6 Collaboration Equipment Considerations for AV/IT Managers

6 Collaboration Equipment Considerations

Take a look at the next conference room or classroom you enter.  Is it set up for a collaborative environment?

Collaboration is a key part to all types of work, from working with a team at your workplace to working on a project for class. In recent years, more organizations have been reaching out to AV/IT managers to design collaborative spaces. Before designing a space, it’s important to identify what is needed to retrofit a room for collaboration.

We asked our technical specialists here at Black Box what it takes to retrofit a room for collaboration. Here are the top six considerations we uncovered:

1. Ease of setup and installation.
Collaboration technology has to be easy to setup and install. For example, organizations don’t want users to have to spend the first 10 minutes of the meeting setting up the call, entering passwords, logging into a website, providing additional meeting information or credentials, working with others in the room to connect, finding the right cables, hardware, adapters, etc.

2. Ease of use with minimal or no user training.
When your CEO comes into a conference room and wishes to share his/her ideas, he/she typically doesn’t have the time or inclination for a 30-minute training session on how to use the room. It’s essential to choose products that are intuitive and adopted with limited instruction.

3. Intent of the room.
Ask the right questions to discover the intent of the room. How will the room be used? What are the user’s preferences in terms of sources? Will there be dedicated PCs, set-top boxes for video streaming, or other equipment in the room? Or, will content typically come in from outside the room on a user’s laptop, mobile device, or both?

4. Easily maintained.
Collaboration technology must be easy to manage remotely. A centralized location brings simplicity to the task of updating and troubleshooting enterprise applications. Does your system have remote management capability?

5. Compatibility.
Look for equipment with open systems that are non-proprietary and that will work with existing infrastructure such as presentation switchers, controllers, and other leading industry products.

6. Upgradeability.
Choose products which can be upgraded as needs and technology changes. For example, software-based solution updates can be made without replacing the system.

Have any more equipment suggestions that can help optimize your rooms for collaboration? Let me know in the comments below!

InfoComm 2016 Preview: Exciting New Black Box Solutions


InfoComm will be here before you know it! It’s the largest event for professional AV with 10,000+ products and nearly 1,000 exhibitors. We thought we’d give you a sneak preview of the new and exciting solutions Black Box will showcase at InfoComm!

Not registered? Be our VIP guest. Use guest pass BLA176 for free access to the exhibitor hall. Stop by the Black Box booth C5034 any time during the show, June 8-10.

Here’s what you’ll find at the Black Box booth.

Conference Room and Classroom Collaboration Solutions

CoalesceDEMO_AP1CImagine idea sharing without barriers. Encourage collaboration with modern huddle spaces, conference rooms, and classrooms.

  • Coalesce™ Wireless Presentation System:
    Create. Connect. Collaborate.
    Your path to smarter collaboration starts here with Coalesce, the new, one-of-a-kind BYOD wireless collaboration system. With touchscreen simplicity and simultaneous wired and wireless connectivity for an unlimited number of users, you’ll be able to encourage collaboration and share ideas without barriers. Bring your own device and try it at the Black Box booth: C5034.

Win a Coalesce system!
We’re giving away one system every day. For your chance to win, sign up for a quick demo at InfoComm, Booth C5034.

  • Best-in-Class Presentation Switchers
    Connect, extend, and switch any wired video device to any conference room display with Black Box Presentation Switchers. These all-in-one switchers/scalers support resolutions up to 4K (UHD), upscale/downscale video to match the display resolution, and support all standard video formats, including DisplayPort, HDMI, DVI, and VGA.
  • HDMI Extenders with Built-in Scaling
    Use the new VX1000 Series HDMI Extenders with our Presentation Switchers to easily switch and present any video signal on a remote display. Or use them alone for simple video extension. Two transmitter models available: standalone box or wallplate. USB support enables them to be used for basic KVM applications.

Stunning Visual Solutions

MediaCento4K_diagWhen you want to impress, inform, and educate, turn to Black Box for AV technologies that turn boring into bold. Send signals from any source to any screen over IP, and get real-time data visualization.

  • Better than Ever AV-over-IP Extension, Switching, and Video Walls
    The ever-popular MediaCento IPX product line has expanded to now include MediaCento IPX USB 4K. The new AV-over-IP extenders are now better than ever with increased video performance and 4K (UHD) support. The new transmitter and receiver also support built-in 4K to HD downscaling, analog and digital audio, touchscreens, and KVM functionality.
  • Stunning iCOMPEL™ Digital Signage
    Your complete digital signage solution begins here with iCOMPEL. Select from an array of digital signage media players and content commanders.

