Home Automation Podcast Episode #27: An Industry Q&A With George Tucker
Discussing AV Technology with Industry Veteran George Tucker
This week's home automation podcast features our host Ron Callis interviewing George Tucker. Recorded live on Wednesday, December 13th, 2017 at 12:30 p.m. EST.
About George Tucker
George Tucker brings 25 years of AV experience with display technologies education, social media, and system integration background. Tucker’s various positions in audio visual has had him involved with nearly every aspect of the industry. His career has included time as a systems programmer, live events video tech, working on automation for theater, managing national support for a major industry manufacture, and recording studios. In addition, George teaches for CEDIA and he is the Co-Founder of AV Nation.
His Twitter bio often says it all : One part punk intelligista ,one part pagan ritual and one part musical rapture, Shaken liberally with a twist of technorotica and a jigger of ADD.
Here are some of the topics Ron had the opportunity to discuss with George:
- George's background and how he got started in the industry
- Teaching for CEDIA in the New York area
- A recap of technology advances in 2017
- What can we expect to see as far as tech advances in 2018
- What the industry can do as a whole do to push AV to the next level
- And more
Ron: Hello everybody. Ron Callis here. Merry Christmas. Happy holidays. Happy Hanukkah. Happy Kwanzaa. Happy cold time of the year. Glad you are with me. Today is December 13th. It's 12:30 PM. Today's, I think it's Wednesday. It is Wednesday, December 13th. So happy that you're with me. Let me jump over to Facebook, but again, I am brought to you and this show is brought to you by One Firefly. That's my day job. And let me come over here, see if we've got a stream that's live. Hope you're having a good day. Hope you're excited about the holidays. It's always a nice time of year. Let's see. Where's the stream? Some reason my Facebook is lagging here. Folks, if you're out there, give me a comment. Tell me you're watching. Oh, there we go. It looks like we're live. All right, sorry about that fidgeting. So I have an awesome guest for you today. This is a gentleman that I've known for a long time and let me bring him on. We got George Tucker of Tucker Tuesdays. Are you still doing Tucker Tuesdays George?
George: Yes. Occasionally. It's now a newsletter, but yes.
Ron: So now newsletter. So George is the Director of Product Training at Aurora Multimedia and George and I actually met way back, I'm trying to think of my Crestron days. You were George, the person of interest that taught me Facebook.
George: Yes. It's all my fault.
Ron: It's all your fault. And George is also those of you out there. George is also a trainer at CEDIA. George is the let me get all my facts straight here. He's the cofounder of AV Nation as well.
George: Yeah, one of three.
Ron: One of three. So George, how's your Wednesday going? How are you doing?
George: It's going well. It's going well. It's nice to be on a show where I'm being interviewed rather than the other way around. It's a novel experience for me.
Ron: Yeah. Well, I won't hold a candle. I don't pretend to hold a candle to your style. You've been very generous and had me on a number of times over the years. And I'm happy to reciprocate.
George: Oh, cool. Yeah, no. So my Wednesdays I'm here in my living room area very Christmassy this for this time of year we're getting parts of the house we done. So it's the neatest, cleanest and dust free area I could find at the current moment.
Ron: No, I love it. The stockings, the lights, the Christmas season. It's just a wonderful time of year. And of course you're up in New York, so it's probably nice and cold and has it snowed yet?
George: We had snow, but of course it snowed and then rained and now it's gone.
Ron: So you're still at the point where you're enjoying the cold and then it'll be another month or two before you're tired and ready for it to leave you, right?
George: Oh yeah. February is going to suck anyway.
Ron: February in New York does mostly,
George: Yeah. No, it's dirty. It's grimy. It's just not fun.
Ron: I agree. So, George, can you for the audience that's assembling now can you just tell us a little bit about your background? You've been in the AV business for 25 plus years. Kinda just take us through that story past and how you got in and why you're still here.
