InsideAMX Tertiary


Hello everyone.  I’m quite chuffed to have been invited to write my first welcome piece for the Tertiary Newsletter.  I’m not sure if this is part of a grander “Phil Dunn quietly slipping into retirement and handing off duties as he goes” plan or not, but we shall see how this goes.

I must say it is a truly exciting time for anyone even remotely associated with AMX.  When I started, the ink on the acquisition contract by Harman was still drying, and now, 6 months later, we have SVSi on board and AMX Australia now distributing some legendary Harman brands like JBL, BSS & Crown!  And if you’re like me & enjoy peering into the future and pondering what might happen in the next 12 months, I’m sure you’ll agree there are some really exciting potential partnerships.  Graham Barrett and Pete Swanson are particularly sick of me asking what’s coming next!

- Dave Rigter

In this issue

Recent events

SVSi acquisition

AVB name change


AMX and Beyond Roadshow!

With all the exciting changes happening at AMX we've decided to take our show on the road!

Join us to hear about the most exciting developments in the AV/IT industry this year! Unifying the leading control, switching, video streaming and audio brands in the Harman range will provide you with unique opportunities for innovation and strategic approaches on your upcoming projects.

Our 3 sessions will collectively give you a strong understanding of the benefits of our new Harman and SVSi ranges, enabling you to take maximum advantage of these solutions as well as providing a great opportunity to meet key AMX staff and network with your industry peers over drinks and canapés.

SVSi - Get used to that name!

And get used to the logo too.

At InfoComm back in June, Harman Professional acquired the Network AV company SVSi based in Hunstville Alabama.

Catch phrases like ‘game changer’ and ‘disruption’ get flogged to death in this industry, but we believe they can be safely applied to the SVSi product family. 

Below the surface of those innocent looking black boxes is a raft of potential to change the way we build and operate AV systems, and to disrupt some traditional thinking. 

There is plenty of information about SVSi on the AMX website and I’m sure there will be a lot of other info arriving in your in-box.

Some questions spring to mind (I’m sure you’ve already thought of them):

Q1 - What’s the catch?  What are the downsides?

Q2 - Won’t this hurt traditional AMX product sales?

A1:  It places almost total reliance on the network and demands the proper configuration.  You will need to work very closely with your network team to setup multi-cast correctly and to troubleshoot any problems.

A2: Quite possibly, but we see them as complimentary products giving you the option to choose the best platform.  In some situations a traditional DGX or DVX-based system could be the best fit; in others a totally SVSi-based system could be best.  Or it could be a hybrid solution fits the bill.

To learn more about this exciting ‘game changing distraction’ please try to get to one of the roadshow events we are running in Australia and New Zealand in November and December.

AETM, AVIA’s and Integrate Expo 2015

Aside from product news, we’ve had a busy but fantastic last quarter in the education space.  Of course we caught up with many of you at Integrate, which was a thoroughly enjoyable event.  Phil and I also got to mingle with the AETM crowd at the annual AETM Meet & Greet.  It was great to see some familiar faces and also put faces to some people who had only appeared as email signatures up until that point. 

It was also great to talk with many of you at the AVIA Awards later that night.  Congratulations go to all those nominated (UniSA, Deakin University, Monash University & University of Sunshine Coast) and huge congratulations go to the 2 winners, UniSA & USC!  I am aware that I was the only ERM whose region did not win an AVIA, and not that I’m competitive, but there were discussions over a glass of red for WA, ACT & NSW to stage a glorious comeback in 2016! 


The AMX stand at Integrate was very popular and we thank you all for your time in coming to say hello, see what’s on display and talk through your projects or concerns with us. I think the greatest value was the unfettered access you all had to our Product Specialists. Niek Groot (RMS Product Specialist) was particularly popular (He turned to me at 4:30pm on the first day and said “I’ve just realised I haven’t had lunch or been to the bathroom…..I’ll be back!”) 

Learning Technology Directors Briefing

Also popular was the Learning Technology Directors Briefing.  This is an AMX hosted event aimed specifically at your managers who may have acquired the AV team as part of their portfolio. 

Graham & Pete help to show IT Directors & CIO’s what impact AV is having on their institution & how AMX, in partnership with yourselves, might be able to offer solutions.  Many thanks to Stephen Stone, Ian Willis & Noel Threapleton for running tours at Uni SAUni of Adelaide.

Looking forward, we now focus our attention on the AETM Conference in November, and then of course heading into the end of year upgrades season.

