and education around the world, including Europe, Asia, Middle East, Oceania and Latin America. This expansion has contributed to InfoComm International's current worldwide membership representing over 80 countries, as well as increasing the Association's size to nearly 120 employees in eight countries.
  • Establishment of the CTS certifications (CTS, CTS-D and CTS-I), accredited by ANSI under the ISO/IEC 17024 standard. These certifications are recognized worldwide as the leading audiovisual specialist credentials.
  • Leading the development of industry best practices and InfoComm's ANSI/ISO standards, which raised the bar on the AV industry.
  • Advancing the creation of the STEP Foundation, focused on encouraging sustainability to the process of planning, designing, integrating and operating technology systems, as well as reducing long-term environmental impact from technology deployment.
  • Securing grant funding of $1 million from the federal government to launch an AV education program for community colleges.
  • Introduction of several industry reference volumes, starting with the revision to the 1983 “Basics of Audio Video Design,” to the recent publication of McGraw Hill's “CTS Exam Guide.” These books helped establish InfoComm International as the authority of the AV industry.
  • Important acquisitions including the NSCA Expo and its share of Integrated System Events, as well as AV Avenue, now known as InfoComm iQ.

It is premature at this time for candidates to submit applications for the Executive Director/CEO position. Candidate requirements will be announced in the second quarter of 2012.

SKC Communications Acquires Mpact Systems, Ahern Communications 
January 4, 2012 (10:39 am)

SKC Communication Products, LLC (Shawnee KS) has purchased videoconferencing and presentation technology integrator Mpact Systems, Inc. (Rock Hill SC), further increasing SKC’s nationwide reach as a unified communications technology integrator. Headquartered in the Kansas City metropolitan area, SKC employs more than 230 technology professionals across the country.
“Mpact’s approach to client service and support is very much in line with SKC’s. Their clients are a natural fit for SKC’s solution offerings and we look forward to the growth opportunities this will bring SKC, our new colleagues and our new clients,” said Tray Vedock, SKC president/CEO.
The transaction was effective January 1, 2012, with Mpact’s employees becoming employees of SKC Communications; the Rock Hill office is now SKC’s Southeast regional headquarters.

In addition, SKC revealed that it has also reached an agreement with Ahern Communications (Boston MA) to transition all of Ahern’s clients to SKC. Ahern Communications is closing its business operations.
SKC was founded in 1986 as Plantronics, Inc.’s first headset distributor. Today, it is Plantronics’ largest dealer and a full-service integrator of Unified Communications solutions incorporating voice, video and audio/visual technologies.
“After 25 years, I have decided to close my company and look ahead to new endeavors,” said Ahern founder Dana Ahern. “I am confident SKC is positioned to take these new clients to the next level.”
Tray Vedock stated: “As Unified Communications continues to evolve, the voice communications space is rapidly merging with video, presentation and data networks. SKC’s extensive experience in this space will allow us to continue to enhance our new clients’ communication networks.”
SKC’s support of its headset accounts includes a team of specialists available to assist with product selection, setup and troubleshooting. It hosts regular webinars showcasing the latest headset solutions, alerts clients to important news through its TechnoTalk email series and hosts its annual SKC Technology Summit, which brings clients and industry experts together to explore the latest voice, video and AV technology solutions.
“We look forward to offering continued service to our new clients, and looking for ways we can further improve their headset purchases and user experiences,” said SKC vice president of sales, Todd Vincent.

Sony Ends Joint LCD Panel Manufacturing With Samsung 
December 27, 2011 (3:00 pm)

Sony Corporation (Tokyo, Japan) and Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. (Seoul, South Korea) have signed agreements to transition their current business relationship with respect to LCD panels.
Under the agreement, Samsung will
acquire all of Sony's shares of S-LCD Corp. their LCD panel manufacturing joint venture, making S-LCD a wholly owned subsidiary of Samsung. Cash consideration of about KRW 1.08 trillion will be paid to Sony by Samsung. Concurrently, the two companies have entered into a new strategic agreement for the supply and purchase of LCD panels with a goal of enhancing the competitiveness of both companies. The agreement also allows Sony and Samsung to continue cooperative engineering efforts focused on LCD panel technology.
This transaction will enable Sony to monetize its shares in S-LCD, and secure a flexible and steady supply of LCD panels from Samsung, based on market prices and without the responsibility and costs of operating a manufacturing facility. With whole ownership of S-LCD, Samsung anticipates heightened flexibility, speed and efficiency in both panel production and business operations.

Established in April 2004, S-LCD has continued to deliver advanced and cost-competitive LCD panels to both of its parent companies, contributing to the expansion of the respective parties' TV businesses, and the large-sized LCD TV market overall. However, LCD panel and TV market conditions have now changed. In order to respond to such challenging conditions and to strengthen their respective market competitiveness, the two companies have agreed to shift to a new LCD panel business alliance.
The share transfer and payment are targeted to close by the end of January 2012, subject to necessary approvals from regulatory authorities.
As a result of this transaction, a non-cash impairment loss of approximately JPY 66 billion is expected to be incurred by Sony in the third quarter of the fiscal year ending March 31, 2012, due to the reevaluation of its S-LCD shares. This loss includes an impact from the fluctuation of exchange rate. Despite this one-time loss, Sony estimates that the transaction will result in substantial savings on and after January 1, 2012, in respect of costs associated with its procurement of LCD panels. The current estimate of the yearly savings in respect of such costs is about JPY 50 billion, compared to LCD panel procurement costs estimated for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2012. Neither the one-time loss nor the estimated cost savings were included in Sony's forecast of consolidated financial results for the current fiscal year ending March 31, 2012, announced on November 2, 2011. Sony is currently reevaluating this forecast, taking into account this transaction and other factors that might affect its full year FY2011 consolidated financial results forecast.

Global Special Effects Acquires Universal Fireworks 
December 16, 2011 (10:30 am)

Global Special Effects, Inc. (Lexington AL), formerly known as SnowMasters Special Effects, has acquired European fireworks manufacturer, Universal Fireworks. Universal Fireworks previously supplied all major theme parks with their daily fireworks displays.

According to the company, “Universal Studios and Walt Disney are excited to now have a US source to provide the best available fireworks in the world.” Global Special Effects, Inc., a manufacturer of visual special effects products and accessories has distributors in 23 countries.

Tech Data Strengthens Digital Signage Offering
December 14, 2011 (2:30 pm)

Tech Data Corp. (Clearwater FL) has expanded its digital signage business unit through a US distribution agreement with Saddle Ranch Digital, Inc. (SRD, Beverly Hills CA), including an exclusive line of SKUs specifically developed for Tech Data to complement its full line of content creation and management services, and a financing arrangement with GE Capital, Americas.
“We are pleased to further expand Tech Data’s digital signage offering through these agreements,” said Wendy Maurer-Linsky, Vice President of Peripherals Product Marketing at Tech Data. “Digital signage continues to be a profitable growth area for resellers and our agreements with Saddle Ranch Digital and GE Capital provide our resellers with more opportunities to achieve success and better serve their end-user customers.”
SRD is an advanced media company specializing in strategy and custom content creation for screen media solutions. With roots in Hollywood film production and place-based media, SRD brings more than 25 years of specialist content experience, evolving into high-impact digital media for all size screens.

“Our new partnership with Tech Data brings a new level of commitment to the channel in support of our content creation services,” said Kim Sarrubi, president/CEO of Saddle Ranch Digital. “Through our partnership, we are enabling resellers to offer a total digital signage solution, including content, to their end-user customers.”
Tech Data has also made arrangements for GE Capital to provide financing to support its digital signage resellers and their end-user customers. GE Capital, Americas, is the commercial lending and leasing arm of GE Capital, which provides loans and leases to more than one million customers across the US, Canada and Mexico.
“Tech Data is a true partner for our business and continues to be very proactive in helping us provide the right products and services for our customers,” said Jason Lambert, key account manager at Sport View Technologies, Inc. (SVT, Brighton MI). “The amount of focused attention that we get from a channel partner has never been better. As we look forward to taking advantage of the huge opportunities that exist in digital signage, Tech Data’s ability to provide a full solutions package simplifies our job of providing a total end-to-end solution for our customers.”
Tech Data’s channel-leading digital signage business unit features the broadest linecard in the channel and a dedicated support staff of more than 50 members that hold more than 130 industry-recognized certifications. The business unit’s portfolio includes credit and leasing services, education and certifications, site surveys and installations, configuration and integration services, marketing and advertising, and content creation services.

DiGiCo Announces New Investment From ISIS Equity Partners
December 13, 2011 (4:30 pm)

UK based console manufacturer DiGiCo (Surrey, UK) has secured secondary investment from ISIS Equity Partners almost five years after the company successfully expanded with the backing of Matrix Private Equity Partners. “This is a fantastic opportunity for DiGiCo to build further on the achievements of the last five years,” stated James Gordon, CEO. “The company has expanded rapidly in a short space of time and the timing is perfect to add some new investment and experience to the team. ISIS' historical knowledge of our niche industry is going to be very valuable as the company continues to evolve. Matrix's desire to remain invested within the company and team is a real testament to how well that MBO relationship has worked. The future combined strength of the two houses offers a new dynamic to our future possibilities that I am sure we will take full advantage of.”

DiGiCo technical director John Stadius added, “I have worked in the pro audio industry for 33-plus years. The last five years with Matrix and the DiGiCo team have really opened up our ability to challenge new technology, such as our move to Stealth Digital Processing. The future combination of ISIS and Matrix is going to accelerate our development opportunities even further.”
Denise Emmanuel, ISIS investment director, commented, “DiGiCo is a fantastic example of an entrepreneurial company and management team that is able to deliver growth even in a difficult environment. The combination of leading technology and exports makes DiGiCo a prime example of just the type of business that private equity should be investing in.”
“DiGiCo's success has been driven by a highly focused and competitive management team, efficient investment in R&D, a commitment to quality in its Scottish factory and an uncompromising attention to customer satisfaction,” concluded Matrix Equity Partners' Bob Henry. “This is exactly the type of business that Matrix likes to invest in and we are delighted to have the opportunity to remain part of this dynamic team and their growth plans.”

Blackmagic Design Acquires Teranex Systems Inc.
December 13, 2011 (1:10 pm)

Blackmagic Design (Milpitas CA) has acquired Teranex Systems Inc. (Orlando FL), a manufacturer of high performance video processing products for the post production and broadcast industries.
“Teranex is a strategic acquisition for Blackmagic Design,” said Grant Petty, Blackmagic Design CEO. “Its technology, solutions and market complement our own efforts and its high-quality video processing technology enables us to provide our customers with even higher levels of video quality, extending Blackmagic Design’s product range for the broadcast, feature film and high-end post production markets.”

According to Mike Poirier, general manager of Teranex, “This is an exciting milestone for our company. We are extremely happy to be part of the Blackmagic Design team. Blackmagic Design’s global reach, leading edge technologies, widely recognized brand name, strong systems and networking expertise and worldwide customer relationships make it an ideal partner for Teranex.”
Teranex will continue to support its customers and expand its sales channels with the added strength of the Blackmagic Design organization. Teranex will also continue its long tradition of developing superlative video processing platforms based on its patented SIMD architecture.

Black Castle Acquires Stake In Digital Signage,
Mobile Marketing Industry

December 9, 2011 (4:40 pm)

Black Castle Developments Holdings Inc. has entered into a letter of intent to acquire more than 90% of bizM3, a pioneer in digital signage technology and multi-level mobile marketing solutions. Black Castle Developments Holdings, a holding company targeting the acquisition of undervalued, niche companies, is owner of Black Castle Developments, which purchases non-performing notes and bank-owned, income-producing commercial real estate properties. Based in Aliso Viejo CA, bizM3 is one of the first companies to deliver a multi-channel strategy that allows businesses to add a mobile call-to-action to all of its existing marketing channels, both digital and traditional. bizM3’s proprietary technology can send SMS (text messages), MMS (images), IVR (voice), WAP (mobile websites) and digital signage (out-of-home/in-premise advertisements).

 

The company has demonstrated early success with clients such as the US Postal Service. Leveraging its FCC-compliant digital signage technology, bizM3 enables businesses to use their existing TV screens in their place of business, whether at a grocery store, restaurant, bar or hotel, to run revenue-generating advertisements. bizM3 is in the early stages of generating revenues from the sale of its digital signage and integrated mobile marketing solutions.
“bizM3 presented us with a very unique opportunity to not only diversify our current portfolio, but to capitalize on the explosive growth potential of the consumer mobile marketing industry,” said Jeff Holroyd, CEO of BCDH, Fresno CA.
According to The International Telecommunication Union, in 2010, the number of mobile subscriptions reached 5.3 billion worldwide. In the US, 302.9 million subscribers, or 96% of all Americans, are mobile users. According to Gartner Research, mobile ad revenue is expected to generate $3.3 billion in revenue in 2011, and then skyrocket to $20.6 billion in 2015, more than doubling from year-to-year. “We are truly excited to see where bizM3 is headed, and believe this acquisition will create an exciting new chapter for BCDH shareholders,” added Holroyd.
Upon the close of the acquisition, expected by the end of 2011, bizM3 will operate as an owned subsidiary of BCDH. The all-stock transaction is expected to be non-dilutive to existing shareholders with a valuation and purchase price of $4 million.

Lawo Integrates Innovason Brand Into Its Portfolio
November 29, 2011 (11:11 am)

In the wake of a lengthy restructuring process, the French company Innovason SAS (Brittany, France) has been dissolved. However, the Innovason brand has been saved by Lawo AG, which now owns all the product and trademark rights. The move, which follows Lawo’s acquisition of the majority shareholding in April 2008, marks the end of a juridical process that resulted in the liquidation of Innovason SAS on November 2, 2011. The Innovason brand will henceforth be managed from Lawo’s HQ in Rastatt, Germany.
According to Marcel Babazadeh, Innovason international sales director, the move is 100% positive for the brand and its customers. “It’s the best of both worlds,” he remarked. “Now that the Innovason products have become part of the range offered by Lawo in Rastatt, it means that the continuity of the brand is guaranteed. At the same time, it benefits from everything that Lawo has to offer with its more than 40 years of experience in professional audio technology.

“Furthermore, Lawo is committed to maintaining the heritage and history of Innovason,” continued Babazadeh. “Our focus for the future is on the continued development of the Eclipse platform. The difference is that we will be able to pursue this development with more resources available to us than ever before, which is fantastic news. It is the ideal climate in which to nurture and perpetuate the pioneering spirit that has characterized Innovason products since the beginning.”
A number of former Innovason key employees will take over responsibility within the new structure at Lawo, including the “father” of Eclipse, Hervé de Caro, now product manager for Eclipse. Nicolas Gozdowski will continue as service engineer and Benoit Quiniou in R&D. Marcel Babazadeh remains international sales director.
Lawo CEO Philipp Lawo offered, “I have believed in the [Innovason] brand from the beginning. I admire innovation, which has always been a driving force for the development of Innovason products. However,” he added, “despite Lawo’s intervention in 2008, the company was still not able to realize its full potential. Now that the brand is fully integrated into the Lawo structure, I am confident that together we can achieve success. I’m also delighted to welcome the new colleagues on board, all now key members of the Lawo team responsible for Innovason. It is the end of an era for Innovason in its former structure, but the dawning of a new chapter of innovations. We’re all looking forward to a new and promising future in the live sound market together.”
[Sound & Communications reported on the original acquisition in our May 2008 News section.]



Trans-Lux Completes Restructuring Plan
November 21, 2011 (1:11 pm)

Trans-Lux Corp. (Norwalk CT), a supplier of LED technology for high-resolution video displays and lighting applications, has completed an extensive financial restructuring and recapitalization of the company, according to Trans-Lux President/CEO J.M. Allain. "I am pleased to report that the hard work by countless people on the restructuring plan has finally delivered. For well over a year now, we have been working with our debt and stakeholders to create a positive and viable way forward. We believe that the successful resolution of our restructuring plan puts us on a solid financial foundation and gives us the working capital to make much needed investments in strategic areas," he stated. "The success of the restructuring plan will now allow us to focus on growing the digital signage and LED lighting businesses. Trans-Lux's portfolio of end-to-end solutions unlocks a whole new realm of new business development opportunities," Allain added.

As part of the restructuring plan, the company raised $8.3 million of equity capital (the "Offering") consisting of (i) 416,500 shares of the Company's Series A Convertible Preferred Stock, par value $1.00 per share (the "Preferred Stock") having a stated value of $20 per share and convertible into 50 shares of the Company's Common Stock, par value $1.00 per share (or up to 20,825,000 shares of Common Stock), and (ii) 4,165,000 one-year warrants (the "A Warrants"). The Preferred Stock will automatically convert into Common Stock once the shareholders approve an increase to the number of shares of authorized Common Stock at the Company's next annual meeting and the Company files an amendment to its certificate of incorporation so there is an adequate amount of shares available for issuance. These securities were issued at a purchase price of $20,000 per unit (the "Unit"). Each Unit shall consist of 1000 shares of Preferred Stock (convertible into 50,000 shares of Common Stock) and 10,000 A Warrants. Each A Warrant shall entitle the holder to purchase (a) one share of the Company's Common Stock and (b) a three-year warrant (the "B Warrants"), at an exercise price of $1.00 per share (subject to adjustment to $0.20 per share). Each B Warrant shall entitle the holder to purchase one share of the Company's Common Stock at an exercise price of $1.00 per share (subject to adjustment to $0.50 per share). The restructuring plan included offers to the holders of the 8¼% Limited convertible senior subordinated notes due 2012 (the "Notes") to receive $225 plus 250 shares of the Company's Common Stock for each $1000 Note tendered and to the holders of the 9½% Subordinated debentures due 2012 (the "Debentures") to receive $100 for each $1000 Debenture tendered. $8,976,000 principal amount of the Notes and $718,000 principal amount of the Debentures were tendered. The Preferred Stock, as well as the Common Stock offered in exchange for the Notes, will not and have not been registered under the Securities Exchange Act of 1933, as amended, and may not be offered or sold in the United States absent registration or an applicable exemption from registration requirements. The Debentures are subordinate to the claims of the holders of the Notes and the Company's senior lender under the Credit Agreement, among other senior claims. Both offers expired on October 31, 2011.
The net proceeds of the Offering were used to fund the restructuring of the Company's outstanding debt, which includes: (1) a cash settlement to holders of the Notes; (2) a cash settlement to holders of the Debentures; (3) payment of the Company's outstanding term loan with the senior lender and (4) payment of $1.0 million on the Company's outstanding revolving loan with the senior lender. Any net proceeds of the Offering remaining after payment to holders of the Notes, the Debentures and the senior lender will be used for working capital and other general corporate purposes. The Placement Agent will receive a 4.8% commission and warrants to purchase the Company's Common Stock.

AES X192 Audio Network Interoperability
Standard Connects With Manufacturers

November 11, 2011 (3:48 pm)

An AES standards task group chaired by Kevin Gross (who conceived and developed the CobraNet system for transport of real-time, high-quality audio over Ethernet networks) is developing an interoperability standard for audio networking. The project is called X192. Addressing the need for interoperability between products of many different manufacturers, X192, once implemented, will provide manufacturers with the means to remain with the network technology they are invested in, while also seamlessly interfacing with products that support other networks.
There currently is a number of existing and work-in-progress protocols, each with a distinct heritage. These include the IEEE 1733 variant of AVB, Dante, Livewire, Q-LAN and RAVENNA. With an “interoperability mode” built from existing protocols and compatible with existing network equipment, systems integrators and end users will be able to select and interface the products that best meet their design goals with confidence that the X192-enabled devices work and play well together. And by “interoperability,” Gross means the ability for devices operating under various proprietary Layer-3 protocols to easily exchange audio data. Alternately, manufacturers may find that, once fully developed, X192 will meet all their criteria and may decide to implement it as their only networking protocol. QSC Audio Products, LLC and Telos Systems’ Axia Audio division have become sponsoring members supporting Gross’s work.

Manufacturers and users of networked audio products are recognizing the benefits of using Layer 3 network technology and applying existing IP protocols such as IEEE 1588, RTP and DiffServ to the challenge of distributing high channel-count, low-latency, uncompressed digital audio. The benefits of such an approach are numerous and include compatibility with off-the-shelf network hardware, scalability, manageability and acceptance by IT professionals.
Gross describes the genesis of the effort: “When you’re working in the IP environment, there are a limited number of ways to mix and match existing pieces to implement an audio network. So it’s inevitable that IP-based solutions will have similarities. As I surveyed various implementations, it became apparent that these similarities provided an opportunity for interoperability.”
The task group membership is comprised of representatives from prominent audio manufacturers including ALC NetworX and members of the RAVENNA consortium, network equipment and component manufacturers and key end users.
“We strongly support Kevin’s efforts,” said QSC<www.qscaudio.com> VP of Marketing Gerry Tschetter. “Two years of field experience with the Q-LAN protocol used by Q-Sys networked audio products have proven to us that an IP-based approach to networked audio is the right solution. We are looking forward to working with Kevin on an interoperability definition that expands options for the industry.”
Clark Novak, Marketing Manager for Telos Systems and Axia Audio stated, “Telos and Axia have advocated standards-based audio networking since we pioneered Livewire in 2003. The development of a networking standard whose benefits all broadcasters can enjoy is the logical next step for the industry. We’re delighted to be a charter member of the X192 group.”


StJohn Group Changes Focus
November 11, 2011 (1:48 pm)

Effective immediately, StJohn Group, Inc. (Bellingham WA), has discontinued distribution of audio/video products in the North American market for its current vendors, Artcoustic, Cabasse, Cineversum and IMAGE Screens.
Prior to becoming a distributor in 2002, for seven years, StJohn Group had performed marketing services for companies in the financial, wholesale, retail and custom installation industries. Specializing in advertising campaigns, business market development, corporate identity, web development, public relations and collateral development, StJohn Group clients included Russound, A-Bus, Cinematech, InPro Sales, Modern Home Systems, HomeTheater Magazine, Kretek International, Niles Audio, SpeakerCraft, The Center for Due Diligence, CalCrystal Labs, ComClok and many others.

According to owner Kevin Leja, StJohn Group will get back to its roots as a marketing and business development company. Future business will focus on evaluation and development of companies' web-based presence, as well as social networking, mobile applications, and more traditional web and print-based marketing.
Manufacturers, representative firms, retailers, custom installers, and support companies in need of market development should contact Kevin Leja at 360.756.2205.
The company's remaining inventory has been drastically reduced in price and is available for purchase at www.stjohngroup.com.


Roscor Corp. Lays Off Staff
November 2, 2011 (3:48 pm)

Mount Prospect IL-based Roscor Corp., a media and information technology company that resells and rents audiovisual equipment, laid off about 100 of its employees on October 30. According to company President Paul Roston, Roscor has been struggling since it hit a peak in 2009. He dismissed rumors that the company, which provides professional audio, video, multimedia and computer-based products and services, particularly for broadcast television, along with education and corporate communications, is shutting down.

He said the layoffs are a result of the economy and shrinking profit margins, with prices at a point where Roscor can't sustain a business, particularly not a business like his own "that was invented and designed to sell $100 million worth of stuff a year." Roston admitted that Roscor couldn't compete on hardware prices with large national equipment sellers, "and that's what affected our sales staff." Rosco had offices in Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio and Indonesia.
Recent changes in the communication industry, such as manufacturers selling directly to customers and a crowded market space of people selling the same products, have also hurt. "Obviously, there is a possibility that we may close completely, but that's not our goal," he said. "We are going through a restructuring."
In the coming months, Roston said, employees will focus on completing projects in-house and reinventing the company.
Sound & Communications featured the company in feature installations in our September 2004 April 2005 issues.

