Volume 1, Issue 5 — September 18, 2015
|The Backstage Cloud?|
By Joel Rollins
This weekend, I was involved in a long conversation with a couple of colleagues from the industry. At one point during the discussion, I was asked what my favorite new technology announcement was. And I think that both of my colleagues were surprised that I did not mention some new piece of AV equipment.
My favorite new piece of technology: Amazon Prime Dash Buttons.
For those of you who did not see the announcement, Prime Dash Buttons are Jeff Bezos’ newest method of painlessly separating prime users from their money. They work like this: If there is a product that you use regularly, and you are a Prime member, you can order a stick on button from Amazon that is dedicated to a particular product that you use. You stick this button on the wall or in the cabinet where you store this product, and when you are running low you press the button. A new supply shows up two days later, delivered free via Amazon Prime.
What does this have to do with AV, you might ask? Well, my colleagues asked the same question. My answer: We are looking at the next generation of control systems, both for shows and for permanent installations. Essentially, this is the forerunner of true, decentralized, cloud-based control.
Why do I think so? Let’s look at history.
Twenty five years ago, when I first started designing systems for shows, the answer to control was simple. Homosapiens. With more complex shows, we would simply have more operators. Playback of media occurred from many types of dedicated playback devices. At one time, in my rental fleet, we had to accommodate eight formats of video tape, And at least five or six types of computers, along with myriad audio, still frame, slide and movie playback devices. Materials largely arrived on the day of show, often leaving us scrambling when a different format than the one that we had shipped showed up.
As the industry grew, and shows and installations progressed, we added overarching control systems. We would program the show, or the presentation, so that we could run it from a button panel, keyboard or touch panel. These control surfaces were connected to a large control processor that in turn controlled all of the other devices. In shows, this was often separated by department, with a lighting controller, a video controller and an audio controller. Later on, we added super control systems (my favorite being Dataton’s TRAX system) to control the controllers.
In the installation market, which is (and always has been) much simpler, we would centralize control with a lot of programming and a single button panel or touch panel.
In both markets, for many years, we have touted this as simplification. However, with today’s market, both in shows and in installations, we are now dealing with a class of customer who do not see big touch panels with lots of graphics and multiple menu pages as a “simple” way to control things. As with even the best programmed control system, the use of these panels does require some training, and today more people are using these systems on an ad hoc basis and for shorter periods of time. Many of my customers now point to the ubiquitous Apple TV remote control as their standard for controlling things. The control interface, and the playback, are now becoming a single thing.
Couple this with the current trend to make the meeting materials and presentations cloud-based. Google Docs as well as Microsoft’s and Apple’s cloud systems are changing the way our clients put together their presentations, allowing everyone to combine their materials online, at their leisure. This also ensures that on arrival at the show the materials are current.
Compare this to what happens at shows among the technical crew, where often we are integrating multiple types of control on site, often editing the control programming from the rig used for the last show to the rig for this one.
Now combine those two things and think about the next generation of show control. First, it should be based in a cloud, so that the various disciplines can do their editing online rather than on site. This means that both the programming and the materials need to be divorced from specific hardware playback devices, rather than pre-programmed into some large show or room controller, so that versions and edits become less difficult to deal with. This would be especially useful in touring shows, where parts of the crew travel and parts are obtained locally for each specific venue.
We have already done this with editing, we’ve already done this with presentations and we have already done this with project management, so I do not think it is a far out prediction to say that we will soon do it with control.
And, for me, the Prime Dash Buttons point the way to a decentralized control system where the programming occurs in a cloud and control points can be easily spread out to any user who needs that specific control point at a specific time in the show. But, more than that, it means that our presentation materials and our control interface can be combined, with control points embedded in the show, leading to more complex shows that can be more easily controlled by the end-user, as the client is rapidly changing from someone who doesn’t want to touch the controls to someone who does, but once that control highly simplified and painless to understand.
We are already seeing some of this philosophy take place among the control manufacturers, each of whom now offer some simplified online method of programming their control hardware.
Next, they need to divorce themselves from the idea of control hardware, and move the hardware requirement (or lots of it) to the cloud.
Hey control manufacturers — any takers?Leave a Comment
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|InfoComm: Digital Displays and Signage in Airports|
By Jennifer Davis
VP Marketing, Planar
This summer, airlines are expecting record numbers of travelers, which can be both good and bad for airports. All those people moving through the airports could provide a huge boost to airport income as long as the travelers know where to spend their money.
As multimillion- (or billion-) dollar facilities, airports need to generate revenue, but the falling profits of airlines has made that ever more difficult. Airport World notes that there are five elements necessary for the airport itself to drive profit:
- Airport branding separate from airline branding
- Time spent at the airport
- Multiple touch points for passengers
- Choice of activities
- The propensity of travelers to spend money
While most airports enjoy some of these key elements, few touch them all. It’s the innovative airports that keep travelers happy and spending money.
Applying those five elements in the real world requires innovation, forethought, and a commitment to long-term thinking. For example, a study found that 35 percent of U.S. air travelers found it difficult to find restaurants and stores. That adds up to millions of dollars in lost revenue — if the travelers could find what they wanted in the amount of time available.
Something as simple as a touchscreen information terminal could allow passengers to quickly find what they’re looking for, but also to introduce them to options they may not have known were available.
Airports can use advertising, retail sales, and food service to increase revenue, but only if they drive passenger engagement. And they can only do that if their displays are both useful and beautiful.
Functional vs. Aesthetic
Too often function and form are placed in opposition to one another. But when they are both working together the results are better than emphasizing only one or the other. In the modern world, televisions are everywhere so they tend to fade into the background of consciousness. That means that ads and information are also given less mental real estate. But when the displays are beautiful and innovative in themselves, they draw attention to not only the form, but also the content.
