News

Sony Ends Joint LCD Panel Manufacturing With Samsung 
December 27, 2011 (3:00 pm)

Sony Corporation (Tokyo, Japan) and Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. (Seoul, South Korea) have signed agreements to transition their current business relationship with respect to LCD panels.
Under the agreement, Samsung will
acquire all of Sony's shares of S-LCD Corp. their LCD panel manufacturing joint venture, making S-LCD a wholly owned subsidiary of Samsung. Cash consideration of about KRW 1.08 trillion will be paid to Sony by Samsung. Concurrently, the two companies have entered into a new strategic agreement for the supply and purchase of LCD panels with a goal of enhancing the competitiveness of both companies. The agreement also allows Sony and Samsung to continue cooperative engineering efforts focused on LCD panel technology.
This transaction will enable Sony to monetize its shares in S-LCD, and secure a flexible and steady supply of LCD panels from Samsung, based on market prices and without the responsibility and costs of operating a manufacturing facility. With whole ownership of S-LCD, Samsung anticipates heightened flexibility, speed and efficiency in both panel production and business operations.

Established in April 2004, S-LCD has continued to deliver advanced and cost-competitive LCD panels to both of its parent companies, contributing to the expansion of the respective parties' TV businesses, and the large-sized LCD TV market overall. However, LCD panel and TV market conditions have now changed. In order to respond to such challenging conditions and to strengthen their respective market competitiveness, the two companies have agreed to shift to a new LCD panel business alliance.
The share transfer and payment are targeted to close by the end of January 2012, subject to necessary approvals from regulatory authorities.
As a result of this transaction, a non-cash impairment loss of approximately JPY 66 billion is expected to be incurred by Sony in the third quarter of the fiscal year ending March 31, 2012, due to the reevaluation of its S-LCD shares. This loss includes an impact from the fluctuation of exchange rate. Despite this one-time loss, Sony estimates that the transaction will result in substantial savings on and after January 1, 2012, in respect of costs associated with its procurement of LCD panels. The current estimate of the yearly savings in respect of such costs is about JPY 50 billion, compared to LCD panel procurement costs estimated for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2012. Neither the one-time loss nor the estimated cost savings were included in Sony's forecast of consolidated financial results for the current fiscal year ending March 31, 2012, announced on November 2, 2011. Sony is currently reevaluating this forecast, taking into account this transaction and other factors that might affect its full year FY2011 consolidated financial results forecast.


Global Special Effects Acquires Universal Fireworks 
December 16, 2011 (10:30 am)

Global Special Effects, Inc. (Lexington AL), formerly known as SnowMasters Special Effects, has acquired European fireworks manufacturer, Universal Fireworks. Universal Fireworks previously supplied all major theme parks with their daily fireworks displays.

According to the company, “Universal Studios and Walt Disney are excited to now have a US source to provide the best available fireworks in the world.” Global Special Effects, Inc., a manufacturer of visual special effects products and accessories has distributors in 23 countries.

Tech Data Strengthens Digital Signage Offering
December 14, 2011 (2:30 pm)

Tech Data Corp. (Clearwater FL) has expanded its digital signage business unit through a US distribution agreement with Saddle Ranch Digital, Inc. (SRD, Beverly Hills CA), including an exclusive line of SKUs specifically developed for Tech Data to complement its full line of content creation and management services, and a financing arrangement with GE Capital, Americas.
“We are pleased to further expand Tech Data’s digital signage offering through these agreements,” said Wendy Maurer-Linsky, Vice President of Peripherals Product Marketing at Tech Data. “Digital signage continues to be a profitable growth area for resellers and our agreements with Saddle Ranch Digital and GE Capital provide our resellers with more opportunities to achieve success and better serve their end-user customers.”
SRD is an advanced media company specializing in strategy and custom content creation for screen media solutions. With roots in Hollywood film production and place-based media, SRD brings more than 25 years of specialist content experience, evolving into high-impact digital media for all size screens.

“Our new partnership with Tech Data brings a new level of commitment to the channel in support of our content creation services,” said Kim Sarrubi, president/CEO of Saddle Ranch Digital. “Through our partnership, we are enabling resellers to offer a total digital signage solution, including content, to their end-user customers.”
Tech Data has also made arrangements for GE Capital to provide financing to support its digital signage resellers and their end-user customers. GE Capital, Americas, is the commercial lending and leasing arm of GE Capital, which provides loans and leases to more than one million customers across the US, Canada and Mexico.
“Tech Data is a true partner for our business and continues to be very proactive in helping us provide the right products and services for our customers,” said Jason Lambert, key account manager at Sport View Technologies, Inc. (SVT, Brighton MI). “The amount of focused attention that we get from a channel partner has never been better. As we look forward to taking advantage of the huge opportunities that exist in digital signage, Tech Data’s ability to provide a full solutions package simplifies our job of providing a total end-to-end solution for our customers.”
Tech Data’s channel-leading digital signage business unit features the broadest linecard in the channel and a dedicated support staff of more than 50 members that hold more than 130 industry-recognized certifications. The business unit’s portfolio includes credit and leasing services, education and certifications, site surveys and installations, configuration and integration services, marketing and advertising, and content creation services.

DiGiCo Announces New Investment From ISIS Equity Partners
December 13, 2011 (4:30 pm)

UK based console manufacturer DiGiCo (Surrey, UK) has secured secondary investment from ISIS Equity Partners almost five years after the company successfully expanded with the backing of Matrix Private Equity Partners. “This is a fantastic opportunity for DiGiCo to build further on the achievements of the last five years,” stated James Gordon, CEO. “The company has expanded rapidly in a short space of time and the timing is perfect to add some new investment and experience to the team. ISIS' historical knowledge of our niche industry is going to be very valuable as the company continues to evolve. Matrix's desire to remain invested within the company and team is a real testament to how well that MBO relationship has worked. The future combined strength of the two houses offers a new dynamic to our future possibilities that I am sure we will take full advantage of.”

DiGiCo technical director John Stadius added, “I have worked in the pro audio industry for 33-plus years. The last five years with Matrix and the DiGiCo team have really opened up our ability to challenge new technology, such as our move to Stealth Digital Processing. The future combination of ISIS and Matrix is going to accelerate our development opportunities even further.”
Denise Emmanuel, ISIS investment director, commented, “DiGiCo is a fantastic example of an entrepreneurial company and management team that is able to deliver growth even in a difficult environment. The combination of leading technology and exports makes DiGiCo a prime example of just the type of business that private equity should be investing in.”
“DiGiCo's success has been driven by a highly focused and competitive management team, efficient investment in R&D, a commitment to quality in its Scottish factory and an uncompromising attention to customer satisfaction,” concluded Matrix Equity Partners' Bob Henry. “This is exactly the type of business that Matrix likes to invest in and we are delighted to have the opportunity to remain part of this dynamic team and their growth plans.”

Blackmagic Design Acquires Teranex Systems Inc.
December 13, 2011 (1:10 pm)

Blackmagic Design (Milpitas CA) has acquired Teranex Systems Inc. (Orlando FL), a manufacturer of high performance video processing products for the post production and broadcast industries.
“Teranex is a strategic acquisition for Blackmagic Design,” said Grant Petty, Blackmagic Design CEO. “Its technology, solutions and market complement our own efforts and its high-quality video processing technology enables us to provide our customers with even higher levels of video quality, extending Blackmagic Design’s product range for the broadcast, feature film and high-end post production markets.”

According to Mike Poirier, general manager of Teranex, “This is an exciting milestone for our company. We are extremely happy to be part of the Blackmagic Design team. Blackmagic Design’s global reach, leading edge technologies, widely recognized brand name, strong systems and networking expertise and worldwide customer relationships make it an ideal partner for Teranex.”
Teranex will continue to support its customers and expand its sales channels with the added strength of the Blackmagic Design organization. Teranex will also continue its long tradition of developing superlative video processing platforms based on its patented SIMD architecture.

Black Castle Acquires Stake In Digital Signage,
Mobile Marketing Industry

December 9, 2011 (4:40 pm)

Black Castle Developments Holdings Inc. has entered into a letter of intent to acquire more than 90% of bizM3, a pioneer in digital signage technology and multi-level mobile marketing solutions. Black Castle Developments Holdings, a holding company targeting the acquisition of undervalued, niche companies, is owner of Black Castle Developments, which purchases non-performing notes and bank-owned, income-producing commercial real estate properties. Based in Aliso Viejo CA, bizM3 is one of the first companies to deliver a multi-channel strategy that allows businesses to add a mobile call-to-action to all of its existing marketing channels, both digital and traditional. bizM3’s proprietary technology can send SMS (text messages), MMS (images), IVR (voice), WAP (mobile websites) and digital signage (out-of-home/in-premise advertisements).

 

The company has demonstrated early success with clients such as the US Postal Service. Leveraging its FCC-compliant digital signage technology, bizM3 enables businesses to use their existing TV screens in their place of business, whether at a grocery store, restaurant, bar or hotel, to run revenue-generating advertisements. bizM3 is in the early stages of generating revenues from the sale of its digital signage and integrated mobile marketing solutions.
“bizM3 presented us with a very unique opportunity to not only diversify our current portfolio, but to capitalize on the explosive growth potential of the consumer mobile marketing industry,” said Jeff Holroyd, CEO of BCDH, Fresno CA.
According to The International Telecommunication Union, in 2010, the number of mobile subscriptions reached 5.3 billion worldwide. In the US, 302.9 million subscribers, or 96% of all Americans, are mobile users. According to Gartner Research, mobile ad revenue is expected to generate $3.3 billion in revenue in 2011, and then skyrocket to $20.6 billion in 2015, more than doubling from year-to-year. “We are truly excited to see where bizM3 is headed, and believe this acquisition will create an exciting new chapter for BCDH shareholders,” added Holroyd.
Upon the close of the acquisition, expected by the end of 2011, bizM3 will operate as an owned subsidiary of BCDH. The all-stock transaction is expected to be non-dilutive to existing shareholders with a valuation and purchase price of $4 million.

Lawo Integrates Innovason Brand Into Its Portfolio
November 29, 2011 (11:11 am)

In the wake of a lengthy restructuring process, the French company Innovason SAS (Brittany, France) has been dissolved. However, the Innovason brand has been saved by Lawo AG, which now owns all the product and trademark rights. The move, which follows Lawo’s acquisition of the majority shareholding in April 2008, marks the end of a juridical process that resulted in the liquidation of Innovason SAS on November 2, 2011. The Innovason brand will henceforth be managed from Lawo’s HQ in Rastatt, Germany.
According to Marcel Babazadeh, Innovason international sales director, the move is 100% positive for the brand and its customers. “It’s the best of both worlds,” he remarked. “Now that the Innovason products have become part of the range offered by Lawo in Rastatt, it means that the continuity of the brand is guaranteed. At the same time, it benefits from everything that Lawo has to offer with its more than 40 years of experience in professional audio technology.

“Furthermore, Lawo is committed to maintaining the heritage and history of Innovason,” continued Babazadeh. “Our focus for the future is on the continued development of the Eclipse platform. The difference is that we will be able to pursue this development with more resources available to us than ever before, which is fantastic news. It is the ideal climate in which to nurture and perpetuate the pioneering spirit that has characterized Innovason products since the beginning.”
A number of former Innovason key employees will take over responsibility within the new structure at Lawo, including the “father” of Eclipse, Hervé de Caro, now product manager for Eclipse. Nicolas Gozdowski will continue as service engineer and Benoit Quiniou in R&D. Marcel Babazadeh remains international sales director.
Lawo CEO Philipp Lawo offered, “I have believed in the [Innovason] brand from the beginning. I admire innovation, which has always been a driving force for the development of Innovason products. However,” he added, “despite Lawo’s intervention in 2008, the company was still not able to realize its full potential. Now that the brand is fully integrated into the Lawo structure, I am confident that together we can achieve success. I’m also delighted to welcome the new colleagues on board, all now key members of the Lawo team responsible for Innovason. It is the end of an era for Innovason in its former structure, but the dawning of a new chapter of innovations. We’re all looking forward to a new and promising future in the live sound market together.”
[Sound & Communications reported on the original acquisition in our May 2008 News section.]



Trans-Lux Completes Restructuring Plan
November 21, 2011 (1:11 pm)

Trans-Lux Corp. (Norwalk CT), a supplier of LED technology for high-resolution video displays and lighting applications, has completed an extensive financial restructuring and recapitalization of the company, according to Trans-Lux President/CEO J.M. Allain. "I am pleased to report that the hard work by countless people on the restructuring plan has finally delivered. For well over a year now, we have been working with our debt and stakeholders to create a positive and viable way forward. We believe that the successful resolution of our restructuring plan puts us on a solid financial foundation and gives us the working capital to make much needed investments in strategic areas," he stated. "The success of the restructuring plan will now allow us to focus on growing the digital signage and LED lighting businesses. Trans-Lux's portfolio of end-to-end solutions unlocks a whole new realm of new business development opportunities," Allain added.

As part of the restructuring plan, the company raised $8.3 million of equity capital (the "Offering") consisting of (i) 416,500 shares of the Company's Series A Convertible Preferred Stock, par value $1.00 per share (the "Preferred Stock") having a stated value of $20 per share and convertible into 50 shares of the Company's Common Stock, par value $1.00 per share (or up to 20,825,000 shares of Common Stock), and (ii) 4,165,000 one-year warrants (the "A Warrants"). The Preferred Stock will automatically convert into Common Stock once the shareholders approve an increase to the number of shares of authorized Common Stock at the Company's next annual meeting and the Company files an amendment to its certificate of incorporation so there is an adequate amount of shares available for issuance. These securities were issued at a purchase price of $20,000 per unit (the "Unit"). Each Unit shall consist of 1000 shares of Preferred Stock (convertible into 50,000 shares of Common Stock) and 10,000 A Warrants. Each A Warrant shall entitle the holder to purchase (a) one share of the Company's Common Stock and (b) a three-year warrant (the "B Warrants"), at an exercise price of $1.00 per share (subject to adjustment to $0.20 per share). Each B Warrant shall entitle the holder to purchase one share of the Company's Common Stock at an exercise price of $1.00 per share (subject to adjustment to $0.50 per share). The restructuring plan included offers to the holders of the 8¼% Limited convertible senior subordinated notes due 2012 (the "Notes") to receive $225 plus 250 shares of the Company's Common Stock for each $1000 Note tendered and to the holders of the 9½% Subordinated debentures due 2012 (the "Debentures") to receive $100 for each $1000 Debenture tendered. $8,976,000 principal amount of the Notes and $718,000 principal amount of the Debentures were tendered. The Preferred Stock, as well as the Common Stock offered in exchange for the Notes, will not and have not been registered under the Securities Exchange Act of 1933, as amended, and may not be offered or sold in the United States absent registration or an applicable exemption from registration requirements. The Debentures are subordinate to the claims of the holders of the Notes and the Company's senior lender under the Credit Agreement, among other senior claims. Both offers expired on October 31, 2011.
The net proceeds of the Offering were used to fund the restructuring of the Company's outstanding debt, which includes: (1) a cash settlement to holders of the Notes; (2) a cash settlement to holders of the Debentures; (3) payment of the Company's outstanding term loan with the senior lender and (4) payment of $1.0 million on the Company's outstanding revolving loan with the senior lender. Any net proceeds of the Offering remaining after payment to holders of the Notes, the Debentures and the senior lender will be used for working capital and other general corporate purposes. The Placement Agent will receive a 4.8% commission and warrants to purchase the Company's Common Stock.

AES X192 Audio Network Interoperability
Standard Connects With Manufacturers

November 11, 2011 (3:48 pm)

An AES standards task group chaired by Kevin Gross (who conceived and developed the CobraNet system for transport of real-time, high-quality audio over Ethernet networks) is developing an interoperability standard for audio networking. The project is called X192. Addressing the need for interoperability between products of many different manufacturers, X192, once implemented, will provide manufacturers with the means to remain with the network technology they are invested in, while also seamlessly interfacing with products that support other networks.
There currently is a number of existing and work-in-progress protocols, each with a distinct heritage. These include the IEEE 1733 variant of AVB, Dante, Livewire, Q-LAN and RAVENNA. With an “interoperability mode” built from existing protocols and compatible with existing network equipment, systems integrators and end users will be able to select and interface the products that best meet their design goals with confidence that the X192-enabled devices work and play well together. And by “interoperability,” Gross means the ability for devices operating under various proprietary Layer-3 protocols to easily exchange audio data. Alternately, manufacturers may find that, once fully developed, X192 will meet all their criteria and may decide to implement it as their only networking protocol. QSC Audio Products, LLC and Telos Systems’ Axia Audio division have become sponsoring members supporting Gross’s work.

Manufacturers and users of networked audio products are recognizing the benefits of using Layer 3 network technology and applying existing IP protocols such as IEEE 1588, RTP and DiffServ to the challenge of distributing high channel-count, low-latency, uncompressed digital audio. The benefits of such an approach are numerous and include compatibility with off-the-shelf network hardware, scalability, manageability and acceptance by IT professionals.
Gross describes the genesis of the effort: “When you’re working in the IP environment, there are a limited number of ways to mix and match existing pieces to implement an audio network. So it’s inevitable that IP-based solutions will have similarities. As I surveyed various implementations, it became apparent that these similarities provided an opportunity for interoperability.”
The task group membership is comprised of representatives from prominent audio manufacturers including ALC NetworX and members of the RAVENNA consortium, network equipment and component manufacturers and key end users.
“We strongly support Kevin’s efforts,” said QSC<www.qscaudio.com> VP of Marketing Gerry Tschetter. “Two years of field experience with the Q-LAN protocol used by Q-Sys networked audio products have proven to us that an IP-based approach to networked audio is the right solution. We are looking forward to working with Kevin on an interoperability definition that expands options for the industry.”
Clark Novak, Marketing Manager for Telos Systems and Axia Audio stated, “Telos and Axia have advocated standards-based audio networking since we pioneered Livewire in 2003. The development of a networking standard whose benefits all broadcasters can enjoy is the logical next step for the industry. We’re delighted to be a charter member of the X192 group.”


StJohn Group Changes Focus
November 11, 2011 (1:48 pm)

Effective immediately, StJohn Group, Inc. (Bellingham WA), has discontinued distribution of audio/video products in the North American market for its current vendors, Artcoustic, Cabasse, Cineversum and IMAGE Screens.
Prior to becoming a distributor in 2002, for seven years, StJohn Group had performed marketing services for companies in the financial, wholesale, retail and custom installation industries. Specializing in advertising campaigns, business market development, corporate identity, web development, public relations and collateral development, StJohn Group clients included Russound, A-Bus, Cinematech, InPro Sales, Modern Home Systems, HomeTheater Magazine, Kretek International, Niles Audio, SpeakerCraft, The Center for Due Diligence, CalCrystal Labs, ComClok and many others.

According to owner Kevin Leja, StJohn Group will get back to its roots as a marketing and business development company. Future business will focus on evaluation and development of companies' web-based presence, as well as social networking, mobile applications, and more traditional web and print-based marketing.
Manufacturers, representative firms, retailers, custom installers, and support companies in need of market development should contact Kevin Leja at 360.756.2205.
The company's remaining inventory has been drastically reduced in price and is available for purchase at www.stjohngroup.com.


Roscor Corp. Lays Off Staff
November 2, 2011 (3:48 pm)

Mount Prospect IL-based Roscor Corp., a media and information technology company that resells and rents audiovisual equipment, laid off about 100 of its employees on October 30. According to company President Paul Roston, Roscor has been struggling since it hit a peak in 2009. He dismissed rumors that the company, which provides professional audio, video, multimedia and computer-based products and services, particularly for broadcast television, along with education and corporate communications, is shutting down.

He said the layoffs are a result of the economy and shrinking profit margins, with prices at a point where Roscor can't sustain a business, particularly not a business like his own "that was invented and designed to sell $100 million worth of stuff a year." Roston admitted that Roscor couldn't compete on hardware prices with large national equipment sellers, "and that's what affected our sales staff." Rosco had offices in Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio and Indonesia.
Recent changes in the communication industry, such as manufacturers selling directly to customers and a crowded market space of people selling the same products, have also hurt. "Obviously, there is a possibility that we may close completely, but that's not our goal," he said. "We are going through a restructuring."
In the coming months, Roston said, employees will focus on completing projects in-house and reinventing the company.
Sound & Communications featured the company in feature installations in our September 2004 April 2005 issues.

InfoComm Forms Independent Technical Service Providers Council
October 28, 2011 (10:48 am)

The InfoComm International Board of Directors has approved creation of an Independent Technical Service Providers Council, a new group with the objective of promoting the role of independent technical service providers (ITSP) for outsourced integration and event project work. The council also gives the independent technical service providers a collective voice with hardware and software vendors. “InfoComm International is pleased to support this growing segment of the AV industry,” said Duffy Wilbert, CTS, CAE, senior vice president of membership, InfoComm International.
Along with approval of the council, the InfoComm Leadership Development Committee appointed Mark DelGuidice, CTS, owner of Wire Wizards Integration in San Diego, as the Council Chair.

DelGuidice led the effort to form the new council. “I wanted to create a home for this particular segment of InfoComm members,” he said. “These professionals fill a specific role that differs from those of traditional integration, rental, staging or distributor organizations.” The ITSP Council is holding its first formal meeting in November. Members who would like to participate in this council should contact the InfoComm staff liaison Marc Bialek.
The council is one of nine InfoComm councils representing industry segments, including the Independent Consultants in Audiovisual Technology (ICAT) Council, Independent Programmers Council, Independent Reps Council, Manufacturers Council, Rental & Staging Council, Systems Integration Leadership Council (SILC), Technology Managers Council and the European Council.
Sound & Communications detailed early plans for formation of this council in an exclusive report in our October 2010 issue. See “In Focus: Independent’s Day; A new industry group organizes, makes its mark,” by Dan Ferrisi.

YCD Multimedia Acquires C-nario
October 28, 2011 (8:48 am)

YCD Multimedia (New York NY), a provider of smart digital media experiences to the retail business world, has acquired high-end digital signage solutions company C-nario (Tel Aviv, Israel) in a stock transaction. According to the company, the combination brings together two digital signage companies to deliver an end-to-end solution that encompasses everything from content management to measurement and analytics. "This solution is designed to deliver a complete brand experience in the retail industry as well as in other market segments." The company will expand its reach to serve more than 2000 brands, including leading Fortune 500 global brands, in more than 40 countries.
YCD will continue to support to both YCD and C-nario customers, with Noam Levavi, YCD cofounder/CEO leading the combined entity from its New York City headquarters. "This step opens new horizons and creates tremendous opportunities for the consolidated company," said Levavi. "By combining YCD's offering and expertise together with C-nario's high-end digital signage technology, we take another major step toward achieving our vision of delivering personalization and measurement to brick-and-mortar environments."