Command and Control Room Solutions

CONTROL-ROOM-NASA_PCImprove productivity and mission-critical reliability in broadcast, public safety, industrial, and defense command and control rooms.

  • ControlBridge™ Multisystem and Automated Room Control
    Focus on the objective, not the technology. With ControlBridge, you have simple, scalable, and integrated control of AV, KVM, environmental, and building automation Stop by the Black Box booth to see ControlBridge in action.

Try Black Box Solutions at InfoComm

See something that sparked your interest? Register for a free pass with VIP code BLA17 and visit the Black Box booth C5034. Want to learn more today? Call a Black Box technical specialist at 1-877-877-2269 (BBOX).

We look forward to connecting with you!

KVM Matrix Extension System Supports 4K60 Over a Single Cable

BROADCASTING-NEP-(blog)_P5CExtend 4K resolutions at 60Hz over a single fiber cable in a point-to point extension or multipoint-to-multipoint matrix configuration for the highest onscreen resolutions in post-production suites. DKM FX 4K60 Interface Cards support 4K60 in full, 10-bit color depth.

More production suites are deploying 4K monitors for viewing, live production, and post production. For example, the Black Box DKM solution is being deployed at fileCAST Media GmbH. The manufacturer of the new LiveLogging solution for its Online Media Library (OML) platform is using Black Box technology to extend signals and connect to live production multi-feed environments. The purpose is to tag media content from multiple sources during a live event. This will enable content owners to offer valuable media assets in a searchable format in near real time.

4K in post-production editing suites will enhance an editor’s ability to see how the finished product will appear. 4K extension at 60 Hz has been challenging in the past because 4K requires higher bandwidth. The DKM FX 4K60 cards can overcome this challenge because the system also uses high-speed interface cards to support high-bandwidth signals. In addition, control surfaces for post-production editing that use high-speed USB, such as DiVinci Resolve, can be deployed using these interface cards.

The DKM FX system is flexible, scalable, and highly reliable. Video standards supported by interface cards in the modular housing include DVI-D up to 2560 x 1600; HDMI up to 2560 x 1440; and DisplayPort 1.2 (4:4:4) resolutions up to 4K.

At NAB, the DKM FX system will integrate with ControlBridge, Black Box’s multisystem and room control technology solution. ControlBridge will control the DKM matrix system by sending API commands to switch the transmitters and receivers.

The DKM FX Modular Housing frames come in 2-, 4-, or 6-slot chassis with optional redundant power. The 21-slot frame is 1U for rackmounting in a server room or machine room. Fiber cable supports distances up 1000 meters over multimode fiber or 10 kilometers over single-mode fiber, which means editing and post-production suites can be in different buildings in a large enterprise solution.

For more information,  stop by the Black Box booth #SL10124 at NAB, or learn more about the DKM extension system  at BlackBox.com.  Call our application engineers at 1-877-877-BBOX (2269) to configure your high-performance KVM system.

Preventing Cable Theft Through IP Surveillance


Industry: Government

IP-video security and surveillance for a city road-works department.

The problem: preventing theft
A city road-works department in Germany is responsible for installing and maintaining traffic lights and street lights. The department houses its raw materials, including lampposts and cable reels, in an outdoor area on its premises. Until a few years ago, there was never any problem with the outdoor storage area. But, as metal prices rose, the department found itself the victim of metal theft, not once, but multiple times. Lockers and barriers set up to protect the materials proved to be an unsuccessful solution as the thieves were quite professional. The city needed a better solution to secure its outdoor storage area.

An IP video network
To improve security, the department turned to Black Box for an IP-video surveillance system.

The first step was to perform an on-site survey to determine the best locations for the security cameras. The next step involved the implementation of the IP infrastructure. The plan called for three distributed camera locations, each equipped with an Ethernet switch connecting the IP cameras. For convenience, it was decided to use a PoE switch to power the cameras over the Ethernet lines instead of running separate power lines. In addition, each camera location was furnished with a wireless Ethernet extender providing a remote, wireless connection to the city’s central LAN. Black Box delivered the wireless Ethernet radios fully pre-configured for an easy plug-and-play installation by the customer. Because both the switches and extenders are being used outdoors, they are designed with NEMA-rated cases and are capable of withstanding extreme temperatures.

