Thursday, May 28, 2009

Achtung! This Blog Has Moved!

This blog has moved to a new address. Same great blog, new URL. That URL is:

See you there!

Sad news & new beginnings

Today I read some very sad news. Michelle Kauffman told the world on her blog yesterday that her (extremely unique) Green Architecture and home building company will no longer be able to keep their doors open. If any of you have followed Michelle Kauffman’s work, you know that she is a visionary and leader in the green, healthy and energy efficient home design and building. Instead of just designing green homes, her firm also built the homes in special factories before shipping them to a home owners site to be assembled. The process of building the homes in a factory helped to reduce building waste and ensure the highest quality homes. Unfortunately because of the current economic climate, the financing market for home buyers and key partners going out of business, they simply weren’t able to hold on any longer.

Of course the death of one thing nourishes the life of something new. True to form, Michelle remains upbeat and optimistic about the future of green design and building. Keep an eye on her blog if this subject interests you. I have a feeling we will be hearing some great news in the months to come.

And Michelle…. Keep on doing what you do. You are an inspiration to me and countless others throughout the world!

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Software Review - DoodleKit

Another great software/service that I have used is from a company called DoodleKit. DoodleKit is a neat spin on web hosting and template based websites. For me to use a software or service or SaaS (Software as a Service) solution, it needs to be very easy to use and very powerful at the same time. Again, powerful doesn’t necessarily mean so many features that you will never learn to use them all. By powerful, I mean something that facilitates ease of use, and getting things done. After all, your job or company doesn’t focus on using software. They focus on selling widgets, or providing services. Therefore a powerful application in my mind is something that helps facilitate that business. It improves communications, and helps eliminate confusion. It doesn’t make you jump through hoops.

DoodleKit is the right solution for hosting websites. My favorite part about it is that they have also helped to take the most frustrating part out of self-managed websites – the graphic design. By signing up for their premium service, they will design you a custom header for your website to make it completely unique in the world. They will integrate your logo if you have one, or work with you to create a relevant design. The best part is that you aren’t charged any extra for that service. It is included in the $69 per month price. And no contracts! What a deal!

The solution lets you create and edit pages very easily. It also lets you setup a simple customer database and integrate custom contact capture forms for gathering customer data. There is an integrated Blog component so you don’t have to have another service for your blog. Need an online store to sell products? That is included as well and is super simple to setup. SEO (search engine optimization) is build in to the program so customers can find you easier.

I would highly recommend the service to anyone needing a reliable and custom website with hardly any hassle. You will also get a live person on the line for support when you need it which is very reassuring to most of us.

Click here for the list of features and to explore the company more.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Software Review - Highrise

As I've mentioned before, software should be about enabling your business and your teams. Software is not just a tool for management to track activities - although that should be a part of any good package. The real key is finding software tools that are intuitive and have "adoptability". You know you have a good tool when it takes minutes or hours - not days or weeks - to figure out how to use it. If you take that philosophy one step further (which I think you should), software should even be “Fun”!

My favorite software (so far) following this philosophy is Highrise. Highrise is built on the popular Ruby on Rails programming language. This application is so easy to use that your grandma would love it! There are so few features that you can’t get confused or frustrated with learning how to use it. There are no complex processes to follow. The software JUST WORKS. The software focuses on improving communications among your team and your clients instead of just having a place to put information.

My favorite feature is the email dropbox. This feature gives you an email address that you can “CC” on any email communication you have with any of your contacts. When you “CC” this dropbox address, the software knows which contact you are emailing and automatically attaches that email communication to their record in Highrise. Similarly, I can send an email from my blackberry with a task and it will automatically add that task for me in Highrise.

Some people complain initially that the software is too simple. That it doesn’t meet the needs of their business. While this may be somewhat true, I think using the software will help you and/or your organization redefine what good software really should be about. If you do need more features that what is currently offered, Highrise publishes an API (application program interface) that can interact with other software programs out there. This means you can tie multiple types of software to work together in one seamless fashion.

Do yourself a favor and check it out! You can use it for Free for a while. I guarantee you’ll love it! And if you don’t, what is the risk? What do you want for free, your money back?

Here is a handy video overview:

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Working Smarter - Not Harder - Software can help

You probably don’t know this about me, but I have an unhealthy obsession with software. I love to find the latest and greatest software tools out there, test them out, and see if they apply to my business or the business of people I know. I can’t use all the software out there on a daily basis, so I usually sign up for the free account or trial, play around a bit and then end up leaving it behind if I can’t readily use it.

