Shane Springer of OneWorkplace got his start in theatre lighting and sound before moving on to be an AV technician, programmer and engineer.
He is also a member of the Leadership Committee for the Association for Quality in AudioVisual (AQAV.org), where he has also served on the organizations’ Steering Committee for several years
If that isn’t enough, he’s also designed and implemented the Quality Assurance practices that led to achieving the first in the world AV Provider Excellence Program or APEX Certification from AVIXA.
Highlights From This Episode
Using the Raspberry Pi for asset management and active monitoring
Correlating data points to find out what is really going on (Power status alone does not indicate usage)
The challenge of addressing scalability without losing the human touch.
The importance of process in design and delivering quality
Getting user feedback before they hate the system
The mythical zero punch list project
Mentioned In This Episode
Raspberry Pi, One Workplace, AVIXA, Paul Zeely (Harman), Don Nelson, Steve Greenblatt, AQAV
Carlos Martinez has held AV and telecommunications positions at some well known companies like, Juniper Networks, Zynga, Tesla and Uber.
He was responsible for expanding the use of software codecs into quite a large operation environment at Uber.
He is currently Co-founder and Director of Business Operations at Lumibild, a custom AV design and integration company in Silicon Valley that specializes in software codecs.
Highlights From This Episode…
The cultural impact of AV systems in organizations
The unforeseen drawbacks of a successful collaboration system (usage goes up)
How to use data to ask for a million bucks
The challenges of integrating professional hardware with consumer technologies
Mentioned In This Episode…
Juniper Networks, Black Rock, Zynga, Tesla, Uber, Richard Leong (VMWare), Tandberg, Polycom, Cisco, Craig’s List, Zoom, RevoLabs, Eric Yuan (Zoom)
Dave Hatz guest started his career at Disney World Technical Services where he learned about integrating show control with AMX systems. He’s held several other positions in lighting and sound before zeroing in on AV programming and project engineering at Roscor Corporation and currently AVI Systems.
Integrators need software to provide the next level of service
Visibility into the operation and status separate devices, systems and components is the challenge
Out of the box management systems from manufacturers
Data helps make informed, justified decisions when planning new systems (instead of assumptions-based decisions)
Increasing uptime and system usage changes the integrator relationship from a transactional one to that of a trusted advisor
Analysing component performance across many installations lets integrators know how reliable the device is
Mentioned In This Episode
Disney World Technical Systems, Roscor Corporation, AVI, AMX, Crestron, Extron
Patrick Murray started his career as a freelance service technician. Moving up to serve the industry in various roles, as a systems engineer, a control systems programmer and finally pursuing his entrepreneurial spirit by starting an independent programming company.
He has been in business for over thirteen years and he’s grown to become an educator, a software developer, an inventor, an online marketer and a podcaster. His extensive experience in major control system platforms as well as other mainstream programming languages has proved to be valuable in making his mark on the industry.
He has worked in the USA and Europe and is fluent in English and German.
The importance of process in AV projects and software development
The impact of the iPhone on AV programming
What sales has to do with change
How finding a niche can help AV professionals stay relevant
It’s to just about technology, the space where business meets technology is what determines the future
Mentioned in this episode…
iPhone, Dennis Flood, The Systems Group, Harry Joseph & Associates, AMX, Ryan Howard, Crestron, Global Cache, Colin Birney, David Bianchiardi, Google, TensorFlow, Amazon, Skynet, Dave Silberstein, Control Envy, Mark Day, Infocomm, Alexa, IFTTT
David Bianciardi founded AV&C in 1999 where he leads a team of designers, developers, and engineers that deliver software-driven installations to enhance storytelling, placemaking, connectivity and responsiveness.
Highlights From This Episode
Conversational engagement resonates more with guests than Power Point slides and how technology can be used to spark those conversations (and still show slides too).
Experience design should consider the experience of system operators as well as guests.
Technology is being viewed by architects less as FF&E (furnishings, fixture and equipment) and more as a raw building material.
David explains the concept of Evergreen Media and how assets like print, podcasts, video and blog posts can be integrated into a storytelling environment in a dynamic way (instead of a static looping playlist).
He also talks about mixing assets with data to create dynamic content that reduces production costs.
Adding metadata to content makes it “programmable”.
Consider the different budgetary concerns of the stakeholders. An operations manager views content and delivery as a capital expense, while marketing will see it as an operating expense.
He talks about some software tools AV&C has developed. Conductor is their event manager and Sensor Fusion uses sensor data to understand how people are using a space. Examples include if people are moving into or out of a space, what direction they are facing and skeletal modelling that can indicate the movement of arms and fingers.
An innovation desire means there is a responsibility to manage risk.
David explains how AV&C uses gaming engines and virtual reality to create a Digital Twin of a project. This reduces technology risk by creating a virtual environment where the physical space, sensitivity to occupants and generation of media can be previewed. Software can also be tested against the virtual model.
Mentioned In This Episode
Ryan Howard, Bob Greenberg, RGA, Victoria’s Secret, Cadillac, Cadillac House Hudson Street, Gensler, MongoDB, SQL
Jason Jaworski is a veteran of the US Marine Corp and has over 20 years experience working in Government and Military Systems for multi level classification video conferencing, command, control and operation centers.
Jason pointed out that software defined AV is nothing new and told me about a solution that has been around for twenty years.
We discussed designing operation centres for situational awareness and why desktops are just as important as the video wall.
He explains how to deal with signal isolation practices that differ between organisations.
Any government installation begins with Information Assurance, System Security & Risk Management Frameworks.
Why manufacturers need to harden their products, provide a secure configuration implementation guide and have a team member dedicated to security.
What integrators need to know before entering the government space. And why he carries a notepad and tape measure everywhere he goes.
Mentioned in this episode
US Marine Corps, Actiview, Defense Threat Reduction Agency, H.264, SDVoE, Think Logical, Crestron, Matrox, Utelogy, Shane Meyers, Frank Pellkoffer
I first met Ryan Howard while working on a rather complicated AV project at Goldman Sachs in New York City where he was playing the role of superhero programmer for AMX’s Professional Services.