George: Well, I feel like it's the Mary Tyler Moore show, you know, it all started a 50,000 watt radio station. In actuality it started because of a movie called Breaking Glass, Hazel O'Connor in 1980s. Great movie about the post punk era. And drove me from being that kid who listened only to classic rock and KISS to go to the music store and say, what do I not know about? I want new stuff. And the guy gave me a whole bunch of records everything from standard since stuffing and German craft kind of things to the hot burgeoning hardcore scene in classic punk that was to become classic punk. And it changed my life entirely. I started to figure out that music was something I wanted to do and I moved to New York got various and sundry jobs working for non-music related people, but was in punk bands and soon learned that being a okay drummer didn't pay nearly as much as being the FOH guy who could get it right and traveled for a couple of years up and down the East coast doing the punk van tours. Being the guy that would help set up, went to a trade school and started working in recording studios. I worked for Electric Lady for a couple of years as a sort of GA and second engineer decided that that wasn't really making any money. And I was offered a job with a staging company which did staging and installations for corporate and for commercial spaces. We did lots of Broadway live event shows, product announcements, that kind of stuff. That was the company that did the Toys R Us Superstore in Times Square, the Nike Superstore just on the East side of Manhattan. They've done museums galore, that kind of stuff as well as again, live events for all, all types of shapes from everything from of course Fortune 500 to bar mitzvahs.
Ron: Oh my goodness. Now when you just, I'm a bit ignorant on the subject, so this is, can you expound on that for, you know, a lot of my audience may not know exactly what you're describing. So this is the company that goes in and is hired to set up these events?
George: Yes. So it's a live staging company is the company that comes in and brings in the audio the video, the lighting all the reinforcement issues they can do, you know, everything from really, really spectacular multi-screen switching of multi cameras, recording it with wireless microphones to just your simple self powered speaker on a mock microphone. The company started off as rentals to recording studios and that became such a competitive and non-profitable business. Everybody wanted the newest reverb machine, but they didn't want to own it and you had to always get the new one. They never made your money back on it. So staging was a natural progression for them. And then through that I learned to program doing AMX Crestron was doing something called Dataton, which is a multimedia sort of, now it does image blending systems, but back then they were a multimedia control system. And moved on to that and got hired by Crestron, first working in the QC department and then managing the tech support side for New Jersey through that burgeoning years of the early two thousands when they were developing more technologies and SKUs and crossing over into vertical and horizontal markets that no one ever imagined they would. And then transitioned down to the sort of marketing department because I had opened up a social media account asking for forgiveness rather than permission.
Ron: So you were the first to put Crestron on social media?
George: I'd like to say yes, I was, yeah.
Ron: That's amazing.
George: Facebook page and a Twitter page. Mostly Twitter cause the reason was that, look..
Ron: What was Twitter, when did Twitter start?
George: God, 1999 or something like that.
Ron: Okay. So you were, cause I know Facebook started, I want to say '07.
George: Something like that. Twitter was around for a long time. And I think around..
Ron: See now I'm going to have to go research it and like..
George: Yeah 2009 2010 I was on, so I may have my dates off cause there was so many out there for so many years, but around 2009, 2007, we started the Twitter feed and that really came forth from the idea that there were so many people asking questions about that. The FAQs where it didn't always get through in time for what they needed. They were asking the collective hive, what do I do? And we noticed this and I created one Crestron HQ and said, what do you need? Here's a link for the FAQ here. Here's what you need. I know what you're dealing with. Here's your local rep, here's the sales guy that deals with your region. Just it was really helpful in that way. And that sort of grew into the idea that we were communicating as an industry and guys would hop on and people from the various publications started to take notice and it just was a natural progression and that's when AV Tweeps was developed.
Ron: Yeah, sure. That was the newer part of that group that I guess created that hashtag.
George: That hashtag was actually named by Johnny Moda who was an early adapter of all the Twitter and very active on it. And he and I would chat and he came up with his name AV Tweeps and I'm like, that's awesome. You know, and he put it out there. So that wasn't tied to any corporation. It wasn't tied to any kind of corporate Twitter handle. And it became what it is now, which is a really active space for discussion and promotion.
Ron: I was going to say, isn't that the number one hashtag on Twitter for the industry now?
George: I don't know that for a fact, but it's up there. Absolutely.
Ron: It's up there. Now for your current company, Aurora Multimedia. Are you in a capacity where you're also helping with marketing and or managing or getting them onto social or I know that the title is Director of Product Training, so if you don't mind, what's the full, I guess, set of duties or responsibilities you have where you're at now? Maybe not the complete list but you know, a high level, a macro overview.
