QSC Is Working with Dell: Here’s Everything You Need to Know

Interview: QSC’s TJ Adams gives the story behind Q-SYS software running on PowerEdge R730 Rack Server.

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It’s not every day that an AV integration market manufacturer strikes a deal to partner with one of the largest IT providers in the world.

That’s why QSC’s partnership with Dell to run its 4th generation Q-SYS software on standard off-the-shelf PowerEdge R730 Rack Server warrants an extended conversation.

There are the nuts and bolts of the partnership, which you can learn here.

Plus, you can see Q-SYS software running a system in QSC’s Integrated Systems Europe 2017 stand.

Then there are the details, some of which include:

  • How Q-SYS being embedded with Dell will impact QSC’s distribution approach
  • The impact the technology might have on AV system design
  • Why QSC sees this as an example of a manufacturer being fed up with talks of convergence
  • When will it actually ship?
  • What is was like for an AV manufacturer to work with Dell

QSC director of installed systems product management TJ Adams took plenty of time to discuss it all with Commercial Integrator editor Tom LeBlanc and TechDecisions managing editor Jonathan Blackwood:

LeBlanc: When will this be available?

Adams: This is a technology announcement not a product announcement yet, but it isn’t vaporware and we do expect to ship an actual product within the calendar year.

At no time do we intend to sell direct to either an IT group or an end-user, nor do we intend to sideline the AV channel … We [intend] to help them change their business model, and help them become much more an AV-IT-VAR.The actual technology development is complete, as we will show at [ISE] so it does work.

Blackwood: Will existing QSC products need to be replaced?

Adams: We do have Enterprise Cores that are in the market today that will eventually be replaced. They will still be available for a period of time, concurrent with this new shipping product, but this category of product will eventually be replaced by the standard Dell server cores.

As I mentioned, the current QSC Enterprise Core class of products is the only category that we intend to replace with the Dell servers. In fact, we just announced a refresh of our Integrated Core Series with the new Q-SYS Core 510i processor. And we have the Q-SYS Core 110f, which is quickly becoming the standard for standalone systems. We also [recently announced] the Q-SYS I/0-8 Flex Channel Expander, which will make the centralized or hybrid processing concept far more economical.

LeBlanc: Will there be backward compatibility issues?

Adams: No, because [it’s] the exact same software that’s running on our smallest Core — or even our touch panel, I might add — all the way up to the Enterprise Dell Server Core, this is still Q-SYS Platform.

We’re not creating a brand new software application that’s separate from the products we have shipping today – that’s the beauty of the platform. It’s still part of the same continuum so the software we’re using to support the Dell server will also control even our oldest Core processors that we introduced into the market in 2008.

Blackwood: Will you be able to run Q-SYS software on any server?

Adams: Not yet.

As of our ISE announcement, you will only be able to run this software on the Dell server and purchase it just as you purchase our other Cores.

LeBlanc: Will dealers be able to use any Dell server, and simply install the software onto it?

Adams: In the future you will be able to put the software servers that QSC select from the open market that have the technology capability to support our operating system; however, this would likely be driven by our customer’s needs. For our own packaged server products, we intend to be a Dell OEM customer for the long term and offer Dell servers for purchase from QSC.

LeBlanc: The AV integration channel has often had difficulty with IT directors that are usually their main point of contact with corporate customers. Is this the type of tool that gives them the ability to better resonate with that customer?

Adams: 100 percent! I’ve had questions about how the industry will embrace this. We’ve shown it to several large integrators around the world and they are very excited about this. They get it.

I actually had the same comment come back to me, that it’s ironic QSC, a 50 year-old, privately-owned company with roots as a “stodgy” audio [manufacturer] is now the first to get to market with something so IT-centric, and so revolutionary.