Business News Headlines
TSL Lighting Joins #LightItInRed Campaign
UK – TSL Lighting joined the Light It In Red campaign on Monday 6 July, bathing its Gatwick and Basingstoke premises with light as part of the ‘red alert’ initiative lobbying the government to ramp up support for the arts during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Light It In Red galvanised the entertainment technology industry to come together to loudly state that they cannot be ignored and warn that without financial aid, the supply chain for live entertainment and events is heading for catastrophe. The move comes in the weeks before the government’s furlough scheme is due to end, which is regarded by many as a potential ‘cliff edge’.
“It’s vital that we show solidarity with industry and raise awareness of the dire situation,” says TSL’s Loz Wilcox. “The supply chain does so much for theatre, TV and events and it goes without saying that the arts have been invaluable during lockdown, giving us streaming services like Netflix, BBC iPlayer, and so on. Now, the foundation of the businesses that contribute to producing much of that content is at risk.
“TSL is a proud member of our industry and we are working to support and lobby for positive action in any way we can.”
Theatres and production hubs across the country took part in the Light It In Red scheme, which came as the government announced a financial aid package for the arts after months of pressure.
“The money is fantastic news, but detail on how it will be spent is still pending and there’s so much that needs to be done to secure not just the future of the venues, but all of the companies and people who make it happen,” Wilcox continues.
As much of TSL’s extensive lighting stock remains in its warehouses due to the shutdown, Wilcox gave the TSL crews free rein to use their fixtures to achieve the most striking and powerful looks on the buildings.
The company also sent a crew to light up the Identity Event Management warehouse just outside Eastbourne in Sussex, and the PLASA and LSi premises, also in the town.
Claire Beeson, editor of LSi magazine, says: “We are proud to support the #LightItInRed campaign in solidarity with many in the live events and entertainment industry still needing vital support from government. Huge thanks to the teams at Identity and TSL Lighting who mobilised quickly and efficiently to assist us in illuminating our Eastbourne HQ and helping us to spread this important message. It was really moving to be part of such a widespread movement alongside some of the UK’s most iconic venues and landmarks. Let’s hope the government takes notice!”
Peter Heath, MD of PLASA, comments: “While the government's rescue package indicates some progression in addressing the UK’s cultural catastrophe, there is still a vast amount of more tailored support needed. There are hundreds of hidden people involved in live productions, outside of theatres, who are not being taken into consideration and do not know when they will be returning to work. The #LightItInRed campaign is a warning to the government, that we can expect the production ecosystem to collapse before spring next year unless we see an extension of the self-employed scheme, at the very least.”
The Light It In Red idea was created and managed by Clearsound Productions Ltd in partnership with the Backstage Theatre Jobs forum.
The collective of companies that participated are lobbying for grants to be made available to businesses in the events supply chain, and extended furlough scheme until the live entertainment industry is back to work, and extension of the self-employment scheme tailored towards the industry.
photos: The Fifth Estate and TSL Lighting
8th July 2020
Green Hippo welcomes DataVisual as exclusive distributor for Canada
Canada – Green Hippo, the specialist creator of tools for the real-time manipulation of video for the AV industries, has welcomed DataVisual to its global sales network as exclusive distributor for Canada.
A family-owned company, Ottawa-based DataVisual will add Green Hippo’s Hippotizer media server product range to its comprehensive AV systems portfolio, improving its offering to clients across the breadth of Canada’s pro-AV marketplace.
Having enjoyed a long relationship with Green Hippo’s sister brands Magenta Research and tvONE, DataVisual found the Hippotizer range a perfect addition to its technology offering. “The fit between our two organisations has always been very good, as we both place a high value on the service and support required of more technically sophisticated products,” says DataVisual CEO Lisa Kislich-Lemyre. “The addition of Green Hippo to that family was welcome news. We’ve had a lot of success with tvONE’s video wall processors, but media servers were the one piece of the content delivery puzzle that we were missing.”
She adds: “The more we learned about Green Hippo and their media playback solutions, the more excited we became. Suddenly we had a whole suite of playback options that we could offer, from a well-known vendor with A-list customer references.”
DataVisual, which recently celebrated its 25th anniversary, has grown from a small supplier of AV accessories to become one of Canada’s largest distributors of professional AV technology for the installation, infrastructure and live events markets. Key to its growth has been its focus on personalised service and support and its experienced staff of regional sales and business development managers working in the field.
“Our consultant and dealer clients engage in a wide range of exciting projects, from projection mapping, to live concerts, TV and broadcast, experiential exhibits, theatres and other performance venues and more,” says Kislich-Lemyre. “For the end-users seeking this kind of solution, creative flexibility, rock-solid dependability, and world-class support are paramount, and Green Hippo delivers all three in spades.”
Welcoming the new partnership, Green Hippo’s sales and marketing director, David March, says: “DataVisual really is a perfect fit for Green Hippo, not only for its impressively wide professional AV client list, but also for its focus on personal, friendly service and understanding the needs of its customers. We look forward to working with their great team for many years to come.”
In picture: The team at Ottawa-based AV specialist, DataVisual.
8th July 2020
Events Business Lights Bristol Old Vic in Red
UK - SLX, a specialist hire and events company operating nationally from premises in Avonmouth, has illuminated the Bristol Old Vic red as part of the #Lightitinred campaign, which aims to highlight the critical condition of the live events industry.
SLX Hire and Event’s CEO, Alastair Currie, says: “As a business who work with national broadcast corporations, to theatres, touring productions and event venues, we’ve not been exempt from the impact of lockdown. We have seen an industry that is our total passion and all about bringing people together, and is reported to be worth £39.1billion to the economy, devastated in order to keep us all safe. As lockdown eases, we are fortunate to still be in a position to be open (though at reduced staffing), operating and doing all we can to keep staff and customers safe in the process. However, many of our clients such as event venues, production companies and theatre institutions, have been facing the reality that they may never open their doors again. Additionally, many highly skilled freelancers, who the whole live events industry relies on, have not received the level of government support needed and we risk losing those skills and talent for when live events become economically viable once again.
We welcome the recent announcement from the government, which will see £1.57bn made available to theatres, galleries, independent cinemas and the like. As ever with these things, the devil is in the detail and it will be vital that this money filters out beyond London and the West End and makes it to the counties and other cities, like Bristol. I hope this money will also find its way to institutions like Aerospace Bristol, the home of Concorde, which plays host to a multitude of important live and corporate events each year, making up a critical part of their revenue.
We fully support the #Lightitinred campaign and hope it will raise awareness of the vulnerability of this whole sector as well as highlighting the value, both economically and culturally, of keeping the events industry alive.”
The #Lightitinred campaign saw more than 200 buildings and landmarks across the UK turned red on 6 July.
8th July 2020
Martin Audio Lights It In Red to Amplify Industry Plight
UK – Martin Audio’s British headquarters in High Wycombe got a dramatic new look as part of Monday night's #LightItInRed campaign, which saw 700 buildings of every kind across the UK lit up in ‘emergency red’ to amplify the voice of the event and entertainment industry during this critical time.