George: Yeah, well in synopsis. My job is to bring education and knowledge about our product lines as well as the foundational technologies to our dealers, reps and to the industry. So in that sense, what I'm doing is bringing more attention to our AV over IP product solutions. We do HD based T products. We have our own IP based T product line, which is AB over IP and one in 10 gig networks. We have a whole host of other, you know, extenders and solution devices that we can do. We have our HDMI cable and military grade stuff, right? So my job is to do a little bit of promotion. Look, everything's promotion, everything's marketing. When you get down to it. So my job is to provide the technical knowledge on how our products and software work, as well as getting people excited about the fact that, Hey, these boxes do a lot of really cool things and this is why it's the perfect solution for you. And this is why we're promoting it the way we are. So the company's been around for 20 years. I've known Paul and Mike who run the company, Oh God. Since my days when I was at staging, they were programming house back then and we actually hired them to do several of those installs that we worked on. So, he's really grown it. We were talking about this offline earlier. I remember the day Paul gave me a call goingI've made my own control system. This is the really cool thing. You've got to see this. And I remember that day that he called me back. I mean, yeah, what, mid nineties I believe it was?
Ron: So what are some of the techniques or strategies that you're employing in the role of trainer or a trainer to the industry of your company's products? How do you, how are you going about doing that? Because you know, that sounds like a pretty big job and a lot of responsibility to get a lot of messaging out.
George: Yeah, well, it's multifaceted. It's multifaceted, right? It's doing webinars, it's doing videos, it's doing updates, the documentation it's managing and coordinating the FAQ system that we have, making sure that those parts are in there. And in essence, the products themselves are not complicated. It's understanding the underlying technology that dictates how you operate. That becomes an issue. Look what, when I teach for CEDIA, I teach a lot of the networking for AV, right? So it's IP networking for audio, visual installation systems. We're 10 years into the first products ever being rolled out for this kind of stuff. And we're still struggling with the idea that many people don't know how to properly set up a network to make it optimized for the delivery of the content that we want to put over it. So that takes a lot of effort. Everything from the basics. I mean there's people and there's kids who know, Hey, there's an IP address, I get what it is. But how do you set up your own? The majority of them don't know anything about it. They know that you push a button on it.
Ron: So let's go down that rabbit hole. If you don't mind. What would be say top three tips you have with the AV integrators, setting up a network for success. I don't think I gave you any notes in preparation for this, so I will see what you can riff and come up with off the top of your head. What tips do you have?
George: Well, the first one is to use enterprise class gear at any part that you can that includes the idea of using a managed switch. Even if you don't use the managed capabilities, you will later having a managed ethernet switch gives you more flexibility in the tools to expand or divide and manage that network. Right? So in networking it's about control and management, right? Control and management means I can dictate what kind of packets go where and what kind of Parsons of my network and segments do not need to see it or which ones really do need to see it. For security, for delivery of content, all of those things really, really matter. That's the biggest one. The second is knowing your RF. Wireless tends to be a really huge part of this now. Well, wireless video delivery is still over the ether. You know, wireless is one of the most convenient methods of delivery we've ever developed. It's also the most inefficient, right? So it can get disturbed by so many things that we need to understand the RF background of what that stuff does, how to properly alternate my transceivers, how to properly set up extenders and what that does for how RF reflects off of surfaces and why it shouldn't be on the floor in a shelf or in a metal cabinet. Those kinds of things. And the third is really just security and management, knowing how to allow access for those who you want to get in. And managing that and keeping the bad guys out. That's a huge, huge part of it.
Ron: So what do you think the best technique, just to go down that path, you guys as manufacturers or a manufacturer. You're teaching some of that content, it sounds like. What are all the different avenues that an integrator or say an integrator that's trying to ramp up their networking acumen because most things in the home now are riding on an IP network. Or correct me if I'm wrong, that may be an overstatement.
George: Not by much.
Ron: What are the different channels or avenues the integrator can go about, getting themselves ramped up?
George: Well, there's a couple. My rule has always been always treat a new technical topic. Like you are a kid learning about the first time. There's no shame in buying the kid's version of a book about the technology. If you read through it in a day, great. If it takes you a week, okay, if it takes you a month, that's still okay. There are thousands of YouTube videos about the different features and functions of how networking works. Once you get past that point, there's a whole host of things you can do. Every manufacturer now provides some form of background technology on the networking because they know it's so necessary, right? Just like we used to teach people how to properly crimp or solder XLR cables or any other kind of cable, this is the new solder. We need to know how to crimp and pull those cables. We do not need to know that the standards behind them. The next then again is the CEDIA and the evictions and those companies do a really good job of providing step-by-step, progressive education through their certifications. They both do great jobs, they focus a little bit differently than the other, but you know, Vixa tends to be a little bit more comprehensive, but CEDIA is really growing fast and doing that. I know Dave Pedago was on a week or two ago and he was talking about that stuff. So that really becomes the beginning of it. Like seriously start as a kid. Start like you would if you're going to give it to your child to learn and then move forward. There's no shame in it, you know? And that's how I learned. That's how I learned RF, when I was doing RF mics, I would buy the manuals, I would go and get their white papers. I would go and go to the bookstore back in the day when you went to bookstores and buy a starter manual or start a book on how does radio frequencies work just to understand the technology and that grows.
