On the Circuit

Date published: 4/1/2014

As we go to press, two important acquisitions were making the news, and tell a story about how important collaboration and communication technology will be.

The first news to break was the Yamaha acquisition of Revolabs. Since it's debut in 2005, Revolabs has captured technology awards and influenced the teleconferencing and wireless microphone categories—pushing innovations and spurring competition from established players like Audio-Technica. In my opinion, the company has been good for the market, bringing a combination of audio and telephony, a certain aesthetic to its product design, and an emphasis on wireless. This acquisition instantly turns Yamaha into a competitor in corporate enterprise audio communication. It's not a new category for Yamaha; the company has been making voice communication devices for many years; but there is no doubt that Revolabs brings new technology and relationships to Yamaha.

From Takuya Nakata, president of Yamaha Corp.: “By combining Revolabs’ wireless microphone systems and wireless conference phones with Yamaha’s voice communication devices and professional audio equipment, we expect to be able to create even more appealing solutions for our customers. ... We aim to accelerate our progress in expanding sales in the electronics business domain, one of the goals announced in the Yamaha Management Plan 2016, our medium-term management plan, by combining the technology and know-how of both companies.”

Revolabs will continue to operate as a wholly owned subsidiary of Yamaha Corp., and execute on its existing roadmap with the current management team.

Only a few days later, Barco announced the acquisition of X2O Media for $19 million. This one hits even closer to home since Vern Freedlander, production VP at X2O, is a frequent contributor to Sound & Video Contractor with his Digital Signposts column.

Like Revolabs did, X2O brought a different sensibility to our industry when it debuted in 2006 as a spinoff from VertigoXmedia, a broadcast graphics automation company. X2O’s software rode the early wave of digital signage, social media, interactivity, and networking. The company was one of the pioneers of “any source to any screen.” We’ve been seeing Barco move beyond display and projection—the success of ClickShare being a part of that. This acquisition demonstrates just how broad Barco’s ambitions are in chasing collaboration, end-to-end visualization, and cloud-based content delivery. Assuming the companies gel—and that’s a big assumption—Barco stands to gain from the mature and modern way that X2O’s HTML5-based software bridges AV, enterprise applications like SharePoint and Exchange, and even social media feeds. X2O stands to gain an international footprint.

Barco says, “X2O Media will be integrated in the Barco organization as a business venture, allowing it to continue the development of its platform technology. In addition, the X2O specific capabilities and technology will be integrated gradually in solutions for all of Barco’s markets.”

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