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Articles September - October 2023

Capturing The True Essence Of Sound New!

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Articles September - October 2023

Photo Feature: Studio Showcase New!

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Articles September - October 2023

Mastering The Art Of Sound With Donal Whelan New!

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Articles September - October 2023

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Articles September - October 2023

Mumbai Studio Explores New Verticals With Genelec Monitors New!

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IRAA Awards 2023: Jury Reflections New!

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Gray Spark Audio Opens New Studio For Academy Students New!

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Articles September - October 2023

Firdaus Studio: Building A Sonic Paradise For Recording Artists New!

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Articles September - October 2023

Naveen Deshpande Elevates Stand-Up Comedy with Bespoke Lighting Designs New!

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On Delivering Quality Mega Scale AV Projects in India

The PALM + AV-ICN conference session witnessed a panel of AV experts, Prashanth Govindhan, Claron D'souza, Abdul Waheed, and Kapil Thirwani sit for a dialogue on the evolution of Indian AV industry, how it differs from AV industries in other countries, and how moral is the concept of jugaad in the Indian AV sphere. In this article, read the highlights of the talk.

To address the rising significance of AV in the field of technology in the country, PALM + AV-ICN organized a conference session titled, 'Quality Paradigm of Mega Scale AV Projects'. The session witnessed a panel of AV experts, Prashant Govindan, Claron D'souza, Abdul Waheed, and Kapil Thirwani sit for a dialogue on the evolution of Indian AV industry, how it differs from AV industries in other countries, and how moral is the concept of jugaad in the Indian AV sphere. In this article, read the highlights of the talk.

Looking at AV as an Integrated, Multidisciplinary Field

Prashant Govindan: The whole concept of AV integration has changed in the last couple of decades. When I entered the industry about 18 years ago, people knew what they wanted in terms of functionality of an AV experience, and we would try and deliver a solution in one way or the other.

Things took a turn in the 90s with the arrival of the home theatre systems and Surround Sound became a buzzword. People wanted surround sound in every boardroom. Now, in the last decade or so, we're seeing global paradigms being applied to meeting rooms, corporate spaces, hospitality and pretty much every other application. As AV evolved, so did the technology. Things moved from analog to digital, from basic component-based designs to more hybrid, digital-based designs. That's where the convergence of AV takes place.

AV is now an integrated, multidisciplinary field rather than just audio, video, or lighting. We have a very eminent panel here today having between us more than 60-70 years of experience in the field of AV. Would each one of you trace back on your beginnings of your AV journey and take the audience through a roadmap of the AV evolution in India?

Anil Chopra, Founding Director, PALM + AV-ICN and Smita Rai, Deputy Project Director, PALM + AV-ICN felicitates the panel of AV experts

The AV Evolution:

Kapil Thirwani: For me, AV started with all-in-one, then it turned into split, and then it became all-in-one again. Technology was defined by companies who brought the technology onto the floor. Whenever we thought about television earlier, the focus would be on the brand. You never knew the technology behind it. But now, we understand technology - what digital audio is, what analog audio is, etc.

Today, when we work on a multistorey residential or commercial structure, we would still start at the basics. Electrical components, the HVAC, which was broken up into multidimensional components, which also included AV, came into play. But today, we're going back to the companies who are sharing data between them and they are coming onto a common platform where they can now cross-reference products between home, studio and commercial devices.

Today, the job has become more difficult with reference to understanding the transfer of data, and how it is talking to the code of the multi-channel audio or video. The most challenging part is to understand the basics and bring it to every matrix. But once you get the basics right, it is a piece of cake from that moment.

The evolution that I can see today is that we're coming back to the all-in-one solution today, because these companies and technologies are helping us arrive at a single global solution.

Claron D'Souza: We walked into this industry out of passion. There was a time where there weren't many 'brands' available in India, unlike today, where we're spoilt for choice. But back then, we had to make-do with what we had. With the arrival of foreign brands in India, we learnt what each piece of equipment would do. We had a rack full of stuff, and little by little, equipment racks became smaller. Equipment merged. They became very broad in terms of their capability. Different technologies began to emerge in the world of audio, like CobraNet and Dante. Today, every piece of technology is on IoT. What can we expect in the years to come? Frankly, it's a little difficult to predict, but it's going to be great.

Abdul Waheed: Just as Kapil mentioned, earlier, AV was all about box-selling. Now, I believe we've started box-selling again. Today, a customer buys a display with in-built camera, in-built speaker, in-built microphone, in-built Wi-Fi, in-built wireless presentation as well! Technology is ever evolving, and change is the only constant here. The industry is continuously undergoing a transformation. Every day, new technologies are making their presence felt, but one thing is for sure, all of this is merging into a single solution on a single platform.

If I recall my earlier days, the bosses, the heads, the CEOs of the corporate world would see these devices in their offices, go home and wished to see and experience the same devices there as well. But now I see that their lifestyle is driving the trends. Now, they have a good iPhone, and they want a similar set-up in their corporate space. They have a good smart TV that is capable of wireless presentations, so they want to see that in their offices.

Handling The Complexity In AV-IT Convergence

Prashant Govindan: Over the years, we marked a trajectory, from selling devices to selling boxes. But, in all of this, the size of the project, in terms of value, in terms of number of rooms, number of facilities, or applications, has grown in complexity. The need of the hour is to integrate these platforms back to the IT network. It's about interoperability, the ability to handle AV traffic on the IT network while also keeping it secure and this is the challenge!

So, how do we handle complexity in the AV-IT world along with the cultural nuances one encounters, especially in the Indian context in handling the AV-IT convergence, and what are the tools that help us in doing the same with ease and efficiency? How do we delivery quality despite all the afore-mentioned challenges?

Kapil Thirwani: Before COVID, this was an easy job for us. We had designs on our tables, we looked at audio and video separately, we spent time figuring out how to matrix it together, we used to get an IT expert to look at how all of this is going to work together. You cannot think of the AV system or the IT system without thinking of the language of the handshake between the two. Today, everything is IoT.

Following International Standards In Indian AV Projects

Prashant Govindan: Kapil,what do you see in terms of the diversity or the cultural differences when you engage with the customer in India versus somewhere else, like Lebanon?

Kapil Thirwani: They don't try to multitask the way we do. But in India, we try to do so much more than what we're assigned to do. I think that is not a downfall, but it is chopping your own legs.

You cannot have a question about IT when you are going to be talking about security later. I feel when I work with projects internationally, they are very clear in their requirements. So, even though we all make DDRs, it is just on a piece of paper. But there, the DDR is followed to a T, every perspective is taken into consideration, and no one is ashamed of asking for help. That mode of communication where you are on the receiving end and you get little more information, makes you smarter in the next project.

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