Volume 1, Issue 8 — December 16, 2015
|Did Google Just Kill the Digital Signage Media Player?|
By Gary Kayye
ASUS and Google have started shipping something called Chromebit — a complete Chromebook computer on a memory stick with an HDMI port on one end (to plug it directly into the display port of a monitor) and a USB port on the other end so that you can add a USB device.
Basically, this small, USB-thumb-drive-ish computer is a media player.
Oh, and it’s $85.
As Wikipedia says, “A Chromebit turns a display with an HDMI port into a desktop variant of the Chromebook laptop, which runs Google’s Chrome OS operating system.”
That says it all. But, as it is limited in computing power and memory, it’s primarily designed as a single-application device — like a media player or a PC-in-a-classroom application. It includes the Chrome OS, a web browser and 16Gb of storage along with 2GB of RAM.
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|Be a Better Customer|
By Mark Coxon
I will admit straight off that this post is somewhat of a rant, but I am tired of bad customers. The customer, despite claims to the contrary, is not always right.
My wife does a lot of marketing work for everything from Comic Con to auto shows to demonstrating espresso machines. She is amazing at it, as she is very personable and extremely smart (not to mention beautiful).
On Saturday, she had someone come up to her in the store she was working at and inquire about an espresso machine. She asked about his coffee preferences, showed him different models and even gave him tips on preheating porcelain cups to keep the drinks hot longer. After 30 minutes of interaction, he decided to buy a machine from the retailer she was at.
On Sunday, the man returned and approached her with the machine in hand. Let me first say that she isn’t actually employed at the store and doesn’t work the register or facilitate returns, so the only reason he approached her was to say the following.
“Money doesn’t matter to me. I mean, I drop $200 on a bottle of wine easily as I’m very well off, but I found this machine cheaper on Amazon and you didn’t tell me it was cheaper there so I’m returning it.”
Then he went to the counter and proceeded to tell the retailer he was returning the machine as it was “misrepresented.” Of course upon hearing that, my wife approached him and related that she was employed to represent the brand inside the retailer, so of course she wouldn’t send someone somewhere else to make a purchase. She said that she understood he found it cheaper and it was his responsibility to do his due diligence as a customer to research that before making a purchase. His response?
“Do you feel better now that you said that to me?”
Let’s just say it’s a good thing I wasn’t standing there at that time. But what’s the bigger picture? How does this relate to our businesses in AV as well as our profitability?
We’ve all heard people rail against companies like Wal-Mart for destroying small business. In fact, I’d bet the man my wife encountered has a great speech on Wal-Mart being the devil of modern commerce. But then, hypocrisy knowing no bounds, these same people go into a retail store, try a product, take the paid time of an employee to answer questions, allay concerns and educate them on the product, and then turn around, leave the store and go buy from the cheapest online bidder.
We have a Better Business Bureau to report businesses that engage in unscrupulous activity so I thought it was about time we create a Better Customer Bureau (BCB) to start tracking customers who do the same. To my surprise, there actually IS one that helps match vendors to customers who prefer to pay for work well done. Check it out here.
I think they should go a step further and create a rating system. Come into a store, and before you get the undivided attention of a paid employee, you get your driver’s license scanned and your BCB score pops up, letting the store know how much time to invest in you.
This happens to us in the AV space ALL THE TIME. We do an evaluation of the customer’s needs, we do a preliminary system design, a bid that details the equipment, and then they turn around and take it out to bid, or even worse, share our numbers with competitors to get a better price. Of course there will be someone to do it cheaper, especially now that all the design labor has been done by someone else.
The customer comes back to us with pages of search results showing where all the hardware can be procured cheaper online, asking us to match those prices. Never mind potential warranty concerns, delivery, etc. Of course they don’t consider that their purchasing manager, who makes $40 an hour, just spent 20 hours researching and compiling all this. That cost isn’t even a thought, nor is the cost the original firm incurred in doing all the specification work in the first place.
If it wasn’t for your firm, the customer never would have known what to look for on Amazon in the first place!
If we want to get better customers, we have to BE better customers. We can’t complain that customers are shopping our designs online if we ourselves go down to Best Buy, spend two hours comparing TVs and talking to their employees and then go home and order it from Amazon.
People’s time and knowledge come at a price. We get more value from a product when we are properly educated and can experience it first, even if it costs a little more to buy it from the store or from an AV integrator than Amazon.
Sure, if you already know what you want and need, and you don’t need coaching or education, then by all means go shop online. I buy books on Kindle, I buy vitamins on Amazon or toys my kids ask for from TV commercials. I’m not saying there is not a role for online shopping.
Certain products and services still require a value added delivery model that a dealer or retailer provides. This is why I never buy clothes online. I need to make sure they are a fit. If I spend time and energy ordering and returning items until I get the right one, the added savings mean nothing.
Sucking all the value out of the retailer or dealer like a consumer vampire without ever purchasing only assures that eventually those people you rely upon for hands on experience or their expertise will be out of business.