A legal regulation demands that the system have the capability to be shut down on demand. To meet this requirement, Black Box provided on-site training to instruct the security team how to control the cameras over the web interface on the Ethernet switch. The operation is quite easy and the team understood quickly how to switch cameras on and off and how to change the viewing angle. Monitoring the video the IT team still needed a solution for displaying the video from the surveillance cameras. Black Box suggested and installed a 2×2 video wall with four HD screens at the gatehouse for 24/7 monitoring.

Because the customer had experienced theft, everyone was worried about the security of computers in the gatehouse. Black Box suggested that the customer back-rack these computers to a secure location inside the main building. The advice was highly appreciated and the customer moved the computers to a secure location and connected them to the gatehouse using a KVM extender.

Black Box products
Industrial Managed Gigabit Ethernet PoE+ Switch:

Wireless Ethernet Extenders: LWE200A-AP and LWE200A-S

KVM DVI/HDMI Extender: ACX300

VideoPlex4  4K Video Wall Controller: VSC-VPLEX4


“The competence Black Box showed here convinced us that we made the right choice. Everything was simply perfect—the consultancy, services, expertise, and delivery.”

Black Box to demo broadcast solutions at NAB 2016

Visit Black Box at NAB 2016 to see scalable, engineered KVM solutions for live production, post production, and animation. Use guest pass code LV3365 to get in for free!

High-performance KVM lets any operator access any server or application from any console. It also lets users easily reconfigure edit suites and server access for different user requirements. Learn more about accessing, sharing, managing, and viewing data and video sources in real-time with Black Box KVM technology.

The extensive Black Box KVM portfolio features enterprise KVM solutions for today with innovation for tomorrow, including:

Stop by the Black Box booth any time during the show, April 16–21, 2016. Email Bill.Frazier@BlackBox.com to schedule an appointment.

Can’t make it to NAB 2016? Call 1-877-877-2269 to speak with an application engineer about high-performance KVM needs today.


A Room by Any Other Name: The Telecomm or Distributor Room.

By Roberta Bowen Szyper

The distributor room is what veteran IT professionals call the telecommunications room, telecommunications closet, wiring closet, and/or equipment room.

Although the name is newer,  the functionality basically remains the same.

Defined in ANSI/TIA-568-D Telecommunications Pathways and Spaces (2015), the distributor room is the common access point for a building’s pathways and cabling horizontal and backbone subsystems. The standard focuses on the telecommunications aspect of building design and significantly influences the design of other building services, such as electrical power and HVAC. It standardizes specific pathway and space design and construction practices in support of telecommunications media and equipment within buildings.

The distributor room houses telecommunications equipment, cable terminations, and cross-connects that serve a specific office area or a specific floor. It may also house related networking and building automation systems and equipment. The standard specifies that equipment not related to telecommunications shall not be installed, pass through, or enter the distributor room. This includes electrical equipment (other than that to power the telecom equipment), piping, ductwork, tubing, etc.

Depending on size, a building may have more than one distributor room connecting to the equipment room. One per floor is specified in multistory buildings and they are typically located above one another. The distance between end devices at the work area and the telecommunications room is 90 meters.

In a similar name change, the telecommunications enclosure is now the distributor enclosure. It’s an enclosure that houses the telecom and networking equipment in small offices or in remote areas. Also, the telecommunication outlet space is now called an equipment outlet space. Most of us know it by the term work area outlet.

Distributor rooms have been called IDFs (intermediate distribution frames or intermediate cross-connects) or MDFs (main distribution frames or main cross-connects). This is a bit of a misnomer as the IDF or MDF is the physical racking system which holds the cross-connects between the cabling horizontal and vertical cabling systems.

Updated in 2015, the ANSI/TIA-569-D standard specifies smaller, minimum recommended distributor rooms sizes: 9 m2/100 ft.2 for the intermediate backbone and 11 m2/120 ft2 for horizontal cabling.

The update reduced the clearance requirement above cable trays from 12″ minimum to 8″ minimum; 12″ is recommended. It also recommends but does not require that the maximum cabinet and rack height be 7 feet.

This revision in 2015 also includes the addition of bonding requirements for metallic pathways, as well as the multi-user telecommunications outlet assembly space and consolidation point space.

Updates in 2013 and 2014 revised distributor room temperature and humidity specifications. The standard adopted the revised 2012 ASHRAE thermal guidelines for data processing environments to provide more energy savings.