Since early March, the UK events industry has been mostly without work. All kinds of major events are currently prohibited due to the COVID-19 crisis. Corporate events, conferences, concerts, festivals, weddings, trade shows and theatrical performances are no longer able to go ahead. This is leaving an entire industry dormant, with over 25,000 businesses and over half a million workers throughout the UK directly suffering the ill effects.
While the recent UK Government support for arts and venues has been welcomed, more direct support for our sector is needed to safeguard many thousands of livelihoods and the industry of which we are all deeply proud.
Martin Audio’s managing director, Dom Harter, said: “The live events industry is on a precipice. Unless it receives urgent funding to safeguard its future, the shockwave of the resulting collapse will impact hundreds of thousands of jobs in businesses up and down the country and ultimately have a significant detrimental impact on the culture of Great Britain. We continue to support all industry parties and partners in this fight. I would also like to offer my thanks to Nigel Meddemmen, our in-house lighting specialist, and Sophie Hoult for her stunning photography of our headquarters.”
8th July 2020
Zero 88 and iLight Manufacturing for the Future
UK – Entertainment and architectural lighting control manufacturers Zero 88 and iLight have consolidated and streamlined the production facilities and processes at their shared factory in Cwmbran, Wales.
This is to generally boost efficiency and ensure full compliance with the new post Covid-19 health and safety at work directives related to social distancing and general hygiene.
Products from both brands – Zero 88 for entertainment and iLight for architectural / built environments – are fully designed and manufactured in the UK and, proudly, a British industry success story.
Furthermore, with both brands now operating under the Cooper Lighting Solutions umbrella, this recent reorganisation offers complimentary ranges of lighting control solutions for a diversity of projects, scenarios and applications.
Having the fully integrated workspace in Cwmbran means Zero 88 and iLight product volumes can quickly and easily be ramped up and custom projects can be undertaken more cost-effectively, offering all clients better value and service.
With the PCB manufacturing also in-house, the shortening of supply chains has become further refined, a move giving Zero 88 and iLight full control, ultimate flexibility and a real edge over the quality control and the complex technologies involved to build their market leading ranges. They also have the capacity to accelerate new product designs and implementation.
The recent increase in production capabilities saw a 17% increase in the workforce last year with new employees taking on numerous roles from production to finance, and several of them being based locally has also been an additional morale boost.
Product marketing manager Jon Hole, comments: “All our hardware, firmware and software design and developments in-house equal a large investment in our facilities, local community and the future.”
Being part of CLS is another huge plus as a dynamic and progressive thinking global enterprise dedicated to making lives and environments safer, smarter, and more sustainable.
Having been sister brands for nearly two decades, Zero 88 and iLight are now more closely aligned than ever, and the “stronger together” philosophy is underscored by the recent rationalisation of resources and talent, together with R&D and product development.
Having this full control over the production process has been instrumental to this achievement, especially in the current climate, where methodology has had to change as the world adjusts to life after the pandemic, and the entertainment and leisure industries explore ways to restart and return to business as well as seeking out new markets and opportunities.
Zero 88 will celebrate 50 years of enterprise and product creativity in 2022, a landmark that everyone is relishing.
The company’s origins lie right at the essence of the modern ‘production and entertainment technology’ industry and reinforce a great history of innovation in the world of entertainment lighting control solutions.
Numerous and fertile long-term business relationships have been established via a stable and effective international dealer network – chosen for great customer support among other attributes – which constantly ships products to over 90 countries worldwide.
Zero 88 has also been dedicated to providing proper and genuine people-focused customer relations and superlative client service from the get-go, complete with a wide variety of in-person product training and awareness programmes and initiatives to support that approach and maintain another cornerstone of the company’s enduring market presence.
Zero 88 products today are still known for being user friendly and intuitive, designed for new users to quickly get up to speed and more experienced lighting professionals to easily programme complex lighting effects.
6th July 2020
Elation Professional presents “Virtual at Home Demo” series
With the travel, gathering and distancing restrictions that come with the Covid-19 pandemic, Elation Professional’s sales team and product specialists are demoing some of Elation’s newest lighting products from the comfort and safety of their own homes in a video series called "Virtual at Home Demo."
Published each week on Elation’s YouTube channel, each video provides an overview of the key features and unique benefits of some of Elation’s newest lighting products, a demonstration that gives lighting pros an opportunity to assess if a luminaire is right for their needs.
Products showcased in the “Virtual at Home Demo” series include the Fuze Spot, Fuze Pendant, Fuze Profile, Fuze SFX, Smarty Max, Artiste Van Gogh, Artiste Monet, Dartz 360, CW Profile HP and WW Profile HP ellipsoidals, along with the Magma Prime hazer from Magmatic atmospheric effects.
See the “Virtual at Home Demo” series on the Elation YouTube channel at www.youtube.com/user/ElationPro and check in each week for a new demo video.
3rd July 2020
White Light and SFL Announce Strategic Partnership
UK - Technical solution experts White Light (WL) and leading audio visual production supplier SFL have announced their intention to launch a strategic partnership, one which will see both companies broaden their existing offering and allow customers to receive the highest standard of full service technical production.
The announcement of this strategic partnership is a natural progression for both WL and SFL. Both companies have long-standing reputations for delivering outstanding technical production, both share similar core values and both have a proven commitment to investing in the latest equipment and appointing expert staff. Similarly, both companies have grown significantly over the last few years and each had plans to continue this growth strategy by expanding the services it offered. These plans were naturally affected by the outbreak of Covid-19. Yet, rather than put them on hold, they have decided to choose a different approach and will continue this expansion together through the partnership.
WL’s managing director Bryan Raven comments: “At WL, the question we always ask ourselves is how can we provide the very best service possible for our customers? Therefore, when the opportunity arose to form a strategic partnership with SFL, we knew this was something we couldn’t turn down. Whereas WL has its heritage in lighting, SFL is one of the leaders in supplying audio and video solutions. They also have an exceptional scenery company which our own in-house production team has used on many occasions. As such, we will now be able to combine our expert teams, unparalleled inventories and years of experience to offer our existing customers, as well as new clients, the very best in full service technical production. It’s an incredibly exciting step for both of us and one which we cannot wait to embark on.”
SFL’s managing director Tom Jeffery adds: “We are delighted to be able to support WL in delivering full-service production. We know WL and the brilliant team there well and we know this will be a fantastic opportunity for both companies. Whilst both WL and SFL are industry leaders when it comes to offering technical solutions, the most important aspect for both companies is their people and that will continue. At SFL, we have always valued working closely with our customers and developing personal relationships in order to understand and deliver their vision. This is an ethos that is entirely shared by WL and something both companies will continue to offer as we move forward with this new chapter.”
Under the strategic partnership, both companies will continue to trade separately and keep their existing bases but will now share resources, in terms of both equipment and personnel, when delivering a full production service. They will work on corporate events, conferences, festivals, ceremonies, concerts and any other form of live entertainment, as well as supporting events which take place within WL’s approved and managed venues as well as other opportunities as they arise.