Since then he has held been a design engineer and consultants and most recently circling back to GS as VP technology.
He recently founded Storied Systems that designs systems strategies and environments for storytelling at a human scale.
Mark Day has held many positions in the Las Vegas AV scene including installation, sales and programming. He is currently
President of Idea Box, a design and installation company he founded in 2009.
Dave Silberstein has a long history working with AV manufacturers like Audio Video Corporation and Crestron Electronics where he worked as a Director for almost 20 years. I remember the first Crestron courses I attended in NJ around the year 2000, he was a big part of getting to know what that company was all about and how their technology worked.
He is currently VP of Technology at Wyrestorm, a manufacturer of pro AV signal distribution and control solutions and I am really excited to speak with someone with such experience in AV manufacturing and hear their view on the changing role of software in AV.
this is software defined survival where we explore how software defined systems are changing the business of IT today software defined survival he is going to be the next big guiding force for the audio visual industry as to where we going out it gives us the ability to generate the highest quality video picture possible with the lowest amount only standard and gave the AV industry we are really the plastic surgeon what is the number one thing everybody wants to do on every job site hello there my name is Patrick Murray in today’s guest has a long history working with AV manufacturers like audio video corporation and restaurant electronics where he worked as a director for almost twenty years and I remember one of the first restaurant courses I attended in New Jersey it must’ve been around the year two thousand he was a big part of getting to know what the company was all about and how their technology worked he’s currently VP of technology at wire storm a manufacturer pro AV signal distribution and control solutions and I’m really excited to speak with someone with so much experience in the manufacturing and here with their view is on the changing role of software in the AV so Dave Silverstein welcome to the podcast thanks Patrick blood to be here is there anything about that introduction that you’d care to corrects or expand upon no I think you did a great job you think dean is a big help with that so well tell us I like to hear the origin story because nobody really grows up saying they want to be in a V. so how did you wind up in this niche industry okay so what interesting enough you’re absolutely right nobody I think grows up wanting to be in a movie all I actually grew up wanting to be a television producer and that turned me into a sales person selling broadcast television equipment to broadcast TV stations their work for audio video corporation also had a systems division and the systems division was installing three gun projectors and all kinds of fancy stuff into a large corporate project and they were having trouble configuring in setting up something called they get nervous system which at the time allowed you to take audio from a phone call and turned into audio that you could put on a recorder a very calm place in my world because TV stations radio stations used them to do calling radio shows and TV shows honestly ask me go to the site and check it out and see what’s wrong I did a resolve that issue then before I left I said is there anything else that you might get you need help with that I can somehow help they happen to have a production of broadcast production switcher before switching TV shows are that was being controlled by an amex control system and they couldn’t get all the commands to work off the AMX control systems are so I said I certainly know production switchers so I’ll help you out and see what happens on the AMX programmer showed up kind of taught me how to program we resolve the issues that were there and all of a sudden before you know what I was insist I am from there I was just in a being and that’s how liberals interesting so so you kind of step you’re bringing up a you have a lot of memories with CRT projectors and in getting their audio processes which I believe became clear one right right that’s correct and then and then the whole broadcast background I find kind of interesting because there are a lot of similarities in AV but it is a different beast altogether but once in awhile you’ll see like AV equipment like an amex controller even Crestron controlling these broadcast studios and have to wonder why if that’s really the best way to do things you know that that’s an interesting that’s an interesting thought and in some cases it is in some cases it isn’t I’ve built many a broadcast facility our cable facility that used a Crestron system for example or an annex system to run the front and and back in the day you know again I’m showing my age here but back in the day used to take a take a tape of the show that you had to record and all and you would play it and then you would simultaneously take hundred VHS players and put them in record and that’s actually how you made copies to then sell to the community as people used to buy the VHS copy of what they saw yes for example was big deal and that and the issue becomes when you get into a TV station of the guy the guy put in the I’ll tape on the player easy union and once you have union staff load machine hundred machines and unload a hundred machines after our cost becomes pretty expensive in the trend really keeps costs down on these duplications that they’re selling to the community are so for example you put Crestron system on the front and so in non union person could then start and stop the recordings appropriately ought to get something produced so interesting why %HESITATION question I am next front ended some of these spaces but that’s how things slide into the broadcast space traditionally a broadcast world you throw more three more people at it and they sit there and those people just it’s it’s really interesting though the way the automation help to save costs and bring the cost down right but even if you look at today’s broadcast facility you know there’s not there are no camera people anymore all the cameras are robotic and there’s one person driving five cameras they’ve had their own the broadcast industry has had its own level of automation it’s coming up but it’s not been from what their choices and not come from the audio visual community are really you know if I go back in eighty long enough everything that AV did was kind of surrounded around the broadcast community we used to put three quarter inch tape machines in the conference room so people can play back video at a higher quality and the one thing that happened the big bench market changed it was the advent of the DVD player when the DVD player came out it was totally a consumer product nobody in the broadcast industry cared about it touched it used it for anything yet the industry immediately turned to it and said Hey we need to have these in our border and this needs to be part of our solution and before you know it XLR connectors are being replaced by RCA connectors on certain devices are and really what happened was the industry the AV industry started looking to the consumer electronics industry as the guide for what was coming next and where they were going to go as opposed to looking to the broadcast industry if you look at today’s world today were right on the cusp of the AV industry changing where they’re looking again and rather than looking solely to the consumer electronics industry were now starting to change and look to the internet of things if you will of the I. O. T. or the internet as to what is the next big thing where is the AV industry going to go next also for as much as people want to talk about convergence of the two I think the internet and the IT community specifically I own he is going to be the next big guiding force for the audio visual industry as to where we go and how we function that is a really interesting perspective that I never heard before %HESITATION I actually cut my teeth and a a broadcaster systems integrator and we would sit on benches and and solder tons of XLR connectors and crimp hundreds and hundreds of BMC’s and I like the way you kind of said that the DVD player is how the easy industry started taking direction from another place and it even affected the hardware that we use like the connectors changed because of that and then drawing that back to how I would see an IT is directing us into the future I think that’s a really interesting perspective that we can learn a lot from so if you if you take it down so