Interview: David Chua, Kramer

Hurrairah bin Sohail speaks with David Chua about Kramer’s efforts to provide users with a full gamut of solutions in a technological landscape where new paradigms are yet to be fully established.

The AV industry is evolving and manufacturers are evolving with it. David Chua, regional technical manager at Kramer, says: “Kramer has evolved from a product-based company into a company that provides a solution and our solutions are based on hardware, software and cloud. Our aim is to provide users with a complete solution based on these three elements.”

This aim is represented in Kramer’s marketing message, ‘AV over IT’. This approach targets AV owners in organisations, which are the IT departments, providing them with solutions which are user-proof, secure and manageable. For the AV system integrators, Kramer provides a safe path towards IT by providing technology and know-how on how to approach IT and software driven AV.

With regards to hardware, Kramer is in sync with the zeitgeist and provides a full range of AV over IP solutions. However, its approach is different from the rest of the competition as Chua details: “When it comes to AV over IP we offer everything. We haven’t limited ourselves to a single codec like JPEG2000, H.264 or SDVoE, we can offer the entire range. I believe there is a reason for different technologies to exist and that is the fact that they all have their own unique advantages.”

Interestingly, Kramer is not completely discounting traditional AV matrixes. Chua details: “Some might believe that AV over IP will make switchers obsolete, but I don’t think that is the case. There are still applications where traditional matrixes are relevant. It is still a relevant solution and it still has its advantages such as security and efficiency.”

Kramer’s continued development of the traditional AV matrix is shown by the fact that it unveiled the VS-34FD, a 34-port modular 8K multi-format digital matrix switcher with interchangeable inputs and outputs at ISE 2019.

When it comes to software, interoperability is the name of the game as Chua says: “Our software architecture is very open. It allows not just to manage Kramer devices but also AV products and equipment from other manufacturers. It is an open platform for us to manage different AV systems.”

The way forward according to Chua is the cloud but there are some stumbling blocks that need to be overcome. He says: “Cloud technology is very well known in the IT world. In the AV industry, it is slowly gaining in popularity. I find that IT folk are more prepared to receive us as compared to AV people when the conversation is related to the cloud.”

The benefits of cloud in the realm of AV are self-evident according to Chua: “The real use of the cloud is when changes need to be made to the system such as updates to the firmware. If the software resides on the cloud, then this can be done seamlessly. You can even extrapolate this to control codes which can just be sent down from the cloud to facilitate deployment of AV systems.”

An example of how hardware, software and cloud could come together was seen at ISE 2019 when Kramer introduced ‘Software Driven Multiple Functionality On a Single Device’ (Kramer Platforms). This represents Kramer’s vision of how AV will be applied in the future. Software driven functionality, which is licensed, will make it easier for the customers to determine at any given time what functionality they would like to have in their deployment cycle.

For the SI, it will make life easier since this move will simplify the complexity of AV deployment. Kramer showcased Via Connect Plus as a ‘platform’ with multiple functionality running at the same time on a single device.

Chua says: “At Kramer we believe in giving a total solution. Software and cloud integrate seamlessly with the rest of our hardware as demonstrated in our new meeting room offering Kramer@Work. This represents in a great way how Kramer technology integrates easily into one robust and very functional AV experience. Security, flexibility, scalability and high level of functionality is what stands at the core of our approach. This provides IT departments peace of mind and great value for the SI and other AV professionals.”

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