B2B Tech Talk with Ingram Micro
B2B Tech Talk with Ingram Micro

Episode · 4 months ago

Creating the mall of tomorrow today


When you think of NETGEAR, you probably think of switches and routers, right? And you’d be correct in your assumptions that NETGEAR is really good at those things. In fact, they’re entering their 26th year in business, and have made a name for themselves.

Which is why it may surprise you that one of the most monumental feats of modern ProAV engineering has NETGEAR at the very center.

On this episode of B2B Tech Talk, Shelby Skrhak chats with John Henkel, product marketing manager at NETGEAR, all about how they are changing the ProAV game, and why they’re so much more than just switches and routers.

Some things we talked about:

- How NETGEAR pulled off ProAV services for one of the largest entertainment complexes in the country

- Why folks are choosing NETGEAR for AV over IP

- How they handled a remote installation

- Where technology is going in the next year

To join the discussion, follow us on Twitter @IngramTechSol #B2BTechTalk

Listen to this episode and more like it by subscribing to B2B Tech Talk on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, or Stitcher. Or tune in on our website.

...you're listening to B two B tech talk with ingram Micro. The place to learn about new technology and technological advances before they become mainstream. This podcast is sponsored by ingram Micro's imagine next. It's not about the destination, it's about going someplace you never thought possible. Go to imagine next dot ingram micro dot com to find out more. Let's get into it. Welcome to B two B tech talk with ingram Micro. I'm your host Shelby skirt hawk and our guest today is john Henkel, product marketing manager for Netgear, john welcome. Thank you Shelby. It's a pleasure to be here. Excellent. So today we're talking about a feat of pro a v engineering and that's the american dream mall in New Jersey and the next year equipment that was used to help make this entertainment complex a reality. Now john I'll, okay, I'm going to, I'll admit that most technology case studies are dry and can feel very abstract, but this one really is kind of like a white paper and technicolor if you will. So tell us about the american dream project. It's quite spectacular. And I mean that's a term play on words, I guess a little bit these people put on some amazing, spectacular, so let's take you through it really quick. It's over a million square feet of entertainment space and it's a mix of dining, of course retail and entertainment. So they have, I think they have a skating rink or a ski slope in the small, It's incredible. So what happened is how this whole thing came together was a group was brought in that's doing all the digital signage throughout this entire mall. And you can imagine all the way finding in different places throughout the small there's like 40,000 square feet of digital display technology, some video walls and everything else. And the people who put this on S. N. A. Displays are the ones who did all the digital signage displays. They do these things all over the world. And there's a really famous one I've seen because...

I'm from the bay Area in san Francisco. The salesforce tower has this amazing wall in the lobby with fantastic content. So they took that kind of experience where it's immersive and then besides all the digital signage kiosks as well. And brought us in along with one of our partners, our premier partner of rural multimedia and they made all the 80 over I. P. Endpoints the transceivers to get that video and audio around the whole complex. So through them through a war really we were brought in to this amazing complex and it's just spectacular. Well the things that I read that are in this small I think I was particularly struck by this tree this kind of spectacular lit up tree with all of these ornate sparkling displays and yeah I mean it's quite the image incredible and you know they're going to have different holiday displays of course I haven't seen it in person. And that's one of the things that you know it was interesting about this whole complex, it was started years ago. These things take forever to try to come into play. And It was like 2003 that that this was a twinkle in someone's eye. Yeah right. It takes that long. I mean something this is this is massive. So this is a huge huge project. Not like most of the projects we do, but still pretty amazing. Well of course this was a very heavy lift for network equipment that could handle such a complex installation. And with this emphasis on the audio and the visuals, you really needed a kind of best in class quality with a very low latency. But to be candid, you know, I don't think most people think of Netgear for the pro a. V. Space so why Netgear for the tv over ip equipment Here? It's a great question and netgear has a very recognizable name. In fact this is now the start of our will be the start in a few weeks of our 26th year in business. So we've been around for a long time. We no networking but you're right as far as business networking and a view overacting specifically, it's been sort of new to us the last several years but really the reasons why people are finding out that were the key to their success is...