WL’s technical director Dave Isherwood adds: “With so much uncertainty in the world right now, it can often be quite difficult making decisions that will have a huge impact on the future of a company. That said, this announcement is a long-term strategy for both WL and SFL as it will simply strengthen our existing offerings and allow our customers to receive a service they wouldn’t be able to anywhere else. More details about the partnership will be announced in the upcoming weeks as we begin to enter this incredibly exciting venture.”
In picture: Dave Isherwood and Tom Jeffery.
3rd July 2020
Artistic Licence appoints Molpass as distributor in Italy
Italy – Artistic Licence has announced a new formal distribution agreement with Molpass S.r.l. in Italy. With an emphasis on the theatrical market, Artistic's lighting control infrastructure products will augment other premium brands in the Molpass portfolio.
Founded in 1995, Molpass is a versatile provider of high-tech solutions in the entertainment sector, with a particular focus on the audience experience. Recognising the demand for a high-quality dimming product for replacement LED bulbs, Molpass approached Artistic Licence for a trial of its award-winning sunDial trailing edge mains dimmer.
Following a positive response from a number of prestigious Italian theatres, a broader distribution agreement was the next logical step.
Giorgio Molinari, CEO of Molpass comments: "Professional venues simply cannot accept the poor low-end response typical of many dimmers that are claimed to be LED compatible. But the sunDial product gives a very nice fade, and we particularly like the fact that custom curves can be generated and uploaded for our clients' preferred lamps."
Artistic Licence CEO Wayne Howell adds: "sunDial is a perfect example of a product that we developed to solve a technology problem, caused by the move away from CFL and incandescent lighting. As a company, we have a deep understanding of the lighting control needs of venues, having served this market for many decades. So if a theatre or studio finds it needs to handle data in a different way – be that conversion to a different protocol, merging, splitting or failover to name just a few scenarios – then we probably already have the solution. We're very pleased that Molpass will be increasing our visibility in Italy, which we hope will become a strong area of growth for us."
The agreement with Molpass in Italy follows Artistic Licence's recent appointment of Controllux as its distributor in the Benelux countries, and Discoland Oy in Finland.
1st July 2020
Ayrton appoints Megaevent as exclusive distributor for Greece
Greece - Ayrton has introduced Athens-based Megaevent as its new, exclusive distributor for Greece. Founded in 2001, Megaevent has provided exclusive distribution and support of top-quality products in lighting, sound and AV equipment across all sectors of the entertainment market for nearly 20 years.
“We always look forward to new technologies and our target is to provide these together with the best after-sales support to all our customers,” says Megaevent CEO, Sotiris Kolios. “Through our many years of experience we have selected the best partners to work with, centred on respect for companies with great R&D and continuous evolution. Ayrton has proven to be one of them: we have watched Ayrton’s progress over the years and, like most of the lighting designers in Greece, hold their brand in high regard. We believe their products to be leaders in every aspect, and are confident of the manufacturing quality of Ayrton products, the accuracy of their specifications and the visual effects that result. It’s clear that Ayrton has been working hard all these years to provide a full catalogue of products that fits every type of need in any lighting or visual show.
“Of course, bringing a brand to market at this time will be challenging, but after a closer look at the present Greek market, we know Ayrton is going to be a new heavy-duty tool for us. We are looking forward to distributing the whole Ayrton product line, backed of course by our high level of support. Our goal is to build a large rental network which will enable our customers to work together and provide rental solutions in our market and abroad.”
“I first met the Megaevent team at ISE and immediately felt a ‘click’ with them,” says Ayrton’s Jonas Stenvinkel. “Since then we have had many meetings over Zoom due to the global lockdown situation and our relationship has grown and strengthened. They have a fantastic team and we share the same values, and I’m convinced that Megaevent is the best partner for Ayrton in Greece. We will do all we can to support them and the market in Greece during these tricky initial stages and onwards into the future. We are looking forward to a truly dynamic new working relationship together.”
The arrangement takes place with immediate effect.
30th June 2020
Shure Launches New Tech Portal to Provide Streamlined Access for all Technical Product Information
UK – Widely recognised for outstanding customer service and support, Shure continues to focus on improving its customers’ experience and is now introducing the new Shure Tech Portal, an interactive technical resource library developed for systems integrators, dealers, audio engineers, service providers, consultants, and other professional and technically-minded users. The Portal provides fast and direct access to complete product and technical information, document downloads, and resources to support the specification, design, deployment and operation of Shure products across all markets and applications.
The Shure Tech Portal is an intuitive, fully searchable online platform that offers professional users streamlined access to comprehensive Shure product information. With a complete document library for each product, key specifications, global SKU and variant information, software and firmware downloads, imagery, FAQs, and more, Tech Portal users can get all the information they need, all in one place. As soon as a new product is released, changed, or upgraded, the latest information is available in the Portal to be used for bids, training, and support. Users can find information for all Shure product categories and product lines, from microphones, wireless microphone systems, in-ear monitors, conferencing systems and DSPs, to earphones and headphones, and more.
In addition to sales and technical resource downloads for new, current, and discontinued Shure products and systems, the Portal allows users to create their own customised documents and export information directly from the Portal. It further features a product comparison tool, a software and firmware archive, and a handy contact form with contact information for all Shure sales and support office around the world. The Shure Tech Portal is available globally and supports English and selected international languages. It is mobile-friendly and can easily be accessed from an iPad or mobile device to support users out in the field or at project sites. Shure is also working to add more features and tools in the future, to provide additional functionality for its users.
“Our channel partners, integrators, and professional customers clearly expressed the need for a resource from Shure that would make it intuitive to quickly gather detailed specifications and supporting materials,” said Erik Vaveris, vice president of global marketing at Shure. “In creating the new Tech Portal, we worked closely with these partners to ensure the site was organised in a way to deliver accurate and complete information that prioritised organisation and minimised distractions. We trust this new Portal will help our customers and partners in their essential day-to-day work.”
The Shure Tech Portal can now be accessed via prominent links on the Shure website or directly via techportal.shure.com. Registration is required to use the Portal. For streamlined access, the Portal offers a Single Sign-On feature: users can create a Shure ID and utilise the same login for other Shure platforms, including Shure’s Service & Repair platform.
30th June 2020
Studiomaster aligns with ISI in the US
USA – Studiomaster has announced that it has appointed Italian Speaker Imports (ISI) as its exclusive authorised US distributor. Formed in 2014, the New York State headquartered company boats a roster of brands that includes FBT, JTS and Bespeco. In a deal cemented at this year’s NAMM show, ISI welcomes the iconic British PA company and its high-quality versatile ranges of audio mixing consoles, amplifier products and loudspeakers, as complementing its existing portfolio and positioning it as a 'one stop shop' and an end-to-end supplier of live sound equipment.
ISI’s owner and president, John Krupa, states: “The partnership represents the combination of high-quality products and outstanding service and integrity. A significant aspect of ISI’s mission is to work with premium global brands in the audio industry and bring outstanding quality products to the US market. Studiomaster offers superior products that are held to the highest standards of quality control, resulting in a range of sound mixers, amplifiers, and loudspeakers that are highly competitive, including with brands typically offered at a higher price point.”
