Executive Q&A: Let's Get Technical

Brian Taraci, Extron
(Image credit: Future)

SCN: How long have you been with Extron, and what are your new responsibilities?

Brian Taraci: I’ve been with Extron since 1994, so this year I’ll celebrate my 29th anniversary. In addition to my new responsibilities as chief executive officer, I’ll continue as chief technology officer, providing the vision for our next generations of technology and working with the engineering departments to bring them to market.

SCN: At this stage of your career, do you prefer the technical or the executive side of the business?

Extron Logo

(Image credit: Extron)

BT: The technical and executive aspects of my career are intertwined to the point where I don’t think I could choose. I’ve been involved in almost all areas of our business, including sales, marketing, operations, and, of course, engineering. And while Extron is fundamentally a technology company, I’d say it’s rewarding to have the opportunity to lead both sides.

SCN: You’ve had a hand in developing a number of Extron’s technologies, but which particular product line makes you most proud?

BT: I led teams in the development of some major product lines such as our CrossPoint matrix switchers, XTP Systems, and NAV Pro AV over IP streaming technology. It would be impossible to pick a favorite. They are all industry leaders.

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Some of our more recent accomplishments have been centered around our patented PURE3 codec. Our flexible and upgradable XTP platform is also one that we’re proud of. Our XTP matrix switchers offer a 50 Gbps backplane and were designed to handle the data rate demands of 8K video several years before 8K was commercially available.

SCN: What advice would you give organizations looking to improve meeting equity between in-person and remote participants?

BT: Extron has supported the needs of meeting rooms and participants since the inception of our very first product. We’ve developed technologies to enhance meetings and foster collaboration, learning a lot along the way. The past few years have seen us partner with some of the most prominent UC solution providers.

Listening to what’s most important for decision makers when selecting AV technology allows us to design products that meet the needs both users and administrators. On top of that, we provide system design assistance and continue to be recognized for our award-winning customer support, ensuring project success.

SCN: How important is AV-over-IP to the Pro AV market?

BT: Our customers have responded extremely well to our NAV Pro AV over IP series of products, which continue to be deployed in a growing range of environments. That said, we still see many applications that are best suited for more traditional video distribution systems like our DTP, XTP, and FOX series products. Extron is committed to supporting a wide range of video distribution technologies as our industry continues to evolve.

Listening to what’s most important for decision makers when selecting AV technology allows us to design products that meet the needs both users and administrators.

There’s no question that AV-over-IP is a key transport technology for our market, as it provides a high level of scalability and flexibility. Still, it requires some level of network expertise and additional customer infrastructure, potentially making for a more complex installation. In addition, it requires that AV professionals coordinate with, and obtain the cooperation of, the customer’s IT department.

Extron’s strength as a manufacturer is that we have the products and the expertise to ensure a successful system deployment, no matter what technology you choose. Our S3 support team now includes a fully staffed and dedicated team of network engineers. These are folks with extensive backgrounds and certifications in the IT world, and are available to help with any AV-over-IP application our customers may bring to us.

SCN: How have supply chain issues impacted Extron, and what is your outlook for the next 12 months?

BT: When it comes to supply chain issues, I’d say the logistical issues are severe, but they can also be an opportunity for us. We have the advantage of developing and designing our own intellectual property, enabling us to adapt and respond to changes in component availability in a more dynamic fashion. Our world-class support has helped keep customers apprised of our inventory and order status, as well as answer their questions along the way.

SCN: What short and long-term goals have you set for Extron?

BT: Extron’s success isn’t just about creating innovative products; it’s about being a leader in the industry. Working with the department leaders and the executive team, I’m focused on ensuring Extron advances our leadership position and that we continue to exceed customer expectations.

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We’re continuing to invest in R&D. Developing and leveraging our own intellectual property allows us to bring unique solutions to the market. This means our customers are better positioned to deliver the most effective solutions.

SCN: Where do you see the Pro AV industry heading?

BT: I see opportunities for boundless innovation. As an industry, and at Extron in particular, we need to continue developing the right products and providing the service and support our customers need to be successful. As new technologies arise, we need to provide solutions that meet the needs of an ever-changing world.

Extron grew up alongside the AV industry. We've seen the evolution of technologies that completely reshaped how people communicate. We're proud of the leading role we play in developing technologies that drive the industry forward, and I'm very excited for the road ahead.

Mark J. Pescatore
Content Director

Mark J. Pescatore, Ph.D., is the content director of Systems Contractor News. He has been writing about Pro AV industry for more than 25 years. Previously, he spent more than eight years as the editor of Government Video magazine. During his career, he's produced and hosted two podcasts focused on the professional video marketplace, taught more than a dozen college communication courses, co-authored the book Working with HDV, and co-edited two editions of The Guide to Digital Television.