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!


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.


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.


Technical Brief: Lync 2013 Integration with Cisco Video Conferencing using Cisco Infrastructure


How do I Integrate Lync 2013 with Cisco VTC?

There has been a lot of confusion surrounding the integration of Microsoft Lync 2013 with Cisco video conferencing systems. This post is intended to provide a general overview of the current Cisco / Lync 2013 interoperability landscape using Cisco infrastructure equipment. Let’s break up the topic into two sections: Signaling and Media.

Signaling – This is the control traffic that facilitates communication between two or more endpoints and allows calls to happen

  • Cisco endpoints such as MX, SX, and C-series codecs use H.323 for signaling and control.
  • Other Cisco Endpoints such as Jabber for desktop or mobile devices use Cisco SIP for signaling and control.
  • Both H.323 and Cisco SIP endpoints register to a VCS-Control gateway. This gateway allows H.323 devices and Cisco SIP devices to talk to each other.
  • Lync 2013 uses a Microsoft implementation of SIP; this is not the same as Cisco’s SIP.  Unfortunately the two protocols cannot natively communicate and therefore a direct call from Lync 2013 to a Cisco endpoint is not possible without a device to “translate” the signaling.
  • The device required to facilitate signaling is a VCS-Control with the Microsoft Interoperability Key; in essence the VCSc is deployed as a Lync Gateway. This VCSc Lync gateway is in addition to the core VCSc gateway mentioned above that your Cisco endpoints register to. The VCSc Lync Gateway communicates with the Lync Server and the core VCSc and the core VCSc in turn communicates with your Cisco endpoints.

Media – This is a separate session from Signaling that allows the media (video) to stream between endpoints.

  • With current Cisco firmware version TC6.3, Cisco endpoints now support H.264SVC for Media.
  • Lync 2013 now also supports H.264SVC, so Cisco endpoints can communicate with Lync 2013 for Media.
  • Note – This is a very simplified take on Media interoperability because there are different versions of H.264AVC/SVC. The basic point is that Lync 2013 and Cisco endpoints can now natively communicate media between devices.  

In summary, the key to “interoperability” between Cisco and Lync 2013 using Cisco infrastructure is to deploy a VCS Control gateway cluster made up of a Core VCSc and a VCS-c Lync Gateway.

Here are some other good things to know as things currently stand:

  • 720p 30fps can be supported in both directions
  • Presentation support can currently only go from Cisco to Lync
  • Lync 2013 users can be viewed on Cisco endpoints through the phonebook if TMS is deployed
  • Calls can be answered in either direction
  • There are certain restrictions on what the Lync Server and the VCSc can report to each other for Presence (i.e. not-available / available for call). If FindMe is deployed on the VCSc Lync gateway, enhanced Presence information is available on the Lync client.
  • Cisco MCUs do not support H.264SVC. In order to facilitate calls between H.264SVC devices and an H.264 MCU, transcoding would have to happen in a gateway (or another device). Details of solutions for this will follow in an upcoming post.

Video conferencing infrastructure and integration with Lync 2013 can be a very complicated topic. The above is intended only as a general overview of the technical concepts. If you have more specific questions about this integration, please feel free to contact us and speak with a consultant about your UC solution. 

"5 Tips For Tech Integration"

Presentation Products Account Manager Zach Baxter recently wrote an article for guiding corporate space designers through their initial steps towards having a successful corporate build out while keeping AV in mind. Pushing for more architects to plan for AV early on, Baxter writes

As any veteran designer can confirm, clients’ desires, priorities, and, most importantly, budgets are subject to change during the design process. To prevent future headaches, plan for the eventual inclusion of technology whenever possible. Reinforce walls for future displays. Leave open cable pathways for electrical and communications cabling. Specify ample numbers of access panels in sheetrock ceilings. Involving a technology integrator to help design a space for future upgrades can prevent expensive and time consuming retrofits. Future facilities managers will thank you!

To read more of his article visit “5 Tips For Tech Integration” and be on the lookout for more Presentation Products Designers and Product Specialists around the web.

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