that connector level a BNC becomes an RCA and now it becomes RJ forty five are there any other practical effects that you could maybe comments on that how I would see in an IT is influencing what we do are yeah absolutely so as certainly as a hardware manufacturer we have to start looking at what is IOTV what is I’ll T. how does it work how does it relate to everything else are where the industry is going to try a bunch of stuff we’re going to we’re going to take control systems and put them in the cloud because we think that society you know we’re we’re gonna try some little things like that to fit into the community are the real answer is if you look at the way we build products and the way the I. O. T. community builds product they are significantly different and what really needs to be determined is can we as an industry move into that I. O. T. community and function the way I act the way other I. O. T. devices function or do we have to stay with our own configuration like we are today on and a lot of that is to be determined so let me let me break it down a little better when you look at IOTV and you know I or T. is in essence is somewhat a buzz word for the larger community and people that are buying stock in those kind of things but realistically if we break it down I or T. I don’t use a lot of production line management or system flow management right whenever somebody says I O. T. they always say things like sensors so I’m gonna have a an occupancy sensor that’s going to tell me something and that’s that’s true in the audio visual industry as well as a number of different industries the difference being once IOTV let’s censor just says what it supplies and stayed up and has no other ramifications nothing else to do for most components that come the components then respond and react to that and on and on that Joan the component then executes something like a thermostat for example not only takes the temperature in the room but it also turns on and off the boilers and air conditioning units based on that in an I. O. T. scenario there would be a temperature sensor it would communicate to the larger server or the I. O. T. management platform and then that platform would go to a different set of relays to turn on the heating system or turn on the cooling system so all that inherent logic that we is eighty people build into what we think is a complete component that we can plug in and it just runs really when you look at the I AO team model no one’s going to build an individual standalone complete component anymore they’re going to build some type of sensor or control device and you’re gonna have to rely on the larger IOTV software configuration to dictate what and when that happens based on those criteria interesting perspective right I I would see buzz word but we’ve been doing networks of things for a long time it just hasn’t been an internet right serial I are connecting things however we connected them it was still a little network correct very much so and we’ve had network devices communicating with each other for a long time but when you look at what is the I. O. T. model the things that that IBM’s of the world have set up the HP enterprises of the world have set up all the logic all the commands all the functionality is within their server based in their code and the things at the end point it’s become things it’s the internet of things so these individual things just by their report what their status is or execute when they’re told standalone they they have no functionality at all and that’s different than the way currently than the weight AV components are certainly built right so I’m beginning to understand where you’re coming from where we would make this highly customized touch panel in the event trigger would be somebody pressing a button on that panel now it’s just this generic thing that’s in the room whether it be a presence detector wore a certain temperature that’s reached that triggers the logic so the event triggers are kind of different in the I. O. T. world how do you see that playing out with the systems that we use take a typical conference room for example on the internet the interesting part is from the I. O. T. Porter view things like occupancy sensors motion sensors people counters those are already up readily available in their environment our energy is very easy to execute on things like our individual input where you have to touch screen a touch panel that’s that’s a harder thing for the community to establish and work with us so instead the IT community has moved to voice recognition is again that works in this in the way in a format that they understand where you simply say a word or a set of words and it goes to them and then they go execute on it the whole concept of the touch screen is a touch screen goes to the control system of the control system processes that logic and that’s where the IOTV community can’t relate to the way the the operates dysfunction so I think we’re gonna see a lot of voice recognition coming into the environment for a short period of time and then the users will kind of identify the voice recognition isn’t the right way to start or stop a meeting because it’s much more in the public domain yeah that remains to be seen what that kind of public acceptance is is like right they will they will start moving into that stuff will eventually start moving back to your phone or to your you know internet enabled glasses or whatever other technology is there right now but the first time somebody walks into a meeting room and says you know Alexis start my meeting and Alexa comes back and says sure Dave are you ready to are you ready to start the firing half the company meeting okay and everybody else in the room goes why gonna be a problem for people so to realize that public conversation or open conversation is not necessarily acceptable in there meeting spaces break room and they’re going to want to again personalize that somehow and keep it within their own person out in the entire group right so so the application of the technology will make or break it because %HESITATION I I what I see is there’s a huge hesitancy to using voice control but once there are certain types of people that once they have it they never want to go back but that example that you gave where if you miss use it if the calendar entry if I believe my calendar entry is only for my eyes and then this speaker in the room reads it back to me that’s me using the technology in the wrong way but it doesn’t matter if if that’s even possible then there could be some backlash that’s an interesting take yeah and those those those things are going to happen we’re going to bump into that kind of stuff certainly from my previous life not until people put scheduling panels outside of their conference rooms did people start screaming and yelling that they had to block the name of the conference that was going yeah sure sensitive information so can we switch gears a little bit and maybe tell me a little bit about your most successful projects and what made it so rewarding for you alright so that’s an interesting question that’s why I ask yet so I guess Patrick let me let me break down that question into a couple of different categories of the first one is if I say what was my what is my most rewarding at what is Mike was challenging project and you know what was the most rewarding within my current wire storm environment all I have to say that you know making product is certainly something that is very exciting and very rewarding there’s nothing better than spending you know as long as it takes online in some cases years working through the entire definition of a product to get it operating bringing it to market showing it to people having people accept it and then see it move into the marketplace and work correctly that there’s a there’s a certain excitement that goes with that every time you do it even if you or you know even if you’re just the sales guy promoting that new product that came out or you’re the training guy training about a new product the whole concept of rolling a new product on building a new product you’re rolling in the marketplace is very exciting certainly for me I think it is for most people are and as the P. of technology that’s kind of what I do every day so in today’s world everything I’m doing is very exciting there’s no doubt about it I don’t know that I can pick out a one thing over another thing I do have some products coming in within the next year %HESITATION that are very exciting for me and when I get to a point we’re ready to talk about I think I’ll be jumping up and down and tell everybody about it it’s hard for me to contain myself us so in today’s world a lot of what I’m doing is very very exciting