Volume 10, Issue 10 — October 10, 2017
|A Thoughtful Approach to Active Learning|
By Scott Tiner
Active learning has been on the rise in American college classrooms over the past several years. In general, active learning usually takes place in a classroom that is designed for more group work and discussion and less lecturing from the front of the room. There are dozens of varieties of active learning, and most furniture and AV manufacturers have been trying to get into the growing market.
At Bates College, we have carefully approached active learning. Over the past few years, we have had guest speakers from other colleges who practice active learning, we have had consultants come in a look at space and (most importantly) we have had faculty who have told us what they are looking for in an active classroom. Last winter several of us participated in writing a grant to renovate a classroom and make it an active learning space. Fortunately, we were awarded the grant and over the summer the room was completed.
I will get to the technology in the room in a moment, but first I think it is important to recognize how we approached the design of the room, and how faculty were assigned to teach in it. The room we renovated was a tiered classroom, that sat about 40 students. Due to the size of the room, the fact that it had no external walls and that it was tiered made it rather unpopular with instructors. This was key to choosing a room. We did not want to take a room that people felt was already functioning well and force a re-design. Our second decision was that faculty would not be randomly assigned to the room, but rather, they would have to request it. This would allow us to design a room that was really different and no one would be forced to adapt to it. Rather, faculty would WANT to adapt to it. This is an important key for any integrators or designers who are putting together active classrooms. Make sure you understand how the institution is going to use the room. Make sure you know how the faculty intend on using the room. Design your space from that knowledge, rather than from what you did in the last install, or what may be the most profitable for you.
Our room has a significant amount of technology in it, as many active classrooms do. Our designer (our own Senior AV Analyst Ben Lizzotte) was very careful not to make the room ABOUT technology. The technology is there to enhance what is happening in the room, not to dictate what happens in the room. The room has six televisions to pair up with the six octagonal tables in the room. In our rack are six corresponding Kramer VIA devices. Students are able to connect to the VIA’s with any device they chose and project that content onto any, or all, of the monitors. The classroom lectern houses a Crestron touchpanel that also doubles as the computer monitor. The computer is located in the rack, so that the lectern can maintain its small size. Over the podium is a ceiling mounted document camera. There are two cameras in the room, one for web conferencing and another for classroom capture. Finally, several microphones are in the ceiling to tie in with the previously mentioned uses. One sticking point in our initial discussions about the room was whether there would be a projector. Several felt that a projector would cause instructors to fall back to the “front of the room” lecture. However, after listening to our faculty, it was clear that there are times that a front to the room is needed. This may be to watch a video clip or to watch presentations from students.
Due to the very flexible technology design the room can be used any way a faculty member, or other users choose. The only technology that sits on the floor of the classroom is the small lectern. This can be easily moved by disconnecting a couple of CAT5 cables and a power cord. This is important for our users, because too often we have seen rooms designed to be flexible. Unfortunately, this “flexibility” often takes several minutes in order to achieve and may not work. That is, we can not expect faculty or students to spend 10 minutes at the beginning of any class, rearranging the room, moving portable walls, or rolling technology in or out of the room.
In the first several weeks of the use of the room, the feedback has been excellent. Because the work was paid for with a grant, we have been purposeful in collecting data from faculty and students about the room. Interestingly, some of the students were initially apprehensive about the room. This was the first time for them to walk into a space that did not look like your typical lecture or seminar room. It took some time to understand that they had an active role in this setting. The faculty were very interested in exploring how to use the room and technology. One interesting thing that we noted immediately is that the students preferred using the monitors near their table, over the central projector, when they needed to view common information.
Data collection is an area where integrators and designers could also assist and provide services. Even if installs are not grant funded, schools are using data more than ever. Being able to understand what students and faculty thought of the spaces, along with how and if the room improved learning, is a critical piece of knowing whether to install more rooms to allow for active learning. This is where the integrators could provide value, after having been involved in several other installations. A well vetted data collection method would help us understand how the room compares to what other schools have done.
