WyreStorm Q&A: Integrators Should Prepare for Flexible, Scalable AV over IP

WyreStorm’s Todd Akins says the closed, fixed-port systems of today will give way to more flexible, scalable and lower-cost options of AV over IP distribution systems, as well as HDBaseT, in the near future.


Recent developments have put HDMI and HDBaseT in the spotlight ever since CES, when news of HDMI 2.1 broke, and ISE, when it was announced that HDBaseT would now support 4K 60Hz 4:4:4, include a UL Cable Certification Program and travel over IP.

That makes our CE Pro “Spotlight on HDBaseT” all the more relevant right now.

We spoke to Todd Akins of WyreStorm Technologies about how the company leverages HDBaseT, AV over IP and HDMI to provide both single platform and hybrid solutions.

CE Pro: What would you say to dealers who are already familiar with your product line?

Akins: We’ve been busy! We’re always talking about providing the right technology for the right application and our new products prove just that.

On our HDBaseT platform, we’re launching 10 and 16-way H2X matrix switchers that incorporate 4K HDR video and extensive audio matrixing with DSP. We’re also releasing a 2K/4K HDBaseT scaling receiver to compliment the H2X, with both products specifically addressing the increase in mixed resolution installs we’re seeing.

It’s hard to believe its been three years since we launched our NetworkHD AV over IP line of low latency JPEG2000 and low bandwidth H.264 platforms for HD distribution and video walls.  This will be a big year for NetworkHD with us leveraging all that experience with three new 4K over IP solutions.

The low bandwidth 240 Series bring 4K UHD to commercial projects and low latency 400 Series and uncompressed 600 Series both offer 4K HDR with multichannel audio suited for residential or commercial applications. All new NetworkHD Series also feature 2K/4K auto scaling for mixed resolution installs and are compatible with our award-winning free NetworkHD Touch control app for iPad.

What kind of feedback do you get from dealers about your products?

Our dealers are always telling us stories about WyreStorm working in applications where a competitor didn’t or swapping out a competitor’s product for a WyreStorm product to achieve the desired result – or more often than not, the level of reliability demanded by the project.

We take that as a great compliment and a sign we are doing something right as reliability and compatibility are right up there with innovation as the most important aspects of our product development for all our NetworkHD AV over IP, HDBaseT and HDMI solutions. 

What would you say to dealers who are stumbling across your company for the first time?

Well, the canned answer is WyreStorm is a vertically-integrated manufacturer of award-winning AV signal management products for commercial, residential and retail markets.

But what we really do is make rock-solid AV distribution and control products that provide common sense solutions to real-world problems. We believe the technology used in the application is vital to its success and we put a lot of effort into creating solutions with the least number of “moving parts.”  

What I mean by that is not overcomplicating an installation with unnecessary devices when you can remove or combine functionality and use functionality that eliminates potential points of failure in the system while also simplifying installation and increasing system performance. 

We are one of the few manufactures that leverages HDBaseT, AV over IP and HDMI to provide both single platform and hybrid solutions, offering the integrator exactly the right technology for their application.

What’s the best sales tip/tactic you’ve come across?

We asked our own sales people and they came back with a few things they do (and don’t do):

  1. Understand who you’re speaking with and what their motivations are.
  2. Explore the customer’s needs by asking open ended questions and really listening to their answers.
  3. Talk about benefits of working with your company rather than just the benefits of products.
  4. Ask questions that let the customer know you understand their needs and are interested in helping.
  5. Be friendly, approachable and trustworthy — people buy from people they like.
  6. Don’t take calls or emails while meeting with another customer.
  7. Follow through on your promises — it’s surprising how few salespeople actually do that.

What one technical tip can you offer about installations?

In a word, cabling. It is far and away the number one cause of our tech support calls.

A high priority should be placed on choosing and installing the right type of cable, terminating it properly and making sure it’s securely connected throughout the system. 

Also, distance limitations are very important these days with bandwidth-sapping 4K HDR become more prevalent.

What should dealers be on the lookout when it comes to the future of AV signal distribution?

It’s no secret that the future of AV signal distribution is a networked-based infrastructure. The closed, fixed-port systems of today will move aside to make room for the highly flexible, highly scalable, and lower cost options of AV over IP distribution systems. 

As with all big shifts in market changing technology, the timing of mass adoption is uncertain. WyreStorm has the unique advantage of being an early adopter of both HDBaseT and AV over IP.  For dealers looking to start their transition to AV over IP, WyreStorm is a great place to go!