in terms of some of the things I did in my previous life %HESITATION for an interesting period of time at audio video corporation we actually built cable TV stations and I gotta say it was kind of fun to build the cable TV station if you look at the cable TV industry are there are plenty of people that work in a TV station and run the TV station about the head end as well as studios its interests but that is that systems the equipment the spaces they don’t get updated and when it’s really time to say we need a new cable system from the ground up we need a new head in if you will people at that organization don’t have the skills to just build something from scratch us so it only a media corporation we actually went in and built new cable plants from scratch and then handed these people the keys instead no cable station now run it for the next twenty years and I have to say that was very exciting and it’s all about making things in its own special way but building cable stations was there was a pretty exciting part of my life interesting so that the reason I ask that question is because I’m I’m looking for commonalities so that when I start working on a project I could kind of focus on those things so from my perspective as a programmer and a systems designer I’m working on a much smaller scale project basis a big complicated room or a bunch of rooms together and it sounds like it’s the same idea the joy that you get out of it is just creating this thing of course you’re operating on a much bigger scale is a manufacturer or or cable studio but they’re usually elements of that creative process of the project management of getting it up and running that make it really rewarding for people that people look back and say I likes doing that job because of these three reasons those are the things that I’m kind of looking for with that question yeah on a on a side note because among other things because you did a little broadcast and certainly some programming the things we did many years ago that was actually kind of fun was %HESITATION this is I was a cable station a place called independence Missouri I am one of their requirements was you have to think back a long time ago a one of the requirements was they wanted to allow certain people to be able to interrupt programming on every channel on the cable system and put in a special announced and this is before this is before emergency messaging existed there was only emergency broadcast messaging so something happened the broadcast channels would be interrupted with a special announcement what cable programming would still continue because there is no concept of the time of using messaging over cable system so you know they came to me and they came to us as part of building up this plant and said we have to you know if there’s a problem we have to interrupt each feel we have to interrupt ESP and we have to how are we going to do this so you know I’m a big challenge if you will because it’s not normal to interrupt cable TV programming the good news was in this particular design we happen to bring everything in and break it down to baseband video and switch it in a two hundred fifty six by two hundred fifty six router then pushing and then re modulated push all back up the other side so the end result was I don’t know if you know this company but I use something called Chiron Cody at a Cairo the current coding generated the full screen messages age like choosing change which ones I want to use the restaurant control system at the time it was called as GM asks that’s how long ago was when I use the telephone interface card so that somebody could call and they had to enter a password and based on the four digit passcode they entered I knew who they were I then proceeded to pick the right slide on the Chiron Cody and I took the audio from there from the phone call and routed it and did a route to current Cody video audio from the phone and send it to every output on the switch memorize the entire position of the switch before I did it and then pulled the tire once the call was done dumped everything back to the position that it was in before monitoring it any switch commands that occurred in the middle in case I had switched programming and had to switch to a different channel as I went so kind of challenging especially for us in a mass but that’s how I pulled it off and they seem to be very happy they’d seven people the mayor that fired the police chief the fire department chiefs that separate separate all call and there was one guy in particular the seventh guy his name was Fred and the the current coding slide said this is a message from Fred and ultimately it turned out friend lived on the west side of town on a little hill and Fred had the best view of when the tornado was coming so friend would just call in and say I see the funnel cloud coming everybody high now which was really the issue I think with the system and so even though we’re building cables cable TV system there was a lot of other stuff that went with it on in those individual little pieces become very exciting as well as a large scale eight cable TV system have a nice day I like that story a lot it has a a lot of the elements that come up quite a bit it was a a challenging projects you have to come up with a clever solution which %HESITATION put together all these different bits and pieces and then at the end there was this real world effects where many people know that a tornado is coming we just kind of a ten X. is the cool factor of the whole thing right anything but the end result was it works so well cable company had to resort to finding this city for using it too much really yeah because the the the head of the buildings department to call in and say Hey there’s a water main break on fifth street nobody drive on fifth street and it was eight fifty nine P. R. eight fifty five PM the last five minutes of whatever that HBO show was that everybody was watching that’s funny the cliffhanger would get up to date and then what happened and then what happens is people call the cable company ask for a refund on their HBO subscription yeah interest interrupted so they end up putting in a policy you know to stop that basically from from nonsense interruptions right yeah so so that’s kind of the user experience what is what defines an emergency when are we allowed to use this thing so %HESITATION shifting back to wire storm I know that you’re depart of the S. T. V. O. we alliance can can you talk about more about the STV reliance what it means to is a manufacturer what you’ve wife joins and what kind of means for your customers for integrators sure so let me start with the STB alliance in its basic form it gives us the ability to generate the highest quality video picture possible with the lowest amount of latency on a standard ten gig Ethernet that’s the reason why our storm look didn’t looks into it and takes it as an as an advantage that’s why the other forty some members of this state STV alliance are looking to the solution now once we say okay we’ve got the ability to do this really the software defined it video over over Ethernet alliance which is where stevia he comes from is really about if you will the API or because it is software define now everybody in the alliance all works together it all operate they all operate within the same environment so much like the I. T. world operates everybody who’s STV we can talk to each other we already know the commands because there’s a common API thread as opposed to just Hey we bought the same chip and put something together there’s a common API that we can use with each other are so high it what if I out where storm and where some transmitter for example and I wanna and somebody wants to connect it to a Barco projector Christy projector that has an STD over the receiver within it are they can can not only can they communicate to each other but they can control each other and send messages back and forth appropriately and that’s a real differentiator compared to some of the other platforms and they’re out there let’s use let’s do HD base T. for example HTPC certainly has anything that path to pass data back and forth it has to turn to Pat has the backing for it is I Arthur pass I our data back and forth but has no API it has new standard just state what is each each device gonna do any jazz estudio we brings that API standards to the platform so everybody can operate evenly across the board and that’s really why you see automate joining the STV alliance because just like Dante components can all talk and share data back and forth if you’re Dante andante everybody’s good STV a week kind of follows that scene methodology and I think as the GOP and Dante together are going to make it even stronger program