Technology for Technology’s Sake is Missing the Point
As a manufacturer of pro AV signal distribution products, we obsess over things like video resolution, latency and the latest breakthrough technologies. Our history proves we have been quick to identify the innovations that make our products perform better, smarter, faster and more efficiently than our competitors.
However, in a practical sense, we must remind ourselves to view technology through the prism of benefits rather than features. The end-user invests in AV, like they invest in anything else, to do a job. Whether it is to be able to do something they simply couldn't do before or upgrade to a way to do it better, a successful AV project will only be judged in the end for its ability to satisfy the application.
I was reminded of this when I watched our webinar last month with Design & Production and the National Museum of the United States Army (NMUSA). In this highly-anticipated venue, visitors will learn the important stories of American soldiers in bold new ways via 41 individual AV-driven exhibits. Even with this impressive AV line-up, NMUSA Chief of Exhibits Paul Morando explained to the audience that the museum's mandate was to use technology to tell the veterans' and fallen heroes' stories with respect, and not have exhibits cross over into becoming 'video games.'
Examples of these AV-driven exhibits that effectively and tastefully dispense memorable history lessons include:
a massive videowall that blends images from three projectors to create a single captivating image,
a large globe with internal projection capabilities to show where in the world key battles took place during World War II, and
monitors on tracks (AV Sliders) that can be moved right or left in front of display cases of artifacts, which visually relate details about each item.
The interactivity and immersive state-of-the-art technology enable the museum to bring each story to life in an exciting new way.
So, while industry insiders marvel at such a remarkable testament to the power of AVoIP signal distribution, the museum visitor is brought closer emotionally and viscerally to the history of our country and those who fought, and still fight, for the freedoms we all enjoy.
The AV infrastructure that Design & Production created for NMUSA succeeds on many levels. In any setting, the AV system, regardless of the technology and innovation that drives it, must first serve its intended application. In fact, we see our most successful integration partners take a similar approach to projects in an array of vertical markets, including enterprise, government, hospitality, healthcare and higher education settings. They all know that chasing technology for technology's sake misses the point and may set them up for failure.
We in the pro AV and IT industries are problem solvers. Nothing builds pride in what we do for a living like walking through a finished project that bypasses all challenges to deliver on the full promise of the application for a happy customer.
Mark Your Calendars for Our July Webinars
July 23 – ZeeVee Certified Solution Partner Training on AVoIP and RF Modulation; all participants receive up to 3.5 AVIXA CTA credits
July 30 – Learn How to IP Your AV with Arista Networks and ZeeVee!
Are you looking for more in-depth technical information on how to distribute audio and video content over an IP network? Then, you won't want to miss an upcoming webinar featuring Steve Metzger, our co-founder and VP of engineering, and Robert Welch, technical solutions lead for Arista, an industry leader in software-driven cloud networking solutions for large data center and campus environments.
The two will introduce and discuss methods and techniques for distributing audio and video content over IP networks by leveraging their deep experience in implementing real solutions for factory floors, operating rooms, higher education institutions, corporate learning environments, e-sport venues and command and control facilities.
Specifically, they will address what you need to know to deploy a solution, including how to successfully:
Frame your problem
Define the network terms you are going to encounter
Determine bandwidth requirements
You can get additional information and register for these July webinars via this link.
August 27 – SIGNAL Sessions: Episode 3: Multiview and Video Walls in the ZeeVee AV over IP Ecosystem
Multiview and video walls open brand new possibilities for the distribution of AV signals and presentations in countless applications and vertical markets. In this session, our Director of Product Management Art Weeks will provide an in-depth overview of these capabilities within the ZeeVee AV over IP ecosystem. You’ll learn how to leverage ZeeVee’s ZyPer Management Platform and world-class ZyPer4K (SDVoE) and ZyPerUHD (JPEG2000) encoders and decoders to create multiviews and video walls in seconds WITHOUT additional hardware. Highlights of the session will include how to:
Have you missed any of our previous webinars? You can catch up via our SIGNAL Partner website. To learn more about becoming a ZeeVee SIGNAL Partner, go to this link or contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
A Day at the Museum – ZeeVee Style with Design & Production and the National Museum of the United States Army
Did you miss our AVIXA webinar with Design & Production and the National Museum of the United States Army? The highly engaging session explored how today’s museums are using state-of-the-art AV to engage today’s tech-savvy audiences. If you missed it, you’re in luck—you can watch it here via this link!
