Almo E4 AV Tour Special, Part 2

In this edition, Alan and Jonathan Brawn of Brawn Consulting and Max Kopsho of Kramer Electronics talk about the presentations they will be offering at the upcoming E4 Tour from Almo Professional AV. 3/22/2011 7:07 AM Eastern

Almo E4 AV Tour Special, Part 2

Mar 22, 2011 11:07 AM, with Bennett Liles

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The E4 Tour from Almo Professional AV is coming up with technical training, prizes, and some top-notch educational sessions. Among the presenters will be Alan and Jonathan Brawn from Brawn Consulting and Max Kopsho Infocomm’s educator of the year from Kramer Electronics. They’re with us today for a sneak preview of Almo’s E4 Tour. Coming right up next on the SVC Podcast.
Jonathan, welcome to the SVC podcast, it’s great to have you here from Brawn Consulting. You’re going to be providing some of the main attractions at the Almo Professional AV E4 show, first of all tell me a little bit about Brawn Consulting. What sort of services do you provide there? It looks like you’re into several things.

Absolutely we definitely are. Primarily Brawn Consulting is an AV/IT training and curriculum development company. We’re educational developers. That’s basically what we do and we work with manufacturers and distributors to create content and train their staff, internal and external sales people, technical people, etc. We also provide market intelligence and research for the audiovisual and digital signage industries to clients all over the world to help with business development. Also we do provide a service where we design, create and we provide custom-tailored content management systems. CMS is not to be confused with digital signage CMS’s but website CMS’s and learning management systems which would be called an LMS which is a core part of providing different technology centric industries with manufacturers, distributors, resellers, and users with the key tools they need to provide the learning entire programs we develope through their websites to their staff. [Timestamp: 2:02]

Well it certainly sounds like things are never dull around there.
Definitely not.

The very big point of Almo Professional’s E4 Tour is education and you have a prominent place in this show so what sort of educational projects has Brawn Consulting been doing?
Well we’ve done some really exciting ones recently. Most recently we helped re-design and populate the educational curriculum for the Digital Signage Expo, the DSE, that show just took place and was excellent and we’re working on programs for groups like the ISA, the SGIA, and of course we continue to participate heavily in InfoComm’s own educational offerings as teachers were gearing up for the show this year for them. Also we’ve had a lot of success with our Digital Signage Experts Group or our DSEG program and the DSEC program is Digital Signage Certifications and we’ve been doing an extraordinary good job. We have outstanding numbers of attendees at the Digital Signage Expo recently and we’re continuing to provide those certifications to the digital signage industry. Also we’re rolling out a new renewal credit program similar to what people experience with the InfoComm CTS program where you have to take so many hours of renewal credits to keep your certification current and we’re bringing that to the various manufacturers and service providers in the industry, digital signage industry, so that we can continue further the experts' group plan. And of course would be remiss if we didn’t mention we are working very heavily with Almo to expand the E4 learning experience educational programs inside these shows. We appreciate that we’ve been fortunate enough to be featured as presenters and speakers at these E4 events and we definitely want to help Almo continue their already outstanding success with this program. [Timestamp: 3:43]

And in that light, you’re going to be doing two presentations. One of them is going to be projection screens. I believe it’s called “The Science, Design, and Application.”
Oh not a problem. That actually is one of my favorite classes to teach because we really are surprised at how little people really know about screens. Very few people know what they should so we really get into the fundamentals, types of screens, and how they work. We talk about the science that goes into screen design, how each screen performs, how it works relative to different applications, different specifications and understanding how they all work together, and we really finish that up with a tutorial on design and human factors because projection is such an important part of the industry. It’s still a huge part of digital signage. Front projection still represents about 30 percent of the digital signage industry which most people aren’t aware of and so it’s such a key thing for us all to understand and master so the course is designed to help us do that. [Timestamp: 4:4]

I’d love to get in on that one myself because I’ve seen a lot of times in AV installation projects the screens are not being put in with whatever money was left over after projectors and controllers, audio gear and so the screens often end up as the weak link in the system that you run into.
Absolutely right. That is exactly the case and everybody has the theory of "bright light and matte white" and I joke about that in my course but it is…we’re trying to help people understand that it’s more than that and it needs to be a key part of the design and it shouldn’t be an afterthought because it can help in so many ways dealing with a lot of the variables we encounter out in the real world. [Timestamp: 5:16]