InfoComm Forms Independent Technical Service Providers Council
October 28, 2011 (10:48 am)

The InfoComm International Board of Directors has approved creation of an Independent Technical Service Providers Council, a new group with the objective of promoting the role of independent technical service providers (ITSP) for outsourced integration and event project work. The council also gives the independent technical service providers a collective voice with hardware and software vendors. “InfoComm International is pleased to support this growing segment of the AV industry,” said Duffy Wilbert, CTS, CAE, senior vice president of membership, InfoComm International.
Along with approval of the council, the InfoComm Leadership Development Committee appointed Mark DelGuidice, CTS, owner of Wire Wizards Integration in San Diego, as the Council Chair.

DelGuidice led the effort to form the new council. “I wanted to create a home for this particular segment of InfoComm members,” he said. “These professionals fill a specific role that differs from those of traditional integration, rental, staging or distributor organizations.” The ITSP Council is holding its first formal meeting in November. Members who would like to participate in this council should contact the InfoComm staff liaison Marc Bialek.
The council is one of nine InfoComm councils representing industry segments, including the Independent Consultants in Audiovisual Technology (ICAT) Council, Independent Programmers Council, Independent Reps Council, Manufacturers Council, Rental & Staging Council, Systems Integration Leadership Council (SILC), Technology Managers Council and the European Council.
Sound & Communications detailed early plans for formation of this council in an exclusive report in our October 2010 issue. See “In Focus: Independent’s Day; A new industry group organizes, makes its mark,” by Dan Ferrisi.

YCD Multimedia Acquires C-nario
October 28, 2011 (8:48 am)

YCD Multimedia (New York NY), a provider of smart digital media experiences to the retail business world, has acquired high-end digital signage solutions company C-nario (Tel Aviv, Israel) in a stock transaction. According to the company, the combination brings together two digital signage companies to deliver an end-to-end solution that encompasses everything from content management to measurement and analytics. "This solution is designed to deliver a complete brand experience in the retail industry as well as in other market segments." The company will expand its reach to serve more than 2000 brands, including leading Fortune 500 global brands, in more than 40 countries.
YCD will continue to support to both YCD and C-nario customers, with Noam Levavi, YCD cofounder/CEO leading the combined entity from its New York City headquarters. "This step opens new horizons and creates tremendous opportunities for the consolidated company," said Levavi. "By combining YCD's offering and expertise together with C-nario's high-end digital signage technology, we take another major step toward achieving our vision of delivering personalization and measurement to brick-and-mortar environments."

Tamir Ginat, C-nario's CEO, said, "This is an important step in C-nario's growth and business strategy. Bringing together powerful market-leading technologies will enable us to offer our customers solutions that provide unrivaled capabilities and address current and future needs."
The company also completed a new $6 million fundraising round led by Carmel Ventures, Opus Capital, Pitango Venture Capital and Plenus, together with other existing shareholders. "We are delighted to have assisted this transaction and to be able to invest in the combined entity," said Avi Zeevi, C-nario's chairman/general partner and cofounder of Carmel Ventures. "We can now combine the power of our individual strengths and core competencies to establish a leadership position in the digital signage industry. I would like to thank Tamir Ginat for leading C-nario to its current dominant position, and who was instrumental in making this transaction happen".
"We plan to increase market share and broaden our coverage," said Rami Kalish, YCD's chairman/Managing General Partner and cofounder of Pitango Venture Capital. "We see a tremendous number of business opportunities that we and our partners can effectively and efficiently target, and we plan to pursue those opportunities."

 

MCSi’s Peppel Sentenced To Seven Days In Prison, $5000 Fine
October 25, 2011 (4:48 pm)

Michael E. Peppel, former president and chief executive officer of MCSi Inc., at one time the largest systems integration firm in the US, was sentenced on October 24 by US District Judge Sandra Beckwith to seven days in federal prison and a $5 million fine. The judge also ordered three years of federal probation supervision. According to a report by John Nolan, Staff Writer for the Dayton Daily News, Peppel faced a potential prison term of eight to 10 years for his guilty pleas to felony crimes that the government said led to the 2003 failure of the company, and caused widespread losses for its employees and investors.

Peppel pleaded guilty to participating in a conspiracy to intentionally report false revenues and earnings at MCSi, to cover up losses and prop up the company's stock prices. (He must submit to random drug testing, and perform community service including public presentations about lessons he learned from his wrongdoing and punishment.) Peppel has agreed to a lifetime ban on his ever serving again as a corporate chief executive, the job he had at MCSi.
According to the report, former employees and investors in MCSi, once known as Miami Computer Supply, said they were stunned by what they described as a light sentence. Dwight Keller, the federal prosecutor who summed up the government's request that Peppel be imprisoned for eight to 10 years, said wrongdoing that undermines public confidence in the honesty of a company's financial reporting to the marketplace must be punished, regardless of whether the defendant has a family and well-stocked bank accounts. The victims included 1300 MCSi employees and at least 281 investors, Keller told the judge.
For more details, see Sound & Communications, NEWSLETTER, September 2010 and News, July 2010 ("Flood Receives Four Year Sentence.")

FrontRow, Calypso Systems Merge
October 20, 2011 (2:24 pm)

FrontRow (Petaluma CA) and Calypso Systems (Woodbury MN) are merging into a single entity operating under the name FrontRow. The unified company plans to offer a suite of technologies that schools can use to improve communication within and between classrooms—even with students at home.
The merger will add integrated classroom AV, command and control, and streaming audio resources to a line of premium digital and analog classroom audio products. According to the company, for AV consultants and district technology staff, this creates a powerful new set of tools that meets the full range of school communication needs: classroom audio, content capture, network paging and device command/control. With nationwide and international distribution, the new company can also immediately field a strong team of expert technology consultants and installers to help districts implement these solutions.


The management teams of FrontRow and Calypso have been working since last year on a shared vision of what integrated school communication could and should be. "Our two companies complement each other extremely well in terms of resources, intellectual property and culture," stated FrontRow President Jens Holstebro. "By leveraging FrontRow's footprint in the classroom amplification space with advanced network products from Calypso, we have secured the position as the leading school communications provider in the industry. Nobody else can deliver better ways to build, manage and use engaging, media-rich learning spaces—or do it faster." According to Calypso President David Parish, the merger will first result in simple product bundling and improved interoperability between the companies' current products. "Ultimately, though," hinted Parish, "what we're building is the industry's most comprehensive and integrated communication platform for education. Our solutions will make it easier to share ideas and information within the classroom, the school, the district and the community, all while driving operational and financial efficiency."
Having already collaborated on engineering and sales projects, the management teams will now turn their attention to orchestrating a smooth and successful transformation into a single organization. Holstebro will serve as president of the new organization, with Parish acting as senior vice president. The process is expected to last into 2012, but customers should begin directing orders and questions to the California office at (800) 227-0735.

Polycom Acquires ViVu
October 19, 2011 (10:13 am)

Polycom, Inc. (Pleasanton CA), has acquired ViVu, Inc. (Cupertino CA), a privately held video collaboration software company. The transaction was closed on October 14, for undisclosed cash consideration, and Polycom expects the transaction to be neutral to earnings.
ViVu has developed video collaboration software that can be embedded easily into web applications such as enterprise, social and vertical industry applications to enable instant web-based HD video collaboration. ViVu gives Polycom a fast-track to embed HD video into web-based applications through an OEM model, accelerating time-to-market and adoption of Polycom HD video collaboration solutions, and driving awareness of the Polycom brand powering video collaboration inside a wide range of applications.
According to the company, Polycom's vision is to make it possible for millions of people to use video collaboration as their preferred method of communication, regardless of network, carrier, protocol, application or device. The acquisition reinforces Polycom's software strategy (announced September 14). Polycom will leverage ViVu technology in the Polycom RealPresence Platform, software infrastructure for universal video collaboration.


"ViVu is a compelling acquisition for Polycom as their technology provides a scalable architecture to quickly deploy rich video collaboration for a range of web-based applications for social, business and industry-specific applications, such as those for healthcare, finance, and customer service," said Sudhakar Ramakrishna, Executive Vice President/General Manager of UC Solutions and Chief Development Officer, Polycom.
"ViVu is excited to join Polycom as we both believe in the power of video collaboration to increase productivity and improve communications and collaboration," said Sudha Valluru, Founder/CEO, ViVu. "I'm confident that ViVu's video collaboration technology will thrive and grow in the future, as a result of Polycom's leadership in UC and video collaboration, power of distribution channels, and the breadth of its customer reach within the enterprise market and beyond."
The ViVu software enables instant video collaboration in any web-based enterprise application, and is device independent. Example applications include customer service (faster helpdesk resolution), healthcare (doctor and patient conversations via video; and finance) and improved trader to client collaboration. Polycom also plans to leverage ViVu technology to accelerate embedding video collaboration into social business applications.
Sound & Communications covered Polycom's acquisition of Accordent Technologies in our April NEWSLETTER.


ComQi Partners With Path Intelligence
September 29, 2011 (1:23 pm)

ComQi (Linden NJ), born from the merger of Minicom Digital Signage and EnQii, is partnering with Path Intelligence Inc. (Portsmouth, United Kingdom), which owns proprietary technology that detects and predicts how shoppers and visitors will behave within enclosed environments such as malls, retail stores, transportation hubs and stadiums. Path Intelligence captures data on shoppers by passively and anonymously observing the movement of their mobile phones. The firm provides customized information on how many shoppers there are by department, how long they dwell, how frequently they come back, which stores they visit during their mall trip and how the full path-to-purchase (and beyond) is mapped. Currently, Path Intelligence is working with US retailers J.C. Penney and Home Depot, as well as a number of UK retailers and mall management companies.


ComQi and Path Intelligence will work to provide retailers with detailed analytics on general shopper behavior in the store, as well as specific analytics linked to digital signage. According to the companies, the Path Intelligence system can be used to optimize digital signage installations and measure engagement at the screen level.
"Path Intelligence's footpath data provides retailers with expanded metrics and quantitative performance by department, enabling management to optimize operations, labor allocations and store layouts," said Sharon Biggar, Path Intelligence CEO. "We are excited to be working with ComQi to bring these, as well as other new features, to the US retail marketplace."
"We wanted to work with Path Intelligence to bring the power of online analytics to the physical shopping experience," offered ComQi's North American Managing Director, Stuart Armstrong. "The powerful data and analytics provided by Path Intelligence make ROI measurement and deeper consumer data-capture a reality for retailers."
Advising the Path Intelligence/ComQi partnership are The Jeffrey Group (Jeff McElnea, formerly of Einson-Freeman/WPP Group) and Edgewood Industries (George Wishart, formerly of The Nielsen Company).

AVI Systems Acquires Workplace AV Systems
September 6, 2011 (11:29 am)

Audiovisual systems integrator AVI Systems, based in Eden Prairie MN, has acquired Workplace AV Systems of Sioux Falls SD, a division of Workplace Technology Center specializing in information technology and audiovisual consulting solutions. The purchase of Workplace AV Systems further increases AVI Systems' geographic area in the Midwest market. "The combination of Workplace AV Systems technology solutions with our audiovisual expertise will provide our clients with more solutions, expertise and support," said Glenn Bosch, Regional Vice President of AVI Systems.


Workplace AV Systems was established as an AV consultant in South Dakota in 1997, and will maintain its current facility in Sioux Falls. "The integration of both companies will take place over the next year, with the local office operating under the dba of Workplace AV Systems a subsidiary of AVI Systems, and will migrate to the AVI Systems name during the next year. Our clients will continue to receive the same high quality audiovisual communication solutions they have come to expect and Workplace AV Systems clients will enjoy the expanded AV solutions and support capabilities," Bosch added.
"All of us at Workplace AV Systems look forward to this great opportunity. Our capabilities complement one another so we see the future as a win-win situation for both parties," said Joe Zueger, President of Workplace Technology Center. The two companies serve the same consistent customer base and have enjoyed a strong history of performance on collaborative projects.


ClearOne Acquires MagicBox
September 6, 2011 (11:20 am)

ClearOne (Salt Lake City UT), which develops and sells conferencing, collaboration, multi-media streaming and connectivity systems for audio, video and web applications, has acquired MagicBox, Inc. According to ClearOne, this is part of the company's broader strategy to capitalize on emerging market opportunities as audio video, information technology, unified communications and traditional digital signage converge to meet enterprise and commercial multimedia needs.
"The combined expertise of the two companies brings to the market the only complete, end-to-end digital signage content management and IP streaming solution," said Zee Hakimoglu, Chairman/CEO of ClearOne. "The MagicBox content management and control technology and their industry leading database integration software are the perfect complements to ClearOne's StreamNet systems."

Privately-held MagicBox, headquartered in Corvallis OR and founded in 1995, designs, develops and markets a variety of hardware and software solutions to deliver digital content and information to digital displays.
"MagicBox and ClearOne have complementary products for a broad spectrum of applications," said Tom Searcy, Founder of MagicBox. "One of the single-most challenging requirements for any digital signage provider is the ability to distribute content over a wide-area network while maintaining control and scheduling alignment. StreamNet technology delivers low-latency HD distribution over IP which is a perfect fit with MagicBox's content creation, scheduling, database integration and digital signage domain expertise."
The acquisition presents both companies with new global market opportunities and accelerated product development, they report. It also brings economies of scale to MagicBox, which will be leveraged to execute go-to-market strategies.


The AVC Group Consolidates Sales Rep Network
September 1, 2011 (10:29 am)

In a move designed to provide dealers with a single point of contact for its iconic custom installation brands, The AVC Group (Carlsbad CA), a subsidiary of Nortek, Inc. and part of Nortek's Home Technology Group, is implementing a consolidated independent sales rep network that enables qualifying dealers to have "one source" access to more than 1700 products and system solutions offered by its ELAN, NILES, Xantech, Sunfire and ATON brands.
According to The AVC Group President Mark Terry, the current network of 45 independent rep firms will now be reduced to 15 firms, each of which will carry all five of The AVC Group brands. It is expected that this new sales rep organization will maximize the effectiveness of the recently introduced AVC Advantage program, which combines focused, complementary brand offerings with automatic incentive, rebate and support programs. "As a company we are totally committed to the business model of using independent sales rep firms as our frontline sales force," Terry emphasized. "The implementation of a consolidated rep organization is the next logical step forward in our long term plan to provide dealers with a greater array of opportunities to sell more system solutions to a larger and wider range of customers," Terry said. "This new organization empowers dealers to meet more customer requirements than ever before, allowing them to offer a truly complete range of system and product offerings at every price point."




According to Terry, the consolidated rep organization benefits every entity involved in the sales process: dealers, distributors, reps and The AVC Group. For dealers, the new organization provides a single point of contact for all five AVC Group brands while allowing them to access bundled and tiered programs and incentives. "We will be able to provide our dealers and distributors with complete and complementary systems solutions: more than 1700 different products," Terry emphasized. "Our dealers will now enjoy a greater, more powerful relationship with a single manufacturing partner.
For the sales reps in the new organization, the structure delivers a new level of efficiency with features such as one-stop training, one sales meeting, one commission check and one business methodology, the company stated. "At the same time," Terry stressed, "the new consolidated sales rep network offers reps the ability to finally offer every dealer a complete price performance range of solutions. Every dealer call they make will be much more likely to result in a sale and that reality will significantly increase their income."
Finally, for The AVC Group, the new structure allows the Group to make sure it always has "A" level reps in every sales territory. The Group will be able to more effectively develop and implement a long-term systems solution product strategy that benefits all of its dealers while ensuring that the Group's brands are not squeezed out of a channel or used to leverage a competitor. "It also allows us to act quicker in the market, offer more comprehensive training and be more efficient with our resources. The bottom line is that everyone benefits, including the customer, and that's the most important priority for all of us."
Although the implementation of a consolidated independent sales rep network bodes well for the future of The AVC Group, dealers and consumers, it is a significant change that does affect some long established relationships. "Unfortunately, this type of action requires that we part company with many extremely qualified, talented and loyal reps through no fault of their own. I want to thank these firms for their many contributions over the years. Without their effort and success, our brands would not be the leaders they are today. I wish each and every one of these firms continued success in the future," Terry offered.
The new independent sales rep organization is comprised of Audio Associates Corp. (South Plainfield NJ), Electronic Marketing Associates (Raytown MO), High-Tech Network (Smyrna GA), Market Share Inc. (Bellevue WA), New Age Marketing (Manvel TX), ProMark Marketing (Santa Clarita CA), RS Pro Sales, LLC (Cincinnati OH), SLAMCO (Chanhassen MN), Sound Tech Marketing (Golden CO), Tandem Marketing, Inc. (Elk Grove Village IL), The Jarmac Group (Taunton MA), TWC Michigan, Inc. (Trenton MI) and Zone Pacific Sales (Sacramento CA).


FiberPlex Changes Hands
August 30, 2011 (9:29 am)

FiberPlex Technologies, LLC, has acquired FiberPlex, Inc. , based in Annapolis Junction MD, including the LightViper and Shadow brands. In the fiberoptic communications industry since 1987, FiberPlex, Inc., was founded by engineers who had the vision of future communications and understood its value to governmental and civilian security, according to the company. In 2004, spearheaded by Harry S. (Buddy) Oliver III, the company introduced the LightViper brand of products, bringing its knowledge and expertise into the pro audio market.




FiberPlex Technologies, LLC, was formed by Buddy Oliver, President/CEO, and Cynthia Oliver Peters in July 2011 for the purpose of acquiring the assets and operations of FiberPlex, Inc. Buddy Oliver has more than 20 years of experience in the electronic manufacturing industry and federal contracting. Cynthia Oliver Peters has extensive training and experience in organizational change management and executive coaching. With a background in accounting, she has owned and operated several businesses over the past 25 years, and has served on boards of directors and committees for several organizations.
This fusion of new dynamic leadership and revitalized capital with a brand, products and reputation built over 24 years will create a strong foundation for growth both domestically as well as internationally, the company reported. FiberPlex Technologies, LLC, will keep all of its jobs and manufacturing in the US. "We will build on the quality that the FiberPlex name and its brands have come to symbolize as we pursue the innovation of the next generation of fiberoptic communications equipment," they stated.

Radiant Systems Acquires Texas Digital Systems
August 12, 2011 (9:29 am)

Radiant Systems, Inc., (Alpharetta GA) has acquired Texas Digital Systems, Inc., (College Station TX) a provider of order confirmation displays and digital signage solutions. Texas Digital's solutions enable businesses to improve order accuracy, increase speed of service and influence sales at the point-of-purchase.
"Order confirmation and digital signage is an emerging growth opportunity for Radiant, and this acquisition enhances our ability to accelerate the adoption of digital signage," said Andy Heyman, COO at Radiant Systems. "Integrating Texas Digital's products into our solution offerings will drive more value for our customers."


With more than 22,000 installations in 40 countries, Texas Digital develops order confirmation displays and digital signage solutions that can be implemented in a variety of indoor and outdoor environments, including restaurants, entertainment, arenas, and stadiums and theme parks.
"Radiant and Texas Digital have complementary products and have been strong business partners for many years," said Dennis Davidson, President/COO of Texas Digital Systems. "Our companies are well aligned in the markets we serve and we are excited to become a part of their team."
In July, NCR announced plans to acquire Radiant Systems. NCR provides assisted- and self-service solutions and comprehensive support services address the needs of retail, financial, travel, healthcare, hospitality, entertainment, gaming, public sector, telecom carrier and equipment organizations in more than 100 countries.


Court Of Appeals Affirms ClearOne Verdict Against Biamp Systems
August 10, 2011 (6:29 pm)

The United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit issued an opinion August 8, affirming a November 2008 jury verdict issued by a federal district court in favor of ClearOne against Biamp Systems Corp., for theft of ClearOne's trade secrets, including the federal district court's award of exemplary damages based on the finding that Biamp's misappropriation was willful and malicious. In its ruling, the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals reduced the amount of ClearOne's judgment on two categories of ClearOne's damages, but otherwise affirmed Biamp's liability to ClearOne on every component of ClearOne's judgments against Biamp for theft of ClearOne's trade secrets, including awards for lost profits, unjust enrichment, exemplary damages based on Biamp's willful and malicious conduct, taxable costs, and attorney fees and costs.


The amount of ClearOne's judgment against Biamp is estimated to be $3.7 million, not including additional amounts that may be awarded. This amount reflects reductions by the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals of approximately $1.1 million from the federal district court's previous judgment of about $4.8 million. Pursuant to a prior order of the federal district court, Biamp had deposited about $3.7 million in escrow, to protect ClearOne and serve as a bond on appeal. ClearOne will immediately seek release of these monies to satisfy judgment in its favor.
In earlier opinions dated June 27, 2011, and July 8, 2011, the Tenth Circuit affirmed in all respects the jury verdict and related awards against Andrew Chiang, Jun Yang, Lonny Bowers, WideBand Solutions, Inc., and Versatile DSP, Inc., and the federal district court's contempt and related findings against Donald Bowers. ClearOne has not recovered any material amounts in satisfaction of its judgments against these parties. The Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals is yet to rule upon ClearOne's request for additional awards of prejudgment interest and attorney fees against Biamp.
In exclusive comments to Sound & Communications, Steve Metzger, Biamp President stated, "Although we are pleased the court has effectively reduced the size of the damages against Biamp on constitutional grounds and has denied the plaintiff's cross-appeal for prejudgment interest, we are disappointed that the court chose to avoid consideration of important core issues Biamp raised during appeal based on procedural matters.
We believe the opinion does not reveal what we know to be true: that Biamp has never, nor would it ever, participate in the misappropriation of intellectual property.
"As ardently as we disagree with the final outcome, we do accept that the legal process has run its course and we're pleased to have the matter resolved.
"The award of damages to ClearOne will have no material financial impact to Biamp's operations or its ability to develop or deliver product to its customers. Further, it has no impact whatsoever on the technologies used in our products.
"Our customers can feel fully confident that there will be no disruptions in their supply of Biamp products.


RCF And dB Technologies Move U.S. Operations To New Jersey
August 5, 2011 (12:29 pm)

RCF and dB Technologies has announced a relocation of its business from New Hampshire to Edison NJ, effective August 15. The move provides the company with a bigger warehouse to receive and ship product more efficiently and inexpensively across the United States. The move will also position the company in a centralized location allowing it to adjust to the U.S. market's needs.


The further development of the company has also produced an adjustment in the representation across the U.S. With a change in reps in California, Chicago and a new partnership with Starin Marketing, RCF and dB Technologies plan to expand their services across the country. The company's new address is 110 Talmadge Road, Edison NJ.


Black Box Acquires PS Technologies, LLC
July 28, 2011 (12:23 pm)

Black Box Corporation, Pittsburgh PA, has acquired privately-held PS Technologies, LLC (PS Tech), based in Dayton OH. PS Tech is the first Black Box acquisition in the rapidly growing enterprise video communications market and services clients in the healthcare and government verticals. PS Tech is a Cisco TelePresence Video Master certified partner with expertise ranging from integration of remote offices via desktop conferencing to deployment of the latest in telepresence technology.


