Innovative AV at Horizon Media

PPI brings new solutions to office buildout

High ceilings, oversized windows, panoramic views, and sprawling terraces. Those are the first things you’ll notice on the new floors at Horizon Media’s 75 Varick St. location. The second points of note are the innovative communication and collaboration technologies throughout the space.

In the spring of 2016, Presentation Products, Inc. began a year-long audiovisual consulting process, culminating in a design/build contract for Horizon’s latest office expansion. PPI once again teamed up with architect A+I Architects and client representative VVA to create state-of-the-art collaboration and presentation spaces on Horizon’s 11th and 12th floors.

In addition to standard Huddle Rooms and high-end Boardrooms, PPI had the opportunity to design and install innovative solutions requiring meticulous coordination.

The Garden

The Garden – a theater-style training room – features five displays installed inside of a ceiling mounted pentagon shroud. The unique display solution maximizes the room’s usable area and audience size in a challenging space.

Kyle Balkcom, a Principal at PPI who manages the sales and design team, said the 270 degree audience area required unique video solutions to allow functional lines of sight and viewing angles at all locations.

“We also needed to create an open, free-form area where a speaker could present without the hindrance of screens,” Balkcom said. “Along with frequent partners, A+I Architects, we designed a custom steel structure and millwork piece to seamlessly integrate five displays – each one facing a section of the audience.

Social Distillery

The Social Distillery features a 6×2 video wall with extensive presentation flexibility and advanced control capabilities. This space is used for internal creative sessions, as well as a tool intended to present social media platforms and programs to clients in a large dashboard format, with multiple preset viewing options.

The Local

The Local serves as an employee gathering and town hall space. This multi-purpose event area is designed to accommodate a broad range of uses, including staff meetings and after-hours events.

The Garden, Social Distillery, and The Local are routed and controlled from a centralized AV system, allowing for live event overflow by sharing video content and audio to or from the other spaces. Additionally, the ability to live stream or connect through live video with Horizon’s LA office, other floors in the New York location, or anywhere in the world allows simple communication and collaboration between partners, employees, and clients.

PPI has been Horizon Media’s AV partner since 2014. Jesse DeMarzo, Director of AV, Technology Service and Support at Horizon says the quality of work, the industry knowledge, and the reliability that PPI brings to the table puts him at ease when dealing with major expansions and day-to-day managed services.

“From the inception of this project, Presentation Products has been an outstanding partner; Kyle was in constant contact with us through every step of the discovery and design phase, making it painless even through our many changes,” DeMarzo said. “Once we entered the build phase, it was a seamless transition to our project manager Sean.

“Every technician and engineer on the project was extremely knowledgeable and reliable. Even with our custom spaces and unique buildout, I never felt like they were unable to meet our needs.”

PPI successfully delivered this project in the Summer of 2017. One full-time PPI employee is on call for managed services to assist Horizon with the operation of audiovisual systems on five floors.

From the Portfolio:

Horizon Expansion III

Horizon Expansion II

PPI joins forces with Zoom

The way offices are configured is evolving and has changed dramatically in the last decade. Seventy percent of companies who have repurposed their space have changed to open collaborative spaces, and 50 percent have shifted space so they have more conference rooms. (Source: Herman Miller).

Allowing teams to work in small spaces ignites ideas, engages employees, and gives companies a competitive edge. These spaces need to include systems for video, audio, screen sharing and white boarding for teams working in multiple locations. Meetings are the real work of our age.

With all this in mind, Presentation Products, Inc. is adding one of the fastest growing cloud solutions to our portfolio as a Zoom Reseller Partner.

We know your time is important and your online meetings need to work all of the time, every time.

“Our clients are looking for turnkey solutions. Along with our design and integration services, with Zoom, PPI can now also provide market leading video and web conference services,” said PPI Director of Sales, Kyle Balkcom. “With PPI deploying Zoom in meeting rooms and at the desktop, our clients can have an easy-to-use, consistent conferencing solution, all from one trusted provider.”

Founded in 2011, Zoom is the leader in modern enterprise video communications, with a secure, easy platform for video and audio conferencing, messaging, and webinars across mobile, desktop, and room systems. Zoom Rooms is the original software-based conference room solution used around the world in board, conference, huddle, and training rooms, as well as executive offices and classrooms.