The problem is that a lot of the stuff I check out is really useful! I want to help spread the message when I think it might be helpful to the people I know, and those who read this blog. So instead of keeping all the fun to myself, I’ll start sharing some of the best software programs and services I come across. I’ll do my best to explain the value as I see it and I would welcome any feedback or insight in to what you know about it!

For me, software and technology is not just about a tool to track items in your business. Software and technology should be about enabling communication, improving efficiency and collaboration among teams. The new breed of software mavericks out there understand that more features aren’t necessarily better. If you don’t need something, don’t include it. Make your technology as simple as possible because if you don’t, people won’t use it and it becomes more of a burden than a tool. The folks over at 37Signals understand this best and have been the catalyst to a whole new breed of companies following this mantra.

You might be waiting for my segway in to my first software review but alas, you will have to wait until the next post. I promise to bring some great new ideas that hopefully you can try out and implement in to your operation!

What software do you love? How is it helping you and your business?

Friday, May 15, 2009

Digital Signage - More than just display's

Over the past 2 weeks we have been learning a lot about Digital Signage and the different options out there. If you have worked with digital signage either as a designer or end user, you know that there are so many options you could go mad trying to research them all. Many companies out there approach digital signage in the same way. Some signage companies focus on the hardware and distribution, while others are strictly software based and don’t care what type of equipment you use. Either way, finding a company that stands out from the rest is very hard to do.

Since I work for a Technology Systems Integrator, we are always looking for the best products and services to implement for our clients. It is imperative for us to partner with the right companies because once we make the decision to go with a company, there is no turning back. We also don’t have any clients who want to “experiment” with products that aren’t tried and true.

While one Digital Signage company will never be able to be perfect for all designs, there are a few companies that have stood out from the rest. Those companies are Inspired Signage from AMX and AxisTV from Visix. Both companies have very unique ways of addressing the needs of Digital Signage customers. I’ve taken the time to write a little info about what I think is great about them. Please check them out and when you are ready to implement a signage solution of your own, call me because I work with them directly and can help you chose which is best for your situation.

AxisTV from Visix

Visix has been in the Digital Signage business for a long time. They primarily design, develop and support software applications that allow users to create, import and manage visual communications from anywhere using a browser-based interface, and to deliver those messages to nearly any endpoint. - Now that is the key point here. Delivering messages to nearly any endpoint. This means that instead of just sending messages to digital display in an airport or corporate lounge, they can also manage visual communications directly to computer desktops, PDA’s & Cell Phones, Screen Savers and just about anything else with a digital screen (click here for a cool diagram on how it works). Since visual communications can be sent to computers and as screen savers, this means you now have a very robust messaging system within your organization that can be used for HR communications, special announcements and even emergency alerts! This is cool stuff!

Inspired Signage from AMX

AMX has a basic digital signage solution that works great. It provides many of the common features found in most signage systems. They have two main benefits of over signage companies out there. The first advantage is being able to tie in to the AMX Resource Management Suite. By being able to tie in to RMS, end users can now view all of their technology assets such as digital displays, projectors, source equipment and more through a simple web interface. This helps to save tons of money because you can turn off all of your system end points remotely at any time and report on things like lamp usage.

The second main advantage of AMX Inspired Signage is the custom implementations team. If you want to get crazy with your Digital Signage Installation, this is where it all starts. Anything you can dream of doing with digital displays can be done through custom implementations. I won’t get in to the details, but I’m sure you can imagine some cool stuff on your own.

Digital Signage is an interesting market with tons of different ways to implement and use it. Because of this fact, there are people like me who live and breathe this stuff. I love working with individuals and companies to push the limits of what is possible. If you are thinking about using digital signage in your business, let me know! Whether it is just a single display running powerpoint or thousands of displays networked together across multiple countries. Whether I can help you directly or not, I’m happy to point you in the right direction.

Friday, May 1, 2009

The Comcast Experience - Game Changing Audiovisual

The company I work for is a dealer and installer for Barco here in Denver. We just finished meeting with some of the reps from the company and got some great examples of some of the applications for indoor and outdoor LED Display technology. The coolest thing about AV Technology and where it is heading is applications like this. No longer do we have to think in terms of “square” displays. We can start to use digital images on all sorts of different surfaces and for different sizes and shapes too! You must check out the Comcast Experience which is the largest Barco display in the world I’m told. This is simply amazing! This is also something that my firm is completely capable of designing and implementing. I’m on the hunt for a visionary developer or property owner who wants to make his or her building stand out from the rest of the world! Who’s game?!!