Temperature: 5 – 35°C (41 – 95°F) dry bulb

Relative humidity (RH): 8 – 80%

Maximum dew point: 15° C

In addition, the maximum twisted-pair cabling distances were reduced when the temperature is above 20°C. For example, at 60° C, the maximum permanent link would be 75 meters for UTP cable.


Lighting shall be a minimum of 500 lux in the horizontal plane and 200 lux in the vertical plane, measured 1 m (3 ft) above the finished floor in the middle of all aisles between cabinets and racks.

Lighting fixtures should not be powered from the same electrical distribution panel as the telecommunications equipment in the space.

Dimmer switches should not be used.

Clearance from equipment

Front clearance of 1 m (3 ft.) shall be provided for installation of equipment. Front clearance of 1.2 m (4 ft.) is preferable to accommodate deeper equipment. Rear clearance of 0.6 m (2 ft.) of shall be provided for service access at the rear of racks and cabinets. Rear clearance of 1 m (3 ft.) is preferable.

More Details

The standard can be purchased from IHS.com.

Top 10 Products from Black Box for 2015

Taking a look back at 2015, it’s clear that Black Box provides end-to-end infrastructure, professional AV technology, and networking solutions. The variety of products that made our Top Products’ list is representative of many different walks of IT and AV. Let’s take a look at our best sellers from 2015, and how they fit your applications.

1. IP-Based KVM Switching and Extension

Transmit DVI, USB, and audio signals in real time over an Ethernet LAN with the Agility IP-Based KVM Switching and Extension System. Standard CATx cabling delivers IP traffic via the Agility transmitters and receivers up to 330 feet (100 m). For longer distances, add a network switch, which will give you an additional 330 feet.

With the Agility Controller Unit turn your IP-based Agility system of transmitters and receivers into a managed matrix switching system with this component at its center directing traffic over your LAN.

For more information, visit our Solutions pages.

2. MediaCento IPX Solution
Distribute digital video signals, including HDMI, over IP to multiple screens. This system is big in hospitality, retail, and other applications where you need to share video. Lossless HD video means crystal-clear images on every display. Check out this digital solution for the future, which comes at an analog price.

MediaCento IPX Receiver
MediaCento IPX Receiver

The MediaCento IPX solution integrates easily into your local area network. Transmit HDMI video and audio over an Ethernet network to a virtually unlimited number of screens as far as your network reaches. The MediaCento Controller adds many features to the solution, including flexible control of video walls, up to 8 x 8. In addition, the LPB2900 Series Gigabit Ethernet Managed PoE+ Switches can be outfitted with the MediaCento Controller software for HD video extension and switching. It’s the market’s first network switch that enables users to remotely control and switch AV from any source to any display. Three switches plus the software is available at blackbox.com.

3. GigaTrue™ CAT6 550-MHz Bulk Cable and GigaBase™ 350 CAT5e Solid Bulk Cable
ETL-Verified. HDBaseT recommended. Reliable performance. Guaranteed for life. When it comes to cabling, Black Box doesn’t fool around. Our bulk copper cabling integrates into new building projects whether you’re expanding or starting from the ground up.

All cabling solutions offer performance designed to last the lifetime of your system, whether in the data center or at the desktop — or beyond. Visit our CATx cable selector or our cabling home page for more choices.

4. Media Converters enable you to connect to different types of media within a network. To find the right media converter for your application, visit our media converter selector.

For example, look at the Multipower Miniature Media Converters. The autosensing MDI/MDI-X copper ports of these small converters means you don’t need to worry about what kind of cable to use. Easily migrate networks from Ethernet to Fast Ethernet all the way to Gigabit Ethernet. Compact in size, and still supports distances up to 10 kilometers (6.2 mi.).

5. KVM Extenders

Extend digital video signals and USB functionality over CATx or fiber cabling in order to streamline workflow, improve operator efficiency, and benefit from reliable signal distribution without interruption.

KVM extenders that support digital signals enable you to reduce noise and heat in the workplace, which improves productivity. Secure your hardware and secure your data by backracking vital workstations. A few examples are the ACX300/310 Series KVM Extenders, Wizard SRX DVI Extender for USB, and the Dual-Head DisplayPort KVM Extender over CATx. Digital signals are higher in quality, interconnectivity is more reliable, and the technology is future proof in regards to connected devices. Remain competitive by integrating KVM solutions across the enterprise.

