As we near the end of June, here at Peerless-AV we’re reflecting on the great times had by all at tradeshows across the nation. And, this year’s InfoComm certainly topped my list.

In addition to AV companies showing their latest and greatest, the show encompassed many educational sessions lead by AV industry experts. In fact, this year’s InfoComm had almost double the amount of class attendees than last years.InfoComm University

This year I too led a course through InfoComm University that was focused on wireless AV integration and new technologies. The session was indeed a success – it was filled to capacity.

 

Couldn’t attend InfoComm? Fear not! I’ve recapped some key learnings here. And, of course, I’d like to extend a special thank you to all who attended!

Wireless AV Integration and New Technologies

Home and business owners looking to integrate the latest entertainment technology and digital signage, without sacrificing the clean look or design of their spaces, are increasingly turning to AV integrators to provide a solution. Often limited by systems’ wiring and how they must be integrated, wire concealment has become a fine art among pros.

Multi-room, multi-device installations are particularly tricky. Traditional cable runs are often impossible, as sealed walls cannot be opened up to distribute sound and video across the varying locations. That said, it should come as no surprise that the demand for solutions that eliminate the hassle of running wire is surging.

Going wireless is the obvious choice. Still, for custom integrators, going wireless has historically presented a multitude of challenges.

Below we explore these challenges, new solutions in the space, crucial considerations to make in integration, and how emerging technologies will impact the space.

 

Analog vs. Digital: What’s the difference?Analog vs Digital

There’s a big difference between analog and digital waves.  Analog waves are smooth and continuous with infinite amount of information.  Analog is comprised of all aspects of the sound and video recording (very nuanced).  Digital waves on the other hand are square and discrete.  They are a representation of a sine wave that is finite.

 

Why Digital?

There is a strong economic motivation to replace analog electronics with digital electronics (no, analog electronics are not going away).  The economic motivation is based upon taking advantage of Moore’s Law in shrinking of components.  This in turn leads to lower power consumption, smaller size, easier integration with other digital components, greater noise immunity, and an easier migration to next generation smaller feature size processes.

We live in an analog world though.  There are an infinite amount of colors to paint an object, an infinite number of tones we can hear, and there are an infinite number of smells we can smell.  The common theme among all of these analog signals is their infinite possibilities.  Digital signals and objects deal in the realm of the discrete or finite, meaning there is a limited set of values they can be.

 

Applications

Residential

Audio is still the number one entertainment service installed in an integrated home system.  Being able to create moods is usually the number one aspect of integrated audio.  This goes the same for commercially installed audio systems too.  Wired audio vs. wireless audio has led to the whole host of DIY components available for the home.

Commercial

Shopping centers, restaurants, hotels, offices and amusement parks use audio for relaxation and masking.  This leads to increase in customers length of time engaged in a given activity, reduce of fear and anxiety, and it conveys messages customers don’t notice.

 

Residential Integrated Systems

What do homeowners want?

Homeowners want quality of life, security and comfort.  Integrated wireless systems offer just that through:

  • Security systems: Video surveillance, DVR’s, sensors, burglary alarms, smoke/fire/CO detectors
  • Access control: Near field communication (NFC), IP controlled
  • HVAC: Control heating, venting and cooling
  • Lighting: Automate, conserve energy
  • Audio: Add ambience, entertainment value, home theaters/media devices,
  • Connectivity: WiFi, IoT

 

To Wire or Not to Wire

Integrators love wire, consumers love wireless. Integrators love reliability, consumers love wireless. Integrators understand wireless environments, consumers require wireless.  The important take away for a consumer is that wired systems are robust, while wireless systems can be robust.

Wireless vs Wired

 

Commercial Integrated Systems

Standards Uses of Commercial Integrated AudioConference

Conference rooms are becoming increasingly more technology filled.  Multi displays, microphones and speakers are required for effective remote communication with customers and employees.  For the best results, speakers need to be placed throughout the room because this allows audible speech to be experienced throughout.

 

 

Entertainment Uses of Commercial Integrated Audio

RetailFor the boutique commercial and retail experience, it’s about being entertained when visiting that environment, and high quality audio adds to the experience.  Upscale restaurants and bar applications also rely on high quality audio because trend and style are a must as they rely on their environments’ vibe, feel and look to ensure customers are happy.  Utilizing integrated speakers is a great way for these type of applications to add audio throughout the location, without sacrificing audio quality and having ugly exposed wires.

 

Standard Uses of Commercial Integrated Video

Video is a critical component for effective communication, such as video conferencing.  Video is also critical for security purposes because an area can be monitored while remote.  Video advertisements engage the audience at a much higher rate than static.

 

Making Buildings Greener with Connected Devices

Wireless integration saves energy through occupancy sensors, lighting controls, energy management systems, entertainment systems, and more. Refer to the graphic below for more way wireless can help you go green.

Green

 

Self-Powered Wireless Systems – Energy Harvesting

Popular protocols for wireless data delivery include ZigBee Green Power, Bluetooth LE, and 6LowPan.  Wireless sensor networks eliminate data communications wiring.  They use batteries in conjunction with Energy Harvesting to power the device and are being used in both new construction, as well as retro-fit.

Energy Harvesting

 

Retro-Fit Environments

What to do when you can’t run a wire

Typically, you would need to open up the area.  This leads to later drywall repairs & higher costs for the client though.  However, robust wireless devices eliminate this issue because they have a great range of transmission and can easily be integrated into any application.

 

Wireless System Options

Our Client Concerns – What do they look at?

#1 – Is it reliable?

  • Not only can the product get the job done, but will they be able to hear the difference between a traditionally wired zone and a wireless zone – is there a perceived latency?

#2 – Will it last?

  • Is the system they purchase going to stand the test of time? Is it worth the money?
    • WiFi devices tend to have a shelf life
    • Is the money saved on the front end a value to the client?

#3 – Is it expandable?

  • If a client spends “x” amount of dollars to wireless bring to life audio in the Kitchen, how much more will they have to spend to add a second, third or fourth zone onto their system?

How much bandwidth is required for video?

Bandwidth

How much bandwidth is required for Audio?

Audio requires 10-20x less bandwidth than Video

  • Normal Audio format: 160kbps
  • Premium Audio format: 320kbps

Bandwidth 2

Feel free to reach out if you have any questions (tmares@peerless-av.com).