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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

SMART Technologies Introduces SMART Kapp

  • New SMART kapp product instantly transfers written content onto any device as if by magic
  • Content shared from SMART kapp via your device easily and intuitively to anywhere in the world
  • SMART kapp to launch at InfoComm in Las Vegas June 18-20

To be kept informed on when SMART Kapp is available for purchase, Click the button below and fill out the contact form!

Beginning in June, Presentation Products Inc. will become one of a select group of qualified SMART resellers able to sell the SMART kapp product nation-wide. Officially announcing the product on May 12th, 2014, SMART Technologies said,

“SMART kapp allows you to write, draw and capture ideas using dry erase SMART ink markers – just like the old-fashioned dry-erase board—while enabling you to instantly save your work images, convert them to PDFs, and send to anyone, anywhere, instantly. SMART kapp eliminates the ineffective practice of photographing whiteboards and flipcharts or furiously typing notes during meetings to save and share valuable information and insights.”

SMART technologies, the leading innovator in interactive technologies, has positioned this latest product as the first revolution of the “dry erase board” since 1956. With the ability to capture and quickly share notes digitally, the SMART kapp digital capture board represents a further step towards more seamless collaboration in the 21st century.

READ THE MEDIA RELEASE

Three Creative Agencies that Invest in Technology

At the core of media and advertising is the need to present and execute creative concepts for your clients and their brands. Whether this is for traditional print, broadcast media, or digital platforms, firms need the communication and collaboration tools that match their capabilities and visions. Client-facing conference rooms need to impress with their ease of use and superior audio and visual performance. Internal meeting rooms need to make communicating and collaborating simple and efficient. “First impression” spaces like a corporate lobby often benefit from a digital flourish that is in lock-step with a corporate image. Here are three examples of solutions PPI has designed and implemented with recent clients.

The Creative Agency

The creative digital agency came to PPI with a concept for a “social media command center” where they could collaborate with clients on real-time marketing efforts for live events from the Oscars to the Olympics. The system was built in an unfinished, industrial loft space, and the design is an impressive array of flat panel displays with a clean, industrial aesthetic. A customized video and control solution powers the system, allowing users to easily tailor it for different events. The client now has a space where they can work side-by-side with clients, and demonstrate how the agency manages real-time, minute-by-minute advertising campaigns.

mcgarrybowen-command-center-with-social-media

The Global Media Firm

PPI worked closely with the management team to develop standard designs for conference rooms that would make meetings, presentations, and video conference calls simple and easy. Once established, PPI deployed these rooms throughout the building. Then we built more in satellite offices throughout the city. Then we deployed them in other offices in the US and overseas. When employees book a conference room, whether in Times Square or Soho, they can expect the same touchpanel, the same features, and the same operation everytime, everywhere. PPI has also designed and built artful high-tech ambiances in their lobbies and public spaces to welcome both employees and visitors alike into a space.

Viacom Standard-Small-Conference-Room

The Grown-Up Start-Up

You started with a handful of talented, dedicated people. Now you have hundreds of employees, multiple offices, multiple conference rooms, and vastly different needs and priorities. Your technology solutions need to grow with your revenue, while still reflecting the unique style and culture that contributed to your success. A common need of rapidly growing tech firms is a meeting space for frequent “town hall” or “all hands” meetings, where remote participants can participate and the event can be streamed to satellite offices. PPI has designed custom systems for the unique requirements, and budgets, of growing media and tech firms to help communicate their vision and direction to employees and investors.

DSC_0077 edited

PPI provides media and advertising agencies with tools that allow them to be more collaborative, creative, and innovative. Our goal-driven solutions maximize the potential of any space, from client facing pitch rooms, to collaboration labs, digital media command centers or town hall event spaces. We spend a lot of time listening; we learn and understand your culture, creative vision, and technology goals. Then our team of consultants and engineers create and deliver solutions that give your company the edge it needs to constantly inspire innovation. Contact Us to Begin the Conversation.