Ron: I need that wifi book for dummies. I bought some Ring doorbell and a Ring camera in the last about a year ago now. And that damn thing still doesn't work at my front door. The light turns on, so I know it's powered. But I've just I can't get that thing to stay connected to my network. And I'm like, man, if only I knew some really good IT and AV people, they could come over and get this done for me. My wife, by the way, lets me know at least once every couple of weeks that she really would like to have access to that on her phone. So one of these days I'll get that actually squared away. All right, so we're, we're almost 20 minutes in. I want to talk about your viewpoint on some of the technologies that were released here in 2017 and that are going to perhaps have a significant impact on businesses moving forward, both for the integrators that are designing and installing and servicing these systems and maybe the perceived value by the end customer. Can you give me from your viewpoint, what some of the big deals, you know, it's December, it's maybe a good time to do an end of year review. So what struck you as some really big deals that happened this year?
George: Well, we know that the prosumer market that, that acronym that sort of combined word for consumer and probe year all in rolled into one is really been for the last few years. But now in this last even fiscal quarter has become something that is going to be a giant, giant bear in our industry. The Google Homes, the Echoes from Amazon, the Alexa stuff. Those voice command tools are really changing how the landscape of automation in both the home and the commercial side really work. The ability to get that right and tie it into different products and make it at least as seamless as possible really changes a whole lot of things. I know Joe Whitaker from The Thoughtful Home and one of the CEDIA board members. He actually works with these things now and actually gives them away at times to potential clients to entice them on how they can get things done. You know, my own kids used ours now we have a couple of lights connected to it. They're really Philips Hue stuff, but I hope to advance up to a real network of lighting systems eventually. But they use it for everything, for finding out facts, for getting music, for distributing music around the house. It has an intercom system built in that you can just tell it to drop in or call a certain room.
Ron: Did you hear Dave's story? He said his father was staying at his home and he ended up using the Alexa to control the Phillips Hues so he could use the restroom at night and have a lighted pathway and that was, instantly once he experienced it became something he couldn't live without. Yeah.
George: That stuff has really become, I look at what Apple is doing, I mean, and we've known for years that Apple and Microsoft have done the homes of the future and they really want to get into this market, but they always seem to fall short because they don't understand the vision of it. And the do it yourselfers have chewed up a good portion of market share, but they will do what many in CEDIA and FX I actually have taken on, which is the, yeah, you'll have to do it. I'll do it. I want to do it myself. But you also have the guys who say, do it for me. I want to use some of the off the shelf things that I like and I'm excited about but do it for me.
Ron: Do you think most integrators are ready?
Ron: Or accepting of that type of consumer that that is going to go buy a bunch of gear and then say will you put it in for me? I mean there's I think some negative ideas or connotations around that right now and there's some maybe some changing that has to happen for that to be embraced. What are your thoughts?
George: When you're looking at multimillion dollar installations? That's probably okay. And I have guys who have that business and can live and thrive in that market. Don't always need to worry about that. They'll incorporate portions of it because the client's really hot on it, but that's not the main infrastructure of the installation. Right. But for the mid level installers, if you're not seeing this, it's akin to you thinking that your profit margin and hanging flat panels over fireplaces is going to last forever. It doesn't. And those guys, it's easy to do now and Best Buyscrew can do it for you. So entering into that market with that pro certification to that pro status, while still riding the line between the custom installation and the off the shelf stuff, it does make money and you have to be prepared for it because the mass market forces are not going to stop. They've seen it. They'll get in there and they're really pushing forward. Again, look at Apple's phone now. When you pull up that dashboard, that Apple home thing shows right up. So you have one touch to find your apps. You know the old adage that Hey, I don't have to go put the phone, I have to go find the app. I have to open the app, I have to do this. Now you're going to go into saying, open my home. Find the app, do it. Well, how far is it from them to integrate that into open the app? It's lighting. You'll never see the app that you've installed. It's just under lighting, right? So your touch screen becomes in your hand and all of a sudden it's there. Why does companies like AMX and Crestron say it's a good thing we're not in the touch me business. Huh? What were they into a decade ago? Yeah, big part of their profit was touchscreens. So they've adapted.
