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Cynthia Wisehart on Jupiter Systems

I’ve been to the Jupiter Systems headquarters in Hayward plenty of times. It’s cubicle-y, beige, and resolutely unpretentious. The trees around the parking lot have grown bigger over the years and that’s pretty much it. The company was always in my life; my integrator husband counted on Jupiter for decades, as many people do, for heavy lifting and reliability on hard, complicated, often trail-breaking installs. Maybe not so much for glamour. But now I can confirm that for myself (and my colleague Cindy Davis) Jupiter has one of our top coveted products—the swanky adjustable, lie-flat desktop version of the Jupiter Pana display line. Jupiter Systems VP of sales Justin Shong (himself an integrator) has one on his desk, and a big Pana on the wall for situational awareness and general flash. The next-gen look of these gorgeous displays with their unique aspect ratio doesn’t really go with the Dodgers’ jersey on the wall, but there’s a certain poetry in the juxtaposition of the new and the timeless.

For 40-ish years, Jupiter has been the brains behind a lot of cool displays, but now they are wearing cool on their sleeve with the Pana range. As demonstrated at InfoComm, Jupiter is coming out from behind the glass to be the glass (or the LED). It’s leaving behind—or learning the lessons of—the InFocus years to do something that seems quite innovative. While of course it seems obvious that the brains behind the display would want to sell display, the implementation for Jupiter’s display strategy is bold. The 12:9 aspect ratio does feel fresh and functional.

The reason for my visit was an open house with Microsoft, Lenovo, and Jabra, in part to show off how these partners became Microsoft’s infrastructure of choice for Teams Front Row, used to pitch the interface at Microsoft’s own sales centers.

It’s Shong’s job to sell me on Jupiter’s display strategy of course. Given the all the notice the displays received at InfoComm, he knows he doesn’t have to pitch the displays themselves. Instead, he picks up the other threads that haunt/drive AV right now. First, he says, Jupiter has these products available, citing four warehouses and displays on ships. Secondly, talk turns to Equity. This is the word of the moment in collaboration. It’s a pretty good word. It’s supposed to acknowledge that technology affects relationships, politics, learning, all the jockeying of human relationships in our hybrid world. It’s clear those who are more comfortable with a communication technology will override those who are not. It’s possible to marginalize people in hybrid working environments as a direct result of poor resolution, or intelligibility, or latency, connectivity, or GUI. This has always been true, it’s just more noticeable now. From that standpoint, thinking about all the pieces of artificial face-to-face communication including sound, picture, signal distribution, and user experience requires the kind of thinking that in some ways Jupiter has supported for a long time in other ways. I’m rooting for everyone who is trying to make our new hybrid world an ultimate plus and not just an accommodation. I love 12:9. And it was nice to see the big trees towering over the taco truck and do something in person for a change.

Even if it was to talk in person about virtual meetings.

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