In The Trenches

The mid-year point offers a chance to evaluate the direction business has taken thus far and then calibrate it accordingly to make the months ahead even more successful. With two major trade shows behind us, it's time to take a step back and absorb what new opportunities are afforded by these events' training in technology and business management.

Having taken stock of where technology will lead the business at Univisions Crimson Group, Bob Romano is in mid-stride already with his new role as president of the new Strategic Accounts Division. While the education market and streaming media in particular are keeping his colleagues plenty busy at the company, Romano is concentrating on big-name clients in locations as disparate as San Francisco and London.

Providing some insights into his company's new business model, Romano explained, "it is more powerful to sell through than to sell to," though he cautioned that it is easier said than actually accomplished. "You need to ask yourself several critical questions, and be okay with approaches that are not quickly embraced by smaller organizations-even some larger ones," he said.

Arming himself with a maxim befitting many in our business-"understand the convergence curve, and how you add value"-Romano has convinced UCG management that sales and marketing need to be completed integrated in order to take best advantage of changes brought by the evolution of technology and clients' needs. "Marketing doesn't always equal immediate results," Romano stipulated, "progress needs to be measured in several ways." Chief among these is accomplishing a marketing effort that makes the customer the leader while control is maintained by the systems designer and integrator. "This effort goes after, drills down, and formally becomes a selling partner for a fortune 15 company," Romano concluded. "That is my new initiative for UCG."

A new initiative at Atlas Sound will have an effect on the education market. As vice president of marketing Steve Young reports, the company is building loudspeaker products to work on the Cisco IP telephone platform in connection with Berbee control software. "We're starting to ship this product, and it's pretty exciting the traction we're getting," Young said. "It's a different choice for the education market in terms of school intercom and clock bell control." With the new Atlas Sound loudspeaker product integrated into a Cisco and Berbee system, paging can be accomplished through on-wall speakers, phones or even computers from anywhere within a district.

Berbee software is in use in many government applications as well as in schools, "but this is the first year that they've had a good speaker solution for it," Young said. "That's been the stumbling block for it really getting wide adoption as an alternate for traditional school intercoms."

A learning experience was certainly had on the InfoComm show floor last month, where Danley Sound Labs had an active demo room with frequencies dipping below 20 Hz, exceeding audibility on the low end. Still, Danley's SH-100B, SH-50 and SH-25 were anything but quiet. "You too can be moved by acoustic energy," enthused Mike Hedden, president of Danley Sound Labs.

In general, it appears as though the loudspeaker market is looking for smaller and more discreet products, observed Paul Freudenberg, vice president of sales and marketing at L-Acoustics U.S., "so it looks as if many companies are trending toward trying to put more power-in terms of sound pressure level-in a smaller enclosure."

The power is also increasing on the intelligence side, he noted. "There are other layers of integration that are going to start to make appearances," he said. "The next level that will affect us is the area which I'm calling the 'amplified controller'. It will be a high-performance amplifier in the 2000 Watt per channel category or more and it will also contain a greater amount of flexible DSP and control."

Just one example of this trend is Crest Audio's recent introduction the Nx CobraNet-8, a control module specifically designed to add networking and processing functionality to Crest's Ci Series multichannel power amplifiers. The module fits into the rear bay of Ci 20 x 4 and 20 x 8 power amps and supports all NexSys functions, DSP funtions and CobraNet digital audio I/O on a single Cat-5 ethernet cable. Software options for control and monitoring of these amps include NexSys 4 and Peavey's MediaMatrix NWare and MWare.

Kirsten Nelson is a freelance content producer who translates the expertise and passion of technologists into the vernacular of an audience curious about their creations. Nelson has written about audio and video technology in all its permutations for almost 20 years; she was the editor of SCN for 17 years. Her experience in the commercial AV and acoustics design and integration market has also led her to develop presentation programs and events for AVIXA and SCN, deliver keynote speeches, and moderate and participate in panel discussions. In addition to technology, she also writes about motorcycles—she is a MotoGP super fan.