PS Tech sells and services solutions throughout the continental US, Europe and the Pacific Rim, with annual historical revenues about $28 million.
Leo Flotron, former PC Tech President, commented, “The entire team is very excited to join our video capabilities and industry knowledge with Black Box. Our strategy has always been to provide superior video communications solutions to our clients. We believe that combining resources with Black Box enhances our ability to serve our clients in the emerging video communications market.” Flotron will report to Julie Lyda, Black Box Vice President/General Manger.
Commenting on the acquisition, Lyda stated, "I am excited to welcome the entire PS Tech team to Black Box. They have earned a great reputation as a high-quality video solution provider. The addition of PS Tech to the Black Box family will greatly enhance our organic Cisco capabilities in the video and teleconferencing space. They will be an excellent addition to our company.
"

Calibre UK Appoints Eiki International As North American Distributor
July 27, 2011 (11:47 am)

Calibre UK, Bradford, UK, a major player in the development and manufacturing of image processing, scaling and switching products, has appointed Eiki International, Inc., Rancho Santa Margarita CA, as its North American distributor for the HQView professional audiovisual image processing, warp and blend products. The agreement was facilitated by Paul Carey, Marketing Specialists, Inc., Calibre UK's North American master representative and also a manufacturer's representative for Eiki International, Inc.
The range of 13 scaler/processors with models including features such as geometry correction, image warping and soft edge blending was introduced in 2010. This includes the HQView520 scaler, switcher and scan converter with warp and blend and 3G-SDI connectivity.
Calibre UK is also recognized for its manufacturing excellence by InfoComm as a green product innovation and it was also shortlisted as a finalist in the Electronic Product Design Awards, Green Manufacturing Awards Category.

The HQView range complements the range of projectors, comprising more than 40 models at resolutions ranging from XGA to 2K (2048x1080) that Eiki manufactures and distributes from its California headquarters. "Eiki literally means 'projectors' in Japanese but, with Calibre UK, we're stepping up a gear and empowering our user and customer base. This will enable them to do so much more with their projection systems," stated Steve Rubery, Eiki International New Business Development Manager.
He added, "The addition of the Calibre's HQView range is the ideal partner for our projectors and will widen the way in which they can be used in the marketplace. We look forward to a fruitful and successful relationship with Calibre UK and its team of technical and sales experts. Our growth markets are church production, corporate audio visual and educational installation and we're widely known for reliability, quality and durability."
Echoing his sentiments, Tim Brooksbank, Calibre UK Chairman added, "The apointment of Eiki International, Inc., paves the way forward and is a critical step in our international growth strategy. We are proud to be able to work with such an internationally well respected professional AV partner as Eiki."
"This new distribution channel offers us the opportunity to promote and offer our HQView range of products nationwide in the US with a partner with more than 50 years of experience in projection. We're absolutely delighted with the appointment and look forward to talking about installations and uses of equipment."


GestureTek Sells Some Assets To Qualcomm
July 26, 2011 (6:47 pm)

GestureTek, Inc.(Toronto, Canada) has sold certain technology assets to Qualcomm Incorporated (San Diego CA). The acquisition will give Qualcomm ownership of certain intellectual property assets related to gesture recognition. With more than 25 years of experience implementing gesture-based technologies in mobile devices, entertainment facilities, museums, retail locations and other public and private venues, GestureTek will retain selected technology assets and will now focus on its gesture-controlled public display/digital signage and health businesses.

"This transaction with Qualcomm is a great result for both parties," says Vincent John Vincent, President/Co-Founder, GestureTek Inc. "GestureTek will continue to deploy our technology in the digital signage/public display and health markets, on which we will now focus exclusively. We look forward to supporting our existing customers and continuing to leverage our network of dealers and distributors to add new customers in these growing markets."
"Applications processors are enabling a range of new ways for consumers to interface with their home entertainment and mobile devices," said Steve Mollenkopf, Executive Vice President/Group President, Qualcomm. "Our acquisition of key technology and assets from GestureTek will strengthen Qualcomm's smartphone product portfolio and enable our customers to launch products with new and compelling user experiences." Gesture recognition technology will be integrated into Qualcomm's current and next-generation Snapdragon processors, giving OEMs the capability to produce smartphones, tablets and home entertainment devices with user interfaces based on natural human gestures.

Haivison Acquires Kulabyte And Montivision;
Forms Internet Media Division

July 21, 2011 (12:47 pm)

Haivision Network Video (Montreal, Canada), a provider of video networking, digital signage and IP video distribution solutions, has acquired KulaByte Corporation (San Marcos TX) and MontiVision Imaging Technologies (Breiholz, Germany). The technologies of both companies, including advanced encoding, transcoding, cloud computing and workflow solutions, will be combined to form Haivision's new Internet Media Division.
"All market segments now demand access to a high-quality live and on-demand HD media experience regardless of network or platform," said Mirko Wicha, President/CEO of Haivision Network Video. "With KulaByte and MontiVision, Haivision can now deliver end-to-end rich media solutions for both inside and outside the enterprise firewall. The new division is also focused on addressing the challenges of effective social media networks for the enterprise."
KulaByte provides live software-based encoding and transcoding technologies. KulaByte's H.264 encoding software and systems deliver internet streaming of HD content to Flash RTMP and HTTP Live Streaming (HLS) for the iPhone/iPad and other platforms. KulaByte's HyperStream is one of the world's first live cloud-based video transcoding services, according to the company. It can transform live video source streams into all of the many formats and data rates required to distribute live video via the internet to every screen, regardless of device, player, screen size or bandwidth. HyperStream reduces the cost and complexity of live video streaming by using the cloud to transcode source streams into multiple formats and bit rates required for diverse media distribution. HyperStream is available as a cloud-based service, a managed server within the cloud or a standalone server appliance.

Founded in 2004, KulaByte's customer list crosses many market segments, including over-the-top (OTT) broadcast, HD Internet TV, live church streaming, education, corporate event broadcasting, live sporting event streaming, and military and defense applications. KulaByte encoders and cloud transcoders were used recently to broadcast the Masters golf tournament to hundreds of thousands of viewers.
MontiVision Imaging Technologies, founded in 2003 and a partner in the development of Kulabyte products, is a development company focused on delivering technologies for video acquisition, machine vision, surveillance and medical imaging applications. The MontiVision Development Kit provides a development environment allowing high-performance media solutions to be built rapidly. MontiVision's client list includes vertical market solutions providers and top education and research facilities globally.
KulaByte and MontiVision now form Haivision's Internet Media Division, which is focused on developing technologies to deliver OTT media and to power enterprise social media networks. Haivision has appointed Chafye Nemri as Executive Vice President of this new division and KulaByte CEO Peter Forman as Vice President of Internet Media, responsible for developing the division's cloud services. Key initiatives will enable the creation, distribution and management of media assets for organizations, regardless of user location.
"Haivision is unique in the IP video industry in that we have been profitable for many years, experienced more than 50% growth for the last five years and we continue to increase our market share dramatically—all without venture capital investment," stated Wicha. "Our executive management group is the best in the industry with an amazing track record and, together with a dedicated and driven team of more than 150 people, we expect to surpass revenues of $50 million next year."
Haivision has acquired four companies in just over two years, combining IP video distribution, digital signage, and now internet streaming expertise with the company's H.264 hardware technology.

AMX Acquires SchoolView Technologies Inc.
July 20, 2011 (10:47 am)

AMX (Richardson TX), a provider of solutions that simplify the implementation, maintenance and use of technology to create effective environments, has acquired SchoolView Technologies, LLC, a Plano TX-based company specializing in building comprehensive software that consolidates management and control of diverse school technologies at the district, building and classroom level, on a single, comprehensive platform. AMX introduced a partnership with SchoolView Technologies in February 2010, and launched the AMX|SchoolView solutions combining hardware and software that integrates disparate building systems to deliver a central command center in a single location using existing data networks, and capable of scaling for future technology integration, said the company.
According to the company, AMX|SchoolView solutions are successful due in part to its reputation within the education market of controlling costs while providing the highest quality of service, all despite a soft economy. This complete, scalable solution consolidates management and control of traditional bell, clock and PA systems, while addressing the management and control needs of classroom audio, video and presentation tools at the district, building and classroom level, according to the company. As a result, innovative institutions have found the key to controlling cost is simple: Capitalize on their existing disparate technologies through automation and control, said the company.


"We have been impressed with both the quality of the products and the people at SchoolView over the past 18 months and are glad to officially welcome them to the AMX family. AMX is capitalizing on the success of this partnership with a solution that aims directly at controlling costs at a time when K-12 schools are being challenged more and more to show a true return on their investment," said Rashid Skaf, AMX President/CEO. "AMX|SchoolView is the only scalable education solution set that allow schools to start with certain critical components and continue to add more later to eventually take full advantage of our 'unified control' solutions to manage connected technology, automation, security and energy utilization."
According to AMX, AMX|SchoolView provides a host of features essential for innovative learning environments. Administrators and support staff can perform remote system diagnostics and track projector use and lamp life, allowing efficient scheduling of routine maintenance such as lamp replacement and instant notification if devices are disconnected, providing financial savings through theft deterrence. AMX|SchoolView includes components for safe and crime-free campuses such as centralized control of security cameras to mass alert notifications. Unlike many traditional notification systems, AMX|SchoolView can deliver synchronized alerts and messages to all rooms, including portable classrooms. Beyond giving administrators and teachers simplified control of the system, the AMX|SchoolView also offers energy savings, aligning to green-building initiatives that many school districts are facing. It automates management of energy-consuming resources such as PCs and AV equipment, and further increases cost reductions by simplifying maintenance and support, which extends technology lifecycles.
"The education market currently is facing two diametrically opposing obstacles: lower funding and higher demand for innovative use of technology," said Michael Peveler, Vice President, Education Sales, AMX. "Education customers around the world will benefit because AMX|SchoolView addresses both challenges without increasing costs or compromising technology."
"SchoolView is excited to be a part of a world-class organization like AMX that has successfully installed solutions in tens of thousands of classrooms around the world," stated Michael Yonks, President/CEO, SchoolView Technologies. "As evident over the past year and a half, we realize AMX is the type of company that mirrors our commitment to growth, quality, and personal integrity."

 

ANSI Approves InfoComm’s Projected
Image System Contrast Ratio Standard

July 15, 2011 (11:47 am)

The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) has approved InfoComm’s third standard, ANSI/INFOCOMM 3M-2011, Projected Image System Contrast Ratio . The standard provides metrics for measurement and requirements for minimum contrast ratios for rear- and front-projection audiovisual projected image systems. ANSI/INFOCOMM 3M-2011 Projected Image System Contrast Ratio, which applies to both permanent and temporary installations, defines projected image system contrast ratio and its measurement. This standard defines four contrast ratios based on content viewing requirements. The system contrast ratio refers to the image as it is presented to viewers in a space with ambient light. Metrics to measure and validate the defined contrast ratios are also provided. A one-page overview can be found on InfoComm's website.

InfoComm thanks the following industry volunteers for their leadership in developing this standard: Alan C. Brawn, CTS, ISF, ISF-C, Brawn Consulting, Moderator; David Aleksandersen, Projection Design; Tim Anderson, 3LCD; Jonathan Brawn, CTS, ISF, ISF-C, Brawn Consulting; Ricardo Chen, Canon USA (LCoS); Michael Davis, Texas Instruments (DLP); Richard Green, HTDS, CCP-HTPS; Rich Green, Ink (CEDIA volunteer member); Greg Jeffreys, Paradigm Audio Visual Ltd.; Christopher Johnson, CTS-D, HTDS, AudioVisions; John Meehan, Panasonic Projector Systems, Inc.; David Pedigo, CEDIA; Don Stewart, CTS, Stewart Filmscreen; and Grant Stewart, CTS, Stewart Filmscreen. Digital copies of the standard can be purchased at www.webstore.ansi.org.
The first Standards and Best Practices Plenary held on June 18 in Orlando, included reports from chairs and moderators of task groups and task forces, liaisons to other associations and InfoComm staff. Participants were informed as to how current standards and best practices issues tie together and relate to other industries. More than 15 liaisons from InfoComm and other trade associations presented and participated in lively panel discussions that spanned the breadth of InfoComm projects. These included green AV, audio, energy management, displays, drawing symbols, BIM, event sustainability, integrated building technology and others. Get more information and a complete report about this Plenary Session. Click Here.


Magenta Research and TV One Form
"Commercial Technology Group"

July 1, 2011 (12:47 pm)

Following its recent acquisition of Kentucky-based TV One Broadcast Sales Corporation, Nortek, Inc. announced that TV One and Connecticut-based Magenta Researchare cornerstones of the newly formed Magenta Commercial Technology Group.

Magenta specializes in providing large-scale switching, extension and distribution projects to the commercial AV and digital signage markets, while TV One dedicates itself to providing video, audio and multimedia processing solutions. Commercial Technology Group Chairman, and Magenta Research CEO, Keith Mortensen stated, "The ability for TV One and Magenta technology to be cross-integrated into broadcast and commercial AV projects offers integrators and consultants exciting new alternatives to approaching projects, while streamlining the overall process."
Additional acquisitions are expected to further expand the Magenta Commercial Technology Group's product portfolio in the coming months, according to Nortek.

ABRY Partners To Acquire Masergy Communications, Inc.
June 28, 2011 (4:38 pm)

ABRY Partners, LLC (Boston MA) is purchasing 100% of the existing equity of Masergy Communications, Inc. (Plano TX), a global provider of secure, virtualized network services. The transaction is expected to close within 90 days.
"ABRY Partners is one of the most experienced private equity firms in the media, communications and information industry. ABRY has a strong track record of providing capital to successful companies," said Chris MacFarland, CEO of Masergy. "We believe they are the right partner to continue our growth plans while providing outstanding service to our clients. We are very proud of what Masergy has achieved to date and we look forward to executing the next phase of our growth strategy."

This transaction provides liquidity for the founding investors and introduces an experienced equity partner for the company's continued growth. The existing management team will continue to manage the business with no operational changes.
"We are strong believers in the global information technology and emerging cloud services market and are excited to be participating in it through our acquisition of Masergy," said Blake Battaglia, Partner at ABRY Partners. "Masergy, with its talented management team, has built a highly scalable business with a diversified blue chip customer base. We look forward to helping Masergy accelerate its growth strategy.".

Audio Manufacturers Create The Open Control Architecture Alliance
June 28, 2011 (10:08 am)

Eight professional audio manufacturers have formed a group whose mission is to secure the standardization of the Open Control Architecture (OCA), a media networking system control standard for professional applications. They include Bosch Communications Systems, d&b audiotechnik, Duran Audio, LOUD Technologies Inc., Media Technology Systems, PreSonus, Salzbrenner Stagetec Mediagroup and TC Group.
The function of the Open Control Architecture Alliance (OCA Alliance, www.oca-alliance.com) is to complete the technical definition of OCA, then to transfer its development to an accredited public standards organization. The standards organization will render the OCA specification into an open public standard for control of professional media network systems.
Developed recently by Bosch Communications Systems, OCA is descended from AES-24, a system control protocol developed by the Audio Engineering Society in the 1990s. OCA defines a flexible and robust control standard that covers the entire range of pro media networking applications, from the smallest to the largest.

OCA is not a media transport technology, and does not replace evolving media transport standards such as AVB. Instead, it is intended to complement such standards by providing a reliable and rich system control environment. Together, media transport and system control standards will enable complete multivendor media network solutions in the future.
By adding system control to the media network equation, OCA will allow devices from multiple manufacturers to share a common management regime, thus allowing system designers and owners the freedom to specify the components they want without compromising overall integration and usability.
OCA is designed specifically to address the full range of professional media networking use cases, from small to very large, including cases where media networks have critical security and/or life safety roles. OCA is adaptable and future-proof, and will support multivendor media network applications now and in the future.
It is the hope of the Alliance that OCA will become widely adopted, leading to a new era of multivendor interoperability in which media network customers have an increased range of choice, and engineered media networking solutions offer new levels of functionality, flexibility and overall value.
Alliance work will be done in two phases. During the current Phase 1, the eight founding members will refine the OCA specification and prepare it for passing to a public standards organization. Phase 1 is a fast-track exercise, in which active membership will be restricted to the founding members. Other companies may become Observers on request.
During Phase 2, the OCA specification will be transferred to the public standards organization, and the Alliance will continue with ancillary OCA promotion and support work. Active Alliance membership will be open to all in this phase; as well, companies will have the option of participating in the standards organization in the usual way.
For more information, or to enroll as an Observer, contact the Alliance Administrator at stephan.lietz@oca-alliance.com.

RF Industries Acquires Cables Unlimited, Inc.
June 23, 2011 (5:47 pm)

San Diego CA-based RF Industries, Ltd. has acquired Long Island NY-based Cables Unlimited, Inc. CUI, a seller of high-value fiberoptic cabling and connector products to enterprise and carrier network customers, for a purchase price of $5,600,000, consisting of $2,800,000 in cash and 762,738 common shares. Privately owned CUI had revenue of about $6,200,000 and non-audited non-GAAP adjusted EBITDA of about $645,000 in its most recent 12 months ended December 31, 2010.
RF Industries also announced that Darren Clark, the sole owner of Cables Unlimited, has been added to RF Industries' Board of Directors. Clark cofounded CUI in 1992 and has been its principal executive officer since the company's formation.

At the heart of this merger was a strong desire by both Banbury and Pressley to expand opportunities for their customers and employees. "We now have the scale and talent to provide compelling value for customers of all sizes," said Banbury. "This provides opportunities for growth and achievement for everyone involved."
Pressley summarized the merger strategy simply: "As we looked at our complementary core competencies, we realized there was tremendous value in a combined company. When we added the strength of employee ownership and a resurgent southeast economy, the merger logic was compelling."
Unified AV Systems provides design, engineering, installation and maintenance services for audiovisual communication systems to corporate, education, religious and government entities. The company specializes in corporate boardroom and training room presentation solutions, as well as collaborative audio and videoconferencing. Additionally, creating "smart" classrooms and associated training for the education market has been a specialty since the technology was introduced more than 10 years ago.
Unified AV Systems remains a member of USAV, which acted in an advisory role for the merger, providing counsel on valuation, deal structure, financing and operational integration. "We are thrilled to see two USAV Integrators combine for growth and value," said USAV CEO KC Schwarz. Schwarz will sit on the Unified AV Systems Board of Directors.

Multi Media Services, Video Systems of the Carolinas Merge
June 23, 2011 (2:47 pm)

Multi Media Services and Video Systems of the Carolinas have merged to create Unified AV Systems, with Jim Pressley serving as CEO and Bruce Banbury as President.
With headquarters in Atlanta GA and major operational centers in Charlotte NC and Greenville SC, as well as additional sales and technical support offices in Raleigh and Greensboro NC, Unified AV Systems has a large footprint in the region. After many months of planning, the merger combines 55 years of operation as separate, closely held businesses to form a single, integrated commercial AV entity. Unified AV Systems remains employee owned, but has expanded employee participation by implementing a broad-based Employee Stock Ownership Program.

At the heart of this merger was a strong desire by both Banbury and Pressley to expand opportunities for their customers and employees. "We now have the scale and talent to provide compelling value for customers of all sizes," said Banbury. "This provides opportunities for growth and achievement for everyone involved."
Pressley summarized the merger strategy simply: "As we looked at our complementary core competencies, we realized there was tremendous value in a combined company. When we added the strength of employee ownership and a resurgent southeast economy, the merger logic was compelling."
Unified AV Systems provides design, engineering, installation and maintenance services for audiovisual communication systems to corporate, education, religious and government entities. The company specializes in corporate boardroom and training room presentation solutions, as well as collaborative audio and videoconferencing. Additionally, creating "smart" classrooms and associated training for the education market has been a specialty since the technology was introduced more than 10 years ago.
Unified AV Systems remains a member of USAV, which acted in an advisory role for the merger, providing counsel on valuation, deal structure, financing and operational integration. "We are thrilled to see two USAV Integrators combine for growth and value," said USAV CEO KC Schwarz. Schwarz will sit on the Unified AV Systems Board of Directors.


Alcons Audio Forms Alcons Audio USA
June 10, 2011 (9:00 am)

Dutch speaker manufacturer Alcons Audio has formed Alcons Audio USA, which represents the company taking its first significant steps toward penetrating the US market. This brings the advantages of Alcons' range of Pro-Ribbon solutions, from point-source, through line-source, to line array, to a new geographical sector. Alcons Audio USA will be headed by David Rahn, previously National Sales Manager at Renkus-Heinz, and Pauline Ortiz y Pino, business development specialist. It will be based in Dana Point CA.

"The US market is very important. However, we decided not to enter until we were able to establish our own office there, providing the comprehensive support our customers deserve and have come to expect," said Alcons' Co-Founder Tom Back.
"With David and Pauline joining us, that time has come. We're very happy that we can continue our global development into this pivotal market with this [strong] team."
Alcons Audio USA can be contacted by phone at 949.439.8203. Rahn and Ortiz y Pino can be contacted by email at rahn@alconsaudio.com and ortizypino@alconsaudio.com, respectively.


Extensive Polycom Activity
June 2, 2011 (10:34 am)

Polycom is acquiring HP's Visual Collaboration business, including the Halo Products and Managed Services business. The companies also signed a strategic agreement that makes Polycom an exclusive partner to HP for telepresence and certain video UC solutions, including both resale and internal HP deployments, and integrates Polycom's video applications on HP's WebOS TouchPad product line.
Polycom also announced the Open Visual Communications Consortium (OVCC), an open video exchange cloud with leading service providers that will enable visual communications beyond corporate firewalls and proprietary video platforms. OVCC will enable global businesses to connect everywhere and will make it easy for millions to communicate via video similar to the simplicity of how mobile phones connect today.

Founding members of OVCC include Airtel, AT&T, BCS Global, BT Conferencing, Cable&Wireless Worldwide, Global Crossing, Glowpoint, iFormata Communications, Masergy, Orange Business Services, PCCW Global, Telefonica, Telstra and Verizon.
Polycom and Microsoft also announced two new developments in enterprise UC. These solutions will expand the Microsoft and Polycom joint development and go-to-market activities on multiple fronts. As a strategic Microsoft UC solution partner, Polycom and Microsoft are already executing on six strategic agreements. Polycom has delivered native integration with Lync across Polycom's UC Intelligent Core infrastructure, telepresence family and voice endpoints. Polycom previously announced SVC, the underlying technology that enables Polycom and Microsoft to deliver a powerful telepresence application to hundreds of millions of Microsoft desktops.
Finally, Polycom announced that its Board of Directors approved a two-for-one split of its common stock to be effected in the form of a stock dividend. The stock split will entitle each stockholder of record at the close of business on June 15 to receive one additional share for every one share owned as of that date. The additional shares resulting from the stock split are expected to be distributed by the company's transfer agent on July 1. Upon completion of the stock split, Polycom will have approximately 176,000,000 shares of common stock outstanding.



LINX Signs Merger Agreement With Solstice Multimedia
June 1, 2011 (12:00 pm)

Denver CO-based LINX, a $32 million communication infrastructure provider, has signed a merger agreement with Solstice Multimedia that combines Solstice and the Audio-Video division of LINX to form a new subsidiary: LINX Multimedia, LLLP. Prior to the merger, privately owned LINX operated three lines of business: voice and data cable services and installation, security systems integration and AV systems.
Denver-based Solstice Multimedia provided integrated electronic systems to commercial and high-end "smart" homes to residential customers.

