Check out my #infocomm13 Day 2 report Update

The second half of my Infocomm 2013 report has been added to the corporate TD website. 20 products that caught my eye.

Check out the link here:

Infocomm2013_day2

http://corporatetechdecisions.com/article/one_ctss_perspective_infocomm_2013

REDBAND: Handling Unexpected Delays on Custom Integration Projects By Todd Anthony Puma

Handling delays in projects can be a real headache. Even if it’s a personal project, say remodeling your kitchen, any delay can be frustrating. Another week of take-out sounds great, unless you’ve been living on take-out for the past six weeks. It’s even worse when it impacts your business and your clients. We all put together detailed plans, drawings, and timelines for our clients and projects. While things do come up, we stick to these documents and commitments. But sometimes things happen that are out of our control that require us to adjust on the fly.

My company has been working on a very large renovation with a client combining three apartments into one enormous home in Manhattan. This is one of the largest non-theater projects we have ever undertaken and required a lot of time and commitment from me, my techs, installers, and project manager. All of the pre-wire went off without a hitch, and we were all set to start rough-in last week. We’d checked with the contractor a week before our scheduled date, and we were still on track. Surprising on such a large project, but the contractor is great and is on top of things.

 Then we got a call on Thursday (we were supposed to start the following Monday). The electrician had run some wiring incorrectly and not to code, so the walls had to be opened up, the electrical fixed, and the walls re-closed before we could do our rough-in…
Continue reading the article by clicking the link below:

http://www.residentialsystems.com/default.aspx?tabid=90&EntryId=604

ToddRedband

Todd Anthony Puma is the CEO & Founder of The Source Home Theater. Check out his  website at The Source Home Theater and follow him on twitter at  @ToddAnthonyPuma .

REDBAND: Stranger in a Strange Land…An American AV Tech in Qatar

When I told my family that I was taking a yearlong remote job in Qatar, they all thought I was heading into a war zone. While its neighbor Bahrain may have started the Arab Spring, Qatar is very much a growing and fostering country. To put a better perspective on things, you need to look at Doha as if Singapore had moved to the desert. Most of the population is a mix of Filipino, Arab, Indian, Western expats and Bangladeshi. The amount of foreign nationals are so great that the native Qatari people appear to be the minority in their own country. Having that in mind will give you a feel for how the city lives and breathes.

As an AV guy living in one of the richest countries in the world, one would expect that there is nothing but big screens and a digital playgrounds all around. At least that is what I would have thought based on my perception of Doha’s “gulf cousin” Dubai. Both are expanding their city skylines and prepping for bigger and better things.  However in Doha’s case, there is still a bit of groundwork to be done.

In terms of displays, digital signage and use of technology: Look towards the malls. In Doha there are two major malls that seem to draw the fine citizens by the droves. In both cases, if there is a large emphasis on service. The Qtel stores are all lined with commercial grade Samsun Samsung and NEC Displays in 3×3 video walls… of course they should be. Qtel is the government run phone company. The only other service provider is Vodafone, whose coverage makes Sprint seem far and wide. But it is the Qatari government is spending all the money to push for 4G coverage and updated technology in the city.  Along with the 4G implementation, the push for digital displays and modern AV are also coming from the government. In fact one of the best examples of their push into the digital age, and a site to see,  is the Aspire Tower. The entire tower is a hotel that is lined with large-scale LED panels, turning the tower itself into a 360 degree electronic sign. The topper is that during Ramadan, the tower transforms into a digital torch, with an active flame coming from the top of the tower. The entire area is in a state of preparation for the future, but it is tempered with a mindset from the 90′s. It’s an Ironic mix of high-tech coupled with Zack Morris Cell phones.  Still you can feel the buzz in the air of whats to come. And for all the better reason in that they are hosting the 2022 FIFA World Cup. Already I have seen the beginnings of the infrastructure updates and the birth new stadiums to support this landmark event. This will be the first time a country in the Middle East will host the World Cup.

