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
Paul Harris has been CEO of Aurora Multimedia for over 20 years. When I worked in AV in NYC, I remember Aurora as an independent AMX and Crestron programming company that started making interesting hardware solutions. Now Aurora has a complete line of AV distribution products, touchpanels and control processors. They were one of the first companies to adopt a software defined approach with the perhaps the industry’s first non-propriety control system, with WACI or Web Accessible Control Interface which used web pages to control AV equipment.
this is a software defined survival where we talk to AV IT professionals and software developers to find out how to leverage software to reinvent ourselves and we do business we listen to their stories and ask for advice and tactics on how to survive and thrive in a software defined what today software defined survive she or easy as far as lance is neither but one day we were writing code for that any talk what happens once companies the company’s decides to sell themselves spent all this time learning something proprietary by that was if you’re lucky not knowing and Java script you when you learned twenty because now you choose what’s out there on the web and not just limited to what’s right turn the world this company tells you greetings my name is Patrick Murray welcome to software defined survival today’s guest has been CEO of Aurora multimedia for over twenty years and when I worked in TV in New York City I remember Aurora as being an independent a Mexican restaurant programming company that started making interesting hardware solutions and now Aurora has a complete line of easy distribution products touch panels control processors and plenty of other stuff that I have I’m sure I’m missing here they were one of the first companies to really adopt a software defined approach with perhaps the industry’s first non proprietary control system the wacky or web access control interface and that use the web pages to control AV equipment way before it was the cool thing to do so please welcome Paul Harris to the show Paul welcome how you doing thank you for having me I am just excellent here is there anything about that introduction that you’d like to correct or expand upon now you actually mailed it to us so obviously been doing your homework on costs but no you’re you’re pretty accurate DR we do our AV over IP IP control we started doing the non proprietary IT control well over fifteen sixteen years ago on what we are also doing a lot of HD based cheating on our yeah we get around we are worse solutions provided company and we like to go outside the box to make it more of a complete solution for especially for the commercial digital signage government military education those type more the professional markets we we double one residential here and there but mostly into the professional markets excellent so I like to get the origin story on everyone because nobody really grows up saying I want to be in a movie when I grow up so how did you wind up in this industry I was born I said you don’t want to be in the so you’re the one guy that that is what a coincidence no actually on I know you know like everybody on knows what they’re going to be when they grow up like some summer going to be a policeman someone on your farm someone can be a baseball player and it comes true that’s what they do yeah I was always good with on our other tronic soon computers software will be doing the electronics or solutions it just always seemed to are just only to it very easily and so I started writing my first code when I was about nine years old Vic twenty computer all right so long I I guess my first program was talking about your CD some going to date myself on that one in school you know nobody thought they were cool when they type in you know ten not ten hello world twenty go to ten one of those things in schools across the screen your programmers all my job I thought I got my first taste of it that I guess maybe that’s what led me to it was saying hello world scroll up and down the green on the screen and then are you know got some got me a big twenty dabbled with it at the time to using cassette recorders believed or not to our motor programs you have to get a floppy disk I was gonna mention floppies but now you’re taking a step back and floppies and it was just for the reason that first sways to loading code was on a regular cassette format configure I’ll have the apples in a western style from you get computers you know ID and saw a double cross or by the time I got close to thirteen I started doing more electronics I was originally going to like medical and robotics I have a big fascination with that by the time I was about sixteen seventeen years old I came up with the way you do on four thousand ninety six colors on T. shirts for like the carnival fares so in my high school and college years I was at a company called did you try which stood for digital transformations for putting all I would use are needed three thousand computer was subliminal die transformer from Xerox and arches a regular in jeopardy motored up with someone on tie you some thermal paper you printed on at that time you know sixteen to two hundred fifty six colors was considered cool when it hits you should get a little black dots on it and all I managed to get it to print out in a way where it was looking almost more realistic and so on I sold tee shirts mugs things like that hiding carnivals of all things a lot it was my first I guess true invention arm where it came out with it so I’ve actually so that company I started realizing my next important lesson which was on sales and marketing and and I started killing the novel she started learning that sometimes so something is a novel she itself and the novelty of joints two shirts was there was a bunch of dots that made up the image we got very clearing good it just became a four to one I’m sure the novelty was gone so it was cool at first but then eventually people realize was a novelty interesting so you can learn as you as you grow and I kind of just got into punk definitions and marketing sales and mechanical sh slowly over the edge animal ball together and then when I graduated college first job was working for doing video walls and on and on projectors like to tweak on projectors where all you can do the old good old fashioned non surgeons yeah so meter designed to help design the projector on and then eventually moved on to working with integrators and that’s where I got my first dose of law Crestron they enact some program he was actually for integrator New Jersey excellent so %HESITATION what was your most successful projects and I’ll give them a plug she knew Jersey yes okay returning calls good company a lot of companies in Jersey the one from but that’s actually where I got some of money are my integrator experience was over they are well organized job you know we had a good we are dead but it was from there that I took out a lot of what the industry needed and what was like to be in the field so wanted more designs products and I get a good appreciation for what is it like to be in the integrator what was it like to be in the field as the engineer or program so from what I learned from that experience is what helped me figure what people need war I think they need and how to listen to people and put that into the products to get emotionally what’s going to make it a better day for them feels definitely that’s I think that’s a really important points %HESITATION having that field experience I noticed it as well knowing what it’s like to be under a table trying to trying to wire things up or figure out where things should go it’s it’s really important have you noticed any of that has changed over the years those those field needs with the I don’t know maybe networking or something like that the changing of no less connector types or or the needs essentially the same all in the name of the jaded needs saying just the way we deliver has changed now I mean it’s so I you know sort of things are reaching out there is the industry’s worst enemy are back in the day and she was nice and simple you know that you can you can delineate between a commercial grater broadcast verse eight consumer grade and one HDMI came along those lines got blurred in the market got Jerry to store in protecting itself so now you got these companies that really are manufacturers making a lot of products out there because it just sucks screening the one of like ten copies of the same product in the dumper all lying in the whole the profitability are which makes it when you get when you kill the profitability it’s hard to sustain support on when you’re not keeping that enrich the commercial style and digital signage almost industries do need certainty potatoes on in order to properly support the cost is the reason why we do jail and so when you take that away from this industry Colin stall is larger groups right it’s also great to screen all install was born that’s not where we always gauge this industry so one point five meter world was trying to make products that show that there is such a thing as commercial while you use this part that in justifying why did you start products over the ones that you’re strong on the market so that’s always been an important part of who we are and what we do is to actually protect the industry itself what role will be traveling on the manufacturers jewelers D. consultants when we all played a part in letting this happen I’m doing things that we could have done a long time ago to prevent just bought you lead by example if we can do what we do and change that then just what our competitors have to do the same thing to keep up with us and they do it then you create a track and it becomes a way of doing business inside the industry and then turn the dealers and consultants come around to that way of doing business also and maybe we could regain control of the industry I’m back in there de arm them in containers that people were looking for which benefits you know the end users hello I mean it’s not about you know taking more money away from the end user’s it’s about giving them the service at the desert but you can’t get that without having the proper infrastructure supports in order to achieve these stocks absolutely yeah if if there’s no budget then I’m sure there’s only so much you can do to deliver a solution and and help people long term so you mention that %HESITATION there were things that we could have done and things that we can be doing to kind of regained control of this %HESITATION consumerism in navy consumer products kind of yeah making our industry not what it could be can you give me a few practical examples of what we could be doing well first of so for example back in the day you see our player or GVG or chapter because there was a nice BNC connector on it twisted was analog circuitry in use data quality chips which made the difference having an image that look clean and clear or whatever one wants to talk or something that wasn’t as good do you trust heads on that lasted twenty five thousand dollars instead of maybe ten right displays for better temperature better life spans when people stuck in a project that’s what it looks now what’s on that road how can we get it and is it she brought that we might be able to fight three times over what might cost for a regular commercial grade not one of the other aspects of chicken George how how much you know he actually meeting with someone actually does go to a failure because of what life but what it does do is it takes away a lot of the creature geology from should because we aren’t sitting with my new structures are you just need to parks opening his use essence of each new product that redefines the industry circle each Marshall from the consumer in so that a lot of what we do so that so that’s just to give an analogy between how he back in the day where we just have to deal with the issue DNC kept circuitry that digital at this point I mean if you get the server from twenty to twenty two the court or it’s not good you know gold plated cables not gonna help you on this so that really help you much on the alligator but it was a great but I guess some yes I like that analysis because yeah everything is HDMI now and %HESITATION we converted to get from here to there but at the other side of each year my again and there’s not much choice and that that delineation between pro and consumer just really isn’t there especially in the minds of of end users but also if you look at it what is the standard I mean I’ll give you the answer but you know what a standard is and a lot of people don’t realize what a standard really bad insomnia I’ll save you the torture of trying to stands popularity that’s all it is popularity it has nothing to do with what’s right or wrong or what you are its popularity I mean think about DisplayPort when it came out it did things each day my country was a great standard data can act out the locking capabilities at all everybody’s always crying for you know why each team might be out of the market share yeah better marketing more popular cool got the word out there they overtime solve problems it’s got a lot better since its original inception and all in all but your first cannot attach a DisplayPort split portal walk a much better solution at the time and still listings are displayed poor could you have each team I cannot listings and she might sleep working bought just what part was the standard and look at where it is now it’s it’s the lesser of the channel so goes to show that popularity determines what true standard actually gets I mean look at him in the eye for iPhone has become a standard staple product in the industry despite sorry it’s specific to apple yeah you can buy the star party solutions at the license to older people but at the end of the day it’s a standard because they need a popular just like enjoy became student because they made a popular but that is really what a standard in this instance popularity so no one need anything popular that was unique or specific to commercial and that’s one of the problems that happened along the way and also happen once you also had these commercial use consumer technologies there now overseas companies and competent countries that committees are very low cost were like our world from ready to win consumer will suck that much harder now to do commercial muscle dumped on to that market to and then they allow everybody anybody who wants to buy the product shoot slot there so screen on it and become one of these people so what happens now is you get a lot of people who I mean I’ve been indigenous people working out of their houses and they’re buying it from these overseas companies and they slap it out there system these products don’t work well someone do some of them don’t but they don’t have real control of the product they don’t have any real ability to support it in the way that it needs to be supported they want to change our resolve it they can’t really do that it’s it’s a it’s a copy caprock it’s just something that was made by an overseas company that they get the right to put their name on it sure is a ton of companies out there who do that and the problem is when the dealers buy from those companies they’re hurting the industry not helping it to her and I know it helps them get that job that’s that’s been the chicken and the egg problem that I’m trying to solve I don’t blame them because if you’re going to do it and you’re gonna be the highest one is not going to win so unfortunately we become what we all become slaves to it has just domino effect so the only way to fix it is gonna start to manufacture the sticks manufactures got to step up show that there is a better way to do it show that there’s a reason to do it and they keep doing and when the market reacts to that and likes the justification they will incline start the product keep growing the company and the job of the other manufacturers and this is what free trade and capitalism is all about is to make a better product than what I did following the financing footsteps and all on that recipe and then my job is to go across the they did a better job with me now I need to go back and do something better than that that stimulates creativity gas stimulates making industry better and in turn guess what’s going to happen companies that don’t have the region each that don’t make their own products are gonna virtually die down the hallway by the we sucked because I’m not gonna have what it takes to keep up with that and in turn that looks so start correcting the market cost manufacturers started it then the dealers and consultants fault and as long as everybody sticks in a game plan and these original and our products keep coming out then you’ll see the industry will start to go in the right direction not going to be an overnight success story but somebody’s got to start and right now trying to be the company that does it I guess we’ll find out in a few years if we achieved if I did great if I didn’t use I could say I don’t sit there on my hands on my **** I actually tried something absolutely I I that’s kind of unique perspective I never heard that before that %HESITATION that we’re not doing anything for the pro market that is unique and creative and I’d like to be a little more deep into that because you’ve got companies like apple Google Amazon and that some big competition to our to to compete against how do you do something unique for the pro market which generally people don’t really differentiate they just see technology they see technology in their home they use soon and Skype and and and more while the vices apps and then they go to work expecting seem experience what are some things we can do to be unique for the pro market well it’s a matter of increasing technologies and utilizing it to your advantage so for example just because Google and Amazon make things are taught one doesn’t mean people can accept and conference rooms okay so that’s the first things product acceptance you can’t rapper these products and enhanced to make it more commercial as he did about their their on their syntax and court costs so there’s nothing to stop I mean also one company they took one of the others on products returned and she well loudspeakers that you can populate all over the place Amazon elements don’t censor very clever I forgot the name of the company charm they took this product embraced it and need something more out of it that we’re stuck in market I think you can see that it’s not a matter of doing something against more number three senior and thinking outside the box of okay this technology it really is their majority market is residential so it’s not a matter of all the gonna take it away from the regular conference room it’s what I can do to make it into a better crop this from experience which is not what they’re focused on all right that’s a helpful answer I like that a lot especially the example of a echo being built into loud speakers that some and in a way to manage that yeah it’s really matters of greasing the technology and you know this is where creativity comes from okay they did something it’s impeding on our on our stuff what are you gonna do about we have said they’re going to who how dare they or are we gonna answer back and say okay this is what we’re going to embrace it or do something maybe different that counters are and show why he this commercial but there’s always something that you can do further use technologies so jag years ago people were actually having arguments what I want to this summer how one hundred show years ago and there was a debate where it was about what was going on when I cheat or easy as far as integrators girl and when I left the meeting hours late my answer is neither what do people fail to realize is there is a certain level of expertise that is not going to go away anytime soon maybe decades from now they’ll make it self serving and it will figure itself out but for now days look you might have an and I cheap products but at the end of the day what people tell to realize you’re using a network switch for let’s say eve your heart beat in the network such as the group just fix the price of the matrix is all jobs but at the end of the day it’s an even stronger storm it becomes D. element where if you really break it down and ninety persons trains more on the network switch and basic personal connections not always about the actual crucial itself details of what makes it work you’re not gonna get a typical like cheap person too microphone down Sir what would hang up projector and she just she’s stuck into the studs with the ceiling on a concrete things of that nature maybe companies have the expertise to do that most companies don’t have the control system our customer customisation that it takes to bring all these different technologies together that is an art form that that really is what your topic EVH great not to say that young people don’t have their own expert she’s innocent the network switches in how to do their own set of skills I think what’s really going to happen more than anything else arm you can see the agents greater and the other two companies cooperate or even companies haven’t you bring in wasn’t quite she’s knowledgeable staff to support use these are these ongoing technologies that are the only ones the way I see so it doesn’t mean a VS the weaving usually at the end of the day you still got a camera so that physical presence you can cloud right there is a certain often got put a floor box in a box on the table doesn’t go away and that in itself is what makes the need to integrate special unique just like in nineteen degrees they gotta make some special unique which has to do with their knowledge and their installed on the server worms and things that you should ask for the expertise so do you see and recommend a lot of collaboration so when one starts number one entrance let’s come once in awhile collaboration in working more together and still doing what they did just because a girl it’s going towards the R. I G. world doesn’t mean you’re only in the art she still got just a coke world that has to be installed and customers absolutely it’s it’s certainly not an either or decision and %HESITATION yeah collaboration and partnerships is %HESITATION really what technology is all about especially things like software you talk about integration all the time and we’re really just changing the transport mechanism like you were saying the analog part what what hits your eyes and ears war of the camera that that translate some of the real world in the video that that’s never in the IT domain you mentions a few eighty distribution technologies and just to shift gears a little bit you used to see how many inputs you had how many albums you had and then you pick the matrix which that fit it but now we’ve got more choice so you got HEVC maybe over one gig and something like STB only if you’re over ten gig can you give me some practical tips some rules of psalms maybe on on how to quickly decide which technology fits a particular project is pretty simple and someone was overlooked thing application terms it’s that simple it’s not the technology itself that’s part of it is the application so for example if you’re doing a digital signage project just hang in screens to a movie theater or walk the amount of time for people looking at the image is a good looking quality image that doesn’t further degrade the current one solution nice low cost wrong when life is good price point that level and you get into while I need very low latency perfect quality on to implore cast on to work for him I need real time in June medical virtual reality that’s what the change comes well I know that some products out there they’re clean one Jake is as good as the chain gang that’s nonsense art looks great and all this is what we’re gonna be talking about Christian injects they’ve been taken steps are also claiming that they can do their stuff is good as a ten gig and it’s so it’s a lot of smoke screens words I want to create is very good for one check very overpriced for what about almost two and a half tons but as far as taking on a ten gig I was very expensive to do the network switches neck you’re just came out with a ninety six port cartoons system which is extremely expensive you cannot get it courts should someone from the seven hundred Bucks you get it sixteen port now for about twelve ninety nine so they’re not exactly expensive on the way it’s being cleaned out there now is actually no more complicated to work with Dan one kick seems like it’s strong rules of the game and life is good differences discussion visually losses compression near to one point three one compression rate with only a hundred microseconds of latency the one gig just get up to close to two friends once it recently and he acts things generating a lot of heat and power almost thirty five wants and it’s so it’s going to twenty one compression will make it look good because static images builds up a buffer for in the trenches information so static it’ll decent once the motion going it’s not lock and you can’t you can’t change mathematics when you compress twenty one something’s gotta go and if something goes where’s it going and what was it that wench that’s really what it comes down to detail exactly so what we’re talking was look at the price the performance the application we sometimes even ten one hundred gold each to sixty four inches sixty five cents in the Google halfway around the world one gig in turn gives way to much better now you get into the age to sixty four to sixty bought yes you pay the price with clarity and we see but it solves the problem two point cost what’s it she based the hands down stores the dust cost can say that again for point to point it’s going to be are hands down best best price for performance and when you need to do some switching switching you get into the if you’re over once it was just all to try and get a bill right she becomes the better or more cost effective a more powerful solution really even like and something small and I buy all you can be interesting muscle tone of my one gig solutions or you know Chris we priced it where my what puts description prices in the cheapest box you just a little bit more than HUD Steve seniors don’t fall for cash sh now we did have a little bit of a stump and say that we just recently came out with our new HD services HD boost you parks which shot we supercharged give more life edit Dante to it all IP control we added the ability to store case cinema at the for changing Ben left on and at the same price that we’re currently doing or each day straight Sentinel when she took the works there as far as price for performance and what you’re doing so is more choice immortal ID I don’t think age industry is counted out yet I think it’s going to be around for awhile and if you can see hybrid solutions to mix like she was teaching this year actually you got a problem CG misty eyed pea which will then be computing formatted insisted yearly and then the children about what are very interesting and it goes back to you are a few argument of IT integrators will always be relevant and even more so because we have more choice now and and you need to know your stuff to to make that decision with the best technology is that everybody’s can be easily integrated solution to want to join the key is they just need to get back control of the environment I think I’d see people are gonna be relevant in their own way to get me to handle you know that they are the network experts they understand in and out and they usually are in charge of the overall infrastructure of the network personally I like to keep it where he angels like she’s on its own network switch SelecTV integrators can support properly and then we get into the rest of the system that’s my preference I think it gets people to wash trouble I like it and I think you’re pretty much every TV person would like that as well because it just takes away that element of yeah what don’t I know about what’s going on here and %HESITATION when you have your own network obviously that’s that’s one less thing you’re not worried about email or somebody downloading a big file those are things that I’m really could throw a monkey wrench into a deployment but at the same time you know that the benefit of a network is that there’s there’s one of them doubling that infrastructure you mention a few things you’re working on are you working on anything else you’d like to talk about anything interesting well beginning which will allow to showing it Infocom is our new control and Jane are cold reacts RP eight X. stands for action reaction and it’s a non proprietary control based on the launcher Java scripts and will be shown at our booth and one of the things you’ve worked at the beginning was why do these things Dale white where everybody comes up with a new control and should not be known you don’t really see it going and the big problem is most of these companies such much blasted into the proprietary technologies a wake up but there are a lot of time and money into them is what they’re comfortable with from doing it for almost so that’s the problem and one of the mistakes that everybody makes out there when they come out in control and you think that just because it’s better and we took a different approach to make a difference in your answers and this is our house so I was that’s not how it works and that’s why there shouldn’t social units we all do is always business out there somebody will give it a shot but it’s nothing truly penetrating strings can be just another attempt that is failed over the years which I’ve seen so many companies come and go with their attention I mean I can go down the list and so on yeah but what’s different about reacts and this is the biggest difference it’s not just about a war would allow all or just about all manufacturers who are qualified to use we axe so it’s not just about a war is we axe think of us as the global that created the end we’re gonna need to Google that created the rear axle in the war in this case reacts and then we’re going to allow manufacturers to use our technology that we come up with so that we will not just shelling protocols we showed actual crew and there’s a commonality that never existed no one’s ever attempted on which sounds fascinating signing it I’d love to learn more about it because there are a lot of %HESITATION and so the trend now is for a manufacturer to do everything right instigator controls on this guy in your switcher from this guy but now they’re almost forced into being made making a control system and I would guess that not every manufacture even wants to but they kind of have to because people ask about it so over reaching standards based on Java script is the most popular language on the planet you could find a developer the easier freelancer dot com and %HESITATION so would open up a whole bunch of resources and just just the device driver problem alone is is a great argument for settling on on one kind of the platform so this sounds pretty interesting up we find more found out more about it I’ll come to my due date see two one four six info come we actually invite our competitors sure is were not competitors end users dealers will be shown off at our booth on it so will give more detail about what it is and how it’s gonna work and will continue to arm you know said she tried that message to everybody about you know you’ll see a lot of market share on this thing when you get to sell it it’s something not so one of the reasons why we did it was to give people more chores are we did not like what are some of the particular arm then there was doing and they do try to use the fact that they have that type of influence with with the control to make people buy the other products when they want it or not and this gives people more choice it’s does justice to the dealer because now they’re not down by one specific manufacturer telling what they have to do they’re giving shorts somehow maybe like my control and you want to use it with some brand X. Y. Z. touch you’ll be able to do that can’t do that right now it’s going to be this plan this plan this spring and that’s it and it’s gonna be their stuff we’re nothing and that’s not a good way to do tricks that takes away the originality it takes away creativeness when you go to the program’s insults I mean if you think about it what happens if one of these companies go under or if one of these other companies are deciding to sell themselves and they get kind of isolate themselves from the industry because of what they’re meeting should spend all this time learning something proprietary that’s used by many thousands if you’re lucky not knowing and Java script you when you learn it you can do anything you want you can use what you can do website development you can work your actually come up and talk to your company your website you can do other things you can branch out mostly get more access to cold and and researching since and you get more choices in the software development tools and capabilities are growing because now you’re tapping into what’s out there on the wet and not just limited she what’s in the proprietary little world just company tells you when that happens working lose their jobs what do you do now if they’re only Crestron programmer for where to go next if there’s no jobs available which amount of jobs that are available so it’s kind of a scary situation when you’ve been trying to only dash what do you do next and what if one day they go out of business well what if they sell to a larger company that sponsored it only focused towards enterprise solutions on now what do you do a livelihood into their hands one of the smaller guy she would officially given away nothing they can do that originally example reality and things that have happened in the industry could happen that would go from there I was a programmer you scared now words a perfect example I mean back in the day we work question for they sent a cease and desist letter saying stop programming one day because they felt that we were too much competition we’re not sure well actually really work we were just making products that complement to their stuff but I guess they had their own way of looking at things all but one day we were writing code for the next minute we weren’t I can open to everyone and anyone at any time it’s in there it’s it’s in their own always kidding I’m sure you can not they have the ability to control who does what and when and that’s to me is a little bit too much power to me allows people to choose who and who cannot do things and I don’t think that’s good for the industry so I’m trying to lighten up a little bit and give people more choice absolutely if you sit down with your retirement planner and he describes diversification to you it’s sure make sense no problem but %HESITATION in AV we tend to overlook that and %HESITATION we talk a lot about source code but nobody gets the source code for not for proprietary solutions and if something ever happens to that company then that’s it games over you either you can no longer expands or enhance that that system anymore and the skills you have or they suddenly become the phone so I’m on board with you and Java script the trends in web development is to use Java script on the front end and the back end so you can do your user interface in Java script and you can do your control stuff in the same language which is just not alone is a really powerful thing so well bang for the there was way beyond and so would like to say that maybe he’s on the company’s learned from that like I said look every every every single in the company side what they want to do with it and where they go the way he reacts is going to be a winner if it doesn’t take off what we developed a great control engine there war will sell and life goes on and we are controlling tion that we do if it does take off then hopefully can free up and fix the industry and give more choice out there and take it to another level that we have not seen in this industry and really break down a lot of barriers out there are hopefully he has people see that maybe they’ll change the other companies will change their ways as well and it will improve sticks so you know for us we try to get along with almond fractures even our competitors we we don’t as far as we’re concerned is a lot of work out there for everybody it doesn’t have to be a constant battle can be done in a way where everybody wins I do miss the days of when there was a certain level of expertise speech which company and the ones that were held them to have that so we’ve created this monster and now we have to see it through so like I said my job at least our philosophy is we’re gonna take a stab at trying to see if we can really kick start this industry different direction and if we succeed hopefully when the people look back and say well what was a company that did the deed which did and they deliver it and if we don’t I guess unless we can still saying we gave it a shot and see anybody else turned excellent very very exciting stuff will have to follow up and in a few months or a year or so in a sense and see how this all works out if if anybody would like to get in touch with you how would they go about doing that are it’s one nine hundred %HESITATION non she’s about although it’s it’s it it could be ready and enticing for another reading you string but don’t know best way to do it is if you want to get in touch and you just go to sales are wore a and M. dot com well I I I do get some of those emails so don’t go for it you know what if you need to stay on the questions arm you know so that’s a good way to get in touch with me always call my office are nearing that your manufacturing looking to get involved in us she holds me dish called one office don’t tell me who they are and all of you should talk to rich I talk to so it’s not a problem and are if you’re an end user or are you know dealer consulted whatever we love to talk to all you as well Infocom like I said dude she twenty one forty six will be our showing the full details about what it is and how it’s going to impact people and we’ll make our case and people will help us evolve that and hopefully we can make it into something that the industry will be problems excellent thank you so much for being on the show thank you hate Patrick thanks for listening to the show if you enjoyed this discussion if you liked what you’ve heard if you want to hear more discussions like this please go to I tunes legal review to the show send me a comment touches me somehow and let me know that you’re out there listening and that’ll motivate me to keep doing the shows get more so if you’re driving or whatever said something in your calendar to give you a reminder to go to I tunes thanks for listening to software defined survival for transcripts and show notes go to software the financial model
Jeremy West began his career in broadcast and theatre, working for Sky Australia and several theater companies as well as his own video production and software company. He’s worked as an AV engineer for AMX Australia and is currently revamping the way AV is done at Deakin University in Melbourne, Australia.