"We are very excited to create [a] premier AV firm in the Rocky Mountain Region with this deal. There is strong demand for an AV integration firm that can create the right client experience wrapped inside of a professional builder's mentality," said LINX CEO and Owner Erik Isernhagen. "We are a good fit because Solstice and LINX place the same…value on our relationships with our clients."
LINX will continue to operate its other two lines of business—voice and data cable services and installation and security systems integration—under the LINX brand. Only the AV subsidiary will do business as LINX Multimedia. Founded in 2003, LINX expanded its business into the audio and visual systems marketplace four years ago. The new combined LINX Multimedia is projected to generate revenues of $9 million this year.
This deal marks the third acquisition for eight-year-old LINX. Previous acquisitions include the purchase of Denver-based AV company ANSI in 2007 and Denver voice and data cable installer Sequel Communications in 2008. LINX will employ about 175 people after this merger and is hiring for new positions this year.

Mitsubishi Electric Corp. Launches Mitsubishi
Electric Visual Solutions America

May 25, 2011 (4:56 pm)

Effective June 1, Mitsubishi Electric Corporation (Irvine CA) has established Mitsubishi Electric Visual Solutions America, Inc. The new company will sell professional visual systems products, including data wall display systems, projectors, LCD digital signage monitors, 3D and 2D home theater front projectors, and professional industrial and photo printers. MEVSA will also manufacture and sell 73-inch and larger 3D DLP Home Cinema televisions and 3D LaserVue televisions for the consumer marketplace. Mitsubishi Electric has withdrawn from the 65-inch and smaller categories of consumer television products in North America.


Mitsubishi Electric Visual Solutions America is acquiring certain manufacturing, sales and marketing activities of Mitsubishi Digital Electronics America, Inc. MEVSA plans to expand sales within North America with a business strategy that specializes in a wide range of large-screen visual solution products.
Mitsubishi Electric Visual Solutions America's manufacturing facility in Mexicali, Mexico will continue to manufacture DLP and laser-based televisions. The new company's customer service group will provide support and service to new and existing customers.

Legrand To Acquire Middle Atlantic Products
May 23, 2011 (2:15 pm)

Legrand, North America, has signed a definitive agreement to acquire Middle Atlantic Products, Inc., a New Jersey-based company. The completion of the transaction is anticipated for mid-June and is subject to the satisfaction of certain requirements, including regulatory approval. Prior to closing, Legrand and Middle Atlantic will continue to operate as separate, independent companies.


With this acquisition of a recognized presence in AV enclosure systems, Legrand seeks to fulfill one of its key objectives: that being to establish a leadership position in the markets for AV infrastructure products, systems and solutions. Middle Atlantic has knowledge of these markets and a sales relationship with more than 3500 integrators in the US and Canada.
Once this transaction is completed, Middle Atlantic customers, the company says, would experience expanded product offerings, access to enhanced specification services and tools, and more complete AV infrastructure solutions. The combined offerings of the firms would include more than 5000 AV products and services.
After closing, Middle Atlantic would operate as an independent business within Legrand and would remain focused on providing products and a good customer experience. Mike Baker, President of Middle Atlantic Products, would lead a new, 5th Division -Commercial AV- for Legrand in North America.

TV One Acquired by Nortek, Inc.
May 19, 2011 (11:05 am)

TV One has sold 100% of the company's stock to a subsidiary of Nortek, Inc., a diversified global manufacturer. The sale includes all TV One-related, wholly owned companies in the US, UK, Taiwan and China. TV One will be included in Nortek's Technology Products segment and closely aligned with Magenta Research Ltd. The transaction was completed on April 28.


David K. Barnes, TV One CEO, stated, "We recently celebrated our 25th anniversary in the [commercial] AV industry and have established a record of consistent growth, profitability and product innovation. At the upcoming InfoComm show, we will launch an entirely new technology and product range that will usher in a new era for TV One. As part of the Nortek family of companies, I look forward to maximizing the opportunities that will take TV One to the next level. I personally look forward to being part of that continuing success."
"TV One's combination of its proprietary CORIO scaling technology, unique products and solid growth is a [good] fit with Magenta," added Magenta Research CEO Keith Mortensen. He continued, "The synergy between the two organizations is [strong] and TV One fits nicely into Nortek's [commercial] AV strategy. Magenta plans to leverage TV One's global sales network in order to enhance the market penetration of our products. The recent introduction of Voyager, Magenta's all-format fiberoptic-based signal distribution platform, expands our infrastructure product range significantly and is a [good] match with TV One's soon-to-launch video processing range."

DS Companies EnQii and Minicom Digital Signage Merge
May 17, 2011 (12:48 pm)

EnQii Holdings and Minicom Digital Signage (MDS) have merged their companies, creating a global presence in multichannel message management. The merged company, it says, will offer a platform that provides leadership, simplicity and innovation in a complex marketplace. Jerusalem Venture Partners (JVP) led a growth capital financing round together with other existing shareholders—Wellington Partners, Amadeus Capital Partners and Aviv Ventures—to complete the merger. The financing will go toward expanding the current solutions portfolio, as well as to grant necessary resources for additional acquisitions.

EnQii-MDS will provide marketers with an end-to-end solution encompassing distribution, content management and proof-of-performance, while reducing capital and operational costs. This platform will ensure the delivery of consumer messaging that has recency, relevancy and accountability, and that will deliver an ROI to customers at the lowest total cost of ownership. These solutions are future-proofed, utilizing a cloud-based platform that offers the flexibility to accommodate both small and large installs.
Headquartered in New York City, EnQii-MDS will operate from six offices around the world and a global network of dedicated partners that includes 150 worldwide distributors serving thousands of resellers and system integrators. Ajay Chowdhury, former CEO of EnQii, is CEO of the new venture. Ronni Guggenheim, former CEO of Minicom Digital Signage, is President of EnQii-MDS.

projectiondesign Acquires US Distributor
May 11, 2011 (5:00 pm)

Norway's projectiondesign has successfully concluded negotiations on acquiring longstanding partner and distributor projectiondesign LLC, the exclusive distributor of projectiondesign products in North America since 2004. "North America represents the largest single market for our…projection and display technologies…," remarked Executive Vice President Åsmund O. Fodstad, who was recently appointed by projectiondesign to drive its global growth. "Increasing our efforts and focus in this market will see a visible increase in presence and strengthen our ambition of being the preferred projector and services supplier."

Gary Plavin, President of projectiondesign LLC, said, "We are incredibly proud of how we have developed the projectiondesign brand over the past seven years. It's a natural progression for us to recognize the additional strength and synergies from integrating our operations with the head office in Norway and accelerating our growth in the Americas. This will also solidify our position as [a] specialist high-performance projector and image-processing manufacturer. We look forward to the…fulfillment of our short- and long-term visions, which will bring…success and added value directly to our channel partners and customer base."
North American sales, support and service functions will continue to be located in the Teterboro NJ headquarters.

Coleman Acquires First Capitol, Continental Assets
May 4, 2011 (2:30 pm)

Coleman Cable, Inc., has completed the acquisition of the assets of First Capitol Wire & Cable, as well as the assets of Continental Wire & Cable, for a total purchase price of $7.15 million. First Capitol and Continental are manufacturers of industrial wire and cable products used across a number of commercial, utility and industrial end-markets. Both companies have a history of providing customers with custom wire and cable products, including First Capitol's design and production of a broad line of high-temperature wire and cable products used in OEM applications, as well as within a number of applications for the energy, commercial and industrial end markets.

First Capitol and Continental, both based in York PA, were privately held entities under common ownership prior to the acquisition of their assets by Coleman Cable. The acquisition of the assets of these two companies, whose combined sales were in excess of $10 million for 2010, were structured as all-cash transactions, both of which closed on April 29. Coleman anticipates that the assets acquired from the combined companies, primarily inventory and production machinery and equipment, will contribute approximately $0.10 to $0.15 in GAAP earnings per diluted share in 2012, while being earnings neutral or slightly accretive for the balance of 2011.

The MUSIC Group, Peavey In Legal Battle
May 3, 2011 (1:30 pm)

The MUSIC Group has recently filed suit in US District Court against Peavey Electronic Corporation, alleging false advertising, false patent marking and unfair competition. The suit alleges that Peavey intentionally mislabeled its products in the US market. The MUSIC Group alleges that Peavey's products are not labeled in accordance with US patent laws and FCC regulations.

With respect to the pro-audio and lighting industries, the company alleges that independent testing has shown a number of product sold by various manufacturers in the US market are non-compliant.
Prior to this, Peavey had initiated multiple actions against Behringer for various intellectual property issues, including alleged patent infringement, false marking, trademark infringement and unfair competition. Peavey filed a lawsuit in 2009 against Behringer in US District Court in New Jersey, alleging patent infringement, federal and common law trademark infringement, false designation of origin, trademark dilution and unfair competition. More recently, Peavey filed an action against Behringer in the Southern District of Mississippi, accusing Behringer of infringing a patent.

MSE Audio Acquires Rockustics, Inc.
April 27, 2011 (4:45 pm)

MSE Audio of Overland Park KS www.mseaudio.com has acquired Commerce CITY CO-based Rockustics, Inc. www.rockusticsinc.com, manufacturer of premium rock speaker products. Founded in 1987 by Tony Mulé, Rockustics designs and manufactures attractive, durable weatherproof speakers for residential and commercial markets. Rockustics products are designed to resemble landscaping features and are used in gardens, patios and other outdoor areas.
Rockustics speakers are found in venues ranging from The White House gardens to major theme parks to residential back yards. The line's nearly 30 products include rock speakers, omnidirectional speakers, subwoofers, speakers built into garden planters and speakers designed to be placed in landscaping walls.

Sales of Rockustics products will be managed by MSE Audio's Induction Dynamics and Phase Technology sales teams for residential customers and by the SoundTube Entertainment sales team for the commercial marketplace.
"All of us at Rockustics Inc. are excited to become part of the MSE Audio family," said Tony Mulé. "The synergy that will come from our combined engineering teams will enable us to produce groundbreaking speaker products for both the residential and commercial markets. Our customers can look forward to seeing some exciting technologies along with the highest quality product lineup that is available today."
"We are pleased to add the Rockustics line to the MSE Audio list of brands," said Chris Combest, MSE Audio President/CEO. "These products are the perfect complement to our other speaker lines, with almost no duplication of our existing products. With our five distinct speaker brands, MSE Audio now offers the industry's most comprehensive range of high quality speakers for all types of indoor and outdoor uses."

InfoComm International Seeks Applicants For Industry Awards
April 21, 2011 (9:30 am)

InfoComm International is calling all applicants for its three unique awards, all of which will be presented at InfoComm 2011: Adele De Berri Pioneers of AV Award, Distinguished Achievement Award and Educator of the Year Award. What better way and place to recognize unique contributions to the AV industry? The deadline for each individual award has been extended to Monday, May 2. Application information and forms can be found at www.infocomm.org/awards.

  • Adele De Berri Pioneers of AV Award: This award highlights important contributions made by individuals to the science of AV. The award calls attention to the AV and information communications industries by recognizing pioneers who made scientific breakthroughs resulting in new AV technologies that impacted the manufacture and sales of novel products enjoyed by audiences worldwide. [Sound & Communications is the media sponsor.]
  • Distinguished Achievement Award: Individuals eligible for this award have contributed significant individual contributions to the association. InfoComm International will recognize an individual who association members and the industry recognize as worthy of a lifetime achievement award.
  • Educator of the Year Award: This award highlights important contributions made by an individual to the professional development, education and training of the AV industry. These contributions have impacted audiences worldwide. The Educator Award is presented annually for outstanding achievement in AV education for that particular year.

Industry Mourns Sidney Harman
April 14, 2011 (12:30 pm)

Following a life of business achievement and public service, Dr. Sidney Harman, Founder and Chairman Emeritus of the company that bears his name, died on April 12 at 92. The cause, according to a statement by the family, was complications of acute myeloid leukemia. Family members said they learned of his illness only about a month ago. Dr. Harman co-founded his business in 1953. Blending an early interest in audio and the arts with his doctoral studies in business and education, he introduced one of the first FM radio tuners and the world's first stereo receiver. This passion led to other innovations, including the early Harman-Kardon stereo systems that remain popular with enthusiasts from every generation.

In 1977, Harman took a brief detour from his audio career to assume a post in public service as Deputy Secretary of the United States Department of Commerce. He returned to the business in 1980 and, within 15 years, had consummated a dozen new acquisitions, creating a matrix of brands. He retired from service to the company in 2008.
Amid these business achievements, Harman has touched lives in many ways. He served as a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences; as a member of the Board of Business Executives for National Security; and as member of the Board of Trustees of Freedom House. He served on the Council on Foreign Relations; as President of the Harman Family Foundation; Vice Chairman of the Corporate Fund Board of The Kennedy Center; and as a Professor at the Marshall School of Business of the University of Southern California.
As Harman approached age 93, he launched yet another venture with the purchase of Newsweek magazine, in order to pursue his long-lived passion for the communications arts. He is survived by his wife, former Congresswoman Jane Harman of California, eight children, ten grandchildren and many friends worldwide.

InfoComm Draft Standard On Projected
Image Open For Public Review

April 8, 2011 (12:11 pm)

InfoComm International’s latest draft standard, 3M-2011 Projected Image System Contrast Ratio, is open for public review and comment. The Standard provides metrics for measurement and defines minimum contrast ratios for rear- and front-projection audiovisual projected image systems. 3M-2011 Projected Image System Contrast Ratio, which applies both to permanent and to temporary installations, defines projected image system contrast ratio and its measurement.

 

 

This Standard defines four contrast ratios based on content viewing requirements. The system contrast ratio refers to the image as it is presented to viewers in a space with ambient light. Metrics to measure and validate the defined contrast ratios are also provided. A one-page overview can be found on InfoComm's website.
"This new draft Standard is designed to aid with projector and screen selection, in conjunction with lighting system and light control design." said Randal A. Lemke, PhD, Executive Director and CEO, InfoComm International. "The development of this Standard marks an important milestone for anyone who uses AV equipment and the professional community that provides services to them."
3M-2011 Projected Image System Contrast Ratio provides important metrics for evaluating, planning and designing projected image system installations, setting minimum contrast ratios, and testing and signing-off on completed projected image system installations.
Comments are due May 23 at 5:00pm Eastern Daylight Savings Time. Questions can be directed to standards@infocomm.org.

Sony Offers Earthquake, Tsunami Status Update
April 8, 2011 (11:43 am)

Editor's Note: We continue to monitor the unfolding developments in Japan. Previous updates appeared on March 14, March 18 and March 22. Keep checking this website for additional information as it becomes available. Please note that Sound & Communications will offer an extensive overview of the situation in our May issue.

Sony Corp. has updated the status of Sony Group manufacturing operations affected by the March 11 East Japan earthquake, tsunami and related power outages, as of April 6.
As of March 14, operations at 10 Sony Group sites and facilities had been suspended as a result of damage caused by the earthquake, tsunami and related power outages. As announced on March 22, manufacturing operations at three of these sites had since resumed or partially resumed. As of April 6, manufacturing operations at five other sites have also resumed or partially resumed.

 

  • Sony Manufacturing Systems Corporation, Kuki Plant (Saitama Prefecture) <Surface mounting equipment, etc.> - Resumed on March 15.
  • Sony Chemical & Information Device Corporation, Kanuma Plant (Tochigi Prefecture) <Bonding materials, optics materials, etc.> - Partially resumed on March 15. Further expanded operations on March 23.
  • Sony Energy Devices Corporation, Tochigi Plant (Tochigi Prefecture) <Lithium ion secondary batteries, etc.> - Partially resumed on March 22.
  • Sony Chemical & Information Device Corporation
    • - Tome Plant (Miyagi Prefecture) <Optical devices, IC cards, etc.>
      •   Nakada Site - Partially resumed on March 28.
      •   Toyosato Site - Partially resumed on March 28.
  • Sony DADC Japan Inc., Ibaraki Facility (Ibaraki Prefecture) <CDs, DVDs, etc.> - Partially resumed on March 28.
  • Sony Energy Devices Corporation <Lithium ion secondary batteries, etc.>
    • - Koriyama Plant (Fukushima Prefecture) - Partially resumed on April 1. (Coin batteries, etc.)
    • - Motomiya Plant (Fukushima Prefecture) - Scheduled to gradually resume operations by the end of April.
  • Sony Shiroishi Semiconductor Inc. (Miyagi Prefecture) <Semiconductor lasers> - Partially resumed on April 6.
  • Sony Chemical & Information Device Corporation
    • - Tagajyo Plant (Miyagi Prefecture) <Magnetic tapes, Blu-ray discs, etc.> - Currently undergoing cleaning and damage inspection.

As also announced on March 22, manufacturing operations at certain manufacturing sites that were not directly damaged by the earthquake and tsunami have been adjusted in response to planned power outages and the availability of necessary raw materials and components. Although the situation varies according to product, Sony is responding to fluctuations in material or component supply by adjusting production levels at the five sites announced on March 22, and also at certain other domestic and overseas manufacturing sites from time to time. However, as of April 6, none of those sites has been required to suspend operations fully.
Sony will continue to monitor the availability of raw materials and components, and endeavor to maintain supplies of any products affected by these adjustments by relying on existing inventory to the extent available. The company also plans to take further measures as necessary, including reallocating available materials and components among Sony Group companies, using alternative components and expanding procurement channels in order to restore full production capacity as early as possible.


Accent Electronic System Integrators Acquires Trinity Technology
April 7, 2011 (2:49 pm)

Accent Electronic System Integrators, Inc., has acquired Trinity Technology of Boca Raton FL. This transaction was effective March 29. Accent is a privately held electronic system integrator, focused on providing converged audio, video, data, security and communications systems for a broad base of facilities. Trinity Technology was launched in 2006 to specialize in upscale residential and yacht installations throughout the US and abroad. The company was formed to handle the complexities involved with integrating and managing myriad technologies.

"This acquisition complements Accent's plan for aggressive growth," explained Dan Robbins, President of Accent. "It reinforces our focus on developing and implementing solutions for complex integrated voice, data, security, sound, lighting, audio and video applications, and brings our…experience and expertise to bear for a large customer base throughout Southern Florida. This acquisition effectively accelerates our expansion plans with respect to a Southeast Florida office."
He continued, "The strength of Trinity Technology in the market and their position with estate properties has enhanced our ability in a segment of the market typically reserved for a very select group of firms. Coupled with the recent acquisition of Illuminated Environments, the combination…expands our ability to serve the full spectrum of the market with…expertise in lighting, audio/video, voice/data and controls. We look forward to integrating these new capabilities into our firm and developing new offerings for our customers."


Califone International Acquires Headphones, Headsets From Telex
April 7, 2011 (11:49 am)

Califone, a subsidiary of School Specialty, has reached an agreement to acquire the Discovery, Odyssey, Explorer and 610 brand names of headphones, headsets and their replaceable cords from Telex. The purchase, effective immediately, transitions the manufacturing, marketing and distribution of the product lines to fall under full Califone ownership and management.

Considered by school resellers and educators alike to be premium lines in classrooms and libraries due to their quality and durability, they will be available in June as complements to the existing Califone line of headphones and headsets. Financial details of the transaction were not released.

Pro Co's Debbe Stephenson To Retire
April 6, 2011 (10:45 am)

Debbe Stephenson, President of Pro Co, has decided to retire. After a long career with the company, Stephenson will step away from her duties at Pro Co on May 20. "I feel very comfortable with my decision, knowing that Pro Co is finally stable and in extremely good hands," she stated. According to Stephenson, the decision to retire was actually made four years earlier. She explained, "I had expressed my decision to retire to Charlie [Wicks] four years ago.

He asked me to please stay and help him with the company as he battled his illness. After Charlie passed, I needed to stay and help Pro Co through the transition to the new ownership. Pro Co is now in great shape and headed in the right direction. I can finally pursue other goals that have been 'put on hold' for four years."
At this point, RHC Holding Corporation has no plans to replace Stephenson. Garry Templin, National Sales Manager, remains "the face of Pro Co in the field" and Pat Shallow has been named by RHC to serve as General Manager of the production facility. Pro Co is an entity of RHC Holding Corp.

Electrosonic Acquires Excel Media Systems Inc.
March 31, 2011 (3:37 pm)

Electrosonic has acquired systems integrator Excel Media Systems Inc. The company will become part of Electrosonic’s corporate solutions business, offering meeting room and videoconferencing systems with full after-sales services from offices in New York City. The acquisition, the companies say, expands Electrosonic’s corporate solutions business in the New York tri-state area and allows the company to better serve its international clients with local offices. Electrosonic’s AV systems knowledge and project management expertise will ensure that Excel Media’s customers will receive service and support.

“Both our companies have decades of systems experience. By building on our strengths, we will provide the highest value for our customers,” said Robert Menell, Founder and Owner of Excel Media, himself with more than 30 years of experience, who will continue within Electrosonic as the Director of Sales for Corporate Solutions.
“Excel Media has many long-term clients and [a good] reputation acquired over many years for supplying quality meeting room systems,” added Colin Lemmings, VP of Corporate Solutions. “This fits well with our goal to provide our global clients with local support and to deliver innovative, standardized, high-quality systems and after-sales services in any region at competitive prices.”

Milestone AV Technologies, Da-Lite Reach Merger Agreement
March 30, 2011 (2:50 pm)

Milestone AV Technologies, manufacturer of Chief and Sanus brand AV mounting and display solutions, and Da-Lite Screen Company have reached a merger agreement. The combination of Milestone and Da-Lite, the companies say, will create an industry force in mounting solutions, AV furniture and projection screens across both commercial and consumer AV markets. With nearly 1000 employees worldwide and eight major operating locations around the globe, the combined business, the companies say, will be positioned to deliver customer service and product innovation.

"We are pleased to announce the combination of these two...companies," said Scott Gill, CEO of Milestone AV Technologies. "Through the strength of this combination, we will be able to offer a more comprehensive product line to our joint customers, open up new sales channels for our brands and provide growth opportunities for our employees. We look forward to expanding our reputation...."
Milestone, headquartered in Savage MN, was formed from the merger of Chief Manufacturing and Sanus Systems in 2004. Da-Lite will continue to be based in Warsaw IN as an operating subsidiary of Milestone, under the leadership of current Da-Lite President Richard Lundin.
"Da-Lite has a 100-year heritage...in the AV market," added Lundin. "Combining Da-Lite and Milestone allows us to continue our commitment to innovation while bringing the benefits and enhanced opportunities of increased global scale to our customers and employees."
A definitive merger agreement has been signed and, at this writing, the transaction is expected to close within 30 days.

Carousel Industries Acquires Juma Technology Corp.
March 30, 2011 (2:31 pm)

Carousel Industries has completed its acquisition of Farmingdale NY-based Juma Technology Corp., an Avaya Business Partner. With the acquisition, Carousel Industries says it significantly increases its footprint to serve customers in the northeastern US, while augmenting its engineering staff with additional talent. According to Jeff Gardner, CEO of Carousel Industries, "This acquisition not only significantly expands our geographic reach in our core areas of expertise, but also increases the strength of our engineering team, since we are bringing on some extremely talented industry veterans who are very well versed in IP telephony and unified communications.

Juma Technology established itself as a data networking solutions provider in 2002, and began designing and selling converged solutions as soon as they began to appear on the market. The company, which focuses primarily on enterprise customers, has been able to develop expertise implementing convergence solutions across a range of vertical markets, including retail, healthcare, education (K-12 and university) and financial.
The purchase of Juma Technology marks the sixth acquisition by Carousel in the last two years. Since January, the company has completed its purchase of Westwood MA-based TAC Centre and signed a letter of intent to acquire Marlborough MA-based OmniPresence. Last year, the company acquired Atlanta-based LANForce Consulting Group, assets from Canton MA-based TriNET Systems and Canada-based BrantTel Networks.