...that we make products that are engineered for a V. Over I. P. With features like what we call next year I GMP plus. So I GMP is a technical term for the way to get multicast audio video around. So we took it a step further from what it's designed to be and made it be much more safe for people to deploy this stuff and not bring down a network. Also we have auto trunk and auto lags. So as these different installations get larger and larger kind of like the american dream project and you have multiple switches, we're going to make that connection much much easier for you. So we try to take care of our customers that way. One of the other ways it wasn't on this particular job but other jobs that we do for a V over I P. R. New M 40 to 50 switches have a new user interface. So if you're a navy person to come into something like this where it's all network based and you don't have that background, we're going to help you because the gooey is now easy to set up. You can click on the profile. Are you using STV Oe like they were in this case the software defined video over ethernet. Here's a here's a profile for that. You click on it. You tell us which ports you're using and we're done and we connect we can figure that entire thing for you for those ports. If you're using Dante audio, a VB. These are not simple things to implement. So we've taken that pain and certified all this equipment with our partners like Aurora and make sure you have a profile that fits and everything is safe and you're ready to go. So that's another way that people really are recognizing that year as the go to people. The other thing is what happened. This is a big part of this american dream job is our pro of Engineering services team and those guys, we have a station across the world. So within a couple of hours you're gonna get a response from an email you first send, saying help. I don't know what I'm doing or I need some help verifying the equipment for my job. You don't have to be such an S. O. S. Type message. But you can just say can you validate this form even even if you know what the heck you're doing, send it to our team will review it real quick, make sure you have the right switches, the right fiber reports if you need them, the right uplinks, blah blah blah and we'll work with you...

...on getting them installed. So those three tears if you will or pillars are really why people are recognizing Netgear as the go to people for well, so I'm glad you got into some of the specifics of that equipment used there at the american dream mall and the fact that this a lot of this was kind of designed or at least one of these switches designed specifically for pro A. V. Equipment. I think one thing that occurs to me is that there's there's the the pros that know this front words backwards and could do this you know with their with their eyes closed setting up all of this and then there's others that you know because we are so stretched thin for talent and help and people that you know for the most part unless you're a large company your I. T. Team is setting up your A. V. Stuff. So can you talk about some of the I guess the help that is available for for professionals that are trying to set up this equipment and you know maybe you need a hand and art you know native A. V. Users. Yeah it works both ways. Exactly. So we have the people who need to learn a little bit more about I. T. And the I. T. People who need to learn more about A. V. And like you say as we all know present company included we're all strapped and everybody's got more to do than ever. So what we found is people were taking our switches that were more it based and there's still they're awesome switches and they're trying to figure them out and and things aren't working the way they should and each manufacturer might have a little bit different setting or something. So what we've done is first of all we make that user interface available everybody the a. V. Gooey on the certain switches the M 42 fifties. So that helps right away. It's easy to configure, you can have something up and running really within minutes. It's pretty outstanding. And then our engineering services team really is there for any kind of question for prohibition installations to really make sure that you do know what you're doing and validate that. And then we do features have the features built in there to help make it...

...a little bit easier because I know I'm a Navy guy hired by next year a couple years ago to help focus on this segment and I don't know how to configure a switch. So if I have to configure multiple switches through a lag or link aggregation group it's difficult. I wouldn't know what to do but I know that once I set up a couple of things and each switch I plug a cable in now and our auto lag will automatically send that traffic between them. So things like that are there. And the other important point, I want to make sure we noticed that it isn't a dumb down switch. So this this interface, these automatic features are there but if you have an I. T. Person who wants to go in and configure everything through the command line that's there to or validate what's been done. So it's really not, you know simplified switch it's a simplified user interface but the switch itself has all the capabilities of all of our regular I. T. You know, core switches that can can do everything you need also I understand the challenge with with this installation was literally geographical. You know, we're in the middle of a pandemic and a netgear couldn't have an engineer on site there to deploy this. So the installation had to be largely remote. Can you tell us about that? Yeah that was tough as we know early on in the pandemic, everybody just locked down and these poor guys were out there at the mall trying to set this whole thing up, which on the one hand the perfect time because you don't have crowds around, you don't have people around. On the other hand our guys were ready to go on site, we're going to fly in there and help with such a large installation. We can do that and now you can't go regularly. So of course. So what was nice about this is that people who were there on site, the IT guys or the s and displays team installing it could then download a configuration file from a switch. Talk about what's going on for the setup and and maybe if there's an issue and they could figure that out. Our guys could work and often it was on a weekend saturday night they're loading up the config file offline remotely on their own switches and then sending them back to the team in New Jersey and they're uploading them back and forth. We also can dial in of course to a switch. If you give us internet access then we can...