Some of the most innovative airports realize this and put it to use, turning time going through security, waiting for a flight, and collecting baggage — normally boring endeavors — into engaging parts of the travel. Passengers don’t have to wait until they leave the airport to start enjoying themselves if proper attention is given to both the aesthetic and functional aspects of digital signage.
At the Los Angeles International Airport, Tiffany & Co. sponsored a digital clock tower that shows the current time, but also highlights the stylish timepieces sold by Tiffany. The seven-story, four-sided, digital-display pillar is at the center of the Tom Bradley International Terminal. The collaboration between Tiffany and the airport creates both value for the travelers and compelling marketing for high-end watches.
The Miami International Airport makes digital signage personal with virtual personal assistants that can help both English and Spanish speaking travelers navigate the airport, find shopping, food, and get important information. The virtual assistant kiosks allow travelers to find the information they need at their own pace which frees up airport employees and helps the travelers to feel more welcome.
Every international airport needs to process passports for travelers. At the George Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston. They’ve installed passport processing kiosks, but the real innovation is in adding additional information and advertisements to the digital displays. Since the passport processing takes in the flight information, the system knows which gate the traveler will be using and at what time, making it ideal for personalized suggestions for shopping or dining.
Using digital displays improves the airport experience for travelers, making the airport a part of the fun of travel.
This column was reprinted with permission from InfoComm and originally appeared here.Leave a Comment
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|Five Ways to Use Digital Signage in an Amusement Park|
By Nick Belcore
Executive Vice President, Peerless-AV
With more than 400 amusement parks in the United States that have more than 375 million guests visit annually, entertaining all can be a difficult feat. Amusement parks main objectives are to entertain guests and to some that may sound like a walk in the park as there are so many things to do inside an amusement park. However, getting the attention of 375 million guests is not as easy as it may sound.
Picture yourself at your favorite amusement park: It’s a 90 degree day with 98 percent humidity, you get up to your favorite roller coaster ride only to find out the wait time is 90 minutes. What will you do for all that time, slowly weaving through the line with nothing but your excitement for the ride? Well, the solution to that dilemma is digital signage.
Digital signage is the solution to many of the troubles faced at amusement parks. There are endless uses for the application and amusement parks are a perfect application!
Perceived Wait Time
No one wants to wait in a 90-minute line, especially when that wait happens for every ride they patronize. The solution to making guest experience as pleasant as possible while waiting countless hours is digital signage. The content options are totally up to the park itself. Content can include anything from music videos to themed trivia, and can easily be altered to entertain the target audience depending on the ride. For example, a children’s ride would be best to play cartoons, which are a great way to entertain the kids and keep the parents happy. Giving guests something to look at gives them a better wait time experience overall.
Ad options are endless with digital signage. Think about the many vendors, shops, etc. inside an amusement park: food and drink stands; gift shops; airbrush tattoo artists; caricature artists; park photographers; the list could go on and on. With the ability to display multiple ads on one display, gives the ability to reach many different audiences. You want to be on the top of as many guests’ minds as you can so they will come to your food stand or your gift shop. Digital signage allows for the opportunity to send out as many messages as you please.
Create a Digital Experience
All rides have a theme and what better way to immerse guests than by displaying digital content on multiple displays incorporated in the ride? Digital signage can be used to display the rides countdown, or it could be used to simulate an experience for example.
Easily and Quickly Update Content
Updating content has never been easier. Staff can update the content via a computer, eliminating the need to physically change signs and allowing for much more content possibilities. One moment the display could be of an advertisement, while the next it could be playing a movie click to entertain guests.
Incorporating outdoor displays in theme parks offers endless options for content, but it’s important to ensure your digital signage properly works for the outdoors. Outdoor elements create all sorts of problems for electronics, but if you incorporate the right digital signage solution outdoors you won’t run into problems. Proper outdoor displays are able to withstand wide temperature ranges that come with the seasons, and completely protect the display from rain, wind, dust, etc.
These are very limited suggestions for the reasons and benefits of digital signage in amusement parks. I suggest reaching out to your local CTS-certified installer for ideas.
Tell us: What’s your favorite example of digital signage at a theme park?Leave a Comment
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|InfoComm: The Evolution of Higher Ed AV|
By Dan Daley
Special to InfoComm International
When tech managers and AV pros gather in Pittsburgh this October for the annual conference of the Consortium of College and University Media Centers (CCUMC), they’ll have a lot to talk about. The use of AV is evolving rapidly in the higher-education space, but experiences vary widely, based on everything from budgets to the types of schools that tech managers work in.
CCUMC, an InfoComm partner and participant in InfoComm shows, had a role in preparing the InfoComm white paper AV/IT Infrastructure Guidelines for Higher Education. We talked to some of the conference’s higher ed presenters to get a preview of some of the topics they’ll cover.
Moving to IP
Steven Anderson, CTS, instructional technology manager at the University of Maryland-Baltimore County (UMBC), is working on the school’s new and still-unnamed performing arts center — a process he’ll discuss in a CCUMC presentation and that illustrates the convergence of AV and IT in higher-education environments. What had been the school’s AV department was absorbed by its IT group about seven years ago. In the process, the AV division’s mission, which had been pedagogical support, morphed into a more comprehensive role of technology-infrastructure support.
Although there may have been some initial trepidation about the AV/IT consolidation, it has proven to be a positive transition, says Anderson, with a substantially larger budget for all of the services and platforms the group serves, including AV systems. At the same time, the technology simplification that comes from moving what had been legacy “one channel, one wire” AV solutions to a packetized networked environment has increased reliability by reducing the number of potential failure points. It’s also been more cost-effective.