Considerations for Successfully Deploying The Lync Room System

My last post focused on what the Lync Room System is, and is not. Now that we have a basic understanding of what its intended use is, we can discuss a successful end to end implementation of this technology for an interested organization.

Over the last few months, we have had many technology officers come to us wanting to understand more about how a Lync Room System would fit into their overall Unified Communications strategy. From organizations with remote workers looking to more easily connect outside of the office, to global corporations and institutions with multiple campuses who are in need of a more seamless distance collaboration experience, all of these interested groups are looking for ways to build meeting spaces and communication infrastructure that keeps better pace with the demands and opportunities of the 21st century workplace. As an audiovisual technology integrator, this is where we come in to help clients successfully deploy and adopt a new technology.

In the case of the Lync Room System, a good first step for many of our clients has been to launch a Pilot or Proof of Concept test in order to evaluate the solution and determine its worth to the organization. This approach is only going to be worthwhile however, if all aspects of the integration are taken into account. Successfully deploying the Lync Room System requires an understanding of both the unit as a standalone technology as well as its ability to join the network and connect users without ugly delays and difficulties. The experience needs to be optimized not only for the participants in the meeting room, but also for remote attendees joining in virtually. Whether you are implementing a recently purchased product or are carrying out a Proof of Concept test, here are some Pre and Post Installation tips to consider when deploying a Lync Room System.

Lync-room

Pre-Installation Considerations

The Network
Just as with any other new technology deployment, a network readiness assessment should be carried out before making any moves to install new components.  Lync 2013 and the Lync Room System offers a tremendous meeting room experience delivering HD video, conference room audio and real time voice and data collaboration, but it is imperative that the solution’s demands on your network infrastructure are taken into account.  Lack of network resources can result in poor performance and will detract from the overall user experience.  There are several ways to ensure your network is ready for a new Room System.  Microsoft has tools and bandwidth calculators that can be used by experienced and qualified in-house staff to measure capacities, or experienced UC Deployment Partners can be engaged to ensure the environment is ready upfront.

The Space
Another Pre-Installation consideration is space. When picking the location for the hardware, you have to be aware of how the setting will affect the meeting experience. Factors such as room location within the building or campus, lighting or lack thereof, and potential background noise need to be taken note of and considered deeply. Even when deploying a Pilot System, choosing the wrong room will result in poor test results and therefore a wasted opportunity. We’ve seen firsthand Pilots being deployed in unused conference rooms which were chosen for the test without considering the reasons these rooms are underutilized in the first place! Without an appropriate setting, Proof of Concept tests with these systems will be useless. An upfront room survey and walk-through can help identify potential impacts to the quality of the experience and steps that can be taken to create a more optimal meeting room environment.

Post-Installation Considerations

Training
After a system is installed, many organizations are faced with the “now what” moment.  While the room system provides a familiar and intuitive Lync Interface to users, it is still a new technology that will not invite adoption without some training. You want employees in your organization to feel encouraged and inspired by a new technology in the office, rather than intimidated and perplexed.  For both existing and new Lync users, the learning curve on these systems is small, but like any new technology there can be fear in learning and using something different. It’s important to plan for a series of interactive, instructor led training on system usage and best practices for managers and key employees who will be using the Lync Room System.  One of the key benefits of the system is that it replaces the legacies of difficult and hard to use meeting room technologies.  But don’t let this blind you to the benefits of a well-planned and interactive training program. For those in the technology field, it’s easy to assume that everyone will get the ease and simplicity of the system out-of-the-box; more times than not though, this isn’t the case.  It is important to work with employees after the fact so that the average information worker has the confidence to use the system.

Utilizing System Metrics
After the initial adoption training, it is important to implement longer term performance monitoring.  Both SMART and CRESTRON supplied room systems have the ability to provide usage metrics for their Lync Room Systems. Implementing and utilizing these tools provide another way to measure your technology investment. By providing and monitoring this data, organizations can design processes to keep the knowledge base of its users up to date and identify particular rooms or systems that may be underperforming or underutilized, thereby maximizing the overall return on investment in Lync.