We need to be better customers, especially if our own businesses rely on value added delivery models to exist. Otherwise our own consumer behavior eventually kills the very business model we rely upon to survive and we end up with customer service like in the cartoon above.
So the next time you think about going somewhere else to save 5 percent, ask how much time and energy someone else may have spent in guiding your decision and making sure it is a good one. Then ask yourself if your company had made that same investment in that time and information, if you’d be upset if the potential customer went elsewhere and purchase to save a little.
Be a better customer and you may get better customers in return.Leave a Comment
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|Digital Signage and AV in Houses of Worship|
By Mike Lutrell
I say this to myself every day – digital signage is everywhere! It’s found in malls, schools, restaurants, and is continuing to become a part of our everyday lives. Digital signage is also becoming a large part of the worship experience. Regardless if your house of worship has 100 visitors or 5,000, every facility can benefit from implementing digital signage and AV.
Below you’ll read about some of the benefits that houses of worship are enjoying from implementing digital signage and AV.
Too often, we have all leaned over to our fellow worshiper and asked them what was just said. Why? The sound wasn’t quite right for the amount of visitors that day. These issues are slowly starting to fade with more and more houses implementing new sound equipment to help alleviate this problem. Clear and audible sound not only helps worshipers hear your messages, but can also aid when interacting with the audience in a room full of people or when hosting an event where the audience is much larger.
Accommodating Mass Schedules
With the increase in our busy lives, houses of worships have started scheduling multiple gatherings at different times throughout the week to help accommodate their members. Traditional sign boards are just not cutting it anymore when it comes to these mass schedules. Limited spacing and available lighting are just a few of the disadvantages of these traditional signs, so it’s best to consider outdoor digital displays to accommodate your mass schedules. Outdoor digital displays will advertise mass schedules on a rotating basis, as well as announce any last minute cancellations or changes. The general public will be able to see these schedules and other important news that they may not have seen unless they were members. Plus, these signs are visible day or night, a benefit that you don’t have if you are using a traditional sign board.
Indoor Signage Displays
Along with the increase in mass schedules, many houses of worship have evolved to be place for social gatherings, on a regular basis, for many people by hosting events like yard sales, pageants, concerts, plays, etc. Take a look at the photo of the bulletin board; How often have you seen bulletin boards like these in your house of worship? Often times, many announcements and flyers get completely overlooked because the bulletin is overloaded.
This issue can be eliminated by implementing indoor signage displays into your facility. Like the outdoor digital displays, this will allow news and events to be displayed on a rotating basis, giving every event the equal chance to be promoted in a clear and concise way to all visitors.
By providing excellent sound and display, digital signage and AV have helped houses of worship transform their visitors’ experiences. Has your house of worship recently integrated digital signage and AV into their facility? If so, tell us how it has changed your experience.Leave a Comment
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|Five Reasons Why AV Is Not IT|
By Ernie Beck
Sr. Sales Engineer, Cenero
For the past few years the conversation of AV and IT convergence has been discussed ad-nauseam. While this article is no different in subject matter, I’m writing to pose a counter-argument. Before the AV nerds of the inter-webs declare this blasphemy, this should be taken as a tongue and cheek observation. Obviously, AV systems today more closely resemble IT assets in both form and function. Putting AV on your network to interact within the larger building system ecosystem, gathering usage data, and centralizing support are just a few of the benefits, as I explain in another post ‘Smart AV Evolution.’
With that said, is it fair to assume that AV should now be designed, purchased, and implemented like Information Technology? I don’t think so, at least not yet, and according to some industry feedback, I’m not alone. Here’s the top 5 reasons that seem to keep coming up:
AV is Still “Audio” and “Video”
Audiovisual components are sometimes the first thing you see and hear upon entering a space. They’re designed to invoke a response, an emotion, to impact users or visitors. From a shopping mall with a large LED video wall in the entryway, to the sound quality of your Boardroom’s audio conferencing system. No matter how technology changes, all of those 1’s and 0’s ultimately convert to something that can be seen or heard, which requires extensive knowledge of delivering high-quality audio and video systems. One colleague stated:
“The wrong choice in a microphone, speakers, or a store bought TV can cause everything from interoperability issues, to poor image and sound quality, to persistent service headaches.”
AV & Architectural Considerations
AV has an interesting task of balancing both the technical, as well as aesthetic aspects of a space. Not only does an AV professional need to understand the technology and impact to a building network, they need to understand how it aligns with the vision the architect is trying to achieve. From their impact to electrical, mechanical and structural specifications, to furniture and finishes, how the final AV solution will look has a specific aesthetic purpose that must be honored.
AV Installation Acumen
The “meat” of the Design/Build/Support sandwich. If you’re trusting your AV installation to a team that’s better suited for cabling installation, you could be doing more harm than good. Qualified AV installers are experienced in best practices for safely installing heavy AV components (many times of which are located over your head!). If this is short-changed, not only could your installation look sloppy, but it could be potentially hazardous.