Tamir Ginat, C-nario's CEO, said, "This is an important step in C-nario's growth and business strategy. Bringing together powerful market-leading technologies will enable us to offer our customers solutions that provide unrivaled capabilities and address current and future needs."
The company also completed a new $6 million fundraising round led by Carmel Ventures, Opus Capital, Pitango Venture Capital and Plenus, together with other existing shareholders. "We are delighted to have assisted this transaction and to be able to invest in the combined entity," said Avi Zeevi, C-nario's chairman/general partner and cofounder of Carmel Ventures. "We can now combine the power of our individual strengths and core competencies to establish a leadership position in the digital signage industry. I would like to thank Tamir Ginat for leading C-nario to its current dominant position, and who was instrumental in making this transaction happen".
"We plan to increase market share and broaden our coverage," said Rami Kalish, YCD's chairman/Managing General Partner and cofounder of Pitango Venture Capital. "We see a tremendous number of business opportunities that we and our partners can effectively and efficiently target, and we plan to pursue those opportunities."

 

MCSi’s Peppel Sentenced To Seven Days In Prison, $5000 Fine
October 25, 2011 (4:48 pm)

Michael E. Peppel, former president and chief executive officer of MCSi Inc., at one time the largest systems integration firm in the US, was sentenced on October 24 by US District Judge Sandra Beckwith to seven days in federal prison and a $5 million fine. The judge also ordered three years of federal probation supervision. According to a report by John Nolan, Staff Writer for the Dayton Daily News, Peppel faced a potential prison term of eight to 10 years for his guilty pleas to felony crimes that the government said led to the 2003 failure of the company, and caused widespread losses for its employees and investors.

Peppel pleaded guilty to participating in a conspiracy to intentionally report false revenues and earnings at MCSi, to cover up losses and prop up the company's stock prices. (He must submit to random drug testing, and perform community service including public presentations about lessons he learned from his wrongdoing and punishment.) Peppel has agreed to a lifetime ban on his ever serving again as a corporate chief executive, the job he had at MCSi.
According to the report, former employees and investors in MCSi, once known as Miami Computer Supply, said they were stunned by what they described as a light sentence. Dwight Keller, the federal prosecutor who summed up the government's request that Peppel be imprisoned for eight to 10 years, said wrongdoing that undermines public confidence in the honesty of a company's financial reporting to the marketplace must be punished, regardless of whether the defendant has a family and well-stocked bank accounts. The victims included 1300 MCSi employees and at least 281 investors, Keller told the judge.
For more details, see Sound & Communications, NEWSLETTER, September 2010 and News, July 2010 ("Flood Receives Four Year Sentence.")

FrontRow, Calypso Systems Merge
October 20, 2011 (2:24 pm)

FrontRow (Petaluma CA) and Calypso Systems (Woodbury MN) are merging into a single entity operating under the name FrontRow. The unified company plans to offer a suite of technologies that schools can use to improve communication within and between classrooms—even with students at home.
The merger will add integrated classroom AV, command and control, and streaming audio resources to a line of premium digital and analog classroom audio products. According to the company, for AV consultants and district technology staff, this creates a powerful new set of tools that meets the full range of school communication needs: classroom audio, content capture, network paging and device command/control. With nationwide and international distribution, the new company can also immediately field a strong team of expert technology consultants and installers to help districts implement these solutions.


The management teams of FrontRow and Calypso have been working since last year on a shared vision of what integrated school communication could and should be. "Our two companies complement each other extremely well in terms of resources, intellectual property and culture," stated FrontRow President Jens Holstebro. "By leveraging FrontRow's footprint in the classroom amplification space with advanced network products from Calypso, we have secured the position as the leading school communications provider in the industry. Nobody else can deliver better ways to build, manage and use engaging, media-rich learning spaces—or do it faster." According to Calypso President David Parish, the merger will first result in simple product bundling and improved interoperability between the companies' current products. "Ultimately, though," hinted Parish, "what we're building is the industry's most comprehensive and integrated communication platform for education. Our solutions will make it easier to share ideas and information within the classroom, the school, the district and the community, all while driving operational and financial efficiency."
Having already collaborated on engineering and sales projects, the management teams will now turn their attention to orchestrating a smooth and successful transformation into a single organization. Holstebro will serve as president of the new organization, with Parish acting as senior vice president. The process is expected to last into 2012, but customers should begin directing orders and questions to the California office at (800) 227-0735.

Polycom Acquires ViVu
October 19, 2011 (10:13 am)

Polycom, Inc. (Pleasanton CA), has acquired ViVu, Inc. (Cupertino CA), a privately held video collaboration software company. The transaction was closed on October 14, for undisclosed cash consideration, and Polycom expects the transaction to be neutral to earnings.
ViVu has developed video collaboration software that can be embedded easily into web applications such as enterprise, social and vertical industry applications to enable instant web-based HD video collaboration. ViVu gives Polycom a fast-track to embed HD video into web-based applications through an OEM model, accelerating time-to-market and adoption of Polycom HD video collaboration solutions, and driving awareness of the Polycom brand powering video collaboration inside a wide range of applications.
According to the company, Polycom's vision is to make it possible for millions of people to use video collaboration as their preferred method of communication, regardless of network, carrier, protocol, application or device. The acquisition reinforces Polycom's software strategy (announced September 14). Polycom will leverage ViVu technology in the Polycom RealPresence Platform, software infrastructure for universal video collaboration.


"ViVu is a compelling acquisition for Polycom as their technology provides a scalable architecture to quickly deploy rich video collaboration for a range of web-based applications for social, business and industry-specific applications, such as those for healthcare, finance, and customer service," said Sudhakar Ramakrishna, Executive Vice President/General Manager of UC Solutions and Chief Development Officer, Polycom.
"ViVu is excited to join Polycom as we both believe in the power of video collaboration to increase productivity and improve communications and collaboration," said Sudha Valluru, Founder/CEO, ViVu. "I'm confident that ViVu's video collaboration technology will thrive and grow in the future, as a result of Polycom's leadership in UC and video collaboration, power of distribution channels, and the breadth of its customer reach within the enterprise market and beyond."
The ViVu software enables instant video collaboration in any web-based enterprise application, and is device independent. Example applications include customer service (faster helpdesk resolution), healthcare (doctor and patient conversations via video; and finance) and improved trader to client collaboration. Polycom also plans to leverage ViVu technology to accelerate embedding video collaboration into social business applications.
Sound & Communications covered Polycom's acquisition of Accordent Technologies in our April NEWSLETTER.


ComQi Partners With Path Intelligence
September 29, 2011 (1:23 pm)

ComQi (Linden NJ), born from the merger of Minicom Digital Signage and EnQii, is partnering with Path Intelligence Inc. (Portsmouth, United Kingdom), which owns proprietary technology that detects and predicts how shoppers and visitors will behave within enclosed environments such as malls, retail stores, transportation hubs and stadiums. Path Intelligence captures data on shoppers by passively and anonymously observing the movement of their mobile phones. The firm provides customized information on how many shoppers there are by department, how long they dwell, how frequently they come back, which stores they visit during their mall trip and how the full path-to-purchase (and beyond) is mapped. Currently, Path Intelligence is working with US retailers J.C. Penney and Home Depot, as well as a number of UK retailers and mall management companies.


ComQi and Path Intelligence will work to provide retailers with detailed analytics on general shopper behavior in the store, as well as specific analytics linked to digital signage. According to the companies, the Path Intelligence system can be used to optimize digital signage installations and measure engagement at the screen level.
"Path Intelligence's footpath data provides retailers with expanded metrics and quantitative performance by department, enabling management to optimize operations, labor allocations and store layouts," said Sharon Biggar, Path Intelligence CEO. "We are excited to be working with ComQi to bring these, as well as other new features, to the US retail marketplace."
"We wanted to work with Path Intelligence to bring the power of online analytics to the physical shopping experience," offered ComQi's North American Managing Director, Stuart Armstrong. "The powerful data and analytics provided by Path Intelligence make ROI measurement and deeper consumer data-capture a reality for retailers."
Advising the Path Intelligence/ComQi partnership are The Jeffrey Group (Jeff McElnea, formerly of Einson-Freeman/WPP Group) and Edgewood Industries (George Wishart, formerly of The Nielsen Company).

AVI Systems Acquires Workplace AV Systems
September 6, 2011 (11:29 am)

Audiovisual systems integrator AVI Systems, based in Eden Prairie MN, has acquired Workplace AV Systems of Sioux Falls SD, a division of Workplace Technology Center specializing in information technology and audiovisual consulting solutions. The purchase of Workplace AV Systems further increases AVI Systems' geographic area in the Midwest market. "The combination of Workplace AV Systems technology solutions with our audiovisual expertise will provide our clients with more solutions, expertise and support," said Glenn Bosch, Regional Vice President of AVI Systems.


Workplace AV Systems was established as an AV consultant in South Dakota in 1997, and will maintain its current facility in Sioux Falls. "The integration of both companies will take place over the next year, with the local office operating under the dba of Workplace AV Systems a subsidiary of AVI Systems, and will migrate to the AVI Systems name during the next year. Our clients will continue to receive the same high quality audiovisual communication solutions they have come to expect and Workplace AV Systems clients will enjoy the expanded AV solutions and support capabilities," Bosch added.
"All of us at Workplace AV Systems look forward to this great opportunity. Our capabilities complement one another so we see the future as a win-win situation for both parties," said Joe Zueger, President of Workplace Technology Center. The two companies serve the same consistent customer base and have enjoyed a strong history of performance on collaborative projects.


ClearOne Acquires MagicBox
September 6, 2011 (11:20 am)

ClearOne (Salt Lake City UT), which develops and sells conferencing, collaboration, multi-media streaming and connectivity systems for audio, video and web applications, has acquired MagicBox, Inc. According to ClearOne, this is part of the company's broader strategy to capitalize on emerging market opportunities as audio video, information technology, unified communications and traditional digital signage converge to meet enterprise and commercial multimedia needs.
"The combined expertise of the two companies brings to the market the only complete, end-to-end digital signage content management and IP streaming solution," said Zee Hakimoglu, Chairman/CEO of ClearOne. "The MagicBox content management and control technology and their industry leading database integration software are the perfect complements to ClearOne's StreamNet systems."

Privately-held MagicBox, headquartered in Corvallis OR and founded in 1995, designs, develops and markets a variety of hardware and software solutions to deliver digital content and information to digital displays.
"MagicBox and ClearOne have complementary products for a broad spectrum of applications," said Tom Searcy, Founder of MagicBox. "One of the single-most challenging requirements for any digital signage provider is the ability to distribute content over a wide-area network while maintaining control and scheduling alignment. StreamNet technology delivers low-latency HD distribution over IP which is a perfect fit with MagicBox's content creation, scheduling, database integration and digital signage domain expertise."
The acquisition presents both companies with new global market opportunities and accelerated product development, they report. It also brings economies of scale to MagicBox, which will be leveraged to execute go-to-market strategies.


The AVC Group Consolidates Sales Rep Network
September 1, 2011 (10:29 am)

In a move designed to provide dealers with a single point of contact for its iconic custom installation brands, The AVC Group (Carlsbad CA), a subsidiary of Nortek, Inc. and part of Nortek's Home Technology Group, is implementing a consolidated independent sales rep network that enables qualifying dealers to have "one source" access to more than 1700 products and system solutions offered by its ELAN, NILES, Xantech, Sunfire and ATON brands.
According to The AVC Group President Mark Terry, the current network of 45 independent rep firms will now be reduced to 15 firms, each of which will carry all five of The AVC Group brands. It is expected that this new sales rep organization will maximize the effectiveness of the recently introduced AVC Advantage program, which combines focused, complementary brand offerings with automatic incentive, rebate and support programs. "As a company we are totally committed to the business model of using independent sales rep firms as our frontline sales force," Terry emphasized. "The implementation of a consolidated rep organization is the next logical step forward in our long term plan to provide dealers with a greater array of opportunities to sell more system solutions to a larger and wider range of customers," Terry said. "This new organization empowers dealers to meet more customer requirements than ever before, allowing them to offer a truly complete range of system and product offerings at every price point."




According to Terry, the consolidated rep organization benefits every entity involved in the sales process: dealers, distributors, reps and The AVC Group. For dealers, the new organization provides a single point of contact for all five AVC Group brands while allowing them to access bundled and tiered programs and incentives. "We will be able to provide our dealers and distributors with complete and complementary systems solutions: more than 1700 different products," Terry emphasized. "Our dealers will now enjoy a greater, more powerful relationship with a single manufacturing partner.
For the sales reps in the new organization, the structure delivers a new level of efficiency with features such as one-stop training, one sales meeting, one commission check and one business methodology, the company stated. "At the same time," Terry stressed, "the new consolidated sales rep network offers reps the ability to finally offer every dealer a complete price performance range of solutions. Every dealer call they make will be much more likely to result in a sale and that reality will significantly increase their income."
Finally, for The AVC Group, the new structure allows the Group to make sure it always has "A" level reps in every sales territory. The Group will be able to more effectively develop and implement a long-term systems solution product strategy that benefits all of its dealers while ensuring that the Group's brands are not squeezed out of a channel or used to leverage a competitor. "It also allows us to act quicker in the market, offer more comprehensive training and be more efficient with our resources. The bottom line is that everyone benefits, including the customer, and that's the most important priority for all of us."
Although the implementation of a consolidated independent sales rep network bodes well for the future of The AVC Group, dealers and consumers, it is a significant change that does affect some long established relationships. "Unfortunately, this type of action requires that we part company with many extremely qualified, talented and loyal reps through no fault of their own. I want to thank these firms for their many contributions over the years. Without their effort and success, our brands would not be the leaders they are today. I wish each and every one of these firms continued success in the future," Terry offered.
The new independent sales rep organization is comprised of Audio Associates Corp. (South Plainfield NJ), Electronic Marketing Associates (Raytown MO), High-Tech Network (Smyrna GA), Market Share Inc. (Bellevue WA), New Age Marketing (Manvel TX), ProMark Marketing (Santa Clarita CA), RS Pro Sales, LLC (Cincinnati OH), SLAMCO (Chanhassen MN), Sound Tech Marketing (Golden CO), Tandem Marketing, Inc. (Elk Grove Village IL), The Jarmac Group (Taunton MA), TWC Michigan, Inc. (Trenton MI) and Zone Pacific Sales (Sacramento CA).


FiberPlex Changes Hands
August 30, 2011 (9:29 am)

FiberPlex Technologies, LLC, has acquired FiberPlex, Inc. , based in Annapolis Junction MD, including the LightViper and Shadow brands. In the fiberoptic communications industry since 1987, FiberPlex, Inc., was founded by engineers who had the vision of future communications and understood its value to governmental and civilian security, according to the company. In 2004, spearheaded by Harry S. (Buddy) Oliver III, the company introduced the LightViper brand of products, bringing its knowledge and expertise into the pro audio market.




FiberPlex Technologies, LLC, was formed by Buddy Oliver, President/CEO, and Cynthia Oliver Peters in July 2011 for the purpose of acquiring the assets and operations of FiberPlex, Inc. Buddy Oliver has more than 20 years of experience in the electronic manufacturing industry and federal contracting. Cynthia Oliver Peters has extensive training and experience in organizational change management and executive coaching. With a background in accounting, she has owned and operated several businesses over the past 25 years, and has served on boards of directors and committees for several organizations.
This fusion of new dynamic leadership and revitalized capital with a brand, products and reputation built over 24 years will create a strong foundation for growth both domestically as well as internationally, the company reported. FiberPlex Technologies, LLC, will keep all of its jobs and manufacturing in the US. "We will build on the quality that the FiberPlex name and its brands have come to symbolize as we pursue the innovation of the next generation of fiberoptic communications equipment," they stated.

Radiant Systems Acquires Texas Digital Systems
August 12, 2011 (9:29 am)

Radiant Systems, Inc., (Alpharetta GA) has acquired Texas Digital Systems, Inc., (College Station TX) a provider of order confirmation displays and digital signage solutions. Texas Digital's solutions enable businesses to improve order accuracy, increase speed of service and influence sales at the point-of-purchase.
"Order confirmation and digital signage is an emerging growth opportunity for Radiant, and this acquisition enhances our ability to accelerate the adoption of digital signage," said Andy Heyman, COO at Radiant Systems. "Integrating Texas Digital's products into our solution offerings will drive more value for our customers."


With more than 22,000 installations in 40 countries, Texas Digital develops order confirmation displays and digital signage solutions that can be implemented in a variety of indoor and outdoor environments, including restaurants, entertainment, arenas, and stadiums and theme parks.
"Radiant and Texas Digital have complementary products and have been strong business partners for many years," said Dennis Davidson, President/COO of Texas Digital Systems. "Our companies are well aligned in the markets we serve and we are excited to become a part of their team."
In July, NCR announced plans to acquire Radiant Systems. NCR provides assisted- and self-service solutions and comprehensive support services address the needs of retail, financial, travel, healthcare, hospitality, entertainment, gaming, public sector, telecom carrier and equipment organizations in more than 100 countries.


Court Of Appeals Affirms ClearOne Verdict Against Biamp Systems
August 10, 2011 (6:29 pm)

The United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit issued an opinion August 8, affirming a November 2008 jury verdict issued by a federal district court in favor of ClearOne against Biamp Systems Corp., for theft of ClearOne's trade secrets, including the federal district court's award of exemplary damages based on the finding that Biamp's misappropriation was willful and malicious. In its ruling, the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals reduced the amount of ClearOne's judgment on two categories of ClearOne's damages, but otherwise affirmed Biamp's liability to ClearOne on every component of ClearOne's judgments against Biamp for theft of ClearOne's trade secrets, including awards for lost profits, unjust enrichment, exemplary damages based on Biamp's willful and malicious conduct, taxable costs, and attorney fees and costs.


The amount of ClearOne's judgment against Biamp is estimated to be $3.7 million, not including additional amounts that may be awarded. This amount reflects reductions by the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals of approximately $1.1 million from the federal district court's previous judgment of about $4.8 million. Pursuant to a prior order of the federal district court, Biamp had deposited about $3.7 million in escrow, to protect ClearOne and serve as a bond on appeal. ClearOne will immediately seek release of these monies to satisfy judgment in its favor.
In earlier opinions dated June 27, 2011, and July 8, 2011, the Tenth Circuit affirmed in all respects the jury verdict and related awards against Andrew Chiang, Jun Yang, Lonny Bowers, WideBand Solutions, Inc., and Versatile DSP, Inc., and the federal district court's contempt and related findings against Donald Bowers. ClearOne has not recovered any material amounts in satisfaction of its judgments against these parties. The Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals is yet to rule upon ClearOne's request for additional awards of prejudgment interest and attorney fees against Biamp.
In exclusive comments to Sound & Communications, Steve Metzger, Biamp President stated, "Although we are pleased the court has effectively reduced the size of the damages against Biamp on constitutional grounds and has denied the plaintiff's cross-appeal for prejudgment interest, we are disappointed that the court chose to avoid consideration of important core issues Biamp raised during appeal based on procedural matters.
We believe the opinion does not reveal what we know to be true: that Biamp has never, nor would it ever, participate in the misappropriation of intellectual property.
"As ardently as we disagree with the final outcome, we do accept that the legal process has run its course and we're pleased to have the matter resolved.
"The award of damages to ClearOne will have no material financial impact to Biamp's operations or its ability to develop or deliver product to its customers. Further, it has no impact whatsoever on the technologies used in our products.
"Our customers can feel fully confident that there will be no disruptions in their supply of Biamp products.


RCF And dB Technologies Move U.S. Operations To New Jersey
August 5, 2011 (12:29 pm)

RCF and dB Technologies has announced a relocation of its business from New Hampshire to Edison NJ, effective August 15. The move provides the company with a bigger warehouse to receive and ship product more efficiently and inexpensively across the United States. The move will also position the company in a centralized location allowing it to adjust to the U.S. market's needs.


The further development of the company has also produced an adjustment in the representation across the U.S. With a change in reps in California, Chicago and a new partnership with Starin Marketing, RCF and dB Technologies plan to expand their services across the country. The company's new address is 110 Talmadge Road, Edison NJ.


Black Box Acquires PS Technologies, LLC
July 28, 2011 (12:23 pm)

Black Box Corporation, Pittsburgh PA, has acquired privately-held PS Technologies, LLC (PS Tech), based in Dayton OH. PS Tech is the first Black Box acquisition in the rapidly growing enterprise video communications market and services clients in the healthcare and government verticals. PS Tech is a Cisco TelePresence Video Master certified partner with expertise ranging from integration of remote offices via desktop conferencing to deployment of the latest in telepresence technology.


PS Tech sells and services solutions throughout the continental US, Europe and the Pacific Rim, with annual historical revenues about $28 million.
Leo Flotron, former PC Tech President, commented, “The entire team is very excited to join our video capabilities and industry knowledge with Black Box. Our strategy has always been to provide superior video communications solutions to our clients. We believe that combining resources with Black Box enhances our ability to serve our clients in the emerging video communications market.” Flotron will report to Julie Lyda, Black Box Vice President/General Manger.
Commenting on the acquisition, Lyda stated, "I am excited to welcome the entire PS Tech team to Black Box. They have earned a great reputation as a high-quality video solution provider. The addition of PS Tech to the Black Box family will greatly enhance our organic Cisco capabilities in the video and teleconferencing space. They will be an excellent addition to our company.
"

Calibre UK Appoints Eiki International As North American Distributor
July 27, 2011 (11:47 am)

Calibre UK, Bradford, UK, a major player in the development and manufacturing of image processing, scaling and switching products, has appointed Eiki International, Inc., Rancho Santa Margarita CA, as its North American distributor for the HQView professional audiovisual image processing, warp and blend products. The agreement was facilitated by Paul Carey, Marketing Specialists, Inc., Calibre UK's North American master representative and also a manufacturer's representative for Eiki International, Inc.
The range of 13 scaler/processors with models including features such as geometry correction, image warping and soft edge blending was introduced in 2010. This includes the HQView520 scaler, switcher and scan converter with warp and blend and 3G-SDI connectivity.
Calibre UK is also recognized for its manufacturing excellence by InfoComm as a green product innovation and it was also shortlisted as a finalist in the Electronic Product Design Awards, Green Manufacturing Awards Category.

The HQView range complements the range of projectors, comprising more than 40 models at resolutions ranging from XGA to 2K (2048x1080) that Eiki manufactures and distributes from its California headquarters. "Eiki literally means 'projectors' in Japanese but, with Calibre UK, we're stepping up a gear and empowering our user and customer base. This will enable them to do so much more with their projection systems," stated Steve Rubery, Eiki International New Business Development Manager.
He added, "The addition of the Calibre's HQView range is the ideal partner for our projectors and will widen the way in which they can be used in the marketplace. We look forward to a fruitful and successful relationship with Calibre UK and its team of technical and sales experts. Our growth markets are church production, corporate audio visual and educational installation and we're widely known for reliability, quality and durability."
Echoing his sentiments, Tim Brooksbank, Calibre UK Chairman added, "The apointment of Eiki International, Inc., paves the way forward and is a critical step in our international growth strategy. We are proud to be able to work with such an internationally well respected professional AV partner as Eiki."
"This new distribution channel offers us the opportunity to promote and offer our HQView range of products nationwide in the US with a partner with more than 50 years of experience in projection. We're absolutely delighted with the appointment and look forward to talking about installations and uses of equipment."