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Saving Energy Through Building Automation

I read a great article from Neil Gifford at Smart Buildings this morning. I always enjoy reading what he has to say about how technology is making buildings smart. When you really start to get in to this stuff like I am, you start to see how the future of green and sustainability has a lot to do with our adoption of technology in our buildings. This goes far beyond just automation for lighting and HVAC systems – even though simple automation helps a lot (I leave the room and the lights automatically turn off after 5 minutes). Neil talks more about how an intelligent building wide automation system should start to take data in real time by monitoring building loads and usage in real time and reporting that information back to facilities managers to act upon. Based upon specific data and parameters set, the system could automatically adjust heating and cooling loads based on occupancy data and similar factors.

Check out the article for all you designers, builders and facilities managers. Looking forward to getting more of these types of systems in our buildings!

Saturday, April 25, 2009

A slight change in approach - sometimes little things make all the difference

So I've been struggling to explain the value of using a blog and other social networking tools in the business I work for.  It isn't that my company isn't forward thinking - we are - it is just that the idea of "jumping in" without some type of long thought out plan or implementation strategy is somewhat frightening.  I've grown up in the age of digital communication so using things like this are not scary or wierd to me.  In fact, trying to get by without them in my day to day business seems much more strange.  

Today I am announcing the migration of this blog from an "under the radar" company focused blog, to a blog about me.  How I personally use technology and systems to help my clients and partners achieve their goals.   All in all this is about networking and helping the people that I'm connected with.  I think by using the blog as my own personal platform - not a platform of the company I work for - it will be more effective.  

I would be interested to hear if anyone else has had the same experience and what conclusions you have come to?  Does your company have a blog or do you have one personally?  I know I personally feel a bit liberated to know that I can speak my mind how I choose and that my opinion is in no way the exact opinion of the company I work for as a whole.    It will help everyone stay in their comfort zone.  

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

The Future of Travel = No Travel at all

Wow. All I can say is wow. Ray Kurtzweil is a crazy guy, but probably a genius as well. Many people probably either don't agree with his ideas or are just too darn scared of them to admit it. I've read a lot about his ideas, and just came across this interesting article that touches on the future of travel and conferencing. While videoconferencing and telepresence is a cool thing right now, advances in technology are going to exponentially change the way in which we communicate. Take this article with Mr. Kurtzweil for example. Here he talks about how advances in nanobots and 3D technology will actually create virtual reality enviornments that seem completely real to us. I like the idea of "traveling" in 3D to a remote location where my image is projected just like I'm really there. I'm not so sure about nanobots taking over my body to induce a VR environment!

What do you think about Ray's ideas? Is he crazy or does he really have some good points? If the world really came to this, how do you see yourself reacting? After all, 2030 really isn't that far away!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Bear Creek High School - Interview with MediaLogix Lead Tech

It is always nice to get an (unintentional) mention in the media about your company. While MediaLogix isn’t specifically mentioned in this article, one of our Lead Technicians, Chad Scholtec is. A reporter from Mile High News was recently at Bear Creek High School, one of the projects or firm is currently wrapping up. In the article Chad answers some questions about technology systems (Interactive Whiteboards specifically) and how they are being utilized at Bear Creek. Good stuff!
Click here for the Article:

Friday, April 10, 2009

Construction Industry & Investing In Technology

After reading a recent article in ConstrucTech magazine, a few thoughts came to my mind that have been brewing for quite some time. The article focuses on how construction firms are being forced to look more towards technology solutions to help improve efficiencies in their organizations. It talks about how technology can really help contractors to be better at estimating and project management efforts if they would just use the tools they already have better, and start taking things like BIM (Building Information Modeling) seriously.

While I agree that technology can really help any organization who is serious about improving, I have a little bit of a different approach than most. Just as the article says that builders are on average using only 20-30% of the capabilities of their current software systems, I think there is a reason for that. Software and technology is only good to a company if it is easy to use and manage. You can have all the features in the world but if the system isn't easy to use, it is for nothing.

My suggestion to the construction industry is this:

Start focusing on ease of use, and improving communications. This doesn't mean having more meetings or sending out more articulated addendums (althought that couldn't hurt). It means taking a fresh approach to how builders communicate internally and externally on projects. Why not start using new (and sometimes free) communications tools such as Blogs, Twitter & LinkedIn groups? Instead of sending out individual emails to every sub contractor on your project, setup a blog and give subcontractors access to that blog. All new status updates can be posted here such as RFP's, RFI's, addendums, project drawings, etc....