Implementing Standards & UX
I have to hand it to them, IT professionals and staff have an extremely challenging task of implementing and supporting complex networks for complex businesses. To do this, IT teams have developed specific standards and processes that help with these challenges. But, are standards and processes used for information technology directly applicable to AV? Likely not all the time. At a single person workstation you’ll find your standard IT components (work area outlets, desk phone, PC, laptop dock, etc.).
But scale up to a huddle room and or conference room, and you’re dealing with an entirely different set of physical parameters which must translate directly to the audiovisual systems being specified.
Different business units may require different needs, i.e. corporate training departments vs. international sales departments. Which leads me to User Experience. Try as I may, I just can’t escape this buzzword. This may be an over simplification, but as one AV pro puts it: IT typically establishes and dictates to their clients (users) how they will access info and use the network. And for good reason. However, AV must take input from a variety of users and groups and deliver a solution that everyone is comfortable using. Ultimately, we’re both required to implement for the best User Experience, it’s just how we get from Point A to Point B that is different.
Clients Need Both
This post is in no way diminishing the critical importance of choosing quality IT vendors or staff. Quite the opposite. This is meant to show that AV and IT professionals possess equally important, yet different skill sets. Ultimately, the ideal vendor will have a strong knowledge of the other disciplines importance in order to successfully deploy compatible audiovisual and IT systems in today’s business world.Leave a Comment
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|InfoComm: Inside the Modern High-Tech Boardroom|
By Cindy Davis
Special to InfoComm International
The traditional boardroom conjures images of mahogany, leather and PowerPoint. Maybe it’s used quarterly, for board meetings of directors from around the globe. For all those other days of the year, the projector, gooseneck microphones and super-slick control panel remain idle.
Not anymore. Today, workplace trends and new technology are transforming almost every aspect of the modern boardroom — and it starts in the office.
“How do you take the experience that an executive has at the desktop, which is seamless audio-videoconferencing integration, and move that same experience through their personal conference room — through any space they may need, up to and including the boardroom?” says Scott Walker, CTS-D, LEED AP, president and CEO of Waveguide.
The executive boardroom is no longer an island unto itself, with its own design rules and gravitational forces. “We need to empower the boardroom to be more like the desktop, which is kind of flipping the whole thing on its head,” Walker says. “How they might share content wirelessly in their own office is the same thing they need to do in their boardroom. It’s a similar look and feel, not a wholly separate experience.”
Consider the trends: Powerful mobile devices, from laptops to smartphones, have become all-in-one offices, allowing users to correspond and collaborate, share information, interact, and gather, store and analyze data. At the same time, organizations are creating new physical environments, such as huddle spaces or other meeting rooms, to facilitate “ideating” between two or more people. Single-use offices are giving way to collaboration areas. Such factors increasingly are the norm in workplace environments. And what applies to the humble huddle space applies to the executive boardroom.
“We no longer take a room or project approach,” says Dale Bottcher, senior vice president for sales and operations at AVI-SPL. “It’s more of a platform approach so it crosses the entire enterprise. The technology has got to be scalable and consistent room-to-room.”
Not an Island
AV professionals say that boardroom design has taken on a holistic approach. Starting from an enterprise-level technology model, new systems and upgrades are migrating into boardrooms as part of an interconnected whole. Today’s boardroom is an integrated, interoperable collaboration space writ large and communication tools are the key.
“Just as organizations have huddle rooms all the way up to boardrooms, people have the expectation that they can bring in a tablet and display or share content in the room,” Bottcher says.
The thing is, depending on use case, some organizations prefer to keep the boardroom simple. And as simple as technology such as unified communications and collaboration (UCC) has become, its introduction to the boardroom may face headwinds. Talking through executives’ needs is important.
When Ford Motor Company wanted a brighter projector for its boardroom, Bottcher says it was a chance to think ahead. “It’s a very simple design, and the last time it was upgraded was maybe 1995,” he explains. “I said, ‘Let’s think about this a little bit. You’ll need conferencing ability in this space within a year or two. You have a 40-foot wall you’re projecting on. Why not make that a tiled videowall or some form of large display that can be upgraded for videoconferencing or some form of UCC technology?”
Indeed, videowall technology is not just the domain of lobby displays and operations centers. Boardrooms, which are often designed to impress their particular users and enhance decision-making, can also benefit from large visual canvases.
“What we’re seeing, particularly with oil and gas customers, is entire front walls becoming giant videowalls where they can pull up multiple windows of content and look at high-resolution details,” says Walker. And while a large-format display is ideal for presentations, more boardrooms today also require individual screens for meeting participants. “Because it’s not just a PowerPoint being presented to the board,” Walker says. “It is much deeper data analytics that need to be managed, voted on and made a part of the meeting.”
“While large LCD displays are becoming more readily available at reasonable cost, they still have a practical limit on what size space they can serve effectively,” says Gregory Clark, CTS, principal consultant at The Sextant Group. “Once that threshold is crossed, alternate technologies such as projection or a videowall may better suit the application, and those require differing infrastructure provisions.”