GestureTek Sells Some Assets To Qualcomm
July 26, 2011 (6:47 pm)

GestureTek, Inc.(Toronto, Canada) has sold certain technology assets to Qualcomm Incorporated (San Diego CA). The acquisition will give Qualcomm ownership of certain intellectual property assets related to gesture recognition. With more than 25 years of experience implementing gesture-based technologies in mobile devices, entertainment facilities, museums, retail locations and other public and private venues, GestureTek will retain selected technology assets and will now focus on its gesture-controlled public display/digital signage and health businesses.

"This transaction with Qualcomm is a great result for both parties," says Vincent John Vincent, President/Co-Founder, GestureTek Inc. "GestureTek will continue to deploy our technology in the digital signage/public display and health markets, on which we will now focus exclusively. We look forward to supporting our existing customers and continuing to leverage our network of dealers and distributors to add new customers in these growing markets."
"Applications processors are enabling a range of new ways for consumers to interface with their home entertainment and mobile devices," said Steve Mollenkopf, Executive Vice President/Group President, Qualcomm. "Our acquisition of key technology and assets from GestureTek will strengthen Qualcomm's smartphone product portfolio and enable our customers to launch products with new and compelling user experiences." Gesture recognition technology will be integrated into Qualcomm's current and next-generation Snapdragon processors, giving OEMs the capability to produce smartphones, tablets and home entertainment devices with user interfaces based on natural human gestures.

Haivison Acquires Kulabyte And Montivision;
Forms Internet Media Division

July 21, 2011 (12:47 pm)

Haivision Network Video (Montreal, Canada), a provider of video networking, digital signage and IP video distribution solutions, has acquired KulaByte Corporation (San Marcos TX) and MontiVision Imaging Technologies (Breiholz, Germany). The technologies of both companies, including advanced encoding, transcoding, cloud computing and workflow solutions, will be combined to form Haivision's new Internet Media Division.
"All market segments now demand access to a high-quality live and on-demand HD media experience regardless of network or platform," said Mirko Wicha, President/CEO of Haivision Network Video. "With KulaByte and MontiVision, Haivision can now deliver end-to-end rich media solutions for both inside and outside the enterprise firewall. The new division is also focused on addressing the challenges of effective social media networks for the enterprise."
KulaByte provides live software-based encoding and transcoding technologies. KulaByte's H.264 encoding software and systems deliver internet streaming of HD content to Flash RTMP and HTTP Live Streaming (HLS) for the iPhone/iPad and other platforms. KulaByte's HyperStream is one of the world's first live cloud-based video transcoding services, according to the company. It can transform live video source streams into all of the many formats and data rates required to distribute live video via the internet to every screen, regardless of device, player, screen size or bandwidth. HyperStream reduces the cost and complexity of live video streaming by using the cloud to transcode source streams into multiple formats and bit rates required for diverse media distribution. HyperStream is available as a cloud-based service, a managed server within the cloud or a standalone server appliance.

Founded in 2004, KulaByte's customer list crosses many market segments, including over-the-top (OTT) broadcast, HD Internet TV, live church streaming, education, corporate event broadcasting, live sporting event streaming, and military and defense applications. KulaByte encoders and cloud transcoders were used recently to broadcast the Masters golf tournament to hundreds of thousands of viewers.
MontiVision Imaging Technologies, founded in 2003 and a partner in the development of Kulabyte products, is a development company focused on delivering technologies for video acquisition, machine vision, surveillance and medical imaging applications. The MontiVision Development Kit provides a development environment allowing high-performance media solutions to be built rapidly. MontiVision's client list includes vertical market solutions providers and top education and research facilities globally.
KulaByte and MontiVision now form Haivision's Internet Media Division, which is focused on developing technologies to deliver OTT media and to power enterprise social media networks. Haivision has appointed Chafye Nemri as Executive Vice President of this new division and KulaByte CEO Peter Forman as Vice President of Internet Media, responsible for developing the division's cloud services. Key initiatives will enable the creation, distribution and management of media assets for organizations, regardless of user location.
"Haivision is unique in the IP video industry in that we have been profitable for many years, experienced more than 50% growth for the last five years and we continue to increase our market share dramatically—all without venture capital investment," stated Wicha. "Our executive management group is the best in the industry with an amazing track record and, together with a dedicated and driven team of more than 150 people, we expect to surpass revenues of $50 million next year."
Haivision has acquired four companies in just over two years, combining IP video distribution, digital signage, and now internet streaming expertise with the company's H.264 hardware technology.

AMX Acquires SchoolView Technologies Inc.
July 20, 2011 (10:47 am)

AMX (Richardson TX), a provider of solutions that simplify the implementation, maintenance and use of technology to create effective environments, has acquired SchoolView Technologies, LLC, a Plano TX-based company specializing in building comprehensive software that consolidates management and control of diverse school technologies at the district, building and classroom level, on a single, comprehensive platform. AMX introduced a partnership with SchoolView Technologies in February 2010, and launched the AMX|SchoolView solutions combining hardware and software that integrates disparate building systems to deliver a central command center in a single location using existing data networks, and capable of scaling for future technology integration, said the company.
According to the company, AMX|SchoolView solutions are successful due in part to its reputation within the education market of controlling costs while providing the highest quality of service, all despite a soft economy. This complete, scalable solution consolidates management and control of traditional bell, clock and PA systems, while addressing the management and control needs of classroom audio, video and presentation tools at the district, building and classroom level, according to the company. As a result, innovative institutions have found the key to controlling cost is simple: Capitalize on their existing disparate technologies through automation and control, said the company.


"We have been impressed with both the quality of the products and the people at SchoolView over the past 18 months and are glad to officially welcome them to the AMX family. AMX is capitalizing on the success of this partnership with a solution that aims directly at controlling costs at a time when K-12 schools are being challenged more and more to show a true return on their investment," said Rashid Skaf, AMX President/CEO. "AMX|SchoolView is the only scalable education solution set that allow schools to start with certain critical components and continue to add more later to eventually take full advantage of our 'unified control' solutions to manage connected technology, automation, security and energy utilization."
According to AMX, AMX|SchoolView provides a host of features essential for innovative learning environments. Administrators and support staff can perform remote system diagnostics and track projector use and lamp life, allowing efficient scheduling of routine maintenance such as lamp replacement and instant notification if devices are disconnected, providing financial savings through theft deterrence. AMX|SchoolView includes components for safe and crime-free campuses such as centralized control of security cameras to mass alert notifications. Unlike many traditional notification systems, AMX|SchoolView can deliver synchronized alerts and messages to all rooms, including portable classrooms. Beyond giving administrators and teachers simplified control of the system, the AMX|SchoolView also offers energy savings, aligning to green-building initiatives that many school districts are facing. It automates management of energy-consuming resources such as PCs and AV equipment, and further increases cost reductions by simplifying maintenance and support, which extends technology lifecycles.
"The education market currently is facing two diametrically opposing obstacles: lower funding and higher demand for innovative use of technology," said Michael Peveler, Vice President, Education Sales, AMX. "Education customers around the world will benefit because AMX|SchoolView addresses both challenges without increasing costs or compromising technology."
"SchoolView is excited to be a part of a world-class organization like AMX that has successfully installed solutions in tens of thousands of classrooms around the world," stated Michael Yonks, President/CEO, SchoolView Technologies. "As evident over the past year and a half, we realize AMX is the type of company that mirrors our commitment to growth, quality, and personal integrity."

 

ANSI Approves InfoComm’s Projected
Image System Contrast Ratio Standard

July 15, 2011 (11:47 am)

The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) has approved InfoComm’s third standard, ANSI/INFOCOMM 3M-2011, Projected Image System Contrast Ratio . The standard provides metrics for measurement and requirements for minimum contrast ratios for rear- and front-projection audiovisual projected image systems. ANSI/INFOCOMM 3M-2011 Projected Image System Contrast Ratio, which applies to both permanent and temporary installations, defines projected image system contrast ratio and its measurement. This standard defines four contrast ratios based on content viewing requirements. The system contrast ratio refers to the image as it is presented to viewers in a space with ambient light. Metrics to measure and validate the defined contrast ratios are also provided. A one-page overview can be found on InfoComm's website.

InfoComm thanks the following industry volunteers for their leadership in developing this standard: Alan C. Brawn, CTS, ISF, ISF-C, Brawn Consulting, Moderator; David Aleksandersen, Projection Design; Tim Anderson, 3LCD; Jonathan Brawn, CTS, ISF, ISF-C, Brawn Consulting; Ricardo Chen, Canon USA (LCoS); Michael Davis, Texas Instruments (DLP); Richard Green, HTDS, CCP-HTPS; Rich Green, Ink (CEDIA volunteer member); Greg Jeffreys, Paradigm Audio Visual Ltd.; Christopher Johnson, CTS-D, HTDS, AudioVisions; John Meehan, Panasonic Projector Systems, Inc.; David Pedigo, CEDIA; Don Stewart, CTS, Stewart Filmscreen; and Grant Stewart, CTS, Stewart Filmscreen. Digital copies of the standard can be purchased at www.webstore.ansi.org.
The first Standards and Best Practices Plenary held on June 18 in Orlando, included reports from chairs and moderators of task groups and task forces, liaisons to other associations and InfoComm staff. Participants were informed as to how current standards and best practices issues tie together and relate to other industries. More than 15 liaisons from InfoComm and other trade associations presented and participated in lively panel discussions that spanned the breadth of InfoComm projects. These included green AV, audio, energy management, displays, drawing symbols, BIM, event sustainability, integrated building technology and others. Get more information and a complete report about this Plenary Session. Click Here.


Magenta Research and TV One Form
"Commercial Technology Group"

July 1, 2011 (12:47 pm)

Following its recent acquisition of Kentucky-based TV One Broadcast Sales Corporation, Nortek, Inc. announced that TV One and Connecticut-based Magenta Researchare cornerstones of the newly formed Magenta Commercial Technology Group.

Magenta specializes in providing large-scale switching, extension and distribution projects to the commercial AV and digital signage markets, while TV One dedicates itself to providing video, audio and multimedia processing solutions. Commercial Technology Group Chairman, and Magenta Research CEO, Keith Mortensen stated, "The ability for TV One and Magenta technology to be cross-integrated into broadcast and commercial AV projects offers integrators and consultants exciting new alternatives to approaching projects, while streamlining the overall process."
Additional acquisitions are expected to further expand the Magenta Commercial Technology Group's product portfolio in the coming months, according to Nortek.

ABRY Partners To Acquire Masergy Communications, Inc.
June 28, 2011 (4:38 pm)

ABRY Partners, LLC (Boston MA) is purchasing 100% of the existing equity of Masergy Communications, Inc. (Plano TX), a global provider of secure, virtualized network services. The transaction is expected to close within 90 days.
"ABRY Partners is one of the most experienced private equity firms in the media, communications and information industry. ABRY has a strong track record of providing capital to successful companies," said Chris MacFarland, CEO of Masergy. "We believe they are the right partner to continue our growth plans while providing outstanding service to our clients. We are very proud of what Masergy has achieved to date and we look forward to executing the next phase of our growth strategy."

This transaction provides liquidity for the founding investors and introduces an experienced equity partner for the company's continued growth. The existing management team will continue to manage the business with no operational changes.
"We are strong believers in the global information technology and emerging cloud services market and are excited to be participating in it through our acquisition of Masergy," said Blake Battaglia, Partner at ABRY Partners. "Masergy, with its talented management team, has built a highly scalable business with a diversified blue chip customer base. We look forward to helping Masergy accelerate its growth strategy.".

Audio Manufacturers Create The Open Control Architecture Alliance
June 28, 2011 (10:08 am)

Eight professional audio manufacturers have formed a group whose mission is to secure the standardization of the Open Control Architecture (OCA), a media networking system control standard for professional applications. They include Bosch Communications Systems, d&b audiotechnik, Duran Audio, LOUD Technologies Inc., Media Technology Systems, PreSonus, Salzbrenner Stagetec Mediagroup and TC Group.
The function of the Open Control Architecture Alliance (OCA Alliance, www.oca-alliance.com) is to complete the technical definition of OCA, then to transfer its development to an accredited public standards organization. The standards organization will render the OCA specification into an open public standard for control of professional media network systems.
Developed recently by Bosch Communications Systems, OCA is descended from AES-24, a system control protocol developed by the Audio Engineering Society in the 1990s. OCA defines a flexible and robust control standard that covers the entire range of pro media networking applications, from the smallest to the largest.

OCA is not a media transport technology, and does not replace evolving media transport standards such as AVB. Instead, it is intended to complement such standards by providing a reliable and rich system control environment. Together, media transport and system control standards will enable complete multivendor media network solutions in the future.
By adding system control to the media network equation, OCA will allow devices from multiple manufacturers to share a common management regime, thus allowing system designers and owners the freedom to specify the components they want without compromising overall integration and usability.
OCA is designed specifically to address the full range of professional media networking use cases, from small to very large, including cases where media networks have critical security and/or life safety roles. OCA is adaptable and future-proof, and will support multivendor media network applications now and in the future.
It is the hope of the Alliance that OCA will become widely adopted, leading to a new era of multivendor interoperability in which media network customers have an increased range of choice, and engineered media networking solutions offer new levels of functionality, flexibility and overall value.
Alliance work will be done in two phases. During the current Phase 1, the eight founding members will refine the OCA specification and prepare it for passing to a public standards organization. Phase 1 is a fast-track exercise, in which active membership will be restricted to the founding members. Other companies may become Observers on request.
During Phase 2, the OCA specification will be transferred to the public standards organization, and the Alliance will continue with ancillary OCA promotion and support work. Active Alliance membership will be open to all in this phase; as well, companies will have the option of participating in the standards organization in the usual way.
For more information, or to enroll as an Observer, contact the Alliance Administrator at stephan.lietz@oca-alliance.com.

RF Industries Acquires Cables Unlimited, Inc.
June 23, 2011 (5:47 pm)

San Diego CA-based RF Industries, Ltd. has acquired Long Island NY-based Cables Unlimited, Inc. CUI, a seller of high-value fiberoptic cabling and connector products to enterprise and carrier network customers, for a purchase price of $5,600,000, consisting of $2,800,000 in cash and 762,738 common shares. Privately owned CUI had revenue of about $6,200,000 and non-audited non-GAAP adjusted EBITDA of about $645,000 in its most recent 12 months ended December 31, 2010.
RF Industries also announced that Darren Clark, the sole owner of Cables Unlimited, has been added to RF Industries' Board of Directors. Clark cofounded CUI in 1992 and has been its principal executive officer since the company's formation.

At the heart of this merger was a strong desire by both Banbury and Pressley to expand opportunities for their customers and employees. "We now have the scale and talent to provide compelling value for customers of all sizes," said Banbury. "This provides opportunities for growth and achievement for everyone involved."
Pressley summarized the merger strategy simply: "As we looked at our complementary core competencies, we realized there was tremendous value in a combined company. When we added the strength of employee ownership and a resurgent southeast economy, the merger logic was compelling."
Unified AV Systems provides design, engineering, installation and maintenance services for audiovisual communication systems to corporate, education, religious and government entities. The company specializes in corporate boardroom and training room presentation solutions, as well as collaborative audio and videoconferencing. Additionally, creating "smart" classrooms and associated training for the education market has been a specialty since the technology was introduced more than 10 years ago.
Unified AV Systems remains a member of USAV, which acted in an advisory role for the merger, providing counsel on valuation, deal structure, financing and operational integration. "We are thrilled to see two USAV Integrators combine for growth and value," said USAV CEO KC Schwarz. Schwarz will sit on the Unified AV Systems Board of Directors.

Multi Media Services, Video Systems of the Carolinas Merge
June 23, 2011 (2:47 pm)

Multi Media Services and Video Systems of the Carolinas have merged to create Unified AV Systems, with Jim Pressley serving as CEO and Bruce Banbury as President.
With headquarters in Atlanta GA and major operational centers in Charlotte NC and Greenville SC, as well as additional sales and technical support offices in Raleigh and Greensboro NC, Unified AV Systems has a large footprint in the region. After many months of planning, the merger combines 55 years of operation as separate, closely held businesses to form a single, integrated commercial AV entity. Unified AV Systems remains employee owned, but has expanded employee participation by implementing a broad-based Employee Stock Ownership Program.

At the heart of this merger was a strong desire by both Banbury and Pressley to expand opportunities for their customers and employees. "We now have the scale and talent to provide compelling value for customers of all sizes," said Banbury. "This provides opportunities for growth and achievement for everyone involved."
Pressley summarized the merger strategy simply: "As we looked at our complementary core competencies, we realized there was tremendous value in a combined company. When we added the strength of employee ownership and a resurgent southeast economy, the merger logic was compelling."
Unified AV Systems provides design, engineering, installation and maintenance services for audiovisual communication systems to corporate, education, religious and government entities. The company specializes in corporate boardroom and training room presentation solutions, as well as collaborative audio and videoconferencing. Additionally, creating "smart" classrooms and associated training for the education market has been a specialty since the technology was introduced more than 10 years ago.
Unified AV Systems remains a member of USAV, which acted in an advisory role for the merger, providing counsel on valuation, deal structure, financing and operational integration. "We are thrilled to see two USAV Integrators combine for growth and value," said USAV CEO KC Schwarz. Schwarz will sit on the Unified AV Systems Board of Directors.


Alcons Audio Forms Alcons Audio USA
June 10, 2011 (9:00 am)

Dutch speaker manufacturer Alcons Audio has formed Alcons Audio USA, which represents the company taking its first significant steps toward penetrating the US market. This brings the advantages of Alcons' range of Pro-Ribbon solutions, from point-source, through line-source, to line array, to a new geographical sector. Alcons Audio USA will be headed by David Rahn, previously National Sales Manager at Renkus-Heinz, and Pauline Ortiz y Pino, business development specialist. It will be based in Dana Point CA.

"The US market is very important. However, we decided not to enter until we were able to establish our own office there, providing the comprehensive support our customers deserve and have come to expect," said Alcons' Co-Founder Tom Back.
"With David and Pauline joining us, that time has come. We're very happy that we can continue our global development into this pivotal market with this [strong] team."
Alcons Audio USA can be contacted by phone at 949.439.8203. Rahn and Ortiz y Pino can be contacted by email at rahn@alconsaudio.com and ortizypino@alconsaudio.com, respectively.


Extensive Polycom Activity
June 2, 2011 (10:34 am)

Polycom is acquiring HP's Visual Collaboration business, including the Halo Products and Managed Services business. The companies also signed a strategic agreement that makes Polycom an exclusive partner to HP for telepresence and certain video UC solutions, including both resale and internal HP deployments, and integrates Polycom's video applications on HP's WebOS TouchPad product line.
Polycom also announced the Open Visual Communications Consortium (OVCC), an open video exchange cloud with leading service providers that will enable visual communications beyond corporate firewalls and proprietary video platforms. OVCC will enable global businesses to connect everywhere and will make it easy for millions to communicate via video similar to the simplicity of how mobile phones connect today.

Founding members of OVCC include Airtel, AT&T, BCS Global, BT Conferencing, Cable&Wireless Worldwide, Global Crossing, Glowpoint, iFormata Communications, Masergy, Orange Business Services, PCCW Global, Telefonica, Telstra and Verizon.
Polycom and Microsoft also announced two new developments in enterprise UC. These solutions will expand the Microsoft and Polycom joint development and go-to-market activities on multiple fronts. As a strategic Microsoft UC solution partner, Polycom and Microsoft are already executing on six strategic agreements. Polycom has delivered native integration with Lync across Polycom's UC Intelligent Core infrastructure, telepresence family and voice endpoints. Polycom previously announced SVC, the underlying technology that enables Polycom and Microsoft to deliver a powerful telepresence application to hundreds of millions of Microsoft desktops.
Finally, Polycom announced that its Board of Directors approved a two-for-one split of its common stock to be effected in the form of a stock dividend. The stock split will entitle each stockholder of record at the close of business on June 15 to receive one additional share for every one share owned as of that date. The additional shares resulting from the stock split are expected to be distributed by the company's transfer agent on July 1. Upon completion of the stock split, Polycom will have approximately 176,000,000 shares of common stock outstanding.



LINX Signs Merger Agreement With Solstice Multimedia
June 1, 2011 (12:00 pm)

Denver CO-based LINX, a $32 million communication infrastructure provider, has signed a merger agreement with Solstice Multimedia that combines Solstice and the Audio-Video division of LINX to form a new subsidiary: LINX Multimedia, LLLP. Prior to the merger, privately owned LINX operated three lines of business: voice and data cable services and installation, security systems integration and AV systems.
Denver-based Solstice Multimedia provided integrated electronic systems to commercial and high-end "smart" homes to residential customers.

"We are very excited to create [a] premier AV firm in the Rocky Mountain Region with this deal. There is strong demand for an AV integration firm that can create the right client experience wrapped inside of a professional builder's mentality," said LINX CEO and Owner Erik Isernhagen. "We are a good fit because Solstice and LINX place the same…value on our relationships with our clients."
LINX will continue to operate its other two lines of business—voice and data cable services and installation and security systems integration—under the LINX brand. Only the AV subsidiary will do business as LINX Multimedia. Founded in 2003, LINX expanded its business into the audio and visual systems marketplace four years ago. The new combined LINX Multimedia is projected to generate revenues of $9 million this year.
This deal marks the third acquisition for eight-year-old LINX. Previous acquisitions include the purchase of Denver-based AV company ANSI in 2007 and Denver voice and data cable installer Sequel Communications in 2008. LINX will employ about 175 people after this merger and is hiring for new positions this year.

Mitsubishi Electric Corp. Launches Mitsubishi
Electric Visual Solutions America

May 25, 2011 (4:56 pm)

Effective June 1, Mitsubishi Electric Corporation (Irvine CA) has established Mitsubishi Electric Visual Solutions America, Inc. The new company will sell professional visual systems products, including data wall display systems, projectors, LCD digital signage monitors, 3D and 2D home theater front projectors, and professional industrial and photo printers. MEVSA will also manufacture and sell 73-inch and larger 3D DLP Home Cinema televisions and 3D LaserVue televisions for the consumer marketplace. Mitsubishi Electric has withdrawn from the 65-inch and smaller categories of consumer television products in North America.


Mitsubishi Electric Visual Solutions America is acquiring certain manufacturing, sales and marketing activities of Mitsubishi Digital Electronics America, Inc. MEVSA plans to expand sales within North America with a business strategy that specializes in a wide range of large-screen visual solution products.
Mitsubishi Electric Visual Solutions America's manufacturing facility in Mexicali, Mexico will continue to manufacture DLP and laser-based televisions. The new company's customer service group will provide support and service to new and existing customers.

Legrand To Acquire Middle Atlantic Products
May 23, 2011 (2:15 pm)

Legrand, North America, has signed a definitive agreement to acquire Middle Atlantic Products, Inc., a New Jersey-based company. The completion of the transaction is anticipated for mid-June and is subject to the satisfaction of certain requirements, including regulatory approval. Prior to closing, Legrand and Middle Atlantic will continue to operate as separate, independent companies.