There are a number of things that this AV tech From Jersey has to get used to. The movie theaters do not have Fandango or online reservations. But when you get your tickets you do reserve you seats in the theater. Belive it or not  there are things like IMAX and 3D movies out here, however because of Sharia law most movies are heavily edited for content. In a way I’d be amazed if any Tarentino films will ever make a profit out here after being edited. Technology aside there are a few thing that I miss  from home. Simple pleasures such as the local newsstand, a real 24 hour diner, local theater shows and cookouts with neighbors. It’s the little things, like bacon cheeseburgers, that seem to matter most when you’re a stranger in a strange land.

Until next time,

O’Donnell

BDREDBAND2

 

 

Congrats to REDBAND’s own Todd Anthony Puma named to Dealerscope’s 40 under 40 list!

ToddRedband

Congrats Todd on being named to the 40 under 40 list!

Check out Dealerscope’s June 2013 Edition on PAGE 48 to see Todd’s Profile by clicking the image above or the link Below:

 

Congrats Again on this wonderful achievement!

– REDBAND

REDBAND: Infocomm 2013 Winners by Mike Brandes

INFOCOMM2013boothpic

InfoComm this year was a blur. Last year I did UBTech and InfoComm and felt like I had way too much free time. This year, to correct this, I decided to load up on meetings and stay as busy as possible to make the most of the InfoComm experience. I wrote a little, last week  about my time in the CTS prep class and subsequent test; and the inherent value of continuing education. I feel the best approach to the InfoComm experience is to balance a little better between the Show Floor Only mentality, and the Load Up on Meetings stance. This year’s InfoComm was the largest show on the east coast, and it was massive to say the least. Here are my top winners from this years’ show, in no particular order.

  1. 4K
    We all remember the incredible consumer demand centered around the introduction of 3d displays and projectors a few years back; this year’s big staple for all manufacturers was 4k. Unlike 3d, I think 4K/8K will enjoy far more stable demand in both the consumer and professional AV markets, especially once content beyond digital signage and computer generated signals become more prevalent. The caveat is, if this content doesn’t become readily available, 4k/8k will wind up serving a very niche market. In my opinion, the two winners for 4K at this years’ show was LG’s 84″ 4K monitor, and Christie’s 4k 60hz projector. I would love to own both these pieces, but have to wait until the cost comes down.
  2. MS Lync Integration
    Shortly before last year’s show in Las Vegas we began implementing Microsoft Lync; and I went to InfoComm looking for all the AV I could possibly integrate with Lync to enable it to be a full UCS for our campus. I was incredibly disappointed, and almost frustrated to find out there were no real AV appliances ready to integrate with Lync. Around that time, Vaddio released the Easy USB line of professional USB peripherals for computer based web conferencing: Webex, Skype, Google +, MS Lync etc. This product line represented a solution to a few of our problems at an affordable price point. This year, however, I was blown out of the water by Vaddio’s Huddle Station and Group Station integrated approach to computer based Web Meetings. I look forward to implementing this product line to address a number of needs we have in conference room video conferencing capabilities.Additionally, Crestron was a big winner in this space. They debuted the Crestron RL system designed to integrate Lync for professional Video conferencing. With solutions for single and multiple displays, and system control and automation, Crestron as made incredible strides to reaching the those using Lync. I’m really interested in seeing this product in action in a live demo.
  3. Cloud Conferencing 
    Two years ago I was hopping on an elevator in my hotel to head to my room after a long day at the show; I noticed the group standing next to me all had red badge holders (exhibitors) and saw them eyeing my green badge holder (education customer) and my heart sank. I really didn’t know if I could handle another sales pitch, especially on an elevator with no escape or distraction. As it turned out these fine people were from a startup called Blue Jeans Networks, allowing users of different VTC systems to meet seamlessly in the cloud. Cloud Interoperability Providers represent a tremendous benefit for organizations with different methods of VTC to be able to connect with each other. This year there were several other key companies in this market. I look forward to seeing how cloud interoperability grows and becomes more affordable.