Key Features:

  • High quality video and audio conferencing with up to 200 interactive video participants or 3,000 webinar viewers can join.
  • Supports scheduled and ad-hoc meetings. See your schedule of upcoming meetings and start your meeting with a single touch on your iPad.
  • Integrates with your Google or Microsoft Exchange calendar so you can instantly host or schedule a meeting from your browser.
  • Support for multiple screens and split views
  • Wireless Content Sharing
    • Zoom Rooms is the only solution that allows you to share high-resolution content over Wi-Fi or by direct HDMI connection.
    • Share iOS and Mac devices via AirPlay mirroring
    • You can even share a video clip with audio.
  • Personal room ID
  • Supports BYOD – participants can join from desktops, laptops, mobile devices, telephones, traditional room system and Zoom Rooms.
  • Multi-layer security
  • Admin can easily monitor use and validate ROI.

So clean up your conference room, broaden your reach, and never drop a conference call again. Contact a PPI Account Manager to learn more about the simple versatility of Zoom and happy conferencing!

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Presentation Products, Inc. (PPI) is a full service audiovisual design and integration firm headquartered in mid-town Manhattan. Since 1988, PPI has provided thousands of clients with reliable and cost-efficient technology solutions for their collaboration, presentation, and communication spaces.

 

Changing Technology of the Huddle Room: Our InfoComm Takeaway

Huddle rooms are nothing new, but in the past few years we’ve worked on a ton of office build-outs with a new emphasis and dedication to these little collaborative work spaces. According to research from Gartner, the proportion of video systems purchased for huddle rooms doubled from 10 percent in 2015 to 20 percent in 2016. This same research predicts a 400 percent growth in group video conferencing usage by 2019 (1).

A quick trek around the InfoComm showroom floor confirmed suppliers are stepping up their game in the world of huddle rooms, and there is a lot of new technology for adding high quality, software-based codec video conferencing features to these rooms.

Audio
For high-end audio installation solutions, many small Digital Signal Processors (DSP) are making their way to the market. Here are some products we’re excited about:

Biamp has a new 4in/4out DSP with a broad selection of audio components, routing options, and signal processing. It can handle the open standard Audio Video Bridging (AVB), or Audinate’s proprietary Dante. Plus, it supports Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) and Plain Old Telephone Service (POTS) audio codec – Available October 2017.

Shure has an affordable Dante enabled 8in/4out DSP with Acoustic Echo Cancellation (AEC), made to pair with their ceiling array microphone, or two table array microphones. Shure also has a 4in/4out for soft codecs that supports one table array mic, however, this unit does not have AEC built in.

Application of either of these products allows a broader selection of microphones and speakers for installation, and for precisely tuning a room for the best audio performance. This can create a no-compromise professional audio experience in huddle spaces as they become a larger part of the day-to-day work experience.

The Biamp and Shure products operate as standalone DSP deployments. Meanwhile, QSC Audio Products is encouraging integrators to centralize DSP resources and allocate portions of large DSP servers to support several rooms, which may be more cost effective in certain deployments.

For mid-range installations, products like Biamp’s Devio and Sennheiser’s TeamConnect are designed to add quality audio into Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) spaces with minimal fuss by reducing connection requirements to a simple USB cable.

Finally, for quick, simple integrations, products like the Yamaha CS-700 and the Logitech Meetup integrate cameras, speakers, and beamforming mic arrays into a soundbar-like USB device that mounts below the display.

Video
On the video side, Atlona showed their new small presentation switchers for huddle rooms. Crestron and Extron are well established in this space, but Atlona is a new player, bringing an interesting perspective to the fold.

Atlona’s HDVS-300 incorporates a USB hub to allow BYOD equipment shared access to installed webcams and other USB hardware — a feature that’s typically anchored to a fixed PC. It also eliminates the need for a separate USB extender in more conventional builds. Additionally, Atlona’s UHD-SW-510W attempts to remove the need for wires entirely by incorporating AirPlay, Google Cast, and Miracast into one device; this allows wireless display mirroring without the need to install an extra application or driver. The unit is also one of the first – if not the first – to feature a powered USB-C port, which can be used to charge laptops, tablets, and smartphones.

Solutions for huddle rooms should be easy to install and cost effective. As always, Presentation Products is here to help you wade through the changing trends in AV conferencing. Contact a PPI Account Manager to take the conversation about your business’s huddle room implementation and strategy to the next level.