With this acquisition of a recognized presence in AV enclosure systems, Legrand seeks to fulfill one of its key objectives: that being to establish a leadership position in the markets for AV infrastructure products, systems and solutions. Middle Atlantic has knowledge of these markets and a sales relationship with more than 3500 integrators in the US and Canada.
Once this transaction is completed, Middle Atlantic customers, the company says, would experience expanded product offerings, access to enhanced specification services and tools, and more complete AV infrastructure solutions. The combined offerings of the firms would include more than 5000 AV products and services.
After closing, Middle Atlantic would operate as an independent business within Legrand and would remain focused on providing products and a good customer experience. Mike Baker, President of Middle Atlantic Products, would lead a new, 5th Division -Commercial AV- for Legrand in North America.

TV One Acquired by Nortek, Inc.
May 19, 2011 (11:05 am)

TV One has sold 100% of the company's stock to a subsidiary of Nortek, Inc., a diversified global manufacturer. The sale includes all TV One-related, wholly owned companies in the US, UK, Taiwan and China. TV One will be included in Nortek's Technology Products segment and closely aligned with Magenta Research Ltd. The transaction was completed on April 28.


David K. Barnes, TV One CEO, stated, "We recently celebrated our 25th anniversary in the [commercial] AV industry and have established a record of consistent growth, profitability and product innovation. At the upcoming InfoComm show, we will launch an entirely new technology and product range that will usher in a new era for TV One. As part of the Nortek family of companies, I look forward to maximizing the opportunities that will take TV One to the next level. I personally look forward to being part of that continuing success."
"TV One's combination of its proprietary CORIO scaling technology, unique products and solid growth is a [good] fit with Magenta," added Magenta Research CEO Keith Mortensen. He continued, "The synergy between the two organizations is [strong] and TV One fits nicely into Nortek's [commercial] AV strategy. Magenta plans to leverage TV One's global sales network in order to enhance the market penetration of our products. The recent introduction of Voyager, Magenta's all-format fiberoptic-based signal distribution platform, expands our infrastructure product range significantly and is a [good] match with TV One's soon-to-launch video processing range."

DS Companies EnQii and Minicom Digital Signage Merge
May 17, 2011 (12:48 pm)

EnQii Holdings and Minicom Digital Signage (MDS) have merged their companies, creating a global presence in multichannel message management. The merged company, it says, will offer a platform that provides leadership, simplicity and innovation in a complex marketplace. Jerusalem Venture Partners (JVP) led a growth capital financing round together with other existing shareholders—Wellington Partners, Amadeus Capital Partners and Aviv Ventures—to complete the merger. The financing will go toward expanding the current solutions portfolio, as well as to grant necessary resources for additional acquisitions.

EnQii-MDS will provide marketers with an end-to-end solution encompassing distribution, content management and proof-of-performance, while reducing capital and operational costs. This platform will ensure the delivery of consumer messaging that has recency, relevancy and accountability, and that will deliver an ROI to customers at the lowest total cost of ownership. These solutions are future-proofed, utilizing a cloud-based platform that offers the flexibility to accommodate both small and large installs.
Headquartered in New York City, EnQii-MDS will operate from six offices around the world and a global network of dedicated partners that includes 150 worldwide distributors serving thousands of resellers and system integrators. Ajay Chowdhury, former CEO of EnQii, is CEO of the new venture. Ronni Guggenheim, former CEO of Minicom Digital Signage, is President of EnQii-MDS.

projectiondesign Acquires US Distributor
May 11, 2011 (5:00 pm)

Norway's projectiondesign has successfully concluded negotiations on acquiring longstanding partner and distributor projectiondesign LLC, the exclusive distributor of projectiondesign products in North America since 2004. "North America represents the largest single market for our…projection and display technologies…," remarked Executive Vice President Åsmund O. Fodstad, who was recently appointed by projectiondesign to drive its global growth. "Increasing our efforts and focus in this market will see a visible increase in presence and strengthen our ambition of being the preferred projector and services supplier."

Gary Plavin, President of projectiondesign LLC, said, "We are incredibly proud of how we have developed the projectiondesign brand over the past seven years. It's a natural progression for us to recognize the additional strength and synergies from integrating our operations with the head office in Norway and accelerating our growth in the Americas. This will also solidify our position as [a] specialist high-performance projector and image-processing manufacturer. We look forward to the…fulfillment of our short- and long-term visions, which will bring…success and added value directly to our channel partners and customer base."
North American sales, support and service functions will continue to be located in the Teterboro NJ headquarters.

Coleman Acquires First Capitol, Continental Assets
May 4, 2011 (2:30 pm)

Coleman Cable, Inc., has completed the acquisition of the assets of First Capitol Wire & Cable, as well as the assets of Continental Wire & Cable, for a total purchase price of $7.15 million. First Capitol and Continental are manufacturers of industrial wire and cable products used across a number of commercial, utility and industrial end-markets. Both companies have a history of providing customers with custom wire and cable products, including First Capitol's design and production of a broad line of high-temperature wire and cable products used in OEM applications, as well as within a number of applications for the energy, commercial and industrial end markets.

First Capitol and Continental, both based in York PA, were privately held entities under common ownership prior to the acquisition of their assets by Coleman Cable. The acquisition of the assets of these two companies, whose combined sales were in excess of $10 million for 2010, were structured as all-cash transactions, both of which closed on April 29. Coleman anticipates that the assets acquired from the combined companies, primarily inventory and production machinery and equipment, will contribute approximately $0.10 to $0.15 in GAAP earnings per diluted share in 2012, while being earnings neutral or slightly accretive for the balance of 2011.

The MUSIC Group, Peavey In Legal Battle
May 3, 2011 (1:30 pm)

The MUSIC Group has recently filed suit in US District Court against Peavey Electronic Corporation, alleging false advertising, false patent marking and unfair competition. The suit alleges that Peavey intentionally mislabeled its products in the US market. The MUSIC Group alleges that Peavey's products are not labeled in accordance with US patent laws and FCC regulations.

With respect to the pro-audio and lighting industries, the company alleges that independent testing has shown a number of product sold by various manufacturers in the US market are non-compliant.
Prior to this, Peavey had initiated multiple actions against Behringer for various intellectual property issues, including alleged patent infringement, false marking, trademark infringement and unfair competition. Peavey filed a lawsuit in 2009 against Behringer in US District Court in New Jersey, alleging patent infringement, federal and common law trademark infringement, false designation of origin, trademark dilution and unfair competition. More recently, Peavey filed an action against Behringer in the Southern District of Mississippi, accusing Behringer of infringing a patent.

MSE Audio Acquires Rockustics, Inc.
April 27, 2011 (4:45 pm)

MSE Audio of Overland Park KS www.mseaudio.com has acquired Commerce CITY CO-based Rockustics, Inc. www.rockusticsinc.com, manufacturer of premium rock speaker products. Founded in 1987 by Tony Mulé, Rockustics designs and manufactures attractive, durable weatherproof speakers for residential and commercial markets. Rockustics products are designed to resemble landscaping features and are used in gardens, patios and other outdoor areas.
Rockustics speakers are found in venues ranging from The White House gardens to major theme parks to residential back yards. The line's nearly 30 products include rock speakers, omnidirectional speakers, subwoofers, speakers built into garden planters and speakers designed to be placed in landscaping walls.

Sales of Rockustics products will be managed by MSE Audio's Induction Dynamics and Phase Technology sales teams for residential customers and by the SoundTube Entertainment sales team for the commercial marketplace.
"All of us at Rockustics Inc. are excited to become part of the MSE Audio family," said Tony Mulé. "The synergy that will come from our combined engineering teams will enable us to produce groundbreaking speaker products for both the residential and commercial markets. Our customers can look forward to seeing some exciting technologies along with the highest quality product lineup that is available today."
"We are pleased to add the Rockustics line to the MSE Audio list of brands," said Chris Combest, MSE Audio President/CEO. "These products are the perfect complement to our other speaker lines, with almost no duplication of our existing products. With our five distinct speaker brands, MSE Audio now offers the industry's most comprehensive range of high quality speakers for all types of indoor and outdoor uses."

InfoComm International Seeks Applicants For Industry Awards
April 21, 2011 (9:30 am)

InfoComm International is calling all applicants for its three unique awards, all of which will be presented at InfoComm 2011: Adele De Berri Pioneers of AV Award, Distinguished Achievement Award and Educator of the Year Award. What better way and place to recognize unique contributions to the AV industry? The deadline for each individual award has been extended to Monday, May 2. Application information and forms can be found at www.infocomm.org/awards.

  • Adele De Berri Pioneers of AV Award: This award highlights important contributions made by individuals to the science of AV. The award calls attention to the AV and information communications industries by recognizing pioneers who made scientific breakthroughs resulting in new AV technologies that impacted the manufacture and sales of novel products enjoyed by audiences worldwide. [Sound & Communications is the media sponsor.]
  • Distinguished Achievement Award: Individuals eligible for this award have contributed significant individual contributions to the association. InfoComm International will recognize an individual who association members and the industry recognize as worthy of a lifetime achievement award.
  • Educator of the Year Award: This award highlights important contributions made by an individual to the professional development, education and training of the AV industry. These contributions have impacted audiences worldwide. The Educator Award is presented annually for outstanding achievement in AV education for that particular year.

Industry Mourns Sidney Harman
April 14, 2011 (12:30 pm)

Following a life of business achievement and public service, Dr. Sidney Harman, Founder and Chairman Emeritus of the company that bears his name, died on April 12 at 92. The cause, according to a statement by the family, was complications of acute myeloid leukemia. Family members said they learned of his illness only about a month ago. Dr. Harman co-founded his business in 1953. Blending an early interest in audio and the arts with his doctoral studies in business and education, he introduced one of the first FM radio tuners and the world's first stereo receiver. This passion led to other innovations, including the early Harman-Kardon stereo systems that remain popular with enthusiasts from every generation.

In 1977, Harman took a brief detour from his audio career to assume a post in public service as Deputy Secretary of the United States Department of Commerce. He returned to the business in 1980 and, within 15 years, had consummated a dozen new acquisitions, creating a matrix of brands. He retired from service to the company in 2008.
Amid these business achievements, Harman has touched lives in many ways. He served as a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences; as a member of the Board of Business Executives for National Security; and as member of the Board of Trustees of Freedom House. He served on the Council on Foreign Relations; as President of the Harman Family Foundation; Vice Chairman of the Corporate Fund Board of The Kennedy Center; and as a Professor at the Marshall School of Business of the University of Southern California.
As Harman approached age 93, he launched yet another venture with the purchase of Newsweek magazine, in order to pursue his long-lived passion for the communications arts. He is survived by his wife, former Congresswoman Jane Harman of California, eight children, ten grandchildren and many friends worldwide.

InfoComm Draft Standard On Projected
Image Open For Public Review

April 8, 2011 (12:11 pm)

InfoComm International’s latest draft standard, 3M-2011 Projected Image System Contrast Ratio, is open for public review and comment. The Standard provides metrics for measurement and defines minimum contrast ratios for rear- and front-projection audiovisual projected image systems. 3M-2011 Projected Image System Contrast Ratio, which applies both to permanent and to temporary installations, defines projected image system contrast ratio and its measurement.

 

 

This Standard defines four contrast ratios based on content viewing requirements. The system contrast ratio refers to the image as it is presented to viewers in a space with ambient light. Metrics to measure and validate the defined contrast ratios are also provided. A one-page overview can be found on InfoComm's website.
"This new draft Standard is designed to aid with projector and screen selection, in conjunction with lighting system and light control design." said Randal A. Lemke, PhD, Executive Director and CEO, InfoComm International. "The development of this Standard marks an important milestone for anyone who uses AV equipment and the professional community that provides services to them."
3M-2011 Projected Image System Contrast Ratio provides important metrics for evaluating, planning and designing projected image system installations, setting minimum contrast ratios, and testing and signing-off on completed projected image system installations.
Comments are due May 23 at 5:00pm Eastern Daylight Savings Time. Questions can be directed to standards@infocomm.org.

Sony Offers Earthquake, Tsunami Status Update
April 8, 2011 (11:43 am)

Editor's Note: We continue to monitor the unfolding developments in Japan. Previous updates appeared on March 14, March 18 and March 22. Keep checking this website for additional information as it becomes available. Please note that Sound & Communications will offer an extensive overview of the situation in our May issue.

Sony Corp. has updated the status of Sony Group manufacturing operations affected by the March 11 East Japan earthquake, tsunami and related power outages, as of April 6.
As of March 14, operations at 10 Sony Group sites and facilities had been suspended as a result of damage caused by the earthquake, tsunami and related power outages. As announced on March 22, manufacturing operations at three of these sites had since resumed or partially resumed. As of April 6, manufacturing operations at five other sites have also resumed or partially resumed.

 

  • Sony Manufacturing Systems Corporation, Kuki Plant (Saitama Prefecture) <Surface mounting equipment, etc.> - Resumed on March 15.
  • Sony Chemical & Information Device Corporation, Kanuma Plant (Tochigi Prefecture) <Bonding materials, optics materials, etc.> - Partially resumed on March 15. Further expanded operations on March 23.
  • Sony Energy Devices Corporation, Tochigi Plant (Tochigi Prefecture) <Lithium ion secondary batteries, etc.> - Partially resumed on March 22.
  • Sony Chemical & Information Device Corporation
    • - Tome Plant (Miyagi Prefecture) <Optical devices, IC cards, etc.>
      •   Nakada Site - Partially resumed on March 28.
      •   Toyosato Site - Partially resumed on March 28.
  • Sony DADC Japan Inc., Ibaraki Facility (Ibaraki Prefecture) <CDs, DVDs, etc.> - Partially resumed on March 28.
  • Sony Energy Devices Corporation <Lithium ion secondary batteries, etc.>
    • - Koriyama Plant (Fukushima Prefecture) - Partially resumed on April 1. (Coin batteries, etc.)
    • - Motomiya Plant (Fukushima Prefecture) - Scheduled to gradually resume operations by the end of April.
  • Sony Shiroishi Semiconductor Inc. (Miyagi Prefecture) <Semiconductor lasers> - Partially resumed on April 6.
  • Sony Chemical & Information Device Corporation
    • - Tagajyo Plant (Miyagi Prefecture) <Magnetic tapes, Blu-ray discs, etc.> - Currently undergoing cleaning and damage inspection.

As also announced on March 22, manufacturing operations at certain manufacturing sites that were not directly damaged by the earthquake and tsunami have been adjusted in response to planned power outages and the availability of necessary raw materials and components. Although the situation varies according to product, Sony is responding to fluctuations in material or component supply by adjusting production levels at the five sites announced on March 22, and also at certain other domestic and overseas manufacturing sites from time to time. However, as of April 6, none of those sites has been required to suspend operations fully.
Sony will continue to monitor the availability of raw materials and components, and endeavor to maintain supplies of any products affected by these adjustments by relying on existing inventory to the extent available. The company also plans to take further measures as necessary, including reallocating available materials and components among Sony Group companies, using alternative components and expanding procurement channels in order to restore full production capacity as early as possible.


Accent Electronic System Integrators Acquires Trinity Technology
April 7, 2011 (2:49 pm)

Accent Electronic System Integrators, Inc., has acquired Trinity Technology of Boca Raton FL. This transaction was effective March 29. Accent is a privately held electronic system integrator, focused on providing converged audio, video, data, security and communications systems for a broad base of facilities. Trinity Technology was launched in 2006 to specialize in upscale residential and yacht installations throughout the US and abroad. The company was formed to handle the complexities involved with integrating and managing myriad technologies.

"This acquisition complements Accent's plan for aggressive growth," explained Dan Robbins, President of Accent. "It reinforces our focus on developing and implementing solutions for complex integrated voice, data, security, sound, lighting, audio and video applications, and brings our…experience and expertise to bear for a large customer base throughout Southern Florida. This acquisition effectively accelerates our expansion plans with respect to a Southeast Florida office."
He continued, "The strength of Trinity Technology in the market and their position with estate properties has enhanced our ability in a segment of the market typically reserved for a very select group of firms. Coupled with the recent acquisition of Illuminated Environments, the combination…expands our ability to serve the full spectrum of the market with…expertise in lighting, audio/video, voice/data and controls. We look forward to integrating these new capabilities into our firm and developing new offerings for our customers."


Califone International Acquires Headphones, Headsets From Telex
April 7, 2011 (11:49 am)

Califone, a subsidiary of School Specialty, has reached an agreement to acquire the Discovery, Odyssey, Explorer and 610 brand names of headphones, headsets and their replaceable cords from Telex. The purchase, effective immediately, transitions the manufacturing, marketing and distribution of the product lines to fall under full Califone ownership and management.

Considered by school resellers and educators alike to be premium lines in classrooms and libraries due to their quality and durability, they will be available in June as complements to the existing Califone line of headphones and headsets. Financial details of the transaction were not released.

Pro Co's Debbe Stephenson To Retire
April 6, 2011 (10:45 am)

Debbe Stephenson, President of Pro Co, has decided to retire. After a long career with the company, Stephenson will step away from her duties at Pro Co on May 20. "I feel very comfortable with my decision, knowing that Pro Co is finally stable and in extremely good hands," she stated. According to Stephenson, the decision to retire was actually made four years earlier. She explained, "I had expressed my decision to retire to Charlie [Wicks] four years ago.

He asked me to please stay and help him with the company as he battled his illness. After Charlie passed, I needed to stay and help Pro Co through the transition to the new ownership. Pro Co is now in great shape and headed in the right direction. I can finally pursue other goals that have been 'put on hold' for four years."
At this point, RHC Holding Corporation has no plans to replace Stephenson. Garry Templin, National Sales Manager, remains "the face of Pro Co in the field" and Pat Shallow has been named by RHC to serve as General Manager of the production facility. Pro Co is an entity of RHC Holding Corp.

Electrosonic Acquires Excel Media Systems Inc.
March 31, 2011 (3:37 pm)

Electrosonic has acquired systems integrator Excel Media Systems Inc. The company will become part of Electrosonic’s corporate solutions business, offering meeting room and videoconferencing systems with full after-sales services from offices in New York City. The acquisition, the companies say, expands Electrosonic’s corporate solutions business in the New York tri-state area and allows the company to better serve its international clients with local offices. Electrosonic’s AV systems knowledge and project management expertise will ensure that Excel Media’s customers will receive service and support.

“Both our companies have decades of systems experience. By building on our strengths, we will provide the highest value for our customers,” said Robert Menell, Founder and Owner of Excel Media, himself with more than 30 years of experience, who will continue within Electrosonic as the Director of Sales for Corporate Solutions.
“Excel Media has many long-term clients and [a good] reputation acquired over many years for supplying quality meeting room systems,” added Colin Lemmings, VP of Corporate Solutions. “This fits well with our goal to provide our global clients with local support and to deliver innovative, standardized, high-quality systems and after-sales services in any region at competitive prices.”

Milestone AV Technologies, Da-Lite Reach Merger Agreement
March 30, 2011 (2:50 pm)

Milestone AV Technologies, manufacturer of Chief and Sanus brand AV mounting and display solutions, and Da-Lite Screen Company have reached a merger agreement. The combination of Milestone and Da-Lite, the companies say, will create an industry force in mounting solutions, AV furniture and projection screens across both commercial and consumer AV markets. With nearly 1000 employees worldwide and eight major operating locations around the globe, the combined business, the companies say, will be positioned to deliver customer service and product innovation.

"We are pleased to announce the combination of these two...companies," said Scott Gill, CEO of Milestone AV Technologies. "Through the strength of this combination, we will be able to offer a more comprehensive product line to our joint customers, open up new sales channels for our brands and provide growth opportunities for our employees. We look forward to expanding our reputation...."
Milestone, headquartered in Savage MN, was formed from the merger of Chief Manufacturing and Sanus Systems in 2004. Da-Lite will continue to be based in Warsaw IN as an operating subsidiary of Milestone, under the leadership of current Da-Lite President Richard Lundin.
"Da-Lite has a 100-year heritage...in the AV market," added Lundin. "Combining Da-Lite and Milestone allows us to continue our commitment to innovation while bringing the benefits and enhanced opportunities of increased global scale to our customers and employees."
A definitive merger agreement has been signed and, at this writing, the transaction is expected to close within 30 days.

Carousel Industries Acquires Juma Technology Corp.
March 30, 2011 (2:31 pm)

Carousel Industries has completed its acquisition of Farmingdale NY-based Juma Technology Corp., an Avaya Business Partner. With the acquisition, Carousel Industries says it significantly increases its footprint to serve customers in the northeastern US, while augmenting its engineering staff with additional talent. According to Jeff Gardner, CEO of Carousel Industries, "This acquisition not only significantly expands our geographic reach in our core areas of expertise, but also increases the strength of our engineering team, since we are bringing on some extremely talented industry veterans who are very well versed in IP telephony and unified communications.

Juma Technology established itself as a data networking solutions provider in 2002, and began designing and selling converged solutions as soon as they began to appear on the market. The company, which focuses primarily on enterprise customers, has been able to develop expertise implementing convergence solutions across a range of vertical markets, including retail, healthcare, education (K-12 and university) and financial.
The purchase of Juma Technology marks the sixth acquisition by Carousel in the last two years. Since January, the company has completed its purchase of Westwood MA-based TAC Centre and signed a letter of intent to acquire Marlborough MA-based OmniPresence. Last year, the company acquired Atlanta-based LANForce Consulting Group, assets from Canton MA-based TriNET Systems and Canada-based BrantTel Networks.

Mood Media Corp. To Acquire Muzak Holdings LLC
March 25, 2011

Mood Media Corp. has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Muzak Holdings LLC , for $345 million, including net debt to be repaid on closing. Based in Fort Mill SC, Muzak is a provider of a range of products. Its background and foreground music, voice and digital offerings reach more than 100 million people every day. In 2010, Muzak had $195 million in revenue and $55 million in EBITDA. More than 75% of Muzak’s revenue is associated with multi-year customer contracts.

According to the company, Mood Media’s acquisition of Muzak will create a global in-store media provider servicing more than 470,000 commercial locations in more than 39 countries. In the US, the combined business will serve more than 200,000 national and 100,000 franchisee locations. The combined customer base will include more than 850 US and international brands in diverse market sectors that include retail (food, fashion, cosmetics), leisure and hotels, oil and gas, telecommunications, financial institutions and fast food. Together, Mood Media and Muzak will have a music library that includes 1.7 million rights-included tracks and more than 30,000 original recordings.
The combined company will have trailing last 12 months (LTM) pro forma revenue of about $400 million and trailing LTM pro forma EBITDA in excess of $100 million. More than 60% of the combined company’s revenue will be recurring subscription revenue, with a new contract life of three to five years.
Mood Media intends to maintain a significant presence in the Charlotte NC area, with its US headquarters in Fort Mill SC.