VMedia Group recently installed an IPTV system at Europa Village (think Disneyland for wine enthusiasts!) that supplies programming and an intuitive electronic programming guide to each of the resort’s 25 guest rooms – as well as digital signage content to common areas. Vince Capotosto and his team deployed ZeeVee ZyPerMX4 quad-channel H.264 encoders and STBi3 set-top boxes, which gave this medium-sized operation the same performance and reliability of systems used by larger properties while fitting within their budget parameters.
FVS, our distribution partner in France, has opened a roughly 1,000 square foot demonstration space in Suresnes, called MyLab. The facility, which enables customers and partners to discover and experiment with the latest pro AV gear, features ten of our ZyPer4K encoders feeding monitors at several points. Since it opened earlier this year, the FVS team has regularly organized demonstrations and training sessions to highlight the performance and flexibility of SDVoE-based AVoIP solutions.
Idaho’s Nez Perce County emergency operations center, which serves a population of just over 40,000, upgraded its AV and communications capabilities to serve its community more effectively in times of crisis. With a modest budget, Nez Perce GIS specialist Tom Vestal and his team were able to assemble an AV system driven by ZyPerHD encoders and decoders, as well as the ZyPer Management Platform, offering high performance, open standard interoperability and scalable architecture for cost-efficiency within a future proof model for changing needs down the road.
ZyPer4K-XR: The Tough Just Got Tougher!
We are pleased to announce the latest addition to our ZyPer4K family of products—the “ruggedized” ZyPer4K-XR uncompressed 4K encoder and decoder models. They feature an extra durable aluminum chassis for the most demanding environments, including rental and staging, performance arts, yachts and military applications.
Like all ZeeVee ZyPer4K components, the ZyPer4K-XR units deliver perfect pixel-for-pixel reproduction of uncompressed 720p, 1080p HD, Ultra HD and 4K content directly over a standard 10Gb Ethernet network. This eliminates the need to have a separate AV network or proprietary matrix switch for video and other AV content. The ZyPer4K-XR solution's IP-based architecture enables instant switching from one source to another without losing frames - even at 4K resolutions.
Neutrik® locking and Switchcraft® rugged connectors are among their key features to ensure everything stays in place for reliable and uninterrupted signal distribution. The compact units allow for use in locations where space is limited and the fanless thermal management system enables them to operate quietly and unobtrusively.
The ZyPer4K-XR models’ placement and mounting flexibility features include 10Gb PoE+ support—so that they do not require a local power outlet—and M10 mounting holes for standard truss clamps. They also offer USB HID support.
The ZyPer4K-XR encoder and decoder, together with the entire ZyPer4K family of products, offer the following features and benefits:
Uncompressed zero-latency UltraHD (4K/60) video, audio and control
Stereo analog and digital audio up to 8 channels
HDMI 2.0 (full 4K 4:4:4 60Hz support)
HDCP 2.2 compliant
128-bit AES encryption
Supports HDR10 and HDR10+
ZyPer Management Platform (ZMP) with software GUI allows simple set-up and control of ZyPer4K
Video wall and multiview support
Want to learn more? Contact your ZeeVee representative or email email@example.com.
Guest Column by Justin Kennington, President, SDVoE Alliance
As a founder of the SDVoE Alliance, ZeeVee has been an enthusiastic, influential supporter of SDVoE technology since day one. I’m happy to contribute a few thoughts to this summer edition of ZeeVee’s SIGNAL Boost newsletter.