The Customer Experience

One of the things that drives me in my role is the process of understanding where the customer is coming from.  Having empathy for the student, lecturer, AV support tech & AV Manager is, I believe, a core part of being an ERM.  If we do not understand what these roles experience on a day-to-day basis, if we don’t imagine their interactions with AMX products and services and how they perceive its success or failure, then we cannot hope to deliver successful solutions. 

One of my favourite blogs is from US Based Integrators, The Sextant Group.  Time after time I can see the theme of concentrating on and really understanding the user experience come through in their posts.  This post on Space Planning for Millennials really caught my eye.  Millennials, (those born from 1982-2000, which oddly includes myself) are disrupting workplaces and learning environments the world over.  As people who work towards providing education, it’s imperative that we understand what motivates this generation and what kind of skills & knowledge they might require.  Only then can we deliver spaces (yes architecture plays a part, not just technology) that facilitate the behaviours & interactions that lead to authentic learning.

- Dave

AVB now TSN?

Another TLA (three letter acronym) for the brain-box – TSN or Time Sensitive Networking which appears to be a replacement for AVB or Audio Video Bridging.  Or as we cynically refer to it A-space-B due to the lack of video products using AVB.  

I seriously doubt this will turn our world upside down but handy to know what TSN means if some smarty drops it in a conversation.

A Bit of Light Reading

We in uni-land often hear about ‘flipped classrooms’ and sometimes about ‘adaptive learning’.  But I haven’t come across ‘digital humanities’ yet.  This article highlights the vagueness of some of these popular or maybe-soon-to-be-popular buzzwordsReaders’ Definitions of Ed-Tech Buzzwords: Confusion and Skepticism Continue

A while back I read this article on LinkedIn and bookmarked it to share.  Nothing new or revolutionary but a nice read about creating a productive working or learning environmentInnovative Teaching: it’s not the technology, it’s the thinking

In light of the recent acquisition of SVSi, this one from InfoComm is worth a read:  The Disruptive Power of Ethernet

And another one from AV Network’s site highlighting the growing trend towards networked AV:  What is the Internet of Things to AV?

And finally, this one in rAVePubs (second article) about the value of measuring your own performance.  If you don’t have documented performance targets – e.g. percentage classroom uptime – how do you know how good or bad your section is running and whether it is improving or degrading over time?  The suggestion in the article is to develop a “balanced scorecard” for capturing critical information about your service. 


UQ cracks 1000 rooms on RMS

Our good friend Luke at University of Queensland forwarded the screenshot below.  To the best of our knowledge, this is the largest university RMS deployment in the world right now!


Dunnii's Wrap


Well things are never dull at AMX, but some of the latest developments with SVSi and Harman have really sparked things up as we scramble to embrace new product lines.  We are all looking forward to the challenges they will bring.  They will certainly open a whole new set of conversations.

A big thanks to Dave for sharing some of the workload with this newsletter.  But to counter his ‘slipping into retirement’ rumour, I’m not planning to go anywhere quite yet because I’m having way too much fun. 

As I write this, we are only a matter of weeks out from the 15th annual AETM Conference in Melbourne and we’re all really looking forward to catching up with many of you there.  We are again Platinum sponsor (15th year running!!) and wear that badge with great pride.  

Until we meet again, cheers.

- Phil

AETM Local Chapter Meeting in NZ

AMX are proud of our association of the AETM and always looking for ways to support this great organisation. 

One concept we have been exploring was creating ‘local chapter’ meetings in capital cities to widen the reach of the AETM and make it more accessible to university people who can’t get to the two official events each year – the Integrate Education Program in August and the Annual Conference in November. 

After a lot of discussion and hard work behind the scenes, the AETM scheduled a pilot local chapter meeting in Wellington for the New Zealand membership in conjunction with AMX as sponsor.

Victoria University of Wellington hosted the event in early July and from my observations it was a great success.  We had representatives from seven NZ universities plus Te Papa Museum, Jason York from Infocomm, Scott Doyle representing the AETM and Richard Nagle and myself from AMX.

The cool (cold!) Wellington weather made scarves and beanies essential fashion items to guard against hyperthermia, but well and truly balanced by the warm welcome and lively engagement within the group.  

A big thanks to the Kiwis for the hospitality and to the AETM committee for entertaining and supporting this concept and making it a reality.  I am a little biased because it was my idea originally, but I hope this is the first of many local chapter events across the region in coming years.

InfoComm Reading Standards....

Infocomm recently published a standard on display size and viewing angles.  It’s not new to most of us but a good reference for including in your design standards.  I was a great fan of the ‘6H rule’ for screen sizing, but am now even fonder of the 150H rule. 

The 6H rule means the most distant viewer can be no more than 6 times the image height (6H) from the screen to be able to read the content.  Example:  if the rear row of seats in a theatre is 12m from the screen, the image must be at least 2m high.  Width is determined by aspect ratio, but height is the governing dimension.