I first met Frank Damiano in an AMX training room in Horsham PA around the year 2000.
And for all of that time, he has been Founder and CTO of Damiano Global Corporation, an independent control system and audio DPS programming company.
His company has developed an AV management software called DGnet that, in my mind, looks like a software defined solution to a hardware defined problem.
this is a software defined survival where we talk to AV IT professionals and software developers to find out how to leverage software to reinvent ourselves and we do this we listen to their stories and ask for advice and tactics on how to survive and thrive in a software defined what today software defined survive all of us are trying to find our way in this new industry and we’re all wondering what was going to be doing three five current revenues important thing that all of us should try to get in on it is difficult if not impossible task in our industry they have all these platforms programming by you and it was easy to think at that time while they’re taking our jobs right it would be wrong to resent that minutes just the way things go and I try to look at that as sort of well what’s the challenge and opportunity in the nine a dominant Helen’s ladies and gentlemen welcome to software defined survival my name is Patrick Murray and today’s guest I met first at an AMX training room in the Horsham Pennsylvania many many moons ago I’m guessing it was around the year two thousand and for all that time he has been founder and CEO of Damiano global corporation and independent control system and audio DSP programming company and his company has developed AB management software called de Jeanette that in my mind’s kind of looks like a software defined solution to all hardware defines problem so please welcome to the show Frank Damiano Frank welcome to the show what thank you Patrick pleasure to be here is there anything about that introduction that you’d like to correct or expand upon you’re right it is a sparse this sparse but I have been doing the same thing for what eighteen nineteen years now so I think I think we say we’re innovating you know technology and you know trying to leave the past but %HESITATION yeah essentially been doing the same thing for nineteen years nice so I like to find out the origin story of where people came from like how you got into AV because nobody really grows up saying I want to do a be when I grow up so so how did you wind up in that training room that fateful day in Horsham outside and I didn’t realize we actually met yeah actually physically met it was for the weekend and in access training together all my goodness wow way back in two cities so you know that was just after I left the military so my story actually I had nothing whatsoever to do with AV and I was stationed in Germany and when I basically left the military came back to the US and I had all these ideas about what I might do stalking a venture capitalist so I had this idea about a hardware portal kind of concept you could put these kind of pedestal sinks style computer terminals and bus stations and %HESITATION train stations except our public libraries and %HESITATION we use target average housing to fund the ability for you to check your mail that sounds so ridiculous now to actually even say that out loud but no two thousand yeah we don’t have smart phones and that was actually would have been a really valuable service so I kind of had that on the brain when I got back from Germany I thought I was going to do that but I was catching up with everyone in my life and I met a friend who wanted me to take me to lunch and tell me all about how happy he was to get back in the industry came from which was a bit so I knew nothing about this and we go to that bar cheers in Boston and %HESITATION we’re we’re eaten Anne’s basically explaining to me all the trouble he had finding people that could program the stuff call Crestron I have no idea what that is but %HESITATION you know what you show me a catalog he knew I was good with computers so after lunch we went up to his office and he shows me this catalog it’s like you know I don’t really know anything about this but I do know computers and I can tell you this is literally decade old stop that their value added reselling so %HESITATION although I might not know anything about it I’m pretty confident I can learn it quickly so I basically paid my own way to go down to Crestron and Rockley and take the introduction of programming class at three day classes to do at that time that give you a little bit of everything yeah I came back to Boston opened up the yellow pages and started calling all the AV dealers in Boston saying Hey I just took the Crestron class and the you know do you have any program and the interesting thing was is that the most to a tee everyone was like well we’re pretty offset without Crestron programming and %HESITATION one company said well can you do a a maximum like and what he’s talking about so I kind of rolled my eyes and and I I can’t leave actually said this but I said give me a month and %HESITATION and I’ll do it so that must’ve been where we met because I went down you know I did some research find out where a Max was went down to Horsham and %HESITATION took all the classes they had in a month and my business kind was born from there and been doing the same thing of a son wow that’s a really cool story so there was this whole industry you knew nothing about and %HESITATION you saw some opportunity there and %HESITATION it really took the initiative busted out the yellow pages called AV dealers and and they told you the path they told you what they needed and at that time it was a mixed programming and so what’s your business like now just for a little comparison I think we crunched the numbers in twenty seventeen sixty percent of our revenue came from Crestron programming well and how many programmers yeah mustache insofar as audio DSP in programming the six of us wow that’s impressive so starting as a one man shop and growing to a to six programmers I’d I’d say that’s that’s some good growth in in in our industry yes ma’am six administrative people so it’s like that in the military they said there was for every person out in the field you have to have ten people back in garrison supporting them and I can tell you in this business for every program you have you need at least one admin support person behind the absolutely I see I see a lot of value in that just to %HESITATION so they can focus on the work and %HESITATION not deal with yet just the simple things like scheduling and travel and things like that making sure the job site is ready so what was your most successful Evey projects and and what made it special for you you know actually having listen to podcasts have given this some thought and %HESITATION I can answer that pretty quickly it was a job in New York City for HSBC and this this job had all they had it all it had the tri factor the hat trick you had kind of a cool project right it was with the cool client with a lot of history and it was with the legendary integrator HA Harry disassociate the way I used to work for him yeah what a cool guy right yeah I it’s the I’m actually kind of sad to see my project we have did together %HESITATION and I don’t think it was because I wasn’t good it was just I think he was kind of transitioning at the time this was he had programming recesses on staff this was just kind of a larger project you need to bring someone in from the outside but remember fondly in his in his touch buttons so there’s also new product but I never actually seen or used a whip microphone he’s the guy at the show you know that kind of invented the halo ring around a microphone %HESITATION yeah that’s pretty common today but at the time yeah he was that he was the one that did it and it was up user interface so was a button then you with this whole complex thing the wiring in it use those kind of G. P. I. O. interfaces the Crestron or amex interface but that what was cool about this job was this building had to be two hundred years old almost so old historic banking building and it was one of those executive briefing center floors so they got funding or whatever to literally just rip everything out and redo it so they were redoing the entire war all at once and it had catering and little auditorium and a receptionist all these will break out rooms a conference areas so what was cool about it was it was just an exceptional work of integration where Harry designed the stuff very meticulously you know was all proven well designed stuff so no one comments or anything we did was very impressive but the collection of them together with the most tightly integrated group of rooms we have a date because I’m all the technology basically work together seamlessly the reception desk had a panel that would be and see who’s name next system so it was a real simple thing to program the reception panel simply VNC into the different rooms because it was the same size at school they could literally see the you know the feedback of everything control the rooms this one the coolest things we put a touch panel in the kitchen so we put this twelve inch touchscreen on the kitchen that just had a tic tac toe board in nine buttons for the nine different dot conference rooms and if people wanted a Pepsi or something in the press a service button a service request button in the room on the touch panels with it with the panel would be light up and stops flashing the room number is probably the most expensive like waiter call system ever installed but it worked and people loved it and yeah I would look back on that it was one of those jobs we never had to go back you know Harry knew what he was doing and I knew what I was doing the and you know we bang this thing out had a happy customer never had to hear from him since but I think about often excellent well you’re bringing up a lot of memories that’s really where I cut my teeth in in AV with a yet Joseph Coley was kind of my mentor show me the ropes how all this stuff works together and of course Harry I still keep in touch with him once in awhile so I’ll have to tell me about this story will be will be happy to hear about that and numb yeah when a project is well planned and you just kind of plug the pieces together and everything fits well it really doesn’t matter how big it is dumb the planning is really everything so I think there’s a lot to learn in that what kind of %HESITATION changes have you seen over the years that I’ve had really the biggest impact on on your programming business while Hank used by could answer that %HESITATION I think it’s sort of the rise of these quote unquote programmer list systems and the change actually is not I thought you know when I got into this in two thousand that’s when they started talking about a V. I. P. convergence and and of course I had enough knowledge to be pretty comfortable with that so I thought well I will get into this at the right time right now I have no problem with that convergence they’d be and I teach I think that’s always kind of kept me a little ahead in you’ll worried as you know a Max came up with things %HESITATION Yellowstone’s programming languages and that have bomb was the one you have to buy it on a desk came before our PM or before PM I do not recall yeah and %HESITATION system builder and they’d they’d have all these platforms that would be programming for you and it was easy to think at that time while they’re taking our jobs right but they weren’t and it was a matter of a rising tide floats all boats so it just sort of kind of agree the whole industry and there was always that need for custom programming and that’s still kind of where we’re at today %HESITATION where even though more more people using that stopped they still need the Patrick marries in the BBC’s and you know the steep green glass of the world to go and do these custom systems but dumb you know there’s something a little different happening here now those programs are actually getting I’ve decided to do some interesting stuff like you look at Crestron with their AB framework in that one touch dialing you know that’s easier said than done right you know you gotta know chase on programming on this level details integration around and they just build that into it I got it yeah I gotta give Crestron props for that I mean that really Pushin there raising the bar with that saying Hey this is kind of the expectation of all people should have with these systems but then there’s also the %HESITATION this pressure from outside the industry so whereas through that whole time hide was rising in all our boats rising with it now the %HESITATION basically the you know the oceans is getting wider there’s all these different players and people jumping in and %HESITATION so you know what I see happening now that does concern me is you have a whole host of players that are coming in you know so you have Kramer Clough control which is really good actually I mean I think if if I was going to make a cloud control system the latest incarnation of Kramer call control it’s it’s a good way to do it you know they really they really know what they’re doing Barco has over a chore you know %HESITATION and even that won’t escape into the pitcher are you know and then there’s Logitech and all these other players in that stuff is really I think eating into all our lunches in it would be wrong to resent that I mean that’s just the way things go and I try to look at that as sort of well what’s the challenge and opportunity in that cross and that’s where did you not watch dog was born what’s the intersection of all those kind of pressures and an industry most interesting so I I I like that lead in and %HESITATION I think it’s it’s kind of obvious that the AV industry as a whole has just been growing and there’s a need to to fill those gaps right they all can’t be the super custom a highly complicated projects customers asking for simple solutions that can be installed quickly so that’s the reason for configurator is and like these one such systems that’s what customers want so that’s what gets delivered and as the industry grows and of course %HESITATION these trends for one manufacturer to deliver a complete solution there’s lots of different products coming online and different ways to approach things and I like the way you said you know you can view that as competition with which it is in some sense but you could also see an opportunity in there too well to offer your own thing because it is no longer just coke and Pepsi right it’s no longer just to big manufacturers to choose from there’s lots of different ways to approach it so tell us about your approach tells about DJing at what what makes it different what kind of problems does it solve well a few years ago we started looking at it and and we were watching what was going on in the industry and the idea was well what can we do to sort of at outburst if you will you know not to get all while with men on you but %HESITATION and we had a customer that came in half to say Hey %HESITATION could you set up an arm a server and the cloud for us and and like we could re sell these manage systems to churches and that’s why the fourth time a consummate come and ask me about doing that in the first three times that they asked me over the years was just a terrible idea I thought you know I don’t want to do this and these are the reasons why in that they were good reasons at the time you know most notably because a lot of people try to do it for existing systems and they didn’t appreciate the complexity of this wasn’t simply plug in blade to say let me you know stick a USB drive in your AMX frame or your Crestron frame and now suddenly it’s going to be compatible with our medicine fusion and all these things but he kind of came at a from a different angle as just management and monitoring as a service in some cases for people that didn’t even have control systems with the business itself was managing water in some way I just look at the whole differ when like a hot actually is a it’s a good idea so we can look into it and we tried %HESITATION you know we tried the traditional approach amex was pretty cool they just kind of gave us our math and said you know we like what you’re doing and %HESITATION yeah we want to support yeah so that was the first one we had up and running restaurant was pretty difficult about the whole thing they were kind of like well to really good idea what I will always take a look at that and %HESITATION and then after like three to six months of hounding them literally I had that they would even sell me the software they kind of that was when they redesigned the whole approach to fusion the timing I thought on that was pretty pretty suspect an extra will tell a game actually like how it’s really good idea except I stuff doesn’t work in the way you know its land based not win but okay we’re not off to a very good start here %HESITATION but you know we stuck with it and we thought well Hey this is the age of cloud right %HESITATION what if we did our own thing and I think three years ago I probably would have no business dreaming about doing something like that but you know you get good people on the team you kind of management style it was actually my guys that came to me believe it or not said we see what you trying to do and and you know on we think we might be able to do this on our own actually did want to ask them to do that I thought it was too heavy a left but you know thankfully are they like me and that we can put together this team and we started working on it and we built this whole asset monitoring platform in the cloud from the ground up we didn’t just like spin up the server and the cloud we use the latest cloud technologies like you know a W. S. when da %HESITATION we use Google cloud platform is what we built it on and we actually using python code we just started writing all these series of micro services and we came up with our own asset management platform from scratch so odds very unique it actually has very secure has a dual key authentication scheme it has its own custom made PI and the idea is anything can talk to it like in this world with is more more people coming to the table why not just make something that can help everybody so we rode job we wrote the platform then we wrote a series of modules frame express run an extra to say well Hey here’s models right out of the bank that kit you can just load your program and now your system is not part of watchdog and you can not put custom hooks in there for things like project your life and you know what input is you display on the kind of typical stop you do within our mess up fusion insulation actually know a part of this research I went to one of your classes we did your IBM cloud the remote management class yeah yeah yeah I actually took that I thought that I thought there was some competition they have then I realized I we would like going to a completely different direction we were trying to build a whole platform and we have so far is our platform is scalable to the queen and that means like everyone on earth could have millions of devices connected to it they put the module when they compile the the module with their keys and now they’re processor comes up in the right place and watch dog and they can actually see what’s going on with Crestron we actually had to work the hardest Crestron it took hundreds and hundreds of hours to get those just the initial version of the module going we had to write it in a whole combination of a quest simple simple simple sharp but at the end of the day we have this plugin drop in modules so you can take out any processor you go to our site you download the modules that processor you put your keys in it compiling loaded into an available slot and it’s kinda like us if you take it the NPS for instance you put this drop in programs and then it’s like the NPS tools in the cloud so we can actually read the I. P. table there’s a lot of stuff you can do actually without putting anything in the core program so anything that can be done through OB terminal commands but through the API we do and then if you want to do something a little more advanced to say like those projector hours something more fusion like you put anything in it the system communication link in between the two of you main program talk to our model and then you can just add more more attributes and then from there this reporting in notification all the kind of things people would want to do it in advance are massive fusion insulation pretty cool stuff there’s a bunch of stuff we talked about that I would want to touch on I don’t know if we’ll get to all of it I think the importance of a good team really can’t be underestimated and I like I like the fact that they came to you and said and appreciated what you were trying to do and came up with a solution I think that’s a sign of a a really great team people coming to you with ideas that they you can execute on %HESITATION then eighty eyes you mention so we we live in an A. P. I. worlds but that really hasn’t that message has gotten to evening yet and that kind of ties into how much how different how much difficulty you had dealing with I mean you mention Crestron I’m sure the other ones had their challenges as well and dump all the hoops that you have to jump through to expose very normal things to win API I think about this a lot of improvement that even manufacturers could do I personally believe every product should just have the API and let us use the tools that we want to manage it but the thing that that really hit me was you mentioned she took the course remote management application development ends you realize it was a different direction and I think it’s important to to to realize the distinction there the course is to develop an application right so it’s one it’s like a custom project almost it sets a dashboard that does what you wanted to do and what your building is a platform that %HESITATION that is a scalable and can be used on many many many different types of installations do you have any thoughts on that like a platform verses and application I have a lot of thoughts on that in Iraq and I can say that if that that’s that’s the the long and the short of it is that it’s a platform worse is in a single system our collection the system will not trying to compete with the AMX Crestron extra you know Kramer or any control manufacturer watchdog has supplemental control built into it but they can be up to a fifteen second delay because of the security of the client server nature of it although you can control any system connected to watchdog that you take the time to program a supplemental can call control element into because the processor only checks in with watchdog once every fifteen seconds it could take up to fifteen seconds were to get that command that’s part of the whole high security nature of it in for monitoring and asset management supplemental controls great but if your chart we’re not trying to replace in room control not even trying to compete with that what you is showing had the opportunity that we stay on on a limited basis a room by room basis to replace the talks fail to really have a cloud real time connection but for us that wasn’t secure enough what we were trying to do like my goal is to get you that watchdog and missiles not to control the middle the course but everything else that you might have an a you know dad did a real DOD Nipper certified kind of solution that I mean there is a the base core security of watchdog is TLS SSL so on the same rate as like online banking that’s that that’s the base level then you add to it things like the dual key authentication so very secure platform but there’s an additional level of security we can roll out when we reach that state that would encrypt even the data within the SSL street and you know it will involve rolling codes mean the NSA would be impressed so it is it’s it’s a platform in you have to sort of pick your market you have to know what what are you going after what aren’t you going after and what wouldn’t certainly not trying to replace anything going on that day Crestron rants which we’re just trying to complement it I mean a big part of what we’re doing Patrick is trying to kind of raise the bar for everybody all of us are kind of trying to find our way in this new industry and we’re all wondered what we’re going to be doing in three five ten years from now it was important when we developed watchdog that we come up with something that could help lift everyone up so you know we were seeing for years people should be using our massive infusion and our global viewer but they’re not it’s only being used in very large installations %HESITATION and then even when they do get rolled out how often does the integrator get looked into that right they should be the first people looked into it yeah so many times they’re not so we wanted to create something that just eliminated all the up front hassles that are associated with these things like spending up servers even without using cloud which is certainly moving in the right direction they still need to spin up in a short server and that takes time with this it’s just monitoring dot did you not doc caught any device in the world that’s ever gonna talk to watch soccer always going to use that you are out so it’s just sitting there waiting for things to connect to it so we thought Hey if we eliminate the pain points eliminate everything that’s required to sort of spin this up and get this going what I like to say is that it’s good for one to whatever many systems have one important asset are you have you know some with price Waterhouse Cooper with thousands and thousands of rooms and everything in between I want to have a solution that could serve all those people so our system actually handles money to we knew Hey are recurring revenues important saying that all of us should try to get in on this recurring revenue streams that is a difficult if not impossible task in our industry I mean how many people actually get service contracts for programming if you did your job what do I need a service contract but with something like watchdog I think we we wanted to help integrators and programmers get into that managed services kind of platform so that what we’re offering were making it really easy for either the integrated a pay far or the end user you know that you can put a credit card or a CH information write the platform and we actually have built in this revenue we call the revenue share and %HESITATION the defaults ten percent but we can actually in certain cases increase that if the integrators adding more value once a platform to handle building on that and will actually ACAP that revenue share every month to integrate our does he give them that revenue stream and and reduce the friction involved with all the paperwork of invoicing and this that and the other thing too is trying to give these tools to the industry to say Hey you too can be part of this so don’t I mean I believe was that integrates will be able to sell more mana services with a tool like watchdog and that’s a big part of our goal with this that is a really impressive application that that kind of turns the way business is normally done a little bit on its head AV is really slow to change especially the way projects are done and the way they flow but there’s a whole rest of the world out there who just expects these kind of managed services that expects there appliances to be monitored and to be informed when when things go wrong before they go wrong and %HESITATION and they’re willing to pay for that because it is an ongoing service and I like the way you %HESITATION you lay that out that that the payment schedule is is built into the software and the invoicing is taking care of and revenue sharing and all that and that is really more of like a software as a service type of approach that that again I think %HESITATION we could use a lot more of the navy also a lot of exciting stuff on the road map for that too and like one of the things that we want to do is create a service provider kind of model so it’s against really hard for programmers to get in on that recurring revenue yeah so what happens when a CCLI programs system for someone and then there’s a problem and there’s always that sort of uncomfortable kind of period of time you say okay I covered under warranty are covered under warranty all covered under warranty but when did that just become inappropriate covered under warranty you know that varies from client in project in operational requirements and everyone kind of have to make those difficult decisions on their own one of the things you wanted to do to help our our brother in right appears instead create the service provider role where you could register on the platform as I do do that service provider in a client let’s see you do programming for HSBC and HSBC can access the watchdog HSBC could basically select to add Patrick Murray as a service provider to their cap and anytime they got a notification of a problem they’d be a button there that could say Hey why don’t you ask Patrick about this and when they push that button we could have you know you’d be you’d be able to work with us to create your own terms and conditions you know maybe have some kind of risk free guarantee the say okay I’ll take a look at it and you know typically the way we do things as we have risk free time and materials we said okay you can engage us with just your word you’ll pass if we produce a positive result and this is what I rate will be and so we might spend forty eight hours looking at a problem to someone but we’re only gonna build them for that time if we actually produced by the results let’s say that two terms and conditions will screen will pop up did agree to it in in not until they agree to it would you then be with for that notification you you could do your magic to you’re saying you let the platform no the problem’s been resolved once the client agreed we could hit their billing account and basically instantly transfer you that money and help you now without a service contract still maintain an easy way of having a financial relationship with these customers that you’ve done business with that’s a really cool idea it’s almost like a a service market place like like apps store except for service indeed I like that approach we need more solutions like that because you know how it is we run from project to project and now it’s it’s this feast or famine type of a thing and it’s not exactly the best way to run a business long term and %HESITATION having those