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All for one and one for all

The integration of AV systems for multipurpose rooms is being implemented in Latin America. Many convention centers and hotels have systems that allow them to deliver audio and video as required by users.

by Ana María Restrepo

A few years ago, about a decade ago, Latin American convention centers and hotels began to see an increase in the development of contests and events in their facilities; however, the architectural and technological conditions of these places were not the best to receive the attendees. Due to this, improvements and reforms began to be made that led to the creation of multifunctional rooms that could be combined to be a larger one or divided into as many small ones and thus meet the demands and challenges of customers and users.

Another aspect that began to be modified were the audio and video systems, so advanced technologies were implemented in audiovisual integration and structured cabling for data transfer with digital and analog connection lines, in addition to the implementation of wireless transmission systems.

These reforms or new creations led to the implementation of modern audio and video equipment that allowed the integration of both systems and in turn allowed all auditoriums to receive that audio and video controlled from a single matrix and according to the needs of each place.

At the beginning, the migration to these systems caused some inconvenience in terms of costs, due to the fact that the teams of different manufacturers had closed architectures, which made it difficult to integrate with other systems; However, new technologies allowed to improve this environment a little and created more efficient solutions as Carlos Otero explains regional sales manager of Crestron: "generally what has been done is that when new generations of equipment come out they become compatible with the previous equipment, and as the technologies change so much, then these serve as a complement. That equipment may not have the potential that you have today, but then it works as a complement to larger systems, but they are not lost, in that sense the factories have been careful to maintain this."

Style and technology

New constructions or renovations in convention centers, companies, hotels or venues for the preparation of contests, have been made thinking about the needs of customers and also the profitability of the business, because it is much easier to rent small rooms than large spaces, however, for this to be possible it is important that these places have all the comfort and comfort both physical and technological that users demand.

As a result of this, it is necessary to create a technological infrastructure that allows sending audio and video to different places and be controlled from a single point, but that also allows the distribution of audio and video depending on how it is needed in each place. This integration allows you to take different signals to each of the sites, control the volume independently and project different images or video, through audio and video platforms, together with a control and automation system.

According to Hernán Ramé, Biamp's representative for Latin America, in Latin America, and  the audio and video industry, and especially the integration of these technologies is being handled as it is done in the United States or in Europe, with very similar technologies, but equal.

The integration of audiovisual systems is achieved through equipment of both elements; however, audio and video are controlled independently for each room. New audio and video technologies allow them to be routed specifically to the space where they are needed, via the audio matrix and the video matrix, through an automation control that makes it easier to use these systems.

To route the audio in a multifunctional room the number of speakers and microphones that may be needed are distributed, Ramé explains this procedure in a multipurpose room that can be divided into three small ones: "What is done is that two wireless microphones are put for each room, those two microphones can be routed via the audio array, since the audio system has enough processing power so that if you need all six microphones to be used in room one, or use two microphones for room two, or for any combination to any room you can do it" in the same way, the routing of the video is done through the main of the video to any room and independently.

Ramé also explains that the process of distributing the video in the rooms can be complemented by a detector that is placed on the sliding walls. This element detects whether the wall is open or closed, and allows the team to determine if the video is for an independent space or for a combined one.

Systems Integration

New technologies allow multi-source audio and video systems to converge in a large space, directed from a main control center that sends it to small arrays distributed in the rooms, ensuring that each area has the audio and video it needs.

This integration is achieved through multi-source-multizone applicators, which have a series of audio and video inputs, which have outputs to the different areas where you want to amplify. Currently these systems are communicated through an automation and control solution that unites and distributes them. This solution is a system that somehow makes the audio and video work as a whole, and that the end user can use them in a simple and friendly way.

According to Otero, controllers are brains that communicate on the one hand with the audio and video arrays, and that function as an end-user interface. These processors are being offered in the market sensitive touch screens, which are  friendly, graphic and interactive and that ultimately what they do is that for the person who is going to use the system it will be much easier to do so. Also these screens allow to integrate lighting automation systems, light control, and elements such as the video projector, the projection screen or a DVD player, "in this way the controller becomes the brain that talks to everyone, that controls them all and that offers the end user an interactive interface" he says.

However, to integrate audio and video it is not necessary to use an interface, but it is the most recommended to meet the needs of the end user.

Market trends

The audio and video industry has evolved on par with or more than the other industries. Unlike other sectors where video is also handled, systems with open architecture abound in this industry, facilitating the use of different manufacturers in a single audiovisual solution. Integration is also achieved through the transmission routes, as structured cabling is used through cat 5m or through the Internet.

"Nowadays the architectures are open, even what each company handles is that almost everything has been thought of leading to a common platform such as the Internet platform, through TCP / IP, which is what is used for computer networks, the desirable thing is that there is a computer network platform that today anyone has it and on that network platform the other systems are mounted" as Carlos Otero explains. On this network, in which the company's data coexists, control, audio and video systems are implemented in the same way, although they can also be mounted on wireless networks  such as Wi-Fi.

For his part, Hernán Ramé explains that for the link to be more robust it must be done by CAT 5, since it supports data transmission up to 100 megabytes per second, since the Internet is not so solid to make these transmissions.

As for equipment, the trends do not differ much from the new technologies that allow the communication of several systems, since equipment is used that replaces many mechanisms at once, as happens in audio, where the new models used count as equalizers, compressors and mixers. In the same way special digital platforms are handled, or for remote conferencing systems as well as systems that create a single audio network with all the requirements are the need to use redundant systems.

Both experts consider that the market trends are broad in Latin America, since the use of open architectures that facilitate the interconnectivity of  audio and video systems have become popular in the region and allowed the installation and integration of these systems in different industries. 

Ramé believes that the integration of audio and video in Latin America is very strong, especially in convention centers and hotels, for example, in Colombia, Argentina, Brazil and Mexico multiple integration projects have been carried out. However, they also agree that the region is very sensitive to price and this affects the installation of better solutions. Otero also thinks that the region has evolved quite a bit to such an extent that the issue of automation is already included within the integration projects, improving the conditions of the entire company.

The future of audio and video for multiple salons is very promising in the region, but beyond that it is promising for the industry, due to the high number of constructions and reforms that are being carried out for the elaboration of contests.

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