However with the advent of higher resolutions, there is a tendency to use smaller text and graphics, so viewability suffers.  The 150H rule addresses this by saying the most distant viewer must be no more than 150 times the height of text on the screen.  So for the same person 12m from the screen, the text must be no smaller than 80mm high (12,000 divided by 150).

The difference between the relevance of the 6H and 150H rules will be the intended recipient.  An architect will understand the 6H rule and be able to size display wall space accordingly, but not the 150H rule because he/she won’t know the text size.  The 150H rule is more applicable to academics preparing display content.  AV staff can use it to deter academics from using stupid-by-stupid resolutions from their latest 4K laptop.  If it’s printed in an international standard, it must be right hey?

Read the full article here.

Where RMS can go wrong

When all the planets align, installing the RMS Server application is smooth and painless.  But we live in a real world and things don’t always go to plan.  Our old mate Murphy has a habit of intervening.

Here are some examples I’ve seen where the RMS has created pain:

·        Not following the installation manual.  I have witnessed IT people trying to install the various components out of sequence and hitting a brick wall.  Java and Tomcat must be installed before the RMS application.  And the configuration settings in the manual must be followed – they are there for a reason.

·        Server hardware not meeting minimum specs – eg if the minimum RAM is stated as 4MB, having only 2MB available is sure to have consequences.

·        Not having access to the right people.  Part of the RMS installation process is to create a database on the SQL Server.  Quite often this is under the control of a database administrator (DBA) in another section of IT, and the DBA will need to grant access to the server.  If the right person is not available at the time of RMS installation, the process stalls.  It cannot proceed without a SQL database.

·        Poor communication or friction between AV and IT teams.  RMS is a classic case of AV-IT convergence and the people in each team need to work together.  That may take some ‘education’ to break down barriers and build trust – eg convincing a DBA that you are not going to compromise any of ‘his/her’ systems or requiring admin rights on the RMS server box or instance.  Equally, AV people need to respect the need for IT-centric things like change management and security policies. 

The other thing that causes an RMS installation to go badly is inadequate planning of the monitoring and reporting. 

RMS is a hugely flexible system and can do almost anything you want – or more specifically the programmer can.  The challenge when designing an RMS system for your university is to plan and specify exactly want you want.  That may sound simple, but it isn’t for someone unfamiliar with RMS. 

What often happens is that assumptions are made – by the university; and by the programmer.  Typically the newcomer to RMS doesn’t understand RMS’s programming requirements; and the programmer doesn’t fully understand the university’s needs.  The end result is often disappointment.

How can this be avoided?  The best approach is to include AMX in the planning process – ie make it a 3-way partnership between the university, integrator and AMX.  We have extensive experience with RMS and a thorough understanding of what works for universities, so are in a good position to guide an RMS system towards a successful outcome rather than disappointment. 

One of my roles at AMX is to help universities develop and refine RMS systems to deliver real value.  It’s one of my passions and I’m only too happy to help with anything RMS-related. 

Welcome to Q3


Last issue I said how much I like the cooler months, but I think the weather gods over-reacted.  Since then I had a few days in Melbourne and guess what – a cold snap hit.  A week later in Wellington:  another cold snap – even cold by their standards.  A week later at home in sunny Queensland:  another cold snap.  OK I get the message – it’s winter!

This time of year we are all gearing up for the annual pilgrimage to Integrate – in Melbourne this year for a change.  I know many of you in tertiary-land will be there so please call in at the AMX stand to say hello. 

August is also the end of the ‘EAP year’ so if you haven’t lodged your points claims for AMX purchases dating back to 1st Sept 2014 by midnight on 31st Aug, you’ve missed out. 

One of the things I really love about working for AMX is the satisfaction of seeing the seed of an idea grow into something real and valuable.  For quite a while (a couple of years now) I’ve believed that the AETM should widen its reach beyond the fixed events in August and November.  Not everyone can get funding and/or approval to travel interstate, so why not have a local event requiring little or no travel overhead?  That dream became reality in July with the running of the inaugural local chapter meeting in Wellington and I was proud to be part of it.  The next part of the dream is to see this as an annual calendar fixture in most states in coming years.

In this issue

Where RMS can go wrong – tips for avoiding traps

Display standards from Infocomm

AETM NZ meeting

Travel tips

Trump’s 757


Education Alliance Program

It’s time to start reminding you that any point claims for this ‘EAP Year’ (runs 1st Sept 2014 to 31st Aug 2015) need to be submitted by 31st August.  So please don’t leave this until the last minute – especially if you need to chase your AMX partner for proof of purchase documentation.

