SCN Hall of Fame: Bob Marcus

Bob Marcus, SCN Hall of Fame 2023
(Image credit: Future)

The Pro AV industry is loaded with talented people, and at SCN, we're proud to celebrate the achievements of the newest members of our Hall of Fame. 

It was while working on his bachelor's degree in industrial engineering at Columbia University that Bob Marcus realized he was more interested in management than engineering. That's why his master's degree is from the MIT Sloan School of Management, and probably why he didn't begin his career behind a test bench.

[SCN Hall of Fame 2023: Harro Heinz] (opens in new tab)

About a dozen years after he graduated, Marcus was consulting for a company that produced computer animation for TV and motion pictures. Turns out the company had a problem—they couldn't easily make videos from their computer systems, because computers didn't output video in those days. The company tasked Marcus with finding a third-party solution.

Eventually, he found a company that had plans to build the necessary equipment. Marcus took a look and knew it wasn't going to do the job. By then, his consulting gig was over and he needed something new to do.

"I decided I would produce the system I couldn't buy," he recalled. "That got me into the AV world."

[Natural Connections] (opens in new tab)

In 1987, he launched RGB Spectrum. The company's first product was the VideoLink, a broadcast-quality (NTSC at the time) video scan converter. His initial customer wasn't producing movies—he needed to record computer-generated imagery from a tactical operations center.  From there, RGB Spectrum branched out and became one of the first companies to offer multiviewers. Then, the company expanded into video walls and, more recently, AV-over-IP (opens in new tab) and KVM-over-IP solutions.

Even with its expanding product catalog, RGB Spectrum remains specialized in serving mission-critical operations which explains the company's current motto: Better Decisions, Faster. Marcus is more than happy to deliver a video wall solution for your corporate lobby, but his company's technology is typically found in the control room of whatever vertical market—military, security, public safety, etc.—needs visual information to provide situational awareness as part of its decision-making process.

"We produce the AV systems that put the right information in front of the right people in the best way possible," he explained. "Pretty pictures are fine, and they serve a purpose in our world. But I've always been interested in good AV support as an integral part of operations management, whether process control, security, or tactical response. Done right, an AV system enables better decision-making. And if you simplify workflows, you can make decision-making faster. That's why we have been working on desktop and mobile solutions as well as the large-screen displays we are best known for."

Marcus said customers come to RGB Spectrum for full-featured, high-quality products. "If you want 24/7 reliability, low latency, and advanced features, then you want the kind of equipment we offer," he added. "I think we have a very special place in the market. We're seldom the low-price leader; we offer value at the top end of the market."

After 35 years as CEO of RGB Spectrum, Marcus still enjoys the Pro AV market. “Whether your interest is in entertainment or in decision support, there are very interesting things going on,” he said. “It’s an exciting and ever-changing space.”

[SCN Hall of Fame 2023: Rony Sebok] (opens in new tab)

Currently, Marcus is interested in what is called "digital transformation." The company is bringing AV-over-IP solutions to market that can deliver complex visual information from any source to any destination, from a video wall in a control room to a monitor in an office across a campus or a cell phone anywhere in the world. "We can deliver visual information anywhere, on any display. That's powerful," he said.

Of course, digital transformation is a very big job and still a work in progress, as Marcus readily concedes. But at 79, he plans to continue to be part of the process. “We’re still working on it,” Marcus noted. “I think we’re leading—but that doesn’t mean we’re at the finish line. I don’t expect to get bored anytime soon.

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."