"The pro-sumer marketplace, I think there's going to be some very, the potential is high for some very interesting movement around this Amazon CEDIA partnership and potentially using the big bad guy, Amazon, as a potentially a gateway for some nice lead gen."
Ron: I was just going to ask last night I was honored to have dinner with Frank White and Walt, I believe it's Walt Zerbe. I have a business card around here. Walt I apologize if you're listening. Pretty sure it's Walt Zerbe. Yup. There he is. Walt Zerbe got a business card sitting here from CEDIA. He's the new Director of Technology and Standards. And what we were talking about last night was the new CEDIA Amazon partnership. And how there's a new, not, I don't know, I think it's fairly recent relationship between CEDIA and Amazon and the lead gen that's coming in from Amazon with people that want that technology partner, technology contractor, designer installer to come into their home and make all this stuff work. And you know, so on that pro consumer, I think that's the word you used, right? The pro-sumer marketplace, I think there's going to be some very, the potential is high for some very interesting movement around this Amazon CEDIA partnership and potentially using, you know, the big bad guy, Amazon, as a potentially a gateway for some nice lead gen. You know, for those contractors that are ready to take that on and embrace it,
George: It's sort of akin to the days of coding. You know, there's a lot of good programming houses out there and they do a lot of good work. They're starting to expand it to some other forms of coding. They're not just doing the tools provided by the corporations. They're learning some sort of open source coding because that becomes their gateway to creating not just portals and pages, but control environments. You know, within those worlds. And the idea that a programmer is absolutely necessary, and I'm going to get riff for this from lots of my friends is ending. Not in the way that it goes away completely. But for generations, we've been doing these configuration softwares that the companies know they needed to do. They had to cause they needed to get that volume out and for the mid price and lower price stuff, they needed to be able to go, wham, bam, it's done. But with Amazon and with CEDIA, what you want is that that marketplace openness, they be able to get there. And then what is our professional status? We know how the networks work. We can make it work great. We can replace stuff as needed. We can then add features that you may not have thought of and manage them in ways that you didn't realize you needed. So yes, we're going to lose a little bit of market share. We're going to lose a little bit of profit ratio. We're not going to have those margins like we do with some of the custom closed network systems. It, you know, that was great. It was wonderful, but we have to adapt to it and, and work within that environment that they know our clients want it. Look when the iPhone or the iPod first came out, the people who railed against the idea that that was the main music source and they were right. It's not as good. It doesn't sound as good. But like the old dead Kennedys album was Convenience or Death. And sometimes that's what you're facing. It's convenient. So death and they want the convenience. I know I did. I listened to that almost exclusively. Now I might have digital files, I have a turntable, I have all this stuff, but what do I listen to? Because I can choose any format, any genre that can go with me anywhere I go. So it's inevitable.
Ron: So 2018 what are some of your, maybe some of the technologies or changes going on in the industry that you're most excited about?
George: Well, I'm thinking that fiber is going to become more prevalent because it's at that state now where you can do that and I think we're going to need inside of homes, that kind of thing. I think there's also going to be a push for, as we mentioned earlier, wireless only. I know this has been covered by a couple of trade magazines, but there are some home builders who are looking to not include any structured wiring in their systems or in their builds and go completely with RF cause the newest generations of wifi are supposedly can handle the throughput. You know, with band channel bonding and all that kind of stuff. I'm doubtful of it. It's going to be fun to watch. You're going to see more and more from the consumer electronics portion of this world, get into what we do and be more and more prevalent because I can go and do it. And then I can ask you how to set my settings. Again, I can be a lighting designer, but it doesn't mean I have to get custom lighting systems. You know, I can do that. But what I'm really looking forward to is something that I think is on the precipice now for many years. My associate, Mr Tim Albright, who has taught me so much in this industry talked about Oled screens and that was his big thing. It's coming, it's coming, it's coming and they're finally starting to show up in real ways. Well, my big thing is a little bit more on the odd side. I follow some of the odd technologies that establish because I think that's where certain breakthroughs are going to come. And one of the ones I'm watching is not wearables but embeddables, that is the biologically embedded devices.
Ron: You think this is happening in 2018?
George: I think you're going to see it a grow of it. In 2016 there was a company in Sweden that was implanting electrodes in the little forefingers, if I can show the camera right in here for their employees and it opened doors, gained access to the cafeteria. I made copies. You could do all this stuff just with this engaged chip. As we watch more and more of these electronics working with say, dialysis machines that will go be embedded inside the body rather than the ones that sit outside. Some of the other technologies for correcting health issues are moving from the external device to the internal device. And there you can track them on your own systems, on your smart devices. It opens up an entirely new world where you don't have to lose anything and all of the information becomes connected. There's people that are developing the sort of contact lenses, not Google glass, but a contact lens version that is in production that has been used and is..