And you’re also doing "Video Wall Basics, Technologies, and Applications." So what are you going to be going into there?
Oh that’s a fun one as well. I don’t get to have quite as much fun because it’s not as scientific as the screen course but it’s an excellent course there and video walls are such a huge part of the digital signage industry as a whole now because of the wow factor. It’s such a big impact where instead of just having one screen you might have a 2x2 or a 3x3 array there to really get that message across so what we’re trying to do is provide some general information but it’s a class that is sponsored by Samsung and so we focus on Samsung’s video wall offerings. Mostly because we see a lot of manufacturers having an incredible built-in basic set of video wall functions but Samsung goes really beyond that and tries to offer three distinct levels of capability addressing a lot of different aspects of the market and different levels of requirement. So they’ve got some digital signage software they use as part of their video wall capability and we try to help people understand it’s not just a single screen—you can use this with video walls. It’s a very unique application because you can schedule content to it just like a digital sign and also we finish up with what I think is one of their most powerful product offerings which is Samsung’s UD or ultra definition software. It’s based on the hyper-wall video wall technology and it is absolutely top-notch capabilities. It’s on par with any high-end video wall processor and the reason that we focus on that one as much is because it gives a great package to the integrator who of course this is the whole point of these classes we give them a tool that lets them bring video walls into places they couldn’t before because of cost constraints so a very, very, very great class. I am looking forward to that one as well. [Timestamp: 6:58]

And something new here in a first for the E4 Tour, there’s going to be a projector shoot-out which you will be conducting. How is that going to work?
Well that’s going to be exciting. That’s a projection technology shoot-out where we’re really going to compare and contrast each of the individual projector technologies. The concept it really pretty simple. All the major companies produce good or great projectors. Nobody makes bad stuff anymore so really what it comes down to is we’re going to review those core technologies side-by-side and look at the actual specifications and benefits of each and there really aren’t any standards or any consensus on the specifications at all in the industry so it boils down to looking at the images, evaluating which one fits your needs and understanding the pros and cons of those technologies because we really hope to see this expand as the industry really clamors for ways to be sure they’re specifying the best products possible. So we really applaud Almo’s initiative in starting a program like this and allowing us to work with them to really bring honest measurements and methodologies to evaluating projectors based on its real performance. [Timestamp: 8:02]

Well that’s sounds good because anything that can help people make their way through the initial marketing hype on projectors and judge what they really need from features and support is surely going to be worthwhile.
Absolutely, we definitely agree which is one of the reasons we’ve really enjoyed developing this product and it really is going to one of the first times a lot of people are going to be exposed to real world numbers about how a projector really performs beyond just the sealed specification sheet which while they have very good numbers on that that may be accurate in a lab, we have to look at real world performance and how you pick a projector based on that. [Timestamp: 8:36]

Almo E4 AV Tour Special, Part 2

Mar 22, 2011 11:07 AM, with Bennett Liles

All right Jonathan Brawn it’s been great talking to you and I’m looking forward to the all the videos and online stuff that’s going to be coming out of the E4 Tour. It’s been great to have you here to give us a preview of it.
It’s been my pleasure. I always appreciate getting to share what’s going on and thank you for the opportunity to share with your audience what we’re doing and the programs that we’ve been fortunate enough to work with Almo on. We’re really looking forward to it as well. [Timestamp: 8:59]

And now we turn to Max Kopsho and Max thanks for being here on the SVC podcast. You’ve been with Kramer Electronics for a good while now and you have a big job in educating people on an increasingly wide array of products from Kramer.
And that’s true. Thank you for having me. And also what’s been really interesting lately in my career the past couple of years is I’ve had the opportunity to train a lot of people on general industry technologies and certification preparation for the industries. It’s been a great ride recently. [Timestamp: 9:27]