kind of yeah actions directly to your customers and in ways for them to reach out directly to the person who who should be working on it I think that’s that’s a really great way to use the technology today so given all of your experience developing GTG net and and having some customers and and and using it and coming out with this new approach new products do you have any advice for someone who might be interested in developing a new solution or a new approach and how they will go about raising awareness for trade secrets Patrick while we have to maintain something a competitive advantage but that’s just a snarky way saying I don’t know which you know if if I’m honest Patrick you we’ve just been following our hearts with this you know and %HESITATION and I’m not gonna lie part of it is just hoping we’re doing the right thing I mean it feels like we’re doing the right thing would check in a lot of boxes but probably just following your heart you know we felt this is something the industry needed and there’s definitely a build it and they will come philosophy but I gotta tell ya not as many people come in as we had hoped are wanted but that doesn’t mean they won’t notice things take time so we’re still pretty new that we released it at the Infocom last year as we kind of did you did you not watch dog so we kind of a version two point know that we’re gonna be releasing at impa con this year and that was certainly spent our time and were built you know we have some we have some good anchor clients and certainly doing some interesting things but I have this fantasy that the integration industry would come beating down my door saying yeah we we want to be doing this we even have yeah we’ll have it what programmers most people listen to this so we have those clients that just always come look to us these innovative solutions and we have some clients that just talked over and over over the years about how they wanted to manage services but they never really do anything that interesting shall we know we need to be doing managed service as well something like MXR mass infusion these you really can’t do manage services without asset monitoring so here I come up with this we even offer branded versions of them where I’ve gone and actually you wouldn’t believe how many domains I own things like that AB I see a world in Crestron dot world and all these you know and I have all these domains in the bank just waiting for people to come and ask to do business with us so I’d take an integrator and usually out I’ll buy it doc cloud version of the domain and you know we’ll do all the networking and everything to resolve that to our platform to say Hey look at we can give you this branded version of it we can even put your logo on look how much more can we do form and you know I I’m it’s sad to report a lot of people would see that and that they don’t get excited by it but yet these people profess to want to be offering managed services they think they can do it on their own and %HESITATION you know all I can say with that is good luck in the navy I SPL is trying to do it with symphony and that they’re actually doing some really interesting stuff was happening in its target of course the highest revenue clients actually what kind of what they’re doing it’s kind of an eye he G. kind of approach you look a little device there talks to the the cutbacks in that you know queries per call quality in duration and all those kind of important statistics for those customers that spend the most money with a BSL but you go and ask the average person an AB ICL office don’t even know what symphony for this having been involved with insulation so I know sometimes where they say the pioneers get the Arabs that’s right that’s right patience is key nothing happens quickly and I’ve been through it myself you come out with a new product to get to trade show everybody says wow that’s cool it’s amazing I want to use it and getting people to actually execute on things is a real challenge and I think it it really it needs to come from the end users the end users the customers have to ask for it somehow but if they don’t know about it how can they ask for its you’ve got this I couldn’t agree more eggs solution that the people that are most passion about the do not watch I’ve been and uses so our new record clients end users that came to us and liked what we were doing and that the that is definitely with the driving forces so if there was you know some advice I could give to our our industry peers rise to say don’t be afraid to approach and users you know I mean and and that’s that’s kind of the pepper gas model right I mean they kind of went from serving integrated serving large integrators very quickly and that I believe was a key part of their success I hesitate to speak farm but it’s certainly a model to be emulated it’s a conclusion I’ve come to I think %HESITATION if you’re thinking long term and you have the patience and then getting your own customers to buy into your solution is is really the way to go just because you know integration business has a different model than a software business to us so were there any plans for the future that you’d like to share with us absolutely hardware actually at the simple com will be releasing our first piece of hardware we’re going to call it a very interesting name a PMU USB one we thought we were going to be that kind of company that had boring model names but you know the reason you do that right so on and again we’re not trying to compete with control system manufacturers but we actually you know we we believe that our so the niece here what we’re going to focus our attention on this exceptional you know monitoring supplemental control we want we want to try to build did you not watch dog into the brand that people go to for just real high and exceptional monitoring and asset management so you try to look for these things like well how do I measure you know our current or you know line voltage and things like that in the rack so your crush on AMX make rack mounted use but you know what if it’s not a record of his sister displaying a lobby or something like that so we were trying to find these %HESITATION single outlet devices that you could monitor power and there’s a lot of stuff out there like we nose and other things like that that you can put in your house but nothing like really enterprise grade if you can believe it we tried some stuff from Tripp lite actually let us to invest too much money into developing our own will single out what device such power to the USB bus you can plug into any computer or raspberry pi and %HESITATION it’ll actually measure the line voltage and current driver device we believe this will be the person kind of a line of measurement devices that will help bring that extra level of monitoring control because take it this way I mean this is the problem you run into with fusion RMS or any kind of asset management platform you monitoring the online nonstop flight status the device it goes off line right in that begs the question why did it go is it till then yeah is it plugged into the network go out you know what’s going on and it turns out if you just simply monitor the power consumption of the device you might be able to save of animal you could earn the right to call customer and say Hey ya can you check it but still they are plugged in writing the song I’m seeing a power monitoring device I’m seeing that it’s literally drawn zero amps which means nothing plugged into its not even stand so things like that and %HESITATION you know we’re also trying to help people kind of like what you’re doing that sort of raspberry pi the system on a chip kind of mantra it to say you know these things won’t necessarily replace aim express on Iraq’s front nor nor should they try but it’s a good a good supplement to it to say well let’s compliment your boardroom system by putting some of the smartest things like this will rise reprise when you what we have the full custom version of the raspberry pi zero W. got a little case with the watchdog logo on it and we use any HDMI cable and the CDC protocol basically monitor displays and report their status to watch dog C. to stick this thing on the back of it you can even put a little battery backup on that thing so in in power it through the U. S. B. that most displays have these days without any additional plugs you can actually monitor it even if the power goes out in a still get the sos message out and you add to that this is a hard we were releasing that Infocom and you really couldn’t monitor that asset whether it be a projector or display or anything like that so we will will differentiate ourselves in a positive way and %HESITATION now take off from there I think that a lot you mentioned about replacing control systems and I think this goes back to the beginning of this discussion when you were talking about a rising tide and on the AV industry growing there’s just a lot of niches out there and there’s no one solution that’ll solve everything and I really think you know when you talk about the cloud they’re talking about age computing now and that’s kind of where I see things like the raspberry pi it’s not a replacement for anything but he could sit on the edge of the network and do a little bit of logic for you before you pass things to the cloud or as a gateway or things like that ask you look at how we are going to be using it and I have an interesting %HESITATION kind of survey too at an informal survey results to share with you okay no masters classes a couple weeks ago right rice so I had in my in the pocket of my shirt a raspberry pi zero W. in our custom case within rail mount so we have which we cannot take this red repository really sex up with this will general Collette and then the sole custom watchdog got emblem on the on the front of it I mean it it’s impressive looking yeah I probably took that thing out of my pocket and showed it to twenty different people while at masters in only one person recognize what it was so I I don’t know do you view that as opportunity or misguided ness but I’m gonna choose to look at that as opportunity it’s it’s the whole model of the shows its software defines the hardware does not matter and since the raspberry pi a comes up a lot because it’s thirty five Bucks so if we don’t care where the whole software runs then why not take something that’s proving to be stable and is is very affordable amen to that there you go so I think that’s a good stopping point for today if anyone wants to get in touch with you how they go about doing that all the best thing to send an email to info at did you not dark cloud excellent thanks a lot for being on the show Frank thank you Sir was pleasure if you enjoyed this discussion if you liked what you’ve heard if you want to hear more discussions like this please go to I tunes legal review to the show get in touch with me somehow and let me know that you’re out there listening and that’ll motivate me to keep doing these shows get mad so if you’re driving or whatever said something in your calendar to give you a reminder to go to I tunes thanks for listening to software defined survival for transcripts and show notes go to software defined survival dot com
Lee Rivers talks about how programmers can guarantee AV project success by working directly with
consultants and end users.
this is a software defined survival where we talk to AB IT professionals and software developers to find out how to leverage software to reinvent ourselves and we do business we listen to their stories and ask for advice and tactics on how to survive and thrive in a software defined what today software defined survive and then I get there and then it project manager got none and I we want this button to do this and do that easy rider writing way it’s going to be handed out of it you know the next day and it’s like two weeks worth of work we need some money from someone with an understanding the banking code what’s required all understanding how to really it’s not so easy and that really wanted and this space pasted to stand up and take control of this whole prices because it was a safe space it really understand these prices Haiti Patrick here just a quick recap of my week before we get on with the interview I just got back from Amsterdam where I attended Crestron master training event it’s the year two thousand eighteen in case you’re listening to this sometime in the future ends quite honestly I almost did not go but on the recommendation of my body Steve Greenblatt he really encouraged me to go and he was right it was the right thing to do because I was really surprised about some of the things that I’ve heard now in AV one of the things I’ve been talking about for a long time is this whole software defined stuff using modern programming tools to %HESITATION do your automation and control and pretty much all the traditional control manufacturers have been hesitant to take that approach because I understand it right quite frankly they’ve put a lot of resources into creating proprietary control systems proprietary ID ease in software and they have all the support structures and dealers who are trained up in this stuff I completely understand that and on top of that their tools work great they do what they should but from my perspective once I started using iOS swift and Java script with no J. S. ends working with other developers and subcontracting work out to other developers it became very difficult to go back to those tools because it’s just a completely different development environment so I think there’s a place for everything there’s a time and a place for these traditional tools there’s certainly more of a role that modern tools could be playing and that’s why I was really blown away this week when I attended a class at this Crestron events where they announced that their touch panels will be programs with HTML five CSS and Java script and they will not be providing an ID touch panel designers will be expected to use modern web development tools to create their touch panels and this is a complete paradigm shift it’s a total one eighty from that closed proprietary system approach because now basically you create a web page and it could run anywhere I could run on your laptop it could on on any browser any could also run on Crestron touch panels so this completely opens up the weight AV projects can be done on the touch panel side because we have so many more resources now you could hire any web developer to make a whiz bang touch panel ends you could re use that however you like you could serve it up from somewhere browse to it from your phone you could package it up as your own app and you could brand that out and I think this is a really big deal because let’s face it Crestron is a really big company and when they do things like that people will pay attention to it so I’m really excited about the things that I’ve heard this week ends also their touch panels will be running android so it looks like you may even be able to run your own applications right on the touch panel so this is really exciting stuff and along with some of the other things that I saw this week like the the partnership with apps space a digital signage company starts to make sense because the run that digital signage platform it’s basically HTML web pages so it kind of makes sense that they’ll move in this direction and of course all the video I. P. over IP was a big big thing that we talked about this week and quite frankly he V. systems are going to have to be done differently they’re going to have to be designed and plans quite differently even a good CAD drawing you know the days of of writing on the back of a napkin or certainly over but even a good CAD drawing will not be enough to get buy in from IT professionals so the landscape certainly is changing and one of the biggest takeaways that I took away from this week is that Evey programmers and software minded integrators are really the ones who are best positioned to shepherd in this new paradigm of AV IT and software defined AV IT on a technical level sure obviously that’s why we’re best position because we understand things so deeply what needs to be done and the order in the way it needs to be done but on a business side I think we have a lot to improve on and that’s why today’s guest gives us a lot of tips about how to change your business and really take advantage of the opportunities that are waiting for us so let’s get on with the interview my name is Patrick Murray welcome to software defined survival I’m here Chris Johnson master training two thousand eighteen in Amsterdam and I’ve met some interesting people and one of them is my guest here today and being that I’m a masters I have not had a chance to look at is linked in profile and give the typical background so I’ll just let him do that himself Louie rivers welcome to software defined survival how are you today things country can you tell us a little bit about your background how you got it starred in a movie and not all that sure %HESITATION yes I’ve been doing this for about thirty seven years sort of my background was initially doing invent some and %HESITATION as a DJ and production and then sort of went into the I AB side of things in regards to silos and technical and installation and they need to programming and project management and running says as a senior project manager and yeah so it’s kind of pretty much everything in the industry all kind of have a doubling and had to play with excellent and what was that initial impulse to get into a V. what what was like your first project or %HESITATION probably as a DJ but both my brothers with the Jason so it kind of was in the family and %HESITATION and yeah I like a lot I used to set a mark around this kid doing recordings and and that sort of thing so I was really not very much into music to really enjoy it cool thank that pops up a lot there it is again music usually it’s guitar something that we’ve got a DJ on the show and %HESITATION yeah that’s a recurring theme that music is a gateway drug for a fee which is it different so %HESITATION could you tell me a bit about your most successful project and and what made it special for you I guess the %HESITATION the not so much the lightest that probably one of the biggest I did was set on a few years back I did a project for the department of education and it was somewhat different to this standard project in that %HESITATION always working directly with the consultant and always engaged by the client to actually do the programming commissioning which meant that the SI was the one that actually just supplied with equipment and installation and I did all the programming commissioning full that project working directly with the consultant and the and the and the client take Mike showed that the interface is we’re going to deliver exactly what I wanted %HESITATION and the project end up becoming %HESITATION %HESITATION will actually like we had the guys coming out from integrate at magazine to do a just a cover story on and %HESITATION and it wasn’t long before I see in two thousand seventeen and %HESITATION and then we found out that bag she had put herself for the international war practically you without you asking for yeah without a sign asking for it we digest and and when it was only like about two weeks out from the shot and so I you know I wasn’t trying to guide to I see because I was already coming a masters in Amsterdam and it’s a long way from Australia to to come here so it was at a big commitment to it be up to come twice but two weeks out and found out that would be nominated in the consultants at night you betta get tickets even a common we came to Amsterdam and I’m surprisingly we actually won the international project of the year which we went expecting because there was seven of the major projects from around the world and it wasn’t a large project but the innovation in the project and how it all went together and the client was just over the moon with that and it worked really really well and kind of %HESITATION from there it’s sort of staying rounding to me looking into more working with consultants and and the end user to get a pet a outcome and I guess that’s probably out of all the projects that are done browsing the projects are done over the years that was someone and I guess what’s with the United a stand out the most so I’m looking at that projects what really set it apart for you was that direct contacts with the consultant generex yet and definitely early on in the in the prices so you know I I I’m just speaking to people he and everyone has exactly the same issues with you know when they’re working at that sees the %HESITATION and sort of working we %HESITATION system in a crisis this it’s usually time is always the issue you know and I don’t have the time to be able to scope it out probably ended really get %HESITATION might be to talk to the end user client to really understand what the requirements are from from the client’s perspective side they do their best and then I get there and then it project manager got none and I we want this button to do this and do that do that subtle changes in its usually right at the end of the project way it’s got to be handed over the you know the next day and it’s like two weeks worth of work to trying to facilitate the requirements and and you know if Ian seems to be getting set up the file all the way along the trying said to be able to be engaged on very very early crisis you know we were spending we spent a lot of time developing the actual touch panel layouts before any code was actually written so it worked out perfectly and so when it come time to to trying to with no changes required because it was all worked out that’s really a really interesting you know I’m really excited about this whole idea and because it’s the same old song and dance that’s being set up for failure happens over and over again so I’m really excited about this idea of %HESITATION getting involved as early as possible but that’s easier said than done right so do you have any usually I ask for advice at the end of the park as but let’s just jump right into it do you have any practical tips for anyone who wants to get closer to the origin of the project yeah definitely look I I think that some as program is we’re always at the coal face and we can bring a lot to the title when it comes to helping al consultants and even system going into great dissident doing design construct talk works all I believe and this is what I did which took me a long time I spend a lot of time meeting with consultants and meeting with you know a system integrators and just explaining to them what you know how I can deliver for them and and what we can do to to help them when they designing from a design perspective without understanding the packing code what’s required for understanding how to really do a good interface %HESITATION it’s not so easy for an a so I or even that the consultants to be able to %HESITATION paint a picture for the client so when we come on board we know what works what doesn’t work and we can explain that to the client and then we can find at the intricacies of what I require one of the issues there they’re experiencing and how can we in code and in the in the face %HESITATION be able to provide that and why this is gonna be easy for them to use excellent so the benefits sure if you’re in early you have more time right you don’t have that time crunch at the ends obviously contacts to the end user that you could really understands what what issues they’re trying to solve what what kind with their solutions should look like those of the benefits has there been any %HESITATION challenges that have been introduced by getting in so early is there anything that any negatives to it a look they res %HESITATION obviously when you change the way things get done in any industry you can have some sort of resistance and so I found the wrist any resistance at all I’ve experienced is mainly from the system in a crisis %HESITATION by it you know I see me as a threat %HESITATION as you know that I’m taking away part of the works %HESITATION button in actual fact %HESITATION every project that I have run with this model %HESITATION has worked perfectly with the client and then actually might system integrator look bad on %HESITATION because nine times out of ten that the the the product mix delivered is not exactly what the client wanted all the consultant had this online %HESITATION because of all the time limitations in money because I mean that was a tender arrangement with that putting the pricing as cheap as possible just get in and get out and then run on variations to try and actually make some money out of the project by the way doing it is not about you know looking variations it’s about being up to understand what are the deliverables from from the outset so that we can actually deliver that to the client rather than how we got to get in and get out in a certain period of time so how does integrators flips have they changed their mind set after going through the process look some have %HESITATION some haven’t I mean you can’t change everybody but I think in the long time people will see the benefits of this model excellent so let’s get down to some practical details what does the process look like so there’s a consultant who has a project you’re on board to help him what are some some of the steps some of the tasks that you actually do and and the timing of those tests like I so depending on where the projects are sometimes we just organize like assume chorus or Scott call with the client or all the key stakeholders that again we utilize the for the day the %HESITATION the system or to maybe %HESITATION services system or their own internal IT or to all IT departments have everybody involved that would like to have input in the eye roll you know you soul operation of the system %HESITATION side that’s the first thing is to be able to scope it out a lot of the times like for instance of a recently did a university project where they had like six different types of of the legacy touch panel laughs and what we did was we tried to everyone of them and we said I chi what’s the good the bad and the ugly for each one of these and then basically grabbed all the good bits and try to get it all together and and and documented a once I will let’s let’s work from this and and basically built %HESITATION a touch panel out having all the functionality within the one system and then sort of guy from there so it gave us a framework of way to stop from %HESITATION and then where I would be able to do it and build and build until it got him absolutely everything that I wanted to do but still easy for an ID educators to you because you know the light at the end of the day to day the guys that are going to be able to get out there and just be able to you know select one button and the whole system turns on the white guys it’s gonna be very easy for them to be able to do that pot from the the people that are actually the intent of life you know like two guys I know the issues they’re experiencing and I to die Dino the floors in the existing systems and I can provide that feedback from there you sort of given a really good clear roadmap of what you’re going to deliver once you’ve got nice touch panels done in light and light out the coding is easy because it’s normal cry it’s it’s really black and white yeah that’s come up several times to programming is actually easy once everything is defined so just to recap real quickly step one is talk right talk with the end users see see with their their needs are step to analyze if they have anything already really take a good look at it what’s the good what’s the bad and step three is documentation so you’ve mentioned touch panels several times %HESITATION does does your value really revolve around the coup we interface or is that just part of it is it is there more to it than that look I believe the Kiwis probably ID percent of it to be honest %HESITATION seriously because at the end of the day the people that are all private that I’m K. one brandies it’s irrelevant it’s just about the user experience and I that’s bandied around a lot of Instagram at the user experience but it really is about the user experience so if you can get thank you we rely and make it nice and easy %HESITATION you know your job done do you have any way to %HESITATION it was not do we rooms are and so %HESITATION keypads or it real animation where there’s just sink detection or or things like that maybe even voice control yeah look I think can sink detection yes %HESITATION haven’t done a lot of key pad type stuff from because typically the systems are out of work on a usually quite large and complex said there’s not a lot of that sort of requirement and made the point I want to range where Mike in their breakout room or you know since a little meeting rooms about that %HESITATION that %HESITATION haven’t done any yet voice control but definitely interested in in in sort of looking into that area okay so you’ve got the functionality defines in whatever the user interface is going to be let’s say it’s a good week you’ve got that defines with some just wire frames or is it a full blown %HESITATION graphic design do you put some text in there to describe things give me an idea what that was don’t do that we want to climb into the client is not something sometimes you can be just a simple yes actually doing all the touch panels because you gonna do them anyway you’ve already got the job so much of the touch panels and then screenshot to send it to the client and then if you can have a meeting them to be able to explain how it’s the the functions working things out that really depends on the complexity of the of of what the project days you know if it’s just a basic little meeting rooms are not that that’s one thing that’s you know you really kind of to get into it too much if it’s more like a more complex you know meeting room board room or you know a multi purpose to offering where it split into three range of things out that then you getting them more complexity in you need to actually get down to the nitty gritty and you need to have everybody spying on on we have to get that information sure and numb once that’s approved and everybody agrees on everything what are the next steps are probably pretty obvious but just take me through that case a missing anything side typically once that some of the that signed off for me that’s the next step for me to get my next progress payments %HESITATION because for me it’s all well and good to be able to do the work but if you’re not managing risk of business