There were lots of other great things that I would love to buy and use, but aren’t great fits for my particular application requirements: Projection/Display mapping technologieswaterproof speakersspeakers that looked more like art than actual speakers and a host of fantastic other products. Sometimes I wish I could win some sort of AV lottery and just have all this great technology.

What were the three best things you saw at InfoComm?

Mike

 

Check out this post on Mike’s Blog by clicking the link Below:

http://mikebrandesav.com/2013/06/17/my-take-infocomms-big-winners/

squareglasses6

Mike is an experienced audio video and information technology specialist, with 5 years experience in AV/IT, and previous experience in Pro Audio including full time touring experience. Mike is active in InfoComm, the Audiovisual Industry Association, and serves on the Technology Managers Council. Check out Mike’s website http://mikebrandesav.com/ and Follow him on Twitter.

REDBAND: Impressing My Neighbors, Architects, and Designers by Todd Anthony Puma

If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you may remember that several months ago I was invited to a neighbor’s house for dinner. He didn’t know what I did for a living and he was raving about his Sonos system and Harmony remote. I promised to write again when I had them over to our house. Well, now that I’ve fully installed my Crestron system, had all the bells and whistles programmed in by industry veteran Richard Fregosa, and have installed all of my floorstanding, in-wall, in-ceiling, and invisible speakers, I was ready to have them over.

Needless to say, from the moment they came in, I had the full-on effect going. The Stealth Acoustics speakers in the entry hall were softly playing music and the entry keypad had a welcome message for them. While it didn’t yet seem to sink in, I knew that over the course of the evening they would see some of the subtle, but impactful touches.

The first “wow” moment was when we stepped into the family room for a pre-dinner drink. I touched the “cocktail” mode on the in-wall touchpanel and the lights dimmed, the shades dropped to half closed, and music started playing through the speakers. That’s when the conversation started with a, “How did you do that?” After that, he couldn’t get enough of the amazing things we could do, from seeing who was at the front door, to controlling music and video in every room through a matrix switch, to checking out the rack that ran it all…

Continue Reading the post at the link Below:

http://www.residentialsystems.com/default.aspx?tabid=90&EntryId=600

ToddRedband

Todd Anthony Puma is the CEO & Founder of The Source Home Theater. Check out his  website at The Source Home Theater and follow him on twitter at  @ToddAnthonyPuma .

REDBAND: My Magical Twitter Wish By Mark Coxon

infocomm13

My Magical Twitter Wish By Mark Coxon

It was awesome to be able to go to the AVNation TweetUp, and finally put some faces to the Twitter handles I see every day on my feed.  I met quite a few of the people that I follow, and was amazed that not one disappointed in person.  In fact, the personalities were amazing, and I found myself thinking that I wish Twitter could magically relate some of their qualities in more than text.  Based on that thought, I thought I’d list some AVTweeps I met, and what unique qualities they showed that I wished could come through in a written 140 words.

1)      @chris_neto- Chris Neto- Demeanor.  Reading Chris’s blogs and tweets you know he was a subversive streak, and a no nonsense style.  You also know he has an affinity for some aggressive an dark music, and used to work the night club scene.  All this combined to create an image of Chris that was much like a lovable but rowdy insomniac.  Not even close.  Chris is the epitome of Bruce Lee’s method of staying relaxed all the way until the point of impact.  He is low key and collected.  He blogs first, drinks later and goes to bed at a reasonable hour.  Beware however, because he could clinch his literary fist at any time with a pinpoint devastating RedBand blow to the solar plexus that leaves you breathless.