PPI Huddle Room Portfolio Examples
BuzzFeed
Horizon Media
Viacom
Dropbox

Related articles
An Analysis and Comparison of Software-Based Codecs Against the Landscape of Video Conferencing 

 

(1)     Gartner, “The Rise of the Video-enabled Huddle Room in the Digital Workplace,” December 2015

Celebrating Women in Technology

On Wednesday, May 10 the women of PPI had a blast attending InfoComm’s networking happy hour event focused on women in technology.  Our rock star employees proudly represented the diverse departments of the business.  Pictured from left to right is Project Coordinator Victoria Hamilton, Administrative Coordinator Casey Jin, Corporate Account Managers Jamie Cristafulli and Tullya Bertrand and Sales Engineer Sarah Reinold.  Overall, it was a fantastic night for celebrating women in technology and business.  Here’s to the continuing success, innovation, and progress for the AV industry as a whole!

Continuing Success: PPI Again Named to SCN Magazine’s Top 50 Integrators List

Presentation Products, Inc., is proud to announce that it has made the Systems Contractor News 2016 Top 50 Systems Integrators list. This will be the fifth time in the last seven years that our organization has been named on this prestigious list. For over a decade, the Top 50 Systems Integrators list has proven to be the authoritative forerunner of the commercial audiovisual industry. We are deeply honored to be recognized and we are determined to continuing our success to improve our ranking every year. PPI would like congratulate all companies included on this list for 2016.

Check out the full list here 

PPI Attends HELP USA Toy Drive With VVA

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PPI’s Business Development Manager Jason Gary and Corporate Sales Manager Zach Baxter recently attended HELP USA’s 10th annual TOY DRIVE benefit event.

HELP is a national housing and homeless services nonprofit dedicated to helping all individuals in need find safe and secure housing. Working with VVA Project Managers and Consultants , HELP brought together the local NYC Real Estate and Construction community for an evening of pre-holiday festivities, networking, and giving back.

We are proud to be a part of it and obviously Zach and Jason had a blast!

 

 

Sneak Peek: SquareSpace’s new SoHo offices

PPI recently teamed up with architecture firm A+I to build out Squarespace’s new West Village office and it’s making quite a splash! Here’s what people had to say about it.

 

Designboom: A+I Completes Squarespace Global Headquarters in New York

Fast Company: Squarespace’s New Offices Are Very Serious

deezeen Magazine: A+I uses “yin-yang” palette for Squarespace headquarters in New York

Lifehacker: Squarespace’s Brand New West Village Workspace

Brandchannel: New HQ, Google, ‘Playing Lynch’: Q&A with Squarespace’s Anthony Casalena

Built In NYC: Inside Squarespace’s new West Village office with CEO Anthony Casalena

CreativeBoom: An exciting glimpse inside Squarespace’s new home in New York’s West Village

Contemporist: Have a look at the design of the new Squarespace office in New York

Inhabitat: Squarespace’s sophisticated new offices sprawl out in a historic West Village printing hub

Hype Beast: Squarespace’s New HQ are the Envy of New York

Office Lovin: Inside Squarespace’s New Super Cool NYC Headquarters

Unbiased Writer: Squarespace Headquarters in New York’s West Village

Business Insider: Squarespace’s New York Offices are as sweet as the best Silicon Valley Tech Offices

 

 

Project in Process: Projection Screen Delivery

During a recent project for a corporate client, PPI was tasked with a last minute delivery of a 28-foot wide projection screen. Despite this being outside the standard scope of work for an audiovisual integrator, PPI rose to the occasion. Our Project Manager researched flat bed trailers and cranes appropriate for the job, and a full team of technicians executed the delivery early on a Saturday morning. This is another example of PPI going above and beyond in order to ensure project success, something that we believe sets us apart from the competition. See the team in action below.

 

 

The Advantages of Lamp-Free Projection

Front projection has been a key element of the AV industry for decades. Even in recent years, as flat panel displays have gotten larger and more popular, projection still has still maintained a solid footing in the industry (particularly when seamless images of larger than 90” are necessary). Throughout the years, one aspect of projectors has remained consistent: lamps have always been used to create the light that shines out of the units. A few years ago, however, projectors with solid-state light sources began to hit the market. And what at first was a prohibitively expensive technology in its infancy has recently emerged to become a viable option. As of early 2016, lamp-free projectors are a main focus of almost every projector manufacturer, and solid state projection has emerged alongside the likes of 4K UHD resolution and digital audio as one of AV’s next big things. But is the hype real? Are lamp-free projectors actually worth the price tag? And how does a lamp-free projector even work? Read on for a detailed analysis of solid-state projection.

