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Intelligent Buildings

Mar 1, 2007 12:00 PM, By Michael Goldman


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This month's cover story from Dan Daley about the massive IT networking infrastructure expertly woven into Manhattan's Hearst Tower is particularly apropos as we head into another NSCA. Among other things, this year's trend-savvy show is offering conferences, workshops, and a showcase exhibit on the increasingly important topic of so-called “intelligent buildings.” And the Hearst Tower is an intelligent building if ever there was one.

As a journalist, of course, I appreciate Dan's story simply because Hearst is a publishing monolith, and we journalists understand all too well the need to efficiently move large slices of data and imagery, PDFs, and communications of all sorts around our own facility — and the world. In fact, it's hard not to be just a wee bit envious of the bandwidth coursing through Hearst's Eighth Avenue headquarters.

But, personal envy aside, the article exemplifies yet another of those pesky trends I keep harping on — this time, the amazing strides taken in recent years to make IT-based networking technologies not only an important piece of the permanent installation puzzle, but in a wide range of facilities, the very glue that binds various AV technologies together. The Hearst Tower may be a bit past the norm in this regard — OK, probably light years past the norm — but the point holds: It is pretty much a requirement in business these days to install giant webs of Cat-5/6, coax, and fiber-optic cable in major commercial buildings — to link together all sorts of whiz-bang video, sound, and data devices, and to connect those buildings to each other and the rest of the world.

It's not too difficult to imagine a day in the not-too-distant future, when we will be able to easily plug all the technological achievements we routinely write about in this magazine — digital signage networks, sophisticated home theaters, video and audio signal processing techniques, sound design, Wi-Fi — into major facilities wired in the fashion of Hearst Tower.

So welcome to S&VC's Systems Networking issue on the eve of NSCA. See you on the show floor. The strange man babbling incessantly about how cool intelligent buildings are — that'll be me.



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