Recently the SDVoE Alliance surveyed hundreds of AV designers and integrators about their technology choices. Responses showed that users are excited about the performance, scalability, and standards-based interoperability that are unique to SDVoE. With designers and integrators passionate about these advantages, why is it also true that 63% of respondents said, "less than 30% of our projects include AV over IP?"
We wondered, so we asked, “When you install a matrix switch today, what is the reason you avoided AV over IP?"
The top two responses – representing two-thirds of respondents – were complexity and cost. The cost issue is a myth driven by pro AV special interests who want you to ignore how unnecessarily expensive matrix switches are. I have dispelled that myth elsewhere, including the SDVoE Alliance blog, so I won’t belabor it here. In short: Ethernet switches are a lot cheaper than matrix switches.
Here I want to focus on the perception of complexity. It's a fair concern, although overblown. All new technologies are scary and hard to manage without the right education and tools. Remember the early days of digital video? Many wished that analog would stay with us forever. But technology continues its unstoppable march forward. We became educated, we adapted, and thanks to digital technology, video distribution is bigger than ever, with higher performance and broader applications than in the analog-only world.
A large-scale AV-over-IP system with multiple switches interconnected is indeed complex. So is a large network of interconnected matrix switches. Ever programmed signal routing in a system with hundreds of links between a dozen matrix switches? Sure it's complicated, but it's doable. It's also relatively rare. Most video systems only need a single switch, and in that case, SDVoE is just as simple as a matrix – in some ways, easier.
See, SDVoE technology is agnostic to switch choice – no specific make or model is required. SDVoE switch requirements are super basic and enabled by default on all of NETGEAR's 10G switches (and others). You plug in your SDVoE endpoints, and you're done – just like your matrix switch.
When people cite "complexity," they are expressing a normal human fear of the unknown. It's scary the first time you draw a NETGEAR M4300 in place of your favorite matrix switch – what if it goes wrong?
The SDVoE Alliance created the SDVoE Academy in 2018 with a mission to educate the AV industry and enable the transition to IP as our video backbone. Today, the SDVoE Academy includes over 75 courses on a broad array of topics: video basics, network basics, system design, and more. Plus, students can take on the challenge of becoming a certified SDVoE Design Partner – those ready to take on the task of designing an SDVoE system in place of the matrix switch. And it's all free.
University of East Anglia Case History
The need to collaborate, work together to create new ideas, and find breakthroughs is irresistible. This was the drive behind creating a new £30m (approximately €33) building for the University of East Anglia (UEA) in the UK. The New Science Building is home to Environmental Sciences, Computing, Biology, Physics, Engineering and Chemistry and Pharmacy teaching… AVoIP is the key to this project…The investment in AVoIP here is a major one, and this is the UK's largest ZeeVee ZyperUHD AVoIP deployment in higher education… LINK TO FULL STORY
Systems Integration Asia
InfoComm Connected Day 1 Highlights
June 17, 2020
Enhanced ZyPer Management Platform: ZeeVee has announced several significant enhancements to the ZyPer Management Platform. Its comprehensive and easy-to-use AVoIP control system is compatible with all its IP-based products and readily used with all branded control platforms. Upgrades include a video preview function that makes it easier to identify and monitor content constantly; and a multiview text overlay function that enables the addition of varied descriptions, custom labels, and branding simultaneously over onscreen video delivered to multiple monitors. Simple Network Management Protocol (SNMP) and enhanced network and security capabilities are now standard features. Customers can now also select a preferred ZeeVee hardware option or port VM software onto their own. LINK TO FULL STORY
InfoComm Connections: ZeeVee
June 9, 2020