For example, some boardrooms opt for rear-projection, specifically. Housing projectors in a separate room removes noise and potential heat from the boardroom, plus it eliminates the threat of shadows on-screen. And depending on budget, the projection room can include a pair of projectors — one for backup duty — so that the meeting can always go on.
The Multipurpose Boardroom
With all the collaboration technology being incorporated into boardrooms, many organizations are trying to maximize the investment year-round. “They’re using the room for more than four days a year,” Walker says. “Other days of the week they may use it for investor calls or other decision-making. It sort of becomes a huddle room on steroids.”
Emerson Process Management recently opened a multipurpose space at its offices in Austin, Texas, to foster collaboration with the company’s partners and accommodate board meetings. Emerson supplies process automation technology to oil and gas, refining, chemicals, life sciences, metals and mining, and power industries. The Integrated Operations Center at Emerson’s Process Systems and Solutions Innovation Center (pictured) has already hosted multiple board meetings, but it’s also a sort of experience center where customers can see how integrated companies streamline decision-making, collaborate across locations and more easily accessible expertise — sort of what a board of directors might do.
“We’ve had really positive reactions from everybody who’s come into the facility,” say Mike Boudreaux, director of performance and reliability monitoring at Emerson. “We have customers who come visit us here in Austin from all over the world, often evaluating not only our products, but also our capabilities and expertise.”
Emerson embraced Barco collaboration technology for the center. In working with Waveguide on the project, the company emphasized usability across all use cases, whether to support board meetings or customer experiences.
“You walk into the room and there’s an on/off button on the wall. You press ‘on’ and the lights and screen come on and the Barco ClickShare is activated,” Boudreaux says. “If you want to do anything more elaborate, we have a tablet to manage it.”
As AV professionals know, an effective collaboration space, such as a modern boardroom, is about more than technology. Emerson engaged Waveguide soon after sitting down with the architect and quickly realized that what users hear would be as important as what they see.
“Going into the project we didn’t have a very strong appreciation for the value of good acoustics, and that was something that Waveguide helped us gain an appreciation for,” Boudreaux says.
Working collaboratively with the architect, Waveguide helped shift the room design to be more acoustically pleasing. “We had some unique designs, with rounded rooms and glass walls, and we needed the ability to prevent a lot of ‘fishbowl effect’ echoing,” Boudreaux explains. “We also had to make sure that we had the right microphone placement, lighting and speaker locations. They’re still rounded walls, but they were flattened out a little bit as a result of the acoustic design.”
It can be argued that acoustics and intelligibility are even more important considerations for modern boardrooms as the need to include remote participants in meetings grows. The boardroom at the Calgary, Alberta, headquarters of energy-distribution company Enbridge was in need of expansion and upgrades. Amin Ladha, IT Systems Analyst at Enbridge, recalls that remote participants were complaining they couldn’t hear everyone in the company’s aging boardroom during meetings.
“I’m involved in setting up the executive team meetings, board meetings and any meetings that involve high-level stakeholders,” Ladha says. “That’s where most of the complaints were stemming from. Quite often we had a lot of echoing.”
In addition, as meetings grew, the original 18-seat table wasn’t big enough, leaving 10 or more participants sitting on the periphery, farther away from the table microphones.
When the Enbridge boardroom was renovated, it gained a purpose-built table for 26 and a carefully considered AV design to accommodate 35.
“We put together a design package that showed the polar patterns of the microphones based on the table they were spec’ing for the room,” says Keith Newson, Design Engineer at AVI-SPL Canada. Pop-up mics with intuitive muting and unmuting features minimized the effect of paper shuffling at the table, while ceiling mics in the boundary areas ensured participants not seated around the table could be heard.
“You have to think bigger in a boardroom,” says Waveguide’s Walker. “As boardrooms get larger, you have to do what’s historically been called a mix-minus system so you can amplify voices within the room. There are better and better microphones, DSP algorithms and speakers out there. We’re seeing some interesting products that used advanced technology to focus on the sound you want to hear and disregard the sound you don’t want to hear.”
Of course, in boardroom situations, what executives don’t want people to hear is, well, everything. For privacy’s sake, sound isolation and masking techniques are a must, to say nothing of commonsense design measures to ensure that people who shouldn’t see confidential presentations — through windows or sleek glass walls — don’t.
“Because AV is an enabler,” says Emerson’s Boudreaux. “It’s not the thing in the room; it’s really part of the room.”
This article was reprinted with permission from InfoComm International and originally appeared here.Leave a Comment
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|Emerging Liabilities in Dynamic Digital Signage|
By Robert White
Manager of Convergent Technologies, Multi-Media Solutions
As an integrator providing digital signage have you ever thought about all of the things that can jump up and bite you in the proverbial butt? I mean the kinds of things that can really put you at odds with your customer or even worse land you in a lawsuit. Well, suffice to say there are quite a few things these days that can create this outcome, and if you don’t do your best to stay abreast of them and keep your customer informed you can end up in some hot water. So these liabilities where are they coming from? How serious are they, and why should I pay attention to them? Let’s take a couple minutes to uncover some of the big ones and try to answer these questions.