Why not setup a private Twitter group for your internal project teams and use if for sending out frequent, up to the minute updates to your team? Everyone has cell phones right? By communicating things in real time, you can save precious money & resources.


Something very cool to look in to is a product called BaseCamp created by a company called 37Signals. This product is an EXTREMELY easy to use Project Management tool that focuses on the communication aspect of projects. By using a Blog type format for organization, a new project can be setup online where files can be stored & shared, all communications can be centralized, and things like project calendars and the like can all be centralized. Finally all communications with all team members can be kept in one place. It plays very nice with email as well.

In closing, I really just want to drive the point home that technology shouldn't be about more and more features. Technology should help enable. Enable better communcations. Enable better efficiencies. Enable people to do their job and only their job.

How does your organization rate when it comes to this simple concept? Does the technology you use empower or slow down your employees? Take a really close look and answer honestly.....

Customer Loyalty Programs - The Next Frontier

I've written a lot about RFID and it's applications for businesses. There are tons of new applications and solutions being developed that I can't even begin to keep up with them. I talked a couple weeks ago how car dealerships are starting to use the technology. Today I read about a new solution that can be deployed in a number of different enviornments including retail and restrurants - particularly fast food restaurants.

Check out this article for complete details. The idea is that a customer can get and RFID enabled "customer loyalty card" that is linked to personal details via a customer focused web site. Every time the customer comes to the store, a RFID reader picks up the customer information and can display certain information to the store employee. Information such as "this customer always orders chicken sandwiches without pickles". This enables the employee to offer a better customer experience by automatically alerting the customer that they will make the sandwich without pickles.

Over time, the data is recoreded and stored under the customer profile. You can see how this information can become extremely valuable to the store owner.

When integrated with Digital Signage and possibly even video communications, there are all sorts of cool things you can start to do with this technology. I can think of a number of ideas. What about you? What could we build using this technology to help you and your organization?

Monday, March 23, 2009

Calling all Architects! AMX Education Program for CEU's

As with all other aspects of our lives, technology is becoming more and more integrated in to the built environment.  It is now possible to have a "smart" home or office building capable of automating complex tasks such as lighing regulation, heating & cooling regulation, daylight harvesting, shade & blind control, sound & video distribution, and a number of other devices.  

As a designer it is important to stay ahead of the curve and know how to work with technology in your design.  Technology and architecture really can co-exist to create amazingly beautiful - and functional - spaces.  

MediaLogix is your partner in Technology Systems design & engineering.  We are commited to working with you to design cutting edge homes and offices.  We have partnered with AMX to offer our architect partners a series of classes designed to educate you on technology systems integration and how to integrate these systems in to your projects.  

Choose from any of the following classes for AIA and/or IDCEC credits:

A/V Control Systems for Commercial Properties

In this one-hour course students will have the opportunity to 1) understand the principles of an A/V Control System, 2) learn about issues that must be considered when designing for a control system, 3) observe the functional roles of each piece of a control system and 4) learn how a control system can help achieve LEED points 5) see examples of an A/V Control System in Commercial applications.

A/V Control Systems and Energy Efficient Applications

In this one-hour course students will be introduced to the idea of using an A/V control and automation system to contribute to the energy efficiency in all building types. Participants will learn practical soltions for integrating control systems and the possible contribution a control system could have in a project seeking LEED certification.

Introduction to Digital Signage

In this one-hour course students will be introduced to the features and benefits of using Digital Signage. Each student will have the opportunity to understand 1 ) What Is Digital Signage, 2) Digital Signage Definitions, 3) What is Pre-Packaged Digital Signage and 4) How to plan and design a project for Digital Signage.

Introduction to RFID (Radio Frequency Identification)

In this one-hour course students will be introduced to RFID control. Each student will be introduced to the concept of using an RFID badge in order to control, manage and monitor their environment in all vertical market applications. The course defines clearly RFID, 1) what is RFID, 2) features of an RFID system, 3) components of an RFID system and 4) how to plan for using an RFID based control system,

To get more information or sign up for any of these classes, please click here to contact us.  

We are happy to come to your office or will happily host the class at either our Downtown Denver or Littleton offices.  

 - The MediaLogix Team

Control your building with your iPhone!