...dial in and we can configure it ourselves. So there's lots of ways through the technology these days that we can easily help remote installations just from the comfort of your own home office. And I saw, I think I saw an image of what this kind of interface looks like. Can you talk about just the simplicity of it to be able to look at it and see exactly the switches that lay out all of that stuff? It's more than just, you know, here's a bunch of texts that you can click on it, which is huge just having a list of all the different types of a view of systems and configure that. But yes, we have a view of that, I'm showing you but you can't see it view of the switch and it has whatever ports it has, let's say, eight ports. You can click on a certain ports, a sign that profile, a sign of the color as well. So, you know that the blue ports, when you look at the switch really quick, you can see I've got four ports that are already configured for Dante audio, let's say. And I have six more ports that are configured for S T V O E for Aurora multimedia. So there's ways to do that visually. So you can add a glance look at that switch and know which ports you're talking about as well as you can mouse over and see different menu items as far as status for those ports and things like that. So as we expand this further and further and this is all new. So, you know, we're a public company can't tell you what's coming up necessarily, but next year is going to be really exciting for someone enhancements that we have to this whole environment of all of this, which is together. So this being able to put all these things together in an easier manner and a more visual manner, Is that what you're saying? Yeah, definitely. We have another product called insight remote cloud management that we work with other switches and our wireless access points that shows your real topology and you can kind of look at and see and people have seen some of those views, those aren't available yet and are fully managed switches for the promo stuff. But you can see that those sort of ideas are coming and how to how to get that approach of, I'm going to look at the entire topology, you know, there is like a neighbor view I think right now in the interface that helps you see the second switch, so you can kind of tell...

...ahead of time but we have plans for doing a lot more with that stuff. Yeah, so it sounds like, you know Netgear can be a very powerful resource for for companies, you know, especially for our partners who are listening and they have customers in the pro A. V space like we mentioned before. Netgear may not be that top of mind solution, but there's there's a lot of stuff that's already there and it sounds like there's more coming down the pike definitely, you know, and what's interesting, you know, coming off trade shows that are happening again here and there people are now walking up to our booth and saying, oh I've heard about you guys, I've heard about this new series, blah blah blah. So that hasn't happened before. That's really exciting. So people are getting the word. So you know, your customers might actually have people coming to them saying I want to use the next year switch, which is awesome. And then we have all these different ways. You can help help yourself on the installation from the kind of switches we have the choices and everything and all these other engineering services team and things like that. So it's really a solution that's helpful for everybody involved? Well, as we, as we start to wrap up our episode, we always ask our guests the same final question and that's where do you see technology going in the next year? Well that's a good question, you know, and if I had that crystal ball, I'd be out buying lottery tickets. Right, right. You know, technology I I can only speak really for our little segment of that for sure. But I see a the override Specifically just growing and growing and companies like Netgear trying to make it easier for people because they realize those are the stumbling blocks. So more education. That's the, that's the great thing I think about technology is we're using our own technology now for educating people. So you'll see classrooms popping up in in the road shows things like that where you're going to help get you certified for technology and make it easier for you to install this sort of stuff. So I just see this growing and growing. I mean just from the demand on our own side of our own switches we're seeing people really Take two av over IP and it's just going to grow and grow what you see in the pro of space as far as growth. I think we see the display technologies that are changing Direct view Led is already...

...making a huge splash for sure as that pixel pitch comes down lower and the price point comes down lower and lower. I think people just expect video everywhere. So nick you're making a lot of home office and home products as well. We've seen the switch to what is the new future of, you know the cliche words, hybrid work environment, things like that. But it's true, you know, I work remote. That was my plan anyway. But we have others that are in near our headquarters that I still want to work a couple of days remote in the office. So how do you include people like me in that discussion and have it be inclusive? And I already got ways of being a navy guy. I'm thinking okay, next year we're going to up our game here. Let's get cameras that are ptsd cameras and you can zoom in. There's some that have a wide angle of view that one can shoot a white board and the other one can shoot the people in the room. Those are fantastic. And we'll see more and more of those grow I think and people just expect video to be included in every, every office space, every area. So that's what we'll see a huge growth in the instances where you can't be there in person for a meeting for whatever the case is, they're expecting to be able to be included in that. And that was something that a few years ago, you weren't, you didn't expect that from a. V equipment and now that's kind of evolving, right? It's expected Exactly. So for our listeners who want to find out more about what we talked about today, how can they reach out easy way is to go to Netgear dot com slash pro a V. That's our priority landing page and we have some stuff in flux. We have a great resources page coming up in a month hopefully or so something like that. So check in from that page and you'll find all of our partners, all of our resources available for you, white papers, american dream case study, things like that. But next year dot com slash well john thank you so much for joining me. My pleasure. Thanks for having me Shelby and thank you listeners for tuning in and subscribing to B two B tech talk with ingram Micro if you like this episode or have a question, please join the discussion on twitter with the hashtag BB tech talk. Until next time...

I'm Shelby scare hawk. You've been listening to B two B tech talk with ingram micro. This episode was sponsored by ingram Micro's. Imagine next B two B tech talk is a joint production with sweet fish media and ingram Micro, ingram micro production handled by laura Burton and Christine fan. To not miss an episode. Subscribe today on your favorite podcast platform. Yeah. Mhm.

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