Market is emerging in the classroom

If you’ve spent any time driving Rhode Island’s highways or browsing the racks in the state’s shopping malls recently, there’s a good chance you’ve appeared on a video system installed by Shanix Technology Inc. of Cranston. More

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Market is emerging in the classroom

PBN PHOTO/RUPERT WHITELEY
EMERGING MARKETS: Shanix Technology technical specialist Michael Lewis, left, and General Director Don Volino at the company's Cranston headquarters. The security and audio-visual dealer has moved into the education-technology market.
Posted 1/23/12

If you’ve spent any time driving Rhode Island’s highways or browsing the racks in the state’s shopping malls recently, there’s a good chance you’ve appeared on a video system installed by Shanix Technology Inc. of Cranston.

The company started by owner Kekin Shah in video’s 1980s infancy has grown into one of the leading security and audio-visual system designers and installers in New England, with customers throughout law enforcement, transportation, housing, retail and beyond.

As technology and the systems Shanix installs have become more sophisticated, the company has taken advantage of its technical expertise to cross into different markets and become an integrated provider of all manner of audio-visual systems.

“We were getting involved with larger and larger systems, and command centers became necessary as the systems got more and more complicated,” Shah said in a recent interview. “In 2001, we started into presentation technology, which was a natural fit.”

From crime fighting, Shanix is now capitalizing on the lucrative education-technology market, which includes Smartboards and remote-learning devices, which has grown rapidly along with school security over the last decade.

“One of the emerging markets is in the classroom,” said Shanix General Manager Don Volino. “Today, technology has to be in the classroom to engage students. We are seeing more and more technology with things that are literally connected to a professor’s laptop.”

“If you go to some colleges, you would have a professor in one room transmitting to others,” Volino said. “He can talk to two or three classrooms simultaneously. We sell and install the whole system.”

Add in teleconferencing and the business, which was originally focused solely on security systems, now generates 40 percent of its revenue from presentation systems. And that percentage is growing, Shah said.

When he founded Shanix in 1981, Shah brought a technical background and interest in video, although more on the entertainment side.

But he soon realized the potential in closed-circuit systems for security and found a niche as a technician and “troubleshooter” across the region.

While Shanix doesn’t manufacture any hardware or write software for its systems, the level of sophistication of modern audio-visual networks has placed increasing demands on the company to learn software and new digital technology.

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