Rene Harder 2317-2The browser as a gateway to the mixing console

René Harder, the new vice president at STAGETEC in Berlin, always keeps the end users’ needs in view. He is enthusiastic about the possibilities of ON AIR flex and in particular the new user interface.

What is so new and special about the ON AIR flex virtual interface ?

René Harder: With the new virtual user interface we're pursuing a fresh concept in ON AIR flex. We've opted for an approach that leads us away from a largely static GUI adapted to a single operating system and emphasises the flexibility of the ON AIR flex. The new interface uses modern web technologies such as JavaScript and Webkit. A specially developed web server establishes the connection between the onscreen user interface and the control logic of the mixing console. The new virtual interface, along with the mixer control logic, is freely configurable — plus, it now runs on any device with a current web browser.

What are the practical implications of introducing a web server?

René Harder: Deploying a web server simplifies installation and administration. In theory, any web-enabled device can be used as a control terminal. It also circumvents the need for separate installation or configuration on the terminals, since this happens just once, centrally on the web server. The so-called widgets, graphic control elements of the virtual interface, can be arranged freely using the web server configurator. It is also possible, if desired, to change their colour, size and other parameters. Thus the mixer user interface is very customisable and highly adaptable.

So the customers have to tinker with the browser interface before they can start mixing?

René Harder: No, definitely not! We provide a pre-configured interface. This makes the system ready for use out-of-the-box as soon as it is connected up. However, if the customers do want a special version designed with their own ideas in mind, then there is an easy way for them to create it. This gives customers the flexibility to make adjustments to their user interfaces and operating concepts in an existing installation at any time, all by themselves!
Customisation is more affordable and quick to implement, just as with MapCfg and the basic mixing console configuration. This provides even greater user friendliness and flexibility in our products than in the past.

So the virtual interface is also a pathway to smartphone mixing console operation?

René Harder: It would be possible technically, but not very effective in practice probably. Smartphone operation is a welcome side effect of the development, not what we were aiming for. Thanks to the software platform independence it is easier for us as the manufacturer to maintain and further develop it. Customers will notice the benefits too, such as the fact that they don't need to deal with the differences of each platform. Where a fullyfledged PC was required previously, now a 12" tablet can be used without having to worry about whether special software is needed and which app store to get it from.