Mood Media Corp. To Acquire Muzak Holdings LLC
March 25, 2011

Mood Media Corp. has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Muzak Holdings LLC , for $345 million, including net debt to be repaid on closing. Based in Fort Mill SC, Muzak is a provider of a range of products. Its background and foreground music, voice and digital offerings reach more than 100 million people every day. In 2010, Muzak had $195 million in revenue and $55 million in EBITDA. More than 75% of Muzak’s revenue is associated with multi-year customer contracts.

According to the company, Mood Media’s acquisition of Muzak will create a global in-store media provider servicing more than 470,000 commercial locations in more than 39 countries. In the US, the combined business will serve more than 200,000 national and 100,000 franchisee locations. The combined customer base will include more than 850 US and international brands in diverse market sectors that include retail (food, fashion, cosmetics), leisure and hotels, oil and gas, telecommunications, financial institutions and fast food. Together, Mood Media and Muzak will have a music library that includes 1.7 million rights-included tracks and more than 30,000 original recordings.
The combined company will have trailing last 12 months (LTM) pro forma revenue of about $400 million and trailing LTM pro forma EBITDA in excess of $100 million. More than 60% of the combined company’s revenue will be recurring subscription revenue, with a new contract life of three to five years.
Mood Media intends to maintain a significant presence in the Charlotte NC area, with its US headquarters in Fort Mill SC.

Polycom Acquires Accordent Technologies
March 24, 2011

Polycom, Inc. , has announced the acquisition of Accordent Technologies, Inc., a provider of video content management and delivery solutions, for about $50 million in cash. Polycom expects this acquisition to be neutral to earnings in 2011 and slightly accretive to earnings in 2012. According to the company, the acquisition positions Polycom to become a leader in the video content management and delivery market by integrating Polycom’s open standards UC Intelligent Core and UC endpoints with Accordent’s open standards video content management solution. The Accordent solution provides capture solutions for all major video use cases, whether delivering highly scalable live webcasts from the studio, providing automated rich media webcasting from the meeting or classroom, adding a streaming extension to videoconferences or enabling user-generated content from the desktop.

According to data from market research firm Wainhouse Research, this acquisition immediately expands Polycom’s total available market by $500 million and, for this video management segment, this market is projected to generate a compounded annual growth rate of 32% through 2014 to $1.2 billion. As a strategic partner with Microsoft, Accordent strengthens and further differentiates Polycom’s deep native integration with Microsoft Lync and Sharepoint.

Accordent grew to $9 million in revenues in 2010 and has more than 1200 customers in the enterprise and public sector, and through select service providers. The staff of 50 employees will remain in Southern California and will report into Polycom’s UC research and development organization. Accordent’s software-centric solution will become an integral element of the Polycom UC Intelligent Core and will be reported with Polycom’s Network Infrastructure revenues.

JVC Confirms Safety of Employees in Japan
March 22, 2011

Editor's Note: We continue to monitor the unfolding developments in Japan in the wake of the disastrous earthquake and tsunami. Our first update was March 14 and our second update was March 18. Keep checking this website for additional information as it becomes available.
JVC Kenwood Holdings, Inc., has confirmed the safety of its employees and their immediate families following the recent Tohoku earthquake and tsunami. Some of the company's offices in Japan suffered minor damage, but they were repaired quickly and have been back in operation since March 14. There was also damage to some sales and service offices in Sendai, Miyagi Prefecture, as well as warehouses operated for JVC Kenwood Group by third parties. Repairs are currently underway.

JVC Kenwood Group established a response headquarters soon after the earthquake, and is continuing to confirm the safety of employee relatives whom they have been unable to contact. The company also donated 300 pieces of communication equipment—200 land mobile radios and 100 license-free transceivers—that allow people to send and receive messages without relying on public infrastructure.

While the main production resources supplying JVC Professional seem essentially unaffected, there are still significant concerns. In Japan, the company is coping with projected rolling power blackouts, and transport vehicles are being used for emergency support in areas damaged by the tsunami. In addition, JVC is studying the situation of its numerous component suppliers.
In the near term, JVC Professional expects to fulfill product demands at previously expected levels, with repair parts and technical support remaining consistent, as well. Additionally, many JVC Professional products use widely available, non-proprietary consumables, such as recording media and projector lamps. If there is an unexpected disruption in JVC supply distribution, most product owners will have alternative consumable supply options.

Earthquake Aftermath: Japan-Based Companies Give Updates
March 18, 2011

Editor's Note: Our sincere wishes go out to everyone affected by this terrible tragedy. Our first update appeared on March 14. We will be reporting any news that comes in about the developing events from Japan.
According to Panasonic’s Jim Reilly: Panasonic Corporation’s headquarters is in Osaka, which is in western Japan. The earthquake was centered in the northeast part of Japan, so headquarters operations were not physically impacted. The company does have four manufacturing facilities in the areas impacted by the earthquake. A few employees at those facilities received minor injuries. The company is continuing to work to confirm the safety of the employees. Among those facilities, some parts of ceilings and walls were damaged, but there were no fires or building collapses.
In the affected area, Panasonic is continuing to place a priority on the safety of employees, and is cooperating with the planned power outages scheduled by the local power companies to save energy. In parallel, Panasonic is preparing to resume production at factories there, while confirming the adequate supply of electricity, gas and water, as well as the required logistics and supplies.
Panasonic Corporation will donate 300 million yen and necessary supplies, including 10,000 radios, 10,000 flashlights and 500,000 dry batteries to support the swift recovery of the northeast area of Japan.
Due to large electricity shortages, Panasonic Group is also calling out to save electricity and will start by turning off outdoor signage and refraining from using electricity at all applicable facilities.
Panasonic Group and its employees sincerely hope for swift recovery of the people and areas affected by the disaster.
In addition,Panasonic announced donations of 4000 units of Solar LED Lanterns, in addition to donations previously announced, for the victims of the earthquake. Panasonic and its Workers Unions Association will also launch a fundraising campaign involving employees of the Panasonic Group companies to support the affected area.
In addition, here is a statement from Audio-Technica U.S.: Audio-Technica U.S. extends its deepest condolences to those affected by the 2011 Tohoku Pacific Coast earthquake. Audio-Technica Japan facilities have not been damaged by the disaster, and all employees are accounted for and safe. Operations at Audio-Technica Japan are normal, although minimally affected by power outages, as office workers with long commutes are working from home when possible via cell phone and computer. The company is constantly monitoring the status of operations at all sites, with safety being the number one priority.
Audio-Technica U.S. is assessing the effect this disaster may have on its supply chain, but, at this time, no major disruptions are anticipated.
To help in the relief and recovery efforts for communities affected by the Tohoku earthquake, Audio-Technica U.S. is making a donation to the Japanese Red Cross Society.
“We are tremendously grateful that our colleagues in Japan are safe, and that our facilities have not been damaged,” said Audio-Technica U.S. President Phil Cajka. “Our deepest sympathies are with the victims of this disaster. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the people of Japan, and to our colleagues and friends at Audio-Technica Japan and their families.”

From NEC Corporation: NEC Corporation (NEC) would like to extend its sincere sympathy and condolences to all who were personally affected by the recent earthquake and tsunami in Northern Japan.
NEC established an Emergency Operational Task Force on March 11 headed by Dr. Nobuhiro Endo, President of NEC Corporation, in order to assist the communities, businesses and NEC members impacted by this disaster.
Under the direction of the task force, the NEC Group is devoting its full attention to supporting the recovery of the ICT infrastructure in the affected areas and working to restore operations among impacted group companies that operate in these regions.
The NEC Group's commitment to its customers remains as strong as ever, and the company will continue to provide the support and services that its customers have come to rely on.
From Sony: Operations at several Sony Corporation and Sony Group sites and facilities have been affected by the Pacific Coast of Tohoku earthquake and tsunami, and Sony is monitoring the status of each of these sites on an ongoing basis, while also considering the most effective recovery measures. Sony also has responded to reports of widespread power outages by voluntarily suspending operations at several sites. No significant injuries have been reported to employees working at any of these sites when the earthquake or tsunami occurred.
The company is currently evaluating the full impact of the earthquake, tsunami and related power outages on Sony's businesses and consolidated financial results.
As of 11:00 am, March 14 (JST), manufacturing operations have been suspended at the following affected production sites:

  • Sony Chemical & Information Device Corporation,
  • Tagajyo Plant (Miyagi Prefecture) <Magnetic Tapes, Blu-ray Discs etc.>
  • Tome Plant, Nakada/Toyosato Sites (Miyagi Prefecture) <Optical devices, IC cards etc.>
  • Sony Shiroishi Semiconductor Inc. (Miyagi Prefecture) <Semiconductor Lasers etc.>
  • Sony Energy Devices Corporation, Koriyama Plant (Fukushima Prefecture) <Lithium Ion Secondary Batteries etc.>
  • Sony Energy Devices Corporation, Motomiya Plant (Fukushima Prefecture) <Lithium Ion Secondary Batteries etc.>
  • Sony Manufacturing Systems Corporation, Kuki Plant (Saitama Prefecture) <Surface mounting equipment etc.>
  • Sony DADC Japan Inc., Ibaraki Facility (Ibaraki Prefecture) <CDs, DVDs etc.>

In addition to these manufacturing sites, Sony Corporation Sendai Technology Center (Tagajyo, Miyagi) has ceased operation due to earthquake damage. While certain production sites in Japan other than those listed above have been moderately affected, there has been no report of employee injury or facility damage, and operations continue. Possible damage at other Sony Group companies in Japan is currently being reviewed. Additionally, Sony Chemical & Information Devices Corporation, Kanuma Plant (Tochigi Prefecture), Sony Energy Devices Corporation, Tochigi Plant (Tochigi Prefecture) and Sony Corporation Atsugi Technology Center (Atsugi, Kanagawa) temporarily suspended operations on a voluntary basis, to assist with the alleviation of widespread power outages.
Sony Corporation announced that, following the devastating earthquake and tsunami that struck the northern region of Japan on March 11, Sony and its group companies will donate 300 million Japanese yen to help relief and recovery efforts in communities affected. Additionally, a disaster relief fund will collect donations across the Sony Group from employees worldwide, and their contributions will be matched by the company through a matching gifts program. The company will also donate 30,000 Sony radios to assist the relief of earthquake victims, while the Sony Group will prepare further product donations going forward, taking into account the local needs.
The Tohoku region is historically important for Sony, with a high concentration of manufacturing sites, and many employees and their families have also been affected by these devastating events.
“In times like these, we are reminded of how important and fragile we are and of the positive impact we can have—both as individuals and, collectively, as a company—to assist those in need,” said Howard Stringer, Chairman, CEO and President, Sony Corporation. “We will continue to make the utmost effort to help the swift recovery of the affected communities in the region.”
Please check this site regularly for updates.

 

Stampede Enters VTC Space With Spire Global Acquisition
March 15, 2011

Stampede, a value-added distributor of commercial audio video solutions, has acquired Spire Global, the exclusive distributor of Sony videoconferencing products in the US. Spire is also the exclusive master distributor for Compunetix video multiparty control units and MediaPointe video streaming technology. The company also distributes Mirial desktop videoconferencing products. "Acquiring Spire was [an] opportunity to widen our product portfolio with an additional specialty that is meaningful to our dealer base," said Mark Wilkins, CEO of Stampede. "Our strategy is to look for additional acquisition opportunities that will strengthen our offering to dealers."

Kevin Kelly, Stampede President/COO, commented, "We are excited about the Spire sales and technical team. Their depth of knowledge will help us to quickly educate the Stampede relationship managers and, in turn, our dealers. We have hundreds of accounts that will benefit from this product line right out of the gate."
Spire will continue to exist as a dedicated business unit. Stampede will maintain a dedicated Sony videoconferencing sales force, with the Spire Global staff to act as product experts to the Stampede salespeople and existing accounts. Product and training classes specific to Sony videoconferencing will be offered to dealers at all of Stampede's upcoming Big Book of AV dealer shows and through Stampede University.
Financial terms of the acquisition were not disclosed.

 

 

Yamaha Issues Statement About Earthquake
March 14, 2011

Editor's Note: Our sincere wishes go out to everyone affected by this terrible tragedy. We will be reporting any news that comes in about the developing events from Japan.
Please check this site regularly for updates.
Tak Nakata, President of Yamaha Corp. of America, who is currently in Hamamatsu, Japan, issued the following message:
“On behalf of Yamaha, I wish to thank our business partners in the United States for their thoughts and prayers in response to the earthquake that impacted Japan and the Pacific basin…

 

“As far as we know, no Yamaha employees have been injured as a result of this disaster. Also, there has been no significant damage to our offices or factories. It is still too early to determine if this ongoing situation will affect shipments due to the currently unknown impact on ports, vessels and shipping lanes. We will provide additional information just as soon as it is made available to Yamaha.
“The destruction and damage in Japan is quite massive in cities and coastal towns in Northern Japan. We pray for those individuals and families impacted by this catastrophe.”


Panamax/Furman Joins Forces With LiteTouch
March 11, 2011

Panamax/Furman will be combining LiteTouch, a manufacturer of lighting control products, with its operations. Both companies are subsidiaries of the Home Technology Group of Linear, LLC. An industry presence for more than 35 years, Panamax delivers power management, monitoring and control solutions for professional custom electronics integrators. The Furman brand provides a range of power management solutions for musicians, audio professionals and commercial AV integrators. LiteTouch delivers lighting control solutions to be installed and custom-programmed by authorized dealers, certified installers and distributors worldwide. LiteTouch lighting control systems are engineered for both new construction and retrofit applications.

Both companies are increasingly focused on providing energy efficiency and energy-management solutions. Panamax/Furman has integrated its BlueBOLT Technology into many of its products, making it easier for dealers and installers to control and monitor AV system power from anywhere in the world through a secure, hosted IP Web portal. LiteTouch has added DayLight Harvesting keypads to its product lineup, and the company will feature a low-voltage relay and data input port option for each of its new 2011 keypads, allowing for the local connection of motion and occupancy sensors to the system.
As a combined entity, LiteTouch and Panamax/Furman will move forward under the leadership of Panamax/Furman President Bill Pollock, located in Petaluma CA.

D&M's Canadian Operations To New Jersey
March 4, 2011

D&M Canada has announced a reorganization of its business and the resultant closing of an office in Markham, Ontario, Canada, on June 30. This move serves to re-position the company's New Jersey headquarters to cover the complete North American region, including Canadian sales and operations. The reorganization will result in an undetermined number of job losses.

Doug Griesbach, D&M Canada's President, will maintain his leadership position through the transitional period, according to the company. Following this time, Phil Bryant, a Toronto-based Sales VP, will continue managing the Denon business and will be shouldering responsibility for Boston Acoustics. Bryant will report to Phil Cohn. Meanwhile, Kevin Zarow, Sales and Marketing VP for Marantz, will oversee Marantz in Canada. Remaining in Canada will be a permanent local sales office and warehouse facility.

Carousel Signs Letter Of Intent To Acquire OmniPresence
February 9, 2011

Carousel Industries, involved in data networking and unified communications, has signed a letter of intent to acquire the assets of Marlborough MA-based OmniPresence, Inc., an integrator of AV and visual collaboration services. When the acquisition is completed, the newly acquired company will form the core of Carousel's Visual Communications and Collaboration Group.
By acquiring OmniPresence, Carousel increases its capacity to incorporate collaborative AV elements into a range of installation opportunities.

 

According to The Enterprise Strategy Group, 19% of end users responding to ESG’s most recent IT Spending Intentions survey cited both Unified Communication (integrated IP telephony, voicemail, email, video, instant messaging) and Remote Meeting Solutions (videoconferencing, telepresence, web meeting) as an area for significant investment in 2011. OmniPresence, which was founded in 2002, has a customer base of approximately 2500 end users.
"Our acquisition of OmniPresence brings an important visual element to our systems integration capabilities," commented James Marsh, Senior Vice President of Carousel Industries. "Our new Visual Communications and Collaboration Group will enable us to incorporate compelling videoconferencing solutions into our customers' network infrastructures, helping them reduce costs and increase efficiencies."
Carousel Industries intends to retain the entire employee base of OmniPresence, which includes several engineers holding multiple certifications as well as operational and support staff. The new employees will be based out of the former OmniPresence office location in Marlborough MA.

Shure Inc. Acquires Informationsteknik
February 3, 2011

Shure Inc. has acquired Informationsteknik of Copenhagen, Denmark, a provider of discussion systems and creative audio/video communication solutions. “This acquisition is beneficial to both organizations,” stated Sandy LaMantia, Shure President/CEO. “By coming together, we will significantly strengthen both companies’ global reach and market position. We welcome all of the members of Informationsteknik and we look forward to their continued success.”

 

Under a definitive agreement, Shure now owns Informationsteknik and its three divisions: The Danish Interpretation Systems (DIS) Division, which is responsible for the design, research and development, manufacturing and global distribution of DIS products; The Project Division, which is responsible for highly specialized AV systems integration and installation; and The Rental and Staging Division, which is responsible for providing creative solutions in sound and visual productions for events like corporate annual meetings, conferences, trade shows and world summits.
According to Finn Halken, Managing Director of Informationsteknik, “There are several reasons this acquisition makes sense for us, especially the fact that both companies place a high value on our employees, and we both have a very customer-focused approach to doing business.”
Halken will report to Christine Schyvinck, Executive Vice President of Global Marketing and Sales for Shure, and Informationsteknik will be operated as one of Shure’s Business Units.
In exclusive comments to Sound & Communications, Al Hershner, Vice President, Shure Inc., said, “We don’t anticipate any near-term impact on the commercial AV market here in the US. Our shared plan is to continue our respective market development activities. Over time, of course, you might expect us to deliver on the synergies that two market leaders with complementary technology strengths can.”

Chilin Technology Develops Chilin Solutions
January 28, 2011

Chilin Technology announced the development of Chilin Solutions for the continued support of the global market for Chilin’s portfolio of specialty display products and solutions. Chilin Solutions will integrate Chilin Technology’s commercial LCD display group, along with Vertigo Digital Displays Inc. and Chilin’s commercial e-Paper solutions group, into one global business. Chilin Solutions will be headquartered in Portland OR, with facilities located in Tainan, Taiwan; Toronto, Canada; and Soest, Netherlands.
Chilin Technology’s commercial LCD display business will form the core of Chilin Solutions, which is focused on the design and manufacturing of a range of commercial LCD monitors and specialty displays for many brands. Products from Chilin Solutions range from 32 inches to 82 inches diagonal, as well as super-narrow-bezel displays for larger videowall applications.

Vertigo Digital Displays Inc. will become Chilin Solutions’ digital out-of-home business unit under the new organization. Chilin Technology acquired Vertigo Digital Displays, involved in the design and development of custom and ruggedized display systems for the transit, retail and digital out-of-home advertising industries, in 2009.
A third business unit will focus on the design, development and sales of e-Paper display solutions for industrial and commercial customers. Leveraging Chilin Technology’s existing e-Paper technology display modules, Chilin Solutions will create solutions for commercial applications, including electronic shelf labels, digital fact tags and numerous other applications.

Industry Mourns Kevin Collins
January 28, 2011

Kevin Collins, Vice President of Sales and Marketing for HB Communications, headquartered in North Haven CT, died unexpectedly on January 26, at age 53. At HB since 1987, he initially joined HB to enhance and expand sales, installation and service of large screen data and video display systems, and was instrumental in the formation and development of HB's systems integration group. He oversaw design, installation and project management of all major installations done by the company.

“Kevin’s vibrant personality made him a valued friend and partner to so many of us in the audiovisual industry,” said Randal A. Lemke, PhD, Executive Director and CEO, InfoComm International. “He had the ability to light up a room like no other. As a past president of InfoComm [in 2002], Kevin helped build a solid foundation that has allowed the association to grow into what it is today. He lived life to its fullest and we will miss him greatly.” Collins also spent seven years on the InfoComm Board of Governors. Prior to his HB years, he was regional sales manager for GE and Barco large screen display products.
He is survived by his wife, Elizabeth, and his children, Caroline and Sean.

Williams Sound Announces New Partnership
January 26, 2011

Williams Sound, LLC , has completed a recapitalization of the company, with financing provided by Cardinal Equity Partners, a private equity firm based in Indianapolis IN. “We are excited to partner with Cardinal Equity to achieve our shared vision of accelerating growth in our core business and to pursue new growth opportunities,” commented Paul Ingebrigtsen, President/CEO of Williams Sound. “We were attracted to Cardinal Equity partners because of their approach to long-term growth strategies, and a close cultural and philosophical fit. Cardinal brings management and financial depth to the table….”

According to John Ackerman, Principal Partner of Cardinal Equity, “The recapitalization facilitates the liquidity needs of former shareholders and will allow us to capitalize on significant growth opportunities the management team has identified. We were attracted to Williams Sound because of its…success in the market, [a] management team who remain with the business and retain significant ownership of the company, and the…growth prospects we see for the company.”
Added Ingebrigtsen, “We look forward to our partnership with Cardinal Equity and to the next chapter in our future growth together.

 

PSAV Chooses InfoComm For Meetings, Events Training
January 21, 2011

InfoComm International has been selected to provide meeting and events training for PSAV Presentation Services. InfoComm was chosen because of the association's focus on developing well-researched curricula that is practical and up-to-date. The agreement allows PSAV to train an unlimited number of employees online in InfoComm classes, including Essentials of the AV Industry, Event Set Up for AV Techs and AV Math

"PSAV is committed to providing our employees the right training tools to expand their knowledge and execute the best possible client experiences," said Sudi Korba, vice president, Human Resources. "To accomplish this goal, we are excited to partner with InfoComm and utilize components of their…training material. By leveraging InfoComm along with our internal training, PSAV will continue to lead the AV Industry to new standards."
"The key to further growth in the live events industry is access to an educated workforce," said Randal A. Lemke, PhD, Executive Director and CEO, InfoComm International. "PSAV's investment in training represents an investment in their customers and employees, and is bound to pay dividends for many years to come."

USAV Group Partners with NEC Display Solutions
January 19, 2011

USAV Group, an association of commercial audiovisual integrators, announced that it has finalized a relationship with NEC Display Solutions, making NEC the newest USAV Group Preferred Manufacturer Partner (PMP). USAV Group now has buying programs established with 19 AV suppliers in the industry. NEC, which designs, produces and delivers visual display technology for a variety of markets, specializes in desktop LCDs, large-screen LCD displays and a line of projectors.

“Just like our integrators, NEC is dedicated to providing solutions that increase productivity and address AV needs in a dynamic way. Having this shared vision makes NEC a [good] addition to our PMP lineup,” said USAV Group Founder and CFO Chris Whitley. “We have anxiously awaited this relationship, and we’re pleased announce that NEC will be the newest USAV Group PMP.”
USAV Group has preferred relationships with suppliers across the spectrum of AV product categories. The addition of NEC, according to the organization, will strengthen the display and projector category, providing USAV Group integrators with additional resources so they are equipped to provide comprehensive solutions for their clients’ AV needs.

