Not your “usual suspects,” the exhibits at the Las Vegas The Mob Museum explore organized crime’s impact on Las Vegas history, as well as its global influence. Audiovisual technology is critical to the museum’s unique mission statement. Interactive and engaging AV exhibits, as well as online videos, reveal the history and context about the role of organized crime in the U.S. We spoke with Ryan Markus, The Mob Museum’s Information Technology Manager, about AV and IT cross-training, the technology community, and teamwork.
AV Technology: How is AV/IT convergence playing out in your facility?
Ryan Markus: We hit the ground running approximately four years ago and we are now one of the top 10 places to visit in Las Vegas. When we began working for The Mob Museum, all AV was completed, but there was no IT infrastructure. This was totally different than what I have experienced in the past.
Our AV/IT staff worked together to lay the foundation which gave us an overall advantage to start. Having a strong leadership team has really helped our people become more efficient and learn how to work together more productively as a team. A majority of our team have been crossed-trained and feel comfortable handling any number of issues. Also, as we do projects we all are involved from planning, installing and commissioning. I have seen our IT guys working on an audio interface, while the AV is explaining how it works and vice versa. All of this sparks some great conversation and often a debate.
What AV/IT problems have you solved recently?
Ryan Markus: We were in need of an upgrade to our CCTV system. The timing looked right to us seeing the drastic change in cameras over the past few years. The analog cameras of the past have such poor quality when you compare them with the new POE cameras now. We removed 50 old cameras and installed 100 new 3 megapixel cameras as well as a 32TB-storage array.
There were a lot of issues we had to solve due to the historic nature of the building, DVR storage, camera locations, networking and switches. We have some switches that are located outside where the temperatures can top 115F or higher.
What types of new tech or products do you want to learn more about?
Ryan Markus: We are constantly in a state of change, always looking for the next exciting exhibit or artifact. As a group, we are open to any technology that can help us accomplice our 3 Es: entice, excite, and educate. You’ve got to get them to look first then get curious and ultimately walk away with knowledge they didn’t have before.
What AV/IT do you hope to buy in the near future?
Ryan Markus: We can think of a number of great products and ideas that we would like to pursue. Whether a mass storage for our live video production, remote educational kiosk or low-level Bluetooth beacon to customize the guest experience. However, the one I’m thinking of is aligned with some of our core values: Commitment to Community and Being People Driven. With that in mind, it would be great to move forward on a remote mobile presence. This would allow a handicapped or non-handicapped person the freedom to create their own experience here at the Mob Museum.
Where are tech manufacturers getting it wrong or missing opportunities?
Ryan Markus: I think they are doing a great job compared to 10 years ago, when no one seemed to want to talk to one another. So much has changed, and so quickly. I think those companies that have been willing to adapt have made the greatest strides. I would like to see more companies willing to work together to develop standards or protocols that would benefit the industry as a whole.
What is the biggest obstacle to collaboration? What are your collaboration strategies?
Ryan Markus: People—plain and simple. I’m thankful to have an organization that is willing to adapt and understands the need for the right people as part of my team. Those on my team have a passion for what they do and a willingness to share and grow.