CI: It seems like control rooms today are becoming ever more complex. With more content, sources and data than ever before, is there a need for more technology to enhance operator effectiveness?
Mark Bohs: Absolutely. And Datapath has a solution for that. We have a new product that we released last year called Aetria. If you’re familiar with Datapath, we have always been involved in the command-and-control room at the videowall. Basically, taking in multiple sources and displaying them on a videowall of any size, type or shape. What we’ve done now is take that same idea and push it farther out to the user station.
User stations today have more than one screen. It’s not unusual to see three or four screens on an operator’s desk. What we want to do is actually bring that same simplicity of pulling and sources and layouts, and put that onto the user, as well — on the operator’s workstation. Basically, giving them a personal videowall. And that’s what Aetria, in a nutshell, is doing.
But also, we’re seeing technology like AV-over-IP becoming more and more prevalent. We’ve come out with another product, as well, called Aligo, which is our AV-over-IP solution. It fits in very well to the Aetria solution.
CI: Can you please give us an overview of your Aetria solution and how it simplifies control rooms — from design concept, to install, and then to operation?
Bohs: Aetria is actually Datapath’s integrated solution for design, management and operation of command-and-control rooms. I like to take that more as not just rooms but rooms as in environments. There’s more than just one control room. With the content we have out there and the prevalence of AV-over-IP, there are a lot more sources, more content and more applications that the operators need to use.
What Aetria does is simplify everything. With Aetria’s Command Center, we’re giving the user a single integrated interface that is comprehensive and unified for the control of content sources. Now, this is all the content and sources. Content could be IP streams, video streams, web pages, local content and more. We’re giving the user the capability to move that from the videowall to their workstation — have their own personal videowall at their workstation, with their own templates and layouts.
And if the information is required somewhere else — say, a conference room or a manager’s office — they can put that content there. And we do this with the highest security levels, with user-rights interfaces and encryption. Also, Aetria gives you the ability to manage everything — from the videowall process, the videowall, all the way down to the user workstations.
With the AV-over-IP solution, we’re also able to give KVM-over-IP. So, we can now take sources that would have been local to the actual user and put them into a data center, which is much quieter. Now, we’re able to manipulate those local sources as if they were right on the person’s desk. At the end of the day, we want the operator to have a seamless work environment, so they can concentrate on the job they have at hand. And that’s what Aetria is doing: It’s simplifying everything. Giving everything to the user, and then being able to access all the content and availability that they need to do their job.
If you need more information on Aetria, go to datapathltd.com.
CI: What have you guys got planned for the rest of 2022 and beyond?
Bohs: So, we had a very successful ISE and InfoComm, showing and demonstrating Aetria. In Philadelphia, where our U.S. headquarters is located, we have built a demo center for Aetria. We think we can handle a lot of the northeast from there. But, also in the northeast, we’re adding a demo center in Providence, R.I.
Starting after Labor Day, we will be doing a road show in five U.S. cities. And the reason we’re doing a road show is because, again, at InfoComm, people were able to see the user interface. You know, Zoom meetings and demos really don’t do it justice. You need to sit down and see how it works, move content around and actually see how easy the user interface is.
So, we found through those two trade shows that we get a lot more bang for our buck physically showing it to people. So, we’re going to five cities: We’re starting with Tampa, Fla.; then going to Atlanta; then Dallas; then San Jose, Calif.; and then Chicago. And, again, the northeast U.S. is going to be handled out of our demo center in Philadelphia, as well as the one we’re opening in Providence, R.I.
We can’t wait to bring Aetria to more people!