trip sure the moron the more standardized we become the better it is for the end user and that was certainly one of the shortcomings of HD Beastie is that all right it was kind of the same technology but everybody did in their own way so the hardware wasn’t compatible and it’s the same thing with any kind of proprietary solution you’re kind of %HESITATION walked in to that solution only and if things go down the line maybe you for whatever reason you just don’t have that flexibility to combine different solutions and that’s a great benefit for the end user what are some benefits for integrators well the the benefits for the integrators ultimately become very similar in terms of they do have compatibility between manufacturers now that they didn’t see before us simply from a picture quality you point of view the ability to deliver the highest quality picture as well as the lowest latency of any solution out there means that you can actually move to an IP based deliver a bold platform a lot and we don’t have to rely on dedicated wires from place to place as we did in the past and that really becomes important because we don’t at some point someday somebody’s gonna want to put something else there you don’t want to have to abandon that old wire and say okay we’re all done by the teacher and its Ethernet let’s get on that network and and let it roll so to speak so as you know as four K. gets exhausted and we moved to sixteen K. and thirty two K. and who knows how many came before it’s all over we need to have the in the you know the interest we can be changing the infrastructure every time we move in space and that’s part of the beauty of estudio he is all we can all get on to a standard tanking Econet network which is standard for everybody years and when we get to you know a case sixteen K. whatever that same network is going to be the structure there were some of the other things Kovacs for example to Kerry STI signals as we all know we’re starting to exhausted the ability of that cabling structure %HESITATION now I need to cables I need five cables also moving from our from a dedicated path even an HT based to pack which is kinda odd tapped out where it is is these resolutions got more and more we need to be able to work with something that’s going to be consistent across the board either answer something’s gonna be consistent across the board yeah definitely %HESITATION you hit on a few points there that up a network his designs to handle many systems at the same time so this idea of having our own little AV network is kind of going away and %HESITATION also upgrading right the infrastructure that is kind of future proof I’ve heard stories of cat three cables still existing and working quite well in buildings today it’s it’s funny but you know thirty years ago this cable was installed and if it still works because it’s standardized it’s it’s a place where we have to move to and I think that was pretty clear and I see this this past year probably Infocom which it intends that everything is moving to %HESITATION IP so do you have any feedback from integrators on how they’re dealing with this this change about getting on the network and in working more with the I. T. department I am back isn’t interesting statement this is good because all the way back to that whole conversation of convergence and everybody seems to think that AB and I. T. are converging into one I don’t necessarily feel that way I think a V. still has a very unique place the difference being in any industry in the IT industry is pretty large so if you look at the IT industry today there are people that build server farms that’s all they do their people the right data bases and that’s all they do their people to build web pages and that’s all they do their people the right middleware to make things communicate with each other and that’s all they do because the industry is so large no one no one person can know everything about the industry and that’s true with any industry is that as they build and grow right by you long established industry go look to the medical industry you know of course there are general people but right now everybody is a specialist you need all these different specialists in their special categories are because the medical industry is so large and so I like to use the medical industry as a great example and the simple answer is I would never hire a heart surgeon to do my plastic surgery and I would never have higher a plastic surgeon to do my heart church and if we look at that in the same way AV industry we are really the plastic surgeons of the I. T. world we make we make people look good we make people sound good that’s what our job is to make that experience at the end the best of it is possible for the people that are seeing it and because we’re addressing that experience we are really the plastic surgeons let’s not think that we’re going to be a heart surgeon what’s not say on the AV guy and I’m going to come in and rebuild your entire router and server farm that’s not our place that’s not where we should be we should concentrate on the stuff that we know best now the other side of it is doesn’t matter what your specialty is your still a doctor you still need to know how blood flows how air moves through how long’s work you need to know all the basics of the body regardless of what your specialty is and that’s the one small piece that I think we’re missing in the world we need to learn more of the basics of I. T. so that we can communicate with the other people in my tea and function with all the other people in nineteen once once we get to that level we don’t need to be I. T. experts we don’t need to go that far we need to know the basics of the I. T. body and then we need to be the plastic surgeons and we need to be experts in our field that makes it’s different than everybody else the I. T. world are experts in their it’s a really great explanation and I really appreciate that analogy of us being plastic surgeons but we’re still a doctor I’m tempted to ask what you think are some basic things that Evey technicians engineers should be doing to kind of bone up on their IT skills but I think it’s kind of obvious maybe could do CCNA take some Cisco courses there are tons of resources online I wonder if they’ll be any kind of official thing for Evey to say okay I know the network basics and I still see some kind of resistance to a to moving this direction can you comment on that at all I yes I do see some resistance to all this I think it’s ill founded I think part of the problem is we say things like all yeah just go just go get a CCNA or go get Cisco certified and without a path without a direction for people to go and get those kind of things it’s hard for them to start they don’t know where where where do I go become CCNA you know that that’s what that’s where people get stock is how do I do that so I certainly look for opportunities where that kind of content that kind of information exists are certainly in today’s world on a learning over the internet is a very powerful tool and believe it or not linked in has a whole learning section that you can sign up for women that learning section you can learn all your CCNA as well as many other subject matters all but they do a great job with overall on the basics of Ethernet switching direction it’s a trend that that is very clear and concise and and probably a good place to start if you say Hey I don’t I don’t know anything about networking for example I found linking has a ton of content there that’s available it’s been vetted intestines so I’m not just looking on the internet and as we all know the internet is full of every truth in every lie all the same time it’s up to you to that which is which I think when when can is doing that setting for us to make sure that we’re getting clear and concise information so I would certainly encourage anybody and everybody to look to that direction for some basic knowledge and you can build all the way through as far as you want to go the resources really aren’t the issue %HESITATION I just wonder if it’s the motivation sometimes but I guess as these solutions get specified that’ll be the motivation in itself you can install these systems and make them work without that kind of knowledge right right and many and many of us in the many of us in the industry are trying to make it as easy as possible for our eighty people that might want to move into the IT environment also works for example in the STV a wee world %HESITATION next here now has four different switches that are available all you have to do is buy the right model switch the switches all pre configured for STV a week so you just plug in your studio devices and they work and that way you don’t have to know