Commenting on the partnership for Studiomaster, general manager Patrick Almond says: “We are thrilled that ISI is our exclusive distributor in the US. It is a partnership in which our respective company values are totally aligned.
“John Krupa and his team are dedicated to providing an exceptional customer experience, and his team includes several partners with previous involvement with and extensive knowledge of the Studiomaster brand, making the partnership an obvious one. We are confident that this deal will bring the brand back into prominence in the US market.”
Of course, with the world going into lockdown in the immediate aftermath of the agreement, potentially it could have been viewed as unfortunate timing, however Studiomaster / Carlsbro rapidly reshaped itself to the prevailing conditions of the crisis and convinced parent corporation Soundking to facilitate its continuing to trade its way through the pandemic and not go into lockdown. As part of that arrangement the UK operation supported Studiomaster / Carlsbro’s international markets via its distribution partners, promoting a positive attitude with new ideas and new products, and ways to help them work through their particular local issues.
“We already had the experience of China being in lockdown for six weeks,” says Almond. “That had produced a significant downturn in supply from China immediately ahead of the UK going into lockdown. As the UK went into lockdown supplies from China were starting to come back fully on-stream. We understood that the only way to ensure the company survived in the UK was to take the decision to trade our way through the crisis. We introduced measure to drastically reduce the number of people on site in the offices and warehouse to alternating rosters of just three people at any time, and with everybody otherwise working from home. We managed an almost instant transition to a virtual Teams based sales operation, which has proven highly effective and, perhaps more surprisingly, highly efficient.
“By correspondingly skewing our stock holding to the demands of markets, as worldwide, these changed virtually overnight, we have proven the wisdom of our strategy, not only surviving the economic consequences of the crisis but actually increasing our business significantly over the same period last year.
“In the US ISI has negotiated the patchwork of various statewide shutdowns and re-openings over the extended period of the spread of the pandemic. Over these months it has been focused on attracting a growing number of tenders for Studiomaster market products, especially for our USB enabled micro mixer series and portable PA and it is now rapidly shipping these as orders.”
In picture: ISI’s John Krupa, Studiomaster’s Summer Xu and Mike Bufton, ISI’s
Simon Nathan and Studiomaster’s Patrick Almond.
29th June 2020
Powersoft Gains EU Emergency Alarm Certification for Fixed Install Amplifiers
Powersoft has announced that it has gained certification for its amplifiers to be used in Public Address and Voice Alarm (PAVA) systems according to the European EN 54-16 requirements.
The EN 54-16 certification describes the required testing and performance criteria for a Voice Alarm Control and Indication Equipment (VACIE) for use in alarm systems installed in buildings, where the alarm signal is in the form of a tone, or voice message, or both. The certification now covers the extended range of Powersoft’s fixed install dedicated amplifiers, including the Ottocanali, Quattrocanali, Duecanali, as well as the X Series.
The importance of PAVA systems is widely recognised as an effective way to produce a timely reaction in most people when using voice guidance in emergency situations as opposed to the response to text and alarm bell information, which under half of individuals respond affectively to. The use of clear vocal messages has been shown to greatly increase the response time and provide opportunity to guide occupants to the safest escape route.
With the new certification, businesses can now invest in amplifiers not only as part of an entertainment system, but also as a voice alarm system, such as one used in the event of an emergency or fire. As a result of the certification, Powersoft amplifiers now offer a solution for voice alarm system integration in the EU. Integrators, consultants and end users can now benefit from Powersoft’s superior range of amplifiers not only in an entertainment capacity, but also for security and safety purposes.
For businesses, this new seal of approval on the Powersoft range of amplifiers brings another level of cost-effectiveness, this time for PAVA system. With the amplifiers now able to be used as part of an entertainment system (such as background music) as well as an emergency system, there is no need to invest in extra equipment for a certified Voice Alarm system.
Aesthetically and from a networking point of view, the two-in-one system also delivers: with less equipment required to be installed, customers are less likely to take notice of the technology and the larger PAVA system architecture is simplified. Businesses will also be pleased to know that VACIE (Voice Alarm Control and Indicating Equipment) systems from other manufacturers are compatible with the certified amplifiers, allowing them to upgrade their VACIE systems with an amplifier that can supply more power without having to upgrade all the equipment.
“We’re always looking for ways to support our clients, and EN 54 certification is yet another step we are taking to ensure our clients always have the best options open to them,” commented Marc Kocks, Powersoft’s business development manager – fixed install – global application engineering manager. “Safety and reliability have always been a top priority to us, and with this certification, we can offer our clients high quality, reliable equipment for their alarm systems.”
While the EN 54 specification covers the EU, local Codes of Practice do need to be taken into account when installing voice alarm systems, as they can differ in expected performance and design criteria, and may require used products to comply with EN 54-16 specification, depending on the size and complexity of a project. Most Codes of Practice allow for deviations from the standard, as long as these deviations are well documented, justified and risk assessed.
“Adding EN 54 certification to our already proven fixed installation product portfolio will allow for easy integration in any EN 54 compliant systems or a system that allows for deviations,” Kocks concluded.
As a result of the certification, Powersoft will be organising trainings sessions in English and Spanish on Voice Alarm and EN 54, providing information on amplifier features, technologies and usage in voice alarm applications as well as voice alarm systems regulations.
Thursday 25th June at 9AM CEST (English) https://attendee.gototraining.com/rt/3017579283776067329
Thursday 25th June at 5PM CEST (English) https://attendee.gototraining.com/rt/3017579283776067329
Thursday 2nd July at 5PM CEST (Spanish) https://attendee.gototraining.com/r/7541143843283791361
25th June 2020
PLASA launches #WeMakeEvents to support the industry
UK – PLASA has launched #WeMakeEvents, a new campaign with the aim of amplifying the industry’s voice and gaining meaningful Government support. Central to the campaign is a video highlighting the vital role of supply chain companies along with the freelance community and the devastating impact of the pandemic upon the live events sector.
PLASA is calling for people from across the industry to share the video across social media to give much needed exposure to the supply chain to events including production and rental companies, manufacturers and freelancers, to raise awareness of the need for longer term financial support.In addition to sharing the video, PLASA has published two infographics illustrating the complexity of the live events supply chain and the typical arena show, which requires an average of 443 professionals spanning design, planning, preparation, warehousing, and venue staff. The graphics also show how valuable the sector is, collectively delivering £100 billion to the UK economy.
PLASA also encourages everyone to add their name to the campaign, and to send a letter to their local MP using the customisable letter samples which were created by a collective of PLASA, ABTT, PSA, SOLT and UK Theatre.
PLASA’s managing director Peter Heath comments: “We all know that the events industry has been devastated due to Covid-19, and we expect that the road to recovery will be a long one. PLASA is part of an incredibly robust community and it’s times like this we have seen us all working together. Through this campaign we are trying to boost awareness of the massively diverse and talented supply chain, in order to get the financial support and recognition needed. We really need everyone to get involved and share our new campaign and video with all those you know.”