AVI-SPL Selects InfoComm For Live Events Training
January 18, 2011

InfoComm International, which provides training and education programs for the commercial audiovisual industry, has been selected to provide live events training for nearly 200 employees in AVI-SPL's Rental and Staging Division in the US and Mexico. InfoComm was approached by the company following positive experiences using InfoComm's curricula and instructors for training AV design and installation professionals. The agreement covers classes including Quick Start to the AV Industry Online, Principles of Tech Support Online, Essentials of AV Technology, CTS Prep Virtual Classroom, AV Math Online, Staging and Events Management and Design Online.Classes will be available in English and Spanish.

 

"At AVI-SPL, we're committed to providing our clients with the highest level of technical performance," said Jennifer Schwartzberg, Training Development Manager. "In order to ensure that our team can deliver, we're continuously building upon our employee training program. Our great relationship with InfoComm led to this new installment of courses for live events and we're thrilled to begin rolling them out this year."
"InfoComm is pleased to be working with AVI-SPL to create a more educated live events industry," said Randal A. Lemke, PhD, Executive Director and CEO, InfoComm International. "The company's strong commitment to training is one of the reasons AVI-SPL is a leading player in the audiovisual industry."

 

Francisco Partners Completes Grass Valley Acquisition
January 3, 2011

Grass Valley announced that Francisco Partners, a technology-focused investment company, has completed the closing process with Technicolor and finalized the acquisition of the Grass Valley Broadcast & Professional business. As of January 1, Grass Valley began doing business as an independent company, under the trade name "Grass Valley." Terms of the sale include 100% ownership of the current Grass Valley Broadcast & Professional business.

This includes the camera, content repurposing, editing, master control, modular, news production, production automation, production switchers, routing and video servers product lines, including their entire product portfolios, the R&D centers and factories around the world, the Sales & Systems activities and Customer Support organization worldwide, as well as the management and administrative support functions dedicated to the business.
To help customers and technology partners to understand the specifics of the acquisition, Grass Valley has established a website, located at www.grassvalley.com/greenergrass, with the latest, most accurate and complete information. This site will allow visitors to view or download a number of pertinent public documents, including all published press releases, FAQs, an open letter from Grass Valley management, background information on Francisco Partners and more. There is also an email address, askjeff@grassvalley.com, for questions or comments.

 

Troxell Communications Acquires CCS Texas
December 23, 2010

AEA Investors LP and Troxell Communications, Inc. , have completed the acquisition of CCS Texas (Integrated AV Systems) in Houston, Texas. CCS Texas is a $58M AV integrator serving the Texas and Louisiana markets. The acquisition is scheduled to close imminently. Mark Kalinsky, the CEO and President of CCS Texas, will remain with the business and transition to the President of the AV integration business. He will have continued responsibility for the CCS Texas business in Texas and Louisiana and will also lead the strategy and development of Troxell’s integration business nationwide. He will report directly to Greg Cessna, Troxell CEO/President.

According to Troxell, CCS Texas is a strategically important addition to its core competencies for “accelerated learning.” It is a prominent engineering and design AV integrator in the Texas and Louisiana markets and generates more than 50% of its sales in the education market. The addition of CCS Texas, Mark Kalinsky’s leadership and his management team provide Troxell Communications with a foundation for building a national footprint for AV integration and the design and build of digital learning environments for K-12 and higher education markets. Additionally, CCS Texas has penetrated new vertical markets, such as commercial and government, and has a working knowledge in categories like interactive teaching and videoconferencing. For all these reasons, both the Troxell and CCS Texas brands will be maintained going forward.

 

Yamaha Forms Strategic Alliance With Rupert Neve Designs
December 21, 2010

Yamaha Corporation Japan and Yamaha Commercial Audio Systems, Inc. (Buena Park CA) have formed a strategic partnership with Rupert Neve Designs, based on both parties’ involvement with VCM (Virtual Circuitry Modeling) Technology. Using VCM, an exclusive Yamaha digital technology, engineers can achieve stunning sonic and musical performance by actually modeling the individual characteristics of a multitude of parts and components contributing to the final sound of original analog circuitry.
VCM recreates the sound and characteristics of several classic compression and EQ units and tape machines from the 70s available on most current Yamaha digital mixers. Not only do these models capture the unique saturation of analog circuitry, but they have also been fine-tuned by leading engineers and feature carefully selected parameters in a simple interface that makes it easier than ever to create the ideal sound. Subtle saturation effects have been modeled to bring the warmth and richness of the original analog gear back to life in a stable, easy-to-operate digital format.

Rupert Neve Designs has openly embraced Yamaha VCM technology as the first digital technology that can accurately reproduce Rupert Neve’s renowned analog sound, reaffirming the Yamaha commitment to digital and that digital can sound as pleasing as analog.
“With Yamaha VCM technology, we’re able to pick up the amazing quality of musicality and accuracy that was inherent in the original Rupert Neve Designs Portico modules,” stated Rupert Neve. “Yamaha engineers are to be congratulated on having been able to successfully emulate that musical sound from my designs. It’s a real pleasure to work with people who are dedicated and knowledgeable, and able to perceive the sort of things that I’m trying to convey in my designs.”
“Yamaha is extremely fortunate to have the wisdom of the legendary Rupert Neve, personally responsible for the direction our industry has taken in achieving the ‘classic sound,’ acknowledge that our VCM Technology well represents this classic sound,” stated Larry Italia, Vice President/General Manager, Yamaha Commercial Audio Systems, Inc. “We know this will be the first of many joint efforts between our two companies.”

Sennheiser Reorganizes
December 17, 2010

The Supervisory Board of Sennheiser electronic GmbH & Co. KG (Wedemark, Germany) has adopted the company’s new global organizational structure. Three responsive “Business Divisions” designed for the target markets of “Consumer Electronics,” “Professional Systems” and “Installed Sound” will be supported by a corporate group with three divisions. “With this structure, we are implementing clear customer orientation as part of our corporate strategy and will be able to act in a more decisive and target-oriented manner in the future,“ explained Prof. Dr. Jörg Sennheiser, Chairman of the Supervisory Board.
The new structure of the company consists of seven units:
• Business Division Consumer Electronics, managed by Peter Callan
• Business Division Professional Systems, managed by Dr. Heinrich Esser
• Business Division Installed Sound,
ad interim managed by Dr. Heinrich Esser
• Sales Division, managed by Paul Whiting
• Supply Chain Division, managed by Dr. Andreas Sennheiser
• Corporate Services, managed by Volker Bartels
• Strategy and Finance, managed by Daniel Sennheiser

The managers of these units will form the new Executive Management Board (EMB) of the Sennheiser Group, with Volker Bartels as its spokesperson.
The three business divisions will operate within their respective business sectors tasked with specific strategies and resources but will work alongside the value-added chain. This means that the various sectors’ specific customer needs can be fulfilled quickly and securely. The Consumer Electronics division will concentrate on the headphone trade sector as well as audiology and telecommunications products. The Professional Systems division will manage professional audio, live sound, studio and professional headsets, while the Installed Sound division will cover fixed sound-program transmission systems.
“These streamlined, independent business units can now focus more closely on their customers and the demands of the respective markets, thereby helping create the foundation for continued, sustainable growth of the company,“ explained Volker Bartels, spokesperson for the Executive Management Board and President for Production and Logistics. “They will be supported by three corporate divisions that will be focusing on their strategy more than ever before to enable greater efficiency and a longer-term market activity and presence.“
The implementation of the new organization commences on January 1, 2011, and will be finalized at the end of the year.

LG Undergoes Corporate Restructuring
December 3, 2010

LG Electronics Inc. (Seoul, South Korea), according to a Wall Street Journal article, plans to dissolve its Business Solutions unit in 2011. In the wake of these reports, LG has confirmed that the commercial display business in the US remains intact. From a corporate structure standpoint, LG Business Solutions, now known as “LG Commercial Displays,” has been incorporated into LG’s Home Entertainment business unit. However, in the US, the Commercial Displays business will continue to operate as a separate business.

 

 

In exclusive comments to Sound & Communications, John Taylor, Vice President, Public Affairs and Communications, said, “What this means for us in the United States is having access to some of the latest display technologies and being more responsive to our customer needs from a product standpoint. But, from an operational standpoint in the US, it’s really business as usual. The LG Commercial Displays business in the United States is operated separately here from Home Entertainment because of the unique needs of the business-to-business market. It should be seamless to our customers.”
Wayne Park, President of LG Electronics USA, Inc., named Regional Business Leader Y.K. Cho as head of the US Commercial Displays business. Ron Snaidauf, Vice President, Commercial Displays, continues to lead the lodging, hospitality and healthcare segments, while Jeff Dowell, Vice President, Digital Signage, continues to lead the digital signage and monitor business areas addressing the restaurant, retail, education and industrial markets.

Group One Ltd. Appointed U.S. Distributor Of Van Damme Cables
November 30, 2010

Group One Ltd. has been appointed as US distributor of Van Damme Cables. Based in the United Kingdom, Van Damme Cables offers a range of cables frequently found on tours and in studios, in post and broadcast production arenas, as well as in commercial and corporate installations. “It was vital for us to find the right partners and to work with like-minded companies,” commented Van Damme Cable Managing Director Niall Holden, “so we are delighted to be working with Group One Ltd. They have a…reputation for quality and service and we are proud to be a part of it.”

“We’ve been recommending Van Damme cable for a few years now,” remarked Group One President Jack Kelly. “Over the last year, we’ve been talking to Managing Director Niall Holden and Export Manager Andy Dennis and it just seemed the right time for all of us. It’s a very natural fit for Group One, as the variety of cable products Van Damme offers cuts across many of our activities, including broadcast/ production, touring, install, marine and music retail. I like the customer service focus of the company and I’m…happy to join the Van Damme family.”

RHC Holding Corp. Purchases Pro Co Sound, Inc.
November 29, 2010

RHC Holding Corp., in conjunction with its financial partners, Midwest Mezzanine Funds and Bush O’Donnell, announced that it has signed a definitive sale agreement as of November 19, 2010, for the asset purchase of Pro Co Sound, Inc. Pro Co Sound, a Michigan-based corporation founded in 1974, designs and manufactures cable and interfacing products servicing the retail music markets as well as the commercial AV installation and broadcast industries.

RHC Holding Corp. owns and operates six separate companies, including The RapcoHorizon Company, which services the retail music market and the commercial AV installation market, and Major Custom Cable, which services the datacom and telecommunications industries.
“No major changes to Pro Co Sound or any RHC company will be implemented at this time,” said Dale Williams, President of RHC Holding Corp. “Each RHC Holding Company will champion the philosophy of providing our customers with…value and…innovative product designs backed by the…customer service [upon which] our dealers have come to depend.”
In our March 2010 edition’s NEWSLETTER, we announced the death of Charlie Wicks, CEO/Founder of Pro Co Sound.

InfoComm Launches GovComm 2011 Exposition and Conference
November 22, 2010

InfoComm International is launching GovComm 2011, a professional audiovisual and information communications exposition and conference to be held November 1 to 2, 2011, at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington DC. This two-day event is designed to serve Washington DC-area technology managers, end users and procurement officers in the government and military sectors. The event will feature exhibits, networking opportunities, education, manufacturers' training and InfoComm Certified Technology Specialist testing.

GovComm 2011 will feature more than 100 manufacturers of digital signage, videoconferencing and telepresence, projection, display, 3D, control systems, audio and AV networking technologies. These solutions are important to supporting training, command and control, communications, presentations and other net-centric AV activities performed by the government and military.
The exhibit floor will be open 9:00am to 4:00pm on both days. Each morning will feature a keynote speaker or panel discussion. Hour-long education classes held concurrently with the exhibits will be taught by experts from the InfoComm Academy. Training will address collaborative communications in a secure environment and future technology trends, including secure AV; command and control display applications; videoconferencing and telepresence; AV system energy management; and sustainability issues. Additionally, product- and service-specific training sessions from manufacturers will be held on the show floor concurrent with the exhibits.

LG Electronics Announces BroadSign Alliance
November 17, 2010

LG Electronics USA has selected BroadSign International as the software provider for its newest digital signage solution, SuperSign Premier-s. The alliance with BroadSign, involved in the digital signage market with SaaS technology, makes it easier for small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) to deploy and manage digital signage networks. LG’s SuperSign Premier provides content offerings that SMBs can use right out of the box. SuperSign Premier’s user interface (UI) is based on BroadSign’s core SaaS technology and has a customized LG UI designed for SMBs deploying networks of 25 players or less.

The hardware package consists of an LG flat-panel display (model M4214C) and the LG NC2000 media player that provides access to content management software and starter templates, as well as news and weather feeds.
“Software is a critical component of any digital signage solution and is the impetus behind establishing strong relationships with…third-party software developers,” said Jeff Dowell, Vice President, Digital Signage, LG Electronics USA. “BroadSign has…software that, combined with LG hardware, will provide SMBs with the technology solution they need to get up and running quickly.”
Brian Dusho, CEO, BroadSign International, said, “To win over small and medium-sized businesses, a digital signage system should be easy to use, yet versatile and powerful in the back-end.” He continued, “BroadSign software is an integral component of LG’s total solutions package….”

DisplaySearch Co-Locates Conference With InfoComm 2011
November 8, 2010

DisplaySearch has announced that it has partnered with InfoComm International to co-locate its 4th annual Digital Signage Conference with InfoComm 2011 in Orlando FL. The annual conference, which focuses on both the digital signage business and advanced display technologies for the segment, will be held on June 14 during InfoComm 2011 at the Orange County Convention Center. The conference will bring together display vendors, IT companies and companies already well established in out-of-home digital signage environments.

Additionally, they will be joined by new ventures that digital displays are helping to foster. Applications to be examined include mass transit; mixed-use information and advertising signage; electronic menu boards; higher education installations; point-of-sale and dynamic signage for retail; corporate mass-communication networks; out-of-home advertising/information/security messaging; and emerging solutions for the outdoor portion of the out-of-home market.
"The [commercial] AV market continues to embrace flat-panel technologies, which have become inexorably linked to digital signage," noted Randal A. Lemke, PhD, Executive Director and CEO, InfoComm International. "We are pleased to offer a conference at InfoComm 2011 that examines the flat-panel market and other emerging displays associated with digital signage. The Digital Signage Conference is the perfect complement to the integrated technologies attendees can see on the show floor.”

Haivision Acquires CoolSign
November 4, 2010

Haivision (Montréal, Quebec, Canada) has acquired the assets of CS Software Holdings, LLC, including the CoolSign product technology. CoolSign, a presence in the digital signage market, provides software solutions for mission-critical, enterprise-ready signage deployments. According to the companies, with CoolSign, Haivision can deliver solutions that combine intelligent video with graphics and data easily and securely to any desktop, display, digital frame and mobile device.

“Haivision recognizes the opportunity for converging video streaming, IPTV, interactive media and digital signage,” said Mirko Wicha, President/CEO of Haivision Network Video. “We are positioned [to] deliver end-to-end technology solutions and a unified infrastructure for communications across all media delivery platforms.”
CoolSign was initially launched more than 12 years ago. A few years ago, Planar Systems, Inc. (Beaverton OR), owned the CoolSign Digital Signage business.

FPS Appoints SpectraCal As Distributor
October 28, 2010

Flexible Picture Systems has appointed SpectraCal Sales Inc.as a distributor for its Image AnyPlace-200 high performance video and graphics scaler with Geometry Correction and Edge Blending. AnyPlace-200 provides the ability to correct off-axis projector placement of up to +/- 40 degrees horizontally and/or vertically, including projection onto curved, cylindrical, spherical and irregular surfaces.

SpectraCal Sales is a growing sales organization that provides everything needed for optimizing video displays: the software CalMAN, a range of colorimeters and spectrophotometers for accurate color measurement, test pattern sources and an education program.
According to Steve Wood, President and CEO of Flexible Picture Systems, “[SpectraCal has] established trusted relationships with integrators and installers who turn to them for solutions.” Added Jeff Murray, President of SpectraCal Sales, “Our clients rely on us to recommend reliable solutions that will deliver the best image for their customers. With Image AnyPlace-200, we’re not just bringing them a…solution. We’re bringing them a solution they can’t get anywhere else.”

3M Invests In Perceptive Pixel
October 27, 2010

3M, through its 3M New Ventures business, has invested in Perceptive Pixel Inc., a developer of multi-touch solutions that is based in New York City. Terms of the transaction remain undisclosed. Founded by Jeff Han in 2006, Perceptive Pixel is dedicated to the research, development and production of multi-touch interfaces for the knowledge worker. The company’s hardware and software products enable users to manipulate complex datasets through a new class of interface techniques.

According to the company, the combination of its technologies with those of 3M will create new opportunities for both companies.

“Perceptive Pixel has developed…technologies to enable intuitive multi-user, multi-touch interaction,” Stefan Gabriel, President, 3M New Ventures, said. “This strategic investment will create potential growth opportunities for the 3M Touch Systems business unit, stimulating future innovations in a variety of industries that use multi-touch devices.”
Added Voyl Divljakovic, Vice President and General Manager, 3M Electronic Solutions Division, “Coupled with 3M Touch Systems’…single-touch, gesture touch and multi-touch screen solutions, we believe this partnership will change the way users interact with a variety of technologies in the years to come.”

Kramer Establishes Education-Targeted Group
October 12, 2010

Kramer Electronics has established a group devoted to the educational market within the commercial AV industry. The group will work to expand the Kramer and Sierra Video product offerings, create marketing tools to increase brand(s) awareness and develop
more and better sales opportunities within the educational vertical market for the company’s dealers, systems
integrators and OEMs.
This group, spearheaded by Tom McCarthy, Kramer’s Vice President of OEM Sales, and Brian Morris, Sales Support Engineer, will address this specific vertical market of the commercial AV industry.

They will work closely with the company’s Kramer and Sierra Video customers and factories to create new products and opportunities for the educational market.
“This is the third major organizational change we have made to
our sales team in the past few months. Previously, we announced a new group headed by Mike Lewis to concentrate on cable and room connectivity products; we also combined national sales management responsibility for both Kramer and Sierra Video branded products under Kent Cawthorne,” said Dave Bright, President of Kramer Electronics USA. “The education market is currently our largest vertical, and I am confident Tom and Brian
will be successful taking it to [a] higher level. We have many more changes planned for the coming months to grow and better support our rapidly growing vertical markets,” added Bright.
McCarthy has more than 25 years of sales management experience at JVC, Maxell and Panasonic. His most recent position was Director of New Business Development at Panasonic.

NSCA, USAV Group Forge Partnership
October 5, 2010

NSCA and USAV Group have announced an endorsement agreement
involving NSCA’s Business & Leadership Conference and NSCA membership. The endorsement package provides opportunities for USAV Group members to take advantage of discounts on both membership and NSCA’s 2011 Business & Leadership Conference, set for February 17-19
in San Diego CA.


The agreement with NSCA provides USAV Group with opportunities to offer its members access to experts on critical issues affecting the entire industry. In return, NSCA will participate in USAV Group’s regional events to inform and educate USAV Group members on business opportunities, such as mass notification and emergency communications. Many AV integrators belong to both USAV Group and NSCA; this partnership will offer additional savings exclusive to members of USAV Group.

Richardson To Sell RFPD To Arrow Electronics
October 1, 2010

Richardson Electronics, Ltd., has announced the signing of a definitive agreement to sell its RF, Wireless and Power Division (RFPD) and certain other assets to Arrow Electronics, Inc., for $210 million in cash. RFPD is a global provider of engineered solutions and a global distributor of electronic components to the RF and wireless communications market and the industrial power conversion market. RFPD designs, manufactures and distributes discrete devices,


components and assemblies used in RFand wireless infrastructure communications networks, digital broadcasting, defense applications and power conversion. RFPD generated revenue of $356 million during fiscal year 2010.
Arrow intends to operate RFPD, which will be called "Richardson RFPD," as a separate business unit of Arrow Electronics. Richardson RFPD headquarters will remain in LaFox IL.
"The decision to divest the RFPD division was not an easy one; however, this transaction provides an excellent return on our investment," said Edward J. Richardson, Chairman and CEO of Richardson Electronics, Ltd. The transaction is subject to the approval of shareholders of Richardson Electronics as well as customary closing conditions and regulatory approvals. The companies expect the transaction to close in early 2011.

Shure, Legislators Applaud FCC White Spaces Decision
September 24, 2010

Shure Inc. and a number of congressional legislators applauded a decision by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to protect wireless microphone users from interference from “white space devices.” The Memorandum Opinion and Order issued by the FCC reserves two TV channels nationwide for wireless microphone use. The reserved channels are off-limits to UHF Band Devices that operate in the white spaces between assigned TV stations, thus preventing them from interfering with wireless microphone signals on those channels. Large-scale users would be able to achieve extended protection for specific events through the geo-location database prescribed by the FCC in 2008.
“It’s clear that the FCC carefully considered the needs of wireless microphone users while crafting this Order,” said Sandy LaMantia, President

and CEO of Shure Inc. “The reserved channels will provide a safe harbor in which musicians, small theaters, houses of worship and businesses can operate their wireless microphone systems without interference from new TV Band Devices.”
Legislators have been actively following the FCC’s plan to allow unlicensed devices to share the “white spaces” and the potential impact on wireless microphone users. Representative Bobby Rush (D-IL) submitted a bill that would require wireless microphone users to be protected. “The legislation I introduced called for interference protection for professional wireless microphones in the wide variety of venues in which they are used today,” said Representative Rush. “This Order effectively grants that protection and will ensure continuity of service for houses of worship, theaters, music tours and venues, sporting events, and the various civic and corporate environments that rely on quality audio in America today.”
According to Mark Brunner, Senior Director of Global Brand Management at Shure, “The Order demonstrates the FCC’s commitment to supporting America’s position as a leader in the creation of news, sports, cultural and entertainment content at venues of all sizes.”


QSC Joins Forces with M&W Pro Audio, Ltd.
September 20, 2010

QSC Audio Products has announced a co-development partnership with the M&W Pro Audio, Ltd. to create a series of digital audio mixing consoles. Greg Mackie and Peter Watts are, respectively, the “M” and the “W” in the organization’s name. After retiring from Mackie Designs (now Loud Technologies) in 2003, Mackie still had a desire to create products. His longtime friend and collaborator Watts convinced him to come out of retirement in 2008 and develop the concepts for a line of digital mixing consoles.

Watts is also an experienced pro audio veteran who has spent 35 years designing analog and digital recording consoles, including the first digitally controlled console, the Trident DiAn.
“We needed a pro audio partner with established sales, marketing and distribution. A partner with a solid reputation for quality and reliability—one that had the technical capabilities to develop advanced digital mixing consoles and the manufacturing know-how to produce the products,” Mackie explained. "I had a longtime personal friendship with John and Barry Andrews and knew I could trust QSC to be exactly the right partner."

Design work on the products will be done by both M&W and QSC, while manufacturing, distribution, sales, marketing and technical support will be handled entirely by QSC. The first products are expected to be announced during the first half of 2011.


AMX Technology Sharing Partnership With SpinetiX
September 15, 2010

AMX has announced a technology sharing partnership with Swiss digital signage manufacturer SpinetiX. The collaborative relationship allows both companies to leverage their areas of expertise to develop digital signage advancements. SpinetiX manufactures digital signage players, including the HMP100 Hyper Media Player. AMX is involved in engineering solutions for simplified management of AV and IT devices and networks. Together, the companies plan to create next-generation digital signage solutions that can create multi-sensory, interactive experiences for viewers.

