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Get Hip to the Lingo

I am always amazed and occasionally frustrated by the speed at which technology moves. Sometimes I have to question if the rapid-fire developments are

Get Hip to the Lingo

Jul 1, 2003 12:00 PM,
Mark Johnson

I am always amazed and occasionally frustrated by the speed at which technology moves. Sometimes I have to question if the rapid-fire developments are technology for our sake as consumers or technology for its own sake.

Along with the innovations and resulting products, one of the by-products is language. There are words now commonplace that just didn’t exist 20 or even 10 years ago — words such as megapixel, Webcam, or Ethernet (ether used to be the gas you got to knock you out when your tonsils had to be removed). Even words that were specific to an industry are finding their way into everyday use. Take, for example, the word font. While commonplace in publishing and advertising, until word-processing programs and desktop publishing brought the ability for just about anyone to make newsletters and greeting cards from the comfort of their own homes, who really cared about the style of type that old Smith Corona or Underwood had? Now my kids talk about the type of font they want to use for their school papers.

The theme at the recent InfoComm show in Orlando, Florida, was “Evolving the Art of Communication,” and the buzzword was convergence. The convergence of art and technology, the convergence of A/V and IT — it’s all coming together. Although the word convergence certainly isn’t new, our industry continues to evolve, and as the lines between disciplines blur, new methods of integration as well as the sales and marketing of the converging technologies must be developed. In this issue, we’ll wrap up InfoComm and provide some highlights of the show.

Digital signage is becoming more prevalent in the urban landscape. Rosanne Soifer gives us some of the details of its development and, in particular, focuses on its application in the New York Transit Authority. Also, Andrew Edwards, founder of Extron, tells us what things were like 20 years ago in the industry.

Next month the editorial focus will be on residential technology. Carl Bowman will provide us with some insight on surviving and staying competitive in the rapidly evolving residential technology integration market. Steve Filippini will return to these pages with some background and speculation into the future of home automation and security in “Security Watch.” We will take a look at the array of mounting systems available for video display systems. On the sound side, we’ll provide an overview of some of the in-wall loudspeaker systems for home theater and background music applications.

This column is where I can speak my mind on any number of topics, generally relating to the state of the industry, this magazine, or both. I feel strongly that our readers should enjoy that same opportunity. You may have noticed a column at the back of the magazine called “Line Out.” That column is available to you — to speak your mind about the state of the industry, your market, or a particular aspect of your work. One of the marvelous things about this industry is that it is chock-full of opinionated people. This is your forum, and I urge you to take advantage of it. Submissions should be 550 to 750 words. Also, include a short bio (who you are and what you do) of 25 words or less and a picture of yourself (a small headshot or candid photo will work fine). No anonymous submissions, please. For more information or to submit a column, contact me at or Mark Smith, managing editor, at

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