Watch the video: https://youtu.be/9Gjs83Wz19M
Find out more at: www.plasa.org/we-make-events
25th June 2020
Latest Theatre News – Updates, Resources and Training
UK – A statement from Bryan Raven:
We are now officially halfway through the year (as surprising as that may seem). I don’t think anyone could have predicated half of the events that have unfolded over the past six months and, at this point, I’m sure we’re all wondering what will happen next; although we do know that we have the joys of the US presidential election campaign to look forward to… There are a lot of memes circulating on social media at the moment as to how people will describe to future generations what it was like to experience 2020. As we’ve all become a nation of binge watchers under lockdown, I personally wonder how this year will be conveyed in the inevitable TV drama. I’m sure James Graham is typing away as we speak…
In terms of industry updates, we continue to be blighted by uncertainty as we all try our best to decide (or should that be predict?) what the next best steps are. It’s disheartening to see so many redundancies being made but, until we receive the necessary government support, this is the reality of the situation we face. One way we’ve tried to boost awareness is by sharing the hugely insightful theatre economy graphic as well as several of the articles being written about how our industry drastically needs help. It does often feel like we’re shouting into an echo chamber but the fact that a lot of these articles are now being featured in the mainstream media does show that our concerns are finally being given a platform – it’s just a case of hoping that the right people hear them.
As many of you will know, we are still awaiting the perpetually delayed health and safety update from DCMS which we are hoping may lift the restrictions on social distancing and potentially give our industry a much needed boost. I suppose it’s a case of ‘watch this space’… Although we have noticed that a number of socially-distanced, site-specific productions are starting to be announced. As many theatres have confirmed that they will now be closed until 2021, perhaps these alternative shows are the way forward (at least, for the foreseeable future).
As always, we hope you find the below list of resources and links useful. We appreciate that, the longer this situation goes on, the harder it is to stay positive. However, we will get back to normal (eventually) and one day we'll all be sat back in the theatre watching '2020: The Musical' and wondering if the scene about the alien invasion is coming up...
In the meantime, take care of yourselves and stay safe.
Bryan Raven, managing director White Light
18th June 2020
Alphatec announced as new TiMax distributor for India
India – Immersive audio specialists, Out Board, has appointed Alphatec as the new exclusive distributor in India for TiMax SoundHub spatial audio processing and TiMax TrackerD4 precision stagetracking systems. Alphatec managing director, Devasis Barkataki comments: “We are very happy to welcome the TiMax products into our distribution range for the Indian market. TiMax fits well with our other high quality brands and suits perfectly our core activities in premium system solutions and integration.“
The Alphatec team’s broad technical skill set, national network and in-depth experience across the live event and installation sectors are a good match for TiMax SoundHub, a fully integrated and scaleable spatial audio matrix and playback server for system management, spatial mixing, vocal localisation, immersive audio effects and audio showcontrol in theatrical and musical productions, events and venues, as well as immersive AV installations such as museums, themed attractions, nightclubs and retail.
Alphatec’s in-depth technology focus also makes them ideal for promotion and support of the TiMax TrackerD4 practical, versatile and affordable performer stagetracking for audio spatialisation and advanced lighting and video control automation.
Out Board director Dave Haydon comments: “We’ve been fortunate previously for TiMax to be involved in some great projects with premier local event producers and venue integrators, and now is the right time to partner with a nationally established full-service distribution, design and turnkey operation such as Alphatec. We have now undertaken online TiMax intro and workflow training for their Applications teams across three main regions and are already working on a number of exciting project proposals, so we look forward to a highly productive and mutually beneficial trading partnership with Alphatec in India.”
In picture: Out Board’s Dave Haydon (centre) with Dwayne Das, Kanguan Dutta, Devasis Barkataki and Mayank Gaurav from Alphatec.
16th June 2020
Ayrton appoints Wholestage as exclusive distributor for Colombia, Panama and the Caribbean
Americas – Ayrton has announce the appointment of Wholestage as its new, exclusive distributor for Colombia, Panama and the Caribbean Islands.
Established in 1998 in Venezuala before relocating to Miami in 2006, Wholestage, has offices in the USA, Colombia, Dominican Republic, Panama, Chile and Spain (Madrid). The company specialises in the distribution of video, audio, rigging, lighting and control, and in making avant-garde technologies and solutions available across the Central American, South American and Caribbean markets. Wholestage will now offer the entire Ayrton line to its markets with immediate effect.
Wholestage was first attracted to Ayrton by the cohesive range of high-quality products on offer: “The Ayrton product portfolio is balanced and well thought out, which allows you to cover and meet all the needs of the market,” says Luis Duque, Wholestage’s CEO. “It combines excellence in quality, sophisticated design and LED technology with a unique, advanced development in the engineering, at a reasonable price for the market. This translates into a unique, accessible, quality product which is a great investment for our clients.”
The energy, attitude and marketing strategy at Ayrton was also a major influence in bringing these two companies together: “The Ayrton team is top line, led by Yvan and Chris, characters with great vision and leadership skills, and a well-structured multinational team of development, service and sales personnel led by Michael,” says Duque. “They have a coherent business plan, fantastic marketing, and a business vision which is in perfect harmony with our own objectives. The brand is perfect for our goals of offering first-rate, high-quality solutions. We believe that Ayrton is a few years ahead in developing and understanding the current lighting market and is the perfect complement to our service offering and growth expectations.”
Wholestage is formed of a solid group of industry professionals with backgrounds in touring, designing and rentals, and many years of experience in every aspect. With its philosophy of ‘The Brains Backstage’, Wholestage has worked hard to establish its excellent reputation and strong client base. “The best marketing is our reputation and the name that we have built over 25 years in the field,” says Duque. “This allows us to recommend and demonstrate a product directly to our customers who have complete confidence and belief in our recommendations. That’s why we take great care in what we offer and recommend – we will only do so when we are sure of the product and the brand behind it – and this is well recognised by our market.”
“We were looking for an active partner that would meet the needs and requirements of our Latin American and Caribbean customers,” says Ayrton’s Kseniia Igoshkina, “which is why we started our co-operation with Luis Duque and his amazing team, and feedback from market has proven it was the right decision. We enjoy working in partnership with Wholestage as a highly professional company and they have become a key partner in supporting our growth strategy in the South American market.”
“To become an Ayrton distributor is a great responsibility that we assume with great pride and professionalism,” concludes Duque. “We are very pleased to be part of this new chapter in the world of lighting that Ayrton is writing. They are undoubtedly the leader in the development of professional LED lighting products in the entertainment sector.”
In picture: Part of the Wholestage Group – Luis Duque (CEO), Karla Basalo (CFO), Catherine Van Den Bossche (CMO) Alvaro Fuentes (director, Colombia), Johnathan Del Villar (director, Caribbean), Marino Gutierrez (director, Caribbean), German Castaño (sales) and Gilmer Duran (sales).
16th June 2020
APG and Active Audio Announce New Corporate Entity: Arbane Groupe
France – Active Audio, a specialist in public address systems, and manufacturer of professional loudspeakers APG, has announced the creation of Arbane Groupe, thus completing their strategic alliance initiated in 2016.