Let’s start with a list of some of the hot buttons…
- Does that ADA compliance thing apply to our design and implementation of digital signage?
Let’s start by uncovering some of the places these liabilities are coming from. Many of them deal with safety, but the real kicker is that some liabilities are enforced by the government. Take the ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) for example. This civil rights law enacted in 1990 affects many aspects of both interactive and non-interactive digital signage. For example, if the touchscreen kiosk in your lobby is available from forward approach and has touch buttons above 48″ tall and there is no handicap mode that changes the height of these buttons then your kiosk is breaking the law. There are serious implications at stake.
- Do you have permission to use that? Video, TV shows, streams and content from other websites…
Did you know that some of the RSS feeds that you and I take for granted that our customers can use have “use clauses” that preclude them from being employed in digital signage? Did you know that some of those images that our end users copy and paste from google image searches to use in their signage are actually copyrighted material? The second one may not be a surprise, but the first one may be. The chances of getting caught for the smaller digital signage infractions may not be high, but in some cases, it still constitutes breaking the law.
- Where did this calories requirement come from and where does it apply?
A new liability for digital signage goes into effect in December 2016 from the FDA, referred to as the Menu Labeling Law. Many have heard of this law so it is not a surprise, but nonetheless it is another potential liability for the digital signage industry with legal implications. It goes into effect on December 1st and requires that calorie information be listed on menus and menu boards in chain restaurants and similar retail food establishments with 20 or more locations.
- Is your digital signage ENERGY STAR compliant? When is that even a factor?
Believe it or not certain states are starting to enact energy requirements for electronics used in commercial settings. This is inclusive of LCD screens deployed in a building for digital signage. The regulation enacted by California’s Electric Commission is an example of new state laws that will affect what type of screens can be used for digital signage.
- Will your system really integrate and perform as required with the Emergency Notification System?
Unfortunately we live in a world where we can no longer pretend that integration with ENS (emergency notification system) isn’t necessary. While most integrators would tell you that digital signage is never meant to be the only ENS, it should certainly be a complementing solution to whatever the main ENS is. This is where CAP (Common Alerting Protocol) compliance comes into play. It allows your digital signage solution to tie into and have emergency messages triggered by the ENS. In some specific scenarios like Airports if audio is part of your digital signage system, you commonly have to install audio “ducking” equipment so anytime there is a PA announcement your audio will be “ducked.” You can see the liabilities here if this solution isn’t secure and reliable for both the end user or the integrator installing it and saying it will work.
These are just a few of the top liabilities in current era, but there are many more where those came from. What if your monitor falls off the wall and lands on someone? What if the local sign ordinance decides that your images on your sign change too quickly? As you can see, there are a lot of things to watch out for, and there are more serious liabilities, which are enforced by local, state or federal governments. Not only that, but depending upon where you do business, new regulations and requirements may be enacted or change. So, the best advice is to stay informed about what will impact your business.
Author Robert White will present “Emerging Liabilities in Dynamic Digital Signage,” at Digital Signage Expo 2016 on Thursday, March 17 from 9:15-10:15am at the Las Vegas Convention Center. For more information on this or any educational program offered at DSE 2016 or to learn more about digital signage, go here.
Robert White, manager of convergent technologies at Multi-Media Solutions Inc., focuses on where audiovisual and IT meet. With Multi-Media Solutions since March of 2006, White specializes in digital signage solutions, having been to the highest level of training for many of the top enterprise level digital signage packages available, and he oversees all of Multi-Media Solution’s largest digital signage deployments both domestic and international. He also oversees all of the internal IT support decisions. White contributes back to the industry by leading the Digital Signage Special Interest Group within the USAV Group, and has had the opportunity to be a panel speaker at InfoComm on the Digital Signage Application Showcase Stage. He is CTS (Certified Technology Specialist) certified an ANSI accredited certification. He has also served on DSE’s educational committees, recommending topics and reviewing proposals for the annual DSE conference.
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|Polycom Ships RealPresence Trio Aimed at HuddleRoomsThe Polycom RealPresence Trio 8800 is billed as a smart-hub for group collaboration — it looks like a three-point conference phone but adds voice to it for small spaces. Polycom says the RealPresence Trio is aimed at group collaboration as you can share voice (it’s a conference phone) HD content sharing (as you can use it like an iPhone and share apps and documents) and live video (as it has videoconferencing integrated into it’s 5” screen).
RealPresence Trio has a 20-foot pickup range and audio technology such as enhanced Polycom HD Voice and their patented Polycom NoiseBlock. And, you can connect a USB camera to it to make it capable of instant IP-based videoconferencing. With Power-over-Ethernet (PoE), it connects as easily as a phone and integrates directly with your call control platform. Native integration with Microsoft Lync 2013, Skype for Business client and support for all major SIP platforms.
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|Camplex Shows Mini Fiber Optic Camera CablesCamplex just debuted its flexible Gepco mini fiber optic SMPTE camera cables with LEMO FUW/PUW connectors deployed on a rugged reel. The cable assemblies are designed for mobile truck and camera connections where smaller cables are required due to weight and space limitations, and are durable for long distances in outdoor environments when combined with the new Camplex JackReel cable reel.
