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Q&A with Herman Cardenas, NetStreams

Cardenas is chairman and founder of NetStreams, makers of IP-based AV networks. A former builder, Cardenas has had the company focused on the home market, but at InfoComm 2008, it pushed into commercial.

Cardenas is chairman and founder of NetStreams, makers of IP-based AV networks. A former builder, Cardenas has had the company focused on the home market, but at InfoComm 2008, it pushed into commercial.

PRO AV: NetStreams is better known as a residential company. Why the move into commercial?

CARDENAS: Actually, commercial has always been a target market for us, but we chose to develop the residential market first and prove the technology before we tackled commercial. In reality, our underlying IP-based technology has even greater appeal for commercial applications. The scalability and flexibility offers significant benefits to the customer and integrator.

PRO AV: What were your impressions of InfoComm in June?

CARDENAS: The fact that the NXTcomm and InfoComm were under one roof this year was a clear signal of the importance of network-based technology in the commercial AV market. For us, InfoComm was a great show. It meant the unveiling of new commercial multimedia and audio products—a first for NetStreams.

PRO AV: Does the commercial market look stronger than the residential market these days?

CARDENAS: Unquestionably at the present time the residential market is somewhat down from the days of the housing boom. That said, we continue to see a lot of growth as integrators shift from legacy technologies to IP-based systems, driven by their own customers. The commercial market just offers such a wide range of opportunities that it continues to be strong.

PRO AV: What vertical markets is NetStreams aiming its products at?

CARDENAS: We've often debated this topic. Our solutions are being used across a broad range of applications, from corporate campuses in need of AV distribution and digital signage to government and mission-critical facilities looking to run operations centers. And I can't forget educational institutions, large venues such as casinos, stadiums, and medical facilities. The focus of our solution tends to be simplification, whether it's less physical conduit for wiring, better fit with existing IT infrastructure, or integrating AV distribution and control in a single device.

PRO AV: How do your commercial products differ from your residential offerings and from what's already out there?

CARDENAS: The advantage our system offers is that the core technology doesn't differ at all. The platform works well for both. But, for example, since commercial systems have traditionally been based on the 70V architecture we have to accommodate that in commercial. Conversely, a home theater bridge that allows any source from the AVR to be played in the multiroom environment and vice versa is something that is primarily a residential need.

Although our industry has embraced the whole AV/IT convergence notion, IT folks have been a bit slower to embrace the idea that AV can coexist in the IT world. That's the story we want to share. We want to tell corporate IT guys and others that they can install a fully IP-based AV system, but still use the network already installed.



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