Régis Cazin, CEO of Arbane Groupe, said: "For the past four years, APG and Active Audio have been able to leverage a number of technological and organisational synergies, supported by strategic recruitment and exceptional results. We've seen many successful innovations come directly from our strategic alliance, including APG's Uniline Compact and Active Audio's Ray On."
He added: "The creation of Arbane Groupe is the natural outcome of our strategy of bringing together and perpetuating the two brands.”
Arbane is the name of a grape variety used in the production of Champagne, which shares many similarities with the two French manufacturers, as Cazin explained: "This name perfectly illustrates the philosophy and the common approach of our brands. Robust and singular, it is chosen by some Champagne winemakers in order to stand out from other more standardised and mass productions. It may not be the best known grape variety, but it is distinguished by the excellence of its results.”
Arbane Groupe's mission is to offer unique solutions with a particular focus on directivity, and improve the intelligibility and fidelity across all points of a particular venue. The group's values reflect those of the two manufacturers, with the desire to put the environmental agenda and acoustic performance at the forefront.
The Active Audio and APG brands will continue to offer audio solutions that meet distinct needs, building on their existing international network of distributors. At the same time, the two manufacturers will be able to draw on common synergies, particularly in terms of the production line located at the Nantes headquarters, as well as marketing.
With Active Audio and APG, the Arbane Groupe enjoys a unique position in the professional audio market; offering a range of solutions, from public address to professional loudspeakers for events and fixed installations, while providing its customers with the flexibility of a company on a human scale.
APG and Active Audio were awarded ‘Best Small Company’ at ISE 2020, a recognition from the market of the successful strategy that both companies managed to implement over the last four years.
16th June 2020
Creative Productions Australia brings a New Energy
Australia – Creative Productions Australia is a new full-service technical production facility providing design, lighting video and audio equipment, plus crew for all shows, tours and live events, created by the merger of two leading Australian rental houses: Gold Coast based Creative Productions and Melbourne based MPH Australia.
The new enterprise also unites the energy, passion, imagination, and drive of two well-known and popular industry characters: Dave Jackson, founder of Creative Productions and Matt Hansen founder of MPH Australia.
After many years of both collaborating and competing, and around two years of serious discussions about the merits of consolidating their aggregate experience, knowledge and client bases in an exciting business venture, Dave and Matt now head up an independently owned and operated tour de force engineered to take the art of technical production to new levels.
Three bases: Gold Coast, Melbourne and Sydney are ideal for offering clients the best and most cost-efficient coverage and continuity of service, kit, and personnel across the whole country, and in particular the busy south eastern Australia region.
Melbourne and Gold Coast will be the two main touring hubs.
With these considerable resources to hand, lighting, video, and audio rigs can be duplicated or tripled and trucking costs reduced allowing Creative Productions Australia to offer a fantastic service that is competitive and viable.
It also makes Creative Productions Australia the largest stockholder of Robe moving lights in Australasia – and possibly the Asia Pacific region – with over 2,000 fixtures. Both companies have steadily invested in Robe in recent years.
Creative Productions’ most recent Robe purchases include Robe BMFL WashBeams, Spiiders LED wash beams and MegaPointes, while MPH’s include MegaPointes and RoboSpots delivered by Robe’s Australian distributor Jands, so they have a good cross section of Robe products which they see as reliable and robust rental items that will give great service.
Dave and Matt enjoy a great synergy. They share core values as well as expansive senses of humour and reputations for straight-talking and both directors of the new company fuse their lively and proactive management styles, with Dave as CEO and Matt as head of business development.
“It’s a bit of a crazy time to do this in some ways,” comments Dave referring to the coronavirus pandemic, explaining that the original plan was to announce the merger at Prolight+Sound in Frankfurt on 1st April, but once the pandemic went global in March, the expo was cancelled and most of the world went into lockdown.
“We both see this time as a great chance to prepare a strong and stable operation able for moving forward as the lockdown starts being lifted and the industry gets restarted. We are confident for the future.”
Matt comments: “Both companies were in a similar position when we started talking! We both wanted to expand, and we had similar inventories, outlooks and goals and a lot of mutual respect! Joining forces enables all of us (all employees of both companies remain in place) to grow, develop and continue being at the forefront of production excellence for many years to come.”
In addition to the equipment, resources, logistical and strategic advantages, there will be substantial investments on the horizon to ensure Creative Productions Australia keeps ahead of all the latest technologies.
“Being privately owned and in control of our own destiny will ensure that we can make agile and smart decisions and take opportunities swiftly and decisively,” emphasises Dave.
Right now in the world of Covid-19, Dave and Matt see a long road ahead for rental companies until it’s deemed safe to lift the restrictions substantially on public gatherings, and until that time, they are all for keeping these in place.
The Australian government has won widespread praise internationally for its containment of the virus.
However, Creative Productions Australia has also been extremely busy during this period, and that’s not just with looking after the staff, maintaining and servicing the kit, rationalising administration and implementing new systems to optimise their substantial infrastructure.
They have been talking to promoters about drive-in gigs, a concept gaining traction as a way to get at least some live gigs safely in front a music-hungry public!
They have built the technical elements of TV and streaming studios in Queensland, Sydney and Melbourne for hosting artist performances, album launches, etc. and they have also been continuing their various charitable work and projects throughout the crisis, supporting the industry and those less fortunate.
“We are sitting in a sweet spot, inspired by our fantastic team who are all looking forward to helping achieve our goals and ambitions as we get back to work,” concluded Matt.
In picture: Matt Hansen and Dave Jackson.
12th June 2020
ALD AGM Discussed Virtually the Future Options of Production
UK – The Association of Lighting Designers held its 2020 Annual General Meeting via video conference. As an inclusive association with widespread UK membership the ALD is ahead of the curve having previously held a Manchester-based satellite meeting to its 2019 AGM via video conference. The move, now timely, was introduced to enable ALD members from all parts of the country to contribute without the need to travel considerable distances to London.
This year over 120 members attended individually. The AGM aims to inform and educate ALD members on a range of subjects relating directly to their professional career and to the further development of the ALD as an organisation.
The full-day agenda opened with the meeting itself. Follow on sessions comprised a series of smaller working groups open to all members, including ‘Digital Networking in an entertainment environment’: a discussion on sustainable practice, and specific sessions looking at the issues affecting specific categories of membership.
Importantly, several of the groups discussed the issues that have been raised by the global pandemic and the effect on working practices in live production.
One such discussion centred around how the industry gets back on its feet with specific reference to those working in live entertainment lighting. An open letter to producers, written by Johanna Town, chair of the ALD sent out the call for a joint endeavour to combine creative minds across the production industry, to find solutions to the situation ALD members and other production workers find themselves in.
The letter included a survey conducted with its members in May 2020 which shows that:
- 63% classed themselves as freelance/self-employed over the last four years.
- 77% had their work through to September 2020 cancelled in the first month of lockdown
- 46% had lost three quarters of their annual income by May 2020.
- 87% are not confident that their confirmed work for the rest of 2020 will take place.
The ALD continues to work consistently through the lockdown period to highlight the plight of its members and those working in the entertainment industry. The ALD has raised awareness to various bodies in the UK, of the impact of the continuing closure of theatres and arts institutions on its members who are largely freelance and self-employed.