Ron: Do you call that an embeddable?
George: Yes because the step from that to an embedded, like when they do the laser surgery on your eyes and you don't need glasses anymore where they cut off your, you know, your lens and they shape it and they sew it or seal it back onto you. It's the same process. It's not that giant of a leap. So 2018 is the burgeoning, I think, precipice of that becoming more and more acceptable. Because in 2017 a Minnesota company started doing the same thing the Swedish company was doing. They're offering that to their employees, all that is able to get them through their car doors passing. They can always have their phone, know where it is, they can always be summoned because it knows where they are.
Ron: So basically they have an RFID chip or pellet embedded in under their skin and that saves them from having to carry a fob.
George: Now who's pushing this? There's a lot of places like the like Grindhouse and Wet Works and the people who do the tattooing and the people who early on did the implementation of like studs and people's foreheads or the little decorative type of tribal stuff that happened back in the starting in the late eighties, early nineties. They were on the burgeoning part or the very forefront of putting in microchips or neodymium magnets in their fingertips to be able to feel the electricity and do certain things and have that neodymium action work to open things without having to touch things. They're really pushing forward in some somewhat illegal ways to do this and implementing control systems that they have partially external, but mostly live inside their bodies.
Ron: Do you think this is going to pop, make it mainstream news in '18?
George: Well, yes, because 2017 had already happened in Minnesota and PR and the science journals in New York times a tech thing did a whole stories on it about the guys in Minnesota and I think that you're on the precipice of that kind of thing happening. Again, we complain about the fact that we have to open up our phone and we can't find stuff. If you just have a transceiver inside of your body and it does what it's supposed to do and then you get to the retinal display, show me the following while still, you know, it's augmented reality. It's not virtual reality. It's augmented reality, but then it could become virtual reality and all those are sort of coming to a head, maybe not 2018 directly, but in the next two to five years you're going to see a lot of implementation. I think it's going to become more mainstream.
Ron: So George, the futurist in terms of well, so let's bring it to the low voltage contractors that we work with every day. What of these technologies or what technologies do you think maybe they're going to be interacting with or installing or designing? I'll give you the next three years that maybe many of them don't realize right now.
"I think augmented reality is something you're going to see more guys realizing that they need to get involved with."
George: I think augmented reality is something you're going to see more guys realizing that they need to get involved with.
Ron: What would it be a use case? What would be an example of an integrator utilizing augmented reality in their day to day life?
George: Well, especially for the educational fields where people can start to use that to demonstrate how things work. So if you're teaching someone and you can do an augmented reality before them where they think they're seeing and touching the thing. Where you need to utilize technologies that are supposedly transparent to the decorative side of say a house or a commercial installation, but using the augmented reality glasses, you can actually find those surfaces and do the controls you need to do then move on.
"You could be in a room, an empty room, but hold up an iPad and the customer could see that room fully outfitted with theater technology or seating. And that's augmented reality, right?"
Ron: Okay. And I'll work off the inverse of that. You could be in a room, an empty room, but hold up an iPad and the customer could see that room fully outfitted with theater technology or seating. And that's augmented reality, right?
George: Yeah. Yeah. I mean the IC, there's augmented because they're seeing it in their space. This is how it's going to work and this is the colors it's going to be, and this is how it looks. But it also is for like documentation and things like, you know, augmented reality with the glasses, which why I'm so hot on those contact lenses is that eventually it is the Google glass that's internalized. Show me the document, show me how to get there, show me how to get to Joe's house or to that bar or whatever it is. And that stuff's going to become more and more common because we already use our phones for that.
Ron: All right. What about robots, do you think robots in the home are going to be in the CI space?
George: I think they're going to be in the military and industrial space before they're in the home. I mean the irobot stuff like with the vacuum, that's great but it's, I don't, there's a mass market for it. But if you're talking futuristic, like irobot or?
Ron: I'm talking about the robot goes to the fridge, gets you a beer and brings it to you on the sofa.
George: As a mass market thing. I see that more as a 10 year plan. I see that more as in 10 years. Cause that's a real serious investment in maintaining this thing that becomes a being in your house. You have to avoid it. It has to be managed.
Ron: Have you seen the new robot videos of Atlas?
George: The ones that jump and can flip and stuff, you're talking or?