2)      @tuckertues- George Tucker- Contrast.  Reading George’s Tweets, you KNOW he has been around the AV Block.  His commentary can be very technical, or he can boil his analysis down using analogies that are easy to understand but not oversimplified.  This comes through in all of his online conduits, from Twitter, to AVNation podcasts, to his Tucker Tuesday and Tech Decisions blogs.  What I found out about meeting George in person though, is that he is an artist.  We have all seen those black and white pictures where the black forms an obvious image, but if you shift your eyes slightly, you notice that the white space makes a completely different image as well.  George does this with words.  If you speak to him in person, listen closely, as he will tell you just as much in his pauses and white spaces as he does in his spoken commentary.  It is genius, as it allows him to say whatever he wants, without ever speaking it, and without ever being guilty of it if accused.  He is a prime student of Polonius’ advice in Hamlet- “By indirections we find directions out.”

3)      @WomeninAV- Jennifer Willard- Accent.  You may have seen Jennifer’s stand on booth babes at electronics shows or her back and forth taunting of me about kicking my butt in #TheGame4 at InfoComm on Twitter.  To survive and prosper as a woman in the Y chromosome saturated world of AV takes guts and tenacity, so that has always come through in her online persona.  However, when I first heard Jennifer speak at the WAVE reception Wednesday night, I heard he Boston accent, and it all came rushing in.  Being cheeky and voracious is one thing, but hearing it come from a northeasterner breaks you down in a whole new way.  I read a few of her taunts again on Twitter, and suddenly realized I could not hold my own with this lady.  I was running fairly even in our exchange in my head, but the accent closed the deal.  Anyone who already knew Jennifer knew I had NO chance.  I love it!

4)      @TheAVPro- Phil Cordell- Southern Charm.  HiPhi didn’t actually come to the TweetUp that I saw, but I did see him on the floor, and met him last year as well.  If you’ve heard his album or seen his infamous “AV Professional” YouTube video you might get the impression that Phil could become funny to a fault, and may even be a little too much for some in person.  Nothing is farther from the truth.  Phil’s Tennessee charm, (I’m very familiar as my mom is from there) is the first thing you will notice when you meet him.  He is very warm and gracious.  He is extremely polite and humble, and dresses in a way that makes you want to put on some matching jeans, loafers, and a button down shirt and grab a sweet tea and some chicken and dumplings for Supper after church.  Phil is too classy to rock a mullet haircut, but I think he embodies that attitude of “Business in the front, and party in the back.”  Great balance!

5)      @mikebrandesAV- Mike Brandes- Wisdom.  OK, so that may first be thought of as a slam on Mike but it is not.  His tweets are always funny and smart, and you can tell that he is a real “connector”.   His subjects range from AV to jokes to politics and he a very active supporter of many on this list already.  In meeting Mike though, I found him to have a professorial quality that gives him a dignified presence.  Maybe it’s his dress or the manly beard, (a good beard like his can always evoke some of these impressions), but when he talks, you want to listen, because you feel like you are going to learn something new.  It is fitting that he is in the higher education space professionally.  His personality is a great bridge between the quirky and sometimes ragtag world of AV professionals and the collegiate Deans of the world.  I really enjoyed meeting you Mike!

I wish I had time enough to have had conversations with every single one of the over 100 #AVTweeps that made the #TweetUp.  I know that I would have been equally impressed with unique qualities of each of them.  Oh well, there is always next year!  See you then AVTweeps!

Mark C

REDBAND_Coxon

Mark has been in the IT & AV field for over 12 years. He currently works as an Account manager with  Horizon Display and is a contributor with various AV industry publications. You can follow Mark on Twitter @AVPhenom.  The expressed opinions are his own…You have been warned!

Check out My #infocomm13 Day 1 Show Report

Infocomm 2013 Day 1

I’m at Infocomm this week running around looking at all the great products our industry has to offer. Here is my Show report that I provided for CorporateTD. Click the image above or the Link below:

http://www.corporatetechdecisions.com/article/one_ctss_perspective_infocomm_2013_day_one

Thoughts? Feedback?