that’s the other part of mapping of the program is it is it it’s it’s a business as well you know you gotta make sure that you you managing cash flow and you managing that that you you get you made a milestone in you you put any invoicing and once anymore spine then you get a next step and you’ve clearly defined that from the outset so the client really knows what are the key points along the way so once you’ve got that signed off and you you know you put invoicing in you being tied for the ice man a works then it’s getting on to the programming I’m saving up the program and you know maybe you can you know do some off site testing you know you might have a little crisis you go home and be able to actually play tricks and all that sort of stuff working and anything else that you can test as much as possible I like to try and have pretty much most of the code components completely finished before I go to start and stop loading the other thing that from there is that would be really dumped on and make sure that the system integrator is completely understanding of what is required before the program is going to get someone you know make sure that a lot of the RP information’s being supplied to the dive down all their system testing and so on exam that might show the days you know anything it for their one night you know Wallace and for for the yeah program to going in and load understanding that you know who seems in control of the commissioning side of things and that sort of thing and basically it it’s just run like a project you know you’re going to have more you different elements of what’s going to be done and and it’s done in in in in time once the programming is done then it’s putting in time to say a couple of programs done now I’m ready to come to sought once they’re ready and then somebody it’s another %HESITATION and then it’s the final go to sign in to you funneled lighting and testing and commissioning and trying excellent %HESITATION I usually have a note pad and take notes but I’ve got a bright rely on my memory for now so there were a couple things I want to touch on %HESITATION you mention payment as being a critical part of the process it’s not all fun and games you know the as technical people we we like to have fun we enjoy our jobs but %HESITATION I like the way you you place that importance on there it’s got to be part of the project processes when we we paid for what tasks so I think that’s a really think important thing to note and of course you did the programming because that’s %HESITATION when you’re background where you come from but there’s also this installation part so it almost sounded like you become there’s a transition between where you’re doing some consultancy on on what the final solution looks like and then you transition almost to a project manager do you help select the %HESITATION as a systems integrator and and then can you talk a bit about the transition from being a consultant to a project manager yeah look down at the moment in the role that have been doing we %HESITATION the consultants there’s no real involvement and he’s getting shot in a chosen to to do the work in regards to the tender process of %HESITATION %HESITATION by in demand definitely with the project management I’m actually managing my part of the project and on making sure that I know in advance when I’m required on site on like show that Dave because you know what they ducks in line of Donald a big that I need to tell you because it’s all about ensuring that I understand what my requirements on before he shot because I don’t want to get the site and I’m not going to work %HESITATION because just wasting everybody’s time yeah so is so once a project is installed and complete and accepted is that the end of the projects because I kind of have this idea of if you look at software development you’ve reached version one and then there’s a long time between that between version one release and when that system reaches end of life and that tends to be ignored a lot in AV do take that into account and all and and what does it look like for you you look alike to run have the chance to be able to go and get back to the client and just see how even it’s going you know just to calling you can just have a coffee just to see how it’s all going but also I I I tried to exceed in case they mean to you know providing some sort of found a service agreement you know from the from the %HESITATION %HESITATION uniting site com you know for more updates and and %HESITATION you know testing is systems and stuff like that I mean it’s all well and good to be installed will have certain you know my idea slicing in place but from a from a code in an operational taught us perspective %HESITATION I’d like to have make sure that my relationship with the client is still strong and in any changes they want to do United gonna come straight to me every time just to just to make sure that %HESITATION you know what it is going to be done in code can be facilitated excellent excellent yeah you mentioned %HESITATION %HESITATION says security updates and we just sat in a class together where you know the big take away for me was if security is a feature if you view security as a future then you should be updating firmware regularly that’s that’s a part of it yeah and so so it is a little bit loose right it’s it’s not really an a contract is not part of a documented part of the work flow but you definitely keep in touch with the end user is so is there anything else that %HESITATION that you’re working on that you’d like to share with us any plans for the future you plan on doing anything with this model or just continue to execute it on your own yeah look I am working at the moment %HESITATION to put together a %HESITATION it basically I’m looking at building strategic alliances with people not just in a stripe around the world there are like minded and wants to set a time you know I’m take more control of where the going in and advice to give themselves the opportunity to actually succeed in business rather than just you know I get the cards dealt with in and and I’ve got to put up with it and tried to do the best I can with with what’s dealt to them %HESITATION and so in saying that odds actually got some alliances throughout history of cuts and make a line in the U. S. that we’ve been talking with and there’s been quite a few people that I’ve met here at %HESITATION at monsters that I getting at are asking the same questions that everybody else is asking their own experience the same issues so you know just saying this model is saying how works and and and a sexy sits a few places in the U. S. that are actually running exactly this model %HESITATION and it’s working really really well and in talking with some some of the head guys here Crestron a dinner last night and he said the time that we’re trying to get people from from CS pasted to to run this model the ease and and yeah and that really wanted and this space pasted to to stand up and take control over this whole crisis because it was a serious piece it really understand this crisis and now hoping that that we’re up to do that now I can understand why it hasn’t and because everybody’s different you know some people %HESITATION management people some people out another ticket to known that big data really just want to get in because I really don’t want to be client facing that really don’t want to be running a business is such two as a business development manager they just wanna write code and I want to do any voice and I want to work on the next job not so bright image finding you can earn good money that way but essentially if you want to be you know in charge here and destiny and you want to be able to work on some pretty amazing stuff and be involved from the outset and rather than sort of you know on my small of being rude being a much like a bottom feda you know you you get to the top of the pack and then so you will be working at that high level you really need to be able to have strategic alliances with those people that can actually help you to get to that point and so you sort of working together and it becomes you know it’s a win win deal for everybody that’s involved when I know I believe in life you gotta love what you do when you get away with doing a lot allies that were actually going to enjoy that and will likely we work in the industry that pretty much every on that I’m not in the industry level I do you know it’s it’s a fun industry line %HESITATION side that’s a first base so you got to be happy with what you’re doing and I believe you got to be in control of your own destiny not like if you sitting there and being upset of the county got a date you getting dealt stymied getting you pack now it’s time to move on and and and take control of yourself and if you can’t do it yourself align yourself with people that are going to help you be able to get a you know help them to get with any ticket and you help them and I help you when you when you know it you’ll go along the path together and it’s amazing what you can actually chase absolutely inspiring stuff you you’ve got me all fired up and I can’t wait to get home and start executing on some of this and %HESITATION based on some of the things we’re seeing here this training software is really going to be more of a part of the way AT projects are done and %HESITATION we’re going to have to develop software development cracks practices we will not be sitting on a cable school behind Iraq doing things last minute so the industry will have to change and a lot of the things you said about you know taking charge of your own destiny I really think it’s time for for AB programmers and software minded people to stand up and say yeah we could do this and %HESITATION and to get to it so if anybody would like to get in touch with you we’re gonna follow up probably some time and a half for your your so and and see where this whole journey takes us but if anybody like to get such a few in the meantime how they go about doing that and you can get to it contact me through I linked in this one way I’m all up and leave at on my dash excel the XC L. dot com today you excellent thank you so much for being on the show early thanks Patrick hate Patrick Ewing and thanks for listening to the show if you enjoyed this discussion if you liked what you’ve heard if you want to hear more discussions like this please go to I tunes legal review to the show send me a comment get in touch with me somehow and let me know that you’re out there listening and that’ll motivate me to keep doing these shows get more so if you’re driving or whatever to set something in your calendar to give you a reminder to go to I tunes thanks for listening to software defined survival for transcripts and show notes go to software defined survival dot com
Frank Pellkofer has been CEO at several companies in the AV IT space and board or committee member of several organisations including the Order Of Odd Fellows whose mission it is to improve and elevate the character of man. The Petaluma music festival which funds musics in local schools and the Mid-Pacific Information and Communication Technologies Center, that helps improve career pathways for thousands of students.
He is currently CEO at Utelogy, A Software-Defined Platform to Control, Manage and Analyze Your Enterprise.
this is a software defined survival where we talk to AB IT professionals and software developers to find out how to leverage software to reinvent ourselves and we do business we listen to their stories and ask for advice and tactics on how to survive and thrive in a software defined what today software defined survive we are the crown jewels in the I key and we have to act like with the look and feel like your email like their voice over IP like their security like a virtual people always say well you know software off somewhere to find what what is here is what happened network of that network doesn’t go out we are so defensive about our industry that we don’t understand I see that we’re preventing our own chest like not great looking at ourselves actually specialized IT bars springtime greetings from sunny central Europe my name is Patrick Murray and by the time you hear this it will probably be cold and rainy here again today’s guest has been CEO at several companies in the FBI T. space and his linkedin profile shows a more charitable side where he has been up award committee member of several organizations including hello to my music festival which funds music and local schools and the mid Pacific information and communication technology center that helps improve career pathways for thousands of students as you all know I love learning and teaching solve all behind that and he’s also on the board of order of Oddfellows whose mission it is to improve and elevate the character of man that sounds pretty darn interesting he’s currently CEO at utility a software defined platform to control manage and analyze your enterprise ladies and gentlemen Frank tell cover Frank welcome to the show well thank you Mr Murray how are you today I’m doing excellent how how are things by you very good here in California the seven forty five AM and %HESITATION you’re in my second favorite country on the planet dear Deutschland yeah the if I was ever going to have to go somewhere else that would be the place I choose what brought you I know you’re interviewing me but what brought you to turn the tables that love not money so my what I believe to my wife’s hometown she had she had family in my hometown and lots of back and forth over the years and eventually she won that battle so that that’s my story and I’m sticking to it so Frank is there anything about that immediate called out very good stable Deutsche we can do the women on the podcast in in German right miss everybody or in one week maybe maybe the next one that’s a good idea for a show is there anything about that introduction that you’d like to correct or expand upon no it’s the pendulum music festival we raise money for a band instrument augment teacher salary well the Oddfellows is an organization that dates back to the UK in the seventeen hundred and it’s just all about the community educating orphaned centrum and then yeah mid Pacific a call them pick on the Pacific ICT and it is an initiative in the western United States among community colleges which you know several hundred and it’s all about making sure that the I. he he Asian cracks or dressing the types of things that are coming so that they put out students at the have the information they need to be successful sure I I imagine a lot of the changes that we see in technology easily schools will need to keep pace with that and that must be a really hard challenge especially at the community level yeah I think it is a challenge because the you know Moore’s law yeah is got got got a pretty good element of truth to it so and if you do anything in education you know that curriculum is it takes it takes up a good effort to put together piece of curriculum for a single class and if Moore’s law has technology improving and doubling its capacity every you know you years it’s a big effort to keep pace with the status of technology so but they use a bunch of business leaders on different committees to help no drive their curriculum advance that I I like being in that in that space interesting interesting stuff so it looks like your background is more I. T. based please correct me if that’s not correct accurate how did you get involved in AB well I built my first control system when I was in fifth grade no way I am yeah I had a eagles cassette tape that’s how old I am and effective with the let it be album and I’d ask my dad to take me down to the local hardware store we bought a he bought me a piece of why would a couple of light potentiometers dimmers in some AC receptacle and we built a box and I plugged in a few different like a cheap little plastic fiber optic you know fountain light then the yeah spinning you know kind of the way to the drama Dellums or the or I don’t even I’m not in the in the life of that date colored pieces of plastic with the lights behind it and and I spent a couple days building my box and then I went to waited until it was dark I had my parents to the next door neighbors come over and I put on the of the first title track of the let it be album in all two and a half minutes like made the lights go on and off and what I thought I was cool thing I wish I had that big that is cool you have any pictures of it I would only in my head that the and then I got into the AV business you know through like so many of us through life music you know if I play mandolin cheaper than a psychologist to play music %HESITATION and does it have some opportunities so you know in the in the nineties to produce MAV loved it thought it was very cool and it was way to make money and I haven’t really looked back %HESITATION I’ve had to learn like he and I really had to learn the last decade the ideal solution selling you know I had two good mentors and partners and you know people Helen helping me along the way like you all I’m I’m always trying to learn always curious now how did that guy you do so well have happy customers to pay them so much money what did he do what expectations did he that I did not so yeah it’s not always the they talk the technology that that is the deciding factor in these things there’s there’s often some nuances involved with it that %HESITATION yeah that they can only be learned sometimes you could learn them as one plus one is two more but more often than not it’s it’s a it’s a more nuanced thing that %HESITATION that you can’t directly just kind of learned you just kinda have to be around it and experience it a little bit so I like that you mention the fact that the mentors or important to you %HESITATION how do you did you just kind of bump into somebody that that helped you along your way or did you actively the seek a mentor and and how did you go about that process what was it a was even like something you set out to do or did it just happen oh yeah in fact my very first business was a coffee cart college I was going to and and so I reached out to the CFO of the college I knew he had gone to UC Berkeley’s graduate school of business and then I also reached out to the dean of the business department professor Alistair Milroy who owned a shoe manufacturing company in the UK before he got in the teaching of I said Hey here’s an opportunity but I don’t really know what to do and never had a business before wondering if you guys can help me and they did and that I kind of got me hooked on the idea of mentors it and I’m not sure how many people on the planet which I don’t have an ego but you have to set aside your ego and really be willing to embrace your vulnerabilities and take a good hard look at you know what you think your strengths are and be willing to hear what other people think your strengths are not you know so I kept portfolio I mean I always you know one two three %HESITATION I mix them up but I keep in touch %HESITATION at least once a month to you know go to lunch have a phone call a great thing to do mentor say advocate for them great stuff I really appreciate that out that also the the tactical advice of keeping in touch and meeting at least once a month I’m actually in the middle of of the book %HESITATION ego is the enemy so it’s funny you should bring that up right now and now it does have a lot of %HESITATION knock on effects putting putting the ego to the side it just kind of a makes the glass empty in and ready to to receive the knowledge so let’s jump back to a V. could you tell me about your most successful project and and what made it special for you cool well for me there there’s so many you know there are some projects that you know don’t go well they all end we well yeah but you know you know how that goes I’ll have this the most successful project at least as far as you tell if you’re concerned is in the California community college system is we started in in higher education it was a way for us to do that our technology in an enterprise level without having to fly around the world we could do couple hundred three hundred five hundred thousand rooms %HESITATION and to do it in a in a in a region even though the longer sales cycle but I would say the Los Angeles community college district the C. I. O. name is Jorge mata they are the largest community college on the planet they have something like a quarter million students in any given semester if nine campuses yeah multi billion dollar operating budget and then they’ve got a problem I mean they’ve got a couple of thousand classrooms and when I I met Jorge at a CIO conference you know I would do what I always do which is you know not tell me about what kind of challenges you have with your technology in the classroom or conference rooms about that in it hit challenges you know are like nothing you would hear in a typical AV conversation because they really had nothing to do with video on the screen the quality of the audio challenges were decidedly Aikikai challenges I have no insight into my room I issue propriety it seems ridiculous but I have to pay so much money for a box that really running that you’ve got a chip in there at a PC that’s been locked down I have several hundred people on my I. T. staff and I have a choice to have to either hire one or two people with a very highly specialized skills that they go away I’m stuck or I have to hire a third party you know with this with this skill set and done yeah so so those are some of this pain and he wants the ability to have we deliver a ubiquitous user experience regardless of what integrator you use but it goes further you go I’m spending twenty five thousand dollars a cluster on average two thousand classrooms seven year refresh fifty million dollar eighty budget right so divide that by seven years that’s a very significant amount of money sure and he’s responsible to board of trustees faculty taxpayers in his case and and he wants to understand what the effective the technology having unlike student learning outcomes for instance right then fact this goes to about a value conversation that I hope we can touch on put so well we did a first it was like fifty rooms of proof of concept and then we did another eighty rooms and then we did a project that couple hundred rooms it ended up being about three hundred fifty rooms over the course of two and a half years triple redundant you know virtual environment circuses datacenters he’s got three data centers spread throughout the south land will third one is virtualize they just picked all the boxes for him and he didn’t force that he he he let it run its course it was evaluated by all nine campuses directors like pee on each campus that to me from a sales perspective was just a highlight from a technology in its success perspective it was a highlight from the I. O. level and a very large enterprise with a couple thousand rooms it was a highlight and my favorite quote is I always say well you know software also where to find what what is right it all fear fear fear in Horry goes so we had our Australian partner out if he came into her disability here’s what happened network goes out Jorge across my network doesn’t go out I have utility I have you told you getting right next to my payroll server what if my payroll server goes up and he had it all you shouldn’t be in this role if you’ve got network problems like that it’s the truth rank yeah so anyway very big highlight except and then they ended up buying a you know a seven figure option on a on a five year plan for your contract with us and you know we love it and that was very successful everyone happy teachers students Theo our company just when when when I really really love that story there’s so many elements that I’d like to touch on I don’t think we’ll have the time to hit the mall but %HESITATION you found like the golden end user who really just laid out these needs was launched knowledgeable of the network right just sink my network does not go out AV people not all of them of course it’s getting better but you know everybody tries to do this private network where we close everything off into our own little networking called a network and that’s not really the idea we’re not taking full advantage of everything that standards based networks offer to us there’s like I said there’s a lot I want to touch on but I’m curious about that so what kind of a issues did you run into in in the first few rollouts with that project well a network issue actually the very first one he had a campus that was you know a hot mess of the network and and it was a it was a major issue but we spent a lot of time really focusing on the customer what the challenges were and it and remember this was the PLC we didn’t get past this that one we weren’t going to get that we was going to be yet in all likelihood so so helping them understand what the problem was instead of a big finger pointing exercise teachers would call a river are still gonna James Gonzalez on this project teachers would call on a Saturday they had shattered the clock this isn’t working you know he’d have to walking through he would go there a lot of days you know for for a couple of months to hold their hand but also to really make sure that he was understanding what that pain point was and understand the customer use case scenarios and so instead of a finger pointing will this doesn’t work because we knew they understood at a at a intellectual level but the possibility could be needed to improve their network so that that’s how it went in and %HESITATION we work with the I. T. department we’ll sell network but in their case their HP we work very closely with Cisco’s well but in in their case it’s an H. P. network and we were able to work with their team and I would say from an integration perspective that’s a huge huge requirement if you’ll have high level specialists like you know CCIE which are not cheap people or people like our mutual friend Misha Vander stoop on your team you’re not going to be very successful in the new paradigm twenty work in the old paradigm right that’s not going the way I would argue that right now it’s just the rate of growth with hotel rooms boardrooms conference rooms collaboration spaces is double digit it will be double digit for several years to come as far out as we can see in the future so there there I would argue the only room for both in the and that it could it comment there but it’s a recurring theme throughout the network yeah it comes up quite yet like the old I don’t even want to call it old but the very specialized highly customized one off type rooms that could get very complex they’ll always be there and %HESITATION they’ll always be custom and you don’t kind of the island so we do you know that the customisation and maybe a hardware based approach is kind of okay but if you’re but you can’t scale so %HESITATION anything that needs to operate at scale many many hold rooms or middle sized conference rooms we’ll need to start take advantage of the network I just want to point out the lesson that I got from that last part of the story because my next question was you know what kind of trouble did you have and how did you solve them you talked about hands on support and of course support really is the secret sauce to agree business and long term customer relationships but you pointed out that it it it improves your knowledge of how your systems are being used and that was and that was intentional it wasn’t just a group provide great support for the customer to it to win that customer over which of course is a great thing to do anyway but you also saw value in in learning about your own products and and how it’s being used and I I think that’s a really important point of that story so after that you’ve got you’ve got this projects with some kind of the perfect end user lots of knowledge budget you’ve got this proof of concept you move beyond that and and did the large roll out what was kind of the next step and what what activities really provided the most traction on to get you to where you are today well on that particular project he was repeating that PLC process on as well I mean you can imagine right so in pollution sale you know the monstrous find pain you pay if you gonna boil down that’s it and but it is any enterprise environment if if you’re not the thing the committee right for constituency if you will the users the technical the business folks CFO sucker and the financial well I would say maybe maybe you’re executive sponsor director level not using then you’re not you’re not captain to the source Monica that are key all the values good plucked out of the project at that point commodity one one to ten are for men and so %HESITATION in think about consultants in our industry right they’re the ones that are tapped into the value tell me what you’re trying to achieve challenges trying to overcome projector they’re the ones that are sitting there with those four constituencies and having a conversation well I mean fix it go have those conversations and there’s nothing wrong with the night he or maybe you know far I prefer to call them that you’re having those kind of conversations in your value added reseller as opposed to an integrator integrator implied your technical that your value proposition but you’re also fighting margins of your of our you’re probably having the conversations with core constituency so relative to your question our conversations were multiple multiple they you know they have a your district technology committee with all the I. T. you know leaders from all the top nine campuses they have a user group committee two years about they all meet quarterly so you can imagine though one report on your progress ask questions what have you learned you know there’s seven camp of the year that haven’t you two camps is let’s share what you know what you’re and it developing trust with all of those constituencies over the course of time and of course it doesn’t go perfect there’s people that raise questions and and you know fear uncertainty doubt we don’t have that then you’re not either asking the right questions or or or not it’s a normal part of it all only get to go to all of that and address them one by one they even went so far as to hire two different consulting firms outside of what they normally higher to design classroom one was an I. T. bar in the Midwest an IT consultant in the Midwest one was an eighty consulted in the Midwest it with other state to a value away again to the old paradigm you know giants in the industry yeah that that was a particularly proud moment