Ron: So a year or two years ago, Atlas could barely walk and now he can jump up on boxes and do backflips.
"It's a far stretch to go from the commercial uses of something like that and carrying heavy loads and being used in military for surveillance and for rescue operations to incorporating that technology in a day to day life of a homeowner or a commercial environment."
George: I just think it's a far stretch to go from the commercial uses of something like that and carrying heavy loads and being used in military for surveillance and for rescue operations to incorporating that technology in a day to day life of a homeowner or a commercial environment. You know, you have those medical robots which have the big screens. So you have the remote doctor able to visit his patient in a hospital somewhere far away. Right. And every Infocom and CEDIA, those robots are around, I forget which company makes them.
Ron: Ibeam or something like that.
George: Yeah. Like IBM or somebody like that. Yeah. You know, those I can see in commercial environment, again, that's a really medical environment or maybe even government environment, but in the home we're still not socially ready for that. I don't think, as much as we dream about it, we're not socially ready for this thing to be there.
Ron: So speaking of things that are on the cutting edge, and this has nothing to do with our industry, but it is the month of December and December, 2017 I think this is going to go down in history for this crazy, insane economic bubble or boom or whatever you want to call it related to cryptocurrencies. And I'm just curious if you've been watching that happen at all. You know, this, it officially this week just beat I guess the Tulip deal from the 1600s, which previously was the biggest bubble in the world. And now the Bitcoin boom this week is now surpassed. That is the biggest bubble in world history.
George: Yeah. I mean, I think it's funny that you make the comparison to the tulip boom. For those who don't know, the Tulips were a commodity that were very valued by a lot of the upper classes and it created a normous set of wealth for a very short period of time among those who could grow them in import and export them. And now it is of course, where you get tulips, any dime store can sell them. Right? Bit currency is a little bit different. It's a similar way I guess, and that I think there's a lot of people promoting bit coin and those cryptocurrencies, but the general acceptance and safety factor, just like the robot situation is, how do I trust it? Right now, 20, 40, 50, 60 years ago, you were basically allowed to trust the government's money because they had a gold standard. Right. And I'm not one who advocates for the gold standard coming back, but that was your insurance, that the money was backed by something. In order to grow, we had to get into that sort of credit debit and this sort of virtual currency, which is what we really were. When you're borrowing money in the banks kind of have it but don't have it, but they're expecting it from here. It's a sort of virtual currency, right? But we trusted that the government would back it, especially after several depressions and people saying, Hey, we have to sort of back this in more ways. So we're insured and our personal accounts, so $100,000 and things like that. I don't see that in cryptocurrency yet. I get that it's secure. I've read about the guys who have established it and who really, really protect it. Like the hermits, you know, that think that they have the golden chalice of..
Ron: Well, it has some value today. If you lose your coins, it can really hurt and that they're irrecoverable.
George: So I think we don't know how valuable it is today.
Ron: If only driven by demand they're valuable. Now do they have longterm value. I don't know. I think that's going to be the fun thing to watch.
George: Right? Well, just like Tulips and manual typewriters that at one point they were both very valuable and being a repairment of our plants over tulips or repairment of a manual typewriter could make you a good deal of money. That's right. You know, and but look, there's guys who've lost tons of money in the last few days where it just suddenly dropped.
Ron: Oh, it's fantastically volatile. I mean, again, I'm a observer from afar, so I'm just, I'm having fun asking the folks that are around me and that I interact with regularly. Kind of what their take on it is. It's a good perhaps measure of the acceptance rate of such technologies.
George: Yeah. I think there's potential but for it to be standard every day, it has to be traceable. It has to be documented and it has to be a way to find some kind of recourse cause we're depending on the bits and bytes and the flow of electrons to ensure our value.
Ron: Ones and zeros.
George: Even nowadays, I know that the bank knows where my money is. And while it's ones and zeros, there's the documentation. There's a path there. There's somewhere, there's a trail. It may not be paper, but there's a trail. Crypto currencies. Part of their lure is that there is none other than, you know, you have them.
Ron: Well, no, there's a trail. It's just, protect what's the right word so that every transaction is recorded. It's just all the name's escaping me. It's all hidden, you know, through cryptography.
George: Yeah. Well, you know, but that's part of the issue is like what if someone steals it? They figure out how to break the code and they can steal it. They basically own it and you know, but of course I know, I'm simplifying it to no end.
Ron: Yeah. Well, both of us. So we're both guilty. So if there's anyone out there watching and hating on us for our ignorance around crypto, please don't do that. Send us resources. Don't hate on us.
