Although the latest in audio visual equipment may bend the budget, a well designed system will reduce energy consumption and improve audience attendance, says STEFAN MAYER, MD at Corporate AV Integration.
A good audio-visual (AV) system is far more than a great way to improve your presentations and keep your audience attentive. A well-designed AV system will reduce your energy consumption – saving your company money and contributing to making your office a green environment. That might sound like a big ask but the latest intelligent building- and- room control systems can do just that.
“Today it’s not enough to offer solutions such as dimming lights and automatically turning off a screen or a projector,” says Stefan Mayer, Managing Director at Corporate AV Integration. “We need to embrace a future where AV and environmental systems are tightly integrated to intelligently communicate with each other and react to varying conditions to optimise energy and cost savings. Done properly, it’s not only affordable, it’s also intelligent.”
Vendors such as Crestron and AMX use algorithms to adjust their devices in response to variables such as natural light, temperature and room usage. For example, a projector and air conditioning in a meeting room can be primed to turn on 10 minutes ahead of a scheduled meeting. Another easy win comes through using motion sensors to switch off air conditioning and lights when nobody is in a room, again cutting down on energy consumption.
Another intelligent feature is the ability to integrate window blinds into the system and programme them to change according to the position of the sun – using sunlight to warm and light your rooms, reducing heating and lighting bills. Ambient light sensors will measure the amount of natural light and adjust the window shades appropriately. The system can supplement natural light with interior lights to achieve the ideal ambience for a presentation or videoconference.
Sensors can be cleverly placed around the entire building too, so that lights are dimmed in areas close to the windows and brightened away from the windows to intelligently save electricity and give employees the optimal lighting conditions.
“The core function of a good AV system is to make meetings more efficient and interesting, of course, although statistics show otherwise. Studies have found that 25-30% of all meetings are not efficient due to poor or malfunctioning technologies like video conferencing systems and projectors or poor boardroom conditions,” Mayer says.
Troubleshooting, when a fault – or a human error – crops up disrupts the meeting often not allowing for important issues to be addressed. Automated and simplistic videoconferencing systems is an important way in which AV systems contribute to a more efficient workforce, eliminating time, money and fuel spent on travelling and also contributing to improving the green status of your office. That’s far from the only way in which AV equipment can assist a company go green. An intelligent AV strategy can save money and help to achieve Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification through reduced energy consumption.
A conference room without automation technology is almost certainly wasting energy, says Mayer. Employees tend to leave equipment on after they leave the room, especially if multiple devices are controlled by different remotes. Automation technology controls all the displays, projectors, audio and video equipment, electronic voting systems, lighting, temperature and blinds from a single, easy to use touch panel. Should the unit not be turned off, it can be pre-programmed to shut down at a certain time or at the end of the day or based on movement within the room.
A report by Frost & Sullivan into Bright Green Buildings reported that AV technology has evolved from simple, piecemeal presentation tools into integrated systems through the convergence of AV and IT. In intelligent and green buildings where comfort, energy efficiency and asset management are key, an intelligent conference room plays a big part through green features like networked projectors and LCD displays, videoconferencing, and intelligent lighting and window shades.
The technologies behind these systems are complex, but Mayer says suppliers like Corporate AV Integration focus on making sure the end user is greeted with simplicity and operator-friendly interfaces.
An AV specialist can design the most cost effective solution and create a boardroom that looks good, works efficiently and boosts your green credentials.
Prepare for Digital TV migration
The deadline for the digital migration is fast approaching. JACQUES BENTLEY, Skyworth Southern Africa Sales Manager, lets us know what we can expect.
By now you’ve probably heard about the impending digital migration for South African broadcasting. Initially, this shift from old-school, analogue technology to newer, more efficient digital technology was set to take place in 2015 but the deadline for a national migration has been pushed out several times. With our neighbours Namibia and Botswana blazing ahead with their own digital transformations, the pressure is on for our own government to push forward to a fully digital South Africa.
But what does this overdue switch really mean for you and me?
What is digital migration?
Basically, the process involves moving over from an analogue transmission to a Digital Terrestrial Television/Transmission (DTT). We currently use analogue technology, transmitting video and audio through analogue signals. The drawback of this traditional broadcasting format is that the colours, sound and brightness are heavily impacted by the quality of the signal, resulting in a less-than-ideal snowy effect, and your TV deciding to randomly fade or ghost.
Digital TV, on the other hand, boasts crystal-clear image quality and excellent sound without interference because of its land-based network of TV transmitters that broadcast digital signals. This kind of technology also allows viewers to access a wider range of channels with different programmes.
