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Here everything is under control

Having absolute control over an audio, video and lighting installation is possible thanks to a multi-hall system. It does not matter if the spaces are large or small, with these systems the integral management of the equipment is at your fingertips.

by Héctor Gómez Pérez

Although they are Whole House Control or Room Combing applications (the first for the residential market and the second for the commercial niche: convention centers, theaters, hotels, among others), the main functionality of a multi-room system is to integrate extremely diverse and complex technologies in a single control and operation platform that offers the user easy levels of use and a solution adapted to their needs. Although Manuel Montoya, director for Latin America of Crestron, points out that as complementary objectives can be pointed out the possibility of sharing resources (distribution of audio and video signals) and the possibility of exercising an efficient administration of them, for example in the issues of on and off.

But the possibilities offered by multi-living systems are not exhausted in what has already been mentioned; these extend to the centralized control of other systems such as lighting, air conditioning, blinds, media servers, security systems and video conferencing. In addition, the monitoring of all these systems is done in real time and allows the control via web of them.

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Basic components

Mike Twerdak, Chief Operating Officer of Aurora Multimedia, explained as follows the equipment that makes up a system as described above:

Local room equipment (audio/video/control)
Shared equipment (A/V matrix router/ media/ control/ administration).

According to Twerdak, the local part of a multi-room system offers the user the possibility of directing a presentation using a computer, where the key component is the control interface. The control system must allow the user to access a complex system through an intuitive and reliable interface; likewise, it must be networked in such a way that the administrator can monitor and assist the customer at any given time and adds that "our WAXI NX line of control products excels in this regard because the equipment is easily programmed and configured according to the customer's need".

In turn Twerdak considered that the part of the shared team becomes the most critical aspect of these systems because the entire media manager system is in this segment.

For his part, Manuel Montoya summarizes the components of a multi-living system in:

  • Control processor (system brain)
  • User interfaces (touch screen or keypad for system operation)
  • Auxiliary control modules (peripherals)
  • Equipment to be controlled (AV arrays, DVD's, Plasmas, lighting modules, thermostats, motors for blinds, mechanical screens, motion sensors, etc.).

This representative of Crestron also points out that the characteristics of these components refer to the fact that they are expandable, have Ethernet connectivity and completely customizable functionality.

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Facilities in the region

Janet Beckman, marketing director of Williams Sound, points out that the Latin American market has been responding positively to the solutions offered by her company in FM and infrared equipment that are integrated into multisalom AV systems. These equipment are represented by wireless listening systems for large areas, whose application is common in educational establishments, courtrooms and offer simultaneous interpretation and listening assistance by transmitting the signal directly from the sound source to any number of receivers.

Manuel Montoya, for his part, said that "the concept is not yet as present in the user's mind as it is in the USA and Europe, where these systems are almost a standard and their benefits are fully understood. However, in recent years customers in Latin America have turned to these systems in search of a solution that allows them to more efficiently manage their spaces, share resources and save energy. The customer understands the advantages of a control system when he knows that it can help him extend the life of a projector (automating its on and off) or that it can help him reduce his energy consumption, just by adjusting the intensity of the lights automatically, according to the time of day. Thanks to the diffusion of these advantages, the customer is understanding these systems as a necessity and not just as a luxury".

Mike Twerdak said sales of Aurora Multmedia's multi-life products have increased in Latin America in recent years; He also pointed out that the needs of the region are not different from those of the rest of the world, where customers are always looking for "the ways to implement the best technologies of today at the best effective cost."

On the other shore

In addition to the opinion of the manufacturers of products for multisalom systems, AVI LATINOAMÉRICA consulted the vision of Diego Campos, engineering director of Construcciones Acústicas Ltda, a Colombian company dedicated to the design and implementation of professional audio, video, lighting and intelligent control systems. Campos pointed out that Latin America has been positioning itself in a good way in terms of multi-hall systems, especially because of the assemblies of this type that hotel chains have been carrying out.

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On the main difficulty that installers encounter when implementing a system of this type, he said that "in Latin America, and the specific case of Colombia, it can be the issue of electrical networks since they are not very stable and generate inconveniences in the operation of the equipment, which in most cases are very sensitive to electrical variations."

Finally, the group of guests considered that although the price was a determining factor in the decision to purchase equipment and install multisalom systems, today these solutions are seen more in terms of aggrieved value and differentiating factor over the competition.

Richard Santa, RAVT
Author: Richard Santa, RAVT
Periodista de la Universidad de Antioquia (2010), con experiencia en temas sobre tecnología y economía. Editor de las revistas TVyVideo+Radio y AVI Latinoamérica. Coordinador académico de TecnoTelevisión&Radio.

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