Let me just start by saying how cool my job is. Really. I get to work with the newest and coolest technology available to businesses. Every day we seem to learn about something new that we haven’t used or implemented yet. One thing I knew was on the horizon but didn’t expect so soon was the Crestron Mobile App. Now anyone with an iPhone (and a Crestron control system obviously) can monitor, control and update their home or business from anywhere in the world right from their phone! All you need is a network connection which can be 3G, Edge or WiFi at this point.

Smart phones are taking over! This is just one of many amazing new tools that you will be able to use directly from your Smart Phone. We can’t wait to start implementing this with some of our customers. If one of you are reading this now and want to give it a try, just let me know!

Monday, March 9, 2009

The Dangers of Videoconferencing

While we are mostly serious folks over here at MediaLogix, sometimes humor is just what you need to bring you up from an otherwise slow monday!  Luckily this video pertains to one of the things we do best:  Videoconferencing!  The funniest part about this is that with Green Screen Technology, you can actually make any image your background when conducting a Videoconference call.  Just like how the newscasters do it.  

High End Car Dealerships Embracing RFID & Digital Signage Integration

I read more cool things about the uses for RFID every day. An article I just read in RFID Journal talks about how high-end car dealerships across America are starting to use RFID to improve customer service & experience. RFID equipped cars alert the service station workers as the car is pulling up and display information to the customer as they are driving in to the service center such as “Welcome back Mr. Wilson”. Additionally, the service can be linked to a customer database where information can be stored and routed as necessary. An example they give in the article talks about a new car buyer getting his car washed at the dealer. Since the RFID tag in his car is linked to his customer account, the system knows when the car is ready to be picked up and can send the customer an email, text message or both.

This is just the beginning of what is going to be happening with RFID. We already posted about how a retail store in Germany is using the technology. This is one example of what MediaLogix can do for industry specific clients. If you can dream it, we can make it happen.

What do you think about RFID? Does this stuff scare you or get you excited? Let us know about other cool RFID implementations you may know about?

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Technology Systems Integration - What the heck does it mean?

This post is in response to a familiar question I get from clients and partners on a daily basis. The question is:

“What exactly is a Technology Systems Integrator?”

Here is the elevator pitch:

My company is a solutions company. We solve everyday business problems through the use of innovative and sometimes “radical” technology systems.

Of course that being said, the next logical questions is:

What the heck does that mean?!

And now we get to the real meat of my post. My industry (The Audiovisual and Systems Integration industry) is tough to understand. We are literally right in the middle where Audio systems (think churches, stadiums, performing arts centers), Video Systems (Think theaters, Big projection screens, Digital Signage), building technology (think intelligent buildings, automated systems controls, over the top boardrooms) and digital services (think video conferencing, interactive whiteboards) all meet up. It is extremely hard to wrap any one of things under one description, let alone all of them put together. We do so many things for so many different people and industries. Our biggest challenge is educating our partners on what it is we actually do. After all, our firm is a commercial contractor, systems design firm, engineering firm, software development firm and low voltage systems project management firm. On top of that, we work with acoustics, network systems, software systems, audio and video optimization and a variety of one off system types for specialty applications. We represent and sell literally thousands of different products from hundreds of different manufacturers. To further complicate things, we have different solutions and products for a number of different industries including Corporate, Non-Profit, Education, Hospitality, Government, Transportation, and more…

So to wrap things up here, I want to make a point. We are a solutions company. We help our clients increase efficiency, increase profits and increase their competitive advantages through the use of innovative technology solutions. It means something different to every client. It means we aren’t just “technology geeks”. We ask questions, we probe, we dig deep to understand the business our clients are in. We consult. We design. We engineer. We Value Engineer. Often we do this over and over again until we get things just right for our client. Overall while we do work with technology, the business we are in is really about leveraging the core competencies of our clients and amplifying those competencies through the use of intelligent systems.

Keep your eyes on our blog. This is where we will continue to post on Integrated Technology Design & Integration. We welcome feedback and thoughts on how you view our industry and what firms like ours can do to serve you and our other clients best!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Open Architecture Challenge: Classroom

Recently local developer, Urban Ventrues and respected architect Michelle Kaufman announced that they will be partnering on a Green, Sustainable community development here in Denver. The project is called Aria Denver. As a result of that announcment, I found Michelle's blog and have been following it ever since.