In picture: Ahead of the curve! ALD's 2019 AGM held in White Light's Studio 19, with Manchester attendees on video screen.
12th June 2020
Ayrton welcomes A17 Stage Systems as exclusive distributor for Belarus
Belarus – Ayrton has announced A17 Stage Systems as its new, exclusive distributor for Belarus with immediate effect.
A17 Stage Systems was established in 2019 with the mission to service its customers’ projects from concept to completion using only the best, most reliable brands in the industry. The company is composed of experienced technicians with many years of expertise in the lighting, sound, rigging, staging, conferencing and video markets. Its customer base includes VVIP and government organisations.
“From the very beginning, A17 Stage Systems has hunted out the best brands in all areas of its activity,” says A17’s engineering director, Vitaly Kazakevich. “We look for future leaders, not just current brands, and see that Ayrton is a fast-growing company with interesting new technologies, and a very good, professional team.
“The Ayrton product range fills us with great confidence because all of its new products carry the ‘Ayrton DNA’ which guarantees a combination of superb quality and innovation across a range of products that serve all applications. It’s not only our team, but also our clients who feel this and we like it!”
A17 Stage Systems has plans to show the full range of Ayrton products in different regions of the country as soon as current health restrictions are lifted. In the meantime, the team is making good use of their industry contacts with local dealers and rental companies to introduce them to the Ayrton brand, whilst A17 has integrated Ayrton products into several of its own upcoming projects.
“We are very happy to be distributing the full range of Ayrton products across the region,” says Dmitry Alexandrovich, director of A17 Stage Systems, “and are looking forward to a very productive collaboration.”
“The whole Ayrton team, and especially I, are delighted to be partnering with Vitaly and Dmitry,” says Ayrton’s Kseniia Igoshkina. “With A17’s in-depth understanding of the entertainment lighting industry and strong local presence in Belarus, we can finally access this new, and often complex, market, and deliver our lighting solutions to customers who haven’t had an opportunity to buy Ayrton fixtures before. We have been working with A17 Stage Systems for a few months already, and we’re pleased to continue and expand our co-operation.”
In picture: Engineering director Vitaly Kazakevich and director Dmitry Alexandrovich, of A17 Stage Systems, Ayrton’s new, exclusive distributor for Belarus.
8th June 2020
Absen Scoops 2020 Red Dot Award for New Champion Rental Staging LED Series
Germany – Leading global LED manufacturer Absen has announced that it has won the coveted Red Dot Product Design award for its latest rental staging LED solution, the Venus (VN) series.
The Red Dot Design Award has become established internationally as one of the most sought-after seals of quality for good design. Established in 1955, the Product Design award is presented to the best products created each year, as decided by a jury of 40 international experts on product innovation.
Winners of the award are judged on a range of elements, such as innovation, functionality, quality, and ecological compatibility. Commenting on the winning VN Series, the Red Dot Award’s jury praised: “A particularly high flexibility and durability which makes the Venus series universally applicable in various usage scenarios.”
“We’re delighted to have been presented a Red Dot award for Product Design,” said Amy Tang, VP of product at Absen. “The VN Series was designed with users in the field in mind every step of the way. Not only does the product deliver a visually stunning performance, it is radically different to what is currently available on the market and will see customers save on weight and cost, without compromising on the performance of the product.”
The Venus series is an innovative LED display that has been specifically designed for concerts and festivals due to its ability to create super-sized screens at speed. The product features a highly unique integrated ‘module-on-frame’ design, which has removed the need for a sub-frame and is 27% lighter than competing solutions, allowing creative teams to cut back on weight, save cost and build even bigger LED walls than before: up to 20 metres in height.
The series has been designed with the crew’s safety and convenience in mind. With its carbon fibre pipes with anti-slip coatings to ensure safety of climbers, and additional safety hooks so riggers can secure themselves at every step of the building process, as well as the ability to withstand gale force winds of up to level 8 (gale winds up to 74km/h), the VN series is one of the safest rental staging LED solutions on the market.
The VN Series is available in two standard sizes: 1,500mm (W) x 1,000mm (H) and 500mm x 1,000mm, in order to allow for fully customised options. It is available in 3.9mm, 4.8mm and 8.3mm pixel pitch versions, boasting up to 5000 nits brightness and black face LED. The VN Series also allows for concave and convex curving options for highly creative video wall designs with horizontal free-adjustable variances of -10 to +10 degrees, allowing fixed positioning at -10°, -5°, 0°, +5° and +10°.
5th June 2020
Michael T. Strickland: 30 June will Define Live Events for the Year
USA – Below is a statement from Bandit Lites chair and founder, Michael T. Strickland.
“There are always unintended consequences for most things in life. Those of us in the live events industry have struggled since the beginning of the COVID-19 crisis to accurately define exactly when live events will return. The medical and the political situations must both be positively aligned in order for everyone to feel comfortable to return in masses to live events.
As we move toward football, baseball, basketball, racing, and theme parks reopening, we wonder when concerts and other live events can and will return. Currently, most of the live event industry is planning some version of reopening with extraordinary health precautions. Perhaps no one will deliver in a safer manner than the world leaders, Disney and Universal, as they open their family-oriented parks globally. Virtually everyone is going to deliver a version of opening that will guide us forward to eventually allow concerts and other mass gatherings.
Then, the current large-scale social unrest resulting from the tragic death of George Floyd occurred. From 25 March until today the world has seen large scale public gathers with little concern of social distancing, washing hands, shared food and beverages and little concern on preventing the spread of COVID-19. The world has seen over 500 different mass gatherings of crowds ranging from 5,000 to over 100,000 people, all in the most dangerous manner. Herein lies the unintended consequence that will define the future of live events in 2020.
Had the mass gatherings not occurred, the world would have very slowly looked at the muted versions of gatherings as, one by one, the NFL, the NCAA, NASCAR, theme parks and others would have slowly reopened. We would have had to deduce from the success of slow, controlled reopenings exactly what it may look like to have a mass gathering of 10,000 or more people at a live event. At best, we would have had an educated guess as to what the first large scale live event might look like. Many people would have been very nervous, and as of today, who knows when we would perhaps be able to have large crowds. It would all have been a calculated, educated guess, based on limited data.
Now, because of the large-scale social unrest, we will have a large data set of real data, based on large scale gatherings held in the worst possible manner. Had anyone suggested that we hold 20 large concerts, wait a month, and then see what happened, you would have been laughed out of the industry. But now, these over 500 large mass gatherings will give us the results of the consequences of large crowds gathering in the worst possible manner.
June 30th will be more than 30 days since the mass gatherings began. To that end, according to all medical experts, we will have a result. As of June 30, 2020, one of two things will have happened. The first possible outcome is that there will be an extraordinarily large number of infected and ill people in the world, and the medical systems and infrastructure will be overwhelmed in a manner we have not yet seen. Should this occur, it will greatly diminish the chances of the return of large live events in 2020. The second possible outcome is that there is not a large medical event that overwhelms the medical systems and infrastructure, but rather at worst a smaller, controlled number of people are somehow affected. In this circumstance, it would seem to indicate that the ability to safely hold larger gatherings is indeed a seemingly safe possibility. This outcome would most likely instil confidence in the public, who would certainly need to feel safe and buy into going to a large public gathering.
