July 2008
Interview
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Liv StewartEMAIL INTERVIEW  Liv Stewart & Ken Sinclair

Liv Stewart, Sales Representative for Critical Decision Systems, Matrox Graphics Inc.

Liv Stewart has worked at Matrox Graphics Inc., in Montreal, Quebec, Canada for over seven years. She is a representative of Matrox graphics hardware for use in process automation, energy management, security alarm management and other mission-critical systems. She can be reached at: lstewart@matrox.com


Advanced Multi-Display Capabilities

A remote graphics unit that provides the ability to remotely power up to 4 digital or analog displays; 6 USB devices, such as keyboard and mouse; and audio peripherals, such as speakers and/or a microphone, up to 820 ft form the host computer.

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Sinclair:  Could you tell me more about your remote graphics unit, which was recently showcased at the Honeywell Users Group Americas Symposium in Phoenix?

Stewart:  Sure. Matrox Extio F1400 remote graphics units provide the ability to remotely power up to 4 digital or analog displays; 6 USB devices, such as keyboard and mouse; and audio peripherals, such as speakers and/or a microphone, up to 820 ft form the host computer.

Unlike many other extension solutions, the Extio F1400 integrates a proprietary Matrox-designed graphics controller, USB controller and audio controller on board. Since these controllers are situated at the user station, and not in the computer that can be placed up to 820 ft away, mouse cursor and application performance is fluid. The information required for the graphics and USB information is generated locally, just as though the PC were situated right under the user’s desk. The user experience with an application is, therefore, smooth over such a distance. Even when working with a quad-monitor setup at very high resolutions, users can rest assured that this remote graphics units provide the unparalleled performance and image quality our products have earned a reputation for over the past 32 years.

Sinclair:  At how high of a resolution can each display be configured?

Stewart:  Well, in the Extio Series of products there are actually 4 versions of Extio devices that can power a wide range of resolutions:

1. F1220 - Can power up to 2 digital or analog displays at a resolution of up to 1920x1200 each, and also provides FireWire ports (IEEE 1394)
2. F1240 – Can power up to 2 30-inch displays, each at its native dual-link digital resolution of 2560x1600
3. F1400 - Can power up to 4 digital or analog displays at a resolution of up to 1920x1200 each
4. F1420 - Can power up to 4 digital or analog displays at a resolution of up to 1920x1200 each, and also provides FireWire ports (IEEE 1394)

Links to online data sheets for all four iterations of the Extio Series can be found here:
http://matrox.com/graphics/en/products/rgu/extio/

A Technology guide for Extio products is found here:
http://matrox.com/graphics/en/press/guides/extio/

Sinclair:  Dennis Kodimer of Honeywell Process Solutions mentions that your products work well with Honeywell control systems. Have other system vendors and/or software providers qualified the use of Extio devices with their products?

Stewart:  Yes. In fact several vendors of process control systems and software, for instance, have validated the use of Extio remote graphics units with their respective products. Some such providers who have publicly acknowledged this include: ABB, Emerson Process Management, GE Fanuc, Honeywell, Invensys Foxboro, Wonderware, and Yokogawa.

Control Solutions, Inc Sinclair:  Interesting. In addition to process control-related areas, what other usage environments have customers deployed  units in?

Stewart:  Remote graphics units of all flavors are deployed in a variety of environments from security access and control systems, to energy management systems and financial trading systems. Graphics units are very useful in environments where IT Managers see value in placing the computer in a secure, temperature-controlled room while the necessary user peripherals—keyboard, mouse, monitors and speakers—are the only items at the operator’s end. Placing the computer away from the workplace frees up a lot of space, reduces heat, and gets rid of a potentially noisy system while addressing many other factors.

Sinclair:  Is it relatively easy to configure multiple displays ?

Stewart:  As with our add-in graphics cards, the versatile Matrox PowerDesk desktop management software that comes bundled with driver packages enables one to easily customize display configurations.

Many display layouts are possible. For example, one can configure four displays to be used as four independent desktops, where Windows identifies 4 separate monitors in Windows display properties, each powered at a resolution of 1920x1200, for instance. Alternatively, one can set the four displays up in such a way that the desktop spans all of them. In this “stretched” environment, Windows properties would only identify 1 display at a stretched resolution of 7680x1200, for instance. Our software tools enable one to work in the way that’s most conducive to his or her work environment. For example, one can select an option that would make it possible to maximize a window to only 1 of the 4 screens, rather than having it expand to the entire desktop area.

The advanced multi-display capabilities made possible with our remote graphics units and other products help increase operator productivity and reduce errors, by allowing more information to be accessed and monitored at once.

More information on the software features available with Matrox display drivers is found here:
http://matrox.com/graphics/en/press/guides/display/

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