how to configure switch or why you’re configuring switch if you will also we’re certainly trying to make it easier we aware storm as well as many other manufacturers are we can we will go ahead and configure switch offer somebody will take a Cisco switch will go through it will write down every step that you have to do in order to configure that switch to get it to work are will also then take that configuration file and make that available so if you want to just dump our configuration file in your switch will run but if you really want to go through every step and see what what you’re clicking and why we have that document that out for you we also have a generic document that says if you have a network switch you need to turn this on for this reason you need to turn this on and set it in this format for this reason are so you can kind of go and learn what are the what are these things in the switch why you turn them on why do I need them you know I GNP or on the other kind of things there and and why do we need with video and we don’t with audio eccentrics after us so we’re trying to add some education there as well as some guidance us so that people can broaden their horizon as they start learning these I keep that up but you know everybody has a job they want to get it done are and like I said everybody what is the number one thing everybody wants to do on every job site world sign off and the answers go home helped write and if by Anna switched it’s already configured get you to go home bias which the thirty configured sounds good to me alright so are there any plans for the future that you’d like to share with us yeah sure so at where storm I just like everybody else are you alluded to it earlier on the concept of having that easy network by is really kind of going away even even devices are really going to become part of the network just like everything else is part of the network are there are some challenges with that in terms of you know switch configurations and those kind of things there isn’t there even some challenges in device requirements and how they operate suite where storm are certainly working on a whole collection of security stacks so they are when we are put into a large corporate type network and there are large security requirements we can meet those requirements like everybody like all the other I. T. devices that are on the network and most of us have you guys been hiding behind some manner hiding behind a router somewhere and I think you know that’s that cards kind of going away so we have to like everybody else get ourselves into the security world and make sure work compatible with I also see whether it’s Dante are a S. sixty seven or whatever it is now that we have video going on to the IP network audio is bent on an IP network for a long time all but now we’re kinda converging together also that one device that one encoder needs to be able to make both video streams that are appropriate for video devices and audio streams that are appropriate for audio devices I think you’re gonna see a lot more of that use STV Opie and non Dante joining the alliance is a great example are where now we got audio and video on the same network the switches then get in turn determine and help guide what goes where I am again we don’t have to be told separate wires sounds like a nice road map to wrap things up with if anyone would like to get in touch with you how would they go about doing that I yeah it’s pretty simple are you can certainly find me it’s David Silverstein on linkedin Twitter and you can always email me it’s David dot Silverstein where storm back Dave thanks a lot for being on a podcast thank you for having me it’s been great thanks for listening to software defined survival I hope you found it useful in maybe inspires you to try out something new this week if you have any questions does software defined survival dot com and click the appropriate button I’d love to answer and if you’d like to help spread the word please subscribe comment and share it with your friends thanks
Dave Schoenbeck has a long history in managing and operating retail stores like Toys R Us and is one of the founders of Babies R Us where he served as senior VP of operations for 10 years. So what does that have to do with software? For more than a decade he’s been helping business owners in AV and beyond reach their goals as an executive coach.
When I started this podcast, I did not realise how much shifting to software defined systems affects the business models. But the words ”as a service” keep coming up, so I am really excited to learn a lot today from Dave Schoenbeck.
this is software defined survival where we explore how software defined systems are changing the business of IT and today software defined survival most the most business owners are not classically trained in business their technical experts and you’re running a business the network of whom you trust someone I chief information officer most of the people the people that are going to be if it’s the business traditionally is going traditional transaction service why would I should just this here’s the here’s the magic solution for that grow fearless leader that would test different things and throw away really fast this is Patrick Murray just a quick word about our first sponsor before we get started now all the sponsors for this podcast will be products and services that I’ve personally used and believe in and executive coach Dave shame back was recommended to me by a long time colleague who’s been working with coach Dave for many years and after the initial consultation I learned quite a bit about my strengths and weaknesses that I may have been somewhat aware of but never really saw in black and white and never realized or even explored how they affect the decisions I make and ultimately how I run my business we’ve had a few coaching session since then and while I can’t report that I’ve seen an immediate impact on the success of my company nothing happens overnight but my plans and and daily activities are a lot more structured and not alone takes a lot of the stress out of deciding on what to do next and there’s really just a kind of a comfort and confidence in following a plan that was put together with the help of someone who’s been through the process of growing many companies so if you’re interested in bringing your business game to the next level I definitely recommend booking a free consultation session with coach Dave just go to his website at deem Shane back dot com that’s Dave D. A. V. E. Shane back S. C. H. O. E. N. B. E. C. K. dot com one more time D. A. V. E. S. C. H. O. E. N. B. E. C. K. dot com there’s also a lot of great information on running a business on his blog a lot of great free information so go ahead and check that out Dave sheen back dot com hello my name is Patrick Murray welcome to software defined survival today’s guest has a long history in managing and operating retail stores like toys R. us and is one of the founders of babies R. us where he served as senior VP of operations for ten years so what does that have to do with software you may ask for more than a decade he’s helping business owners in AV and beyond reach their goals as an executive coach when I started this podcast I did not realize how much you think the software defined systems affects the business model but the words as a service keep coming up so I’m really excited to learn a lot today from Dave Schoen back Dave welcome to the show thanks it’s great to join you guys out there I say you’re not last name right I have hard hard time saying it would help the German accent well your debts actually the correct way to say it but nobody in the US can say it that way so young I pronounce it Shane back because it’s easier for Americans wow that’s fascinating Shane I never woulda came up with that one yes is there anything about that introduction that you’d like to correct or expand on those perfect thanks for reading it was pretty pretty cool yeah the big secret is %HESITATION just look at your linkedin profile and copy the words to so can you tell us a little bit about your first contact with the AB industry and how you kind of got introduced to me are sure how you started working with a %HESITATION at the control programming Cup companies custom programming company and %HESITATION we’re we’re having great success with with that firm and he introduced me to a systems integrator a local systems integrator in the northeast of the US and they were because of the two of them for awhile and then they introduced me to an audio visual labor installation and commissioning business so it was a little triad of the audio visual love businesses for from that to be really fascinating I thought it was