Polycom Acquires Accordent Technologies
March 24, 2011

Polycom, Inc. , has announced the acquisition of Accordent Technologies, Inc., a provider of video content management and delivery solutions, for about $50 million in cash. Polycom expects this acquisition to be neutral to earnings in 2011 and slightly accretive to earnings in 2012. According to the company, the acquisition positions Polycom to become a leader in the video content management and delivery market by integrating Polycom’s open standards UC Intelligent Core and UC endpoints with Accordent’s open standards video content management solution. The Accordent solution provides capture solutions for all major video use cases, whether delivering highly scalable live webcasts from the studio, providing automated rich media webcasting from the meeting or classroom, adding a streaming extension to videoconferences or enabling user-generated content from the desktop.

According to data from market research firm Wainhouse Research, this acquisition immediately expands Polycom’s total available market by $500 million and, for this video management segment, this market is projected to generate a compounded annual growth rate of 32% through 2014 to $1.2 billion. As a strategic partner with Microsoft, Accordent strengthens and further differentiates Polycom’s deep native integration with Microsoft Lync and Sharepoint.

Accordent grew to $9 million in revenues in 2010 and has more than 1200 customers in the enterprise and public sector, and through select service providers. The staff of 50 employees will remain in Southern California and will report into Polycom’s UC research and development organization. Accordent’s software-centric solution will become an integral element of the Polycom UC Intelligent Core and will be reported with Polycom’s Network Infrastructure revenues.

JVC Confirms Safety of Employees in Japan
March 22, 2011

Editor's Note: We continue to monitor the unfolding developments in Japan in the wake of the disastrous earthquake and tsunami. Our first update was March 14 and our second update was March 18. Keep checking this website for additional information as it becomes available.
JVC Kenwood Holdings, Inc., has confirmed the safety of its employees and their immediate families following the recent Tohoku earthquake and tsunami. Some of the company's offices in Japan suffered minor damage, but they were repaired quickly and have been back in operation since March 14. There was also damage to some sales and service offices in Sendai, Miyagi Prefecture, as well as warehouses operated for JVC Kenwood Group by third parties. Repairs are currently underway.

JVC Kenwood Group established a response headquarters soon after the earthquake, and is continuing to confirm the safety of employee relatives whom they have been unable to contact. The company also donated 300 pieces of communication equipment—200 land mobile radios and 100 license-free transceivers—that allow people to send and receive messages without relying on public infrastructure.

While the main production resources supplying JVC Professional seem essentially unaffected, there are still significant concerns. In Japan, the company is coping with projected rolling power blackouts, and transport vehicles are being used for emergency support in areas damaged by the tsunami. In addition, JVC is studying the situation of its numerous component suppliers.
In the near term, JVC Professional expects to fulfill product demands at previously expected levels, with repair parts and technical support remaining consistent, as well. Additionally, many JVC Professional products use widely available, non-proprietary consumables, such as recording media and projector lamps. If there is an unexpected disruption in JVC supply distribution, most product owners will have alternative consumable supply options.

Earthquake Aftermath: Japan-Based Companies Give Updates
March 18, 2011

Editor's Note: Our sincere wishes go out to everyone affected by this terrible tragedy. Our first update appeared on March 14. We will be reporting any news that comes in about the developing events from Japan.
According to Panasonic’s Jim Reilly: Panasonic Corporation’s headquarters is in Osaka, which is in western Japan. The earthquake was centered in the northeast part of Japan, so headquarters operations were not physically impacted. The company does have four manufacturing facilities in the areas impacted by the earthquake. A few employees at those facilities received minor injuries. The company is continuing to work to confirm the safety of the employees. Among those facilities, some parts of ceilings and walls were damaged, but there were no fires or building collapses.
In the affected area, Panasonic is continuing to place a priority on the safety of employees, and is cooperating with the planned power outages scheduled by the local power companies to save energy. In parallel, Panasonic is preparing to resume production at factories there, while confirming the adequate supply of electricity, gas and water, as well as the required logistics and supplies.
Panasonic Corporation will donate 300 million yen and necessary supplies, including 10,000 radios, 10,000 flashlights and 500,000 dry batteries to support the swift recovery of the northeast area of Japan.
Due to large electricity shortages, Panasonic Group is also calling out to save electricity and will start by turning off outdoor signage and refraining from using electricity at all applicable facilities.
Panasonic Group and its employees sincerely hope for swift recovery of the people and areas affected by the disaster.
In addition,Panasonic announced donations of 4000 units of Solar LED Lanterns, in addition to donations previously announced, for the victims of the earthquake. Panasonic and its Workers Unions Association will also launch a fundraising campaign involving employees of the Panasonic Group companies to support the affected area.
In addition, here is a statement from Audio-Technica U.S.: Audio-Technica U.S. extends its deepest condolences to those affected by the 2011 Tohoku Pacific Coast earthquake. Audio-Technica Japan facilities have not been damaged by the disaster, and all employees are accounted for and safe. Operations at Audio-Technica Japan are normal, although minimally affected by power outages, as office workers with long commutes are working from home when possible via cell phone and computer. The company is constantly monitoring the status of operations at all sites, with safety being the number one priority.
Audio-Technica U.S. is assessing the effect this disaster may have on its supply chain, but, at this time, no major disruptions are anticipated.
To help in the relief and recovery efforts for communities affected by the Tohoku earthquake, Audio-Technica U.S. is making a donation to the Japanese Red Cross Society.
“We are tremendously grateful that our colleagues in Japan are safe, and that our facilities have not been damaged,” said Audio-Technica U.S. President Phil Cajka. “Our deepest sympathies are with the victims of this disaster. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the people of Japan, and to our colleagues and friends at Audio-Technica Japan and their families.”

From NEC Corporation: NEC Corporation (NEC) would like to extend its sincere sympathy and condolences to all who were personally affected by the recent earthquake and tsunami in Northern Japan.
NEC established an Emergency Operational Task Force on March 11 headed by Dr. Nobuhiro Endo, President of NEC Corporation, in order to assist the communities, businesses and NEC members impacted by this disaster.
Under the direction of the task force, the NEC Group is devoting its full attention to supporting the recovery of the ICT infrastructure in the affected areas and working to restore operations among impacted group companies that operate in these regions.
The NEC Group's commitment to its customers remains as strong as ever, and the company will continue to provide the support and services that its customers have come to rely on.
From Sony: Operations at several Sony Corporation and Sony Group sites and facilities have been affected by the Pacific Coast of Tohoku earthquake and tsunami, and Sony is monitoring the status of each of these sites on an ongoing basis, while also considering the most effective recovery measures. Sony also has responded to reports of widespread power outages by voluntarily suspending operations at several sites. No significant injuries have been reported to employees working at any of these sites when the earthquake or tsunami occurred.
The company is currently evaluating the full impact of the earthquake, tsunami and related power outages on Sony's businesses and consolidated financial results.
As of 11:00 am, March 14 (JST), manufacturing operations have been suspended at the following affected production sites:

  • Sony Chemical & Information Device Corporation,
  • Tagajyo Plant (Miyagi Prefecture) <Magnetic Tapes, Blu-ray Discs etc.>
  • Tome Plant, Nakada/Toyosato Sites (Miyagi Prefecture) <Optical devices, IC cards etc.>
  • Sony Shiroishi Semiconductor Inc. (Miyagi Prefecture) <Semiconductor Lasers etc.>
  • Sony Energy Devices Corporation, Koriyama Plant (Fukushima Prefecture) <Lithium Ion Secondary Batteries etc.>
  • Sony Energy Devices Corporation, Motomiya Plant (Fukushima Prefecture) <Lithium Ion Secondary Batteries etc.>
  • Sony Manufacturing Systems Corporation, Kuki Plant (Saitama Prefecture) <Surface mounting equipment etc.>
  • Sony DADC Japan Inc., Ibaraki Facility (Ibaraki Prefecture) <CDs, DVDs etc.>

In addition to these manufacturing sites, Sony Corporation Sendai Technology Center (Tagajyo, Miyagi) has ceased operation due to earthquake damage. While certain production sites in Japan other than those listed above have been moderately affected, there has been no report of employee injury or facility damage, and operations continue. Possible damage at other Sony Group companies in Japan is currently being reviewed. Additionally, Sony Chemical & Information Devices Corporation, Kanuma Plant (Tochigi Prefecture), Sony Energy Devices Corporation, Tochigi Plant (Tochigi Prefecture) and Sony Corporation Atsugi Technology Center (Atsugi, Kanagawa) temporarily suspended operations on a voluntary basis, to assist with the alleviation of widespread power outages.
Sony Corporation announced that, following the devastating earthquake and tsunami that struck the northern region of Japan on March 11, Sony and its group companies will donate 300 million Japanese yen to help relief and recovery efforts in communities affected. Additionally, a disaster relief fund will collect donations across the Sony Group from employees worldwide, and their contributions will be matched by the company through a matching gifts program. The company will also donate 30,000 Sony radios to assist the relief of earthquake victims, while the Sony Group will prepare further product donations going forward, taking into account the local needs.
The Tohoku region is historically important for Sony, with a high concentration of manufacturing sites, and many employees and their families have also been affected by these devastating events.
“In times like these, we are reminded of how important and fragile we are and of the positive impact we can have—both as individuals and, collectively, as a company—to assist those in need,” said Howard Stringer, Chairman, CEO and President, Sony Corporation. “We will continue to make the utmost effort to help the swift recovery of the affected communities in the region.”
Please check this site regularly for updates.

 

Stampede Enters VTC Space With Spire Global Acquisition
March 15, 2011

Stampede, a value-added distributor of commercial audio video solutions, has acquired Spire Global, the exclusive distributor of Sony videoconferencing products in the US. Spire is also the exclusive master distributor for Compunetix video multiparty control units and MediaPointe video streaming technology. The company also distributes Mirial desktop videoconferencing products. "Acquiring Spire was [an] opportunity to widen our product portfolio with an additional specialty that is meaningful to our dealer base," said Mark Wilkins, CEO of Stampede. "Our strategy is to look for additional acquisition opportunities that will strengthen our offering to dealers."

Kevin Kelly, Stampede President/COO, commented, "We are excited about the Spire sales and technical team. Their depth of knowledge will help us to quickly educate the Stampede relationship managers and, in turn, our dealers. We have hundreds of accounts that will benefit from this product line right out of the gate."
Spire will continue to exist as a dedicated business unit. Stampede will maintain a dedicated Sony videoconferencing sales force, with the Spire Global staff to act as product experts to the Stampede salespeople and existing accounts. Product and training classes specific to Sony videoconferencing will be offered to dealers at all of Stampede's upcoming Big Book of AV dealer shows and through Stampede University.
Financial terms of the acquisition were not disclosed.

 

 

Yamaha Issues Statement About Earthquake
March 14, 2011

Editor's Note: Our sincere wishes go out to everyone affected by this terrible tragedy. We will be reporting any news that comes in about the developing events from Japan.
Please check this site regularly for updates.
Tak Nakata, President of Yamaha Corp. of America, who is currently in Hamamatsu, Japan, issued the following message:
“On behalf of Yamaha, I wish to thank our business partners in the United States for their thoughts and prayers in response to the earthquake that impacted Japan and the Pacific basin…

 

“As far as we know, no Yamaha employees have been injured as a result of this disaster. Also, there has been no significant damage to our offices or factories. It is still too early to determine if this ongoing situation will affect shipments due to the currently unknown impact on ports, vessels and shipping lanes. We will provide additional information just as soon as it is made available to Yamaha.
“The destruction and damage in Japan is quite massive in cities and coastal towns in Northern Japan. We pray for those individuals and families impacted by this catastrophe.”


Panamax/Furman Joins Forces With LiteTouch
March 11, 2011

Panamax/Furman will be combining LiteTouch, a manufacturer of lighting control products, with its operations. Both companies are subsidiaries of the Home Technology Group of Linear, LLC. An industry presence for more than 35 years, Panamax delivers power management, monitoring and control solutions for professional custom electronics integrators. The Furman brand provides a range of power management solutions for musicians, audio professionals and commercial AV integrators. LiteTouch delivers lighting control solutions to be installed and custom-programmed by authorized dealers, certified installers and distributors worldwide. LiteTouch lighting control systems are engineered for both new construction and retrofit applications.

Both companies are increasingly focused on providing energy efficiency and energy-management solutions. Panamax/Furman has integrated its BlueBOLT Technology into many of its products, making it easier for dealers and installers to control and monitor AV system power from anywhere in the world through a secure, hosted IP Web portal. LiteTouch has added DayLight Harvesting keypads to its product lineup, and the company will feature a low-voltage relay and data input port option for each of its new 2011 keypads, allowing for the local connection of motion and occupancy sensors to the system.
As a combined entity, LiteTouch and Panamax/Furman will move forward under the leadership of Panamax/Furman President Bill Pollock, located in Petaluma CA.

D&M's Canadian Operations To New Jersey
March 4, 2011

D&M Canada has announced a reorganization of its business and the resultant closing of an office in Markham, Ontario, Canada, on June 30. This move serves to re-position the company's New Jersey headquarters to cover the complete North American region, including Canadian sales and operations. The reorganization will result in an undetermined number of job losses.

Doug Griesbach, D&M Canada's President, will maintain his leadership position through the transitional period, according to the company. Following this time, Phil Bryant, a Toronto-based Sales VP, will continue managing the Denon business and will be shouldering responsibility for Boston Acoustics. Bryant will report to Phil Cohn. Meanwhile, Kevin Zarow, Sales and Marketing VP for Marantz, will oversee Marantz in Canada. Remaining in Canada will be a permanent local sales office and warehouse facility.

Carousel Signs Letter Of Intent To Acquire OmniPresence
February 9, 2011

Carousel Industries, involved in data networking and unified communications, has signed a letter of intent to acquire the assets of Marlborough MA-based OmniPresence, Inc., an integrator of AV and visual collaboration services. When the acquisition is completed, the newly acquired company will form the core of Carousel's Visual Communications and Collaboration Group.
By acquiring OmniPresence, Carousel increases its capacity to incorporate collaborative AV elements into a range of installation opportunities.

 

According to The Enterprise Strategy Group, 19% of end users responding to ESG’s most recent IT Spending Intentions survey cited both Unified Communication (integrated IP telephony, voicemail, email, video, instant messaging) and Remote Meeting Solutions (videoconferencing, telepresence, web meeting) as an area for significant investment in 2011. OmniPresence, which was founded in 2002, has a customer base of approximately 2500 end users.
"Our acquisition of OmniPresence brings an important visual element to our systems integration capabilities," commented James Marsh, Senior Vice President of Carousel Industries. "Our new Visual Communications and Collaboration Group will enable us to incorporate compelling videoconferencing solutions into our customers' network infrastructures, helping them reduce costs and increase efficiencies."
Carousel Industries intends to retain the entire employee base of OmniPresence, which includes several engineers holding multiple certifications as well as operational and support staff. The new employees will be based out of the former OmniPresence office location in Marlborough MA.

Shure Inc. Acquires Informationsteknik
February 3, 2011

Shure Inc. has acquired Informationsteknik of Copenhagen, Denmark, a provider of discussion systems and creative audio/video communication solutions. “This acquisition is beneficial to both organizations,” stated Sandy LaMantia, Shure President/CEO. “By coming together, we will significantly strengthen both companies’ global reach and market position. We welcome all of the members of Informationsteknik and we look forward to their continued success.”

 

Under a definitive agreement, Shure now owns Informationsteknik and its three divisions: The Danish Interpretation Systems (DIS) Division, which is responsible for the design, research and development, manufacturing and global distribution of DIS products; The Project Division, which is responsible for highly specialized AV systems integration and installation; and The Rental and Staging Division, which is responsible for providing creative solutions in sound and visual productions for events like corporate annual meetings, conferences, trade shows and world summits.
According to Finn Halken, Managing Director of Informationsteknik, “There are several reasons this acquisition makes sense for us, especially the fact that both companies place a high value on our employees, and we both have a very customer-focused approach to doing business.”
Halken will report to Christine Schyvinck, Executive Vice President of Global Marketing and Sales for Shure, and Informationsteknik will be operated as one of Shure’s Business Units.
In exclusive comments to Sound & Communications, Al Hershner, Vice President, Shure Inc., said, “We don’t anticipate any near-term impact on the commercial AV market here in the US. Our shared plan is to continue our respective market development activities. Over time, of course, you might expect us to deliver on the synergies that two market leaders with complementary technology strengths can.”

Chilin Technology Develops Chilin Solutions
January 28, 2011

Chilin Technology announced the development of Chilin Solutions for the continued support of the global market for Chilin’s portfolio of specialty display products and solutions. Chilin Solutions will integrate Chilin Technology’s commercial LCD display group, along with Vertigo Digital Displays Inc. and Chilin’s commercial e-Paper solutions group, into one global business. Chilin Solutions will be headquartered in Portland OR, with facilities located in Tainan, Taiwan; Toronto, Canada; and Soest, Netherlands.
Chilin Technology’s commercial LCD display business will form the core of Chilin Solutions, which is focused on the design and manufacturing of a range of commercial LCD monitors and specialty displays for many brands. Products from Chilin Solutions range from 32 inches to 82 inches diagonal, as well as super-narrow-bezel displays for larger videowall applications.

Vertigo Digital Displays Inc. will become Chilin Solutions’ digital out-of-home business unit under the new organization. Chilin Technology acquired Vertigo Digital Displays, involved in the design and development of custom and ruggedized display systems for the transit, retail and digital out-of-home advertising industries, in 2009.
A third business unit will focus on the design, development and sales of e-Paper display solutions for industrial and commercial customers. Leveraging Chilin Technology’s existing e-Paper technology display modules, Chilin Solutions will create solutions for commercial applications, including electronic shelf labels, digital fact tags and numerous other applications.

Industry Mourns Kevin Collins
January 28, 2011

Kevin Collins, Vice President of Sales and Marketing for HB Communications, headquartered in North Haven CT, died unexpectedly on January 26, at age 53. At HB since 1987, he initially joined HB to enhance and expand sales, installation and service of large screen data and video display systems, and was instrumental in the formation and development of HB's systems integration group. He oversaw design, installation and project management of all major installations done by the company.

“Kevin’s vibrant personality made him a valued friend and partner to so many of us in the audiovisual industry,” said Randal A. Lemke, PhD, Executive Director and CEO, InfoComm International. “He had the ability to light up a room like no other. As a past president of InfoComm [in 2002], Kevin helped build a solid foundation that has allowed the association to grow into what it is today. He lived life to its fullest and we will miss him greatly.” Collins also spent seven years on the InfoComm Board of Governors. Prior to his HB years, he was regional sales manager for GE and Barco large screen display products.
He is survived by his wife, Elizabeth, and his children, Caroline and Sean.

Williams Sound Announces New Partnership
January 26, 2011

Williams Sound, LLC , has completed a recapitalization of the company, with financing provided by Cardinal Equity Partners, a private equity firm based in Indianapolis IN. “We are excited to partner with Cardinal Equity to achieve our shared vision of accelerating growth in our core business and to pursue new growth opportunities,” commented Paul Ingebrigtsen, President/CEO of Williams Sound. “We were attracted to Cardinal Equity partners because of their approach to long-term growth strategies, and a close cultural and philosophical fit. Cardinal brings management and financial depth to the table….”

According to John Ackerman, Principal Partner of Cardinal Equity, “The recapitalization facilitates the liquidity needs of former shareholders and will allow us to capitalize on significant growth opportunities the management team has identified. We were attracted to Williams Sound because of its…success in the market, [a] management team who remain with the business and retain significant ownership of the company, and the…growth prospects we see for the company.”
Added Ingebrigtsen, “We look forward to our partnership with Cardinal Equity and to the next chapter in our future growth together.

 

PSAV Chooses InfoComm For Meetings, Events Training
January 21, 2011

InfoComm International has been selected to provide meeting and events training for PSAV Presentation Services. InfoComm was chosen because of the association's focus on developing well-researched curricula that is practical and up-to-date. The agreement allows PSAV to train an unlimited number of employees online in InfoComm classes, including Essentials of the AV Industry, Event Set Up for AV Techs and AV Math

"PSAV is committed to providing our employees the right training tools to expand their knowledge and execute the best possible client experiences," said Sudi Korba, vice president, Human Resources. "To accomplish this goal, we are excited to partner with InfoComm and utilize components of their…training material. By leveraging InfoComm along with our internal training, PSAV will continue to lead the AV Industry to new standards."
"The key to further growth in the live events industry is access to an educated workforce," said Randal A. Lemke, PhD, Executive Director and CEO, InfoComm International. "PSAV's investment in training represents an investment in their customers and employees, and is bound to pay dividends for many years to come."

USAV Group Partners with NEC Display Solutions
January 19, 2011

USAV Group, an association of commercial audiovisual integrators, announced that it has finalized a relationship with NEC Display Solutions, making NEC the newest USAV Group Preferred Manufacturer Partner (PMP). USAV Group now has buying programs established with 19 AV suppliers in the industry. NEC, which designs, produces and delivers visual display technology for a variety of markets, specializes in desktop LCDs, large-screen LCD displays and a line of projectors.

“Just like our integrators, NEC is dedicated to providing solutions that increase productivity and address AV needs in a dynamic way. Having this shared vision makes NEC a [good] addition to our PMP lineup,” said USAV Group Founder and CFO Chris Whitley. “We have anxiously awaited this relationship, and we’re pleased announce that NEC will be the newest USAV Group PMP.”
USAV Group has preferred relationships with suppliers across the spectrum of AV product categories. The addition of NEC, according to the organization, will strengthen the display and projector category, providing USAV Group integrators with additional resources so they are equipped to provide comprehensive solutions for their clients’ AV needs.

AVI-SPL Selects InfoComm For Live Events Training
January 18, 2011

InfoComm International, which provides training and education programs for the commercial audiovisual industry, has been selected to provide live events training for nearly 200 employees in AVI-SPL's Rental and Staging Division in the US and Mexico. InfoComm was approached by the company following positive experiences using InfoComm's curricula and instructors for training AV design and installation professionals. The agreement covers classes including Quick Start to the AV Industry Online, Principles of Tech Support Online, Essentials of AV Technology, CTS Prep Virtual Classroom, AV Math Online, Staging and Events Management and Design Online.Classes will be available in English and Spanish.

 

"At AVI-SPL, we're committed to providing our clients with the highest level of technical performance," said Jennifer Schwartzberg, Training Development Manager. "In order to ensure that our team can deliver, we're continuously building upon our employee training program. Our great relationship with InfoComm led to this new installment of courses for live events and we're thrilled to begin rolling them out this year."
"InfoComm is pleased to be working with AVI-SPL to create a more educated live events industry," said Randal A. Lemke, PhD, Executive Director and CEO, InfoComm International. "The company's strong commitment to training is one of the reasons AVI-SPL is a leading player in the audiovisual industry."

 

Francisco Partners Completes Grass Valley Acquisition
January 3, 2011

Grass Valley announced that Francisco Partners, a technology-focused investment company, has completed the closing process with Technicolor and finalized the acquisition of the Grass Valley Broadcast & Professional business. As of January 1, Grass Valley began doing business as an independent company, under the trade name "Grass Valley." Terms of the sale include 100% ownership of the current Grass Valley Broadcast & Professional business.