because now there’s something published in the public record that we scored perfect scores you know in a whole bunch of areas and you know very respectable and you know leaders in our industry that I was a proud moment sorry I probably got off track what would you get not at all we have always asking you how you gain traction with end users because you kind of alluded to it the way a V. projects flows from from my perspective as a programmer and for many integrators as well is the end customer in lists of consultants to make a a a specification and that is what we see right and and that’s and then the project gets done and then maybe there’s some contact with the end user afterwards to %HESITATION to fill in the blanks that were missed in in Madame in in that process and dumb I’m noticing it already now that it is it’s it’s a different business flow being AB programmer there were just a few manufacturers that people choose from and the phone would just kind of ring right the everybody else would do the hard work of marketing and sales and the phone would just kind of ring but now with software based solutions where even if you’re doing something open source if it’s affordable or not doesn’t really mean much of a difference there’s there’s some there’s this new marketing and sales process that it’s just inherently different than than something that’s hardware based so that’s something I grapple with a lot ends you definitely answered the question quite well it’s really enlightening these these four constituencies that you that you spoke up and down that was definitely I would I would add you know in the end you just said it and I’m coming from a place of deep respect that but you said you know you get to the project you go through your having in the programmers in particular are very well positioned to hit in the matic shift in approach that I’m talking about from a just from a stylistic approach to value added sales solution sale but you said something that I just broke down contacting the customer afterwards small changes in follow up I would argue there is no afterwards that may be the biggest issue that the AV industry has a lot to continue on this conversation with this particular customer okay community college district two thousand rooms nine campuses do you take in a two thousand room license off the table subscription it done and for the several AV you know integrators along the way you know we’re trying to get them to go in with us we can’t get them that you know were looted were bad you’ll die you know no one ever got fired for hiring big blue IBM right sure well well now that we’ve got the license and now that they’re moving forward with with implementing okay new building coming on line here new building their twenty five rooms here fifty rooms there and that will go on over the next five years actually the refreshing every room on the platform of the next five years and not a single AB integrator they look at these folks it’s twenty five rooms I don’t want to bid on what you tell you they’re not in there asking if they are the only intelligent they’re calling us in any to quote this is impossible to put the system on you tell you plot so not like completely and totally missing the target altogether but the worst part is to them that twenty room project fifty room project is the start and end that said there is no ongoing there is no enterprise conversation and and I see it repeating itself over and over again back I want to start a class called enterprise solutions only Brimble come I keep telling myself I want to do that psycho I would argue that I’m gonna go off of off road here go crazy we were talking recently about you and I about the IT industry twenty seventeen was a three point five trillion dollar global industry and depending on what numbers you look at the AV industry twenty seventeen was about a hundred and twenty billion maybe a hundred and fifty billion somewhere in there globally which is about three three and a half dance you know cake of the total like he global spent in twenty seventy five would argue that we in a V. have been so defensive and I’m for maybe I owned an immigration company in California for decades that that that we are so defensive about our industry and we don’t understand I see that we’re preventing our own success by not in bracing and looking at ourselves actually specialized I. T. bar we are the crown jewel like he and I would bet you would never talked about this but I would be willing to to to say go out on a limb and say Patrick you have been involved in AB project where you struggle to have a meaningful cooperation or communication with an IT department weather was the network folks with it with the datacenter folks whatever they are I wouldn’t give us the time of day or the information we needed or they throw up their hands and said you had to build a different network winning one yard you have probably absolutely ASEAN and the result of that is we said okay the truth of the matter is that not what they want they want your stuff our stuff on their network they just don’t believe us we can’t have a coherent conversation yeah when we’re done with the project and the building opened up and all the contractors could become you’ve probably been to those kind of party the lobby party where they celebrate they bring in you know the the people that founded the building the people that built the building users and everyone get to spend a couple hours you know with cookies and punch and you know etcetera where the black people you’re showing off the board room they’re showing off our technology we install they wouldn’t have given the time today and I’m I’m being a little cheeky there but you get my point right we are the crown jewel in the IT industry we have to act like it with the look and feel like their email like their voice over IP like your security like the virtual desktops and when we do that whether you’re using our technology here you tell he or whether you’re using you know our competitors technology we it makes the AV world show up in a completely different way and here’s what you’ll experience you’ll experience and I key department going well I get it thank you conversation done you got to be able to talk about the security protocols which you you know measure that guy is probably you know took top ten globally from the network perspective John chambers of Cisco he was like up there in in in John chambers whenever John chambers within the media Michelle was there supporting him that kind of thing Michel does you know network reference architecture for companies that have ten thousand rooms globally in you know eighty countries hundreds of city where the crown jewel of I. T. that’s my claim and I’m sticking to it I love the mindset specialized IT VA ours and and and that the I. T. people basically show off our stuff because Iraq is a rack and %HESITATION you know video is much more interesting so can we can we get a little tactical because the message to me is loud and clear I love it but there are some steps to get there so what what should a company with a traditional AV backgrounds or even a an independent programmer like myself what are some steps they can take maybe you break it down what what should a sales person be doing what should a technician or a programmer be doing to be able to have better conversations with with IT well first off so I I mention the poor constituencies right technical users executive director I two years ago she also but you need an executive sponsor for us it usually director right here CIO of my experience with it and they’re not all like that Minami be clear this you know I’m being very general here applying at a high level but HV world it’s very comfortable talking to technical people at a customer site right an AV department yeah if there is one I find it challenging not to talk about technical well and there’s a very important space for that but that is I would argue the biggest discipline the biggest thing we have to discipline ourselves to a boy on demand to elevate conversation the director level how do you do that applause and I HV integrator today I would be doing small regional shows with the ideals I would not have it if you ever come to you elegy boost that these kinds of things you’ll never see a piece of equipment in our place ever ever ever okay death of a sale because I’m not here to show you the thing I’m here to find out your challenge that’s the key thing is not to do that tactical focus on the strategy number one right small regional the audio show government education you know small medium businesses if you’re big enough to handle large scale you know fortune ten thousand companies you know great if you’re not avoid them because they’re huge and cumbersome you can do a lot of damage from a you do a lot of great things I should say with a law firm that got you know fifty conference rooms in three locations in your state right sure and there’s a lot of good value to be had here so that’s the first thing the second thing it’s just focusing on the paint in those conversations strategy and I might thing is when I’m talking to CIO I will say so for our first meeting I only fifteen minutes of your time twenty minutes Max will make it quick I want to get to the word no as fast as possible and I want to waste your time or mine okay then I say but I get the meeting then I say what I really want is just you by yourself none of your team I don’t want to bring your integrator to mean you and usually she or he will agree to that then I shall tell me about your challenge what you pay because their team is there day will not tell you what their challenges are they want a candid peer to peer conversations almost like a mentor relationship yeah and I swear it’s a fascinating don’t tell you one of my challenges you know my eighty integrator they think they hold me hostage you know the TV broke when my team won out they got a new TV you know they just want to hang it and change the code that two weeks before that but you know the integrated could come out they want to try to get out of well you’ve got a thousand rooms in that you know in every room requires that you know once or twice over the life of the system that that’s a Burr under the saddle their their world is not should be able to do this I had an employee quit on my voice over IP canceled you know that that that their email account cancel their voice over IP account yeah I had a night the bar install the voice over IP them but I can manage it I can make changes been up a new account these people want let him have what they want then the next strategy that value now you have an honest conversation okay sounds like we’re not at the word no what’s the best next step who should I talk to your organization to get this going my goal is to have a proof of concept I want you to go by five rooms in any good CIO or any good director like he is not going to make unilateral decisions gonna send it down for betting to their team if they don’t they’re not good now we get permission to go start having meetings with the team sponsored by the executive we got our exact spot I’m going to go through that and then that’s when I would bring in someone senior like you right and I’d say well you know please make Patrick Murray he is highly technical been here done that and I think that for programmers in our industry they’re the best position to do that as opposed to being your install technician the programmers are the ones that understand architecturally at the high level how these things go together there is a one the one constituency navy that had both conversations about what are you trying to achieve with this user are you trying to achieve user experience so that’s when I bring those people in preventing and I will and if their network experts I’ll leave it at that if they’re not then you know I treated as user experience expert then I will also bring in a network expert and my goal there squash the network conversation factor that comes up Bennett if you got the right person they’re gonna you know good customers because they will what the effect on my network what your security protocol how do you avoid you know X. Y. Z. how many hops on the network what do I gotta do what ports you’ve got to be opened up tracker tracker and that conversation will pop up like you’re in it go in fifteen minutes and now they’re open to everything else that you want to talk about you still have to go through and that you know invalidate the network architecture in support of this paired up right but you still need now there had the you shut down the whole voice in their heads and you’ve got there full attention instead of every time you bring something up there thinking security how that’s going to work where do you expect work which I consider AV programs to be at a network expert which I it I believe that yeah AV programmers are the best suited and have the closest you’ll that in our industry to be able to learn and fill those roles and like you said earlier you love to learn I love to learn you know I I got it in a at one point you twelve years ago now but believe me if I can do it anybody can do it in it now helps me in my conversation so tactically those are the first few steps and my goal is to get to a proof of concept from the business owner’s perspective it takes some money and really the new value here is A. V. as a service when you tell it to the platform that enables back managed service provider that’s one thing right but in the AV industry we’ve done this idea of a services contract what a services contract it’s nothing more than an actuarial bat between me and the customer they’re betting that their maximum exposure is at and I’m betting that I built the system so well that I’m in a pocket that money you know and wore this for a year right and what kind of a long term relationship is that when at the end of a specific project we’ve now got a bet against each other basically some sort of insurance policy two eighty years of service five I’ve done all that heavy lifting up front understand your problems to quell the concerns of your team to earn your trust to prove that the concept works now we’ve got a relationship now we’re actually got a partnership where a partner a trusted partner a trusted value added part margins are now healthy the relationship is awesome and now I’ve got a subscription model so where do you go if you’re a business owner well go finance the pure Cisco reseller I don’t know what what their arms under some nexus half or sixty percent of the of the you know project involves disco equipment don’t finance the whole thing the whole con of finance companies out there that can bond the idea of AV at the service just as a subscription there is no upfront cost you gonna take whatever gonna pay fifteen hundred dollars a month for this conference room with dual screens in a disco that sex twenty you know of buying up you know to Sarah sound bar where whatever it may be right whether Hubbell rumor complex order and you can price it accordingly and what you’ll find is that and it’s actually not that hard to sell in fact it’s a huge asset to most entity especially in the corporate space because instead of having to capitalize the put on their books straight line you know amortized and appreciate it’s just only expendable suddenly in companies leave things all the time and until we change the whole model to look like %HESITATION my voice over I pieces restriction most of my video is now subscription most of my C. R. M. is now subscription most of my ERP I don’t know what the number is but a vast majority it think that IT departments by our bought today as a subscription so we need to change the business model we need to change the failed approach we need to train up our AV programmers which are very well positioned to leverage this and in it and then at that point you know it just becomes a matter of implementation and we already understand that we can go in and have those conversations the gossip I plugged the TV in two or you know ungrounded you know isolated ground I knowing that have like a hermit shoppers are so much war you know sixty cycle home an audience that’s an expertise that we have right and and not another part of our our value whole conversation in the subscription business model it worked six eight times trailing twelve months rather than whereas the contracted model it word for the five times even huge difference in valuation on top of the huge difference in margin I’m on a mission not just for my company industry that I love I’m on a mission to get our margins back be the crown jewel of I. T. and to eliminate fear that I think a lot of people in our industry have because we’re undergoing this paradigmatic shift but I’m here to tell you there’s nothing to be afraid of it safe we’ve been doing it for decades for five competitors like me Barco bought media along you know what this could start I would argue are little better and I say that with a smile on my face but it could stop Kramer bought I rule it’s not I got nothing against my competitors because they were out there doing this paradigm shift as well like it like explores in the old days so nothing to be afraid of call us call them will will walk you through it will have the conversation will take the time the best time to plant a tree was twenty years ago the next best time to plant a tree today again thank you so much you’ve got another call to take in a few minutes but I definitely would like to have you back on flora a part too because you just laid out and a business plan basically you’ve you gave us the entire game plan to get from where we are to where we need to be and I have a lot more success and not only that the motivation on top of it I really do appreciate that and I thank you so much for taking the time to talk with me today if anyone would like to get in touch with you how would they do that well our website you elegy dot com you T. E. L. O. G. Y. dot com I’m Frank helicopter you can find me on linked in course I always want to talk about you tells you but really a rising tide list all ships and you know you hear me talk about our competitors I’m so happy they’re here so I want to have a conversation and we can do this together Patrick let’s work together to elevate the industry and that’s what our party is that I see at Infocom the called the machete club has nothing to do you’ll never see us mention our name if you’re in an on board with the shifting paradigm and join us whether you appreciate what we bring to the table or what our competitors bring to the table not none of that matters us there were all good we all have a good solution what matters is that we’re changing our industry and if in the end of your on board with that you know having those kinds of conversations you know all be on all the time because I’m gonna keep it neutral I’m not going to make this about our company it’s about our industry me yeah my company will just ride with that conversation absolutely there’s I mean just the numbers you were mentioning comparing IT Davy there’s lots of elbow room so even the word composition is %HESITATION the it does direct competition I think is a not really what’s going to happen how this will play out at least for some time so thank thank you so much for being on the show Frank and will definitely do a part two some time you got it my friend thank you so much out leaders stand choose it is and we got on this muscular shell Patrick here again Frank got you all excited about software and living up to the moniker of being the crown jewel of IT you’re going to need some new skills and more importantly mine’s a new way to think about a new approach to designing and delivering projects so I encourage you to go to learn even program dot com just read the home that’s it just read the whole page that resonates with you then go ahead and click the button at the bottom of the page and sign up for the starts and some females with more ideas technical info on how to start expanding beyond the comfort zone that’s learn AB programming dot com all right get out there role adapts and let’s live up to specialized role in IT I’ll see you next week thanks for listening to software defined survival for transcripts and show notes go to solve thirty find survival dot com
Steve Greenblatt is probably least known for being one of my former employers. His AV career began by spending a few years working as a Systems Engineer for Crestron, then he went on to found what was probably one of the first Independent AV Programming companies, Control Concepts. With over 21 years in business, Control Concepts is one of the longest running AV programming business out there. He is also host of AVNation’s A State Of Control.
Micha Van Der Stoop started his career at Cisco where he was involved with everything from designing and implementing their internal office networks to business development for Cisco’s Proof Of Concept Lab.
He also he worked at Shell Global Solutions where he was responsible for the global Reference Architecture and Solutions designs for AV, collaboration and CCTV.
He is currently Managing director at IDM Solutions, a Consulting & Design firm in the Netherlands.
this is a software defined survival where we talk to AV IT professionals and software developers to find out how to leverage software to reinvent ourselves and we do business we listen to their stories and ask for advice and tactics on how to survive and thrive in a software defined what today software defined survive and then all of sudden there is a space that start thank and we asked cables stick if you are well I and I thought that was the area with those opportunities that the IT space but everything that sits in the datacenter space is more reliable more feature backs and infinitely more welcome to software defined survival my name is Patrick Murray in today’s guest star his career at Cisco where he was involved with everything from designing and implementing their internal office networks to business development for Cisco’s proof of lab kind of proof of concept glad he also worked at shell global solution’s where he was responsible for the global reference architecture and solutions designs for AB collaboration and CCTV is currently marketing director or you’ll have to correct me if I get that wrong at IBM solutions which is a consulting and design firm in the Netherlands welcome Misha Misha fenders correct me on all that in a second welcome to this well thank you very much them yet so mischief on the stove sis which is console the rest was the treaty at pretty corrects managing director of IBM solutions from the Netherlands them will brief you statements sat through excellent thank you for that is there anything you’d like to expand upon about about that introduction and you know I I think in light of the conversation that we’re asking is the the the backgrounds that I have and the legacy that that we carry Kenexa every well into this into this topic and I came from an IT backgrounds and like most of the people I’ve met so far in the AC industry and and that I see background has been as a result many firsts as being dispersed as voice over IP deployments in Europe going away from traditional P. B. access to and an IP enabled said medical manager at the time going for the first wireless working with universities in the Netherlands and around the world to develop the wireless protocols and the standards and to go from real standards based CCD feet to an IP enabled should your surveillance system and yeah due to Cisco I actually rolled into the yeah that AC space realized that it was well a fairy boon regulated says space and and so a lot of opportunities and and those opportunities are now how I have few years later finally manifesting itself in this whole topic of IP enabled said I T. enables and and clouds enables connectivity the wild west of AV can can you tell me a little bit about that transition what happened there at Cisco that got you involved with a yes it was in their way was very very interesting so the wild west of IT was in the mix that early nineties it was fantastic time where I have projects would be left right and center offices will be deployed Cisco’s internal offices will be Abby would install an office a week and when we had done everything in that so the in in Europe later Middle East Africa as well and even later into full at emerging markets if there was something new that’s is glad you would just go in and add that that’s gave a lot of space for interface and for personal development ad for networking in the broadest sense of the words and at one point we we got in full into the holographic telepresence and we helped to develop that’s which was absolutely fantastic but it was always the DAC portion where Wesker Prisco some projectors science and all those kind of things and starting to realize there was already some hate it’s different worlds rather we knew at a field the from all the office of the officers that we deployed but we never really got around to it **** as an IT yeah organization and the screens were the present screen Satele drawn first it was just screens in a room that sway you connected to the PC with CJ or or and may be the CIA if it falls fillable and but it was there and then and starting to add to talk to the guys that did show production that we organized that the Cisco networks and just go live for a few years there were all these companies like yours Johnson coming in and bring in all the states heaps and heaps of kits and equipments and it was at one and say Hey seem to work quite well and at the same time it couldn’t work with anything that we had which was sick why did you make money and starting to stink and starting to work for a company that says like well date got everything that you’re doing needs to be per faces doesn’t matter where you are and then all of sudden there is a few space that started saying it needs to be absolutely perfect and and we have cables the stick if your arm to run for a while why ends and Anya in that space coming from that sell across the presence of the projects I realized that there was a whole market out there where we could so we could actually and it was and well off the two thousand census was two thousand seven I think that that it was my real first introduction that into this into this area and I thought that was the area with all those opportunities that the IT space had in the early to mid nineties so I got into its and it’s being that is being very much it’s very fun is very fun right I like the way you were you you compare the opportunities that it did we always say that AV kind of flags ten twenty years behind IT and %HESITATION that’s one of the things that I really I really haven’t thought about is that you know this in the during that transition the early years of IT there was a lot of opportunity and and that may be present now on TV as well and you also talked about how he could work like the show production guys in the AV people there their stuff just it was so different than I TT and and dealing with data let the AVIC convergence right but it’s it’s it’s actually more of a clash at the time it was was was definitely a class or if it wasn’t even a day but just Santa parallel boss that would never cross and read that damn band videoconference came along it was a your friends but say the experience and some local people in your show except the but the experience of safety was really or as people coming in and now I do you support the war technical support and to come in and explain to people how the the remote control work of video conference system and then use ice the end to dial out because you want to do something really really difficult and all of a sudden there is this as the easiest to telepresence portfolio for Cisco but also the political mad telepresence solutions that came there that all for one touch panels really kicks **** whose phones that could be controlled said there’s always the a lot of technology development and going on dad’s what would let Fritz out all the technology that’s it’s in their **** it can be easy and that was what what the present was about in the beginning it’s easy is high quality you don’t have to do anything and of course in the very first deployments were difficult and sent to build a telepresence system mad at the show which we did so is like going around all Cisco’s expose that was also a lot of work you would be the I. T. equivalent also show guys because it was lots of boxes and screen somewhat ask you but installing that in all fairness and all of a sudden leasing that’s for years and there are still many of the systems that have been deployed says a hideout almost twenty years ago that I still see around and I guess that testifies to the stability off that IT environments and a since we last week we actually had a company yak coming %HESITATION square in the not so let’s see they were saying that the still have offices that use got three and it still works and that was a deployment of thirty years ago Sir can you imagine that any of the A. C. technologies would still work off thirty years that it’s as an aim for signal the bin as just that a cable between your laptop and your screen buds infrastructure cabling because I had to get three would also do still sufficient data for for what’s what their applications work so that’s that’s I guess the promise all flights he did this a long term investment so you need to have a long term strategy need to make your decisions rights you need to understand the the IT space in order to really leverage swat is coming up in the a few space because there’s definitely benefits in the in the a few space and set the opportunities are such that it’s within the a few space you will be among if not to the desktop contends producer on add on a corporate network and the D. emailing your friends it’s it’s only small portions but start to do IP encoding and streaming that still sign it’s all your video surveillance then all of a sudden if that’s in the a few well or in the next realm good that’s where the content is and if you order one that’s controlled the contents than that you can also see the well get your the one that probably both from to come at it a customer and what’s what’s this goes said in one what’s discussed description was said back in the day it was the plumber off the internet so if your if you’re going to build the house shaking too cold Lamar or are you going to call the architects and that’s what it is what this is about and that’s also works with these opportunities are about Saturdays you want the architects to to tell you not even the consultants anyone to ask