According to Yann Guyonvarc’h, CEO of SpinetiX, "As the digital signage market is really coming into its own, we look to deliver advances from combining the technologies that significantly impact the market and pave the way for a new generation of digital signage capabilities."
By combining digital signage with centralized control, customers will be able to create a total environmental and interactive experience. For example, when users pass near a digital sign, an audio clip can call them to approach. As the viewers step in, lighting changes can draw their attention to the message on the display. Other features, such as a puff of air or a scent spray, can engage all the viewers' senses rather than just sight, as in the case of a typical digital signage installation. All of these actions can be configured to measure and provide data, not only on viewer activity, but also tied to viewer behaviors, such as product purchase.


NAD Recommends SMART Technologies Modify,
Discontinue Certain Claims

September 8, 2010

The National Advertising Division of the Council of Better Business Bureaus has recommended that SMART Technologies Inc. modify or discontinue certain claims made for the SMARTBoard Interactive whiteboard and projector system, but determined that the company can support certain claims. NAD reviewed advertising claims that appeared in materials aimed at internal sales personnel and authorized resellers. The claims at issue were challenged by Epson America, Inc.
Two of the challenged claims were these: “The SMARTBoard interactive whiteboard is optimized for durability and interactivity whereas the BrightLink 450Wi compromises functionality, image quality and ability to write naturally” and “SMARTBoard interactive whiteboards deliver better TCO and ROI when accounting for filter replacements, filter cleaning and total decay costs for the BrightLink 450Wi. One also needs to consider the cost of a suitable projection surface.”

NAD determined that the materials specifically identified the Epson BrightLink 450Wi by brand and model number, compared the two products in head-to-head charts and relied on these comparisons in order to demonstrate the advantages of the SMARTBoard over the BrightLink. For these reasons, NAD concluded that the advertiser’s claims were comparative claims, requiring substantiation.
Regarding the two-part claim “The SMARTBoard interactive whiteboard is optimized for durability and interactivity…the BrightLink 450Wi compromises functionality, image quality and ability to write naturally,” NAD determined that the advertiser provided a reasonable basis in support of the first half of the challenged claim, but recommended the advertiser discontinue the second half of the claim.
With respect to the total cost of operation (TCO) and return on investment (ROI) claims, NAD was not troubled by the advertiser’s use of the cheaper SMARTBoard model in the context of the challenged advertisements. NAD, however, was troubled by the advertiser’s use of the full retail price, rather than the lower “education” price, for BrightLink. NAD recommended that the advertiser modify any TCO or ROI claims that include the cost of replacing the BrightLink pen and batteries to disclose the basis for such claims adequately. With respect to the advertiser’s claims regarding the cost of filter replacement, filter cleaning and total color “decay” for the Epson BrightLink, NAD determined that the advertiser’s evidence was insufficient to support such claims and recommended that they be discontinued.


Lowell Files Complaint Against Atlas Sound
August 26, 2010

On June 28, Lowell Manufacturing
filed a complaint in Federal Court against Atlas Sound LP, alleging infringement on U.S. patent no. 7,643,647, which
is directed toward Lowell’s lay-in
tile speaker system.

“We have expended significant resources in developing our product line, including the tile speaker system, and expect competitors to respect U.S. patents,” said John Lowell, President. “Although litigation is not our preference, we remain committed to defending intellectual property rights in court when other avenues have failed.”


AVI-SPL President Stephenie Scanlon Announces Retirement
August 25, 2010

AVI-SPL has announced the retirement of AV industry figure and AVI-SPL President Stephenie Scanlon. After her retirement in September, Scanlon plans to remain with the company as a consultant for special projects and initiatives. “Stephenie and I have worked closely to develop strategies that allowed for our great success at AVI and now AVI-SPL,” said Marty Schaffel, Executive Chairman. “We would never have accomplished a fraction of what we have done without Stephenie’s skills,” Schaffel added. “While Stephenie will remain active with this company in the years ahead, her daily presence will be sorely missed.

Scanlon initially joined legacy Audio Visual Innovations (AVI) in 1986, working as a sales representative for the Rental Services division. Her role with the company quickly expanded to include systems sales, human resources, and sales and marketing management. In 1998, Scanlon launched the e-commerce and national telesales division, Projector People/AV Marketplace.
She also led the creation of AVI-SPL University (AVI-U).
Since her promotion to President in 2005, Scanlon has managed the company’s marketing and corporate communications, AVI-SPL's e-commerce and transactional business units, and key supplier relationships. Additionally, she’s been responsible for corporate and sales administration, as well as vertical market-focused sales teams.


Blackmagic Design Acquires EchoLab
August 15, 2010

Blackmagic Design has acquired all assets of EchoLab Inc., a designer and manufacturer of production switchers. EchoLab has been designing and building production switchers since 1974. This experience has culminated
in the latest ATEM range of production switchers, which include technology for features such as up conversion
on inputs, multilayer SuperSource input, Stinger transitions, and built-in multi-view monitoring, all in a fully digital
M/E style design.

The ATEM production switchers will be demonstrated at the Blackmagic Design IBC 2010 booth #7.B25.
“It’s…exciting to add these products and intellectual property
to the Blackmagic Design family”, said Grant Petty, CEO of Blackmagic Design. “The ATEM switcher is a…creative tool….
Since the acquisition, we have already…expanded the
engineering team working on ATEM. This fresh engineering team, which is a combination of new as well as experienced EchoLab staff, will allow us to move faster in adding new features to the
ATEM product.”


Former MCSi Chief Pleads Guilty
August 11, 2010

Michael E. Peppel, who previously was top executive of audiovisual sales and services company MCSi Inc., has pleaded guilty to federal criminal felony charges resulting from the Dayton OH-area company’s 2003 implosion, according to a Dayton Daily News report. For the first time since accusations were leveled in a December 2006 federal indictment, Peppel formally admitted responsibility for deliberate criminal acts, among them approving false reports to federal regulators of MCSi’s financial results. The company’s bankruptcy, and ultimate collapse, left shareholders with valueless stock and caused about 1300 employees to lose their jobs, stock and retirement income through MCSi.



Peppel pleaded guilty to three charges: willful false certification of a financial report by a corporate officer, money laundering and conspiracy to commit securities, mail and wire fraud. The final charge accuses Peppel of using the mail and electronic communications to file false financial reports and exchange documents supporting reports of sham transactions. Peppel’s guilty pleas resulted from a plea agreement with government prosecutors. In exchange for the guilty pleas, federal prosecutors agreed to drop the remaining 29 charges he faced. Peppel withdrew his prior pleas of not guilty to all 32 charges.
Although, technically, Peppel could face a prison sentence of
20 to 50 years and millions of dollars in fines, under federal sentencing guidelines and his agreement to enter guilty pleas, he would likely receive considerably less prison term and a fine of approximately $1 million.
In associated news, as reported in our July 2010 News section, Frances Flood, former chief of ClearOne Communications Inc., has been sentenced to four years in federal prison for falsifying company revenue.


XETA Technologies Closes Acquisition Of
Pyramid Communication Services, Inc.

August 4, 2010

XETA Technologies, Inc. www.xeta.com, a provider of converged communications solutions for the enterprise market, has closed its previously announced acquisition of Pyramid Communication Services, Inc. www.pyramidcsi.com, a privately held provider of communications equipment, applications and related services. The acquisition of Pyramid, which has annual revenues in excess of $10 million, is expected to be accretive to earnings in fiscal 2011.



The deal increases the depth of XETA's sales and service presence in a number of geographic markets, and enables XETA and Pyramid to expand product and service offerings to existing and new customers.
"XETA and Pyramid have known each other, competed against each other and worked in partnership for many years," said Greg Forrest, CEO of XETA. "Our customers will continue to benefit from our growth as we enhance and expand our communications design, implementation, maintenance and repair services nationwide."


Advanced Media Design Systems Acquired By Pro Sound, Inc.
August 3, 2010

Pro Sound, Inc. , has announced its acquisition of Pensacola FL-based Advanced Media Design Systems Advanced Media Design Systems Terms of the acquisition were not disclosed. The acquisition reflects Pro Sound’s continued expansion in, and commitment to, the Florida and GulfCoast market. Pro Sound, Inc. will now be able to expand efficiently and cost effectively into southern Georgia,



Louisiana, Mississippi and the AlabamaGulfCoast, as well as the Florida panhandle. “We have had a relationship with AMDS for many years and, over time, we realized that the shared company philosophy and geographic location might be a good fit for Pro Sound,” said Rod Sintow, CEO of Pro Sound, Inc. “The new office will position Pro Sound for an increased presence in the south.”

Sintow noted the office will remain based in Pensacola, and will retain its current staff, with Brian Smith continuing to lead the company as Regional Director for the GulfCoast. According to Smith, "It will be business as usual for all AMDS clients and they will continue to enjoy the same one-on-one responsiveness that they have come to expect, with the added resources [that] Pro Sound can provide."


Francisco Partners to Acquire Grass Valley
Broadcast & Professional Business

July 29, 2010

Francisco Partners, a San Francisco CA-based private equity firm focused on investments in technology-based companies, has made a binding offer to Technicolor for the acquisition of the Grass Valley Broadcast & Professional business activities. With nearly $5 billion of capital under management, Francisco Partners is one of the largest technology-focused private equity funds. The firm was founded to pursue structured investments in technology and technology-based companies. Francisco Partner targets investments in private companies, with transaction values ranging from $30 million to $2 billion. Since its inception, Francisco Partners has invested in excess of $4 billion of equity capital in more than 50 technology companies.

The binding offer from Francisco Partners is for 100% ownership of the current Grass Valley Broadcast & Professional business, which would operate as "GrassValley" going forward.



This includes the camera, content repurposing, editing, master control, modular, news production, production automation, routing, servers, storage and switching product lines, including their entire product portfolios, the R&D centers and factories around the world, the sales and systems activities and customer support organization worldwide, as well as the management and administrative support functions dedicated to the business. This business perimeter and associated product lines for which the offer was made by Francisco Partners represent the core of what the market historically knows as GrassValley products.

The Transmission and Headend businesses, which are in the process of being separated from the Grass Valley Broadcast & Professional business, are not included in the offer received. Technicolor will continue the planned divestiture of these businesses separately. These businesses plan to operate individually going forward.

Subject to final agreement, regulatory approval, applicable notification requirements and, when it is requested, the prior consultation of staff representatives, it is expected that the transaction can be completed before the end of 2010.

In exclusive comments to Sound & Communications, Ray Baldock, CTO for GrassValley, said, “We’re all excited about the prospects of new ownership by Francisco Partners. Until the deal closes, it’s very much business as usual for GrassValley, our customers and our partners—but with renewed vigor and confidence now that the offer has been announced. So, in the short term, there is no change to our strategy in regard to the product roadmaps or markets that we serve. It is premature to comment on the longer term until after the deal is fully executed and closes.”


ESTA Offers Two Standards For Public Review
July 26, 2010

ANSI E1.8 - 2005, Entertainment Technology--Loudspeaker Enclosures Intended for Overhead Suspension—Classification, Manufacture and Structural Testing, and BSR E1.24 - 201x, Entertainment Technology - Dimensional Requirements for Stage Pin Connectors, are available for public review through September 20. The review forms and instructions for both documents, and the draft BSR E1.24 standard, are available at here. ANSI E1.8 is an existing American National Standard being considered for reaffirmation. It can be purchased from The ESTA Foundation at www.estafoundation.org/pubs.htm.



ANSI E1.8 - 2005 is a standard for the structural integrity of loudspeaker enclosures. It is designed to ensure that flown speaker enclosures don't break and rain parts. No substantive changes are planned for the existing standard in this reaffirmation, unless comments from the public suggest that changes are warranted, in which case the standard will be revised.

BSR E1.24 – 201x is a revised version of the existing ANSI E1.24 – 2006. The standard is being revised to clarify its use as a configuration standard giving the mating requirements for male and female pin connectors, contact set-backs from the front face and marking requirements. The electrical reliability and flammability requirements for pin connectors would be covered by other standards, such as UL 498, Attachment Plugs and Receptacles.

Reviewers also are requested to look for protected intellectual property in the documents. ESTA does not intend to adopt any standard that requires the use of protected intellectual property, unless that property is essential for technical reasons, and can be licensed and used by anyone without prejudice or preference for a “reasonable” fee.


VITEC Multimedia Acquires Focus Enhancements Systems Group
July 15, 2010

VITEC Multimedia has announced the purchase of the Focus Enhancements Systems Group. With this purchase, VITEC has added video acquisition and management products to its lineup, including FS Portable DTE Recorders, ProxSys Media Asset Management solutions, media converters and OEM-ready media hardware and software. According to the company, customers can now look to VITEC throughout the entire video production process, including acquisition, conversion, image processing, MPEG compression, recording, media asset management, streaming, decoding and delivery.

According to Philippe Wetzel, CEO of VITEC Multimedia, “In combination with our recent acquisition of Optibase, this acquisition furthers our objective to provide a complete line of advanced digital video solutions to our customers around the globe….The VITEC R&D division—now with more than 100…engineers—is…positioned to deliver…solutions for a…range of advanced digital video applications—managing the entire video process from source to display.”

“Focus has partnered with VITEC Multimedia in the past and, given our…history, we concluded that sale of Focus’ Systems Group to VITEC was the right decision,” commented Brett Moyer, President and CEO of Focus Enhancements.


BICSI, InfoComm Sign Friendship Agreement
July 12, 2010

BICSI, the association supporting the information technology systems (ITS) industry with information, education and knowledge assessment, signed a friendship agreement with InfoComm International, the nonprofit association serving the professional AV communications industry. The official agreement was signed by Randal A. Lemke, PhD, Executive Director and CEO of InfoComm International, and John D. Clark Jr., CAE, Executive Director and CEO of BICSI. According to the associations, the AV communications industry and the ITS industry intersect in terms of technologies, as well as their complementary roles in the building, communications and IT industries.

To accomplish their shared mission, and for the benefit of the associations’ members who work cooperatively on projects, InfoComm and BICSI have agreed on mutual points of reciprocity, including establishing reciprocal BICSI continuing education credit (CECs) and InfoComm Renewal Units (RUs) and continuing the current government relations cooperative activities and participation in the Green Building Technology Alliance (GBTA). Also included in this friendship agreement is a resolution to update the AV Design Reference Manual (AVDRM). BICSI believes that this relationship will enhance and expand BICSI’s dedicated outreach and also will add significantly to its programs and services.

BICSI currently holds friendship agreements with the Electronic Security Association (ESA)—formerly NBFAA—and the Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA).

 

1394 Trade Association Releases New, Revised Specifications
June 24, 2010

The 1394 Trade Association issued a trio of new specifications focused on video compression, audio and music transmission, and set-top-box functionality. The Trade Association’s USA Set Top Box Test Specification Revision 1.0 defines a set of tests to verify the functionality of the 1394 interface as defined in the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) mandate for a functional 1394 interface in the STB. The standard defines a set of tests that, when executed, will verify a USA Set Top Box has correctly implemented all the required functionality. Details are available at www.1394ta.org/developers/specifications
/2008003.html.


The revised BT.601 specification on the transport of uncompressed or compressed video addresses the upcoming analog “sunset” directive that applies January 1, 2011, to new Blu-ray products. The “image constraint token” eliminates the potential for pirated unencrypted video. With this revision, BT.601 has been updated with the token for use with Blu-ray players. Data in

 

the 4:2:2 format of ITU-R BT.601 includes compatible extensions to the format for the higher and lower resolutions of other commonly used video resolutions over 1394. The data formats for the encapsulation of video data are compatible with those specified by IEC 61883-1.

The specification provides a list of compression codes controlled by the 1394 Trade Association and a reference to one video compression codec, minimum, to assure interoperability and bounded implementation complexity. For details, go to www.1394ta.org/developers/specifications/2006020.html.

A new version of the Audio Music Data Transmission Protocol (v 2.2) addresses multichannel audio formats for Blu-Ray. It supports all popular surround configurations, like 5.1 and 7.1, and is extensible to 32 channels of surround. The new version also addresses the analog sunset directive, and describes a protocol for the transmission of audio and music data over IEEE Std 1394-1995 or later, including the transport of IEC 60958 digital format, raw audio samples and MIDI data.

The specification includes excerpts from IEC 61883-6, the improved version of 1394 TA specification "Audio and Music Data Transmission Protocol V1." Details are at www.1394ta.org/developers/speci3fications/2009013.html


InfoComm Partners With PAMA, Providing Management Services
June 21, 2010

InfoComm International has agreed to provide association management services for the Professional Audio Manufacturers Alliance (PAMA). PAMA is the collective voice and forum for the senior executives of the leading branded manufacturers of professional audio products. InfoComm will provide general management and special services, including government relations, market research, meeting planning and more.

"PAMA has been impressed with the responsiveness and long-term strategic vision of InfoComm International," said Paul Gallo. "Their growing international reach and effectiveness in executing long-term programs that benefit the industry, as well as the success of their trade shows, make them an ideal strategic alliance for PAMA."

 

InfoComm recognizes the trust PAMA has placed with the association, and has stated its dedication to helping PAMA accomplish its goal of building the public face of the audio manufacturing industry. "We have worked alongside PAMA for years and have great respect for the organization Paul Gallo has assembled," said Randal A. Lemke, PhD, Executive Director and CEO, InfoComm International. "With InfoComm-provided management services, PAMA will achieve some economies of scale and provide added value, while lifting the administrative burden from this group, allowing PAMA to fulfill its mission."

Duffy Wilbert, CTS, CAE, InfoComm Senior Vice President of Membership, will serve as PAMA Executive Director. PAMA will continue to maintain its own Board and Officers, who will be responsible for setting strategic direction, while deciding on new goals and initiatives. The new management arrangement is effective July 1.


PLASA And ESTA Vote To Merge
June 4, 2010

PLASA, an organization for those working in the live events, entertainment and communication industries worldwide, and ESTA, an association for the entertainment services and technology industries in North America, have voted to merge their two organizations. The announcement follows on the heels of lengthy consultations with both sets of memberships, which concluded recently in a formal vote of members—PLASA via its annual AGM, which took place on June 2 in London, and ESTA via a month-long electronic ballot, which ran throughout May.

In excess of 90% of members from each association voted in support of the move, which will see ESTA and PLASA

integrated to create a single international trade association operating under the PLASA name. The merger will effectively create the first truly international industry-wide membership body of more than 1200 manufacturers, installers, dealers, service providers and consultants working across the entertainment and installation industries. This will also include members of PERA, the former Production Equipment Rental Association, which recently merged with ESTA.

The merger is a continuation of an already-established relationship between the two organizations, which have worked together on a range of initiatives for many years. Both teams will now spend the next six months putting in place the infrastructure behind the merger, the first formal stage of which will be completed by December 2010, allowing the new organization to go live on January 1, 2011.

As part of this, an overarching Governing Body will be established to look after the interests of the membership worldwide and to work closely with Regional Boards for North America and Europe.


Peavey Announces New Commercial Audio Division
June 1, 2010

Peavey has announced the new focus of its Commercial Audio Division, created to more efficiently manage and support the company’s established brands: MediaMatrix, Crest Audio and Architectural Acoustics. By restructuring the sales and support teams in Europe, Middle East and Africa for this new division, Peavey intends to create an identifiable and integrated group of pro audio brands with its own dedicated support staff and a clear development roadmap for the future.
Peavey has implemented a new management structure to run the organization, which is headed up by Peavey Commercial Audio General Manager Kevin Ivey, based out of Peavey headquarters in Meridian MS, and Clive Roberts, Managing Director of Peavey Europe in Corby, UK. As an example of how these changes will affect Peavey distributors and customers, Ivey stated that the MediaMatrix brand now offers an entire range of control products that allow any designer or contractor with nWare experience to build complex control systems, all without the additional cost or need for outside consultants or contractors.

conservation," said InfoComm International Executive Director and CEO, Randal A. Lemke, PhD. "Because AV systems provide critical operational functions for the owner, an organized approach to commonly accepted planning, design and integration procedures is essential. This standard provides a practical guideline for defining the audiovisual system requirements and a clear accountability structure for the development and execution of the system design components. It provides a consistent reference for the project team, including architects and other trades, from the initial design phase through construction, project completion and building occupancy."

The new organization was presented to EMEA distributors at a two-day distributor meeting that was recently held in Italy. Attendees met the new team and participated in a number of workshops focused on the Commercial Audio Division and its pipeline of products. The workshop structure gave distributors opportunity to spend time with key Peavey team members.

In exclusive comments to Sound & Communications, Ivey said, “While we've had…success with each of [our] brands on their own, the real value and convenience comes when all of the offerings are integrated to work as complete systems. The goal we've set for ourselves is to capture the imagination of the designer and contractor, and to provide them all the tools they need to create whatever systems they conceive." He added, "We have also strengthened our service and support under one umbrella, and synchronized all of our sales and marketing efforts worldwide."



ANSI Approves InfoComm AV Systems Design Standard
May 26, 2010

The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and the InfoComm International Board of Directors have released InfoComm's second standard, ANSI/INFOCOMM 2M-2010 Standard Guide for Audiovisual Systems Design and Coordination Processes. The purpose of this standard is to provide a description of the methods, procedures, tasks and deliverables typically recommended or applied by professionals in audiovisual systems design and integration projects. The Standard enables clients and other design and construction team members to assess whether the responsible parties are providing the expected services.

"Modern AV systems have become increasingly complex and interconnected to other building systems such as network, electrical, HVAC and building automation/energy

conservation," said InfoComm International Executive Director and CEO, Randal A. Lemke, PhD. "Because AV systems provide critical operational functions for the owner, an organized approach to commonly accepted planning, design and integration procedures is essential. This standard provides a practical guideline for defining the audiovisual system requirements and a clear accountability structure for the development and execution of the system design components. It provides a consistent reference for the project team, including architects and other trades, from the initial design phase through construction, project completion and building occupancy."

The Standard Guide for Audiovisual Systems Design and Coordination Processes was developed in an open process with consensus and transparency, in accordance with ANSI requirements. In addition to the Standard, InfoComm has developed an Audiovisual Systems Project Documentation Sample, a 175-page set of sample plans and documents that provides a coordinated example of the unique documentation required for AV systems, clearly illustrating how the audiovisual systems documents relate to documentation from allied professions. The collection also illustrates elements of the Standard Guide for Audiovisual Systems Design and Coordination Processes.

For more information, visit www.infocomm.org/standards.

Industry Mourns Prof. Dr. Fritz Sennheiser
May 21, 2010

Late during the evening of May 17, only a few days after his 98th birthday, Prof. Dr.-Ing. Fritz Sennheiser, audio pioneer and founder of today’s Sennheiser electronic GmbH & Co. KG, died. Through his company, Prof. Dr. Sennheiser had a strong influence on the development of sound transmission technologies and was instrumental in forging many developments in electroacoustics and transmission

technologies. Under his guidance, the first shotgun microphones and open headphones were created and he oversaw important developments in wireless radio and infrared transmission.

Sennheiser took time to share his knowledge with students, inspiring them with an enthusiasm for audio technology. In 1982, he retired from the management of the company, handing it over to his son, Prof. Dr. sc. techn. Jörg Sennheiser. However, he continued to take a vivid interest in the company he founded in Summer 1945.