This includes the camera, content repurposing, editing, master control, modular, news production, production automation, production switchers, routing and video servers product lines, including their entire product portfolios, the R&D centers and factories around the world, the Sales & Systems activities and Customer Support organization worldwide, as well as the management and administrative support functions dedicated to the business.
To help customers and technology partners to understand the specifics of the acquisition, Grass Valley has established a website, located at www.grassvalley.com/greenergrass, with the latest, most accurate and complete information. This site will allow visitors to view or download a number of pertinent public documents, including all published press releases, FAQs, an open letter from Grass Valley management, background information on Francisco Partners and more. There is also an email address, askjeff@grassvalley.com, for questions or comments.

 

Troxell Communications Acquires CCS Texas
December 23, 2010

AEA Investors LP and Troxell Communications, Inc. , have completed the acquisition of CCS Texas (Integrated AV Systems) in Houston, Texas. CCS Texas is a $58M AV integrator serving the Texas and Louisiana markets. The acquisition is scheduled to close imminently. Mark Kalinsky, the CEO and President of CCS Texas, will remain with the business and transition to the President of the AV integration business. He will have continued responsibility for the CCS Texas business in Texas and Louisiana and will also lead the strategy and development of Troxell’s integration business nationwide. He will report directly to Greg Cessna, Troxell CEO/President.

According to Troxell, CCS Texas is a strategically important addition to its core competencies for “accelerated learning.” It is a prominent engineering and design AV integrator in the Texas and Louisiana markets and generates more than 50% of its sales in the education market. The addition of CCS Texas, Mark Kalinsky’s leadership and his management team provide Troxell Communications with a foundation for building a national footprint for AV integration and the design and build of digital learning environments for K-12 and higher education markets. Additionally, CCS Texas has penetrated new vertical markets, such as commercial and government, and has a working knowledge in categories like interactive teaching and videoconferencing. For all these reasons, both the Troxell and CCS Texas brands will be maintained going forward.

 

Yamaha Forms Strategic Alliance With Rupert Neve Designs
December 21, 2010

Yamaha Corporation Japan and Yamaha Commercial Audio Systems, Inc. (Buena Park CA) have formed a strategic partnership with Rupert Neve Designs, based on both parties’ involvement with VCM (Virtual Circuitry Modeling) Technology. Using VCM, an exclusive Yamaha digital technology, engineers can achieve stunning sonic and musical performance by actually modeling the individual characteristics of a multitude of parts and components contributing to the final sound of original analog circuitry.
VCM recreates the sound and characteristics of several classic compression and EQ units and tape machines from the 70s available on most current Yamaha digital mixers. Not only do these models capture the unique saturation of analog circuitry, but they have also been fine-tuned by leading engineers and feature carefully selected parameters in a simple interface that makes it easier than ever to create the ideal sound. Subtle saturation effects have been modeled to bring the warmth and richness of the original analog gear back to life in a stable, easy-to-operate digital format.

Rupert Neve Designs has openly embraced Yamaha VCM technology as the first digital technology that can accurately reproduce Rupert Neve’s renowned analog sound, reaffirming the Yamaha commitment to digital and that digital can sound as pleasing as analog.
“With Yamaha VCM technology, we’re able to pick up the amazing quality of musicality and accuracy that was inherent in the original Rupert Neve Designs Portico modules,” stated Rupert Neve. “Yamaha engineers are to be congratulated on having been able to successfully emulate that musical sound from my designs. It’s a real pleasure to work with people who are dedicated and knowledgeable, and able to perceive the sort of things that I’m trying to convey in my designs.”
“Yamaha is extremely fortunate to have the wisdom of the legendary Rupert Neve, personally responsible for the direction our industry has taken in achieving the ‘classic sound,’ acknowledge that our VCM Technology well represents this classic sound,” stated Larry Italia, Vice President/General Manager, Yamaha Commercial Audio Systems, Inc. “We know this will be the first of many joint efforts between our two companies.”

Sennheiser Reorganizes
December 17, 2010

The Supervisory Board of Sennheiser electronic GmbH & Co. KG (Wedemark, Germany) has adopted the company’s new global organizational structure. Three responsive “Business Divisions” designed for the target markets of “Consumer Electronics,” “Professional Systems” and “Installed Sound” will be supported by a corporate group with three divisions. “With this structure, we are implementing clear customer orientation as part of our corporate strategy and will be able to act in a more decisive and target-oriented manner in the future,“ explained Prof. Dr. Jörg Sennheiser, Chairman of the Supervisory Board.
The new structure of the company consists of seven units:
• Business Division Consumer Electronics, managed by Peter Callan
• Business Division Professional Systems, managed by Dr. Heinrich Esser
• Business Division Installed Sound,
ad interim managed by Dr. Heinrich Esser
• Sales Division, managed by Paul Whiting
• Supply Chain Division, managed by Dr. Andreas Sennheiser
• Corporate Services, managed by Volker Bartels
• Strategy and Finance, managed by Daniel Sennheiser

The managers of these units will form the new Executive Management Board (EMB) of the Sennheiser Group, with Volker Bartels as its spokesperson.
The three business divisions will operate within their respective business sectors tasked with specific strategies and resources but will work alongside the value-added chain. This means that the various sectors’ specific customer needs can be fulfilled quickly and securely. The Consumer Electronics division will concentrate on the headphone trade sector as well as audiology and telecommunications products. The Professional Systems division will manage professional audio, live sound, studio and professional headsets, while the Installed Sound division will cover fixed sound-program transmission systems.
“These streamlined, independent business units can now focus more closely on their customers and the demands of the respective markets, thereby helping create the foundation for continued, sustainable growth of the company,“ explained Volker Bartels, spokesperson for the Executive Management Board and President for Production and Logistics. “They will be supported by three corporate divisions that will be focusing on their strategy more than ever before to enable greater efficiency and a longer-term market activity and presence.“
The implementation of the new organization commences on January 1, 2011, and will be finalized at the end of the year.

LG Undergoes Corporate Restructuring
December 3, 2010

LG Electronics Inc. (Seoul, South Korea), according to a Wall Street Journal article, plans to dissolve its Business Solutions unit in 2011. In the wake of these reports, LG has confirmed that the commercial display business in the US remains intact. From a corporate structure standpoint, LG Business Solutions, now known as “LG Commercial Displays,” has been incorporated into LG’s Home Entertainment business unit. However, in the US, the Commercial Displays business will continue to operate as a separate business.

 

 

In exclusive comments to Sound & Communications, John Taylor, Vice President, Public Affairs and Communications, said, “What this means for us in the United States is having access to some of the latest display technologies and being more responsive to our customer needs from a product standpoint. But, from an operational standpoint in the US, it’s really business as usual. The LG Commercial Displays business in the United States is operated separately here from Home Entertainment because of the unique needs of the business-to-business market. It should be seamless to our customers.”
Wayne Park, President of LG Electronics USA, Inc., named Regional Business Leader Y.K. Cho as head of the US Commercial Displays business. Ron Snaidauf, Vice President, Commercial Displays, continues to lead the lodging, hospitality and healthcare segments, while Jeff Dowell, Vice President, Digital Signage, continues to lead the digital signage and monitor business areas addressing the restaurant, retail, education and industrial markets.

Group One Ltd. Appointed U.S. Distributor Of Van Damme Cables
November 30, 2010

Group One Ltd. has been appointed as US distributor of Van Damme Cables. Based in the United Kingdom, Van Damme Cables offers a range of cables frequently found on tours and in studios, in post and broadcast production arenas, as well as in commercial and corporate installations. “It was vital for us to find the right partners and to work with like-minded companies,” commented Van Damme Cable Managing Director Niall Holden, “so we are delighted to be working with Group One Ltd. They have a…reputation for quality and service and we are proud to be a part of it.”

“We’ve been recommending Van Damme cable for a few years now,” remarked Group One President Jack Kelly. “Over the last year, we’ve been talking to Managing Director Niall Holden and Export Manager Andy Dennis and it just seemed the right time for all of us. It’s a very natural fit for Group One, as the variety of cable products Van Damme offers cuts across many of our activities, including broadcast/ production, touring, install, marine and music retail. I like the customer service focus of the company and I’m…happy to join the Van Damme family.”

RHC Holding Corp. Purchases Pro Co Sound, Inc.
November 29, 2010

RHC Holding Corp., in conjunction with its financial partners, Midwest Mezzanine Funds and Bush O’Donnell, announced that it has signed a definitive sale agreement as of November 19, 2010, for the asset purchase of Pro Co Sound, Inc. Pro Co Sound, a Michigan-based corporation founded in 1974, designs and manufactures cable and interfacing products servicing the retail music markets as well as the commercial AV installation and broadcast industries.

RHC Holding Corp. owns and operates six separate companies, including The RapcoHorizon Company, which services the retail music market and the commercial AV installation market, and Major Custom Cable, which services the datacom and telecommunications industries.
“No major changes to Pro Co Sound or any RHC company will be implemented at this time,” said Dale Williams, President of RHC Holding Corp. “Each RHC Holding Company will champion the philosophy of providing our customers with…value and…innovative product designs backed by the…customer service [upon which] our dealers have come to depend.”
In our March 2010 edition’s NEWSLETTER, we announced the death of Charlie Wicks, CEO/Founder of Pro Co Sound.

InfoComm Launches GovComm 2011 Exposition and Conference
November 22, 2010

InfoComm International is launching GovComm 2011, a professional audiovisual and information communications exposition and conference to be held November 1 to 2, 2011, at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington DC. This two-day event is designed to serve Washington DC-area technology managers, end users and procurement officers in the government and military sectors. The event will feature exhibits, networking opportunities, education, manufacturers' training and InfoComm Certified Technology Specialist testing.

GovComm 2011 will feature more than 100 manufacturers of digital signage, videoconferencing and telepresence, projection, display, 3D, control systems, audio and AV networking technologies. These solutions are important to supporting training, command and control, communications, presentations and other net-centric AV activities performed by the government and military.
The exhibit floor will be open 9:00am to 4:00pm on both days. Each morning will feature a keynote speaker or panel discussion. Hour-long education classes held concurrently with the exhibits will be taught by experts from the InfoComm Academy. Training will address collaborative communications in a secure environment and future technology trends, including secure AV; command and control display applications; videoconferencing and telepresence; AV system energy management; and sustainability issues. Additionally, product- and service-specific training sessions from manufacturers will be held on the show floor concurrent with the exhibits.

LG Electronics Announces BroadSign Alliance
November 17, 2010

LG Electronics USA has selected BroadSign International as the software provider for its newest digital signage solution, SuperSign Premier-s. The alliance with BroadSign, involved in the digital signage market with SaaS technology, makes it easier for small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) to deploy and manage digital signage networks. LG’s SuperSign Premier provides content offerings that SMBs can use right out of the box. SuperSign Premier’s user interface (UI) is based on BroadSign’s core SaaS technology and has a customized LG UI designed for SMBs deploying networks of 25 players or less.

The hardware package consists of an LG flat-panel display (model M4214C) and the LG NC2000 media player that provides access to content management software and starter templates, as well as news and weather feeds.
“Software is a critical component of any digital signage solution and is the impetus behind establishing strong relationships with…third-party software developers,” said Jeff Dowell, Vice President, Digital Signage, LG Electronics USA. “BroadSign has…software that, combined with LG hardware, will provide SMBs with the technology solution they need to get up and running quickly.”
Brian Dusho, CEO, BroadSign International, said, “To win over small and medium-sized businesses, a digital signage system should be easy to use, yet versatile and powerful in the back-end.” He continued, “BroadSign software is an integral component of LG’s total solutions package….”

DisplaySearch Co-Locates Conference With InfoComm 2011
November 8, 2010

DisplaySearch has announced that it has partnered with InfoComm International to co-locate its 4th annual Digital Signage Conference with InfoComm 2011 in Orlando FL. The annual conference, which focuses on both the digital signage business and advanced display technologies for the segment, will be held on June 14 during InfoComm 2011 at the Orange County Convention Center. The conference will bring together display vendors, IT companies and companies already well established in out-of-home digital signage environments.

Additionally, they will be joined by new ventures that digital displays are helping to foster. Applications to be examined include mass transit; mixed-use information and advertising signage; electronic menu boards; higher education installations; point-of-sale and dynamic signage for retail; corporate mass-communication networks; out-of-home advertising/information/security messaging; and emerging solutions for the outdoor portion of the out-of-home market.
"The [commercial] AV market continues to embrace flat-panel technologies, which have become inexorably linked to digital signage," noted Randal A. Lemke, PhD, Executive Director and CEO, InfoComm International. "We are pleased to offer a conference at InfoComm 2011 that examines the flat-panel market and other emerging displays associated with digital signage. The Digital Signage Conference is the perfect complement to the integrated technologies attendees can see on the show floor.”

Haivision Acquires CoolSign
November 4, 2010

Haivision (Montréal, Quebec, Canada) has acquired the assets of CS Software Holdings, LLC, including the CoolSign product technology. CoolSign, a presence in the digital signage market, provides software solutions for mission-critical, enterprise-ready signage deployments. According to the companies, with CoolSign, Haivision can deliver solutions that combine intelligent video with graphics and data easily and securely to any desktop, display, digital frame and mobile device.

“Haivision recognizes the opportunity for converging video streaming, IPTV, interactive media and digital signage,” said Mirko Wicha, President/CEO of Haivision Network Video. “We are positioned [to] deliver end-to-end technology solutions and a unified infrastructure for communications across all media delivery platforms.”
CoolSign was initially launched more than 12 years ago. A few years ago, Planar Systems, Inc. (Beaverton OR), owned the CoolSign Digital Signage business.

FPS Appoints SpectraCal As Distributor
October 28, 2010

Flexible Picture Systems has appointed SpectraCal Sales Inc.as a distributor for its Image AnyPlace-200 high performance video and graphics scaler with Geometry Correction and Edge Blending. AnyPlace-200 provides the ability to correct off-axis projector placement of up to +/- 40 degrees horizontally and/or vertically, including projection onto curved, cylindrical, spherical and irregular surfaces.

SpectraCal Sales is a growing sales organization that provides everything needed for optimizing video displays: the software CalMAN, a range of colorimeters and spectrophotometers for accurate color measurement, test pattern sources and an education program.
According to Steve Wood, President and CEO of Flexible Picture Systems, “[SpectraCal has] established trusted relationships with integrators and installers who turn to them for solutions.” Added Jeff Murray, President of SpectraCal Sales, “Our clients rely on us to recommend reliable solutions that will deliver the best image for their customers. With Image AnyPlace-200, we’re not just bringing them a…solution. We’re bringing them a solution they can’t get anywhere else.”

3M Invests In Perceptive Pixel
October 27, 2010

3M, through its 3M New Ventures business, has invested in Perceptive Pixel Inc., a developer of multi-touch solutions that is based in New York City. Terms of the transaction remain undisclosed. Founded by Jeff Han in 2006, Perceptive Pixel is dedicated to the research, development and production of multi-touch interfaces for the knowledge worker. The company’s hardware and software products enable users to manipulate complex datasets through a new class of interface techniques.

According to the company, the combination of its technologies with those of 3M will create new opportunities for both companies.

“Perceptive Pixel has developed…technologies to enable intuitive multi-user, multi-touch interaction,” Stefan Gabriel, President, 3M New Ventures, said. “This strategic investment will create potential growth opportunities for the 3M Touch Systems business unit, stimulating future innovations in a variety of industries that use multi-touch devices.”
Added Voyl Divljakovic, Vice President and General Manager, 3M Electronic Solutions Division, “Coupled with 3M Touch Systems’…single-touch, gesture touch and multi-touch screen solutions, we believe this partnership will change the way users interact with a variety of technologies in the years to come.”

Kramer Establishes Education-Targeted Group
October 12, 2010

Kramer Electronics has established a group devoted to the educational market within the commercial AV industry. The group will work to expand the Kramer and Sierra Video product offerings, create marketing tools to increase brand(s) awareness and develop
more and better sales opportunities within the educational vertical market for the company’s dealers, systems
integrators and OEMs.
This group, spearheaded by Tom McCarthy, Kramer’s Vice President of OEM Sales, and Brian Morris, Sales Support Engineer, will address this specific vertical market of the commercial AV industry.

They will work closely with the company’s Kramer and Sierra Video customers and factories to create new products and opportunities for the educational market.
“This is the third major organizational change we have made to
our sales team in the past few months. Previously, we announced a new group headed by Mike Lewis to concentrate on cable and room connectivity products; we also combined national sales management responsibility for both Kramer and Sierra Video branded products under Kent Cawthorne,” said Dave Bright, President of Kramer Electronics USA. “The education market is currently our largest vertical, and I am confident Tom and Brian
will be successful taking it to [a] higher level. We have many more changes planned for the coming months to grow and better support our rapidly growing vertical markets,” added Bright.
McCarthy has more than 25 years of sales management experience at JVC, Maxell and Panasonic. His most recent position was Director of New Business Development at Panasonic.

NSCA, USAV Group Forge Partnership
October 5, 2010

NSCA and USAV Group have announced an endorsement agreement
involving NSCA’s Business & Leadership Conference and NSCA membership. The endorsement package provides opportunities for USAV Group members to take advantage of discounts on both membership and NSCA’s 2011 Business & Leadership Conference, set for February 17-19
in San Diego CA.


The agreement with NSCA provides USAV Group with opportunities to offer its members access to experts on critical issues affecting the entire industry. In return, NSCA will participate in USAV Group’s regional events to inform and educate USAV Group members on business opportunities, such as mass notification and emergency communications. Many AV integrators belong to both USAV Group and NSCA; this partnership will offer additional savings exclusive to members of USAV Group.

Richardson To Sell RFPD To Arrow Electronics
October 1, 2010

Richardson Electronics, Ltd., has announced the signing of a definitive agreement to sell its RF, Wireless and Power Division (RFPD) and certain other assets to Arrow Electronics, Inc., for $210 million in cash. RFPD is a global provider of engineered solutions and a global distributor of electronic components to the RF and wireless communications market and the industrial power conversion market. RFPD designs, manufactures and distributes discrete devices,


components and assemblies used in RFand wireless infrastructure communications networks, digital broadcasting, defense applications and power conversion. RFPD generated revenue of $356 million during fiscal year 2010.
Arrow intends to operate RFPD, which will be called "Richardson RFPD," as a separate business unit of Arrow Electronics. Richardson RFPD headquarters will remain in LaFox IL.
"The decision to divest the RFPD division was not an easy one; however, this transaction provides an excellent return on our investment," said Edward J. Richardson, Chairman and CEO of Richardson Electronics, Ltd. The transaction is subject to the approval of shareholders of Richardson Electronics as well as customary closing conditions and regulatory approvals. The companies expect the transaction to close in early 2011.

Shure, Legislators Applaud FCC White Spaces Decision
September 24, 2010

Shure Inc. and a number of congressional legislators applauded a decision by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to protect wireless microphone users from interference from “white space devices.” The Memorandum Opinion and Order issued by the FCC reserves two TV channels nationwide for wireless microphone use. The reserved channels are off-limits to UHF Band Devices that operate in the white spaces between assigned TV stations, thus preventing them from interfering with wireless microphone signals on those channels. Large-scale users would be able to achieve extended protection for specific events through the geo-location database prescribed by the FCC in 2008.
“It’s clear that the FCC carefully considered the needs of wireless microphone users while crafting this Order,” said Sandy LaMantia, President

and CEO of Shure Inc. “The reserved channels will provide a safe harbor in which musicians, small theaters, houses of worship and businesses can operate their wireless microphone systems without interference from new TV Band Devices.”
Legislators have been actively following the FCC’s plan to allow unlicensed devices to share the “white spaces” and the potential impact on wireless microphone users. Representative Bobby Rush (D-IL) submitted a bill that would require wireless microphone users to be protected. “The legislation I introduced called for interference protection for professional wireless microphones in the wide variety of venues in which they are used today,” said Representative Rush. “This Order effectively grants that protection and will ensure continuity of service for houses of worship, theaters, music tours and venues, sporting events, and the various civic and corporate environments that rely on quality audio in America today.”
According to Mark Brunner, Senior Director of Global Brand Management at Shure, “The Order demonstrates the FCC’s commitment to supporting America’s position as a leader in the creation of news, sports, cultural and entertainment content at venues of all sizes.”


QSC Joins Forces with M&W Pro Audio, Ltd.
September 20, 2010

QSC Audio Products has announced a co-development partnership with the M&W Pro Audio, Ltd. to create a series of digital audio mixing consoles. Greg Mackie and Peter Watts are, respectively, the “M” and the “W” in the organization’s name. After retiring from Mackie Designs (now Loud Technologies) in 2003, Mackie still had a desire to create products. His longtime friend and collaborator Watts convinced him to come out of retirement in 2008 and develop the concepts for a line of digital mixing consoles.

Watts is also an experienced pro audio veteran who has spent 35 years designing analog and digital recording consoles, including the first digitally controlled console, the Trident DiAn.
“We needed a pro audio partner with established sales, marketing and distribution. A partner with a solid reputation for quality and reliability—one that had the technical capabilities to develop advanced digital mixing consoles and the manufacturing know-how to produce the products,” Mackie explained. "I had a longtime personal friendship with John and Barry Andrews and knew I could trust QSC to be exactly the right partner."

Design work on the products will be done by both M&W and QSC, while manufacturing, distribution, sales, marketing and technical support will be handled entirely by QSC. The first products are expected to be announced during the first half of 2011.


AMX Technology Sharing Partnership With SpinetiX
September 15, 2010

AMX has announced a technology sharing partnership with Swiss digital signage manufacturer SpinetiX. The collaborative relationship allows both companies to leverage their areas of expertise to develop digital signage advancements. SpinetiX manufactures digital signage players, including the HMP100 Hyper Media Player. AMX is involved in engineering solutions for simplified management of AV and IT devices and networks. Together, the companies plan to create next-generation digital signage solutions that can create multi-sensory, interactive experiences for viewers.

According to Yann Guyonvarc’h, CEO of SpinetiX, "As the digital signage market is really coming into its own, we look to deliver advances from combining the technologies that significantly impact the market and pave the way for a new generation of digital signage capabilities."
By combining digital signage with centralized control, customers will be able to create a total environmental and interactive experience. For example, when users pass near a digital sign, an audio clip can call them to approach. As the viewers step in, lighting changes can draw their attention to the message on the display. Other features, such as a puff of air or a scent spray, can engage all the viewers' senses rather than just sight, as in the case of a typical digital signage installation. All of these actions can be configured to measure and provide data, not only on viewer activity, but also tied to viewer behaviors, such as product purchase.