people with with a very wide on the standing to to give you an overview on how you could move forward how you can really have a long term investment and not all that’s how you can secure your whole environments as to well whatever left will you require and say we work with companies that that that work up to J. weeks lawful lab and military security rates and at that that’s completely different ballgame than that what standards AC or even standard IT is all about yeah absolutely there really put things through their paces in the in the in the defense area you touched on a whole bunch of stuff there we’re not going to get through it all but there’s a few things I’d like to circle back to and numb I really like the way you talked about that how that cat three infrastructure still does the same thing as today’s so you’ve got this long term standard the planning was you know this thing will always have data that goes over but what happens is in AV is that the signals change right we have completely different signal types today HDMI than we did many years ago which was all analog so it wouldn’t even be possible to make any kind of an in a long term infrastructure in that sense but now that we’ve switched to digital I guess %HESITATION everything could be over the network because it is now just data but %HESITATION that the mindset of taking that long term architecture approach need to catch up to the end is as complex as it’s a complex ways is not very complex transition but you need you need to make that transition and you need to think about its and what you also see is that the industry as a whole and the industry is not backing that’s as that idea and why am I saying that so the industry is obviously backing the idea of standardized cabling which just why AC based you came along you can use your your your cat five or cat six that will better infrastructure buds it’s a different protocol so therefore it doesn’t transfers over the network that shoe that you have which is set a which is a problem AT be is also a problem because a few beats I have there is that many fantastic things about its but the problem and the real problem is that none of the and the prices stats that I know and probably none in the world will have to fool a few be enabled infrastructure so unless you’re coming in the segregation road again and you start to deploy your equipment parallel to the I. T. network then you and you’re not going to see the benefits off a few B. as social that is that’s one thing and that that that there’s other protocol standards and to do the or regional implementation all done so without to dent the domain controller Watson IT protocol absolutely as it runs on an IP network it can you can communicate to multiple devices that was a moment surveying troll elements into it but at the same time it would end cross she leads and if if you if your a night do you know that C. lands are my logical groups of IP addresses that you have in the building that belonged to separate ranges and sometimes say you want all of them to talk together sometime she wants to apply axis list or as like strengthen your security even further good with them to without any of the security considerations you could not all from one network segments to the next whereas from an audio perspective to why wouldn’t you want to go from the first floor to the second floor in the building and that that’s a logical box and and and if you follow that pause why would you go outside label to to another building because arguably you can see aching hole or as we swayed and with this in the few that were happening we using soon which is software and goes over the internet and it’s it’s pretty good but there’s always a need for better or more reliable quality or a quality that runs in parallel to your to your common office tools because your in in trading Adam excuse you begin trading they have all sorts of lights you go through the whole arm and say you got your direct communications and then there is always online stats that are happening and also to you Lou cats at the mixed stack protocols where is the only way to deal with it is oh for an I. P. naval networks IP is pervasive and it really needs to be professors to the matter to the letter and and and and to expand upon that even further add the the whole new line of thinking at all everything in four K. space for instance it’s fantastic it’s four KT sixty four full four planets as soul which is almost bus were set aside that were already with AC at the time but it’s do customers really need debts of course this whole area of customers that will need it but in a standard office environments where arguably for gay will be quite useful and that some of the displaced vehicle or affordable so why wouldn’t you have four K. but to to have a four K. solution that okay the move off I think two thousand sixteen it was with us at all we got four K. for for a rat and sixty frames at ten gig really cute as a well let’s stand gig line on that than kicking my network so when I call icons really deployed that maybe one or two units and now we’re at the we have that same quality but we do it at night mac I completely nine then that make it my network and one or two units but if you understand how the infrastructure is being built dads Debbie guns and quite incredible we’ve done deployments with with hundreds of IP encoders decoders if you start to follow that nine hundred make roads that and look at what the up links with your switch capacity needs to be there and it’s not even back Frank best is just a plain capacity that doesn’t exist eating in any of the testing and the prices and and that’s the whole point you need to you need to have that architecture bring it together and say yeah that’s fantastic and there is a need for it’s a medical lab we use fiber connections where you have some compromise quality maybe that Indian exploration you need to have and compromise quality Oxley in entertainment you once after quality because that’s what people pay for but then there is a whole other remained stats just one so bad good quality then will not see the difference and that don’t really care about the difference if if you are one on art should be sell the X. or Y. and as long as it’s sort of similar them it’s it’s fine and deuce people which is good ninety percent said it not ninety nine percent of the enterprise said environments only one that’s as anyone to half that pervasiveness again they want to be able to say I’m an engineer all want to have quality that is better than what my scarf business can get supplied me or I want to run a comb and sharing feats to a colleague in another building or in another country in parallel to my meetings that I’m running because I would just working on the problem why would you not allow them to do that’s so why would you go for an infrastructure that steers to that route so there’s a few things I want to address their %HESITATION you mentioned a bunch of protocols right so each she Beastie ABB even Dante and he did a great job of of breaking it all down and %HESITATION making the argument that everything has to be IP I totally agree with you there and %HESITATION it’s it’s a real challenge to find a protocol that that is purely IP and and please by all of all the rules state that I. P. requires like V. lands are there any protocols out there that you have your eye on that album which to fill all those seats yeah able you see you see that the protocol start to develop a then to get to to do maintenance here we’ve being that talking to the alternates the people and and many people are talking to order dates and said a day understand now what what needs to happen we’ve been talking to two people of QC to buy an ad two two and short at the stifles protocols can work in and prices like that shell or any of the other companies and all of videos sights you see there is always the markets and this list H. two six four eight two six five and with it which is old which is all good but that’s that’s it and that’s where where do you make the choice as a manufacturer at are you going for in these markets are you going to say okay we have this solution and it’s uncompromised quality is fantastic and I can testify as some of these products are really really cute **** at the same time as the that that’s that’s a fairly small percentage of the markets and if you go to it’s still very cute but is not fantastic and then that there is a difference in how you yet it’s very subjective what you want to fly but then a you can get to that reached so is there a single protocol no there is not a single protocol it’s it’s just stack it’s an idea all saying statue that you need to do Hey it’s about security that’s that’s the way that’s a TCP IP protocol as we built it’s it’s old different layers different stacks and different elements steps that have been described and that that that are compatible SNMP as the is one of those said things eighty two dot one ax is something and and if this if you’ve if you consider that said if you do your engineering backwards and that’s what’s so that we’re doing in our test lab was almost a manufacturer’s we start to talk to them we get their products was deserved okay you can do whatever you do whether it’s video or audio or you can do that very well Bucks now lets states to be the other way around would this product be suitable for an enterprise not on its quality sat on is downright qualities but on what is around it because what this the enterprise needs the enterprise needs monitor ability so you need to be able what your devices doing you need to be able to to maintain a surface level and that is ideally five nines so that’s five minutes downtime year of the loss and you need to to have control because you can only get that kind of stability if you can control lets you need to have security Adam there’s old and new chapter now way in in Europe whiskey deep yard the general dates action regulation what are you going to do with all the days that where are you going to stall rates can you actually at the front end of the network where you are going to transmit contents can you do something there embedded there’s a whole bunch of stuff that it’s our questions to manufacture our debts that are outside off their core business center or businesses for instance forget switching back and it’s not security that it’s not as a remote operations but it’s very important AA if anything’s probably the most important thing in enterprises today absolutely absolutely that’s that’s come up a few times on the show is a because of the switch to IP based software dealing with data we need to start engineering backwards instead of starting with the equipment that we’re used to and and the gear we should be starting with some wealthy end user experience and obviously like you mentioned in the enterprise you have to consider their needs first and if you work backwards from there then %HESITATION to show probably only have a handful of solutions that that will work for you I like the way you broke down those different pieces of wood and enterprise needs that there could be a a product roadmap for for some out there looking to develop a product you talked about it so it all comes back to architecture is what it sounds like dealing with work yen’s I’m I’m just curious I don’t know if this is off the beaten track or not what what do you think about ten gig networks are they going to become pervasive or is that something that %HESITATION will will be %HESITATION unique no ultimately you will you will get that as %HESITATION but said it comes down to cost reports and then there there’s a few companies in the world dad’s pretty much have dominance over the switch markets and so Cisco juniper HP as few others extreme but they already start to play in the margins and and if you look at their portfolio is not that they don’t offer ten gig switches butted in there were courses that they have then kick is not that common and it’s also that in the end the price and said it’s it’s it’s a stack later you can access layer of all the switches that is where all the a few quick mind will be connected to my old cameras and encoders and decoders senior screens and anything that you ask then you got your distribution later on if you have a larger networks and you will have all your sure first ad and your HP services connected that there might be a core later these days you see you collapse score distribution pending on the model buds those are big investments and if you if you start to talk about investments and we we had the we spoke about the late one infrastructure cabling early X. cabling is the investment that will stay in your building the longest started to get three different we long for your your gets Pfeiffer as feisty York at six at six a it’s it’s wrong you you pulled that it’s a lot of work it’s it’s all right it’s often and it requires a lot of construction or lan is like tearing down buildings full ceiling school debates all those kind of things you don’t do that very often so if that stays there then we know that we have right now on most well not most but on a lot of the cables that have been deployed in everything that will be deployed from today onwards you should be able to run thank rights that’s most notable books and then you got your switch architecture and with the switches you need switches export extrication there is always the all and line of thinking how to go to two full wireless and a wireless protocols become better day become more stable and their race five G. coming up where to potential at the moment staff already managed to get speeds of one point zero five gigabits per second on five G. but the potential Lestat it can actually get to ten under kinky along on the stock protocols as soon as the terminals are there and I think that I read to actually this morning from one of my old school collection article that said that the five G. would be able to do Adam a million devices per square kilometer and that’s that’s how which could serve so then at even if you are coming to transmit everything on on Dan cake that and maybe not but there’s another interesting salt there and talking about software there there are a lot of and it will not not a lot but there are few companies now in a world that start to develop new what protocols that start from scratch that unstable we got eighty six for now let’s starts the H. two six five that’ll really re engineering compression protocols from the ground up making use of common off the shelf hardware and and and it can do compression and in in a much smarter way and off of even seeing as I’m com and was actually the NTG for for Japan is now doing the H. K. that they want to run for the Olympics in twenty twenty or something like that at what twenty twenty two but Adam what what they were saying we can do that eight K. compression or dated eight K. resolution of four times four K. on eighty five megabits per second so if that’s the case then what does that mean that means that you need to have a proper hardware encoding and decoding of course which is expensive if it’s if it’s a novelty but at the same time it also means that you can have incredible and resolutions over very limited spends with and then you don’t need to upgrade to infrastructure so will the cost be in upgrading your infrastructure I think over time bad things reprises will drop one kick will become or ten gig will become a standards but if you look at the one kick now there’s not a lot of applications acts actually do require one kick your PC in the office is not system benefiting all that much and benefits off one cake is dad’s it’s quicker in timing so even your your voice packets will perform better on a one gig laying down on the one on the mac link but it’s not that you need all that space and that’s so that meant that it is difficult for the difficult thoughts but I don’t think that studying video protocols and an old compression dad step nine hundred mac or ten cakes as uncompressed SD and Sir it will go to the novelty solutions that will use a fraction of that over your existing network and then you can really make a all you step forwards well really great stuff great overview we don’t know how it’s going to play out we have the infrastructure in place with the the cat cables but I’m I like the way that a you know compression may be the answer instead of %HESITATION increasing bandwidth that saw interesting take you mentioned a test lab research lab and I’ve I’ve heard from a few people about this can can you tell me a bit about your your research laboratory yes yes it was a what we have in in entering into ball when we started the company we started to provide consults and actually we started with implementations them and I thought well I day since this is really brothers complex job it’s hard work and the then you need to you need to prepare and that and we see implementations you have staging area but it never really stuck to his only tested if the stuff that you have selectable paper stuck to work together from from that architecture is a said there is a solution architecture that you need to create and then you need to implement the technology but that’s technology as set gets skits I’d be connected you need to know to quality off that technology before you do that Sir I don’t like it sweat and when I asked to make decisions purely based on a custom or manufacturers spec sheets because it’s not it is not that is not true it is often the stuff that is not in there that becomes important and I guess everyone knows the as the content protection issues that you could have between different types of equipment there’s one doubles testing but said we are in the realm all schools and the price so we test for security or read the remote support and all those kind of things and then you can see that it’s it’s just not there there’s only a few companies that are not even call systems that have a couple of products that are secure most of them are not secure and some of them don’t even consider security anyhow test lab we’ve said let’s let’s not get to the test all does this I’d be encoded to decode it works very well when it’s on the same switch no does it very well works very well if it is sits on an enterprise environments so your whole speckled lan switches from hopes if needs be we’d be half that’s basically in the lab to showcase we got them cakes which you’ve got five where we got a wee wee cuts everything that is required but we can also start to simulate and did the network between an offshore platform and your core environments and once we note latency specifications Adam also satellites which often around two seconds if you know your jets are correct restricts and you know to back up laws says if if you should do quickly monitor your links or your us your I. T. department wanted to the links we can all take those parameters and put that in our test equipment and then we can really showed customer if you are going to deploy this solution if you’re going to deploy this camera Dan this is what you’re going to see it is not as beautiful and as pretty and as quick when it was all running on the same switch this is the real life is this acceptable and then that’s from there you can define as today’s you can start to say if there is there’s a percentage said old network or there are network as the districts where it’s always goods and then there is a point where it breaks any in between you can you can split it up any way you want so you can say everything left off the bar is good and everything right if the bar is is wrong but it’s Andrew what is acceptable to you might not be acceptable to me or vice versa so that’s what we what we tests as we tested the security we test if it can integrate into control platforms we get a we test if it integrates into the as into the monitoring as tools ideally into the I. T. monitoring tools because they’re very sophisticated birds but it depends on the on the level of customer at IT monitoring tools once are also not not that cheap that it requires quite a bit of knowledge and it provides you with so much information that if you’re not familiar to this type of trouble shooting it will become very complex to to comprehend and birds but yes security reports always useful whether you use it or whether the I. T. department uses its because then you can also gonna say Hey my equipment is supposed to use all these sports but in actual fact we render reports and is using all these TCP and UDP ports that wall according to documentation shouldn’t be necessary so please feel to those out because those are security vulnerabilities addresses all fell you chain there where and it is hard to put a price to security but you know that once you get taxed it can be very costly and once it’s down is also costly so that is that’s important with another interesting seeing is we tested and security cameras sometime ago notes on the quality of the video feeds but on the full you must if you DO feeds forces want to manufacturer specified and the specification was that the manufacturer said we do full HD as on thirty frames on or back for seconds okay but the reality was that it actually did some twelve microseconds so one camera on a gigabit network not going to make a big difference but it’s in video surveillance all of sudden you look at on that shelf cameras if not thousands of cameras and then head that suggests that that’s that’s a fact or on top of what you what you saw it’s it’s going to implement your network designed it’s going to implement the stories that you require add that race this performance issues on the on the servers that need to be coats the defeats so it has a very big impact and then again you need to be able to tell the customer there are ways to really get to that for Mexico for macro sale states bird said it was compression in full instead acceptable breasts and and we we help people with stats in the in the lab to prove their radical chaps and we’ve done that said as successfully as of the last couple of years for various companies and those like one of the companies have gone come this close it now but said we made a cute said to us very not sold the sign and in the Netherlands as works for an integrator it came from a graph came from the IT space and they’ve asked us to to come up with a few design and and and and be sold that’s everything that we did we were able to to make it the sign that was not only add about six times cheaper as well to completion and hats and in place at the time but it also was more effective in terms of how to operate it and at a speed that’s the benefit was completely based all on all software hardware components installed SD yes cameras or as servers birds with the software you can you can start to look at analytics are you at the mall it’s raining which which which promised that this company could have much more efficient supports ad with the analytics it meant that a lot of the work that was done manually previously could be done automatically there is the way that you bank and say we can change control codes actually without a programmer it’s it’s just reckoned drop so we don’t have to have these states enormous high skill sets sold for of engineers in our company I still sting gets you’ll wish you to have fled the highest skills so that you can get buds it is not your your business to per I need to maintain equipments that now maybe you don’t need programmers and you you can ask that skill somewhere else hands and by having the piece you did this this architecture roadmap backed up by let testing in the face and and and one of the things that we we obviously do is we work across the friend saw them fields in it that because she’s a we work at the IT and security and all the official I am and if you water areas as well you start to get an awful ideas and you can also start to do that not full six there is is a quick mundane day to send the world that is identical to what the AC world that has think about men and speed used but also think about it I teach your real workers and with everything that sits in the datacenter space is both cheaper more reliable more feature backs and infinitely more secure server so that it is it is really time to for everyone to Luke across different boundaries and and just well removes the yeah the blinds sounds like a a really really powerful exercise where you know like you said we could learn a lot and %HESITATION improve things and and make things cheaper and more reliable more flexible I think we could do an entire show just on what you found while doing this but if you had to pick just one thing like something that comes up all the time preferably regarding AV where could %HESITATION AB manufactures or solutions software whatever it is is there any one place where we could really use the most improvement well I think it is it’s it’s moving things to the to the cloud or to a central location at mass of first it’s central to the building and bear in mind to the time and the stability of your network which arise for country and that’s if you’re if you really get into that mindset all’s consolidating your technology stand the only things that you need to have in your rooms our endpoints cameras and go to decode the screens bud no longer at the old friends codex no longer and DD DSPs because that will become centralized and if that sits in the cloud the F. of fairies solid and stable basis to build upon because then it doesn’t matter if there’s a screen change every every year or if your screens a need to be replaced or or any of those kind of things Hey your your core and then sits at the central location and once it’s it’s it’s it’s central location there is a whole layer off of innovations that it’s that you can use as ad there is the set analytics can be applied and and and Alexa as you mentioned before the show could be applied to to do room control but there is also the layers of and as software defined control solutions like what do you tell if she offers you spoke about that with John to make a last week dads as sit at that layer all ski as off the clouds that it can have control that can integrate into all the solutions and dad will have to promise to you to be as a software platform integrates with all these different services and I think gathered those those type of platforms can generate a lot of golf recurring rest and you and and long term customer commitments to any of the integrators fascinating fascinating moving to the cloud kind of like the all the benefits that office three sixty five offers doing that for Evey could be a really interesting business model so really quickly last question if you have any advice for anybody who’s interested many companies integrators manufacturers in moving more in that direction what would be the first steps that you would recommend I am rollouts as a long term fashion shows a really understand from your customer what it is that they want this and that and and notes is trying to see through what they have seen and what they want to date because that we always gets the bigger questions of all I’ve seen this a in this company or in that building and we want it as well and then turns out that what they sold was three years old but it’s ignore the technology get to the to do work flows get to process this and see what they want know dad’s there is always security in fall flat because otherwise you’re going to play anymore going forward there is alway monitoring in full because otherwise you cannot keep up your end of the bargain in providing the support and the stability and hands and you had just planets out to plan it out and then once you have your plan is for every genet what it could be very specific but it doesn’t mention brands it doesn’t mention equipment so that it is the is the conceptual flow off what you want to do then you can start to specify that at some point you’ll have contestants Hey you come just say Hey we’ve run a pair and it works once because do you screw the D. statistics on escalates no one asked them as I haven’t seen it from the manufacturers is not in any of the reporting is not in any of the tenders but if the customer knows sits before the integrated dust and the customer has a huge advantage in defining the SLA criteria if the integration that was at the front step and they can just dictate the way that they’ll set up their **** lace and in general if everyone just knows where where the tipping point in in quality a creationists then you can go forwards and then you will be called say that this very proactive and consultant to integrate their customer doesn’t really matter that it’s you can you can control you can shape that the the future excellent so planned tests and the deploy and be aware of what you’re what you’re prepared to guarantee in the industry yes great %HESITATION I think we’re going to have to do a part two some type of thing that it would be very nice if anyone would like to get in touch with you how would they go about doing that I can be a complex it’s and it’s %HESITATION from our websites said W. W. W. IBM and solutions got an L. and I or at my email address Nisha which is with the C. H. at IBM debt solutions stuff and I’ll wonderful Misha thank you so much for being on the show thank you as well eight Patrick here again Moesha was nice enough to mention products that we’re working on called catch connect it allows you to turn basically any device on the network into an LX a smart home device you could also use it to integrate IFTTT with devices and AV systems which opens up a whole New World of possibilities now today is April twenty seventh two thousand eighteen and catch connect is currently in public beta we’ve got a few tutorials up at catch technologies dot com and if you have a few minutes and this sounds interesting to you please go check it out and let us know what you think we’re really looking forward to your feedback so that we can make this a really awesome product so check it out let me know what you think catch technologies dot com and remember it’s still in beta so please don’t use it on any live projects yet all right thanks a lot thanks for listening to software defined survival for transcripts and show notes go to psalm thirty find survival dot com
Erik Calissendorff has spent most of his career working on some of the largest mega yachts in the world. He also spent some time working as a software developer for a data analytics company called Tibco Spotfire. And I’m guessing that while he was working as an ETO, he had some ideas and eventually decided to execute on them and develop Plejd. Plejd is a control system for entertainment and comfort systems, lighting, shades and heat and things like that.