“Renovating the AV for a lecture hall used to be a $50,000 project,” Anderson explains. “Now it’s much less because there are fewer components and less labor.”
Still, as AV moves deeper into the digital IT space, its analog heritage remains. “People still want to work on the platforms they’ve been used to,” says Anderson. “That’s human nature. And there’s lots of content out there that still needs legacy analog systems to be accessed.”
In other words, higher education technology won’t be 100-percent digital for some time yet.
No Pain, No Gain
Not far away from UMBC, at American University in Washington, D.C., Katie Kassof has undergone her own transition. Her title recently changed from Senior Audiovisual Technician to Instructional Technology and Learning Space Designer, but Kassof still faces the same challenge of securing budget dollars for new pedagogical technology platforms at a liberal-arts college.
The school is transitioning from a Panopto video-capture platform to the Kaltura platform, which she says offers more software-based options, which is especially important as classrooms try to integrate more sophisticated AV hardware. This means moving away from the webcam-based portable kits that her department used to distribute — a somewhat higher-tech version of the high school AV carts of yore, but which cost only about $150 each to assemble — to an integrated AV package with ceiling-mounted webcams and microphones that can record a wider range of classroom activities and distribute the content more widely.
The steadily falling price of consumer electronics is helping the transition, allowing classrooms to have integrated webcams, DVD players and HDMI inputs. However, Kassof says that her CCUMC presentation, wryly titled The Horror! Switching Video Content Management Systems, will also focus on the human element of platform change. Millennial students may enthusiastically embrace technology change, she acknowledges. Teachers? Not so much.
“You can never make it completely painless,” Kassof says.
All About Training
Lauren Turin, Manager of Media Services at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, hasn’t seen her title change, but most everything else has. Her Department of Media Services moved three years ago from the support side of the school’s organizational hierarchy to the academic side. Reporting now to the school’s associate provost — who’s been a big booster of the technical changes the school has implemented — while maintaining a good relationship with the university’s IT department has exposed AV to the best of both worlds there, she says.
“They like what we’ve been doing,” she says of the university administration and professors who use the 100 classrooms they have been outfitted with audio, video, Internet connectivity and Extron MLC226 control systems. Five of the university’s spaces are active-learning, pod-type “FlexTech” classrooms with advanced AV systems, such as Barco’s ClickShare collaborative platform.
“That makes it easier to get funding going forward,” Turin Says, such as for the fourth and fifth FlexTech spaces, which are going online this fall. After the school’s president was so impressed by the first FlexTech spaces a year ago, he gave the green light to additional ones. She’ll talk about it during the session titled Building an ‘Affordable’ Active-Learning Classroom.
But as other AV managers have experienced, Turin says that although AV in higher-education spaces can be engaging for students, it can’t reach its full potential if teachers aren’t well trained. And getting them to embrace new platforms can be challenging.
“We explain to professors you can’t teach the old way in new rooms,” Turin says. “But at the same time, we have a responsibility to provide them with the right training.” She says AV tech managers in higher education also have a responsibility to pace the rate at which they implement change.
Pacing change, says Turin, means focusing on simplicity and ease of use. Her department works with the school’s Center for Teaching Excellence to help train instructors in the pedagogy of new learning spaces.
Plus, Turin says, it’s important to make sure both technology and the people who use it are in sync at a time when more learning — and more tuition dollars — are moving to online teaching. “This is all about creating the best possible classroom experience,” she says. “The technology has to be used to make the face-to-face experience memorable.”
Who Has The Podium?
Just as Albert Einstein, for much of his career, pursued a grand unification theory of physics, Rutgers University’s Digital Classroom Services (DCS) department has been chasing the idea of a single podium to contain most of the AV technology needed for teaching. Matthew Wilk, a DCS associate director who heads up Rutgers’ Technical Services and Operations, believes they’ve nearly reached that goal, though it’s still a work in progress.
Finding a median solution for the university’s 250 classrooms across five campuses, most of which are general-purpose rooms that can be used for English one period and STEM studies the next, was a challenge. All of those rooms now have basic AV, such as a projector and screen, and the vast majority of them have digital AV components. But the podium remained the Holy Grail. “The challenge was to find a way to fit it all together and make it affordable,” he says of the project, which began in 2012 and will be the subject of a presentation at the upcoming CCUMC event.
One tactic was to exchange the Crestron control and routing processor the school had been using for homegrown software that runs on Apple computers. They also added a 21-inch Planar touchscreen as the podium’s monitor. And although HDMI and USB inputs and a Blu-ray drive are used to bring in content, the next iteration of the podium will incorporate more wireless connectivity; the stand already has a wireless microphone that lets teachers move about the room.
DCS settled on two sizes of the podium — a 30-by-28-inch version and a larger one at 30 by 43 inches — to accommodate different-sized classrooms. Both types are movable and connect to the installed AV in classrooms through Cat-6 cables.
Wilk says they’ve established a five-year refresh cycle for the podiums’ components, but tweaks will inevitably happen more frequently, such as the Barco ClickShare collaborative platform and Mersive Solstice shared displays they’re planning on experimenting with in a few classrooms this year. But like his colleagues at other schools, Wilk says forward progress always has to accommodate legacy mindsets. “We still have one faculty member who insists on using a VCR,” he sighs.
What these conversations reveal is that in the university space, the transition from analog to digital — from conventional to new teaching paradigms — is a work in progress. It’s also one that will proceed at a different pace at different schools, dictated by budget and the ability of teachers to process the shift in pedagogical technology. What won’t slow it down is the enthusiasm that AV and IT managers at schools are showing to help make the transition happen.