The unintended consequence of the many large public gatherings created by the social unrest will most likely move up the date that an educated decision can be made regarding safely holding large live entertainment events to June 30, 2020.
We should be in a position on June 30, 2020 to look at the collective data from the over 500 large scale mass gathers with the resulting medical consequences and make a very firm, educated, data driven decision on whether to hold or not hold large scale mass gatherings and events in 2020. It would seem that the appetite and ability of artists, promoters, venues, municipalities, fans, and all of the other stakeholders will be educated and affected by the outcome of the medical data and results from the over 500 mass social unrest gatherings. Thus, the unintended consequence of the social unrest will seemingly provide the Live Event Industry with a much better data set and an earlier date to chart the course for the remainder of 2020.
We should all pull for a positive result.
4th June 2020
Kinly announces the acquisition of AVMI
The Netherlands – Kinly, a leading global specialist in video collaboration services headquartered in Amsterdam, has announced the acquisition of AVMI, a leading global AV-integrator and managed services provider, headquartered in London.
The acquisition of AVMI strengthens Kinly’s position as Europe’s #1 player and firmly establishes Kinly as a global top three provider of video collaboration services. Together, Kinly and AVMI will offer a compelling proposition in the virtual collaboration space to customers globally. Kinly and AVMI operate in over 20 locations throughout Europe, USA and APAC, serving clients in over 125 countries with over 1,200 talented and passionate employees.
Robbert Bakker, CEO of Kinly comments: “We are very excited to announce that AVMI, a leading UK-based global AV integrator, will join and strengthen the Kinly team. The combination of our businesses will support our strategy to expand our international presence. Together, we offer our clients a truly global service and holistic portfolio of high quality and secure video collaboration solutions. Our businesses are highly complementary and we share a strong reputation with our clients as trusted adviser. AVMI brings an enviable track record in delivering complex enterprise projects globally and providing operational and service excellence. Kinly offers best in class video collaboration solutions and unparalleled product expertise in remote management, video cloud solutions and adoption services. This powerful combination will also bring new opportunities and career prospects for our people in an exciting environment. I very warmly welcome the AVMI team on board and I am convinced that our teams across the globe will jointly create even more value for our customers.”
Commenting on the announcement, Edward Cook, CEO of AVMI, remarks: “The combination of Kinly and AVMI has always looked like an excellent idea and I am delighted that it is now a reality. Both companies are market leaders in their own countries and I am confident that, together, we can truly compete on the global stage. Our industry has matured to the extent that our clients now demand global coverage and a breadth of skill sets that only a handful of companies can provide. I am certain that the newly expanded Kinly will have a very exciting and successful future.”
In today’s world the need for high quality and secure collaboration technologies and services is paramount, driven by the challenges and opportunities that remote working, globalisation, digitalisation of workflows and need for increased connectivity bring us. Kinly and AVMI are determined and excited to continue to innovate and support our clients with this important transformation.
The enlarged Kinly group will continue to be supported by Avedon Capital Partners, a leading mid-market growth investor based in The Netherlands and Germany. Since 2017, Avedon invested in Viju, Visions Connected, and MK2 to form the Kinly platform, a global leader in video collaboration. The acquisition of AVMI accelerates and builds upon the success of Kinly in an exciting and growing market.
3rd June 2020
Prolyte Introduces the latest authorised dealer in Russia
Russia – As of the 12th of May, SCENA joins the Prolyte family as the latest authorised dealer in Russia.
Founded in 2016 by specialists with more than ten years of experience in the culture, social and entertainment industry, SCENA is recognised for its involvement in the development of European projects, brands as well as stage complexes in the EU. As the company makes the process of procuring equipment fast, easy and profitable, therefore giving customers more time and flexibility to focus on other delegations.
“When searching for a partner, Prolyte asks a couple of important questions: Can they be our friends? Can they be a part of our family? Do they share the same values of loyalty, honestly, competence and quality? When the answer to all these questions is a yes, then we jump right into that relationship” says Eddie Slotboom.
Nikita Safonov and Alexey Barkovski already have a high level of experience with Prolyte for many years. Thus, this partnership will help formulate a more inclusive development of quality and knowledge at a competitive price within the industry. Therefore, as SCENA supplies stage equipment to customers; and customer’s needs grow, that’s when this partnership will sprout and excel further, as SCENA provides customers with material of high European quality at an affordable price.
Eddie adds: “We are convinced that there is an experienced team in Scena with a lot of knowledge. Henry did a great job with this deal. We as Prolyte look forward for this constructive partnership.”
“We at SCENA tend to favour brands that provide the world high-quality, reliable and safe products without intermediaries in between,” said Nikita Safonov.
Prolyte has been a long-time leading provider of aluminium truss and structure for the event industry in all parts of the world. Prolyte is constantly looking forward to building its presence and strengthening its relationships with both old and new friends of the company. Thus, Prolyte will constantly strive to provide customers with standard-A manufacturing products built to the best and most enduring standards.
“I’ve appreciated how Prolyte is always relatable with providing high quality and support. This often provides you with room for growth as it allows you to focus solely on your business,” stated Alexey Barkovski.
SCENA’s current sale territory consists of mainly Russia, however, with the right tools the company is confidently capable of covering all of the Eurasian Union.
2nd June 2020
Tapering furlough scheme will result in more theatres permanently shutting their doors, warns Theatres Trust
UK – Theatres Trust, the public advisory body for theatres, has warned that more theatre operators will go bankrupt without continued support from the government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.
On Friday 29 May, the Chancellor announced that from August employers will be required to make increasing contributions until the scheme ends in October.
The government scheme enabling employers to furlough staff has been a vital lifeline for theatre operators who lost their entire ticket revenue overnight when theatres closed in March. Organisations have been drawing on their limited reserves to meet operating costs as the lockdown continues but research by Theatres Trust shows that of the 581 theatres that are charities in the UK, 59% had less than three months operating costs in reserves and research by UK Theatre / SOLT identifies that 70% of theatres will run out of money by the end of 2020. The tapering of the Job Retention Scheme will only serve to accelerate these timetables and lead to further closures. The employer contributions will make redundancies throughout the sector inevitable and the ending of the scheme and resulting liabilities will close theatre businesses.
Theatres Trust director Jon Morgan says: “Four theatre operators have already gone in to administration since the lockdown began. Unfortunately, we expect this number of rise rapidly unless the government provides urgent support for the sector. While tapering of the furlough scheme makes sense in other parts of the economy as businesses reopen, theatres remain closed and the majority will be unable to operate viably with social distancing measures in place. We are calling on the government to extend the Job Retention Scheme in its full form to protect our nation’s enviable theatres and the people who work in them, until such a time as theatres can reopen fully and safely.”
Theatres Trust provides free advice and support to all types of theatre, which has included advising theatres on adapting their business plans in light of the pandemic and how to maintain buildings safely during lockdown.