All of these factors should be considered both when deciding on a solution and when choosing the right technology integrator for the job. As a design and integration firm with years of experience in system integration for the business environment, Presentation Products offers full service support from consulting to system programming, commissioning, training and maintenance. When you are ready, contact us to learn more about Piloting a system and setting up an initial room survey.

 

The Lync Room System, what it is and is not

The Lync Room System

 

“If only someone would build Lync for a conference room”

The release of Lync 2013 was a landmark moment for Microsoft’s Unified Communications product line. Following the trend of major innovations in UC strategy and technology in the last few years, the 2013 launching has transformed the life of the office worker yet again. With more investment in video and voice collaboration, the new technology allows colleagues to meet virtually from anywhere, with any device. One of the newest related products to utilize the advanced features of Lync 2013 is the Lync Room System, which extends the functionality of Lync into the conference room environment. This new solution brings together the best in Unified Communications and video and data collaboration hardware and software to transform the meeting room into a distance collaboration haven. There is still some confusion however, about where these systems fit within an organization. Read the full article for a comprehensive look at what lync is and what it is not.

 

Lync Seminar for CUNY CIOs Hosted by Presentation Products

Are you looking for ways to make an impact on student services and faculty satisfaction in 2014? This session will enlighten you on how Microsoft and SMART are improving recruiting, distance learning, and student/teacher collaboration.  Some of the largest Microsoft Lync deployments in the United States are in higher education institutions. Lync has been transforming communication and building media-rich collaboration environments for organizations of every kind. Learn more about using Skype and Lync as recruiting tools, updating distance learning services, flipping the classroom, and improving communication on, off and between campuses. Lync deployments in higher education come with quick, out-of-the-box benefits that will help cut costs and improve communication.

Intended For:

If you are interested in connecting students and professors with voice, video and data, supporting academic collaboration beyond the classroom, and creating real-time digital learning environments with the power of Microsoft Lync, please join us on April 22nd for the Lync Seminar for CUNY CIOs Hosted by Presentation Products. We are pleased to offer a half day summit about collaborative technologies and how they can impact and benefit the CUNY network.

logo

WHAT:      Lync Seminar for CUNY CIOs

WHEN:      April 22nd  9:00am-1:00pm                                            

WHERE:    SMART Showroom
200 Lexington Avenue, 11th floor
New York, NY 10019

cio summit

Topics of Discussion:

• SMART Technologies “technology roadmap” for education and enterprise clients
• Microsoft Lync and Unified Communications in the Higher Education Environment
• CUNY Collaboration Overview
• SMART Room System Introduction and Overview

                                                                 

Hosted By

Presentation Products, Inc. has been the leading provider of turn-key audiovisual solutions in the tri-state area for over 20 years. Headquartered in New York City, our staff of more than 40 professionals provide audio visual integration services ranging from design and engineering, project management and installation to training and support.

Enabling Technologies Corp. focuses on Microsoft’s latest communications and collaboration solutions, bringing 20 years of expertise to Universities of all sizes.  We help customers effectively plan, design, implement and operate Office 365, Lync & Exchange.  Our systems integration expertise and processes ensure customers manage the change involved with UC and cloud technologies.  We have ~900 successful projects involving MSFT UC, 200 of them in edu institutions.

** Please be sure to take the Online Collaboration Assessment before attending the event

SMART Amp Spotlight Sessions

SMART amp™ collaborative learning software

Created with the input of teachers from around the world, SMART amp is designed for the pedagogical needs of today’s classrooms. It connects a variety of different devices to a collaborative workspace where students can work together and teachers can upload lesson material and conduct real-time assessments.

In response to the high level of interest in SMART amp, SMART Education Leaders will host a special series of SMART amp Spotlight sessions from February 18 – March 27, 2014.

