By Corey Moss
You can find part two here, where there is also a link to part one.
I continue my conversation with Martin Barbour, Product Manager, Installed Systems at QSC from part two.
I next asked Barbour if he believed AV integrators would be able to sell true IT-based solutions (hardware and software) if they sold Q-SYS OS on Dell server – in essence, building a more unique and trusted relationship with enterprise IT, as well as the CIO?
He replied, “I think that when AV integrators start to deploy systems of this type to the IT department at end-customers’ sites, they will start to build trust with that new customer/ That will open the door to selling additional services that an IT integrator would typically provide. As mentioned, there are a number of very forward thinking AV integrators who are already selling a lot of IT services. There has been no real-time media system available that truly is an IT product, until the introduction of the Q-SYS/Dell technology announcement.”
I followed this up by asking him if AV integrators for the most part (even though we know there are those who have become IT-facing) were not to leverage this solution and stick with the standard Core, if it could possibly give IT integrators a leg up on the industry? First, Barbour re-iterated the importance of understanding that QSC will only sell Q-SYS through authorized dealers. He then noted “I think that any integrator, whether they be traditionally from the AV space or come to this from the IT side, will benefit from being able to offer a solution like ours. It’s the first time we’ve seen configurable, real-time media processing on a piece of hardware that can truly be considered ‘IT’.”
My next question was targeted toward the company in asking if QSC’s approach with this is to be a true IT leader in the industry, and if there would there be other server-based solutions upcoming as well?
“Absolutely.” Barbour stated. “When we started the development of Q-SYS in 2006, we made a very conscientious decision to build the platform entirely on modern, IT hardware and open, accepted IT networking standards, protocols and solutions. Many in our industry believed at the time – and still do now to be honest – that in order to provide real-time media processing or networking, there has to be some proprietary, optimized hardware involved. We never believed that and feel the increased adoption of Q-SYS is proof. Mainstream processing and networking technology is now more than capable of providing an abundance of raw horsepower upon which you can build the most capable real-time and control processing platform.”
He continued, “Mainstream network technology, when used correctly, also allows us to build fully integrated audio and video systems that leverage standard networks and provide the low latency and highly accurate timing and synchronization demanded by those applications. When you factor the inherent control capabilities and the fast advancing video possibilities with our platform, I think it becomes obvious where QSC sees itself over the coming years. And yes, this technology lends itself to many possibilities beyond the Dell server that you have seen already.”
My final question to him about Q-SYS Dell server technology was in reference to standard server in an IT network infrastructure, including IT staff server operations and maintenance?
“The Dell COTS Core is a standard server with respect to management and monitoring. We are able to leverage the Dell remote management and monitoring capabilities of their server platform, which are exposed as DRAC (Dell Remote Access Controller) so that IT managers can bring this in to their existing service and management flows. This is in addition to SNMP capabilities, which have been a part of the Q-SYS Platform for many years and are available on all Q-SYS Cores. Those functions focus on the hardware platform. When you start to look at the software, Q-SYS is built around QSC’s own Linux distribution, which adds real-time extensions necessary for real-time processing. This runs on a standard Intel chipset and is where we put all of our customer facing functions such as DSP processing, AEC, VoIP, AV Bridging, etc.”
In closing, Barbour stated, “The Dell server is a dedicated appliance whose sole purpose is to provide high-performance, real-time media processing and networking in addition to control and monitoring.”
My conversation with him wrapped up with the promise of more conversations to come, and meeting up at InfoComm. I will of course expect to see TJ Adams, as well as others from the company who are at the core of this Q-SYS technology and convergence, along with the relevant discussion.
The core – you see what I did there.
When we refer to certain industry technology outcomes, it seems time and again that we reach a certain point where we get close, but never quite remain on course with the conversation. I refer again to certain situations where AV and IT convergence conversation actually veers off course to topics unrelated to IT, where pundits and media determine that there must be an answer out there beyond the technology conversation.
There are parallel conversations however, some that have been alluded to here by Martin Barbour including IT skillsets obtained by AV industry people, network certifications to go with CTS certs. I know I’ve heard discussion before of advanced CTS certifications (or other industry certifications) created to represent this particular convergence discussion.
Subjects that exist parallel to the AV/IT convergence discussion? This is where the true conversation flow remains, and what I will be talking about from here, in line with a particular conversation I had over two years ago with industry executives where convergence was concerned. I am convinced that what’s been presented here by QSC is today’s proof of this particular technology convergence, however we need further proof as we go that we are in line with certain objectives, and not allow the conversation to veer toward incorrect outcomes, and even jargon.
Note: My thanks to TJ Adams, Martin Barbour and the team at QSC.
With almost 20 years in audio visual integration and IT/computer sales and consulting, Corey Moss is the owner of Convergent Tech – online publications Convergent Tech Blog and Convergent AV, and consulting. Corey writes for the publications and hosts/produces podcasts – Convergent Tech Blog Discussion (on Convergent Tech Blog) and The AV Life, The Edge of AV, EdTech Focus and The Show Corner all on Convergent AV. He has written for numerous industry publications about AV, IT, unified communications and collaboration (UCC), cloud and software, IoT, cybersecurity and more. He has also conducted interviews with AV and IT executives and global influencers.