I’ll tell you Max, I don’t know how you keep up with all those things because I know you get a lot of questions from people and you never know what you’re going to be asked about and in addition to that you were chosen as InfoComm’s 2010 educator of the year and there was some formidable competition there with InfoComm being all about education. So congratulations on that.
Well thank you and I absolutely agree that the competition was quite formidable. I consider myself pretty lucky to be put into the same class as those guys. And even to address the two things that you just mentioned. One is just hanging out with those guys I get to learn an incredible amount so to be considered one of them is incredible to me and then the other thing is, that goes right in line with just the training in general, is that I get to learn a lot as I teach so I that’s how I keep up on products and technology. [Timestamp: 10:13]

I’m sure it’s a fantastic learning experience for you. Now this is your debut with Almo Professional AV’s E4 Tour and you were going to be taking on a very big topic right now and that’s the analog sunset—something we’re hearing more and more about. So what sort challenges does the analog sunset present to manufacturers like Kramer?
Kramer Electronics being a leading edge technology manufacturer in the signal management realm, we’re constantly dealing with new technologies. And of course lately there are a lot of consumer market-driven factors that have propelled some of these new technologies into the pro AV market place. Sometimes this push is in the pro AV space and it’s not a perfect fit. In those cases Kramer has had the challenge to enable our customers to adapt to systems to almost forcing the fit and understanding the new technologies as they’re working their way into our market. [Timestamp: 11:04]

And when you’re covering this topic what sort of presentation are you going to do? What are the high points you’re going to hit on this?
We cover some of the legalities that go behind the term "analog sunset." Where it came from as far as the AACS final agreement and we then also get to cover some of the technologies that are driving us there with digital rights management and HDMI and new digital formats. We all…tie it all together as to some of the why we’re having to make this switch and then some of the technologies on how we make this switch. [Timestamp: 11:33]

And this is a moving target. These things are changing all time so I guess you’re going to have to stay current on this right up until you’re at E4 making the presentation.
Exactly, you almost have to do a little bit of predicting. It’s kind of like playing a chess game where you almost…you have to be at least two or three moves in front of your opponent. In this case the opponent is all of these outside factors that have to do with the way the technology is implemented so you have to look at two different things, like I said the AACS agreement and then you also watch the FCC and what they’re doing and I almost have to predict to where those two are going to end up meeting in the middle. Along with all the other technologies that are at play. [Timestamp: 12:12]

Since you’re doing the presentation, what sort of audience do you think you’re going to have at the E4 Tour? You haven’t done E4 but you’ve done a lot of this everywhere else so what are you anticipating there?
Well we actually designed the class to cover many segments of our industry so really just about anybody in the pro AV industry would want to attend. I believe we we’ll see people from sales and marketing, design and install, operations, project management, technical support, and purchasing and even I would expect to see, and I say this jokingly, and I would even expect to see some senior management in that class because they’re going to be making some of their corporate strategies based on these things. And the class addresses some of the main concerns with integrating digital and analog and in the digital rights. So I think it covers a wide enough spectrum to really encourage anybody to attend but then it’s also going to have a little something for everybody. [Timestamp: 13]

That’s right. A certain knowledge of the analog sunset would apply all the way up and down the corporate chain from the top officers to the real nuts and bolts people.
Absolutely, I ‘m happy to be doing it for the Almo Pro AV E4 Tour, I think it’s a great opportunity to get this information out there and Kramer’s dedicated to education and Almo is dedicated to education so it’s a perfect fit. [Timestamp: 13:22]

Well I’m glad to hear that and I’m looking forward to possibly seeing you online. I know Almo’s going to have a big online presence at E4 for all of those who can’t make the trip and maybe we’ll be seeing you there.
Yeah, I look forward to it. I think one of the really neat things that the Almo E4 Tour is doing is they’re almost saying, “Hey, you got to attend a lot of this before you go to InfoComm” because you can only do so much while you’re there so even the people who are attending InfoComm would benefit from seeing some of the presentations that will be done at the Almo E4 Tour. [Timestamp: 13:51]

Right and I was talking to Melody Craigmyle and Sam Taylor from Almo in Part 1 about how you’ve got to have a strategy for what you’re going to do and when at E4 because there’s going to be so much to see and do.
Absolutely, yep.

All right Max thanks very much. Max Kopsho from Kramer Electronics covering the Analog Sunset period at the E4 Tour, thanks for being here with a preview of it.

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