To choose the right KVM extenders for your application, visit our KVM extender selector, or call one of our tech experts at 877-877-2269.

6. Video and multimedia extenders enable you to distribute audio and video signals for digital signage, enhance presentations, and extend video beyond the boardroom. With Black Box video extenders, you can send video and audio signals farther than with conventional cabling. Deliver pixel-perfect video and high quality audio to remote displays.

Mini CATxVGA Extender Kit
Mini CATxVGA Extender Kit

Multi DVI-D CATx Extender Receiver
Multi DVI-D CATx Extender Receiver

3G-SDI Fiber Extender
3G-SDI Fiber Extender

Use our video extender selector to configure your ultimate video extender solution.

7. Copper Patch Cables, 3-Series Lockable Patch Cables
Our high standards shine through with our 3-Series patch cables. These CAT5e/6/6A cables give you three levels of security, depending on the optional locking pin you choose. Secure your network ports, but only when you need to. Guaranteed for life!

These cables offer easy Layer 1 security for many environments, including healthcare, education, finance, government, retail, transportation, and more. Choose from locked (Red), secure (Green), or protected (no pin) to get the level of security that suits your application best.

8. Console Servers

Ensure maximum uptime with out-of-band management console servers, sometimes called terminal servers. They give network managers a single-point-of control to remotely monitor, manage, and troubleshoot critical IT infrastructure from anywhere in the world. Console servers offer backdoor management for business continuity, multiple applications for multiple industries, and problem solving for distributed sites.

See our selection of console servers here, and find one to fit your application.

9. USB Extension

Demanding users trust Black Box USB extension products for applications like pro audio visual, industrial automation, education, medical diagnostics and imaging, remote desktop extension, security, surveillance, and military systems.

Learn more about extending USB over CATx, fiber, and IP networks, and how to deploy USB extension in applications including healthcare, manufacturing, security, and harsh environments. USB extenders are simple to use and cost-effective.

USB 1.1 and 2.0 Extender over CAT5e

USB Ultimate Extender over UTP

USB-Powered Gigabit 4-Port Switch

10. Black Box networking products make the list with ethernet switches, industrial solutions, and console servers. Find what you need to connect and improve your network, including USB switches for increasing network speeds, such as the USB-Powered Gigabit 4-Port Switch, pictured above. Expand a small network without breaking the bank. Increase to Gigabit speeds via four autosensing 10-/100-/1000-Mbps ports. This compact and convenient switch can be powered via a PC’s USB port or the included AC adapter.

For more information about integrating and deploying infrastructure, networking, and extension products for your organization, please contact Black Box pre-sales application engineers. Call 1-877-877-2269 to talk to a technical expert today. Visit the Black Box store to see all our products, and shop for your end-to-end solution now.

Virtualized remote computing for retail outlets

KVM matrix switching gives multiple users access to a variety of target devices, including but not limited to CPUs, digital signage, and servers; the ability to monitor workflow; and flexible control of visual and peripheral elements.

Deploying KVM extension that operates over a LAN/WAN (local area network/wide area network) and incorporates virtual and physical CPUs gives retailers access options, reduces clutter in the workplace, and saves on energy costs.

In retail and inventory management systems virtualized remote computing is especially advantageous. Receiver units at the cash registers can access information on a virtual machine that runs on a server appliance.

This remote virtual system gives users access to their Active Directory accounts that is incorporated into a connection broker, with no need to set up a separate directory on the KVM system. The receivers gain access to virtual machines via Microsoft® Server 2008 or Microsoft Server 2012. By utilizing a connection broker, the virtualized machines can be easily duplicated, enabling workers to connect to the first available target without having to identify the target. This streamlines workflow and simplifies processes in busy retail applications.

Retail Point-of-Sale Application
A) Cash registers with KVM receivers

B) Server with virtualized CPUs

C) Manager workstation with KVM receiver

D) System manager unit

In addition, a KVM system that works over a LAN/WAN this way supports NLA (network level authentication) for security. It also can continue to support physical CPUs while expanding into virtualization.

As is seen in KVM technology, other benefits include a low total cost of ownership (TCO); improved operability and quick ROI; maximum, scalability, and improved reliability; and green IT solutions with energy-saving design and distribution.

To see details about Black Box’s virtualized solution, visit our InvisaPC pages. Contact our application engineers to see how this next-generation KVM can improve your organization’s workflow and ergonomics.