This column was reprinted with permission from InfoComm International and originally appeared here.Leave a Comment
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|Digital Signage Tips for Employee Engagement|
By Sean Matthews
President, Visix, Inc.
Digital signage is so much more than just a push system — in a world where people are constantly interacting with devices to give them on-the-spot information, you need to do more than just attract their attention — you want them to the act on, and interact with, the information you give them. When this happens, your audience naturally integrates what they see on your screens with their normal routines and your messages become part of their world. It also gives you the ability to measure how effective your communications are, and tweak things to increase engagement.
A recent Gallup report shows that 70 percent of US workers feel “not engaged” or “actively disengaged” in their workplace. The same poll says that companies with workers that do feel engaged have over 20 percent higher productivity and profitability, significantly lower absenteeism and employee turnover, and fewer quality defects and safety incidents.
Design is certainly important when trying to attract people’ s attention in an information-rich world, but there are other tricks as well.
One of these is to think about what information people might need as they pass your screens, and include it to attract them. We’ve found the number one attractors are date, time and weather — everybody wants to know these things, and putting them on your screens gets people to look at your messages. Varying the content is also key — most of your audience passes by your screens many times a week, and if you don’t keep the content fresh, they will simply tune it out — it becomes background.
Use long tail campaigns instead of just one-off messages. People love a good story, and any sense of narrative they can get from your campaign will make them want to watch to see what happens next. This is what “going viral” is — something has captured not only people’s attention, but their imagination as well. So, they want to see what happens in the next chapter. But it doesn’t have to be a full-blown story. It could be something as simple as a character or mascot that changes a little bit each time, or gets into different situations. Think of Ronald McDonald, or the Travelocity gnome. We tune in because we want to see what is happening with these characters. The idea is to increase message saturation by showing the same basic information (sign up for benefits, or participate in the blood drive) in different ways. This increases dwell time — how long people spend looking at your messages.
And, yes, design is very important. You have to design differently for digital signage than for print. There’s been a lot written about how conveying information with images is more effective than text, how photography attracts more than simple graphics, how using movement and sound can increase dwell time, but tailoring different designs for different screens is something else to think about.
Get the right message to the right people at the right time. You may not want to show floor safety announcements on screens in the back office, or publish messages for Atlanta staff in your Denver headquarters. Also, think about where the messages are being displayed, and how long people typically spend there. Someone who waits in the lobby for three minutes has a different experience with your signage than someone rushing past in a corridor on their way to a meeting. They should have different content, tailored to their experience in the actual physical space your messages appear in.
ROI is essential for any good digital signage plan. The whole reason you are sending out messages is to get people to do something, so you have to be able to measure success. There are lots of ways to do this — from bitly links and QR tags that take people to a website on their mobile device, to limited time giveaways (Sign up for the Fun Run by 5 p.m. on Friday, and use the code “Happy Feet,” to receive your free t-shirt). The idea is that they see something on the screen, and then they take an action that you can track. This allows you to measure how effective your signage is. Did you actually see an increase in traffic to your intranet during the promotion? How many people followed your company on Twitter during the Town Hall?
And, of course, if you have interactive touchscreens, people are automatically interacting with your messages as they navigate the display. You can also build in tracking tools into maps and directories, or include the same QR tags, links or SMS options that you would on non-interactive signs.
So, digital signage is not just a greener way to throw information at your audience. It’s a way to involve them, with measurable benefits to both companies and employees.
Author Sean Matthews will be presenting a free on-floor workshop at CorpComm Expo 2015 entitled, “Motivating Your Audience to Act With Creative Engagement?” on Thursday, Oct. 1st from 1:45-2:15pm at the Georgia World Congress Center. For more information about CorpComm Expo, or to register for this or any other educational seminar or workshop and learn more about digital communications technologies and strategies go to http://www.corpcommexpo.com.
Sean Matthews is a 21-year veteran of the visual communications industry. Since 2004, he has guided Visix through a comprehensive corporate reorganization, including growth relocations and name change, establishing field offices, outsourcing non-essential activities, introducing a suite of new products and services, growing revenues by more than 471 percent and tripling the number of employees to provide better products and services.Leave a Comment
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|Nureva Ships Span Ideation System in North America|
Nureva just started shipping its Span ideation system in North America. The system combines one or two panoramic projectors with a digital canvas to create an expansive team workspace that draws upon familiar, simple and flexible tools already widely used in paper-based ideation, including notes, images, sketches and flip charts. The WM210i measures 10′ wide (3.1 m) by 4′ high (1.2 m), with 130″ (3.3 m) on the diagonal. The WM220i model includes two panoramic projectors installed side-by-side to create a team workspace measuring 20′ wide (6.1 m) by 4′ high (1.2 m), with 245″ (6.2 m) on the diagonal.
The digital canvas retains all of the flexibility that paper-based systems offer (e.g., large workspaces with persistent information) while overcoming many of the challenges (e.g., the awkwardness of physically moving large numbers of sticky notes, sticky notes that fall off the wall, inclusion of remote participants in the process, the need for transcription, and storage and retention of the work). The Span ideation system allows multiple teams to use a collaboration space that previously may have been dedicated to a single team for months.