If you go to the https://www.plejd.com, it looks like a simple lighting system, but I know from speaking with some of my contacts in the yachting industry that it is much more than that.
this is a software defined survival where we talk to AV IT professionals and software developers to find out how to leverage software to reinvent ourselves and we do business we listen to their stories and ask for advice and tactics on how to survive and thrive in a software defined what today software defined survive nobody ought to see it would change usually change any of the other one after we get from the most praise musing custom although since it is to make them into a meeting for us expensive really by the technology is between the ages and the two thousand of us change things happen like in every day invented a control system and apples this is why are we doing it this way Haiti Patrick Murray here I just wanted to take a quick minute to apologize for the audio quality on today’s show but I still think it’s worth listening to that’s why I’m publishing it because today’s guest gives us some really interesting insight on what it’s like to work on mega yachts which is a segment of the AV industry that if you’re not in it you may not be aware that it exists at all and they have some really interesting challenges that they need to deal with on a day to day basis and Eric came up with some interesting ways of solving them so again I know there’s a lot of audio guys out there and this may hurt your ears a little bit but it might just be worth it to have a listen cell I promise I’ll do better next time enjoy the show welcome to software defined survival my name is Patrick Murray today’s guest has spent most of his career working on some of the largest mega yachts in the world he has also spent some time working as a software developer for data analytics company called tibco spot fire and I’m guessing that while he was working as an EEO he had some ideas and eventually decided to execute on them and develop pledge pledges a control system for entertainment and comfort systems like lighting shades and he for those of you who are familiar with the marine part of a V. there’s a whole sector of AV where they work just on these mega yachts and the person who kind of lives on the boat and takes care of all the AV equipment and everything else that’s electronic his job is and ETL he’s an electronic technologies off officer so just to give you a little background there that’s what we’re talking about when we say you DO now if you go to pledges website it looks like a simple lighting system with a nap but I know that speaking from some of my contacts with some my contacts in the awning in the street that it is so much more than that and that’s why I wanted to have on today Eric Kolis indoors welcome to the show Eric break is there anything about that introduction that you’d like to correct or expand upon I got to deliver of expansion of mean is gonna start in this ten years ago now or the company after that story needs to be a long time before that and basically what a goal to go into him over the edge of an old house I’m points out this is the thing a long time for no houses to be ready and finally a few years ago on an opening in the global market lighting system which is not working on our homepage that’s the reason for that kind of shift in our marketing efforts excellent so we’ll get to that more later on I want to go back to the beginning though just to kind of really get a feel for your background place how did you how did you get your first job as an EEO it’s kind of a long story about that I don’t have to tell you the bass family started many years ago a tune like that they sell was working us our computer specialist armed forces since we don’t and had decided I wanted to travel the world so unsettled went down to the Mediterranean on the stay there for the summer and then in the summer of folk well I need to get around the world a contest in Europe so anyone can be a flight trip around the world is not much challenging that’s our said our Yasser strip mall land Orsino to look into it and I thought well oceans big container ships to learn all about windows that’ll really the case realized almost on the Mediterranean so one thing led to another and that but in the summer had come down choose your altar and I hope some of the most in Europe and get over to Atlantic and see the rest of the world but unfortunately for both are as all of you has been there is but for smaller only because there’s some stuff but the bigger York’s basically for bankers and leave again so they’re out to get on the grin off so they just stopped fill up on gas and then keep moving along right handed to him on time to pick up anyone or to shift to the whole persisting cold so they can now there walk around their little rock and I think this is what was more or less of them another option was based in the back all the way to Italy and then the show crippled you give them that Africa and basically that’s where only the clothes that I was a little bit down by this nation that that will most likely be our military and so based on the way back from the the rock era stumble across are the reason that some of them coaster on the porch and one thing led to another and are they working enough for them I think we thought there was no like Smalley also micrometers maximum and only speak your levels like thirty four meters was a Swedish flag young and I’m sorry about that myself is your gonna have been are gonna be working on the basically I just woke up to the dock goes yeah anyway and then pull the rotor and pressed them to myself any kind of both women do I really know you lots of luck yet Adam could shut down the one thing that’s another and I worked there for a month or so and during that time is that it opposes up into balls around there yeah looking for some other work to do the crossing and eventually after some time I got a cold Roma measure for a big help to the time I didn’t know what job they will see us and it was one of you big big along yes all of them need some new clothes deliver up to your money I have also your home their own way of not only our own will look back up to the north part was simple sweet and so on awfully back home but I thought well is much much chance to get on the big you also get some real experience and that can how do the rest of chocolate also out of the rain and big deals on my life traveling with him to see you all done as much experience as possible so that will this is so and then yeah position and that they will face as a background doesn’t know a to say that it is kind of our house janitor for the office misleading care of the index sitting here is more votes than all the rest of it cleaning from morning till night that that sums it up pretty much exactly do yeah so I got on the ultimate organising because it is mostly drama which is another very famous yup I would say it’s one of the really big X. expedition awesome yeah I think is very well known if you industry and it’s very easy to recognize because two giants locks on this off thank one the state setting up the the same size there is something here Morial as well on back let’s face it tenders for these young yes especially as we don’t mean anything off of that size is so you shot and that’s a tender so yes you have been asking yeah it’s amazing some of the things that they do when they’re building these things so I love that story ends whenever I meet anybody who works on boats I I always ask them how they got their first job because it’s always something similar well I walked up to about the job yeah and then you just work your **** off and %HESITATION if you can do what you say you could do eventually you’ll get in some kind of a position where yeah where you’re in charge of more than keeping things clean and I’ve heard that similar story many times in the auto industry and I always get a kick out of hearing it and up I like the way you decided I want to travel the world but you wanna work doing it how do I get there while %HESITATION maybe building some kind of career I don’t know if that was your intention but %HESITATION when I I find that kind of interesting too yeah I mean if I’m here is my ideals I mean yeah one from the world but then one can you was getting back to the science and technology it at some point in my life but not something different I wanted to travel and over let’s not focus on my career so there is a reason I was quite happy to do do you they working in that yeah number two number of basic rights are they going to look on the base yeah they offer me their radio Serb position which back then was the same as the deal with today and you didn’t have a name for the year there was no report of data into his own position in his own name there’s also the small thank you so much for all her I mean that I would help out a little bit but I’m reluctant to do that I’m already on deck and yeah nothing else in the us there is a break from my little experience but one thing led to another and after a couple months as a realizable polishing is being less than the vanishing in the left is not really what I want to do the rest of my life and I don’t like being on the seat so I still do destructor air so that right so you see you didn’t plan on on getting into technology was really just to kind of take a break from work and you’ve certainly found some mindless work to take care of but you kind of fell in love with being on the boats and found the way to use your technology skills on their %HESITATION what is so what is a typical day like for an EEO when we were teens is this make sure everything’s they worked off the lights and depending on what kind of cool and those you have I mean I will send you the last person to go to see it because yes quite often autism make yeah set up with the bands or what if somebody is sitting movies or one example is there a loner who was really into football and basically we were in that ask at this time and you have been up to Alaska please there’s always very worked very well up north is wrapped in Sweden where I’m coming from and the other thing is that a lot of fjords and mountains to stop them he tried to watch TV two things to bear in mind or soul the sellers are at the creator which meets the third most BR lower down nor I think you have the satellites the kind of become the problem we have all these fields and stuff in the latest one because honestly mountains are quite high but it was the first kind of issues that need to have evolved from the mother’s return receipt anything about all the other thing was basically said owner had a really big game coming up and you really want to watch this film Alaska isn’t the biggest the soccer fans as such so there was no the station that was even brought companies looking for us nearby calling you come up with the idea well you see it having the right to the scene back in Europe and I’m sure a I’ve also read you give them a call and then roll you should build so you have to do the only good news programming we didn’t know before a couple of satellites and you should be able to get two of you can receive we hope all the sounds very him so there was a call modernism yeah for now the owner wasn’t that much but from our perspective we have jammed his permission I think was like hang around like that US it also hurt me because you know since it is impossible on from that day until two weeks later on the actual game well song also missing the guests were talking about that with like are you should the challenge for us and we had a meeting showed me what he gave us all yeah I mean it’s kind of amazing %HESITATION that things like that are possible but %HESITATION yeah obviously money can solve a lot of problems if you have it so what were some of the things that kind of push you towards developing a new control system yes so the damn thing the normals challenges for your own war with this you know there’s one thing that they don’t understand them for good reason I would say this is the kind of I mean if they have the money to do whatever you want them no it’s not is never a good answer sure it is not an answer all you need to find a solution for whatever they wanted one with another in call the company’s new gaming consoles to come with some new equipment and they look up to their TV and well see that is found the control system which has promised everything or anything else way way before I form will see them or types I mean right we will something quite there seven a I haven’t really seen touching myself before I got on the office I mean using American or online in some magazines but you never tested before this when I was about afternoon in also something else death row is become yeah I can do it but to have to now used this to start a TV they have to take his own remote to change their input on your receiver and then you have to take this for the remote to do some of the crazy stuff and if the owners are looking and you say okay all this money what does have to be complicated yeah and I mean it hasn’t I have a computer back on my cell phone I was really impressed with what we’re also must offer both will this is related in this country I mean this is engine technology I mean why are we doing it this way still I mean you always knew no question they mix in the US as well I mean and they started nothing it was like my Canadian stuff like that they we can make a name for himself and all the technology is between the ages and the two thousand the loss big change things happened and if I like that everyday reinvented their their control system on their approach to things yeah I just wanted to to follow up on that you’re you’re right the paradigm has not changed and I think the example that you gave where somebody comes with a new source and it’s just one so you know it’s a typical thing I the Xbox is new I want to play with it I bring in in why can’t I just plug it in and use it and I think that’s a very simple example but you face much more complicated things when you’re working on a boat for example at this time of year it’s it’s pre season in the Mediterranean and over the winter many vessels will be in the Caribbean and when they get back to the Mediterranean they’ll be able to pick up different satellites so they’ll be times where you’ll have to replace twenty thirty sometimes even fifty satellite receivers and of course you’ll have to adjust all the programming with that and if those are I are drivers are kind of hard coded which is normally how it is then that could be a pretty big job that needs to be done at least twice a year ends anybody looking at this you know people are so busy it’s it’s hard to step back sometimes and say I know there’s a better way to do this why her we you know making this thing dynamic what why can’t it just switch I’m in Europe I’m here and there why can I just have thrown I or file onto a server somewhere and have the control system read that out instead of having to physically go in and re compiling and re install everything so you’re right there is the paradigm it really comes from conference rooms as far as I could tell where you build it once you put it in and then maybe they’ll be some maintenance in a few years but typically they’re left alone so these systems really are not as flexible as they could be so I feel your pain and then the other thing I would say so have our conference room where our residents as well I mean they are the most in moving their station senior editor of one position and yes making notes move basically means that the school you have chosen this normally down the road a few boxes also if your property you call them and they got me on our right another side I mean usually change any of the other world when you have the biggest problem in the most against need for assistance you can plan on that yes I know myself I mean sometimes you have to get a program result in the complete two weeks to get them onboard yeah lots a skymiles Yemen the poorest by the time you get the programmers aboard a yes or left in their quest to have this is not the not any interest anymore so yes very difficult situation in much higher the malls in their environment and typically station I would say alright so we’ve worked on some of the same boats we we’ve never met each other personally this is the first time we’re talking and %HESITATION I know that some of those projects you can see how these programs evolve so I dont will to believe it builds and then it’ll have a refit every two or three or five years and maybe the programming will be done from scratch but more often than not you’ll take the old programming and build on top of it and after a few years these programs turned into like these Frankenstein objects you do and I think you know some of the code that I’m talking about and it’s easy to blame the programmer right but when there are ten or twenty programmers that were involved over all that time it so it’s really hard to blame anybody for that situation and I wonder if we could benefit from adopting more a more modern software development techniques like things like add child development and %HESITATION ends and back up paradigm’s like using get hub for example to store your code and even share it so other people could see it and maybe be more motivated to to write cleaner code you have any thoughts on what we want all the things we mention is the reason we’re why started played in that we have our own control systems stuff because I too limited in the founder from the media existing system wrestling next to name a few what the their systems at the base of black folks fusee is even anything which is really good if you want to do something very spoken very specific but a lot of times your whole thing to work and you as a programmer you can as we have to talk to get this working stretching the functions we require them make does work that you have no time to go through it and make it real nice and then published because as you know and I guess the audience might be a no it’s one of the V. is the last thing to go into a reset or I’ll do they need you need to have the need to have the walls need to have that docking unit and everything is in place mostly without me projects like a loss you run over time which means they will have to have some of the time is the lost people so many people so there was a scramble for time to get things finished my favorite part of the projects I mean anything I mean this is the reason for my travel while stuff I mean I like to send to like to really do things that people don’t think it’s possible to our times yeah about the same time you don’t make a lot harder than necessary either so balance no I I really don’t enjoy those those times because generally a many times people start coming coming up with new ideas when you’re trying to execute on the old ideas and it just turns into an impossible situation way too much so I I’m always an advocate for planning more in the beginning and and trying to avoid those crunch times because with software I mean honestly everything should be able to be tested offsite before you even see the boat you should be able to test all of your code get all of your user interfaces approved %HESITATION and even get most of the equipment and tests directly with that as well and that avoids a lot of those things but for some reason that that kind of planning like you said AV is always last and and the programming is even more of an afterthought yeah I mean nothing’s happening seasons two thousand seven in itself but enough about the pattern the last such hasn’t changed that much there are some new players meals yourself on a some of them the core four is also having a different two things about those two out of there way too limited for the young in this room but at least they have a more finished product in this easy dressing room right so what are the things that make him the yacht industry special what what are some what are some requirements for control systems in the mega yachts that are that that may control a little bit different two biggest ones this was a plan for change I mean nobody nobody ought to see it would change retirement I will not be satisfied with five year old TV’s online they wanted their latest and greatest so there will be changes from you know and I was using a server using as a particular run working on we got our nation is is what should be a song by the time that the livery that’s changed already so is always moving it back roads that this is the biggest one in the market for the second one is in the states and we’ve got four which means you can’t plan for being on site to do all the changes you need something that can be managed by the crew will be managed remotely you see interesting so let’s shift gears and start talking about pledge a little bit can you give me a really brief overview of of what makes it different than than other types of control systems course were so basically please respond if the core I. there was space we have something that David manages to solve from you don’t need to program everything some more conversation and setting up down the shore programming but if you on the inflation side of things within the design of software to okay program itself them what that means is when the nation basically tell the consistent so I these kind of devices low res and the fires receivers major changes screens projectors since long before invested telling them how to make this all these opportunities with universities in Aberdeen the blueprint to ask translating to the language of their system and then the system so can find all the right in this room I mean to you all these different sources as I can find a path from the repair mission to ensure through there extender to your local theater to the TV well in that the cross from where you work it too menace AOL all this water to be available to all the sources are in this room and you get the next was able to test the same kind of sources and get it over and over again right what we doing instead of facing the same issue print on the system find out this is what actually is impossible to do in order or rooms adding sources would you recommend the next you will basically removing sources say well maybe in the case of I don’t want them to have access to that orders to sell my books for example when you remove it so you kind of revoking their methods of somebody else isn’t it is capable of doing everything in the room with things you don’t use interesting so you’ve created a data model that can handle different types of data points inside of a framework correct and so so you’ve got like your typical AV system how do you handle when something comes out of left field with I don’t know maybe and a special audio processor or two or three dips displays or things like that yes I was in this one room unit with our system is basically what we decided we made a rare genetic so the system we have in there softer side of things doesn’t he know what EDS is completely AV independence means you can raise if anything service once we do screens for the screens or even you would use it for something different some way of modeling the well defined path through a maze more less can you say that again modeling the world to find to find the path from a to B. basically is yeah I’m going to of our yeah maybe some would say you have a mentor contaminated point in somewhere could make you can get to the exit of how you get there you don’t really know until you try out all the different paths and saw what this is doing is is fine though ask for your automatically that is very interesting I like the way you describe that okay so where does the system run what kind of hardware do yes this other thing basically is our focus was to make to the brain of the system to speak so we are server based they control system and network base I should say is one of them is basically reinstalling a server on the on the office than me using whether they’re hardly one to use for actually control what end points so when the lawyers this mission mission if we are part of a day in the H. one of biggest overseas you can also move on their part is not and will never prays musing custom hardware for all their employees controls metal release simplify program of the consent process since it is to make them into a meeting across that’s an expensive really box yeah it is focusing on the basis is because it is a big name this seems a lot of clients will to have Christian hardware them I mean there’s something wrong with the already existing programming to make them where I’m reliable all times so we don’t mind that interesting approach so an end does it matter what kind of server use or do you need something particular like is it always axes Lennix our computer here of independence so I’m basing this is software itself is written it off as he can offering to me definitely wants and if somebody needs a device driver would you would you up bring that into the pledge system would you write the driver yourself would a developer like myself have a way to integrate third party products with pledge or what I need to use something like a an external a third party control processor to to integrate something new yes men who have currently a spectrum of two different layers so have their call ya systems then you can make the drivers in the language that’s what we do ourselves or we used to do all that then I’m kind of this and that the language we use them as a corporation five days in the country configuration five to make simple drivers along with and I are cold some simple rules for their lan network Asian as well that’s what you do is mostly used for the devices and even receiver some that some this year’s and stuff like that so it’s not just that one we condition is willing to wait as long but it’s not something you would use for like the latest game for a very heavy media from then you do have a dedicated drive about four I was a ninety percent of the drivers who do not we do need this you never get a language which is based on XML file as some rules onto it yet that some really it’s a really interesting point I want to take that apart a little eighty to ninety percent of the devices don’t really have that much logic that you need to write in a driver you mentioned colitis gape obviously that’s a media player so you’ll need to arm if you want to get a movie list or something like that you’ll need to parse out a lot of data and that’s deal definitely need some logic to do that but that really is not most devices out there now a days it’s actually an exception their import their important pieces of the system but %HESITATION most devices generally are relatively simple send the commands and receive a commands and that’s about it now you have the right to mean saying the biggest problem with new devices today is not the complexity will be doing this morning yeah imperfections on how to do it and when he does examples like projectors and TV’s and stuff like that that you have for the homeless will do something yes some quirk students doesn’t respond to messages during the first or second spot upwards and handle seven months in seven states that that was a step in the fishermen devices the complex as such is just find out how to work more death do you think some they will have a standard control protocol I’m gonna for example I mean if you have the whole market now which is only working on color mean you have did you have a very good gonna systems yeah I was on the Exxon with other so but even there is something looking like BSNL onto the I don’t think it’ll ever happen I’d love it to you it would you know there’s nothing special about your power on command but no I’m not in that respect I would say that he can come back with all respect goes go back ten years then everyone had a higher remote printing and you can use my are to get some basic control for everything knives things which network which was a real life but it seems fun there’s no one way to do control for everything anymore yes so that always means a bit of a a bit of driver writing a bit of human labor take to get that thing under control yeah there has to be done that’s nothing to happiness unfortunate form there is we want to network and more of arms control her he would like because you’ve got a few back and the more robust condition the furnace quite often you get these Sir in the locked as well might have not someone on the list offers means that a Christian allows you to don’t share it means even if you can see the traffic you can really do much with it less important in some respects yes the way apple handles security on the one hand I can understand that they want to put security at the fronts but %HESITATION it is very frustrating for guys like us when %HESITATION more we want to control something in and %HESITATION and our control my break because they push an update next week that so not an ideal situation so tell me about your customers what kind of %HESITATION companies or or end users have the most success with a pledge system control system of basically in tune off years ago or who are we party would be the age of being a the letter in then that the nerve that runs so they do a lot of concessions non mostly that Daystar sold signs for the audience you as we speak right now okay relations yeah BBH means van back I had a holler I’ll put a link to that show notes they are %HESITATION yeah it’s a Dutch company that does a lot of integration work perhaps one of the biggest systems integrators for AV in the yachting area I’ve done a lot of work with them myself in the past and anybody who’s in the out of business in Europe definitely knows that name so what does a typical project look like like say I’m an integrator and I want to get involved with pledge I want to use it on a projects what what would be the first steps to get started and maybe some of the steps at the end as well installation this work will organizations are going to do is get the reference of the dispensation of mission before so what can we could but a system already to connect and is there a particular format that you like to see for that really I mean any kind of normal S. committees will do just fine I mean okay into the chorus basically no we can put them up as I use on the different devices and this well what kind of brands on their device models they are come within the core information we need right and then they still getting into something that into our nation’s language so they smoke five missions and then you use the okay what’s in our database already on the what’s new devices after being there and for the running on the new devices to the device firestorm existing ones basically read the US this is being okay and then what about commissioning then the interpreter would take that programming on site or would you guys help remotely how does how does that all work out number anything to do all that himself on this wealthy corporations can do a lot of us all one thing I would say is this new in two stages of the First Nations and you have to move great thing you know how the system is supposed to work and was supposed to be there this if you have nothing around the old system in like a nominal which means you will get there you are only a touch panels to the older compound’s being sent them house also breaks you got a few forays all the sources I know the rules of a letter if I could do and then when you have a computer and then you can race to take it on site and stuff and it all yet so you can do most of their lifting before you even step on board which is a vehicle and they talk about the timing and stuff mission before absolutely is there any kind of monitoring built in or or any kind of service level agreement type of them when outlines so mean currently we are sending one I find ourselves to resume a head over to the nation we have some answers agreement in the media provides for upgrades in this world being available if they need some changes and stuff like that seasons otherwise I mean this yes and server yeah you’re welcome remote login to the server and see log some nasty was going on yeah which okay Sir are you doing anything with the data like collecting data and maybe a dash board to see how the rooms are being utilized or anything like that then none of the moment but this you could expand on it requires about yeah them very seem to need as you go right and that’ll leave me right into the next question are there any do you have any interesting plans for the future that you’d care to share with us I mean to be honest I mean the big focus not has been there ever since markets which that’s really a llama blow our minds so I mean we started about two years ago and last year was the first really on the market them dangerous in there most of the action is just in or any kind of exist they should we have so been raining everyday exciting in the face it means taking up with quite a lot this last year and this year that’s what I’m sure what what kind of customers do you have in in residential as it is an end users or lecture shins integrator saying there wholesalers today locations so they are direct customers but those leading the team is using is is you and me on the back and he wants us I think now in Sweden we have the sixty thousand Alexis told in different houses from their motives to the sound border so you were basically all over Sweden on every single the town more or less so it’s very very quick out of options we’re excited about that them before too expensive other parts of Europe as well very nice if you could put your finger on any one thing or one or two things why do you think there was such rapid adoption yeah I would say this is simple the bathroom doing so smart didn’t give her the more like systems some respect and we do different from other people is a minimal knowledge from user experience them how to make something as easy to use and it is just all to something that’s been made extremely a yeah cost efficient as well so or about thirty percent more love difficult on diversity getting these smart dimmer with all of these other benefits for the Christians along and say well maybe someone else if I go to the old lady Aurora young kids okay technologies severing standing army always giving them is different because the best ever and this make my job easier and faster so this was his only reason for living up to his death really good prices oath problem for people here now solves a problem blame being easy to use and install and and of course or cost is always a factor if you were would you have any advice for someone that has some new ideas and is thinking about turning it into a product whether it’s an application a piece of software may be a small hardware products do you have any ideas or advice for them on on what their first step should be to to bringing that into the world I mean they don’t advice most learning that there are some of the right to self of what you need is an account of it and there were like this you will need to be a product and we need to look at doing and will have the first nation to great causing it would take your time and with the hard times in the past but it will be our roller coaster in all respects on the FDA would we need to put in that first and then stick with your idea all right put on some body armor believe that what you’re doing be ready and then put on your body arm be ready to persevere and go through some tough times first have your partner and the U. close family and everyone to support as well closely at when will they will be involved in this just to give you the time you need to work on it or other ways so you need to have that there for Iran you happen to be with you in it devils required absolutely absolutely having %HESITATION could support team is absolutely critical it’s not talked about very much either in them in the tech world at all but %HESITATION yeah if if the people you you live with and see every day aren’t on the same page as you then it’s going to make things that much more difficult so Eric if somebody would like to get in touch with you how they go about doing that yes to email us on our newly mentors him for it played up come this close to me and my colleagues so some will definitely connected using that unless you have a whole but just one play dot com up on them Nina cooling unit delta local excellent Eric thank you very much for being on the show this was a great talk so much and I’m looking for to hear more from you thanks he Patrick here again just one more thing before we wrap things up if your navy programmer or if you have one on staff and you’re ready to make the switch to software defined now is the time to start learning go to learn eighty programming dot com and where ever you see an opt in box go ahead and put in your email address some really useful information so you can get started learning right now we also have paid courses at learning the programming dot com by step how to use these new programming languages and how exactly how they apply Evey systems so if you’re at least remotely interesting go ahead and go to learning the programming dot com check out the free stuff in role in one of the courses and get started today set aside a little time each week and before you know it you just might make your own control system like it all right see next week thanks for listening to software defined survival for transcripts and show notes go to software defined survival dot com
We have two guests on the show today, Wes Hatchett CEO and Nick Melin, VP of Customer Success at Control Envy. Both experienced in the world of AV and software. Along with a great team, they’ve taken that experience to form Control Envy.
Control Envy is an automation, control and monitoring platform that takes a software first approach to provide custom solutions that are gorgeous and full of insights and data.
