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infoComm Special: ProAV Roundup

Latest and greatest in ProAV news By Gary Kayye, CTS
Industry News

Technology Convergence, User-Friendly Engineering Top Agenda at Manufacturers Forum

Future trends and current challenges were discussed at the Manufacturers Forum, an event that kicked off InfoComm the first evening. The forum was moderated by rAVe Columnist Gary Kayye and included Bob Hagerty, CEO of Polycom, Rashid M. Skaf, Executive Vice President (soon to be president and COO) of AMX Corporation; Martin de Prycker, CEO of Barco; Robert Mueller, Executive Vice President and Chief Operations Officer of JVC; and Al Hershner, Vice President and General Manager, U.S. Business Unit, of Shure.

The challenge of new technologies dominated the speakers' comments. "Accelerating and converging technologies are at the top of our own list," observed Al Hershner. "We'll see a lot of convergence in a lot of different industries coming together," said Rashid Skaf.

"Convergence is not a trend, it's a necessity," added Robert Mueller. "To maintain a competitive lead in exotic technologies takes a lot, so a lot of key devices are driven by the consumer market because that market offers the kind of scale necessary for profits."

A key question on their minds was adapting to change. "I don't see a clear trend other than great turbulence," said Robert Mueller, although Mueller and the other panelists were confident that what they described as "the distribution ecosystem" would learn to adapt. "The role of the dealer will become more important as time passes, especially dealers who can bring value-added services to their customers," said Rashid Skaf.

In this respect, Mueller noted that "ICIA has a tremendous resource in the InfoComm Academy and its ability to help professionals stay abreast of the leading technologies."

One of the biggest challenges, many agreed, would be coping with the increasing demand for simple operation. "Making things easy is difficult, but that's the future and we have to live with it," said Rashid Skaf. "We are doubling the innovation level in the whole industry. Most of our profits now come from products that didn't exist two years ago."

After the Forum, Gary Kayye added these comments directed toward rAVe readers: ?I think the key point I was left with from these five industry leaders is that networking AV stuff is now a requirement not a flash in the pan. If youre not networking AV gear now, you will be.

Finally, Gary ended the Forum asking each of the five panelists what new product or technology developed in the past five years (other than their own) has impressed them the most. Interestingly enough, every one of them pointed to Apple and most to the iPod and iTunes as the biggest innovation theyve seen recently.


ICIA Honors Thiel, Friesenborg, Bronson and Hermanson

ICIA honored four AV professionals for their long commitments and achievements to the industry.

Harald Thiel, who served twice as president of ICIA and co-founded TELAV Audio Video Solutions, was honored by ICIA with this years Distinguished Achievement Award. The award was presented at the June 7 Communications Excellence Awards Banquet.

Thiel served for eight years on ICIAs Executive Committee, as president and chairman of the Board of Governors.

In 1982 he co-founded TELAV Audio Visual Solutions and helped it grow from a single office in Montreal into a highly respected provider of audiovisual equipment and technical support with 20 offices in Canada and the U.S. by the time it joined with AVW Audio Visual, Inc. Following the merger, Thiel served as President of the Canadian division of AVW-TELAV Audio Visual Solutions, which offers a complete range of audiovisual and presentation technology services throughout North America.

Thiel retired from AVW-TELAV in 2004 to devote his energies to developing his Hidden Bench Vineyard & Winery in Toronto, Canada into a world-class establishment.

ICIA's Distinguished Achievement Award is the highest honor bestowed on an industry member by the association. In selecting its recipient, ICIA's Board of Governors applies two main criteria - the career accomplishments of those under consideration, and their contributions to the AV industry.


Terry Friesenborg received ICIAs Fred Dixon Service in Education Award at the banquet. Friesenborg is currently ICIA's Senior Vice President of International Development. Prior to joining ICIA as VP of Education and Certification in 2000, Friesenborg spent more than 25 years in video production, multimedia production, AV rental and staging, and AV system design and integration.

Friesenborg worked at Audio Visual Systems, Inc. for more than 17 years, concluding his career there as Managing Director when the company was purchased by MCSi.

Friesenborg has actively contributed to ICIA's curriculum development as a member of ICIA's Professional Education and Training Committee, according to ICIA. He served as President, Executive Committee member and Board member from 1998 to 1999.

Upon joining ICIA, Friesenborg was responsible for the association's education and certification activities, contributing to today's expanded and revised online programs, and increased classroom activities around the world. He also served the association as Chief Operating Officer of InfoComm Information Resources, Inc., the company that runs InfoComm iQ. Beginning in 2005, Friesenborg assumed responsibility for all ICIA international activities including the Integrated Systems trade shows in Asia and Europe.

The Fred Dixon Service in Education Award, named for the longtime ICIA Academy educator, honors individuals for the entire body of their work and contributions over the years.


Greg Bronson of Cornell University received the Harald Thiel Volunteer of the Year award at the banquet. ICIA cited Bronsons activities in the development of innovative classroom technologies and electronic teaching spaces at Cornell University, where he provides project design, management and coordination services.

A 20-year industry veteran, Bronson is Chairman of ICIA's Dashboard for Controls Committee, which promotes the creation of intuitive controls, allowing presenters to easily operate professionally installed AV systems. He has served as chair and is now an active member of ICIA's Board of Governors and is also an ICIA Certified Technology Specialist in Design (CTS-D).

ICIA's Volunteer of the Year Award, renamed this year as the Harald Thiel Volunteer of the Year Award, is a recognition bestowed by ICIA staff to individuals who have demonstrated an exceptional level of volunteerism for the association.

Roy A. Hermanson, Jr., was honored with the ICIA 2005 Educator of the Year Award. Hermanson, Jr., a regional applications specialist for Extron Electronics, has been a trainer and educator in the ProAV industry for more than 25 years. His experience includes both the commercial and residential markets, and covers audio, film, slide, data, video, rental, staging, and systems integration.

Hermanson earned AV credentials from ICIA as a Certified Technology Specialist in both Installation and Design (CTS-I and CTS-D). He is an instructor at the Extron Institute and at AV industry trade shows, serving on the faculty of ICIA's InfoComm Academy as well as those of other industry organizations.

The ICIA Educator of the Year Award honors individuals who work to develop the skills and knowledge of others in the AV industry. Recipients are nominated by ICIA's Professional Education and Training Committee (PETC). Past awardees were Fred Dixon, CTS, Duffy Wilbert, CTS, André LeJeune, CTS, Spencer Bullins, CTS, Steve Thorburn, PE, CTS-I, CTS-D, Scott Sharer, MFA, CTS, Mike Weems, CTS, MCP, Gordon Moore, CTS, Joel Rollins, CTS-R, Bill Sharer, CTS, Gary Kayye, CTS and Mario Maltese, CTS-I, CTS-D.


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