NAD Recommends SMART Technologies Modify,
Discontinue Certain Claims

September 8, 2010

The National Advertising Division of the Council of Better Business Bureaus has recommended that SMART Technologies Inc. modify or discontinue certain claims made for the SMARTBoard Interactive whiteboard and projector system, but determined that the company can support certain claims. NAD reviewed advertising claims that appeared in materials aimed at internal sales personnel and authorized resellers. The claims at issue were challenged by Epson America, Inc.
Two of the challenged claims were these: “The SMARTBoard interactive whiteboard is optimized for durability and interactivity whereas the BrightLink 450Wi compromises functionality, image quality and ability to write naturally” and “SMARTBoard interactive whiteboards deliver better TCO and ROI when accounting for filter replacements, filter cleaning and total decay costs for the BrightLink 450Wi. One also needs to consider the cost of a suitable projection surface.”

NAD determined that the materials specifically identified the Epson BrightLink 450Wi by brand and model number, compared the two products in head-to-head charts and relied on these comparisons in order to demonstrate the advantages of the SMARTBoard over the BrightLink. For these reasons, NAD concluded that the advertiser’s claims were comparative claims, requiring substantiation.
Regarding the two-part claim “The SMARTBoard interactive whiteboard is optimized for durability and interactivity…the BrightLink 450Wi compromises functionality, image quality and ability to write naturally,” NAD determined that the advertiser provided a reasonable basis in support of the first half of the challenged claim, but recommended the advertiser discontinue the second half of the claim.
With respect to the total cost of operation (TCO) and return on investment (ROI) claims, NAD was not troubled by the advertiser’s use of the cheaper SMARTBoard model in the context of the challenged advertisements. NAD, however, was troubled by the advertiser’s use of the full retail price, rather than the lower “education” price, for BrightLink. NAD recommended that the advertiser modify any TCO or ROI claims that include the cost of replacing the BrightLink pen and batteries to disclose the basis for such claims adequately. With respect to the advertiser’s claims regarding the cost of filter replacement, filter cleaning and total color “decay” for the Epson BrightLink, NAD determined that the advertiser’s evidence was insufficient to support such claims and recommended that they be discontinued.


Lowell Files Complaint Against Atlas Sound
August 26, 2010

On June 28, Lowell Manufacturing
filed a complaint in Federal Court against Atlas Sound LP, alleging infringement on U.S. patent no. 7,643,647, which
is directed toward Lowell’s lay-in
tile speaker system.

“We have expended significant resources in developing our product line, including the tile speaker system, and expect competitors to respect U.S. patents,” said John Lowell, President. “Although litigation is not our preference, we remain committed to defending intellectual property rights in court when other avenues have failed.”


AVI-SPL President Stephenie Scanlon Announces Retirement
August 25, 2010

AVI-SPL has announced the retirement of AV industry figure and AVI-SPL President Stephenie Scanlon. After her retirement in September, Scanlon plans to remain with the company as a consultant for special projects and initiatives. “Stephenie and I have worked closely to develop strategies that allowed for our great success at AVI and now AVI-SPL,” said Marty Schaffel, Executive Chairman. “We would never have accomplished a fraction of what we have done without Stephenie’s skills,” Schaffel added. “While Stephenie will remain active with this company in the years ahead, her daily presence will be sorely missed.

Scanlon initially joined legacy Audio Visual Innovations (AVI) in 1986, working as a sales representative for the Rental Services division. Her role with the company quickly expanded to include systems sales, human resources, and sales and marketing management. In 1998, Scanlon launched the e-commerce and national telesales division, Projector People/AV Marketplace.
She also led the creation of AVI-SPL University (AVI-U).
Since her promotion to President in 2005, Scanlon has managed the company’s marketing and corporate communications, AVI-SPL's e-commerce and transactional business units, and key supplier relationships. Additionally, she’s been responsible for corporate and sales administration, as well as vertical market-focused sales teams.


Blackmagic Design Acquires EchoLab
August 15, 2010

Blackmagic Design has acquired all assets of EchoLab Inc., a designer and manufacturer of production switchers. EchoLab has been designing and building production switchers since 1974. This experience has culminated
in the latest ATEM range of production switchers, which include technology for features such as up conversion
on inputs, multilayer SuperSource input, Stinger transitions, and built-in multi-view monitoring, all in a fully digital
M/E style design.

The ATEM production switchers will be demonstrated at the Blackmagic Design IBC 2010 booth #7.B25.
“It’s…exciting to add these products and intellectual property
to the Blackmagic Design family”, said Grant Petty, CEO of Blackmagic Design. “The ATEM switcher is a…creative tool….
Since the acquisition, we have already…expanded the
engineering team working on ATEM. This fresh engineering team, which is a combination of new as well as experienced EchoLab staff, will allow us to move faster in adding new features to the
ATEM product.”


Former MCSi Chief Pleads Guilty
August 11, 2010

Michael E. Peppel, who previously was top executive of audiovisual sales and services company MCSi Inc., has pleaded guilty to federal criminal felony charges resulting from the Dayton OH-area company’s 2003 implosion, according to a Dayton Daily News report. For the first time since accusations were leveled in a December 2006 federal indictment, Peppel formally admitted responsibility for deliberate criminal acts, among them approving false reports to federal regulators of MCSi’s financial results. The company’s bankruptcy, and ultimate collapse, left shareholders with valueless stock and caused about 1300 employees to lose their jobs, stock and retirement income through MCSi.



Peppel pleaded guilty to three charges: willful false certification of a financial report by a corporate officer, money laundering and conspiracy to commit securities, mail and wire fraud. The final charge accuses Peppel of using the mail and electronic communications to file false financial reports and exchange documents supporting reports of sham transactions. Peppel’s guilty pleas resulted from a plea agreement with government prosecutors. In exchange for the guilty pleas, federal prosecutors agreed to drop the remaining 29 charges he faced. Peppel withdrew his prior pleas of not guilty to all 32 charges.
Although, technically, Peppel could face a prison sentence of
20 to 50 years and millions of dollars in fines, under federal sentencing guidelines and his agreement to enter guilty pleas, he would likely receive considerably less prison term and a fine of approximately $1 million.
In associated news, as reported in our July 2010 News section, Frances Flood, former chief of ClearOne Communications Inc., has been sentenced to four years in federal prison for falsifying company revenue.


XETA Technologies Closes Acquisition Of
Pyramid Communication Services, Inc.

August 4, 2010

XETA Technologies, Inc. www.xeta.com, a provider of converged communications solutions for the enterprise market, has closed its previously announced acquisition of Pyramid Communication Services, Inc. www.pyramidcsi.com, a privately held provider of communications equipment, applications and related services. The acquisition of Pyramid, which has annual revenues in excess of $10 million, is expected to be accretive to earnings in fiscal 2011.



The deal increases the depth of XETA's sales and service presence in a number of geographic markets, and enables XETA and Pyramid to expand product and service offerings to existing and new customers.
"XETA and Pyramid have known each other, competed against each other and worked in partnership for many years," said Greg Forrest, CEO of XETA. "Our customers will continue to benefit from our growth as we enhance and expand our communications design, implementation, maintenance and repair services nationwide."


Advanced Media Design Systems Acquired By Pro Sound, Inc.
August 3, 2010

Pro Sound, Inc. , has announced its acquisition of Pensacola FL-based Advanced Media Design Systems Advanced Media Design Systems Terms of the acquisition were not disclosed. The acquisition reflects Pro Sound’s continued expansion in, and commitment to, the Florida and GulfCoast market. Pro Sound, Inc. will now be able to expand efficiently and cost effectively into southern Georgia,



Louisiana, Mississippi and the AlabamaGulfCoast, as well as the Florida panhandle. “We have had a relationship with AMDS for many years and, over time, we realized that the shared company philosophy and geographic location might be a good fit for Pro Sound,” said Rod Sintow, CEO of Pro Sound, Inc. “The new office will position Pro Sound for an increased presence in the south.”

Sintow noted the office will remain based in Pensacola, and will retain its current staff, with Brian Smith continuing to lead the company as Regional Director for the GulfCoast. According to Smith, "It will be business as usual for all AMDS clients and they will continue to enjoy the same one-on-one responsiveness that they have come to expect, with the added resources [that] Pro Sound can provide."


Francisco Partners to Acquire Grass Valley
Broadcast & Professional Business

July 29, 2010

Francisco Partners, a San Francisco CA-based private equity firm focused on investments in technology-based companies, has made a binding offer to Technicolor for the acquisition of the Grass Valley Broadcast & Professional business activities. With nearly $5 billion of capital under management, Francisco Partners is one of the largest technology-focused private equity funds. The firm was founded to pursue structured investments in technology and technology-based companies. Francisco Partner targets investments in private companies, with transaction values ranging from $30 million to $2 billion. Since its inception, Francisco Partners has invested in excess of $4 billion of equity capital in more than 50 technology companies.

The binding offer from Francisco Partners is for 100% ownership of the current Grass Valley Broadcast & Professional business, which would operate as "GrassValley" going forward.



This includes the camera, content repurposing, editing, master control, modular, news production, production automation, routing, servers, storage and switching product lines, including their entire product portfolios, the R&D centers and factories around the world, the sales and systems activities and customer support organization worldwide, as well as the management and administrative support functions dedicated to the business. This business perimeter and associated product lines for which the offer was made by Francisco Partners represent the core of what the market historically knows as GrassValley products.

The Transmission and Headend businesses, which are in the process of being separated from the Grass Valley Broadcast & Professional business, are not included in the offer received. Technicolor will continue the planned divestiture of these businesses separately. These businesses plan to operate individually going forward.

Subject to final agreement, regulatory approval, applicable notification requirements and, when it is requested, the prior consultation of staff representatives, it is expected that the transaction can be completed before the end of 2010.

In exclusive comments to Sound & Communications, Ray Baldock, CTO for GrassValley, said, “We’re all excited about the prospects of new ownership by Francisco Partners. Until the deal closes, it’s very much business as usual for GrassValley, our customers and our partners—but with renewed vigor and confidence now that the offer has been announced. So, in the short term, there is no change to our strategy in regard to the product roadmaps or markets that we serve. It is premature to comment on the longer term until after the deal is fully executed and closes.”


ESTA Offers Two Standards For Public Review
July 26, 2010

ANSI E1.8 - 2005, Entertainment Technology--Loudspeaker Enclosures Intended for Overhead Suspension—Classification, Manufacture and Structural Testing, and BSR E1.24 - 201x, Entertainment Technology - Dimensional Requirements for Stage Pin Connectors, are available for public review through September 20. The review forms and instructions for both documents, and the draft BSR E1.24 standard, are available at here. ANSI E1.8 is an existing American National Standard being considered for reaffirmation. It can be purchased from The ESTA Foundation at www.estafoundation.org/pubs.htm.



ANSI E1.8 - 2005 is a standard for the structural integrity of loudspeaker enclosures. It is designed to ensure that flown speaker enclosures don't break and rain parts. No substantive changes are planned for the existing standard in this reaffirmation, unless comments from the public suggest that changes are warranted, in which case the standard will be revised.

BSR E1.24 – 201x is a revised version of the existing ANSI E1.24 – 2006. The standard is being revised to clarify its use as a configuration standard giving the mating requirements for male and female pin connectors, contact set-backs from the front face and marking requirements. The electrical reliability and flammability requirements for pin connectors would be covered by other standards, such as UL 498, Attachment Plugs and Receptacles.

Reviewers also are requested to look for protected intellectual property in the documents. ESTA does not intend to adopt any standard that requires the use of protected intellectual property, unless that property is essential for technical reasons, and can be licensed and used by anyone without prejudice or preference for a “reasonable” fee.


VITEC Multimedia Acquires Focus Enhancements Systems Group
July 15, 2010

VITEC Multimedia has announced the purchase of the Focus Enhancements Systems Group. With this purchase, VITEC has added video acquisition and management products to its lineup, including FS Portable DTE Recorders, ProxSys Media Asset Management solutions, media converters and OEM-ready media hardware and software. According to the company, customers can now look to VITEC throughout the entire video production process, including acquisition, conversion, image processing, MPEG compression, recording, media asset management, streaming, decoding and delivery.

According to Philippe Wetzel, CEO of VITEC Multimedia, “In combination with our recent acquisition of Optibase, this acquisition furthers our objective to provide a complete line of advanced digital video solutions to our customers around the globe….The VITEC R&D division—now with more than 100…engineers—is…positioned to deliver…solutions for a…range of advanced digital video applications—managing the entire video process from source to display.”

“Focus has partnered with VITEC Multimedia in the past and, given our…history, we concluded that sale of Focus’ Systems Group to VITEC was the right decision,” commented Brett Moyer, President and CEO of Focus Enhancements.


BICSI, InfoComm Sign Friendship Agreement
July 12, 2010

BICSI, the association supporting the information technology systems (ITS) industry with information, education and knowledge assessment, signed a friendship agreement with InfoComm International, the nonprofit association serving the professional AV communications industry. The official agreement was signed by Randal A. Lemke, PhD, Executive Director and CEO of InfoComm International, and John D. Clark Jr., CAE, Executive Director and CEO of BICSI. According to the associations, the AV communications industry and the ITS industry intersect in terms of technologies, as well as their complementary roles in the building, communications and IT industries.

To accomplish their shared mission, and for the benefit of the associations’ members who work cooperatively on projects, InfoComm and BICSI have agreed on mutual points of reciprocity, including establishing reciprocal BICSI continuing education credit (CECs) and InfoComm Renewal Units (RUs) and continuing the current government relations cooperative activities and participation in the Green Building Technology Alliance (GBTA). Also included in this friendship agreement is a resolution to update the AV Design Reference Manual (AVDRM). BICSI believes that this relationship will enhance and expand BICSI’s dedicated outreach and also will add significantly to its programs and services.

BICSI currently holds friendship agreements with the Electronic Security Association (ESA)—formerly NBFAA—and the Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA).

 

1394 Trade Association Releases New, Revised Specifications
June 24, 2010

The 1394 Trade Association issued a trio of new specifications focused on video compression, audio and music transmission, and set-top-box functionality. The Trade Association’s USA Set Top Box Test Specification Revision 1.0 defines a set of tests to verify the functionality of the 1394 interface as defined in the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) mandate for a functional 1394 interface in the STB. The standard defines a set of tests that, when executed, will verify a USA Set Top Box has correctly implemented all the required functionality. Details are available at www.1394ta.org/developers/specifications
/2008003.html.


The revised BT.601 specification on the transport of uncompressed or compressed video addresses the upcoming analog “sunset” directive that applies January 1, 2011, to new Blu-ray products. The “image constraint token” eliminates the potential for pirated unencrypted video. With this revision, BT.601 has been updated with the token for use with Blu-ray players. Data in

 

the 4:2:2 format of ITU-R BT.601 includes compatible extensions to the format for the higher and lower resolutions of other commonly used video resolutions over 1394. The data formats for the encapsulation of video data are compatible with those specified by IEC 61883-1.

The specification provides a list of compression codes controlled by the 1394 Trade Association and a reference to one video compression codec, minimum, to assure interoperability and bounded implementation complexity. For details, go to www.1394ta.org/developers/specifications/2006020.html.

A new version of the Audio Music Data Transmission Protocol (v 2.2) addresses multichannel audio formats for Blu-Ray. It supports all popular surround configurations, like 5.1 and 7.1, and is extensible to 32 channels of surround. The new version also addresses the analog sunset directive, and describes a protocol for the transmission of audio and music data over IEEE Std 1394-1995 or later, including the transport of IEC 60958 digital format, raw audio samples and MIDI data.

The specification includes excerpts from IEC 61883-6, the improved version of 1394 TA specification "Audio and Music Data Transmission Protocol V1." Details are at www.1394ta.org/developers/speci3fications/2009013.html


InfoComm Partners With PAMA, Providing Management Services
June 21, 2010

InfoComm International has agreed to provide association management services for the Professional Audio Manufacturers Alliance (PAMA). PAMA is the collective voice and forum for the senior executives of the leading branded manufacturers of professional audio products. InfoComm will provide general management and special services, including government relations, market research, meeting planning and more.

"PAMA has been impressed with the responsiveness and long-term strategic vision of InfoComm International," said Paul Gallo. "Their growing international reach and effectiveness in executing long-term programs that benefit the industry, as well as the success of their trade shows, make them an ideal strategic alliance for PAMA."

 

InfoComm recognizes the trust PAMA has placed with the association, and has stated its dedication to helping PAMA accomplish its goal of building the public face of the audio manufacturing industry. "We have worked alongside PAMA for years and have great respect for the organization Paul Gallo has assembled," said Randal A. Lemke, PhD, Executive Director and CEO, InfoComm International. "With InfoComm-provided management services, PAMA will achieve some economies of scale and provide added value, while lifting the administrative burden from this group, allowing PAMA to fulfill its mission."

Duffy Wilbert, CTS, CAE, InfoComm Senior Vice President of Membership, will serve as PAMA Executive Director. PAMA will continue to maintain its own Board and Officers, who will be responsible for setting strategic direction, while deciding on new goals and initiatives. The new management arrangement is effective July 1.


PLASA And ESTA Vote To Merge
June 4, 2010

PLASA, an organization for those working in the live events, entertainment and communication industries worldwide, and ESTA, an association for the entertainment services and technology industries in North America, have voted to merge their two organizations. The announcement follows on the heels of lengthy consultations with both sets of memberships, which concluded recently in a formal vote of members—PLASA via its annual AGM, which took place on June 2 in London, and ESTA via a month-long electronic ballot, which ran throughout May.

In excess of 90% of members from each association voted in support of the move, which will see ESTA and PLASA

integrated to create a single international trade association operating under the PLASA name. The merger will effectively create the first truly international industry-wide membership body of more than 1200 manufacturers, installers, dealers, service providers and consultants working across the entertainment and installation industries. This will also include members of PERA, the former Production Equipment Rental Association, which recently merged with ESTA.

The merger is a continuation of an already-established relationship between the two organizations, which have worked together on a range of initiatives for many years. Both teams will now spend the next six months putting in place the infrastructure behind the merger, the first formal stage of which will be completed by December 2010, allowing the new organization to go live on January 1, 2011.

As part of this, an overarching Governing Body will be established to look after the interests of the membership worldwide and to work closely with Regional Boards for North America and Europe.


Peavey Announces New Commercial Audio Division
June 1, 2010

Peavey has announced the new focus of its Commercial Audio Division, created to more efficiently manage and support the company’s established brands: MediaMatrix, Crest Audio and Architectural Acoustics. By restructuring the sales and support teams in Europe, Middle East and Africa for this new division, Peavey intends to create an identifiable and integrated group of pro audio brands with its own dedicated support staff and a clear development roadmap for the future.
Peavey has implemented a new management structure to run the organization, which is headed up by Peavey Commercial Audio General Manager Kevin Ivey, based out of Peavey headquarters in Meridian MS, and Clive Roberts, Managing Director of Peavey Europe in Corby, UK. As an example of how these changes will affect Peavey distributors and customers, Ivey stated that the MediaMatrix brand now offers an entire range of control products that allow any designer or contractor with nWare experience to build complex control systems, all without the additional cost or need for outside consultants or contractors.

conservation," said InfoComm International Executive Director and CEO, Randal A. Lemke, PhD. "Because AV systems provide critical operational functions for the owner, an organized approach to commonly accepted planning, design and integration procedures is essential. This standard provides a practical guideline for defining the audiovisual system requirements and a clear accountability structure for the development and execution of the system design components. It provides a consistent reference for the project team, including architects and other trades, from the initial design phase through construction, project completion and building occupancy."

The new organization was presented to EMEA distributors at a two-day distributor meeting that was recently held in Italy. Attendees met the new team and participated in a number of workshops focused on the Commercial Audio Division and its pipeline of products. The workshop structure gave distributors opportunity to spend time with key Peavey team members.

In exclusive comments to Sound & Communications, Ivey said, “While we've had…success with each of [our] brands on their own, the real value and convenience comes when all of the offerings are integrated to work as complete systems. The goal we've set for ourselves is to capture the imagination of the designer and contractor, and to provide them all the tools they need to create whatever systems they conceive." He added, "We have also strengthened our service and support under one umbrella, and synchronized all of our sales and marketing efforts worldwide."



ANSI Approves InfoComm AV Systems Design Standard
May 26, 2010

The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and the InfoComm International Board of Directors have released InfoComm's second standard, ANSI/INFOCOMM 2M-2010 Standard Guide for Audiovisual Systems Design and Coordination Processes. The purpose of this standard is to provide a description of the methods, procedures, tasks and deliverables typically recommended or applied by professionals in audiovisual systems design and integration projects. The Standard enables clients and other design and construction team members to assess whether the responsible parties are providing the expected services.

"Modern AV systems have become increasingly complex and interconnected to other building systems such as network, electrical, HVAC and building automation/energy

conservation," said InfoComm International Executive Director and CEO, Randal A. Lemke, PhD. "Because AV systems provide critical operational functions for the owner, an organized approach to commonly accepted planning, design and integration procedures is essential. This standard provides a practical guideline for defining the audiovisual system requirements and a clear accountability structure for the development and execution of the system design components. It provides a consistent reference for the project team, including architects and other trades, from the initial design phase through construction, project completion and building occupancy."

The Standard Guide for Audiovisual Systems Design and Coordination Processes was developed in an open process with consensus and transparency, in accordance with ANSI requirements. In addition to the Standard, InfoComm has developed an Audiovisual Systems Project Documentation Sample, a 175-page set of sample plans and documents that provides a coordinated example of the unique documentation required for AV systems, clearly illustrating how the audiovisual systems documents relate to documentation from allied professions. The collection also illustrates elements of the Standard Guide for Audiovisual Systems Design and Coordination Processes.

For more information, visit www.infocomm.org/standards.

Industry Mourns Prof. Dr. Fritz Sennheiser
May 21, 2010

Late during the evening of May 17, only a few days after his 98th birthday, Prof. Dr.-Ing. Fritz Sennheiser, audio pioneer and founder of today’s Sennheiser electronic GmbH & Co. KG, died. Through his company, Prof. Dr. Sennheiser had a strong influence on the development of sound transmission technologies and was instrumental in forging many developments in electroacoustics and transmission

technologies. Under his guidance, the first shotgun microphones and open headphones were created and he oversaw important developments in wireless radio and infrared transmission.

Sennheiser took time to share his knowledge with students, inspiring them with an enthusiasm for audio technology. In 1982, he retired from the management of the company, handing it over to his son, Prof. Dr. sc. techn. Jörg Sennheiser. However, he continued to take a vivid interest in the company he founded in Summer 1945.


Industry Alliance Formed To Deliver UC Interoperability
May 19, 2010

Citing the need to fully leverage customers' investments in communications systems and unite their global organizations, five global technology companies have joined to form the Unified Communications Interoperability Forum (UCIF), an alliance dedicated to enabling standards-based, inter-vendor unified communications (UC) interoperability. HP, Juniper Networks, Microsoft, Logitech/LifeSize and Polycom seek to unify the UC ecosystem through this shared mission. The founding members are joined by a growing roster of member companies including Acme Packet, Aspect, AudioCodes, Broadcom, BroadSoft, Brocade, ClearOne, Jabra, Plantronics, RADVISION, Siemens Enterprise Communications and Teliris.