Control Envy runs on many platforms and ticks all the boxes of being a software defined solution.
this is a software defined survival where we talk to AV IT professionals and software developers to find out how to leverage software to reinvent ourselves and we do business we listen to their stories and ask for advice and tactics on how to survive and thrive in a software defined what today software defined survive its right to be skeptical of at the level of the state a lot of the projects that you know we’re all involved in or and many times control systems actually control it was really a friend a lot of these online courses are your friend in such a way that you could never have accomplished the same sex if you had a much more limited set of resources available to close maybe on the house what five hundred members to be ineffective integrator insults and no matter which technologies you’re using get above the surface all focus on the actual outcomes are and then choose your tools based on those instead of being tied down to one box greetings everyone in AV lance welcome to software defined survival my name is Patrick Murray and today we have two guests on the show both experienced in the world of AV and software and along with a great team they’ve taken that experience to form control Andy control envy is an automation control and monitoring platform that takes a software first approach to provide custom solution that really are beautiful user interfaces are just gorgeous and it is also full of insights and data control and be runs on many platforms and it takes all the boxes of being a software defined solution so please welcome to the show west hatchet CEO and Nick melon VP of customer success at control envy Nick and Wes welcome to the show gay thank you glad to be here Patrick thanks a lot better thanks for taking the time to us to talk with me tonight it’s nighttime here afternoon there is there anything about that introduction that you guys would care to correct or expand upon well I think it was great %HESITATION I’m listening and I’m looking forward to listening to that one back but yet now it’s a and I like you know of course we’ve known each other for a while and so it’s been neat to arm the able to to let you see more and more of what we’ve been doing and and you know how that’s really materialized into a complete system and like you said really focused on the data aspect of getting getting behind more than just being the touch panel you know as far as how we look at programming and what we’re providing correct so we’ll get more into the solution in a few minutes first I’d like to hear a little more about your background so I have some stock questions that I like to ask people and I’ll split them up between you so Wes how did you get started in AV how did you wind up in this crazy business my first job in a V. was at hi fi buys which was a Twitter company so I was doing sales essentially my first year out of high school wanted to take a year off before college and just get a save a little money and which ended up being spent on guitars and I think that interest in music get everything out in the music business lots of it just drove me to that first job in high five guys and %HESITATION through some friends and just other you know other things getting into that world’s it was several years later not too much later but a few years later that I really became aware of everything that was happening around control systems and get going in that direction interesting you are the third guests to be a guitar player so %HESITATION including myself as for guitar players have been on this short lived show so far watch out guitar players you might wind up with a career in AV or to the wise where industry failed musician force more musicians one way yeah Nick tell me about your most successful projects in navy and and what made it rewarding for you oh man great question well my background in AV started at from the construction pass strangely and then from general construction I came up through doing alarm systems and ended up because of that working on some very high profile security projects and I was introduced to a project that we was going to have star Crestron integration arms but they really wanted to make sure that the interface was really usable and so it was a great joy to basically be able to be involved in the scoping and design of the entire infrastructure but then knowing that I got to have creative control over how the interface with and eventually end up being years and that project was twenty plus zones of audio and video a couple of different media rooms fifteen plus touch panels and has been running successfully with only a couple of minor glitches for ten plus years now I’m so I look back on that one and think about all of the the the pains and and difficulties that go into designing interfaces when you have to deal with bitmaps and what not instead of you know the web development tools that we have now and I think the young guns don’t realize how easy they have it compared to what we dealt with this in years prior so but a lot of good memories came out I was not I’m not sure if you bring up a lot of memories for me with that that maps and I’m not sure if it was easier I think that says a funny word we were certainly there was a a tighter limitation by far and what we were able to do %HESITATION said the message the methods were very old school I give you that definitely a great point grade point HTML five is certainly not easy dealing with C. S. S. can %HESITATION can drive you crazy for sure but %HESITATION of course you have really great looking graphics that go along with it and a lot more possibilities that you could do so there’s always that that give and take that you get more power more responsibility and easy I love your respect of that word yep Wes whenever somebody tells me something easy I I tend to get a little bit afraid so tell me guys what separates what differentiates differentiates control and be from other control solutions in a nutshell if you could do that you for what yeah well I think like you said it’s it’s hardware agnostic and one of the things that’s interesting about that is that we don’t focus only on one platform so whereas you know even our work and raspberry pi right now we have existing in a couple of different languages and I think being at a philosophical level really open to having our concept of what the system is and letting the hardware landscape involved you know as we know it will and so there’s you know there’s all kinds of hardware hardware and digital signage all kinds of places that we really have an embedded approach you know to our mission of what we want to do and that goes along with our open source license which I think is the other big part of what makes us different is that not only are we you know actively engineering and looking at the architecture of so many hardware platforms but we’re open source while doing it and that enables us to build a wide network of partners approaching different kinds of systems in different ways so you bring up open source ends there can be a lot of confusion around those two words so can you give me like just a brief really brief definition of what open source means to you yeah out what it means to me is that I have access not only to the out well I guess coming from AV perspective you know we we all talk a lot about source code and having the source code to our projects and as far as it related to say a Crestron projects having your source code if you had all of the graphics and everything else yet you were able to change whatever that project was on what it means to control and be is that not only are you able to change what a project is but we also recognize in this new era that you need the ability to change what the actual product engine behind it is all the way down to work flow in terms of how these projects are designed to Floyd and tied together so I was gonna say so I would to me it it means that I have access to everything necessary to me to make the solution work it’s for my use case is is the practical application I think why open source is important and there’s also a transparency side gets into security and there’s of course a lot of a lot of ways you can expound on that but I think what’s most important to me is that I know the solution can never change in a way that I don’t want because I could always develop on what I’m already comfortable with so it helps you to remain agile and flexible you kind of hinted towards this that it really is a huge topic open source there are many different %HESITATION legs of that ox octopus that you can get into about the benefits of it in the end it basically just lets you view the source code and %HESITATION in in this case even change it if you need to so maybe if you could talk briefly about licensing and and how that affects open source well I think in open source what you primarily about what you see the large open source based companies selling at a license level really is their support their support as well it you know including things like SO ways behind a performance of certain systems and that’s how we look at %HESITATION yes through our partner network and in the projects that we work on it’s it’s really that the the software license you know that you are purchasing is effectively purchasing our official support and and you know the ability to stand behind your deployment excellent so we’ve got open source we covered a bit and now you mentioned SL ace and that kind of gets more into the the business aspect of open source so how you make money with open source can you tell us again in a in a nutshell this is a huge subject as well but out what is an SLA how could apply to us in AV Nick you feel like dealing yeah Assoc SLA is a yet another acronym I and I think that should be a term yet another acronym for %HESITATION service level agreements and service level agreements are very familiar to enterprise purchasers of our software solutions and even not open source operating systems like clinics are produced with as delays as an option that you can purchase from red hat or others and what a service level agreement means is effectively that as a business you can rely upon a certain level of uptime and functionality from the subscription that you’re maintaining and if those agreements are ever compromised in any such way that there is a form of compensation that you’re entitled to as the receiver of the SLA so the benefit is that open source can continue to develop but the software can be provided to you as a service instead of you having to have all of those developers on staff in order to modify the open source tools in the way that you see fit one of the drawbacks to the open source environment when X. is that yet in many times it’s at years a whole bunch of code and tools and do with it what you will it’s a bit of your left to your own devices our companies that can modify open source software to the point where they can provide a stable SLA help you to bridge that gap in between open source and standard commercial software great explanation so can you give me a a practical application that that I as I am in a V. guy would understand well let’s think about for instance zoom meetings are I I don’t know what zooms our current SLA practices are but if you think about zoom as something that eight be companies are becoming familiar with it’s a service it lives in a cloud it ties into your hardware and the systems that you may house in an integration project in yet that software does not necessarily live inside the integration itself but it’s a service that has to stay up constantly has to be reliable and has to be available whenever your meeting is kicked off in your room the implications of zooms cloud service going down mean that suddenly your video conferencing system itself is compromised by a missing service so in that context an SLA around a hosted service such as soon would ensure that you as a business never experienced the implications of that down time and if you do there’s comp station for and could this supply really to the hardware to the TV not turning on and things like that boy in that case that side no there’s no isolates I’m aware of the go down to that level but right but something like a data collection and monitoring and things like that you could provide some courts sort of a guarantee that that things will be available yeah okay so we have started working on a project together and one of the things that %HESITATION came up was in the very beginning of the process Nick you were talking about user stories can you tell us a little more about your ideas on user stories and how to communicate the expectations of projects yes Sir so it to answer that’ll go back a little bit to the question that you asked west and that was what are the most exciting things to you about for instance having control and be available as a tool in your toolbox for me what that comes down to is it being such an open platform that all opportunities are still on the table when you’re having a conversation with someone about what they’re trying to achieve and what that leads to is instead of approaching projects our conversations with a with a number of technical constrained it’s like we have to use this hardware and there’s already X. amounts of devices that have already been determined and now I just need a price you can back up from that conversation to the level that consultants typically approach it and at that level you’re not talking about those implementation details you’re talking about what’s the final outcome what’s the end results that we want to achieve by even taking on this project and how is that in results meet the needs not only of the business that you’re servicing as a client but of your own business and so that’s where user stories come in their way to define in such a way that designers and developers can understands us a second language around what the outcome is that they’re trying to achieve and the store worries are written from the perspective of the final user and the final user might be somebody of of different flavors like for instance if you’re looking at a remote service management dashboard or monitoring platform the user in that case might not necessarily be the same user that’s touching a interface inside of a board room one person might be monitoring the health of the system the other person might be actually using the system so those are two different users the typical language around a user stories actually very simple sentence it’s as a user I want to do acts so that I can accomplish why and using that framework you can have discussions with businesses or even with end users such as our estate homeowners to discuss with them while they’re actually trying to accomplish so that you can lay out those goals without having to get down into the weeds and when you have a platform is open is control and be that becomes a huge benefit because the options available to you are so broad that if you started by trying to lay out all options you would never be finished so instead you lay out what is it that a person considers to be successful or desirable and then you can go to find that and work backwards to be solutions that will fit good stuff I like that equation that X. Y. Z. equation of %HESITATION of making a framework so so that you know where you’re going this is come up several times on the show already obviously experience is a big buzz word lately but it’s really important it’s the right way to approach the projects and like you were saying there are so many possibilities out there especially when you look at more open platforms and commodity hardware did the possibilities really are endless but you don’t need to do everything you just need to do a specific set of tasks so once you have this user story hammered out and everybody agrees on who the players are in and what who the users are and and what their goals are what are the next steps what would a typical project look like Wes you want to extend yes so I think they a lot of what we’re doing on the data side and the you know the insight side of room usage in and those statistics integration with building systems would typically be in an office environment where that side of of the product is really a big part of it and of course that’s like well you saw said I at sea in the smart building wing and that was very much the type of demonstration you know that that we had set up there was so I think we very strongly picture our system and you know a lot of the projects that we work in indeed smart building %HESITATION arena what we’ve also found and Nick is as just started working on a project in that stuff very similar in feel but a different end result being the amenities spaces and and and do you and finding that you know a lot of those same needs again it really depends on who which person in the user story you’re talking about so like make reference the what the end users in either case care about is different down facilities managers or or building staff but they share those things in common and even the idea in those spaces where you could you could paint the amenities space for the hospitality space traditionally I think a little more in the residential direction though we’ve been having conversations where the day you want to have easy access to skirt so that people can communicate around the world so I’m I’m seeing a blur there are now only that even between the commercial and quote the residential side where for a lot of people that are interacting with multiple systems in the office at home where they hang out on things like access to a consistent calendar and having information even at that level with scheduling I think can apply in a lot of markets really interesting take on it obviously the technology that we use at home Skype and facetime and things like that are very similar to the things you’ll use at work zoom or anything like that %HESITATION Skype again shows up at work as well but I like the way you tie that back to even your calendar because your schedule is your schedule right it doesn’t matter if you’re working here at home if you have to be some place you have to be some place so it’s an interesting spot where some more integration could could even take place so getting our hands dirty with control and the what what what do I need to do right so so I’m a I’m a navy integrator maybe I’m a programmer what what happens once everything is hammered out we know what we know we need to do we know what equipment is in the projects what happens next typically what we’ll do with a new partner so you know if it’s our first time working together and we’ve we’ve looked at a project that looks like it’s a great fit and have gone through that process to establish budgets and all of that that will be determining what what role am and this is partly determined by skill sets but you know what role do you want to play not only in this first project but in the evolution of of where you want to go with us because we do have some partners who are primarily on the project management and design site and don’t necessarily have the desire add to get their hands dirty as you said with respect to say the software so we actually all for software development as well in our solutions group and so working with a partner we can not only through our souls but then also through other development partners on put that together so that it so that everyone can play the the role that they want to play so that’s the first thing is we’re not it’s not just stay a software product we’re the only people working with us are programmers first given the model and then you know the market where we come from obviously we work with a lot of programmers suit and that question then becomes which languages are you proficient in and that has you know is also determined by the architecture of what is being deployed %HESITATION so if we’re doing a Crestron system for example %HESITATION that’s gonna be architected in a certain way and and we’re controlling the fits and there may be tasks that even that you know as someone who’s the Crestron programming side could take ownership of then and help works through the development out as far as you know how things went down altogether especially if their legacy systems being considered any number of things there so that’s really the next step is in terms of what we’ve defined %HESITATION dinner for working with a software developer and we have a list of art these drivers are going to be developed for this project and this type of custom functionality %HESITATION we do most of our work through we’re really all of our work to get you know through version control center matter what it is on the next step there with the developer would be to share resources with van and you know be the guide rails and in their support to whatever part of the project they had taken on who along with us on their way to becoming a trusted consultant and that that’s essentially our you know a program of this certification if you will but it’s going through the process to where we can actually put a project in your hands from the beginning and know that you would be able to answer that entire train of thought and also have access to our engineering department as you need it just say Hey here’s a request I’m getting in that’s actually we haven’t seen that before so let’s talk about it that’s what we provide I think that’s pretty cool that kind of flexibility and customization it’s not only in the platform it’s also built into the way that that you’re offering the services well so even if I don’t have any software skills on staff I could rely on you for that or if I do then %HESITATION then you’re flexible in that way so are that’s that’s pretty interesting approach for sure and %HESITATION is probably influenced by your software backgrounds and even using things like %HESITATION get just to exchange information is also on I love the sound of that because dealing with Dropbox or even emailing files is it gets to be a headache really quickly so having that that one place where everything a repository where everything is always up to date makes makes your life a lot easier I think that that subject by itself is something that is maybe worthy of its own conversation even on this podcast in the sense that version control practices when I first got into this business I wasn’t familiar with them I didn’t realize how far along that those practices had already been done I looked in other software industries and that’s kind of true of many things in a beat in the sense that what we experience in our evolution as an industry has has already been experienced in other industries like for instance IDE as six to six to ten years before we’ve experienced at and that includes even the are developing solutions around certain problems and version control itself is one of those things where if you as a programmer find yourself trying to figure out naming schemes and folder schemes for files that you don’t lose track of which version you used for which particular purpose and what you really need to be looking at is a version control system and by its nature control and V. because it uses languages that are already well established within version control system such as Java script and nasty sharp you can make use of things like defend your files where you can see a line by line difference without having to do remains and even being able to check dad’s a version history so you can see a time line of every change you’ve made and when you may have deployed that changed to a site so that if you ever have to go back and reference rents it project that you may have touched six months ago there’s that track record there’s that audit trail history that helps you as a developer as much as it helps anybody else and it it can happen within a system that’s built to handle those kinds of changes instead of just drop box or your own file versioning system so that those kinds of practices are in a lot of ways new to AV programmers and yet that then nice thing is there’s a lot of prior art for two to really take yourself to the next level yeah it’s it’s all been done before there’s no reason to reinvent the wheel and %HESITATION that’s one of the knock on effects of open source is here kind of motivated to work to use these these technologies and best practices just to make your code better and more manageable and it it just makes sense so Wes you mention the raspberry pi before obviously Crestron would probably be done in simple sharp and I’m sure you have hooks into %HESITATION using simple windows with that but if you were to deploy control and be on a raspberry pi for example what what programming language would you need to have the skills and to %HESITATION to do that if you wanted to do the programming yourself primarily Java script it is Java script okay so for like your typical AV programmer what would you recommend they do to start transitioning into %HESITATION yeah it’s a Java script I guess code cadmium yeah I mean there’s there’s a lot of tools out there that even things such as our %HESITATION alerts language is a written within Java script snippets and that during the beta days of control in V. I was participating as a project manager external to the team and using it to solve some of my own problems me and I was amazed by the fact that the the Java script syntax was really powerful I’m I wasn’t job script programmer at the time but because there’s such an open community of Java scripts on the web I was able to think about my problem and go out and find a snippet of code I that was recorded in like I think it was W. three scenes standard yes and drop it into what I was trying to accomplish with my alerts and it was the search to completion was a course of probably fifteen minutes yeah and it’s really amazing to realize how much prior art there is out there that Google is really your friends a lot of these online courses are your friend in such a way that you could never have accomplished the same thing with such speed if you had a much more limited set of resources available to you like for instance a closed forum that night maybe only has what five hundred members because of need the limitations of a particular manufacturer and and how they released their SDK those things just are problems that are solved by having open source communities I’m really glad you brought that up because obviously it’s a it’s a huge problem you know the the community is small and it’s it’s relatively close some people aren’t open to sharing what they’ve learned that much and when you get some more web based technologies the mindset is completely different and I remember hearing an interview with the the one of the main developers are first developers of Java scripts and he was saying that the whole intention of the language was for it to be quickly shared and copied to help people just do stuff so your example there of you wanted to do something you copied and pasted it into your code and it just kind of worked is really a great example of the power of of that of open programming open source programming so anybody’s afraid to Java script don’t be get out there and start grooving and just try it I think you’ll be surprised at how approachable is so would you have any advice for integrators that are more interested that are interested in moving towards a more service based model using things like the raspberry pi getting away from the old black box paradigm well I would say first of all try to involve yourself in conversations with and users as much as possible it’s less about the solutions and more about the outcomes or I guess that is the solution but it’s it’s more about the solution lies about the individual components and when you start thinking in that context you can consider all systems of any minute any manufacturer is simply a tool in the box instead of something that you are beholden to I used to have a saying back in the earlier days of control systems before we went this open source route that it many times control systems actually control people instead of being in it of controlling so if you think about it your project is constrained by the limitations that are stat by technology within one manufacture but it’s not just me project it’s all of the businesses involved who are your programmers they have to have a specific skill set who are your integrators they have to have specific relationships that entire IT recipe doesn’t necessarily happier but the end user’s best interest in mind so to be ineffective integrator and consultant no matter which technologies you’re using get above the surface of all of that focus on what the actual outcomes are and then choose your tools based on the house instead of being tied down to one box so that would be my advice is to it’s more of a mindset change then it is necessarily a hard skill great stuff west you have anything to a you’d like to add to that I was thinking as in a few directions while while you were talking there but I I think that I mean that pretty well I think covers it is just really keep an open mind to it and it’s right to be skeptical of new at the level it in the state comes you know what a lot of the projects that you know we’re all involved in our so that’s one that we completely understand and I think it’s you know talking to people talking to I. T. departments you know and not in a confrontational way but just in trying to better understands alright well if if we were able to modify this in a certain way then it would look like a good solution to you and you know that’s that’s really I mean there’s there’s obviously like you said a lot of change we we’re coming from where you picked one manufacturer and that was that was pretty much it you know in terms of how how you were going to get to the finish line for project in there’s a lot of different ways now absolutely great stuff guys if anybody would like to get in touch with you learn more about control and be how they go about doing that trolling be dot com is a good starting point yeah we’ve got a contact form there where you can give us some information just a little bit on your background and if you’d like to see a demo and you know what what market you work and all that so we can get just a little information and follow up with you immediately and then we said we’ve got a solutions group that can actually put a project into action armed with you if you think it’s it’s gonna be something good for your project or if it’s something that you want you would want to put in front of them and get get your hands on on a demo or something that you could actually take an and test the waters with so I would say yes starting at the website and go from there so one think the cool thing about that contact form is that it’s the same thing is the user interface for control NB is it not %HESITATION gotcha yes so it I mean it does it that that’s a really interesting point but yes fundamentally a lot of the same web widgets and HTML five things that we tie in from the app and that’s really cool that you picked up on that because to me it it hasn’t gotten to that point yet but our long term goal with the website is to include interactivity from these various HTML five components and things inside the interface because I mean that’s that’s what’s dope for right in the short answer yes the control and the contact us form is actually built with our own tools yeah nice way for people to a get a little taste and feel of it gentlemen thank you very much for being on the show thank you very much better look for to begin sometime absolutely thank you take care Hey this is Patrick again we talked about a lot of great stuff on this episode like open source and version control and how to know when you need it which is probably all the time and we talked about the raspberry pi Java script and house solutions like control envy use Java script so if you want to program them you’re gonna have to learn how to do that and make mention some great resources like code academy and I really encourage you to get out there Google around and find some information and just give it a try set aside an hour a week for forty five minutes a day whatever it is put it in your calendar start really simple and small open up a telnet connection to a display or some kind of AV device and start sending come some commands over to it and there’s plenty of information on the internet to get you started if you have a hard time getting up and running with Java script I recommend checking out no rate it’s a drag and drop editor from IBM completely open source and free and they developed it to control the I OC to make it easy to control devices which is exactly what we need they make it super simple to make TCP connections HTTP requests and some more advanced stuff as well and then you create your strings in Java script and send them off to devices it’s a great way to have some early wins so check that out and when you’re ready to really use this stuff in a project and get into infrared control serial relays all those things we need to deal with writing device drivers saving stuff to a database running reports check out my courses at learnAVprogramming.com because it will save you a bunch of time I’ve been through it I went through all the forms I’ve Google to my **** off I’ve searched and searched and tested and tested and now I have a system where I could use these things on real projects and I documented at all in the book courses at learning the programming dot com so there’s no reason that you have to go through all that again now these courses aren’t exactly cheap but they will save you a bunch of time and I think you’ll wind up using them as a resource as well it’s not the kind of thing where you just go through the courses and that’s it I find myself going back to the lessons over and over again when I forget how to do something when I just need a reference what were the steps to get from a to B. I go back to the course search on the table of contents find exactly what I need and then I’m back up and running again so that investment will be a time saver on and on into the future and if you go to learn a programming dot com anywhere you see a sign up box go ahead and sign up and I’ll send you some free information to get you started and then you’ll get a little bit of a feel of my teaching style and you’ll be able to see if things are for you or not alright so get out there get started give it a try ends let’s bring this industry to the next level thanks for listening to software defined survival for transcripts and show notes go to software defined survival dot com