The canvas offers 40′ (12.2 m) of digital space (10′ visible on the WM210i and 20′ visible on the WM220i) that can be panned horizontally. Users contribute content in the form of notes, sketches, flip charts and images from their personal devices and organize content by moving and grouping.Multiple types of digital artifacts can be created on a personal device or at the canvas:
- Note – This digital 3″ x 5″ (7.6 x 12.7 cm) note allows users to enter up to four lines of text
- Sketch – This digital 9″ x 12″ (22.9 x 30.5 cm) page for sketching and wire-framing comes with three different ink colors and an eraser
- Flip chart – This large digital 30″ x 42″ (76.2 x 106.7 cm) flip chart for capturing notes, decisions and action items comes with three different ink colors, a highlighter and an eraser. One flip chart can contain multiple pages.
- Image – Users can post images to the canvas, then manipulate them
The software is accessible on Chrome browsers and as apps on iOS and Android tablets.
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The HD panoramic projector creates an ultra-wide display in a 16:6 aspect ratio at a spec of 3000 lumens and a contrast ratio of 1800:1 Touch and pen interactivity are provided by a touch module, supporting simultaneous multi-user and multi-touch activities.On the WM220i model, the image-alignment module melds the two projected images through an onscreen alignment process performed at the time of installation to create one seamless 20′-wide (12.2 m) image.The software has an annual subscription of US$239 for a single-user license. The hardware has an MSRP of US$9,999 and US$21,999 for the WM210i and WM220i, respectively.
Complete tech specs are here.
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|BOGO Alert: VDO360 Gives Away Plantronics Calisto Speakerphone With Every Beacon VPTZH-03 CameraIn case you missed it at InfoComm, VDO360 debuted its new VPTZH-03 (aka The Beacon) — a USB 2.0 camera that’s part of their Compass series. And, now, they’re giving away a Plantronics Calisto Speakerphone with every Beacon they sell!
The Beacon is the best USB 2.0 PTZ camera on the market with a focus range/depth of field: f4.9-49mm/60cm-infinity and an optical distortion spec of only 1.2% -+0.8%. Adding PTZ cameras to AV systems used to be time-consuming and expensive. But, not any more – especially with the VPTZH-03. Allowing for HD over USB at 1080p (30fps), the VDO360 HDPTZ-03 includes preset camera positions, dual-IR receiver control, a fiend-of-view of Diagonal 66.6-7.2, Horizontal 53.2-5.3, Vertical 39.8-4.2 and has the smoothest movement in the ProAV market.
Some AV-room specific features include:
- Seven presets on handheld the remote or via desktop control (or can be pre-programmed)
- Dual IR receivers:
- One in the base and one in the lens assembly for a wide range of control positions
- IR controls include a “Video Mute”
- Accu Pan and Tilt:
- Slow movement when you need it for fine tuning of camera position
- Rapid motion when you move a wide range
- It uses a belt drive for smooth pan and tilt — not the “jerkiness” you are familiar with from most USB-based PTZ cameras out there
The VDO360 VPTZH-03 Beacon lists for $899. The giveaway will extend through October 30th. More information about the Beacon is here.Leave a Comment
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|Extron Intros DXP 4K HDMI Matrix Series with Audio De-EmbeddingExtron has launched a new DXP HD 4K Series of high performance HDMI matrix switchers for resolutions up to 4K, including 1080p/60 with Deep Color. They are HDCP compliant, and support HDMI data rates to 10.2 Gbps, Deep Color up to 12-bit, 3D and HD lossless audio formats. Extron technologies such as SpeedSwitch, Key Minder, and EDID Minder, along with automatic input cable equalization and output reclocking, ensure dependable system operation with exceptional switching speeds and compatibility between devices. The matrix switchers also feature built-in de-embedding, enabling digital audio from any input to be assigned to the digital or analog stereo outputs for streamlined integration. They are available in I/O sizes from 4×4 to 16×16.
Several Extron technologies included with the DXP HD 4K Series simplify integration of HDMI-enabled devices. EDID Minder automatically manages EDID by maintaining continuous EDID communication with each source, ensuring that sources power up properly and reliably output content for display. For HDMI signals with protected content. Key Minder authenticates and maintains continuous HDCP encryption to support reliable switching while enabling simultaneous distribution of a single source signal to one or more displays, and SpeedSwitch Technology provides ultra-fast switching of encrypted signals.
The DXP HD 4K Series also switches embedded digital audio from HDMI source signals, along with the corresponding video, to any or all of the selected outputs. To further streamline integration, de-embedded audio can be routed to digital or analog stereo audio outputs to support a separate sound system. The technologies and capabilities built into DXP HD 4K Series ensure high performance AV signal routing, with a fully digital pathway that maintains the highest possible audio and image quality for multiple sources and displays.
All the tech details are here.Leave a Comment
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|Peerless-AV Intros SmartMount Carts and Mounts for Interactive Displays in Education|
Aimed at educational installs, Peerless-AV’s new SmartMount solutions offer what they are saying are rugged and aesthetically pleasing designs to support interactive touch panels. Tested to the highest safety standards, the new mounts and carts bring education technology into the modern era, replacing traditional chalkboard and dry-erase boards with an allergen-reducing, safe, clean, and advanced solution.
The new IWB680-W (Over the Chalkboard Mount) is designed to easily mount a touch panel over an existing chalkboard. With the ability to retrofit existing classrooms without having to dispose of old chalkboards and whiteboards, the IBWB680-W minimizes waste, while offering a quick installation and lower overall costs.
Peerless-AV’s new SmartMount Carts also provide cost savings, serving as a mobile solution that can be used in numerous locations in place of purchasing multiple displays for multiple classrooms. In addition, Peerless-AV say the new carts have been extensively tested, ensuring the safety of products enable mobility without the fear of tipping or structural failure, which is particularly important when in use by children.