going to be the coach of the AV industry and in a lot of fun %HESITATION working these companies and are you still work with two of those three so I learn more and more about the industry is every week goes on interesting so is there any commonalities are there any things that %HESITATION you could kind of pick out out of the kind of sets us apart in general I mean you work with a programmer systems integrator freelance installer those are really kind of different tasks but in general is there anything you can say about AB life a few of the the common thread between all three of them is just the incredible amount of consolidation and change that is happening in the industry were were you know the little system integrators fuses certainly a huge consolidation and a movement away from selling boxes to selling or suffers a service having a different mentality so that that permeates all three three businesses certainly up this consolidation is very typical of a lot of industries you think back through my biker career early career working in retail you know there’s there’s hundreds of grocery chains will drugstore chains discounters that were you know morphed into just a handful no never took place over twenty years again a considerable way so now you know see the same thing in the every industry so having gone through that what kind of opportunities in hindsight may have been available to any I think it’s a shitty shift of thinking you know night when I think back to earlier consolidations or or major changes in market places it’s really about us seeing over the horizon being a little more strategic in your view point not tied to old ways in your feet firmly certain countries cheese instead of being rock solid on on what you believe to be true because things change and in many industries so to be aware of that too how you’re in developed different sorts of thinkers I think would be would be a great advice for for the only initially street you should continue to hire people that are just like yourself in your industry is changing you were going to get caught flat footed without the kind of thinker that you’re gonna need in the future so I’m on board with that we’ve spoken to times and you know that I’m all game for trying out new things but there’s also a bit of risk involved with that do you have any advice for managing that kind of risk when you’re so that you don’t shoot too far beyond the horizon and and just wind up waiting for the future to come yeah hired coach find a mentor find somebody in your industry that’s willing to hell the the they can help you with the with section so we all lose our perspective about how far the goal line is well what’s acceptable stress levels were all those things we just you can’t hardly do it yourself yeah well all of us need to get rid of every business owner needs to get rid of that and trash that we all are born with limbic brain sort of fear that those in what I’m doing is to go to work because we need to fight for that and in generally entrepreneurs are like that incredibly tenacious and and then a resilient and fearless but we all have our moments where we doubt what we’re doing absolutely great advice that now that you say that %HESITATION even starting a podcast could keep a good way to just call cut collaborate with other people get your ideas out there make sure you’re thinking clearly and get influenced by by your colleagues yeah mastermind groups are good one %HESITATION a good idea to review have laws locally that are in your industry or in in love you know intact so to speak could be a lot of different though versions of tech businesses but a master mind group would really be helpful for for leaders to just get a different perspective think about things differently read outside of of what you’re comfortable with I collect information in a in a different way there’s so many aggregating of websites now that you can bring information to to your your laptop desktop phone that he has different ideas for example I die I use one call for for many many of you probably have heard of it I die keep the board for just entrepreneurship small business marketing ideas so that sends me articles all of the everyday world and with different viewpoints and so would this be a lesson is useless but so it is like wow I never thought about it that way so the advice is that we all we all continue to grow and develop ourselves and listen to different viewpoints and different ideas so a few minutes ago you mentioned %HESITATION how there’s a lot of change going on consolidation I think it’s clear it’s really obvious that the bigger companies are getting bigger hands the little companies are getting less but %HESITATION you also mentions change the business model on moving to a as a service model and that has come up quite a bit on the show software just lends itself to that as a service model because you don’t do it once and you’re done you don’t just build the system and run away there you know things change software needs to get updated and grow so do you have any advice on how to make this shift from maybe a margin based hardware based type of a business model to more as a service I think it’s going to be done for us Patrick because of this shifting so quickly to look at the new upstarts and yeah your your your your national conferences on what the what the manufacturers are going up is there’s a there’s a groundswell of additional service providers and less reliance on the traditional selling boxes in the so I think I think all of us that are about the industry are gonna be forced to to open our eyes to see that this is this is a major shift that we need to not deny it but to embrace it figure out work where are he said that might be what when you see it will be done for us that customers will start asking for it because it yeah AV is always on the radar like something in I. T. service level level agreement is kind of a common thing managed services are kind of a common thing and it’s just really not that common AV yet maybe in larger enterprises so if you wanted to kind of catalyze that a bit and not and do it in your niche evening space how would you go about doing that well yeah you think about who’s going to be making the decisions and that’s prevalent in the IT industry the I. T. chief information officer the loss of the few the people are going to be making decisions about AB in future okay so if they if they have a good have many are used to service level agreements in in their current industry what why would they the man that to be similar in any AV roll out if if if the business traditionally is is your is going for away from the traditional sort of selling boxes and and a transaction to a service well why would why should we just jumped in front of them the anticipated are there any common mistakes that you see a business owners make there’s tons of because the worst ones hello mistakes I think one is the that I think I can do it myself where the cuts that’s a big when we touch on that a little bit other common mistakes business owners make is %HESITATION not spending enough time understanding financials okay you know we run it too much out of the out of the checkbook in cash flow instead of the fundamentals balance sheet understanding can all budgets %HESITATION metrics that’s a huge issue for for most smaller businesses for sure and how do you get better at that well you get you find yourself a mentor that can that can help you with that colored so your accountant or culture or take a class it’s not that hard to understand but most the most business owners are not classically trained in business or their technical experts they are really really good and well leave your products and services that deliver but maybe not necessarily have the experience that they need something need some outside help trusted CPA okay see rule number one right don’t do it yourself told to do so the the other common mistake is that we hire for the most inexpensive person that we can find that much night could possibly get the job done instead of me doing investment spending into higher better tell investment spending yeah so you think about this is buying buddy like buying a machine you’re buying you’re buying your your biggest asset which is in the in the up and coming high performance individuals so we have a tendency to make to to buy on the cheap earlier or even passed earlier I understood I can understand early on better than them two or three years and into a business and I really learned my lesson on that from mobile babies R. us experience that that the folks that were loyal and great in the beginning were not necessarily the people that have the horsepower to handle it is to get better and it took me awhile to really see that