A basic understanding of projection is necessary in order to realize the differences between traditional and solid-state units. Traditional projectors rely on one or more lamps to create light. This light is then processed to turn it into an image. There are three common styles of light processing: LCD, single-chip DLP, and three-chip DLP. Rather than getting into the specifics of those technologies, we can simplify things by saying that, generally, image quality improves as you go from LCD to 1-chip to 3-chip. Regardless of the type of projector, the final step in the process is for the light to be sent to a lens that enlarges the image and shines it onto the screen.

Lamp-free projectors use the same series of processes, with one large difference: rather than using a lamp to create the light, they use a solid-state source. Specifically, there are four common types of solid-state light sources:

  1. LED: The LED projector has actually been around for a while. Though it has the advantage of a roughly 30,000-hour life cycle, it also has a major brightness limitation. The vast majority of LED projectors are around 1,000 lumens, which is only appropriate for use in a room with all the lights off. A survey from 2015 found that of 232 LED models, over 90% come in at 2,000 lumens or less.
  2. LED/Laser Hybrid: These projectors use a combination of LEDs and a laser diode, which we will describe next. A step up in brightness, these are also typically a step up in price as well. LED/laser hybrid projectors usually come in around 3,000 – 4,000 lumens.
  3. Laser Phosphor: This newer technology is the reason for the recent boom in laser projectors. Laser phosphor projectors use a single blue laser that shines into a phosphor wheel that creates yellow light. The blue light passes through, and the yellow shines into a color wheel that creates red and green. Laser phosphor projectors usually range between 5,000 and 13,000 lumens of brightness, which is an excellent fit for corporate, educational, & other professional use. Laser phosphor projectors are usually either single-chip DLP or three-chip DLP, and are typically rated for 20,000 hours of use.
  4. RGB Laser: Also called direct laser projectors, these models are used when extreme brightness is necessary. This technology uses three individual lasers – one each for red, green, and blue. These models can provide brightness upwards of 20,000 lumens, and typically carry MSRPs well into the six figures.

So, we’ve gotten technical and described what the differences are between the insides of lamp-based and lamp-free projectors. But what are the actual, noticeable differences to projector owners? Indeed, there are many implications that a solid-state light source brings with it, almost all of which are productive. Let’s take a look at the advantages of lamp-free projectors:

  1. Reduced cost of ownership: The number one advantage of a solid-state projector is the fact that you aren’t ever going to have to change a lamp. Most laser phosphor projectors are rated for 20,000 hours of use until they reach 50% brightness. Comparable lamp-based projectors are usually rated for 2,000 – 3,000 hours of use until 50% brightness. We’ll get into a detailed price analysis later, but off the bat it’s evident that throughout its lifespan a solid-state projector will you 9-10 sets of replacement lamps and the labor cost that goes along with changing them. This is a significant savings that in concept can be applied to every single laser phosphor projector.
  2. Higher perceived brightness after day one: Let’s say one boardroom has a lamp-lit projector that has 1,000 hours of use, and a second has a solid-state projector with 1,000 hours of use as well. Boardroom A is halfway to replacement time, meaning the brightness will be at 75% or less of what it was on day one. Boardroom B is only 1/20 of the way to replacement time, meaning its brightness is still 95% of what it was on day one. So while the brightness of lamp-lit projectors will dip significantly below specification before the “change bulb” notification appears, solid-state projectors will output far more consistent brightness levels for years on end. Now, it’s fair to make the argument that the end of a lamp life cycle means a new bulb and the end of a solid-state life cycle means a new projector. The numbers, however, show this to be a relative non-issue: 20,000 hours of use is a very long time, equivalent to 10 years of 40 hours / week use. Most AV technology becomes obsolete in 6-8 years anyway, meaning your projector will probably be replaced for other reasons than end of life due to half brightness.
  3. Rapid on/off: As owners of traditional projectors surely know, these models usually take over one minute to achieve full brightness, and about half that to turn off. Lamp warm up and cool down can cause annoyance and frustration during a busy day. Lamp-free models take about ten seconds to get to full brightness, alleviating this issue almost entirely.
  4. Consistency: In multi-projector applications, such as a wide-aspect ratio image that uses edge blending, consistency is key. Lamp-lit projectors introduce inconsistency through their life cycles, which can lead to images that showcase a number of different brightness levels: lamps can progress at inconsistent rates, they can blow out, etc. The consistency of a solid-state projector helps to alleviate that problem.
  5. No worries: Quite simply, lamp-based projectors can fail. Ask any projector manufacturer: they all have contingency policies for when projectors “go dark.” With solid-state projectors, there is much lower risk of your important meeting or seminar suddenly losing an image: lamps, one major failure point that causes outages, are taken out of the equation.

