My university was in the process of updating our SQL servers during the spring term, and it came to note that our original version of GVE (v 1.3) was still on an older physical 2008 server. Normally the mantra of “If it ain’t broke don’t fix it” would come to mind, however, when your network security folks tell you that it’s time to move on. Well, you move on.

We talked with Extron, and they were able to work with us on a number of items. It turned out that it was easier to do a clean install on a virtual machine rather than going through upgrades. In fact, it turns out that to go from version 1.3 to 2.4 would require individual updates rather than a jump to the current release. (Editor’s note—v 2.5 is now available.)

The Good
On the plus side, there were a few improvements that made life easier. The first noticeable difference was that the device/room tree was far more flexible. In the old version, we had to see the entire system and go through more drop down fields than I thought was possible. With 2.4 we were able to section out the rooms according to the person’s login via active directory. i.e., if a student help desk worker was assigned to the science building, they only saw the science building. In the previous version they saw every single room and device and had to sift through pages of room numbers for sites they had never been to.

Another great feature was the implementation of Active directory. This is to make life easier for our IT security folks as well as our own AV techs. In the past we had to deal with user account access as well as having the GVE program in a separate VLAN. Now we have it on our regular campus network as our techs can access it from anywhere on campus without having to use a specific PC to access it.

The Challenge
On the To-Do list there were some items. Extron does allow for third-party integration i.e., Crestron, AMX. However, there are certain things that it seems were only tested on Internet Explorer. In our case, we had the webcam button actually linked to the Creston Xpanel for the room. That function still works, but only on Internet Explorer. Which is okay if I was still working for the DoD as that is one of the few allowed internet browsers. However, most folks use Chrome or Safari, depending on what OS you grew up with.

The Unique
Extron did work very well with us on getting our Crestron modules to report back the information that GVE needed for the rooms. Having a Crestron programmer onsite makes for a life a lot easier, but at the same time you now are venturing into new waters. To date, I only know of one other school that does a GVE/mixed manufacturer system like this.

Enhanced Flexibility
“Many of our customers have been enjoying the use of our new GVE API that allows other applications to access and use GVE derived AV system usage data,” said Derek Joncas from Extron Electronics. "Customers may incorporate this information with other reporting and facility use data for metrics generation and analysis. Our API includes full documentation about the available query options and GVE database structure, including the setup of access privileges and permissions. It is another example of the flexibility of GVE.”

In short, Extron does move forward with GVE, with a minor hiccup and many under-the-hood improvements that have made life easier for our techs.

Bill O’Donnell, CTS, EAVA, DMC-D is an AV/Network Design Engineer, Instruction & Research Technology, at William Paterson University. Check out the GVE Product page at http://www.extron.com/product/software.aspx?id=globalviewerentprtExtron released GVE 2.5.0 on July 14, 2016

 VERSION

  RELEASE
  DATE

  KEY FEATURE ADDITIONS IN THE CURRENT RELEASE

   2.5.0

  Jul. 14, 2016

·    Support for CCI Pro 700

·    Support for TLC Pro 521M

·    Support for 25Live Scheduling System

·    Interface improvements for configured and programmed
     control systems

·    Interface improvements for scheduling providers

·    Various bug fixes