Industry News

Sony Returns to ISE in 2017

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Sony will return to ISE in 2017 and the company says visitors to their ISE stand should expect:

Big Screen CLEDIS Technology. Sony’s ultimate big-screen display solution, CLEDIS, delivers 8K visual experiences by combining a high-contrast image (more than 1,000,000:1) with an 1000 nit brightness, and "no artefacts due to uniform brightness intensity." Unique pixel drive circuitry achieves an ultra-fast video response time with a frame rate of 120fps for fast-moving content across a nearly 180 degree viewing angle.

Visual simulation and entertainment applications. Sony will showcase its range of SXRD projection solutions to enhance industrial design, CAD, flight simulation, scientific research, healthcare, theme parks, planetariums, visitor attractions and beyond. Models on display at ISE 2017 will include the VPL-GT280 with 5000 lumens brightness.

Real-time multimedia sharing and collaboration, designed to inspire active learning in universities, colleges and corporate meeting rooms. Sony’s new collaboration solution will enable users to share multimedia content in real time from their own portable devices within lectures, brainstorming sessions or collaborative workgroups. Participants can join the discussion remotely and share material using traditional video conference systems. Content can be streamed online or archived with Optical Disc Archive, and by connecting to the Ubicast recording system sessions can be recorded for review at any time. The easy-to-use SRG-120DU Full HD remotely operated PTZ camera will be demonstrated at the show, along with a new Sony laser projector.

Corporate and touchscreen solutions. Sony will demonstrate the breadth of its BRAVIA Professional Display range, combining industry-leading image quality with excellent reliability, low running costs and interchangeable professional features. This includes TDM Digital Signage software that makes it quick and easy to create eye-catching multimedia experiences, great for reception areas, school sports halls and cafeterias. Our new touchscreen solution turns BRAVIA into a super-size touch display – great for engaging customers at offices, universities, retail stores, and visitor attractions. The best-ever BRAVIA B2B family now includes the 100” FWD-100ZD9501, delivering 4K HDR picture quality for high-end corporate, signage and post production applications.

Live production solutions for capturing team meetings, presentations and conferences. Sony live production solutions make it easier to capture team meetings, presentations and conferences in Full HD or 4K for streaming and sharing with audiences worldwide. Stream and share content with the Sony HXR-NX5R Full HD handheld camera, MCX-500 4-channel switcher and RM-30BP multi-function remote, and use the latest generation of Optical Disc Archive solutions to deliver safe and long-term storage, with instant access to all of your files in a new workflow.

“We’re looking forward to returning to Amsterdam and to unveiling our latest innovations for revitalising working and learning environments around Europe,” said Damien Weissenburger, Business Head of Corporate & Education Solutions, Sony Professional Solutions Europe.

Go Sony at ISE 2017

Barix Founder Johannes Rietschel Returns

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Johannes Rietschel

Audio over IP pioneer Barix brings back company founder Johannes Rietschel as CTO—just one of several executive-level changes as Barix prepares to introduce new product strategies and innovations to its many markets, including professional AV, broadcast, retail and security.

Rietschel [shown in photo at top left] founded Barix in 2001 upon anticipating the need to move audio and control signals over IP networks. The company has since shipped more than 300,000 Barix and private-labeled OEM hardware devices worldwide, and has more recently evolved into SaaS and managed services with SoundScape, its business music and advertising platform for retail, hospitality and other location-based businesses.


Pro Audio Video--Market Drivers and Forecast

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Technavio Logo

Technavio analysts predict the global pro audio video (AV) market will grow at a CAGR of close to 12% during 2016-2020. And cites digital signage as one of the main drivers of growth...

The research study covers the present scenario and growth prospects of the global pro AV market (various applications such as collaborative conferencing that include video, audio, web, and data conferencing, digital signage, command and control centers, tradeshow exhibitions, presentations, medical communications, virtual events, and corporate events) for 2016-2020. The report also lists the key vendors in the market (but does not present the market share of vendors in the market).

"The growing need for controlled systems from corporate firms drives the global pro AV market. With the use of control systems, all the AV equipment get interconnected and can be controlled from a single access, which reduces the extra effort needed for manual control. The increased use of digital signage as an effective marketing and promotional tool is another major factor, which is likely to fuel the market growth during the forecast period," says Ujjwal Doshi, Technavio analyst.

Technavio analysts highlights three factors contributing to the growth of the global pro AV market:

  • Increased demand for controlled systems
  • Increasing adoption of digital signage content management software
  • Growth in movie industry

Increased demand for controlled systems: As the AV technology develops, most of the AV devices are interconnected with the process automation. Control systems take control of all the connected AV equipment and other related accessories like display screens, PCs, microphones, lights, and cameras. Control systems are designed to simplify the AV process so that the meetings, events, and other collaborations that are inter dependent run seamlessly. The demand for controlled meeting and teaching spaces has increased in corporate, education, government, and other end-user segments. With the controlled systems in place, all the connected pro AV equipment can be operated with ease.

