Connect The Dots

Passing conversations at CEDIA last month indicate that the peaceful coexistence between architects and AV systems integrators is still a delicate one in both the commercial and residential worlds. When discussing such matters, what soon follows is NSCA's cause celebre, the CSI MasterFormat 2004, which takes great pains to address the issues that are common sticking points for the various camps involved.

For a little background on what preceded the latest news on the MasterFormat front (page 8), according to American Technical Publishers: "Over the last 40 years, the MasterFormat, published by the Construction Specifications Institute (CSI) and Construction Specifications Canada (CSC), has become the leading standard for organizing commercial construction specifications. In 2002, The MasterFormat Expansion Team began soliciting commentary from the architectural, engineering, and construction (AEC) community on the proposal to revise and expand the MasterFormat.
The trends are still playing themselves out in terms of where the priority lies, but thanks to the convergence of all parties involved, the lines are blurred and there should be a greater understanding of the importance of each trade's contribution since each one's equipment impacts another.

Without pristine power and immediate connections backstage, all the gear out in the audience would be pretty useless, even if the cabinets were architecturally camouflaged. This applies to any transit or retail installation as easily as a fancy theater.

Studying the latest implications of new technology in power conditioning products (page 60), the customer-base is becoming much more aware of the critical nature of protecting their investments in equipment. Bringing the point back to MasterFormat, since every system is intertwined with another, the power protection for each component has greater importance. Blowing one piece could bring the whole system down. Convergence has seen to that.
Connecting the source of power to each piece of gear and all of them to each other is not without its complications. In a look at wire, cable, and connectors by Kirsten Nelson (page 68), fiber is gaining traction with technical and economic advantages as well as enhanced appeal in light of higher bandwidth required by the migration to 1080p and HD-SDI in video signal distribution.
It doesn't hurt that 1,000 feet of fiber weighs 20 pounds. FiberPlex is profiled this month as the inventor of the LightViper (page 64) and has gotten great feedback from installers on the LightViper System since contractors are saving money with the current high price of gas as well as the labor cost savings.

As Karen Mitchell refers to in her installation story on Nashville's Schermerhorn Symphony Center (page 42), both architectural structure and AV systems need to operate simultaneously. The physical laws of time and space say this is forbidden and in this case, acoustics won. The acousticians from Akustiks of South Norwalk, CT, were tapped for the ambitious project first. They were then joined by theater planners Fisher Dachs Associates of New York and David M. Schwarz/Architectural Services of Washington, DC to give the Nashville Symphony a true home.