The new SR542-KAPP Cart has been designed to complement the SMART kapp, a simple, modern replacement to dry-erase boards and flip charts, which allows users to save and share notes as they unfold, all using a regular dry-erase marker.
The SR542-KAPP also offers height adjustment, tilt, and internal cable management, complemented by an attractive finish to make this cart stand out from the rest. The cart provides a robust and sturdy solution ideal for sharing information in any educational setting.
The SR580 and SR598 SmartMount Carts hold interactive panels up to 80″ and up to 98″, respectively. Ideal for extra-large touch displays, these heavy-duty carts offer mobility, appealing design, display height adjustment, and a pre-assembled base to ensure quick assembly, while providing a ridged, but attractive, structure that fits into any décor. The 4″ castors make them easy to move from room to room and the UL certification ensures that it can be done with safety in mind.
In late 2015, Peerless-AV will continue to add to the SmartMount line by introducing two more mounts for large and extra-large displays. The line can be found here.Leave a Comment
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|NEC Debuts New M Series|
NEC Display just announced a new generation of M Series short-throw projectors that are aimed at collaboration application. Using the latest DLP technology from Texas Instruments, the 3,300-lumen M333XS and 3,500-lumen M353WS models deliver contrast ratio specs at 10,000:1, are filter free, and have 0.6:1 and 0.48:1 throw ratios, respectively.
Environmentally-friendly features include ECO Mode with ambient light sensor, which increases lamp life up to 8,000 hours, while lowering power consumption, as well as quick start (3 to 4 seconds) and auto power on via the RGB input connector. A carbon savings meter calculates the positive effects of operating the projectors in ECO Mode.
Software lets K-12, higher education and business users network their projectors for easier management and control. The Image Express Utility Lite function allows up to 16 devices – from PCs, tablets and smart phones – to be wirelessly connected to each projector concurrently. Thumbnail images give presenters easy visibility to each participating device so they can easily toggle between sources.
The projectors also include NEC DisplayNote Software, an app that lets leaders and participants present, share and annotate content from any platform or device so their notes are automatically saved. Additional DisplayNote licenses are available for purchase.
The M333XS and M353WS projectors include the following features:
- XGA and WXGA native resolutions, respectively
- DLP engine, featuring BrilliantColor Technology
- HDMI 3D display up to 144Hz
- DICOM display mode
- Dual HDMI inputs to connect to multiple external devices
- Automatic keystone correction technology, which instantly projects a square image even when the projector is set up at a steep offset angle to the screen
- Sealed optics engine
- 20-watt speaker
- Microphone input
- Low power consumption (0.2W in stand-by mode), which minimizes energy costs
- Optional interactive camera module (NP03Wi) and wireless dongle (NP05LM1)
The NP-M333XS is here.Leave a Comment
The NP-M353WS is here.
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|TASCAM Announces Celesonic US-20×20|
TASCAM’s new Celesonic US-20×20 packs 20 channels of USB 3.0/2.0 connectivity analog and digital I/O into a single rack space. Eight Ultra-HDDA microphone preamps provide 56dB of gain and high headroom and up to ten channels of digital I/O are included on ADAT and S/PDIF connectors, with word clock also provided for use with external clocks like TASCAM’s CG-1000. MIDI I/O allows use with controllers and synthesizers, and sample rates up to 192kHz/24-bit are supported. A built-in DSP mixer includes parametric EQ and compression on every channel and a stereo reverb send for great-sounding monitor mixes. The DSP mixer can also be used as a live mixer or submixer with computer control. The US-20×20 has three modes: audio interface, digital mixer, and 8-channel digital mic preamp.
- Features of the $499 Celesonic US-20×20 include:20-in / 20-out USB Audio Interface
- Eight Ultra-HDDA Microphone preamps with 56dB of gain and high headroom
- USB 3.0 or 2.0 connection to computer (USB 3.0 requires Windows 10 operating system)
- Supports up to 192kHz / 24-bit audio (at reduced channel count)
- ADAT optical multichannel digital input and output supports S-MUX (8 ch @ 48k, 4 ch @ 96k, 2 ch @ 192kHz)
- Stereo S/PDIF digital in and out
- Word clock in and out
- Two headphone outputs with 70mW/ch output power
- MIDI input and output
- Class-compliant driver supports iOS connection over USB 2.0
- Includes both angled bio-cell side panels and rack ears
- Built-in DSP mixer with parametric EQ and compression per channel, stereo reverb on send/return
- Dedicated power supply included
- Three operation modes: audio interface/ mic pre/ mixer
The specifics are here.Leave a Comment
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|Extron Ships XTP II CrossPoint Matrix Switcher – World’s First 50 Gbps BackplaneExtron just started shipping the new XTP II CrossPoint 6400 matrix switcher with a 50 Gbps digital switching backplane that delivers the highest level of performance in the Pro AV industry. The XTP II enables the deployment of an AV system infrastructure with a switching bandwidth that exceeds the data rate required to distribute 4K/60 video with 4:4:4 chroma sampling at 16 bits per color. These matrix switchers can be configured with a variety of boards, including any of the existing products in the XTP Systems family and the new series of XTP 4K fiber optic boards and endpoints. XTP II is the definitive AV industry standard you can depend on now and in the future to meet the challenges of 4K and beyond.
XTP Systems provide a completely integrated switching and distribution solution for multiple digital and analog formats. They support local connectivity, as well as extended transmission capability to send video, audio, bidirectional RS‑232 and IR, and Ethernet up to 330 feet (100 meters) over a shielded CATx cable, and even greater distances over fiber optic cabling. The larger matrix switcher sizes up to 64×64 provide a wide range of possibilities for new applications and system upgrades to support emerging video standards and formats.