I'm really glad I have been because she has some very interesting and thought provoking posts. Yesterday's post was one of those. She brought to my attention a design competition currently underway and sponsored by Open Architecture Network. The idea is for local architects and designers to partner with a local school to help design a classroom of the future. Something that is smart, safe and sustainable. Because this is through the Open Architecture Network, any designs that win the competition would make their design available worldwide through some type of open copyright. This is opensource software for architects! What a great idea. The reason for the competition is to address the fact that (according to the World Bank), educating all children worldwide will require the construction of 10 million new classrooms in more than 100 countries by 2015.

MediaLogix partnered with local architecture firm, Bennett Wagner Grody to design a similar classroom for the National Middle School Association show in Denver last year. Actually, I should say that Bennet Wagner Grody designed the classroom and MediaLogix designed the technology systems.

So, who is up for it? Any architects out there interested in taking on the challenge? We know that technology is an integral part of future classrooms. It enables better presentation/learning environments and the ability to connect in a multitude of ways. We have some great ideas so lets get started!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Throw out your paper! (metaphorically speaking)

I was inspired by a post today from the RNL Green Design Blog. Greg Buglewicz wrote some great tips on how to reduce your use of paper in the office. Anyone trying to "Green their routine" in the office should definitely check it out. Of course being in the technology and Audiovisual industry, I turn to technology as a way to save on if not elminate paper use altogether. Here are some of my ideas:

1. Create more Conference Rooms & Huddle Rooms: Make more room for collaborative type spaces. Instead of printing out drawings, lists of items or similar to share with colleagues, focus on storing digital copies that can be presented on a large format LCD display or projection screen. Manipulate the digital copies together and only print out final copies for storage or presentation to a client.

2. Utilize Interactive Whiteboard Systems: Pull up plans or documents on a large interactive whiteboard. These systems allow you to annotate, write (electronically) and mark on any type of computer content you have displayed. Red Line some plans and save digitally. You don't need a stand alone system for this either. Hitachi offers a great wireless tablet with free software for annotating on a traditional projection system.

3. Fax from your computer: Stop printing out a paper copy to fax! Most printers these days have functions built in to send digital files directly through the fax machine. Additinally you can get services from your printer or online services that allow you to receive faxes digitally as well. Use these features! You will not only save paper but I promise you will eventually come to love how much easier it is to store all your files digitally instead of pilling them up on your desk. If your printer doesn't have built in functions for this, check out services from eFax or
What other ideas are out there? Do you think technology will eventually eliminate the need for paper altogether or will there always be a place for paper in the office?

My Profile - Online & Off

When MediaLogix introduced a profile based building system a few years back on our One Willow Bridge project, many had never heard of such a thing. It was pretty cutting edge at the time and quite frankly still is. One Willow Bridge is a fractional ownership residence in Vail where the residents might get a different unit each time they come to visit. That being said, the experience for them remains very much the same each time they visit. Each of the units in the building have a complete Crestron Control system that operates and automates every function of the home including lighting, heating & cooling, TV Channels, Direct Phone numbers (inbound and outbound), concierge services, pre-programmed home “scenes” and more. The problem with allowing so much customization is the fact that each time the resident comes back to town (and subsequently gets a different unit to stay in), they have to go through and set all there preferences again. That WOULD be the problem if the resident profile system wasn’t introduced.

Instead of each resident “re-programming” their home every time they come to visit, we were able to setup a profile based system that follows them around to each unit as they are occupied. Before the resident ever comes to town, they log in to a website to inform the building when they are coming to town. The building system intelligently registers this information. As the resident physically arrives, the building recognizes them based on an intelligent RFID based key card system. The building knows to let them in and after they park their car, they are directed to the correct elevator, floor and unit. When the resident walks in to the unit, it might be the first time they have ever seen it, but everything they stored before is already loaded in to the system. This creates an automatic “home” where all of their favorite pre-sets, media, phone numbers and the like are already there waiting for them.

Getting to the point

My point in this post is to ask a simple question. All of us have online accounts with Yahoo, Google, Microsoft or similar. As technology continues to grow, our accounts are capable of handling more and more tasks. Where as I used to just have email through Google, I now have a fully functioning web based business hub that handles contacts, docs & spreadsheets, unified communications (including video communications), and much much more. My account saves my preferences so I can access them from anywhere and at any time (with an internet connection). This change combined with building wide technology systems like I mentioned above are bound to hit a crossroads at some point. This means that in a few years, my Google Account might just interact with any compatible “Google Home Automation System” to offer me very similar features and functions as One Willow Bridge does independently.

