Name: Ali Haghjoo
Company: Hall Research
Overtime: Haghjoo is a good photographer and an avid tennis player, and each year he and his wife, Gail Haghjoo, attend the Indian Wells BNP Paribas Open.
SCN: How did you come to form Hall Research, and how did it evolve over the years?
Ali Haghjoo: In 1984, I formed H&R Technology, with Leonard Rezac, as a partnership to service DEC monitors and manufacture transducer signal conditioners for aerospace. In 1990, H&R developed the dual user interface specifically for NASDAQ computers, which was the company’s entrance into the PC peripherals market. In 1992, I bought out Mr. Rezac and became sole proprietor under the name of H&R Technology. I continued to expand into the PC and AV markets for the next two years while still securing several aerospace contracts for data acquisition and automated testing systems. In 1995, I incorporated under the name of Hall Research Technologies.
The name Hall is a respected family name from Mrs. Haghjoo, and it evokes memories of hardworking Americans in business to serve the customer with the best product possible. The words “research” and “technologies” relay the principles of ongoing engineering design efforts to exceed the expectations of our customers. In 2009, the Technologies portion of the name was dropped and the official name is now Hall Research.
SCN: How did your aerospace background help you get into the AV world?
AH: I received my electrical engineering degree from California State University Long Beach with a minor in Biomedical Engineering. I went on to the University of California at Irvine and received my masters in Electrical Engineering. I began working in the aerospace industry in 1981 and quickly gained the esteem of my employers, being promoted to R&D Manager at Cyber Systems Inc. in Anaheim, CA. This was a smaller company that fluctuated in size from 20 to 50 employees, depending upon the contract. It was a good training ground for a fledgling engineer as I worked briefly as a technician then an engineer later providing sales support. My experience as an employee who worked closely with management and customers prepared me for running my own business down the road. Cyber closed several years after I left, part of the fall out of the aerospace decline in the 90’s.
SCN: Hall Research boasts its Mini-Cat Video over Cat5 device. How did this device helped Hall Research find its place in the industry?
AH: The Mini-Cat Series of Video & Power Extension over UTP (twisted pair cable) has been Hall Research’s leading support product in the AV industry for over 12 years. Now, of course as VGA is replaced with HDMI this is no longer our leader but is still a standby for many customers when Digital is not required. The reason for its success being the quality of the design and the extremely low failure rate. In this way it is representative of the best of Hall Research in a simple product of which I was the original designer. It is not unusual to find this product working away 24/7 many, many years after it was installed.
SCN: How has video control systems evolved over the years, and what trends should the industry look for?
AH: Hall Research manufactures a broad line of affordable IP-based control systems AV signal management. Control can be via physical keypads or browser enabled devices, including smartphones and tablets. Built-in realtime clock with task/event scheduling allows operation to be automated (such as turning projectors off automatically at night). Use of HTML5 and Websockets “push” technology in embedded webpages has greatly enhanced customer experience. Systems have IR emitter and multiple RS-232 ports for controlling video projectors and other serially enabled devices. You can also control virtually unlimited number of IP enabled appliances via Telnet or SSH commands.
SCN: What about training? What kinds of training programs do you find most effective and how do you apply that into Hall Research?
AH: We try to provide as much information on our website in the way of specifications, block diagrams and very detailed product manuals to enable our customers to understand the features of the product and learn how they need to be installed. When reading a manual is not possible though we do find that videos are good resources. We have several on our website that go over the more difficult products to set up.
SCN: InfoComm is quickly approaching—what technology trends and product features will you be on the lookout for this year?
AH: There are several areas that we will be watching to see what will be a technology trend that has staying power and what may be just a flash in the pan. networked AV is a hot topic today and reviewing the variety of solutions available and comparing their advantages and disadvantages is something we are watching as we develop our own solution. Keeping an eye on the display manufacturers for true compatibility with HDBaseT or the introduction of other formats is a must. We are always looking at new ways to accomplish extension to the distance, resolution, and price point that the customer requires.
Kelleigh Welch is managing editor at SCN. Follow her on Twitter @kelleighwelch.