“ZeeVee has, without question, the greatest depth of practical experience across the industry with IP-based applications and actual customer installs,” said ZeeVee CEO Bob Michaels. “We offer the industry’s most comprehensive offering of AV distribution solutions—covering AVoIP, video streaming, and RF applications—that will meet and exceed end-user expectations. We are not 'tied down' to a single platform portfolio, as are the majority of equipment providers. The business may have slowed, but by no means has it stopped. In many senses, the timing to meet with us could not be better as global markets slowly and cautiously come back to life." LINK TO FULL STORY
Technologies for Worship
ZeeVee Webinar Series
June 1, 2020
“These webinars (ZeeVee SIGNAL Sessions and Certified Solution Partner Training) are designed to engage the AV industry in mutually-beneficial interactions that will build all of our businesses through the sharing of information and resources,” said Joe Chordas, ZeeVee’s VP of sales and marketing. “They also give end-users across an array of vertical markets a view of what is possible with AV distribution technology. We are committed to presenting engaging programs that will enrich our SIGNAL Partners with relevant and valuable AVIXA CTS credits.” LINK TO FULL STORY
Television Asia Plus
ZeeVee’s Streaming Solutions
June 1, 2020
ZeeVee’s streaming product offerings include the H.264 Media Module (quad encoder blade) for the HDbridge 3000 encoder, ZyPerMX2, and ZyPerMX4 H.264 encoder appliances, STBi3 set-top box and the ZyPerMX Player (EPG). “Streaming video remains one of the cornerstones of our business, particularly in mission-critical verticals such as higher education and K-12, restaurants, hospitality, retail, and corporate enterprise markets,” said Art Weeks, director of product management, ZeeVee. “Our engineering team has been ahead of the streaming trend and continues to provide us with the products that meet marketplace needs for high-performing yet cost-effective content distribution.” LINK TO FULL STORY
The Employee of the Month – Brian Greene
Brian Greene, ZeeVee's VP, finance (pictured here flanked by two of his high school friends), is as comfortable managing the company's books as he is in the kitchen, giving back to the community and being a family man. Since June 2008—the company's second year—he has been with us and holds a keen recollection of joining a start-up during a historic economic downturn. Flash forward 12 years, he looks back on having built a successful finance department that has helped ZeeVee weather commercial ups and downs to become a serious competitor in the pro AV marketplace.
“I love the entrepreneurial environment at ZeeVee—an organization that thrives on creating, introducing and nurturing something new and making it successful,” said Brian. “There is a sense of pride and joy in being part of an organization with this level of creativity and the tenacity to make exciting things happen.”
Throughout his 30-year career, Brian has held various finance positions in the data networking industry. From this perspective, he is intrigued by ZeeVee's role in the current migration from AV distribution via traditional matrix switches to AVoIP—for which he feels the company is uniquely qualified, capable and positioned to help the AV industry in making the transition.
“The ZeeVee founders all have extensive backgrounds in the AV and IP industries, which informs our products and their network integration. Nobody understands AVoIP like ZeeVee,” said Brian.
Beyond his work at ZeeVee, Brian prioritizes time with his family. He is a 26 year(!) New England Patriots season ticket holder—and it goes without saying he misses Tom Brady already. Another one of his passions is helping the less fortunate, which he pursues in numerous ways. This includes having served as the president and treasurer of his local St. Vincent de Paul Conference, which provides food, clothing and other basic needs to those in the community. He also regularly serves food at homeless shelters, delivers turkeys on Thanksgiving and Christmas and finds it particularly rewarding to connect with the recipients and their stories.
Brian is also an accomplished chef (invite yourself to his house sometime for his famous clam chowder and Polish specialties!) and a world traveler, counting Ireland, Israel, Tokyo and Guam among the notable destinations he has visited.
He lives in Medway, Massachusetts, with his wife of 29 years, with whom he has three grown children. Brian's family roots run deep in town—his and his wife's families have lived in town for generations. Brian pictured below (on the right) with members of this St. Vincent de Paul Conference.