Market Research

Increasing adoption of digital signage content management software: In 2009, there were just above 50 vendors providing digital signage content management software and in 2015, this number grew to more than 500 vendors. This growth is due to the increase in the usage of digital signage. With the availability of out-of-the-box pro AV equipment and digital signage content management software, it is easy for small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) to directly implement digital signage for their business without any customization. The availability of easy to use digital signage content management software has enabled many retail players to use digital signage for their brands.

Growth in movie industry: "The growth of the movie industry in US was one of the major reasons for the growing movie industry globally. The movie industry has grown by 33% in 2010-2015. The storylines along with the presence of visual effects, 3D effects, and IMAX theaters improve the experience of the moviegoers. Advances in home theater set up as well as in television series that are produced, are unable to give a tough competition to the movie market," asserts Ujjwal.

The global box office market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 6.95% in terms of revenue during the forecast period. The introduction of 3D and IMAX theaters provide a much better viewing experience and allow the global box office market to claim higher revenue. Ticket prices in 3D and IMAX theaters are substantially higher than standard tickets. With the increase in a number of screens, the opportunity for audio and projector manufacturers in the pro AV market increases.

Go Technavio Forecast

Samsung Buys Harman in $8 Billion Cash Deal

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Samsung Office

It's the biggest acquisition in Samsung's history: $8 billion for Harman International in an all cash deal.

And for Samsung it is less about audio/video and digital signage, and much more about automotive electronics.

Harman leads the connected car solutions market, with more than 30 million vehicles equipped with its connected car and audio systems, including embedded infotainment, telematics, connected safety and security.

Approximately 65% of Harman’s $7.0 billion of reported sales during the 12 months ended September 30, 2016 are automotive-related-- and its order backlog for this market at June 30, 2016 was approximately $24 billion.

Upon closing, Harman will operate as a stand-alone Samsung subsidiary, led by Harman’s current management team.

Samsung says it is pursuing a long-term growth strategy in automotive electronics, and therefore plans to retain Harman’s work force, headquarters and facilities, as well as all of its consumer and professional audio brands.

Samsung’s own Automotive Electronics Business Team, established in December 2015 to identify opportunities for Samsung in the automotive sector, will work closely with the Harman management to realize the expected growth potential.

It hasn't been a good year for Samsung. The Note 7 recalls are still in the headlines and at home Samsung is being grilled by prosecutors over why Samsung transferred 28 billion euros (about 30 billion U.S. dollars) last year to a company in Germany co-owned by Korean President Park's longtime confidante, Choi Soon-sil (under arrest for abuse of power and attempted fraud) and her 20-year-old daughter.

Samsung Electronics Co. nominated Jay Y. Lee to its board in a move that allows the son of its ailing chairman to take a more active role as Korea’s largest company faces its deepest crisis in years.

Meanwhile new CEO and vice-chairman Oh-Hyun Kwon moves ahead with an agenda thought to be inspired by Jay Y. Lee: the shift from organic growth to growth by acquisition. And it's a strategy that if it succeeds, will be copied by other Asian companies that look to the Korean conglomerate for leadership ideas.

The deal to buy Harman International Industries all about the purchase of an American automotive technology company,  a deal that would combine Samsung's display and semiconductor operations with a business that already builds sound and smart components for digitally connected cars.

Samsung wants to be part of the supply chain for technology that will transform cars in the way that smartphones transformed mobile devices. This market, Samsung says, will grow to more than $100 billion by 2025.

In addition, the combination of Harman’s brands and audio capabilities and Samsung’s expertise in consumer electronics could deliver enhanced customer benefits and elevate user experiences across Samsung’s portfolio of consumer and professional products and systems.

“Harman perfectly complements Samsung in terms of technologies, products and solutions, and joining forces is a natural extension of the automotive strategy we have been pursuing for some time,” notes Oh-Hyun Kwon, Vice Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Samsung Electronics.

“As a Tier 1 automotive supplier with deep customer relationships, strong brands, leading technology and a recognized portfolio of best-in-class products, Harman immediately establishes a strong foundation for Samsung to grow our automotive platform.  Dinesh Paliwal is a proven global leader and, in our extensive discussions, we have developed deep respect for him, his strong senior leadership team and Harman’s talented employees. Harman’s sustained track record of rapid growth fueled by technology leadership and an unmatched automotive order pipeline reflects its commitment to innovation and customers.”

Dinesh Paliwal

Dinesh Paliwal, Harman Chairman, President and CEO, [shown in photo] explains, “This compelling all-cash transaction will deliver significant and immediate value to our shareholders and provide new opportunities for our employees as part of a larger, more diversified company. Today’s announcement is a testament to what we have achieved and the value that we have created for shareholders.

