By Kirsten Nelson On August 09, 2011
Xantech President Graham Hallett is
Plugged in to the Future of AV
NAME: Graham Hallett
OVERTIME: Xantech is celebrating
40 years of innovation in 2011.
Company president Graham Hallett
reveals his views on the company, its
past successes, and its future strategy for
SCN: As a supplier of IR solutions, how does Xantech plan to address
the growing market for IP-based connectivity solutions?
Graham Hallett: Xantech has always been on the cutting edge with
connectivity solutions. As early as 1983, our Xtra Link IR allowed a
multi-room IR control solution over existing wiring, and then we
followed in 2005 with the first IP-based solution: the Xtra Link IP,
which utilized an IP network, allowing control of RS-232 devices
over an existing IP network. Today and in the future, IP via wireless
communications or networks, including cellular, are the cornerstone of
our industry. Xantech saw this trend as it developed, which is why our
WIC1200 Web Intelligent Controller, launched in 2009, already had
a web server built in. We can host a web control page that any web
device, like an iPad or other web-based tablets, can access and utilize
for commercial or residential control applications.
The Xantech team in action (L to R): David Scofield, director of marketing and communications for The AVC Group; Robert Naugle, Xantech national training manager; Graham Hallett, Xantech
president; Tom Harvey, U.S. director of sales; Sandra Gutierrez, senior customer service rep for Xantech.
SCN: How does Xantech view the “blending” of the traditionally
distinct residential and commercial markets?
GH: The trend in the home, to send content wirelessly to different places,
will work its way into the commercial sector, and now the commercial
trend of videoconferencing is working its way into residential, with the
likes of Skype and FaceTime. This is becoming so popular that TVs are
starting to come Skype-ready. The basic needs of the customer—easily
manageable content and intuitive operation—will remain constant in
SCN: How does Xantech design products to meet the needs of both
residential and commercial installers and integrators?
GH: Xantech has always been close to its dealer and customer base,
products and solutions. In
commercial, our WIC1200
combines two of every port
into a single device for a wide
range of solutions for the
room. From IR to IP, the
WIC1200 covers it all. In residential, many clients now manage music
and media services through a smartphone or other handheld device.
Getting that music into an installed AV system can be a challenge,
especially if the client does not want to bother with docking stations
or cables. The BDXTT Bluetooth interface provides that full-fidelity,
reliable wireless connection between an AV system and any handheld
Bluetooth A2DP-enabled device, such as a smartphone, PC, or tablet.
SCN: How is Xantech addressing or planning to address the needs
created by a world where systems and components need to “talk” and
“connect” wirelessly to each other?
Scofield (left) and Hallett collaborate on
marketing Xantech’s commercial and
GH: Wireless is definitely the future, especially with technologies
that have come out recently, including Apple’s AirPlay, where you
can wirelessly transmit content throughout your entire home or
establishment. Xantech were prescient when we chose to have webserver
inclusion in all of our IP-based products. But “wireless” does not
involve just an IP network—it’s
about cellular-based networks
too. We’re seeing content stored
everywhere, on the cloud for
example, and of course Xantech
is looking to smoothly integrate
all of these future solutions into
SCN: What commercial market
segments offer installers
and integrators the greatest
GH: Education. The days of
having a single AV cart for
a school system or college
are long gone. If a classroom
doesn’t have at least a projector,
LCD display, or some type of
integrated AV system, they
are truly behind the times.
Whether it’s an older school
being renovated or a new school
system coming online, there are
possibilities for every classroom
to have some form of AV and AV
control put into that classroom.
The biggest thing will be to
provide contractors and system
integrators the right products
for their customers, who
ultimately are teachers who
need an easy-to-use, intuitive
SCN: How is Xantech evolving
as a member of the AVC Group?
GH: Within the group, Xantech
is in the enviable position of
being a complement to each
of the other brand’s product
lines. Today, and increasingly
in the future, we will be designing and manufacturing the connectivity
tools and solutions that our sister brands Elan, Niles, Sunfire, and
ATON utilize in their applications. Our engineering teams are already
immersed in a far-reaching and collaborative effort to create technology
platforms that all the brands can benefit from. We are the source for
leading-edge connectivity solutions within the group and that position
will only become more important in the future.