my understanding is it’s an emotional decision why don’t these loyal people perform like they used to uses more complex and it’s more difficult there’s bigger decisions and that’s that strategic viewpoint the best the best people you wanna hire folks they concede that strategy meant that after working all the time but they can see where they’re going that they’re great communicators and this this is a really interesting point that how companies can change as a gross I think that’s a real challenge to us to have the same team when you’re a group of less than ten people and then you grow into a couple dozen fundamentally the yeah a different beast every sort of babies R. us there was three of us while you’re working on the original idea and at the end there was there was ten thousand people reported to me so you don’t think they get more complex as thirteen direct reports for or for a vice presidents and a bunch of directors and now the complexity of just managing brown would deliver telling people is completely different from what I did in the early days so roles changed for me and my viewpoint change and that’s what happens with all that I worked with some of those people just couldn’t grow to that capacity right so I’m still waiting for those problems so I’m do you have any stories of %HESITATION anybody in the V. or any other industry of somebody who just made up a good turn around that was kind of stuck with something at a problem that they just couldn’t get through and %HESITATION and really turned around yes we have a one one of my clients in the industry is when I first started work working with this guy he was he was out on his own a book keeper and self and on the net business through grew from that to you know a fairly significant companies use of language we don’t want to see the sales line with the staff is now about seventy people so in some highly profitable business so here’s the here’s the magic solution for that growth fearless leader that would test different things and thrown away really fast they didn’t work invest in and give it time to to percolate and grow look it didn’t work bone gone we’re gonna move on to something else so tirelessly create of yeah in trying different things the new he’s really really very impressive to me just because you don’t see them that often throughout the normal heart so let business six borderlines use daring Russell and and fearless grossly grin were there any armed practical things any exercise or practices that that you noticed in in what he was doing or what that company did that may have a attributed to that yeah I guess it just sounds like courage just having the courage to try things out and and see if they work on their own and Pat myself on the back but I think we’re I help this individual was was having bouts of being able to bounce ideas off of it and and because we all get when you’re running a business is very low in the years to really know your network of whom you trust is somewhat limited self coach by providing that the discussion so I’m gonna be I want to listen to what you say I’m gonna help you shake that idea think about a little different so the end result in the system success that he had was incredible amount of focus because we we kept clarifying what you’re trying to do bring it back to what was the original idea was are we methodical about this so when we come to believe but some direction and well discourse about about strategies that was how I ended up either interesting I’m just taking notes so as he was going through this process it must’ve been a different thing when the company was smaller so trying testing out different things it’s an investment of time probably capital as well and %HESITATION dead needs to come from somewhere was there kind of like a base of business that he had that allowed him to try out these different things or she so so there were a few things that worked out well early on yeah he understood understood his costs were very well and his margin requirements which is also another weakness in most businesses the idea of understanding be gross margins in overhead which I guess ties back to my earlier comment about understand your financials but there there is a definite weakness of most small businesses about understanding gross margin and how to use that had a price and and he had a extremely strong ask you then when it came to that so he knew where every nickel was he knew what his costs were in what he needed to make so there was a underpinning of profitability to allowed to grow it was you who you can grow in margin as time went on it a solid margin excellent that that’s kind of exactly what I was looking for because we can talk about courage and and and %HESITATION creativity and innovation but in the end it does come down to a very practical things and %HESITATION understanding the financials of the company seems to be what gives what could give you that confidence to take those chances because if you don’t know if it’ll work out or then you could plan on it and and you know what things look out I look like on the other side regardless of what happens well you service mentality to is really important for all small businesses to be really focused on on your client satisfaction in the you know I think a lot of us we view it as a we don’t hear any complaints everything’s cool and then that is probably not the right way to do it we need to do more surveying we need to be asking the right questions we need to be close to those decision makers so we understand how to fix things earlier so some of the most businesses certainly strengthen those individuals so a character in India quite you mention customer service what would that look like on a practical level just about the way one of the smartest decisions are made and when the babies R. us days that I tied the compensation of all the store managers to to guest satisfaction so we did service and then rolled up and number was a scorecard they at once we had a bass line and we know what what date where they were at in that store that clientele and then we give them a little left of this is what you need to do you need to get to this level and you get to make money your books so so that can be done in any business maybe not to that extent but it could be you have to measure first so you know there’s SurveyMonkey there’s a lot of different tools that you can use that electronically probes your clients to get you know three or four questions then you get a bass line and how you’re doing types of jobs that don’t work so well we’re get markdowns identifies process breaks and weaknesses you understand very clearly of what customers like you and which ones don’t and and it is a lot easier for a client to to give you a mark down on paper or electronic surveyed than it is to do with your face so when you were listening in and we’re not hearing any sort of problems we get in we get dolled into thinking that literally school but then if you look at what how they really feel in a in a in a return electronic digital Sir right well who we didn’t do so well what’s that all about yeah great stuff so that’s kind of like at the end of every stripe call you get asked that the return yeah is limited to learn a route we all want to collect way too much information and we’ll have the service in on the go on for fourty minutes you really I think most customers most clients want to help businesses they want help shape they want to have influence but just don’t warrant so what is the most important metric customer customer delight just what were you happy those five stars are really all you need to know yeah I think there could be some opportunity there for a TV industry to to build in a little feedback loop just like this guy called right have those five stores whenever somebody shuts down the system or not so if anybody would like to get in touch with you how would they go about doing that you can you can contact me at %HESITATION Dave Shane back dot com so many emails Dave at a machine that can really hurt remember that’s probably the easiest way I have a contact form on my website you’ll ever and ever needing help %HESITATION just click on that and I are for one hour complimentary coaching sessions for anybody that’s interested of a problem that let’s let’s schedule time willow will talk about excellent Dave thanks a lot for the talk today my pleasure Patrick thanks for listening to software defined survival I hope you found it useful and maybe it inspires you to try out something new this week if you have any questions does software defined survival dot com and click the appropriate I’d love to answer questions on the air and if you’d like to help spread the word please subscribe comment and share it with your friends