As a refresher, to claim points you need to provide ‘proof of purchase’ documentation.  This can be in one of three forms (in order of preference):

1.      A copy of the invoice for the equipment including AMX models and serial numbers.

2.      A statement from the supplier on their company letterhead listing all AMX equipment models and serial numbers and date of supply.  A raw spreadsheet is not sufficient.

3.      A statement on university letterhead signed by an authorised person (ie someone authorised to sign on behalf of the university) listing all the AMX equipment models, serial numbers, supply date and vendor name.

If you haven’t looked at the EAP website for a while, it now has many new products claimable such as the full range of Hydraport accessories and many other recently released products.

AMX Innovation Awards

The annual AMX Innovation Award ceremony will be held at the UBTech Conference in Florida a few days before Infocomm. 

This year there are four categories – Active Learning, Beyond Learning Spaces, Campus Impact and Non-traditional Learning Spaces.  Plus a fifth ‘People’s Choice’ awarded voted at the conference.

We can be proud that of the 19 finalists, three are Australian.  Congratulations to The University of Queensland (finalist in two categories – Active Learning and Campus Impact) and Deakin University (finalist in Campus Impact category).  Congratulations to both universities – certainly well deserved and verification we are leaders on the world stage.

Winners will be announced at the awards function on Monday 15th June (US time), so we’ll know who to congratulate on Tues 16th June.

See a full list of finalists here and find out more about the UBtech Conference here

Design Standards

Much has been written about the need for design standards, but I came across this article from Infocomm in my in-box recently and thought it worth mentioning to this audience.  It’s the first of four parts, so watch the Infocomm website for the remaining three.

The key message I take from the blog is that without proper enforceable design standards, a university cannot expect quality or consistent outcomes in the delivery of AV systems. 

I haven’t had the opportunity to do a direct comparison with the AETM guidelines, but a quick look at the list of contributors suggests there are likely to be some similarities. 

The author of the blog points out some associated standards available from at no cost which can support university design guidelines.

Introducing David Rigter

Last issue I briefly introduced our new Education Relationship Manager Dave Rigter based in our Sydney office.  Dave joined us in March and is settling into the role looking after universities in NSW, ACT and WA.  He and I have done a few joint visits around the country to introduce him, so some of you will already know him.  But for those who don’t, I’d like to ask Dave to give you a quick download on his background and how he sees his role at AMX. 

Thanks Phil,

On a personal note, it’s been great to meet many of you over the last few weeks and I look forward to meeting those of you I have not yet met.

I live in the Sutherland Shire of Sydney with my wife and 2 young kids.  I’m based in the NSW AMX office in Lane Cove.  In my fleeting moments of spare time I enjoy rock climbing & road cycling. 

My AV journey started in corporate AV after migrating from professional theatre & events.  Quickly after that I moved into an AV role in a K-12 school and was hooked. 

The intersection of technology & learning is something that really invigorates me.  I started in schools just before the “1 laptop per child” policy came in, which was transformative in the Australian Education scene.

I’ve assisted 2 Sydney private high schools through their 1 to 1 programs, which has helped me realise that it’s not just about putting a device in a student’s hands. It’s about the holistic view.  What AV systems do they need and do they know how to use them? Do the teaching staff know how to effectively use the supporting technology?  Are the systems scalable, supportable and do they contribute to learning outcomes?

 After my stint in high schools, I spent a few years at University of Technology Sydney, helping their AV team through the University’s massive $1b Campus Development Program. Through my time at UTS, I gained experience in university culture/nuances, government procurement and the challenges facing Uni AV teams.

I believe the Australian University sector is entering a bold new phase, where old style “transactional” learning (I attend, you impart knowledge) will be replaced with a truly collaborative, mutually beneficial and authentic learning, for the student, the lecturer and the institution.

We’ve all heard (and know) that it will be a time of enormous change.  How we approach & deal with it is starting to become clearer and I look forward to working with you all to understand how best AMX can assist as you adapt to and drive this change.

I’m really excited to be a part of the team here at AMX, even though it may be a little daunting to try and partially fill the shoes of Phil Dunn. 

And before Phil mocks me, yes my favourite coffee is a piccolo latte. (It’s a Sydney thing!)

 Regards, Dave Rigter

Thanks Dave and again, welcome to the ERM team.  I actually wasn’t going to mock you about the piccolo latte – but now that you raised it, I can’t help mentioning the day in Joondalup (Perth) when you ordered a piccolo latte and the girl behind the counter gave you the blankest of blank stares.  Then delivered about a litre of latte!!  Hilarious.