Why is it happening?
Apart from the fact that everyone wants clearer sound, more channels and an enhanced viewing experience, the conversion to digital TV also has a far-reaching goal that ultimately
aids developing nations like our own. According to the International Telecommunications Union (ITU), the objective of Broadcast Digital Transition (BDT) work is to help developing countries with their smooth journey from analogue to digital broadcasting, including terrestrial TV, mobile TV and sound broadcasting. In turn, this means that we can enjoy new broadcasting services as well as an allocation of the digital dividend.
When is it taking place?
June 2019 is D-Day for all countries to have completed their digital migration. Our Communications department is determined to meet this international deadline and has implemented a specific DTT war room to ensure that all the boxes are ticked, and they can deliver on time.
The first province to undergo the digital migration was the Free State back in August, where digital Set-Top Boxes (STBs) were launched in Senekal. Essentially, STBs decode digital signals for old, box-style TV sets and the government aims to distribute these devices to about 5-million poor households, so that all citizens can enjoy prime TV, despite their financial situation. In fact, Skyworth is one of the chosen suppliers of these set-top boxes and is proud to be a core part of an all-inclusive transition to digital.
What can you do about it?
While the government has agreed to subsidise cash-strapped consumers with STBs, the only guarantee is that the digital migration is upon us and it is our responsibility to digitally transform our homes in order to meet the requirements. This means that you’ll either need to invest in a digital-ready TV or purchase your own STB to work with your current TV’s analogue signal. Whichever route you decide to go, you can look forward to exceptional viewing entertainment in the comfort of your own home.
5 things you should ask about buying a new TV
With so many technological advancements that cater to various needs, and endless options on the market, buying a new TV for your home can be pretty daunting. JACQUES BENTLEY, Southern African Sales Manager at Skyworth, offers a few tips when buying a new TV.
Given the role a TV occupies in the home – providing entertainment, relaxation and a window to the world for the whole family – it’s not a purchasing decision to be made lightly. Not to mention the fact that you’re likely to spend a rather large sum of hard-earned dough in the process. Fear not – we’re here to help you decide. Here are five important things to think about before you swipe that plastic to ensure your new TV will bring nothing but joy into your home (ok, and maybe a couple of disagreements on what to watch).
- Size matters
If you’re a fan of action-packed movies or nail-biting sporting events, you already know how important the size of the screen is. Consider the space into which your new TV will fit, and take measurements of the wall area or cabinet it’s going to sit on to make sure that you’re being practical about its size. How many people will be watching the TV at the same time? Now opt for the largest screen size that will fit comfortably in your lounge (and your budget). Generally, anything between 55 and 65 inches is a great all-round pick according to price, performance and how close most families sit to the TV.
- Is it digital-ready?
South Africa’s digital migration is upon us and by June 2019, you’ll either need a digital-ready TV that can transmit digital signals or a Set-Top Box to decode digital signals for your old, box-style analogue TV set. The benefits of investing in a digital TV include crystal-clear image quality, excellent sound and a wider range of channels. Ask the sales assistant to show you their range of digital ready TVs when making your selection.
- Does it have a 4K screen resolution?
Resolution refers to the sharpness of the TV picture, usually in terms of horizontal lines of pixels. Ultra HD/ 4K sets have four times more pixels than current Full HD screens. That’s as many as 2 160 horizontal lines, or 3 840 x 2 160 pixels. The result? Super-sharp, detailed and lifelike images, even on large screen sizes. For this reason, a 4K resolution is becoming increasingly popular because it’s a much better choice if you want to future-proof your investment – Skyworth’s G6 model was created with this in mind; it’s basically an Android TV made for the future.
- What will you be using your TV for?
Apart from the obvious activity of chilling out to watch your favourite shows, what else do you want to be able to do with your TV? Will your kids be using it to play games? Will you be streaming shows on it? All of these preferences will impact the specific features that will attract you to buy a certain model over another one, so it’s wise to do your research, either online or in store, before you say ‘yes’ to the device. Also, look out for at least four HDMI ports at the back of the set as these tend to get used up very quickly, especially if you are using accessories like a sound bar.
- Does it include cutting-edge technology?
From Google Voice Assist, allowing you to speak to your TV, to rich connectivity via Bluetooth, selecting a TV that has advanced capabilities makes for a smarter TV and one you aren’t likely to need to replace in a few years’ time. With Android System 6.0, an easily updatable operating system, the G6 TV is your best bet when it comes to constantly upgrading your TV without forking out money every time.