A certain level of expertise may be broadly available in this age of Wikipedia, but the designation of a forté is still uniquely applied to those with specific knowledge and application abilities. This translates in the AV world as widely available digital capacity breeding narrower specificity in product design, vertical markets, and the numerous points where those factors intersect.
In accordance with this trend, Biamp is opening the Integrated Systems Europe (ISE) 2014 show this morning with a big, new announcement. The manufacturer is expanding its Tesira line with the addition of a more compact, feature-packed little niche-specific series to be known as TesiraForté.
Shrinking the massively capable and successful Tesira to fit a broader base of specific, smaller-scale applications came as a result of customer demand almost from the get-go. Tesira 1.0, as it will now be known, was built on a modular platform meant to serve enterprise-level projects. When it was launched, the next logical question was, where's the junior version? And as the years progressed and market demand for products built for smaller meeting rooms and "huddle" spaces, Biamp saw with perfect clarity that it had to tailor Tesira accordingly.
"We were hearing that Tesira needed to touch everyday audio in some way, shape, or form," said Justin O'Connor, audio product manager for Biamp. "The feature set had to work down-market to bring five years of innovation to more projects, and also provide an easier gateway into the platform."
The trend of "smaller, more feature rich, and cheaper" is inescapable, O'Connor noted: "Our expectation is for technology to be able to right-size itself to us. We want the sophistication of a NASA command center in our home television. We don't like the idea anymore of sophistication having to be scaled down for price."
There will be four TesiraForté models to start, each with 12 fixed analog audio inputs. The "forté" of each server-class device is illustrated by the addition of outputs and connections such as AEC or standard POTS or VoIP options in the telephony sphere. Each model is available with or without AVB.
Biamp's new DAN-1 digital networking card.
Biamp of course has a track record within the "everyday audio" space, with Audia and Nexia enjoying much demand there while Tesira and Vocia find homes in enterprise applications. "Most of our business falls into everyday audio," O'Connor said. But meanwhile within the enterprise sphere, Biamp has had a chance to hone its networked media skills via its commitment to AVB. As a result, Tesira 2.0 fits both of these greater strategies within the Biamp catalog. "Forte is designed to be another networked tool in the entire Tesira platform, and or to be an everyday audio solution," Prothe explained. "It can be a standalone server or it can be a server for a small set of systems with a handful of expanders. It can be application specific or it can be another arrow in the quiver for system designers."
The single-rack-unit TesiraForté behaves well as a modular addition to a Tesira network or as a standalone device in a system that may or may not grow to include more Tesira gear in the future. Expansion is the key word.
"With Tesira 1.0 being built on highly modular products, no single product had it's own forte," O'Connor explained. "They were all generalist products. We wanted to take all the features that were so great about Tesira and build them into a network toplogy that would be used to benefit the whole line."
TesiraForté will be on exhibit at Biamp's ISE booth, and all eight models (four varieties, in both AVB and non-AVB incarnations) are expected to ship in early April 2014.
At ISE, Biamp is also debuting alongside Tesira 2.0 the new DAN-1 digital networking card to support Dante. Another feature that will be added with 2.0 is redundancy, another result of customer requests. "The more that AV integrators have to sell into IT, the more the IT group who's actually tech savvy is going to ask what they are going to do to back them up," O'Connor observed.
Ultimately, each of the TesiraForté models is geared toward conferencing in some way, and this is likely intentional, as that category is looking like it will be a significant driver in the AV market for the foreseeable future. "I don't think there's anything that's going to stop AV from being a communication tool," O'Connor said. "Conferencing, in various forms is still showing growth, especially as clients begin to realize the importance of audio and creating soundscapes in every environment where people are gathered."