Here are the specs.Leave a Comment
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|Epson Expands EX-Series Projector Lineup with Sub- $1,000 Pro Series|
Epson today introduced new Pro series portable projectors including the EX9200 Pro (WUXGA) and the EX7240 Pro (WXGA ) models. In addition, Epson introduced an EX3240, a portable version. All three models are spec’d at 3,200 lumens, a 10,000 hour lamp life and native HD (1080 or 720) display capability.
The EX9200 Pro is a native 1920×1200 resolution 3LCD projector while the EX7240 is a 1280×800 resolution 3LCD. Both projectors include HDMI and MHL ports as well as wireless projection and quick control features including Instant Off – which quickly powers down the projector with no cool down time; Sleep Mode (A/V Mute) pauses the presentation without turning off the projector; and Direct Power Off/On delivers wall switch power control.
The $799 EX9200 Pro is here, the $649 EX7240 is here and the portable $449 EX3240 is here.Leave a Comment
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|Chief Adds Da-Lite’s ViewShare Fusion on Mounts|
Chief is adding Da-Lite’s ViewShare technology to Fusion display mounts. The new ViewShare Fusion kits include all the video conferencing accessories needed to create a bring-your-own-device video conferencing room.
ViewShare technology fills the gap between high-end video conferencing systems and personal smart devices. The solution helps meet the increased need for face-to-face meetings in today’s remote working environment.
ViewShare kits feature:
- A Fusion mountable accessory to position the integrated Logitech C930e Webcam above, below or between displays
- A Jabra SPEAK 410 MS USB speakerphone
- A Belkin powered USB hub
- Easy USB 2.0 connectivity (USB 3.0 ready)
- Components that are Skype for Business Certified, and optimized for Lync and Skype
- Fast and easy setup
The accessory works with all the new Fusion fixed and tilt mounts as well as Fusion carts and stands. An extra-large version is available for bigger displays. The extender version includes a USB to Cat5 extender with power supply for installations requiring more cable reach. Da-Lite’s ViewShare solutions can also be used for larger rooms.
For a full listing of equipment and system requirements, go here.Leave a Comment
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|Blackmagic Design Ships New 3G Mini ConvertersBlackmagic Design has started shipping its line of 3G Mini Converters — all at $195.The 3G Mini Converters can convert between all SD and HD formats and frame rates, and feature 3G-SDI technology that makes them compatible with all existing SD and HD equipment. And, all of them include features such as redundant SDI inputs, AES and Balanced Analog Audio, upgradability via USB and some models include down conversion for working with HD on SD equipment.
New 3G Mini Converter Model Summary:
- Mini Converter SDI to HDMI converts from SDI to HDMI in all SD and HD formats up to 1080p60! Audio is embedded into the HDMI output and output separately as balanced analog or AES/EBU audio. Mini Converter SDI to HDMI is perfect for using HDMI televisions and video projectors as SDI monitors for all SD and HD formats.
- Mini Converter HDMI to SDI converts HDMI to SDI in all SD and HD formats up to 1080p60. Audio can be embedded from HDMI, balanced analog or AES/EBU inputs. Mini Converter HDMI to SDI is ideal for adding an SD or HD-SDI output to computers and cameras that have HDMI connections.
- Mini Converter SDI to Analog is perfect for converting from SD and HD-SDI to analog component, s-video or NTSC/PAL composite. Mini Converter SDI to analog supports all SD and HD input formats up to 1080p60 and includes a down converter for when you need to convert from HD to standard definition analog formats such as s-video and composite. Audio can be de-embedded to balanced analog or AES/EBU. Mini Converter SDI to Analog is ideal for converting to older analog equipment.
- Mini Converter SDI to Audio de-embeds audio from any SDI source in SD and HD formats up to 1080p60. Audio is output on 1/4″ connectors for balanced analog and AES/EBU audio output to equipment such as mixers, analog decks, audio monitors and more.
- Mini Converter Audio to SDI embeds audio into any SDI source in SD and HD formats up to 1080p60. Audio is input as balanced analog or AES/EBU using 1/4″ connectors from equipment such as mixers and analog decks.
- Mini Converter SDI Distribution distributes a single SD or HD-SDI connection up to eight different SDI outputs at the same time. You get a true 3G-SDI design with fully re-clocked outputs and automatic switching between all SD and HD formats up to 1080p60. You also get support for all ASI, ancillary and embedded audio formats.
All of them can be seen here.Leave a Comment
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|Extron Now Shipping SM 28T Two-Way Surface Mount Speaker|
Extron is shipping the SM 28T SpeedMount Surface Mount Speaker, a two-way speaker with a patent pending, concealed wall mounting system. It features an 8″ (20.3 cm) woofer with dual tuned ports that extends low frequency response down to 59 Hz, and a 1.1″ (2.8 cm) silk dome tweeter that reaches up to 22 kHz without the brittle sound associated with metallic domes. This speaker has an 8 ohm direct power rating of 90 watts continuous pink noise, and 180 watts continuous program capacity. It includes a six-position power tap selector, accessible through the grille, for 70 volt and 100 volt modes up to 64 watts. The SM 28T delivers accurate voice and detailed music reproduction on and off-axis through a unique baffle placement and crossover design that ensures smooth and even power response. The Extron exclusive mounting system is designed to accommodate division-of-labor installations and save costs. The SM 28T is designed for classrooms, conference rooms, exercise facilities, retail spaces, auditoriums, spaces with raised or exposed ceilings, and other environments where high performance surface mount speakers are desired.
