This week I was out in the field for two days to see AV installations in real life—at Full Sail University, the Golf Channel, Amway Arena, the Moffitt Cancer Center, and USF Health. In our virtual lives where we see the world through Retina screens much of the time, it’s refreshing to look at the real world for two days straight. I didn’t escape my screens completely, but the balance of information tipped heavily toward physical reality.
The number one takeaway, I must mention, was the people. It was inspiring to meet people who are building enterprises that are thriving, committed, and growing. I’m grateful for the time that everyone took to share their work and facilities, and thankful to Tom, Allison, and Janelle at Sony for being such great hosts. In each of these facilities, AV systems provide critical infrastructure to the mission of their organizations. The systems are used and depended on every day. They make a difference, to be corny about it. One of the things that impressed me most about each of the systems was how effectively they combined longer-lived investment equipment with emerging technology. I am sure there are things users dislike or would change about their systems. I doubt the systems are perfect. However, it was instructive to see the mix of gear, which drew on some long-time stalwarts as well as some newer IP-based options.
At Full Sail, the systems are built to current professional standards to give students a realistic experience in content creation and presentation, including live broadcast and event staging. In addition to a wealth of Sony gear, they also have a powerful Meyer array in their event space (which regularly hosts events from graduation to live broadcasts of the WWE). At the Moffitt Cancer Center, imaging technology plays a crucial diagnostic role. The centerpiece of the auditorium is a 18,000 lumen 4K projector, specified to enable professionals to consult and collaborate around footage without having to turn off the lights.
The Golf Channel, founded by Arnold Palmer 21 years ago with skeptical investors and 10,000 subscribers, now serves a vast worldwide audience with some of the cleverest broadcast sets I think I’ve ever seen. And as you can imagine the Amway Center is gear heaven, with its systems to support live broadcast, massive Daktronics panels, and a comprehensive digital signage system. USF Health was one of the most interesting stops; the current facility utilizes PTZ cameras and laser projectors to support facility-wide collaboration among teachers and students. However, it’s an older facility and the school is moving to a brand new space, where I expect to see a powerful new signal distribution system that expands upon what they’ve already achieved in a challenging space.