So far, we’ve shown that solid-state projectors have their advantages over traditional models. We’ve also mentioned that they’re more expensive. Every facet of the AV industry – and all industries, really – provide options that give better quality for a higher cost. The real question is the following: are lamp-free projectors worth the increased price tag?

For starters, we need to say that the projector world is a tough one to navigate when looking at prices. MSRPs on projectors are typically thousands of dollars higher than what the units end up actually going for. So we’ve come up with a metric called “actual value,” which is 70% of the projector’s MSRP. This will give a figure that is pretty close to what the projectors are actually selling for.

To analyze the value, we’ve taken a look at six sets of projectors made by three prominent manufacturers. Each set contains two projectors – one lamp-based, and one solid-state – with nearly identical specifications. All projectors in the comparison feature the same resolution: WUXGA, 1920 x 1200. See the below chart for the difference in price between each model. Please note: all pricing is for example purposes only & may not reflect current market value.   A

So far, it’s clear that – to varying degrees – laser projectors are more expensive than lamp-based projectors. What we’ve done next is evaluate the approximate maintenance cost of lamp-based models. The next chart shows the value of lamps for each lamp-based model, and the number of hours the unit is rated for until it reaches 50% brightness. All the laser projectors in the chart are rated for 20,000 hours. We’re figuring that a typical service call to change a lamp costs $500 – a good value, for sure. So, we’ve divided 20,000 by the number of hours each lamp-based projector is rated for, and then multiplied that by the number of lamps in the unit, the cost of each lamp, and tacked on $500 to each replacement lamp (or set of lamps) to account for labor. This gives us a “total maintenance cost” on the unit over the 20,000 hour span that its solid-state counterpart is rated for. Tack that number onto the cost of the projector itself, and we arrive at “total projector cost.” We can compare this number to the total cost of the solid-state projector.

B

The verdict? In five out of six cases, the total projector cost is lower for the solid-state model – in some cases by over $20,000. In the most extreme case we looked at, the total projector cost of the lamp-based model ended up being 65% more than that of its solid-state counterpart. This is a massive savings, and speaks clearly to the value of solid-state projectors over their lamp-based counterparts.

Furthermore, it’s clear that this technology is becoming more affordable. We’ve also included a release year column in our chart. Half of the projectors we looked at were released in 2014, and the other half in 2015. The average difference in actual value – before maintenance costs – between the 2014-released solid-state projectors and their lamp-based counterparts is 39%. For projectors released in 2015, that number drops to 12%, a huge decrease. It’s evident that the cost of solid-state projectors, thanks primarily to developments in laser phosphor technology, has decreased significantly over the last two years.

C

Based on the data, it’s clear – in almost every case, solid-state projectors using laser phosphor technology will provide better value than their lamp-based equivalents. This means that if you’re looking for a projector between 5,000 and 13,000 lumens, you should be looking for a lamp-free model. That being said, choosing the right projector is a complicated decision, and a good AV designer will take many additional factors into account before arriving on a specification. Contact a PPI Account Manager today to begin the discussion about your next projector.

PPI in the News: SCN Magazine’s AV Road Trip

This February, Systems Contractor News released a feature in print and online entitled “AV Road Trip: The Industry, Region by Region.” The article takes a comprehensive look at the state of the AV industry — both from a business & technical perspective — in various regions across the country. As one of the leading AV integrators based in New York City, PPI was asked to represent the Northeast region of the country. PPI President & CEO Orin Knopp was interviewed and is featured in the first section of the article. See the full article here!