To meet a variety of installation needs, the flexible mounting system includes a 0° mounting plate and a 10° mounting adapter. The 0° mounting plate provides the electrical connections and allows the SM 28T to be oriented vertically or horizontally, flush with the wall. When the versatile 10° mounting adapter is added to the mounting plate, the SM 28T can be positioned with a 10° tilt downward, upward, left, or right.
The SM 28T saves time and installation costs for AV system contractors working with low-voltage contractors in a division-of-labor installation. During rough-in, a low-voltage contractor installs the mounting system on the wall and terminates the speaker cable to the mount’s integrated wiring contacts. Later, the AV system contractor completes the installation by sliding the SM 28T onto the mount.
The SM 28T is sold in pairs and carries a 5 year parts and labor warranty. It is available in a black or white finish and includes a 0° mounting plate and a 10° mounting adapter. Also available is an optional yoke mount kit for the SM 28T. It allows for vertical or horizontal speaker mounting on a wall, or on a ceiling, and provides 180° of pivot in 10° detented steps.
Here are all the tech specs.Leave a Comment
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|BALD Launches Manual Kickstand for Large DisplaysHave you ever had a customer ask for a large touchscreen that’s tiltable but could still be transportable for trade shows, rentals and lift-assisted work surfaces (like what architects have)?
Well, a small company called BALD Technologies has what they are calling a simple to use and transportable two-piece product that included a near edge to edge, permanently mounted frame married to a multi-port, brushed aluminum base secured by dual, quick release pins.
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- Power is not required to use/manipulate
- Pre-determined ports allow for 90°, 75°, 60° and 45° tilt
- Ultra wide, low profile, brushed aluminum footprint delivers an engineering showpiece
- 20” deep base allows the use on standard depth desks/work surfaces
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|Digital Signage Expo Opens Call for 2016 Apex Awards NominationsDSE, the world’s largest tradeshow for digital display, interactive technology solutions and digital out-of-home networks, is now accepting nominations for its 13th Annual APEX Awards.
Designed to recognize and honor achievement in the installation of digital displays and interactive technology and the creation of compelling viewer content, the DSE Apex Awards have honored hundreds of companies for their innovation throughout the years. As these digital signage installations and the content they display go hand-in-hand, and the lines between the two are becoming less and less distinct, the Installation and Content Awards will now be presented in a single category.
“The DSE Apex Awards have been nurturing creativity and innovation in our industry for over a decade and as the sector has evolved we have taken a cue from real life to combine our awards for great installations and amazing content,” Chris Brennaman, DSE’s conference manager, said.
The Digital Apex Awards will be presented to three outstanding entries – Gold, Silver and Bronze – in a total of nine categories. Additionally, two overall winners will receive the Apex Installation of the Year and Apex Content of the Year awards. Categories include Arts, Entertainment & Recreation; Business & Government Services; Education & Healthcare; Event Venues & Hospitality; Food & Beverage; Immersive Environments; Public Spaces; Retail; and Transportation.
To qualify, nominees must have a new or current digital signage or interactive technology program installed between Nov. 1, 2014, and Oct. 31, 2015. Updated content for existing digital signage installations that began running during the same time period will also qualify. The deadline to submit entries is Nov. 6, 2015. Additional information and entry forms are available here
The nominating companies can be the venues themselves, the technology providers that provided the installation hardware and software, the architects and design firms who conceived the project, as well as the system integrators who did the installation. A single company is permitted to submit multiple nominations for separate projects. The cost to enter the DSE Apex Awards is $95 per entry.
The 2016 awards program will be held Wednesday evening, March 16 from 5-7 p.m. during DSE’s free networking reception at the Las Vegas Convention Center. To enter, go here.Leave a Comment
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For all you REGULAR readers of rAVe AVBuyers.Club out there, hopefully you enjoyed another opinion-packed issue!
For those of you NEW to rAVe, you just read how we are — we are 100 percent opinionated. We not only report the news and new product stories of the ProAV and HomeAV industries, but we stuff the articles full of our opinions. That may include (but is not limited to) whether or not the product is even worth looking at, challenging the manufacturers on their specifications, calling a marketing-spec bluff and suggesting ways integrators market their products better. But, one thing is for sure, we are NOT a trade publication that gets paid for running editorial or product stories. Traditional trade publications get paid to run product stories — that’s why you see what you see in most of the pubs out there. We are different: we run what we want to run and NO ONE is going to pay us to write or say anything good (or bad).
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A little about me: I graduated from Journalism School at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (where I am adjunct faculty). I’ve been in the AV industry since 1987 where I started with Extron and eventually moved to AMX. So, I guess I am an industry veteran (although I don’t think I am that old). I have been an opinionated columnist for a number of industry publications and in the late 1990s I started the widely read KNews eNewsletter (the first in the AV market) and also created the model for and was co-founder of AV Avenue, which is now known as InfoComm IQ. rAVe [Publications] has been around since 2003, when we launched our original newsletter, rAVe ProAV Edition.
rAVe ProAV Edition is our flagship newsletter with what we believe is a reach of virtually everyone in the ProAV market. rAVe HomeAV Edition, co-published with CEDIA and launched in February 2004, is, by far, the largest ePub in the HomeAV market. We added rAVe Rental [and Staging] in November 2007, rAVe ED [Education] in May 2008 and then rAVe DS [Digital Signage] in January 2009. We added rAVe GHGav [Green, Healthcare & Government AV] in August 2010 and rAVe HOW [House of Worship] in July 2012. rAVe Radio, our podcast network, was launched in 2012. AVBuyers.Club, our first publications targeted at end users, launched in May 2015. You can subscribe to any of those publication or see ALL our archives by going to: http://www.ravepubs.com
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