Industry Alliance Formed To Deliver UC Interoperability
May 19, 2010

Citing the need to fully leverage customers' investments in communications systems and unite their global organizations, five global technology companies have joined to form the Unified Communications Interoperability Forum (UCIF), an alliance dedicated to enabling standards-based, inter-vendor unified communications (UC) interoperability. HP, Juniper Networks, Microsoft, Logitech/LifeSize and Polycom seek to unify the UC ecosystem through this shared mission. The founding members are joined by a growing roster of member companies including Acme Packet, Aspect, AudioCodes, Broadcom, BroadSoft, Brocade, ClearOne, Jabra, Plantronics, RADVISION, Siemens Enterprise Communications and Teliris.

 

The UCIF works across all unified communications modalities to deliver interoperability based on existing standards. Many enterprises are ready to deploy UC solutions but interoperability concerns have slowed implementation. UCIF-certified products will help reduce implementation risk and complexity and, as a result, grow the worldwide market.According to a February 2009 report, Forrester forecasts that the market for UC within enterprises in North America, Europe and Asia Pacific will reach $14.5 billion in 2015.

The UCIF will identify common customer scenarios and leverage existing industry standards to resolve the interoperability issues that have stalled broad adoption and deployment of higher-productivity communications. The UCIF benefits member companies, as well. Now, with a multi-lateral testing resource, UCIF members can reduce the costs and complexities associated with ad hoc interoperability testing. Ultimately, this means interoperable UC solutions will reach customers more quickly.

TC Group Americas Inc. To Distribute Audica Professional
May 12, 2010

Effective immediately,TC Group Americas Inc. (TCGA) is distributing Audica Professional in North, Central and South America, adding the brand to its existing portfolio of Tannoy, Lab.gruppen, TC Electronic, TC-Helicon, Dynaudio Acoustics and Linn Products. TCGA will introduce Audica Professional formally next month at InfoComm in Las Vegas.

Audica Professional manufactures the MICROseries range of electronics and loudspeakers, combining flexible audio solutions for commercial background music, corporate AV and audio communications. According to the company, for applications such as retail outlets, restaurants, hotel public areas and guest rooms, meeting rooms, museums and visitor centers, the MICROseries systems fit neatly below the level serviced by Tannoy's product range. Both TCGA and Audica Professional view the expanded offering of the two brands as very complementary.

"America is key for most pro audio manufacturers," commented Derek West, Audica Professional's Sales and Marketing Director. "When we started the company just over three years ago, we first had to develop the European markets to take our business to a structure and turnover that would enable us to support this substantial market. Despite the economic climate, we have successfully expanded and now work with leading distributors in 38 countries, including all of the major European markets. Entering America is in itself important, but to be doing it in partnership with a true first division distributor like TCGA is very exciting."

"Audica represents an opportunity for TCGA to offer a more complete range of solutions to our diverse base of integrators, contractors and consultants,” commented Marc Bertrand, CEO of TC Group Americas Inc. “It's outstanding product, sounds fantastic, is very discreet visually, is easy to use and is priced very competitively. Audica is an excellent fit for TCGA and we are looking forward to growing a great business."


Electrosonic Expands Integration, Support Services with DRV Acquisition
May 4, 2010

Electrosonic has acquired The Multimedia Group Ltd, owners of the DRV companies—DRV Integration Ltd, one of Europe’s leading designers and integrators of corporate, medical and educational audiovisual technology, and DRV Support Ltd, a provider of multimedia managed service and maintenance solutions to organizations across the UK. According to the company, the acquisition expands the reach of Electrosonic’s audiovisual solutions and reinforces its focus on growing its service business.

Electrosonic and DRV’s operations, over time, will be combined in a manner that strengthens existing services. Operational synergies will enable the introduction of offerings relevant to customer needs.

According to David Ambrose, Managing Director of Electrosonic Ltd, “The depth of DRV’s Multimedia services and expertise complements our strengths in many ways and will help us expand into new areas. I have a high level of respect for DRV’s achievements in our industry and am confident that the…strengths of both organizations will enhance the way we serve the customer.”



IAVI Announces Acquisition of Visual Solutions Distributing, Inc.
April 29, 2010

IAVI, a wholesale supplier of audiovisual equipment, has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire substantial assets of Visual Solutions Distributing (VSDI), a distributor of high-tech display systems and complete audiovisual solutions. The acquired business will include the addition of experienced sales and engineering staff from VSDI to IAVI’s current certified team. The employee acquisition is intended to better serve the needs of commercial AV dealers and systems integrators seeking specialized solutions. IAVI has formed professional partnerships as direct distributors of some of the industry’s most well-known manufacturers. Product offerings include full line assortments from Sanyo, Panasonic, Mitsubishi, Barco, Sony, InFocus, LG, Viewsonic, Hitachi, Samsung and more.



SMART Technologies Acquires NextWindow
April 26, 2010

SMART Technologies has acquired New Zealand-based NextWindow (Next Holdings Limited), a designer and manufacturer of optical touch technology for integration into all-in-one computers, computer displays and large-format screens. The acquisition, according to the company, reinforces SMART’s own investment in optical touch research and development, and combines the two companies’ optical touch patent portfolios. The NextWindow acquisition is expected to have minimal impact on both businesses’ day-to-day operations, offices and company structure. Both SMART and NextWindow are privately held companies.

NextWindow supplies optical touch components to manufacturers of PCs

and other interactive displays. Its touch components are used in PCs and monitors sold by Dell, Hewlett-Packard,Lenovo, Medion, NEC, Samsung and Sony. The acquisition extends SMART’s current presence in the education, business and government sectors into the broader consumer market. SMART is also expanding its business in Asia, where NextWindow has already been active. In the past year, NextWindow has developed an Asian presence in Singapore, Taiwan and Korea.

“SMART serves a range of markets, and it is timely to diversify our revenue base beyond the sectors we already serve,” said Nancy Knowlton, SMART’s CEO. “NextWindow‘s core values, business model, patent portfolio and focus on the consumer market make it an attractive acquisition for us.”

In the transaction, RBC Capital Markets were financial advisors to SMART and Cowen and Company, LLC, were financial advisors to NextWindow.



Avid To Acquire Euphonix
April 16, 2010

Avid, Irwindale CA, has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Mountain View CA-based Euphonix, manufacturer of large-format digital audio consoles, media controllers and peripherals. With this acquisition, the company reports, Avid will deliver a broad range of audio and video control surfaces and consoles designed to meet the needs of customers ranging from the independent professional to the high-end broadcaster. Avid plans to continue to support and sell both Euphonix control surfaces and Avid’s existing ICON solution, supporting customers with investment in existing hardware.

“This acquisition greatly expands our portfolio to offer customers a complementary set of workflow solutions,” said Gary Greenfield, Avid

Chairman/CEO. “We remain committed to driving interoperability and modularity across a vast ecosystem of Avid and third-party creative hardware and software solutions. And, as audio and video workflows continue to converge, we are now well positioned to deliver control surfaces that work across both audio and video applications, making the content creation process more cost effective and efficient for our customers.”

Avid plans to further develop an open standard protocol that greatly expands the ecosystem of compatibility between the Euphonix control surfaces and a wide range of Avid and third-party audio and video applications, including Media Composer and Pro Tools. For existing Euphonix customers, Avid will continue to support EuCon, the Euphonix high-speed Ethernet protocol that enables its control surfaces to interface with third-party software. The transaction is expected to close at the end of this month.


Digigram Appoints Point Source Audio as Master Distributor for North, South America
April 14, 2010

Effective May 1, 2010, Digigram’s Master Distributor for North and South America will be Point Source Audio (PSA, Novato CA). An audio equipment manufacturer with intimate knowledge and expertise of Digigram products, PSA will take over all aspects of distribution and will be the main point of contact for Digigram’s representatives and resellers.

James Lamb, Digigram’s Business Development Manager for the Americas for the past 10 years, is now part of the leadership at PSA and will help to

ensure a smooth transition and continuity of service. According to Lamb, “We are fully prepared for the transition and our goal is that there will be no disruption in sales, prices or service support for Digigram’s dealers and business partners.”

Philippe Delacroix, President/CEO Digigram, added, “North and South America have always enjoyed a particular focus from our teams. We feel this arrangement allows us to better serve our customers in the future. It will also allow our company to better adapt to fast-changing market conditions.”


HM Electronics To Acquire Clear-Com Communication Systems
April 7, 2010

HM Electronics Inc. has announced a definitive agreement to acquire Clear-Com Communication Systems, a business unit of The Vitec Group plc. Clear-Com will continue operation as a wholly owned subsidiary of HME, with no changes planned for its product portfolio or its current mission. According to the companies, combining HME’s expertise in wireless with Clear-Com’s strength in TDM Matrix and integrated IP and wireless solutions will offer an expansive selection of communication products and technology for intercom customers with different applications and system requirements.

The acquisition, the company says, will expand HME’s reach into new markets, while allowing the combined companies to leverage synergies in product development and operations.
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“After enjoying substantial growth in all our key sectors over the last decade, it was time for HME to take the next step,” said Chuck Miyahira, CEO of HME. “Clear-Com is [a well-known] brand in the mission-critical intercom marketplace, and brings [considerable] industry knowledge, innovative technology and [strong] business partnerships around the globe. This acquisition will expand the HME business in the pro audio space with a wider range of complementary communication solutions.”

“We see a great fit with the strategy and vision of HME. The efforts of our combined teams will bring added value to our customers and greater opportunities for both companies,” said Matt Danilowicz, who will continue in his role as President of Clear-Com under the new structure within HME. Clear-Com business headquarters remain in Alameda CA. Research and development will continue in Cambridge, UK and Montreal, Canada


Panasonic Solutions Company Launches Operations
April 1, 2010

Panasonic Solutions Company has launched operations. Joseph M. Taylor, Chairman/CEO of Panasonic Corp. of North America, announced that Rance Poehler will head the newly consolidated Panasonic Solutions Company as President. The B2B-focused company will incorporate the operations of Panasonic Computer Solutions Company, Panasonic Broadcast & Television Systems Company and Panasonic Professional Display Company; it formally launched operations April 1.

Panasonic Solutions Company will deliver content creation, collaboration, information-sharing and decision-support solutions for customers in government, healthcare, education and a variety of commercial enterprises. Products and services within

the Panasonic Solutions portfolio include Panasonic Toughbook mobile computing solutions, projectors and professional displays, and HD video acquisition and production solutions.

“With this consolidation, Panasonic is streamlining its relationships with customers and offering them a broad portfolio approach,” said Taylor. “We believe this change will make Panasonic an easier company with which to do business and enhance our ability to deliver…products, services and support to commercial and government customers.”

Panasonic Solutions Company will deliver an integrated solutions approach based on the company’s experience automating and supporting business processes in vertical markets. The company will adopt a 100% channel approach to its sales.


Major Polycom Activity In The Offing
March 30, 2010

The Gores Group, a US private equity firm, is considering a merger between its unit Siemens Enterprise Communications and Polycom Inc., the Financial Times said, as reported by Reuters. According to the newspaper, Polycom's discussions with private equity firm Apax Partners, which fell through, had driven Gores to send the company's CEO, Robert Hagerty, a letter requesting a meeting to discuss a potential merger with Siemens Enterprise. On March 23, sources informed Reuters that Apax had not made an offer to buy Polycom. According to industry experts, a merger between Polycom and Siemens Enterprise potentially could cut costs and decrease the sales force.

In related news, although Hewlett-Packard Co. will continue providing support and integration services on

Tandberg to customers who desire Tandberg technology as part of their unified communications and collaboration solution, the company has forged a strategic agreement with Polycom to sell its videoconferencing products.

According to Gartner Inc., the videoconferencing market will expand at a compound annual growth rate of 17.8% between 2008 and 2013, rising from $3.8 billion to reach $8.6 billion. During the past few quarters, Polycom has attempted to expand its business relationship with several OEMS and resellers after Cisco Systems Inc. moved to acquire Tandberg. At present, the deal is awaiting regulatory approval.

According to the companies, the agreement with Polycom and Hewlett-Packard will be mutually beneficial. Hewlett-Packard, which currently sells high-end telepresence services, now may enter the broader videoconferencing market. Polycom will solidify its list of strategic partners. Management expects to recognize revenue from this agreement from the second half of 2010.


Minicom Spins Out Digital Signage Division
March 25, 2010

Minicom Advanced Systems has announced it would spin out its digital signage division (MDS). The new company simultaneously announced it had raised $6 million to finance its operations independently. The investment, which was led by Jerusalem Venture Partners and joined by Aviv Ventures, will enable the company to broaden its platform from its new offices in Jerusalem's JVP Media Quarter. MDS is a vendor of media distribution solutions for the digital signage and digital out-of-home (DooH) marketplace. According to MDS' CEO, Ronni Guggenheim, "This investment is the natural next step in MDS' lifecycle.

The support of our investors positions us to explore inorganic growth options and to drive the acceleration of our product roadmap toward the establishment of MDS as a full-scale enabling platform in the digital signage market."

Gadi Tirosh, General Partner at JVP, explained, "MDS, with its seasoned leadership, global footprint and strong operating history from within Minicom, is poised to build a broader platform in this growing, but still fragmented, market." JVP typically invests in businesses that apply technology acumen toward the development of new media models and, with its investment in MDS, now enters another segment of traditional media that is on the verge of digitization.


Barco Buys Element Labs
March 18, 2010

Barco has acquired the products, intellectual property rights and know-how of Element Labs , an LED video systems company based in Santa Clara CA. With a focus on mid-end market requirements in rental, staging and fixed installations, the Element Labs products complement Barco's existing product range. Through this transaction, Barco, according to the company, strengthens its position as a provider of LED, projection, image processing and lighting products. Barco will not book any goodwill on this transaction. “This expands Barco's portfolio for the mid-range markets,” Eric Van Zele, Barco's

President/CEO, commented. “Element Labs' products in these markets have proven their worth…and [complement] Barco's more high-end-oriented market portfolio.”

With immediate effect, the name Element Labs ceases to exist. Structured as an asset sales transaction, Barco obtains all product designs, rights and intellectual property of Element Labs, without assuming the liabilities of the former EL company. The core team of Element Labs in Santa Clara will function as Barco's competence center for creative LED solutions, whereas Barco Kuurne (Belgium) will remain the competence center for tiled LED solutions. Barco will announce its new mid-range LED products in the coming months.


Charlie Wicks, CEO of Pro Co Sound, Passed Today
March 11, 2010

Charlie Wicks, CEO and Founder of Pro Co Sound, passed the morning of March 11. Wicks founded Pro Co Sound in 1974, a provider of audio interface, cables, digital snakes, distribution systems and related products through musical instrument retailers and audio installation professionals. Charlie was a hands-on professional and served as the company's product manager and developer while acting as CEO. We will provide additional information as it becomes available.


Extron Acquires Products Division Of Electrosonic
March 8, 2010

Extron Electronics (Anaheim CA) has purchased the Products Engineering and Development Division of Electrosonic Group (Burbank CA), a worldwide AV systems integration and service provider. The Electrosonic Group systems integration and service business is not part of the acquisition and will continue forward as a wholly independent organization. Electrosonic's Products Division is involved with video and graphics over IP encoders and decoders, HD video players and multi-image display processors. It has been operating as a standalone division from the systems integration and service business since February 2009. The acquisition includes all current products designed and manufactured by Electrosonic as well as the IP for the underlying technology. Key staff will join Extron to support current customers and continue the development of this group of products.

According to Andrew Edwards, President of Extron Electronics, "At Extron, we have been in development of a complete line of AV streaming products for over three years and will be announcing additional streaming solutions later this year. We see the Electrosonic products as a great complement to our continually evolving product line." Jim Bowie, President of Electrosonic Group, added: "These current products have developed to the point that we as a systems integrator cannot take them to their full potential. Extron is exactly the right company to take these products forward worldwide. Electrosonic can now concentrate on its main business activity: the design, supply and support of audiovisual systems."

In exclusive comments to Sound & Communications, Joe Da Silva, Director, Product Marketing, Extron, said all products will be rebranded Extron. The transition will commence in April and continue over a period of time. About 30 engineering and support personnel came with the purchase of the brand, half in the US and half in Europe. Finally, he confirmed the purchase does not affect Electrosonic’s systems integration business.


UnitedScreens Media Acquires KLOTZ DIGITAL
March 5, 2010

KLOTZ DIGITAL AG has been acquired by UnitedScreens Media AG. In association with the acquisition, the companies also have entered into agreements securing the future financial support of KLOTZ DIGITAL AG. The agreements are intended to contribute to the long-term stabilization of the company, and to ensure its economic growth. Dr. Andreas Gruettner has been appointed as the KLOTZ DIGITAL AG CEO. He is taking over from Thomas Klotz, who has resigned from his position with immediate effect.

Gruettner has been acting as an independent entrepreneur, investing his own private equity, since 1993. Throughout the years, he has acquired some 18 companies, and has taken a multitude of interim management positions. At present, Gruettner is a member of the supervisory board of Gebrueder Rhodius GmbH & Co. KG, a German company with a turnover of €100 million per year and a staff of 400.

KLOTZ DIGITAL will maintain its position in the international broadcast market. Gruettner has identified the company’s main potential for growth in the international PA market. He also wishes to boost KLOTZ’s position in the industry, and to increase its economic efficiency.


FCC Extends Wireless Mic Comment Period
February 19, 2010

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has extended the deadline for public comments relating to proposed changes in wireless microphone licensing rules. The comment period, which would have expired on February 22, now closes March 1. The Commission determined that the public interest would be served by a brief extension of time in which to file comments, due to the extensive adverse weather conditions that affected the Washington DC, area and surrounding regions in recent weeks.

The original 30-day comment period was the minimum time required under the Communications Act of 1996. The comment period begins when an FCC action is published in the Federal Register, but can be extended under special circumstances.

For additional information and details, see our website News Update from January 19, as well as “FCC Moves On 700MHz; What’s Next?” in our February issue’s News section.


DSE To Fund The Digital Signage Federation
February 18, 2010

The digital signage industry is soon to have a new trade association, The Digital Signage Federation. Digital Signage Expo , an international conference summit and trade show dedicated to digital signage, interactive technologies and out-of-home media networks, has announced its willingness to provide initial funding to launch the digital signage trade association this year. It will be an independent 501c non-profit association with legal and professional by-laws and an elected Board of Directors who represent a cross-section of the industry and, therefore, are motivated to act in the industry’s best interest. Association consultant and interim Executive Director, John Johnson, CAE, is a fully qualified association executive with more than 40 years of experience.

Along with other member benefits still being finalized, the Digital Signage Federation will provide a year-round education program for members and a full program of member services, featuring a vertical industry outreach program to bring the digital signage industry’s message to thousands of end users in 2011. Professional association management will support the new Federation and funds will be provided to make projects immediately actionable. DSE has agreed to foot the bill without reimbursement, to create a member-owned forum in which industry leadership can come to the fore.

Angelo Varrone, CEO of Exponation, LLC, which produces Digital Signage Expo, said, “We believe the industry has earned the right to an independent industry association in order to safeguard continued growth in a direction that accurately reflects the industry’s voice. We are committed to support the industry that supports us.”

To get more information on the Digital Signage Federation, go to Booth #1230 or visit www.digitalsignagefederation.org.


Sony Electronics Acquires Convergent Media Systems
February 1, 2010

Sony Electronics Inc. (Tokyo, Japan) acquired Convergent Media Systems (Alpharetta GA), a provider of video integration solutions to the enterprise market, on January 27. The company has established itself as an expert in digital signage and content distribution systems and will be integrated as a subsidiary into Sony Electronics' broadcast and professional products business. According to John Scarcella, President of Sony's Broadcast and Business Solutions Co., the acquisition of Convergent is a “key building block” of Sony's worldwide business-to-business strategy to accelerate its shift into a solutions-focused organization. Sony will leverage Convergent's resources to provide end-to-end systems solutions and managed services in new and existing professional markets. “With Convergent, we can install and integrate [high-quality technology] together with providing content creation, monitoring and distribution services.” he stated.

The addition of Convergent's resources, including its approximately 150 full-time employees in North America, its network of field service affiliates

and a network operations center, will support Sony's sales and marketing efforts for its key technologies. This acquisition is also expected to strengthen Sony's competitive position in new areas of business, such as providing products and services to corporate, education and government markets, where Convergent already reaches more than one million people.

In exclusive comments to Sound & Communications, Alec Shapiro, Senior VP, Sales and Marketing, Sony Electronics, Broadcast and Production Group, confirmed that there are no immediate plans to restructure either company’s operations or management, and no plans to move Convergent employees to Sony’s Park Ridge NJ location. Shapiro stated, “Sony’s goal is still to work closely with all our systems integrators and other resellers. In recent years, we have expanded our capabilities to include end-to-end solutions, and we’ve been the single point of contact and accountability, or prime contractor, on many solutions-based projects, in traditional broadcast or other markets. We’ve teamed with many of our SI partners on the integration and installation of these systems.”

Shapiro continued, “We don’t plan to change this strategy. The addition of Convergent simply lets us branch out into new applications in digital signage networks, content distribution, asset management and service monitoring. At the same time, we'll still bring in other SIs when it makes sense for the overall project and the customer’s needs.”


FCC Rules: Wireless Mics Must Vacate 700MHz Band
January 19, 2010

Wireless microphones are going to have to vacate the 700MHz band, following a recent Federal Communications Commission (FCC) ruling. The Commission has voted to proscribe the sale and distribution of devices, principally wireless microphones, that have been operating in the band. The FCC has allotted a few months—until June 12, 2010—for current users of the offending devices—to vacate the band. However, such users have to get off immediately if it is discovered they are interfering with public safety or commercial users.

“We’re pleased that the FCC has issued a firm transition date for 700MHz wireless equipment,” said Mark Brunner, Senior Director Global Brand Management.

“Complying with this firm date will still be challenging for some users, but we remain committed to making the transition as easy as possible for them under the circumstances. It’s time for one final push to prevent interference with the new users of the spectrum.” Shure has not sold equipment operating in the 700MHz band since 2007, although many of these units remain in service.

Wireless microphones, in-ear monitors and other professional wireless devices will continue to be permitted in the remaining UHF TV band (470-698MHz). Existing 700MHz equipment should be replaced with systems operating in that range or in other parts of the spectrum.

In addition to offering technical guidance and assistance in determining appropriate replacement products, Shure is extending its 700MHz rebate until June 30, 2010, to help customers comply with the FCC order. The rebate offers up to $1000 per system for customers who purchase a new Shure wireless system and send in their old 700MHz system, regardless of who manufactured it.

Midas And Klark Teknik Join BEHRINGER Parent Group
December 9, 2009

The MUSIC Group (Hamilton, Bermuda) has signed a deal to acquire the Midas and Klark Teknik brands from Bosch Communications Systems (Fairport NY). The MUSIC Group owns the BEHRINGER brand as well as a number of other associated companies and is managed by Uli Behringer and Michael Deeb. The sale of Midas and Klark Teknik is part of an asset deal that was signed on December 8. The sale is subject to regulatory approval and the terms have not been disclosed.

The MUSIC Group plans to retain all 106

employees currently working at Midas and Klark Teknik. These brands will continue to operate independently with the added resources of the MUSIC Group.

Midas and Klark Teknik have stressed that their distribution companies worldwide will remain in place, and that the brands will not be available through any other channels. “Over the last five years, we have secured the industry’s leading professional audio distribution channels to ensure that Midas and Klark Teknik customers in each territory get the same standard of support that our…team provides in the UK,” said David Cooper, Sales and Marketing Director for Midas. “This deal ensures that our long-term distribution partnerships will get stronger and the investment of Midas' customers is not only protected but enhanced.”

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