The mini 7.8 mm SMPTE 311 cable assemblies feature bend insensitive fiber to reduce optical loss during handling which makes them a practical solution for use behind racks and in trucks where space is limited. The Kevlar strength member has the same pull strength as steel and is lighter and more flexible resulting in cables that lay flat and are easy to deploy.
The high capacity reel features an adjustable cam-lock drag brake for fast cable roll out and large, heavy-duty locking caster wheels. The main cable drum is engineered to protect the bend radius of fiber optic cables. A drum divider plate separates connectors and fan-outs from the main cable run during storage.
You can see them here.Leave a Comment
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|Datapath Adds Pair of Capture Cards to VisionSC LineDatapath Ltd has introduced its latest professional AV capture cards: the VisionSC-HD4+ four channel HDMI capture card and the VisionSC-SDI4, a four-channel 3G-SDI capture card.
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The VisionSC-HD4+can be used to meet a wide range of applications that demand multiple channels of video capture from a single card. It has been developed to suit markets from advanced medical and machine vision capture, military applications and security/surveillance systems, through live events broadcasting and lecture capture, to retail display.
Available with either HDMI or DVI adapters, the VisionSC-HD4+ has four on-board HDMI1.4 capture inputs allowing for two channels of 4096x2160p @ 30fps and two channels providing 1920x1080p @ 60fps. All inputs operate independently of each other to enable four separate video sources (including HDCP protected sources) to be captured and controlled simultaneously. The card also features embedded audio support across all four channels.
Developed as a half-length card (110×177-millimeter including heatsink), the VisionSC-HD4+ will fit almost any systems.
The second new Datapath capture card, the VisionSC-SDI4, has been developed to capture multiple high definition SDI video signals, making it the ideal solution for AV professionals working in the broadcast, live event or surgical markets, or for any SDI capable applications. It provides four 3G-SDI inputs, each one capable of capturing 1920x1080p @ 60fps. All of the capture channels are hardware time-stamped, allowing for larger surfaces to be captured and stitched together seamlessly according to requirements.
The VisionSC-SDI4 includes an eight lane PCIe Gen.3 interface, 768 MB frame buffer memory, Datapath unified Windows and Linux driver support, and full support of the Vision Feature set.
For streaming applications, the VisionSC-SDI4 can be used with Windows Media Encoder to compress and stream captured video. The RGBEasy SDK from Datapath is also available for customers wanting to integrate Datapath cards into their own software environments.
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|Christie Adds Boxer 30The Christie Boxer is now available in 2K. The new projector is built for rental staging applications including concerts, amusement parks, projection mapping, live theater and conventions, as well as permanent installations including museums, planetariums, higher education and houses of worship. Omni-directional with integrated Near Field Communication (NFC), a preview screen and 1,500-hour lamp-life to 70 percent brightness, the 30,000 lumen Boxer weighs 160 pounds and features 2K imaging with optional upgrade licenses to 4K DLP. Utilizing the same rigging frame, lenses, lamp modules and projector controls as the Boxer 4K30, the Boxer 30 expands the Boxer family and introduces a resolution upgrade path.
Christie Boxer 30 has six mercury lamps housed in two three-lamp cartridges, Christie TruLife electronics and built-in Christie Twist so without using external solutions, images can be blended and warped from multiple projectors on both curved and irregular surfaces.
Users can monitor the lamp hours and serial numbers through Near Field Communication (NFC) with each lamp – simplifying the effort required to track lamp-life as well as the ability to make fast changeovers so the show goes on without interruption. The Boxer 30 and the entire Boxer family deliver omni-directional orientation capability for greater installation and placement flexibility.
Other Christie Boxer 30 features include:
- 3GSDI, DisplayPort, HDBaseT, optional DVI, optional HDMI, Optional DisplayPort 1.2 connectivity
- 120Hz upgrade available
- Color LCD preview panel
- Lamp life of 1,500 hours to 70 percent initial brightness
- 3DLP image quality combined with Christie TruLife image processing
The Christie Boxer 30 is here.
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|Dukane Enters Huddle/Collaboration Furniture MarketKnown primarily for its educational product line, Dukane is staking a claim in the meeting room market with an integrated collaboration table dubbed the DCT6. The Dukane Collaboration Table (hence, DCT) is billed as an affordably-priced model with adjustable height legs. Dukane is not only aiming it at schools, but as a huddle space piece. Built-in electric allows for power and charging (included) and an integrated flat panel mount accommodates up to a 55″ display. It’s all on casters so it can be wheeled and set-up anywhere.
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|K-array Ships Three New SpeakersK-array’s KU26 compact subwoofers, integrated with one 6” Neodymium transducer and one 6” passive radiator, are now shipping. With a frequency range of 45Hz to 300Hz, the KU26 is a companion for the K-array Lyzard, Vyper and Tornado speakers. Its Neodymium transducer has a double voice coil (16 Ω + 16 Ω) for selectable impedance settings allowing users to combine up to eight KU26 units powered by just one channel of the KA84 amplifier.