George: Mac Berks can send a lot of stuff. He was just recently looking into that, so..
Ron: He was okay. Now one last question for last. I'll let you go. You, you are the co founder of AV Nation and AV Nation. I know over the years, been more involved day to day than perhaps you are today. But you guys over at AV Nation produced so much content and you have so many shows and just really great industry knowledge and education and up to date news. How would you recommend the newbie, maybe that doesn't know AV Nation get involved, start listening, start paying attention. How would you give them directions?
George: All right, well look, when we started alienation, which I guess you said, I've stepped away from the day to day operations because I now work for a manufacturer and it's an independent source. So we want to keep that sort of clear. I am part of the board and I know what's going on, but I don't make day to day operational decisions on all that. So what, why did we start AV Nation? We started AV Nation because we weren't finding the kind of conversation that we wanted to have about technology. The trade magazines were great, right? Residential Systems, CE Pro, all those new bay and electronic house stuff, all those guys, Ted Greene, all those people doing those kinds of things. We're doing great conversations about the technology, but we weren't having that day to day conversation. So that's what started it off. Let's just talk about it and have our opinions and see how we argue and it'll be great. And it turned out to be really fun and really cool and it's grown. So if you're looking to get into those kinds of podcasts from us or from anyone else, start with the weeklies. AV Nation has two weeklies, a resi week show and an AV week show, which is more commercial centric. And then there are a whole host of monthlies and a bunch of dailies. He does a daily download of all the shows that we produce or they produce, sorry, they produce and snippets that you can see if you're interested to go find out more. That's the first steps. And then, you know, if anyone wants to produce a show, Hey, come along, send a word to AV Nation and they'd be more than happy to hear about what you would want to do. And if you do it in the right way, it's great. See, the thing about how we've grown is that we had a professional, Tim Albright, who comes from radio who comes from sort of production in media and guided us into how to do that properly. Lucky enough that I had a voice that translated to radio fairly well. But he trained me on how to get it right, how to prep for the questions, how to speak, how to make sure that I didn't say um you know, 5,000 times interview. So yeah, kudos to him for that. That's how it grew. That was that through the tool edge of Tim being the inspiration and giving us the tools and the training on how to do it. And then us going, I want to do a show on this. Hey, I've got a couple of tap shoes and Joe's got a barn, let's put on a show. So that's really what it's all about.
Ron: Awesome. Well, George, it's been a lot of fun. And pleasure having you on. You are officially, I think my, I shouldn't say this. I think you're my last guest before Christmas, but I actually have to check with Rachel and see if we have a show scheduled for next week. I think it may be getting pretty close to the holidays. So regardless, thank you very much for joining me on I think this is episode 27 of Automation Unplugged and really enjoyed having you on.
George: Oh, it's been a pleasure. Thank you so much. I've enjoyed it immensely.
Ron: All right, ladies and gentlemen, thank you again for joining me. Now again, I mentioned last night I had a dinner with Frank White, Frank White's one of the original founders of CEDIA and you know, just a long time industry veteran and he had been watching some of the shows and he pointed out something maybe quite obvious. He's like, Ron, why don't you ask the audience to do anything at the end of a show? And I said, ah, I hadn't thought of that. And he said, well, you should at least ask them to join your email list. And, what a really neat idea. So this is episode 27. It's never too late. I'm finally asking you ladies and gentlemen, join if you like what you're hearing, if you want to learn more from One Firefly and more from my team. Most topics are related to marketing of technology contracting businesses. Feel free to go over to our website onefirefly.com. Again, you'll see a lot of, a couple of different opportunities there to sign up for our newsletter. So there you go. There's my commercial and thanks for joining me. I will see you next time and we'll talk to you soon. Take care. Everyone.
George Tucker currently teaches for CEDIA and is the founder. of AV. Nation while holding the title of Director of Product Training for Aurora MultiMedia. He brings 25 years of AV experience with display technologies education, social media, and system integration background. Tucker’s various positions in audio visual has had him involved with nearly every aspect of the industry. His career has included time as a systems programmer, live events video tech, working on automation for theater, managing national support for a major industry manufacture, and recording studios.
Ron Callis is the CEO of One Firefly, LLC, a digital marketing agency based out of South Florida and creator of Automation Unplugged. Founded in 2007, One Firefly has quickly became the leading marketing firm specializing in the integrated technology and security space. The One Firefly team work hard to create innovative solutions to help Integrators boost their online presence, such as the elite website solution, Mercury Pro.