QSC Partners with Dell to Run Q-SYS Software on Dell Servers

At Integrated Systems Europe 2017, QSC will demonstrate its Q-SYS software running on a standard high-performance Dell EMC PowerEdge R730 server.

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QSC, an audio, video and control manufacturer for the AV integration industry, has partnered with IT giant Dell.

QSC’s Q-SYS software will be run on off-the-shelf Dell server hardware, creating a shift that allows customers and integrators to decouple existing Q-SYS software from proprietary hardware and create an architecture where centralized AVC processing can live in the data center, according to a QSC press release.

The technology, which will be demonstrated at Integrated Systems Europe 2017, is a culmination of “a long-term vision laid down by our original Q-SYS development team [and] current marketing strategy of addressing the Enterprise meeting room needs in an IT centric way,” said QSC director of installed systems product management TJ Adams, that QSC is seeing become reality.

Interview: QSC’s TJ Adams discusses QSC’s partnership with Dell with Commercial Integrator and TechDecisions

The demonstration at ISE 2017 will run existing 4th generation Q-SYS software on a standard Dell EMC PowerEdge R730 server.

QSC, in its press release, calls it an “industry-first demonstration” that “provides a glimpse into the future of the market where larger installations use centralized data center processing.”

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“This is the first time ever, at least in our little niche AV industry, where we can see real-time processes like audio processing, video processing and control, all running up on mainstream IT hardware,” Adams told Commercial Integrator and TechDecisions leading up to the announcement.

“That’s really the heart and soul of the announcement we’re making here.”

From the press release:

The Q-SYS Platform is centered on audio, video and control (AVC) solutions that take advantage of existing IT hardware, protocols and standards.

The Q-SYS Platform uses standard Intel processing, Linux operating system services and IEEE networking protocols. The technology demonstrated at ISE is the next evolution of this design paradigm, decoupling existing Q-SYS software from proprietary hardware and creating an architecture where centralized AVC processing can live in the data center.

Now processing intensive features such as AEC and feedback suppression can become a shared resource for any meeting room across the enterprise. This, combined with a portfolio of cost-effective meeting room I/O peripherals, allows users to reliably distribute content and control using existing IT network infrastructure.

QSC’s Q-SYS being run on Dell R730 servers eliminates the need for integrators to put dedicated processing in rooms and gives the option of hybridized designs, which QSC calls the best of both topologies.

It also, at least according to Adams, provides integrators with solutions that customers’ IT departments will embrace.

Interview: QSC’s TJ Adams discusses QSC’s partnership with Dell with Commercial Integrator and TechDecisions

“It fits right within the IT mindset and paradigm that they’re used to in their other application servers which are located in their data center, where shared central processing, instead of dedicated localized processing, is the norm,” he says.

“This becomes more of a mainstream, familiar process to them, and makes our product a lot more appealing to them.”

From the press release:

Moving to standard mainstream server hardware reflects a typical enterprise IT environment and provides several benefits, particularly for corporate environments and global enterprises, including:

  • Simplicity and Familiarity: follow established server deployment, maintenance and management best practices
  • Centralized Resourcing: easier room resource moves, adds and changes; automate on-demand deployment of DSP-intensive features such as AEC
  • Flexibility: more effectively support centralized, distributed or hybrid system configurations; and enable current and future software and service deployment models
  • Reliability: redundant power supplies, networking, storage, and processing as well as standard Dell BIOS level features including Dell Remote Access Controller (DRAC)

“The shift from dedicated hardware to centrally deployed software solutions for video, audio, and control systems makes perfect sense,” explains Saar Litman, senior analyst at Wainhouse Research.

“Today’s AV managers work within the IT department, and they expect solutions that behave like IT solutions in terms of scalability, extensibility, manageability, and integration with existing IT tools. The technology demonstration by QSC at ISE is directly in line with this migration from hardware to software.”

“We expect these kinds of systems to become the norm for corporate and larger scale enterprise installations in the future,” says TJ Adams, director of installed systems product marketing.

“By running the existing field-hardened Q-SYS software on a standard Dell EMC server, users have full backwards compatibility and can expand capabilities of their system by merely adding flexible and inexpensive I/O meeting room end points, such as the recently announced I/O-8 Flex Channel Expander. If localized processing is required in the meeting room, our range of medium-sized to smaller Unified and Integrated Cores, including the new Q-SYS Core 510i processor, fit seamlessly into the design.”

“Furthermore, we work hard to leverage existing, widely accepted technologies when it makes the most sense, such as using Linux as the basis for our Q-SYS software stack, in effect creating an AVC Real-time Operating System (RTOS),” continues Adams.

“Our partnership with Dell is the latest example of this philosophy. They are experts in designing, manufacturing and supporting enterprise-grade servers globally, and QSC looks forward to benefiting from their expertise. Our partnership allows the Q-SYS software development team to do what it does best – push the boundaries of audio, video and control innovation at the software level to meet the evolving needs of our partners and customers.”

Dell servers with embedded QSC technology are not not shipping yet, but Adams said it’s not to be mistaken for vaporware.

Interview: QSC’s TJ Adams discusses QSC’s partnership with Dell with Commercial Integrator and TechDecisions

“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,” he said.

“The actual technology development is complete, as we will show at [ISE] so it does work.”

From the press release:

Per recent product announcements, QSC will continue to innovate and expand the Q-SYS Platform to provide standards-based in-room solutions that are highly flexible and simple to deploy and manage; including PTZ-IP conference cameras, lower channel count Core processors, I/O peripherals, bridges and streaming hardware.

“We are delighted to collaborate with QSC to enable the future of audio, video and control platforms,” said Ron Pugh, vice president and general manager for Americas OEM Solutions, Dell EMC.

“We have been delivering high performance, highly reliable enterprise IT and server solutions for decades, and we recognize the value of organizations like QSC to innovate at the software layer, using our IT-proven enterprise server platforms to deliver the architecture and solution set the IT customer expects.”

“As AV and IT departments move toward a unified IT-centric organization, managers are being told that audio, video and control are now under their care and expect standardized enterprise-class platforms that cost effectively scale,” said Joe Pham, president and CEO of QSC, LCC.

“By integrating a malleable software-based AVC platform with powerful Dell EMC standard servers, our technology demonstration at ISE highlights an inevitable shift in our industry to standards-based IT platforms. With the support of our valued server partner Dell EMC, this demonstration is yet another manifestation of ‘AV built for IT’, and I am proud to see QSC be the first to get there.”

The Q-SYS technology demonstration will be shown at scheduled times at the QSC Systems stand 7-Q170 at the Integrated Systems Conference (ISE) in Amsterdam. To sign up for a 15-minute presentation and for more information about QSC Systems at ISE, please visit: www.qsc.com/ise2017

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