Of course this is just my thoughts of where this might go. What do you think? What technologies do you see shaping the world and how we interact with it? Does all this stuff creep you out or get you excited? We are all very interested to hear!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Crestron MLX-2 - Control it all in the palm of your hand

Ever wanted a remote control that would literally control EVERYTHING in your environment? Kind of like the Adam Sandler movie, "Click"? Well, we don't have that technology (yet), but we do have something almost as cool. The long awaited Crestron MLX-2 was just released in to the market. Of course Crestron already makes a wide variety of installed and wireless touch panels, but this product is more for the digital media connoisseur who wants the look and feel of a traditional remote control. Just like Crestron's other products, this remote control can handle everything from selection of sources (DVD, Satellite, iPod, etc..) to lighting controls, shades & drapes, and anything else you can think of that has the ability to be controlled. Check it out on the Crestron website, and check out the review from Gizmodo here.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Digital Signage - Where can it be used?

It is easy to spout off the normal ideas that come to you for Digital Signage. Sure, it can be used in retails stores, banks, airports and subway/light rail stations. Those are the easy targets. These businesses are used to advertising and know that the more advertising they do in their store (or to lure people in to their store) the more sales they are going to make.
But where else could digital signage be used? Where are there captive audiences that are not just "forced" to look at your screen but would also possibly welcome the ability to watch some interesting content?

A posting from the Digital Signage Blog today inspired me to start thinking about this. The post focused on using Digital Signage at the Dentist office. Why not entertain your patient while simultaneously making them more comfortable, lessening the effect of the scary drill AND possibly make some passive income on the side. Sounds like a win/win to me! Check out my comment on the Digital Signage Blog. I suggested adding a Digital Media Server and simple control system to allow patients a choice in what they are watching and allowing the dentist to mute the programming when he/she needed to speak with the patient.

What are some other interesting applications and venues for Digital Signage? I can think of a few I'll post on later. Let me know your thoughts!!

Videoconferencing in K12 Education

One of the most promising applications for Videoconferencing technology is in the classroom. Many teachers may already know this but there are many out there who haven't had the opportunity to even see how videoconferencing works, let alone given the opportunity to deploy it in their classrooms. As with many new things, the main barrier to entry is the cost. With current day videoconferencing systems costing in the 5 digits minimum, how does a school implement such technologies?

Right now there isn't a great answer. Sure, classrooms can use free services such as Skype or Google Video Chat, but those technologies are meant to be used on a "one to one" basis over two personal computers. To get the full experience of videoconferencing, a classroom needs to have a room based system with wide angle cameras that Pan, Tilt & Zoom, and dual monitors. One monitor for showing the other end of the call (the people you are talking to) and another screen for seeing the local end (you) or possible content being shared like computer screens.

MediaLogix helped put together an exhibit for the National Middle School Conference last year in Denver. The work we did there was "Pro bono" and for the benefit of introducing both teachers & students to technologies such as Videoconferencing. Tandberg joined us in displaying their videoconferencing technology and during the 4 day conference students were able to communicate with classrooms across the nation and even receive instruction from teachers in other locations!
I'm sure that as these and other technologies improve over the next few years that we will see more and more videoconferencing starting to take place in the classroom. MediaLogix is excited to be a part of it all and will continue to put a huge focus on "educating" the education community on the benefits of Videoconferencing for the classroom!

Friday, February 13, 2009

The ZED Prize!

I came across a very interesting competition and had to share it. Seeing as how many of our clients and partners are deep in to the green living movement, I’m sure many will find this intriguing. Perhaps this post might even inspire some of our local architects and designers to get involved! It’s called the ZED Prize and the folks over at Zerofootprint are hoping to turn it in to the largest architectural prize issued worldwide in 2009. That is quite a bold goal!

The idea of the competition is to address the issue of re-purposing or “Re-skinning” (as they call it) existing buildings to have little or no carbon foot print. As they point out on their website, we are starting to do a good job of building NEW buildings that have low carbon footprints but we need to do a MUCH better job of re-skinning existing buildings. I would say they make a very good point. Especially seeing as how existing buildings account for 40% of all greenhouse gas emissions in north America.

Of course a smart building isn’t smart at all without a smart technology system helping to run it. That is where MediaLogix comes in! Our focus is on creating integrated building solutions for commercial buildings in Denver and throughout the west. We would love to partner with a forward thinking architectural firm or developer to help create the (Retrofit) buildings of the future! Email us or comment on this blog to get the conversation going!

Bell Tower Approved!