"Samsung is an ideal partner for Harman and this transaction will provide tremendous benefits to our automotive customers and consumers around the world.  Combining Samsung’s strengths in leading-edge displays, connectivity and processing solutions with Harman’s technology leadership and long-standing customer relationships will enable OEMs to provide new offerings for their customers.

"Partnerships and scale are essential to winning over the long term in automotive as demand for robust connected car and autonomous driving solutions increases at a rapid pace.  This transaction will bring Harman and Samsung’s complementary strengths together to accelerate innovation in this space.  More broadly, this investment underscores the strength of Harman’s employees, as well as our success and leadership across our markets.  We look forward to working together with Samsung to elevate experiences for consumers worldwide.”

Samsung expects the combination to deliver significant growth opportunities and benefits to customers by leveraging Samsung’s and Harman’s complementary technologies, resulting in increased market penetration across important end markets.

These are the complementary technologies mentioned in its press release...

Automotive: Combining Harman’s leadership in new connected car technologies, including its top positions in infotainment, cyber security, over-the-air updates and telematics, with Samsung’s significant expertise and experience in connectivity technologies, including 5G, UX/UI, display technology and security solutions, will enhance Harman’s automotive and connected services businesses to drive greater sales and provide significant benefits as automakers speed the adoption of next-generation connected cars.

Audio: Harman’s leading brands and cutting-edge audio systems include JBL, Harman Kardon, Mark Levinson, AKG, Lexicon, Infinity, and Revel.  The company also licenses Bowers & Wilkins and Bang & Olufsen brands for automotive.  All of these brands will greatly enhance the competitiveness of Samsung’s mobile, display, virtual reality and wearable products to deliver a fully differentiated audio and visual experience for customers.

Professional: The combination will also expand the combined company’s business-to-business platform through its ability to deliver integrated, large-scale audio and visual professional solutions at stadiums, concert facilities and other performance centers such as The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts and STAPLES Center – home of the GRAMMY Awards.

Connected Services: Samsung will gain access to Harman’s 8000 software designers and engineers who are unlocking the potential of the IoT market.  This collaboration will deliver the next generation of cloud-based consumer and enterprise experiences, as well as end-to-end services for the automotive market through the convergence of design, data and devices."

The transaction, subject to approval by Harman shareholders, regulatory approvals and other customary closing conditions, is expected to close in mid-2017.

Many industry commentators noted that AMX, one of Harman's recent acquisitions, did not get mentioned specifically in the press release.  That, to some, signals the possibility of a de-acquisition. On the other hand, AMX could play an important role in the Connected Services (and IoT) and large scale professional AV installations.

Acquisitions are new territory for Samsung (who once believed in only organic growth) so no one --including Samsung itself--knows what to expect. It's a new era.

Go Samsung Buys Harman

Thin Client Maker Enters Digital Signage

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Ilumineye DS Suite

VXL enters the digital signage market with Ilumineye DS Suite a software and media-player package to make high-quality digital signage available to everyone at a more affordable price.

Headquartered in India (with offices in EMEA that sprouted up during 40 years in the IT business), VXL is one of the world’s leading manufacturers of thin-client hardware. Their thin client background lead them into digital signage.

VXL’s VP for Worldwide Sales, Frank Noon, says the cost of current digital signage solutions puts it out of reach to many businesses. “We believe,” says Noon, “that the potential market size could actually be far larger if the technology was opened up to a wider customer demographic. That’s what we aim to do with Illumineye DS Suite.”

Illumineye combines a Windows-based software suite – Illumineye DS Suite – and dedicated media player – the Illumineye IQ-L Player, sold as a bundle at a one-off price.

The Illumineye software handles the creation of campaigns – building from supplied templates – as well as the deployment of campaigns locally (over a LAN or over the Internet). Digital campaigns can be created quickly, incorporating text, images, tickers, video, audio and much more. They can also be interactive, as Illumineye supports touchscreen displays.

The Illumineye IQ-L Player is a thin client, based on an Intel processor. With no moving parts, it’s built to be reliable and run at a low cost. It’s small and can be mounted on the rear of most screens using the inclusive VESA bracket.

The whole package is, according to Noon, designed to be incredibly simple to use. “We’ve built Illumineye DS Suite so that it can be used by everyone,” says Noon, “not just design professionals. It’s ideal for organisations of any size – from one person upwards, as Illumineye’s software can manage and schedule content on any number of displays.”

“Our software and media player stands – in terms of features – at least shoulder-to-shoulder with leading solutions. But we want to create a ‘desktop publishing revolution’ in digital signage, where organisations of any size can access the kind of power previously only available to professionals. It’s a complete package – customers just add their own display.”

Illumineye is available from VXL’s worldwide partner network. The bundle has a recommended retail price of US$399 / €363 / £305 for single units, with discounts available for larger volumes. (Prices are based on exchange rates as on 1st July 2016 and could change depending on currency fluctuations.)

Go VXL Illumineye