Tuesdays at 10 AM & Thursdays at 11 AM Eastern Standard Time

Tuesday, March 11 10 am EST, 8 am MST, 7 am PST
Thursday, March 13 11 am EST, 9 am MST, 8 am PST
Tuesday, March 18 10 am EST, 8 am MST, 7 am PST
Thursday, March 20 11 am EST, 9 am MST, 8 am PST
Tuesday, March 25 10 am EST, 8 am MST, 7 am PST
Thursday, March 27 11 am EST, 9 am MST, 8 am PST

Contact our training department to find out more about SMART amp and other SMART Resources!

 

 

 

mcgarrybowen’s Social Media Command Center

 

“The demands and turnarounds we face in our business today have never been greater. Our clients feel it, we feel it, and I am proud that we continue to face these head-on in partnership with our clients to deliver breakthrough work that works. We do this all while continuing to grow our offering with new capabilities, new global offices, new people and of course new clients and brands.” ~McGarryBowen creative chief Gordon Bowen in a statement to Ad Age

mcgarrybowen

 


mcgarrybowen
is a global, full-service, integrated marketing communications agency network headquartered in New York, with offices in Chicago, London, Düsseldorf and Shanghai. The Agency was founded in 2002 on a simple request to clients: “give us your biggest challenge.” Over the decade since, mcgarrybowen has grown to become one of the most successful agency start-ups ever, earning “Agency of the Year” honors from Advertising Age in 2009 and again from both Ad Age and Adweek in 2011. Famous for big, organizing ideas and “work that works,” mcgarrybowen counts some of the world’s most iconic companies as its clients, including Disney, Dr Pepper Snapple Group, Verizon, JPMorgan Chase & Co., Kraft, Mondelez International, Marriott, Pizza Hut, Chevron, Crayola, Procter & Gamble, Sears and United Airlines.

CHALLENGE

As a leading digital, mobile and social agency, mcgarrybowen needed a social newsroom command center where they could collaborate with clients on real-time marketing efforts for live events from the Oscars to the Olympics. The system needed to accommodate for the Agency’s tenacious, adaptable style through a collaborative but unified approach to project management and creative production. The system was to be built in an unfinished, industrial loft space within mcgarrybowen’s open-floor offices located in the iconic Starrett-Lehigh Building.

OUR SOLUTION

PPI combined a clean, industrial aesthetic and an impressive array of flat panel displays with a customized video solution to create mcgarrybowen’s Social Media Command Center. The unique design used floor to ceiling poles to suspend 50” and 90” displays in the unfinished space, making for a high-profile but not overwhelming audiovisual installation. Two major aspects of the project design were:

Sleek Pole-Mounted Display Solution

The industrial-style mounting solution is the centerpiece of the new space. Arranged with six 50”displays, one centered 90” display, and careful cable management, the installation lends itself to the unfinished aesthetic of the room. In order to make the displays apear to be “floating” off the walls, PPI mounted them on floor-to-ceiling steel poles and left visual space behind them for event-specific wall coverings and artwork.

“Any to Any” Control Flexibility

The backbone of the system is a 16×16 Crestron Digital Media Matrix Switcher, which allows the user to route any source to any combination of displays. A multiviewer video processor gives mcgarrybowen’s content team a flexible set of tools to design captivating visual canvases on the 90” display with any source connected to the matrix switch. The system is controlled from a 10” touchpanel with a custom programmed GUI that allows for full control of the Command Center when tailoring it for different events.

“The key to success for this project was making the user interface intuitive and simple. Our programmers spend a lot of time on a design that invites and encourages users to take control of the system, rather than intimidating them with complexity. Training was short and virtually unnecessary.”
-Zach Baxter, CTS | Corporate Account Manager at Presentation Products, Inc.

RESULTS

Building an AV system in an industrial space presented a lot of visual challenges. PPI’s unique design and custom technology integration made for a solution that is more than the sum of its parts. Shortly after completion,
mcgarrybowen used the system to manage a live response social media Super Bowl campaign for a high profile client. The system provides a new way for mcgarrybowen to exhibit the dedication they bring to their work in front of new clients.

mcgarrybowen social media command center

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