The KU26 has been designed to extend the low range in small to medium size rooms. Applications vary from hotels and churches to pubs and restaurants as well as stores and conferences.
K-array has also created a thin subwoofer to complement the Slim Array Technology incorporated in its speakers. The KU44 line array element is an extremely compact, array-able bass element designed to combine with mid-high speakers to provide a full range frequency response with prodigious output in a virtually invisible profile.The line source sub has a frequency range of 50 Hz to 150Hz and is comprised of two 4” Neodymium transducers and two 4” passive radiators engineered for maximum linear excursion and minimum residual noise. For easier use and integration with all KA amplifiers, the KU44 allows the user to choose between two different values of impedance (8/32 Ω). At 32 Ω, as many as eight KU44 units can be powered off a single KA amplifier channel.
KU44 is made entirely of steel, making it extremely resistant even when deployed outside in tough weather conditions. This is ideal for water-front environments where ordinary bass speakers would corrode. It is also impregnable by foreign objects like dust, sand or water, which over time can damage an ordinary audio element. A variety of dedicated hardware accessories provide architects with numerous mounting options for permanent and portable installations best suited for theaters and other venues where invisible line arrays are ideal.
Installing a line array of KU44 subwoofers at the side or behind a line array of Kobras creates a full-range sound source with true line array characteristics down to 50 Hz.
The KA14 is a versatile amplifier, easily adaptable for small applications that do not require a lot of power. Responding to the need of a simple solution for those who do not have a lot of additional resources, the KA14 is a complete system with a mixer, processor and amplifier.
The KA14 features four fully independent and configurable output channels (four 300-watt channels @ 4 Ω). The integrated DSP offers EQ, Matrix, Levels, Delays and a Limiter to avoid the need for external additional processors. The front panel has an easy-to-use touchscreen that gives access to all the basic functions for quick setup and corrections. The KA14 can be used as a mixer for fixed installations thanks to the XLR and RCA analog inputs.
An onboard K-array speaker preset library provides configuration for endless combinations of the Lyzard, Vyper, Tornado and Rumble loudspeakers. All DSP functions are remote controlled via the K-framework software over USB connector. The amplifier is built into a 2U lightweight, aluminum chassis and come with a kit of removable rack adapters and four rubber pads for flat surfaces. KA amplifiers feature optical limiters, and protection against overheating, overcurrent and short circuits.
More information on K-Array products is here.Leave a Comment
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|Extron Introduces Entwine EMP, an Enterprise Media Platform for Lecture CaptureExtron just launched its first new product since its acquisition of Entwine this summer — the EMP, an integrated end-to-end software solution that facilitates the capture, management and playback of media files from meetings, lectures and other live events. With Entwine EMP, previously recorded media files can be added to the system, ensuring current as well as archived recordings are accessible from a single platform. Content is cataloged and optimized for distribution or VOD – Video On Demand playback, and management of content and devices across the entire enterprise is provided by a dedicated administrative dashboard. Students and end-users access scheduled or ad hoc recorded media through a customizable user portal or through a LMS – Learning Management System.
Extron’s Entwine EMP works easily with Extron SMP 351 Series Streaming Media Processors to record and process content. Content management features allow cataloging, searching, and editing across a host of media file formats using Entwine EMP’s administrative or user portal, saving time and effort. Integration with various external databases such as LDAP/AD, makes it easy to create and manage user groups and role management. Entwine EMP can also edit and enhance videos, including trimming, splitting, combining and adding closed captioning.
The Extron EMP is here.Leave a Comment
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|FX Luminaire Drop-in LED Lamp Converts Incandescent Fixtures to LED with Luxor CompatibilityFX Luminaire announced the release of the new ZD MR-16, a high-quality drop-in LED lamp that converts incandescent fixtures to energy-efficient LED fixtures. When connected to a Luxor ZD transformer, the ZD MR-16 adds zoning, dimming, and Wi-Fi control capabilities to any brand of low voltage incandescent landscape lighting fixture.
The ZD MR-16 is compatible with any brand of low voltage fixture that accepts an MR-16 base. It is offered in two intensities, four beam angle options: 10, 25, 35, 60, and two color temperatures: 2700 and 3900 Kelvin. It works with both the Luxor ZD and ZDC controllers.
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|Mackie Reach Professional PA System Now ShippingMackie today started shipping their Reach Professional PA System. Reach is an all-in-one professional PA system that delivers ultra-wide coverage, unmatched sound quality, and built-in personal monitoring. Featuring Bluetooth music streaming, a full-featured, six-channel digital mixer and a powerful control app for iOS and Android, Reach is a self-contained PA system. With Reach, users can deliver their best performance ever thanks to powerful technology like the ARC array, which provides clear, high-fidelity sound to everyone in the audience, and the built-in EarShot personal monitoring system, giving performers true, flexible stage monitoring without the need for additional speakers and miles of cables. Plus, with wireless streaming and control over the built-in six-channel digital mixer via the Mackie Connect app for iOS and Android devices, you get wireless freedom to control everything from levels, EQ and FX to sound-enhancing tools like a feedback destroyer for amazing sound in any situation.
