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Davicom, a division of Comlab Inc. — John Ahern, CEO

We’ll be showing our new MiniMAC2 and SuperMAC products. These expand the Davicom product range to cover the full spectrum of site sizes and complexities.

(click thumbnail)John AhernQ. What new products or services does Davicom plan to promote at the fall Radio Show?

A. We’ll be showing our new MiniMAC2 and SuperMAC products. These expand the Davicom product range to cover the full spectrum of site sizes and complexities. The MiniMAC2 is ideal for small, single-transmitter or repeater sites and the SuperMAC can handle large N+1 installations. All our units operate from the same Application Program and GUI. We will also be presenting our new preconfigured interface between the MACs and the Inovonics 712 & 713 RDS encoders.

Q. What kind of technical features or functions are necessary in a modern-era control system?

A. Users are looking for connectivity, especially IP-related access. Units must, therefore, be able to communicate through different IP protocols such as TCP, SNMP, SMTP, HTTP, HTTPS and FTP. In addition to these IP access modes, customers want to keep their POTS access as a backup. We even have users requesting double-backup communication systems. Our new MAC2 products can handle dual backup such as simultaneous phone and cell phone in addition to IP access.

Modern-era remote controls must also be easy to use. Adding features is easy, but making them useable by nonprogrammers is the difficult part. By working with broadcasters, the Davicom MACs were designed from the start for ease of use.

Q. How has IP and the Internet affected the remote control market?

A. IP and the Internet have deeply affected the market. A few years ago, I’d have customers telling me that IP would never be available at their remote sites, but today with DSL, cable, WiFi, satellite and 3G cellular systems, universal, affordable IP access is just around the corner. Remote controls must now offer complete IP access in addition to retaining their modem and voice/DTMF modes.

Q. What are the most common questions or concerns you hear from your radio clients; what’s on their minds?

A. Customers are looking for support, so manufacturers must offer this support and be ready to go the extra mile to facilitate the engineer’s job. We like to think that Davicom does offer excellent tech support; and I’m sure that anyone who has dealt with our Andrew Mulrooney will agree with me! We’ve literally sent our people across the continent on short notice to help debug a site that had been installed over five years earlier by another company.

Users now want instant and universal access to their remote controls from their cell phones, Blackberries, home/office computers, and our Davicom products offer the industry’s widest range of communication channels for connecting with sites.

Finally, customers want system configurability that will allow them to not be “alarmed to death” by their remotes. The Davicoms feature complete alarm-qualifying that prevents the units from calling out nuisance or redundant alarms.

Q. What are the most notable trends affecting radio buyers in your part of the business, or new directions ahead for the company?

A. Again, I’d say IP is the most notable trend, and the new MAC2 products offer the most comprehensive list of IP and other means of communications in the industry.

Although this is not a new direction for the company, since we’ve been doing it for years, we will continue to listen to customer suggestions and to quickly integrate them into our firmware and software releases.

Q. Anything else we should know about your company?

A. Comlab’s head office and R&D labs are in Quebec City, Canada and our manufacturing facility is in Three Rivers, Canada. We maintain a shipping point in Norton, Vt., to eliminate border hassles for our U.S. customers. The company has been in operation since 1984, and the Davicom MAC remote controls have been on the market since the early 1990s.

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