 

Chris

 

#Infocomm13: I’ll be there

Just wanted to get this info out to those of you who are attending the Infocomm show in Orlando. Here is a quick run down of what i have going on over the next few days…

  • I will be heading to Orlando this Tuesday with the AV Helpdesk team in search of the latest and greatest that our industry has to offer. I will be there from Tuesday to Friday Evening. I fully expect to be on the show floor all 3 days. Like many of you I too have Infocomm meetings and scheduled booth visits to attend to throughout the day.
  • As I did last year I will be sporting a Press badge while at the show. I will be providing daily show reports for Corporate TechDecisions.  Aside from my press duties I will also be active in various social media channels while at the event. You can find my profiles Here:
  • AV Helpdesk is one of the co-sponsors of the Infocomm 2013 #AVtweeps #AVtweetup on Thursday June 13th at 5pm. The event will be hosted at the AV Nation Booth (Located adjacent to Hall E)  in room 232A. You can RSVP for the event  Here. Stop by for some refreshments and prizes provided by the event sponsors. The following day I will be back at the AV Nation Booth as a guest on their AV Week podcast.

Please do not hesitate to give me a call or email me while at the show even if it’s a quick meet to  say Hi.  I’m easily reached on email or through the social media channels above…trust me my phone will keep zapping me. I look forward catching up with fellow AV professionals and to see all the new technology.

Travel Safe and I’ll See You in Orlando!

Chris

 

 

 

 

REDBAND: Five Tips to Delivering Outstanding Customer Service By Mike Brandes

Whether you’re in the rental/staging markets, home theater, enterprise level integrator or and IT Manager; offering superior customer service is imperative to the success of your organization. Customer Service is more than just responding to negative feedback, following up on customers’ needs and satisfying requests. Consistently excellent customer service is creating experiences for clients that cause them to become cheerleaders and advertisers for your business. There are five easy ways to create excellent customer service experiences, position your company to have repeat high dollar transactions and leave your organization well poised to be recommended by your clients.

1. Do What the Customer Doesn’t Expect

It’s common sense, and simple business etiquette to completely satisfy customers’ requests. Exceeding Customer expectations is what makes the difference. Having worked in higher-ed I’ve worked with multiple integrators and resellers, what stood out for me, are the little things. I hired an integrator to implement an AV design for an 11-classroom building, I created a detailed scope of work with highly specific requirements, I expected it to be filled. This integrator fulfilled each requirement and they also provided me with substantial information I didn’t request such as all pieces of equipment’s serial numbers, warranty date and estimated end of life date in a convenient, easy-to-read spreadsheet, and applied the asset tags I was going to have to add to each piece of equipment. This small, unrequested, task saved me a good number (20+) of hours in recording and inventory management. Though I didn’t specifically ask for this information the provision of it was incredibly valuable to me as a customer.

2. Be Honest with Your Customer, But Respectful

Joshua Stackhouse wrote an article recently with this as the first point; but it bears repeating. Customers and clients often have a vague or broad idea of what they want in their project. Clients may want the latest and greatest, while not knowing exactly how that will impact their environment. While I love to give my clients everything they ask for, especially if they have the budget to afford it; I can’t, in good conscience, recommend they move forward with anything that doesn’t fit in their existing environment. Exceeding customer expectations can mean considering the whole of the existing environment.

It’s also imperative to be honest with your clients when communicating expectations regarding timeframe. A few years ago, I designed a system, sent it out to bid and asked the integrators to provide a detailed timeframe for completion. The vendor I selected timeframe was XX days. Imagine my surprise when two weeks after XX days had passed and we were still going back on forth on systems not functioning as they were described in the scope of work. It is imperative, in order to deliver exceptional customer service, to complete projects on time, and to be honest about timeframes…

Continue reading this article by clicking the link Below:

http://mikebrandesav.com/2013/06/06/five-tips-to-delivering-outstanding-customer-service/

squareglasses6

Mike is an experienced audio video and information technology specialist, with 5 years experience in AV/IT, and previous experience in Pro Audio including full time touring experience. Mike is active in InfoComm, the Audiovisual Industry Association, and serves on the Technology Managers Council. Check out Mike’s website http://mikebrandesav.com/ and Follow him on Twitter.