The ARC (Amplified Radial Curve) high frequency array technology in Reach utilizes three horizontally angled high-frequency drivers paired with dual vertically spaced high-output low-frequency drivers, providing 150 degrees of coverage for optimal sound quality, even for audiences spread over a wide or deep area. Combined with the EarShot personal monitoring system, you get a total of 250 degrees of room coverage for ultimate versatility.
Equally as important to what the audience hears, is a performer’s ability to hear themselves on stage. Reach’s built-in EarShot personal monitoring system offers the perfect solution. With a powerful full-range driver on each side of Reach, performers can get clear sound on stage to deliver their best performance. It also offers independent volume control and selectable configuration for flexibility.
One of Reach’s most powerful features is complete wireless control using the Mackie Connect app, available for iOS and Android devices. The Mackie Connect app puts the user in control of everything — from simple level adjustments to control over professional performance features like three-band channel EQ, a built-in feedback destroyer, application-specific speaker voicing modes,16 vocal/instrument effects, as well as three recallable memory settings to quickly get Reach back to your favorite settings. With the built-in six-channel digital mixer, you have all the inputs, processing and control you need, making Reach the ultimate all-in-one professional PA system.
The Mackie Reach Professional PA System is now shipping for $1,249.99 and here are the details.Leave a Comment
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|VDO360 Ships Clearwater PTZPCVDO360’s Clearwater PTZPC, launched at InfoComm 2015, is now shipping.
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Using a camera module based on Compass HD PTZ USB camera the VDO360 Clearwater uses a computer with an Intel Core i5 processor with vPro technology. The Clearwater PTZPC is a completely new way to do BYOD collaboration. By uniting a VDO360 Compass camera with an Intel 5th generation i5 PC, VDO360 says they have has solved one of the most vexing issues facing communications space design: Where and how to run the cabling.
The Clearwater PTZPC turns the camera and computer into one single unit — no more worrying about USB cables. It’s smaller than most USB PTZ cameras but includes a wireless BYOD system, a VTC camera, a Harman Kardon Esquire 2 microphone, a Flare IR preset recall buttons, a wireless keyboard and mouse, and the IR remote for camera control.
With the use of WiDi (Wireless Display) capabilities, the Clearwater system can be configured to be completely wireless, with the exception of power to the PTZPC. Here are all the specs.
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|Pexip Intros New Fusion Technology for Microsoft Skype for Business and Lync with Infinity 11Pexip today announced that the next version of its Infinity platform will include new Pexip Fusion technology. Pexip Fusion claims to simplify the user experience for Microsoft Skype for Business or Lync users when they join meetings that include standards-based SIP or H.323 videoconferencing users, providing unmatched and fully native user experiences for meetings that span traditional technology silos.
Pexip Fusion is activated automatically in video-based meetings with participants using a mix of Skype for Business and legacy videoconferencing. Specifically, Skype for Business users will find familiar layouts, participant listings, and meeting controls. They can, for instance, drag and drop standards-based videoconferencing users into meetings as they would with other Skype users. While in a Skype meeting, participants can also drag and drop Pexip Virtual Meeting Room (VMR) contacts into the meeting to merge complete meetings seamlessly based on different technologies. Likewise, videoconferencing users will benefit from their familiar layouts and environments. Skype users then appear as if they were standard videoconferencing participants. During any meeting, Pexip’s unique content sharing capabilities enable anyone to share presentations, documents and other content with meeting participants.
Pexip says Fusion goes beyond encompassing legacy videoconferencing and Skype for Business and Lync technologies. It also provides participants using mobile devices or Web-browser-based video with the same experience. When using Pexip Infinity as a gateway or as the primary meeting platform, Fusion applies technology elements that define and control how standards-based videoconferencing and other video-enabled clients — such as WebRTC or Pexip’s own Infinity Connect clients — work when they connect with Skype meetings.
Pexip Fusion is part of the company’s new HyperNative experience concept, which claims extensive native experiences across any platform or technology, with native apps, clients and experiences for each. Their goal is to simplify users’ participation in virtual collaborative meetings and conferences.
All the details are here.Leave a Comment
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|KLIK Intros New Wireless HD Streaming Box Aimed at Conference, Meeting and ClassroomsKLIK Communications just launched the KLIK Boks Wireless Presentation Connector — a device that wirelessly streams the contents of their laptop, tablet or smartphone to a projector or monitor for $249. Similar to the now-ubiquitous video streaming sticks available for consumer use, the KLIK Boks targets corporate meeting and conference rooms, classrooms and meeting spaces with a host of what they claim are “professional-grade features.”
KLIK Boks includes both HDMI and VGA connectivity. The company claims it’s developed something called KLIK’s SmartSense detection technology that automatically matches the display settings between the laptop and the screen (i.e., EDID).
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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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