 

The UCIF works across all unified communications modalities to deliver interoperability based on existing standards. Many enterprises are ready to deploy UC solutions but interoperability concerns have slowed implementation. UCIF-certified products will help reduce implementation risk and complexity and, as a result, grow the worldwide market.According to a February 2009 report, Forrester forecasts that the market for UC within enterprises in North America, Europe and Asia Pacific will reach $14.5 billion in 2015.

The UCIF will identify common customer scenarios and leverage existing industry standards to resolve the interoperability issues that have stalled broad adoption and deployment of higher-productivity communications. The UCIF benefits member companies, as well. Now, with a multi-lateral testing resource, UCIF members can reduce the costs and complexities associated with ad hoc interoperability testing. Ultimately, this means interoperable UC solutions will reach customers more quickly.

TC Group Americas Inc. To Distribute Audica Professional
May 12, 2010

Effective immediately,TC Group Americas Inc. (TCGA) is distributing Audica Professional in North, Central and South America, adding the brand to its existing portfolio of Tannoy, Lab.gruppen, TC Electronic, TC-Helicon, Dynaudio Acoustics and Linn Products. TCGA will introduce Audica Professional formally next month at InfoComm in Las Vegas.

Audica Professional manufactures the MICROseries range of electronics and loudspeakers, combining flexible audio solutions for commercial background music, corporate AV and audio communications. According to the company, for applications such as retail outlets, restaurants, hotel public areas and guest rooms, meeting rooms, museums and visitor centers, the MICROseries systems fit neatly below the level serviced by Tannoy's product range. Both TCGA and Audica Professional view the expanded offering of the two brands as very complementary.

"America is key for most pro audio manufacturers," commented Derek West, Audica Professional's Sales and Marketing Director. "When we started the company just over three years ago, we first had to develop the European markets to take our business to a structure and turnover that would enable us to support this substantial market. Despite the economic climate, we have successfully expanded and now work with leading distributors in 38 countries, including all of the major European markets. Entering America is in itself important, but to be doing it in partnership with a true first division distributor like TCGA is very exciting."

"Audica represents an opportunity for TCGA to offer a more complete range of solutions to our diverse base of integrators, contractors and consultants,” commented Marc Bertrand, CEO of TC Group Americas Inc. “It's outstanding product, sounds fantastic, is very discreet visually, is easy to use and is priced very competitively. Audica is an excellent fit for TCGA and we are looking forward to growing a great business."


Electrosonic Expands Integration, Support Services with DRV Acquisition
May 4, 2010

Electrosonic has acquired The Multimedia Group Ltd, owners of the DRV companies—DRV Integration Ltd, one of Europe’s leading designers and integrators of corporate, medical and educational audiovisual technology, and DRV Support Ltd, a provider of multimedia managed service and maintenance solutions to organizations across the UK. According to the company, the acquisition expands the reach of Electrosonic’s audiovisual solutions and reinforces its focus on growing its service business.

Electrosonic and DRV’s operations, over time, will be combined in a manner that strengthens existing services. Operational synergies will enable the introduction of offerings relevant to customer needs.

According to David Ambrose, Managing Director of Electrosonic Ltd, “The depth of DRV’s Multimedia services and expertise complements our strengths in many ways and will help us expand into new areas. I have a high level of respect for DRV’s achievements in our industry and am confident that the…strengths of both organizations will enhance the way we serve the customer.”



IAVI Announces Acquisition of Visual Solutions Distributing, Inc.
April 29, 2010

IAVI, a wholesale supplier of audiovisual equipment, has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire substantial assets of Visual Solutions Distributing (VSDI), a distributor of high-tech display systems and complete audiovisual solutions. The acquired business will include the addition of experienced sales and engineering staff from VSDI to IAVI’s current certified team. The employee acquisition is intended to better serve the needs of commercial AV dealers and systems integrators seeking specialized solutions. IAVI has formed professional partnerships as direct distributors of some of the industry’s most well-known manufacturers. Product offerings include full line assortments from Sanyo, Panasonic, Mitsubishi, Barco, Sony, InFocus, LG, Viewsonic, Hitachi, Samsung and more.



SMART Technologies Acquires NextWindow
April 26, 2010

SMART Technologies has acquired New Zealand-based NextWindow (Next Holdings Limited), a designer and manufacturer of optical touch technology for integration into all-in-one computers, computer displays and large-format screens. The acquisition, according to the company, reinforces SMART’s own investment in optical touch research and development, and combines the two companies’ optical touch patent portfolios. The NextWindow acquisition is expected to have minimal impact on both businesses’ day-to-day operations, offices and company structure. Both SMART and NextWindow are privately held companies.

NextWindow supplies optical touch components to manufacturers of PCs

and other interactive displays. Its touch components are used in PCs and monitors sold by Dell, Hewlett-Packard,Lenovo, Medion, NEC, Samsung and Sony. The acquisition extends SMART’s current presence in the education, business and government sectors into the broader consumer market. SMART is also expanding its business in Asia, where NextWindow has already been active. In the past year, NextWindow has developed an Asian presence in Singapore, Taiwan and Korea.

“SMART serves a range of markets, and it is timely to diversify our revenue base beyond the sectors we already serve,” said Nancy Knowlton, SMART’s CEO. “NextWindow‘s core values, business model, patent portfolio and focus on the consumer market make it an attractive acquisition for us.”

In the transaction, RBC Capital Markets were financial advisors to SMART and Cowen and Company, LLC, were financial advisors to NextWindow.



Avid To Acquire Euphonix
April 16, 2010

Avid, Irwindale CA, has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Mountain View CA-based Euphonix, manufacturer of large-format digital audio consoles, media controllers and peripherals. With this acquisition, the company reports, Avid will deliver a broad range of audio and video control surfaces and consoles designed to meet the needs of customers ranging from the independent professional to the high-end broadcaster. Avid plans to continue to support and sell both Euphonix control surfaces and Avid’s existing ICON solution, supporting customers with investment in existing hardware.

“This acquisition greatly expands our portfolio to offer customers a complementary set of workflow solutions,” said Gary Greenfield, Avid

Chairman/CEO. “We remain committed to driving interoperability and modularity across a vast ecosystem of Avid and third-party creative hardware and software solutions. And, as audio and video workflows continue to converge, we are now well positioned to deliver control surfaces that work across both audio and video applications, making the content creation process more cost effective and efficient for our customers.”

Avid plans to further develop an open standard protocol that greatly expands the ecosystem of compatibility between the Euphonix control surfaces and a wide range of Avid and third-party audio and video applications, including Media Composer and Pro Tools. For existing Euphonix customers, Avid will continue to support EuCon, the Euphonix high-speed Ethernet protocol that enables its control surfaces to interface with third-party software. The transaction is expected to close at the end of this month.


Digigram Appoints Point Source Audio as Master Distributor for North, South America
April 14, 2010

Effective May 1, 2010, Digigram’s Master Distributor for North and South America will be Point Source Audio (PSA, Novato CA). An audio equipment manufacturer with intimate knowledge and expertise of Digigram products, PSA will take over all aspects of distribution and will be the main point of contact for Digigram’s representatives and resellers.

James Lamb, Digigram’s Business Development Manager for the Americas for the past 10 years, is now part of the leadership at PSA and will help to

ensure a smooth transition and continuity of service. According to Lamb, “We are fully prepared for the transition and our goal is that there will be no disruption in sales, prices or service support for Digigram’s dealers and business partners.”

Philippe Delacroix, President/CEO Digigram, added, “North and South America have always enjoyed a particular focus from our teams. We feel this arrangement allows us to better serve our customers in the future. It will also allow our company to better adapt to fast-changing market conditions.”


HM Electronics To Acquire Clear-Com Communication Systems
April 7, 2010

HM Electronics Inc. has announced a definitive agreement to acquire Clear-Com Communication Systems, a business unit of The Vitec Group plc. Clear-Com will continue operation as a wholly owned subsidiary of HME, with no changes planned for its product portfolio or its current mission. According to the companies, combining HME’s expertise in wireless with Clear-Com’s strength in TDM Matrix and integrated IP and wireless solutions will offer an expansive selection of communication products and technology for intercom customers with different applications and system requirements.

The acquisition, the company says, will expand HME’s reach into new markets, while allowing the combined companies to leverage synergies in product development and operations.
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“After enjoying substantial growth in all our key sectors over the last decade, it was time for HME to take the next step,” said Chuck Miyahira, CEO of HME. “Clear-Com is [a well-known] brand in the mission-critical intercom marketplace, and brings [considerable] industry knowledge, innovative technology and [strong] business partnerships around the globe. This acquisition will expand the HME business in the pro audio space with a wider range of complementary communication solutions.”

“We see a great fit with the strategy and vision of HME. The efforts of our combined teams will bring added value to our customers and greater opportunities for both companies,” said Matt Danilowicz, who will continue in his role as President of Clear-Com under the new structure within HME. Clear-Com business headquarters remain in Alameda CA. Research and development will continue in Cambridge, UK and Montreal, Canada


Panasonic Solutions Company Launches Operations
April 1, 2010

Panasonic Solutions Company has launched operations. Joseph M. Taylor, Chairman/CEO of Panasonic Corp. of North America, announced that Rance Poehler will head the newly consolidated Panasonic Solutions Company as President. The B2B-focused company will incorporate the operations of Panasonic Computer Solutions Company, Panasonic Broadcast & Television Systems Company and Panasonic Professional Display Company; it formally launched operations April 1.

Panasonic Solutions Company will deliver content creation, collaboration, information-sharing and decision-support solutions for customers in government, healthcare, education and a variety of commercial enterprises. Products and services within

the Panasonic Solutions portfolio include Panasonic Toughbook mobile computing solutions, projectors and professional displays, and HD video acquisition and production solutions.

“With this consolidation, Panasonic is streamlining its relationships with customers and offering them a broad portfolio approach,” said Taylor. “We believe this change will make Panasonic an easier company with which to do business and enhance our ability to deliver…products, services and support to commercial and government customers.”

Panasonic Solutions Company will deliver an integrated solutions approach based on the company’s experience automating and supporting business processes in vertical markets. The company will adopt a 100% channel approach to its sales.


Major Polycom Activity In The Offing
March 30, 2010

The Gores Group, a US private equity firm, is considering a merger between its unit Siemens Enterprise Communications and Polycom Inc., the Financial Times said, as reported by Reuters. According to the newspaper, Polycom's discussions with private equity firm Apax Partners, which fell through, had driven Gores to send the company's CEO, Robert Hagerty, a letter requesting a meeting to discuss a potential merger with Siemens Enterprise. On March 23, sources informed Reuters that Apax had not made an offer to buy Polycom. According to industry experts, a merger between Polycom and Siemens Enterprise potentially could cut costs and decrease the sales force.

In related news, although Hewlett-Packard Co. will continue providing support and integration services on

Tandberg to customers who desire Tandberg technology as part of their unified communications and collaboration solution, the company has forged a strategic agreement with Polycom to sell its videoconferencing products.

According to Gartner Inc., the videoconferencing market will expand at a compound annual growth rate of 17.8% between 2008 and 2013, rising from $3.8 billion to reach $8.6 billion. During the past few quarters, Polycom has attempted to expand its business relationship with several OEMS and resellers after Cisco Systems Inc. moved to acquire Tandberg. At present, the deal is awaiting regulatory approval.

According to the companies, the agreement with Polycom and Hewlett-Packard will be mutually beneficial. Hewlett-Packard, which currently sells high-end telepresence services, now may enter the broader videoconferencing market. Polycom will solidify its list of strategic partners. Management expects to recognize revenue from this agreement from the second half of 2010.


Minicom Spins Out Digital Signage Division
March 25, 2010

Minicom Advanced Systems has announced it would spin out its digital signage division (MDS). The new company simultaneously announced it had raised $6 million to finance its operations independently. The investment, which was led by Jerusalem Venture Partners and joined by Aviv Ventures, will enable the company to broaden its platform from its new offices in Jerusalem's JVP Media Quarter. MDS is a vendor of media distribution solutions for the digital signage and digital out-of-home (DooH) marketplace. According to MDS' CEO, Ronni Guggenheim, "This investment is the natural next step in MDS' lifecycle.

The support of our investors positions us to explore inorganic growth options and to drive the acceleration of our product roadmap toward the establishment of MDS as a full-scale enabling platform in the digital signage market."

Gadi Tirosh, General Partner at JVP, explained, "MDS, with its seasoned leadership, global footprint and strong operating history from within Minicom, is poised to build a broader platform in this growing, but still fragmented, market." JVP typically invests in businesses that apply technology acumen toward the development of new media models and, with its investment in MDS, now enters another segment of traditional media that is on the verge of digitization.


Barco Buys Element Labs
March 18, 2010

Barco has acquired the products, intellectual property rights and know-how of Element Labs , an LED video systems company based in Santa Clara CA. With a focus on mid-end market requirements in rental, staging and fixed installations, the Element Labs products complement Barco's existing product range. Through this transaction, Barco, according to the company, strengthens its position as a provider of LED, projection, image processing and lighting products. Barco will not book any goodwill on this transaction. “This expands Barco's portfolio for the mid-range markets,” Eric Van Zele, Barco's

President/CEO, commented. “Element Labs' products in these markets have proven their worth…and [complement] Barco's more high-end-oriented market portfolio.”

With immediate effect, the name Element Labs ceases to exist. Structured as an asset sales transaction, Barco obtains all product designs, rights and intellectual property of Element Labs, without assuming the liabilities of the former EL company. The core team of Element Labs in Santa Clara will function as Barco's competence center for creative LED solutions, whereas Barco Kuurne (Belgium) will remain the competence center for tiled LED solutions. Barco will announce its new mid-range LED products in the coming months.


Charlie Wicks, CEO of Pro Co Sound, Passed Today
March 11, 2010

Charlie Wicks, CEO and Founder of Pro Co Sound, passed the morning of March 11. Wicks founded Pro Co Sound in 1974, a provider of audio interface, cables, digital snakes, distribution systems and related products through musical instrument retailers and audio installation professionals. Charlie was a hands-on professional and served as the company's product manager and developer while acting as CEO. We will provide additional information as it becomes available.


Extron Acquires Products Division Of Electrosonic
March 8, 2010

Extron Electronics (Anaheim CA) has purchased the Products Engineering and Development Division of Electrosonic Group (Burbank CA), a worldwide AV systems integration and service provider. The Electrosonic Group systems integration and service business is not part of the acquisition and will continue forward as a wholly independent organization. Electrosonic's Products Division is involved with video and graphics over IP encoders and decoders, HD video players and multi-image display processors. It has been operating as a standalone division from the systems integration and service business since February 2009. The acquisition includes all current products designed and manufactured by Electrosonic as well as the IP for the underlying technology. Key staff will join Extron to support current customers and continue the development of this group of products.

According to Andrew Edwards, President of Extron Electronics, "At Extron, we have been in development of a complete line of AV streaming products for over three years and will be announcing additional streaming solutions later this year. We see the Electrosonic products as a great complement to our continually evolving product line." Jim Bowie, President of Electrosonic Group, added: "These current products have developed to the point that we as a systems integrator cannot take them to their full potential. Extron is exactly the right company to take these products forward worldwide. Electrosonic can now concentrate on its main business activity: the design, supply and support of audiovisual systems."

In exclusive comments to Sound & Communications, Joe Da Silva, Director, Product Marketing, Extron, said all products will be rebranded Extron. The transition will commence in April and continue over a period of time. About 30 engineering and support personnel came with the purchase of the brand, half in the US and half in Europe. Finally, he confirmed the purchase does not affect Electrosonic’s systems integration business.


UnitedScreens Media Acquires KLOTZ DIGITAL
March 5, 2010

KLOTZ DIGITAL AG has been acquired by UnitedScreens Media AG. In association with the acquisition, the companies also have entered into agreements securing the future financial support of KLOTZ DIGITAL AG. The agreements are intended to contribute to the long-term stabilization of the company, and to ensure its economic growth. Dr. Andreas Gruettner has been appointed as the KLOTZ DIGITAL AG CEO. He is taking over from Thomas Klotz, who has resigned from his position with immediate effect.

Gruettner has been acting as an independent entrepreneur, investing his own private equity, since 1993. Throughout the years, he has acquired some 18 companies, and has taken a multitude of interim management positions. At present, Gruettner is a member of the supervisory board of Gebrueder Rhodius GmbH & Co. KG, a German company with a turnover of €100 million per year and a staff of 400.

KLOTZ DIGITAL will maintain its position in the international broadcast market. Gruettner has identified the company’s main potential for growth in the international PA market. He also wishes to boost KLOTZ’s position in the industry, and to increase its economic efficiency.


FCC Extends Wireless Mic Comment Period
February 19, 2010

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has extended the deadline for public comments relating to proposed changes in wireless microphone licensing rules. The comment period, which would have expired on February 22, now closes March 1. The Commission determined that the public interest would be served by a brief extension of time in which to file comments, due to the extensive adverse weather conditions that affected the Washington DC, area and surrounding regions in recent weeks.

The original 30-day comment period was the minimum time required under the Communications Act of 1996. The comment period begins when an FCC action is published in the Federal Register, but can be extended under special circumstances.

For additional information and details, see our website News Update from January 19, as well as “FCC Moves On 700MHz; What’s Next?” in our February issue’s News section.


DSE To Fund The Digital Signage Federation
February 18, 2010

The digital signage industry is soon to have a new trade association, The Digital Signage Federation. Digital Signage Expo , an international conference summit and trade show dedicated to digital signage, interactive technologies and out-of-home media networks, has announced its willingness to provide initial funding to launch the digital signage trade association this year. It will be an independent 501c non-profit association with legal and professional by-laws and an elected Board of Directors who represent a cross-section of the industry and, therefore, are motivated to act in the industry’s best interest. Association consultant and interim Executive Director, John Johnson, CAE, is a fully qualified association executive with more than 40 years of experience.

Along with other member benefits still being finalized, the Digital Signage Federation will provide a year-round education program for members and a full program of member services, featuring a vertical industry outreach program to bring the digital signage industry’s message to thousands of end users in 2011. Professional association management will support the new Federation and funds will be provided to make projects immediately actionable. DSE has agreed to foot the bill without reimbursement, to create a member-owned forum in which industry leadership can come to the fore.

Angelo Varrone, CEO of Exponation, LLC, which produces Digital Signage Expo, said, “We believe the industry has earned the right to an independent industry association in order to safeguard continued growth in a direction that accurately reflects the industry’s voice. We are committed to support the industry that supports us.”

To get more information on the Digital Signage Federation, go to Booth #1230 or visit www.digitalsignagefederation.org.


Sony Electronics Acquires Convergent Media Systems
February 1, 2010

Sony Electronics Inc. (Tokyo, Japan) acquired Convergent Media Systems (Alpharetta GA), a provider of video integration solutions to the enterprise market, on January 27. The company has established itself as an expert in digital signage and content distribution systems and will be integrated as a subsidiary into Sony Electronics' broadcast and professional products business. According to John Scarcella, President of Sony's Broadcast and Business Solutions Co., the acquisition of Convergent is a “key building block” of Sony's worldwide business-to-business strategy to accelerate its shift into a solutions-focused organization. Sony will leverage Convergent's resources to provide end-to-end systems solutions and managed services in new and existing professional markets. “With Convergent, we can install and integrate [high-quality technology] together with providing content creation, monitoring and distribution services.” he stated.

The addition of Convergent's resources, including its approximately 150 full-time employees in North America, its network of field service affiliates

and a network operations center, will support Sony's sales and marketing efforts for its key technologies. This acquisition is also expected to strengthen Sony's competitive position in new areas of business, such as providing products and services to corporate, education and government markets, where Convergent already reaches more than one million people.

In exclusive comments to Sound & Communications, Alec Shapiro, Senior VP, Sales and Marketing, Sony Electronics, Broadcast and Production Group, confirmed that there are no immediate plans to restructure either company’s operations or management, and no plans to move Convergent employees to Sony’s Park Ridge NJ location. Shapiro stated, “Sony’s goal is still to work closely with all our systems integrators and other resellers. In recent years, we have expanded our capabilities to include end-to-end solutions, and we’ve been the single point of contact and accountability, or prime contractor, on many solutions-based projects, in traditional broadcast or other markets. We’ve teamed with many of our SI partners on the integration and installation of these systems.”

Shapiro continued, “We don’t plan to change this strategy. The addition of Convergent simply lets us branch out into new applications in digital signage networks, content distribution, asset management and service monitoring. At the same time, we'll still bring in other SIs when it makes sense for the overall project and the customer’s needs.”


FCC Rules: Wireless Mics Must Vacate 700MHz Band
January 19, 2010

Wireless microphones are going to have to vacate the 700MHz band, following a recent Federal Communications Commission (FCC) ruling. The Commission has voted to proscribe the sale and distribution of devices, principally wireless microphones, that have been operating in the band. The FCC has allotted a few months—until June 12, 2010—for current users of the offending devices—to vacate the band. However, such users have to get off immediately if it is discovered they are interfering with public safety or commercial users.

“We’re pleased that the FCC has issued a firm transition date for 700MHz wireless equipment,” said Mark Brunner, Senior Director Global Brand Management.

“Complying with this firm date will still be challenging for some users, but we remain committed to making the transition as easy as possible for them under the circumstances. It’s time for one final push to prevent interference with the new users of the spectrum.” Shure has not sold equipment operating in the 700MHz band since 2007, although many of these units remain in service.

Wireless microphones, in-ear monitors and other professional wireless devices will continue to be permitted in the remaining UHF TV band (470-698MHz). Existing 700MHz equipment should be replaced with systems operating in that range or in other parts of the spectrum.

In addition to offering technical guidance and assistance in determining appropriate replacement products, Shure is extending its 700MHz rebate until June 30, 2010, to help customers comply with the FCC order. The rebate offers up to $1000 per system for customers who purchase a new Shure wireless system and send in their old 700MHz system, regardless of who manufactured it.

Midas And Klark Teknik Join BEHRINGER Parent Group
December 9, 2009

The MUSIC Group (Hamilton, Bermuda) has signed a deal to acquire the Midas and Klark Teknik brands from Bosch Communications Systems (Fairport NY). The MUSIC Group owns the BEHRINGER brand as well as a number of other associated companies and is managed by Uli Behringer and Michael Deeb. The sale of Midas and Klark Teknik is part of an asset deal that was signed on December 8. The sale is subject to regulatory approval and the terms have not been disclosed.

The MUSIC Group plans to retain all 106

employees currently working at Midas and Klark Teknik. These brands will continue to operate independently with the added resources of the MUSIC Group.

Midas and Klark Teknik have stressed that their distribution companies worldwide will remain in place, and that the brands will not be available through any other channels. “Over the last five years, we have secured the industry’s leading professional audio distribution channels to ensure that Midas and Klark Teknik customers in each territory get the same standard of support that our…team provides in the UK,” said David Cooper, Sales and Marketing Director for Midas. “This deal ensures that our long-term distribution partnerships will get stronger and the investment of Midas' customers is not only protected but enhanced.”