We have been following Buzz Geller’s Bell Tower with great interest and enthusiasm over the past year. If you haven’t already read about it in the Rocky Mountain news or Westword, you should definitely check it out. The tower was actually finally approved last Thursday the 5th after a long drawn out process between the Lower Downtown Review Board and Buzz Geller and his Architectural Firm, Fentress Architects.

I like many other people in the community think this is a great victory for Denver! Finally a building that steps out of the “Box Mold” that most buildings in the area fall in to. In addition to inspiring architecture, I’m interested in the “Guts” of the building and how Fentress plans on utilizing technology in the residences. This project could be very similar to our “One Willow Bridge” project in Vail that was also marketed and sold to the upper 1% of buyers.

Monday, February 9, 2009

People you can "Count" on

Kevin sent me a great article worth sharing. Our goal at MediaLogix is and always has been to help our clients utilize technology to enhance their overall business success. Implementing People Counting systems can help certain companies achieve that. As described in this article by Smart Buildings, Knowing how many people have entered a building or a space is directly related to a financial or management objective for the building. Some of those management or financial objectives might be related to Security & Access Control, Life Safety, Financial Metrics, Audience Tracking, HVAC Control, Staff Management, Space Planning and more.

MediaLogix specializes in integrating technologies such as this in to your overall building management programs. Shoot me an email or comment on this posting so we can start the discussion!

Videoconferencing Going Mainstream

As with many other companies, Verizon wants a piece of the Videoconferencing pie. By building their FiOS network directly to homes across america, they are brining true broadband service capable of delivering true high def video communications. In this article from Telephony Online, Carol Wilson outlines Verizon's initial strategy at Videoconferencing to the home and end user. Verizon is one of MANY companies starting to get in to this space. I honestly think that as broadband becomes more ubiquitous, and online servics such as Google Video Chat, and services from companies like Vidyo expand, we are going to see traditional Video Conferencing companies like Tandberg & Polycom dramtically change their strategies. After all, if Google provides HD Video "Chat" within the next year, how easy will it be for a company like Tandberg to charge $25,000 per end point for a similar service?

MediaLogix works hard to stay at the forefront of video communications. We are partnering with forward thinking companies to provide our customers with both superior technology AND superior price points. Shoot me an email or comment on this post so we can get the dialog going!

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Tandberg Video Champion Awards!

Rick Snyder, President of Tandberg Americas is seen here putting the call out to innovators in the video world! This is relevant to anyone who reads this blog because a major industry player is going to help promote new uses for video technology throughout the world. We will stay on top of the new technologies being highlighted and report back to let you know what types of technological advances you can look forward to in the coming months!

Taking Digital Signage & RFID To the next level

I have long been interested in the use of RFID technologies and how they relate to certain business segments. It has been used in manufacturing settings for quite some time now, but as the technology matures it is being used for more and more things. Take the Retail setting for instance. How could a retailer utilize RFID and other technologies to further sales and/or build new sales opportunities? Well, I read a very interesting article this morning that I would encourage anyone interested to read (especially our retail clients). The story is about a german businessman who uses a clever display system for his clothes. As people walking by see something in his store window, the items details come up on a digital display with details of the item and also the unique RFID tag of that item. They can then order that item utilizing their cell phone. The item can either be put on hold OR dispensed right then and there! No salesperson required! Check out the article here for the complete story.

MediaLogix specializes in building special innovative solutions like this. We would love to discuss how we can turn your dreams in to reality through innovative uses of technology like this!

Something NEW from Polycom - QDX 6000

Polycom has come out with a great new unit that is sure to make a lot of people happy. The unit allows point to point video conferencing calls and little else. That being said, what else do you really need sometimes? The idea is that a remote office can affordably get in to video conferencing without breaking the bank. The new unit is much cheaper ($3,999 MSRP) than any other Polycom Codec yet offers very good quality video and ease of use.

MediaLogix has these units available! Call us today or click on the link below to get your QDX 6000 today!

Polycom - See it Live

We are always looking for new ways to show our clients how video conferencing and telepresence solutions can improve their productivity and help them save money. I found this great video that lets you visualize exactly how some of these solutions work. Check it out and let us know what you think!

Architects of Integration

Welcome to the new Architects of Integration Blog! The MediaLogix blog focusing on the audiovisual, automation, videoconferencing, digital signage and communications technology industry! We know "physical technology" and how it helps building owners. More to come later!
© 2009 Bryan M. Wilson. All Rights Reserved | Powered by Blogger
Design by psdvibe | Bloggerized By LawnyDesignz