Through the process we learned the valuable lesson that moving carefully and thoughtfully can produce an excellent result. Most importantly, listening to the people who will use the space, before design, during design and after installation is critical to fulfilling their desires for the space. Listening to what others have done is also important, but you need to design for the cultures and uniqueness of your institution.Leave a Comment
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|Higher Education Uses AV Integration to Curate Leaders|
By Alan Brawn, CTS, DSCE, DSDE, DSNE, DCME, ISF-C
Let me begin with a bit of candor. Over the years, I have observed that when those in the AV integration industry speak about typical projects for the education market… they usually sound mundane, and it is easy to assume what the project will entail. For a while now, most AV designs have embraced a standard cookie cutter approach. Since the turn of the century, there has simply been a projector (with a screen) or a flat panel display in the classroom. For the more advanced designs, perhaps a sound system and remote control of some sort. Until recently, the status quo meant that little creativity was inspired, and certainly few instances of pushing the technological envelope. For those out there who have more advanced systems, save the emails — I do know there are some examples of creativity and pushing the envelope, but most classrooms are just basic AV at the core. Rarely less, but rarely more.
There are a lot of reasons for this. First and foremost, there are budgets to consider. Education has always been budget-conscious with variations in funding region by region, school by school and department by department. The largest portion of funding tends to go to the most visible (read: profitable) departments and the more obscure ones tend to languish money-wise. A second issue is a lagging knowledge and acceptance of more advanced AV technologies in many schools. Again, this varies by department, but university technicians (i.e., the people that make the systems work) tell me that many professors are reluctant to learn how to use the systems, and have concerns that the systems are unreliable and will impede their teaching effectiveness. The fact is that whether we are speaking about budgets, the total cost of ownership or learning curves (and acceptance) by the teaching community, education has not been a bastion of AV technological advancement until recently.
Of course, this begs the question, what has changed? The answer lies within two concepts: the ubiquity of networks and digital signage. These two elements have altered the way things are done on many university campuses, and the combination involves a rapid expansion far beyond the confines of a projector or flat panel display in the student union that might have been a typical example a few short years ago.
Conventional wisdom tells us that educational institutions should be a driving force of innovative ideas and applications, but the hallowed halls of academia have not always lived up to that ideal — at least in the case of AV technologies and advanced communications. The good news is that colleges and universities are now beginning to exceed previous expectations. In fact, the world of education is becoming the incubator of AV technologies and digital signage applications, design and acceptance in the market. Advances in digital signage are permeating other market niches as well, such as corporate and health care, with education rightfully leading the way. Bold claims aside, let’s examine some specifics on how this has become a reality.
As an umbrella to all of this, we need to consider the impact that instant information and connectivity have had on all our lives, and how it has radically changed how we think and act over the last few years. As a population, we have changed the way we send and receive information in every way — from our TV viewing habits at home, all the way to business and yes, education. We are not only acclimated but in many cases addicted to our smartphones, tablets, laptops and even smart watches with emails, text messages and Tweets. We don’t write personal letters anymore; we communicate via Facebook or Twitter and connect professionally via LinkedIn. People are expecting and demanding that information come to them immediately where they are and not vice versa. This is the genesis of the new wave and expanded the view of communication and uses of digital signage.
To understand why the education community, colleges and universities are leading the way, it is necessary to embrace the concept of necessity being the mother of invention, adding the benefits of innovation. First, look at the university in a new light: By its very design, it is a full-fledged encapsulated and controlled community (for the most part), with most services that the outside world utilizes collected in one spot. It is an ecosystem unto itself. It is an ideal lab to be used as a testbed for expanded communication using digital signage. There are classrooms spread about, administration buildings, student unions, cafeterias, dorms, athletic facilities, stadiums, healthcare, maintenance facilities, public areas, roads and signs, and even power plants. The common denominator in all this diversity is the need to connect these disparate areas to one another in some manner and do so with the ability to centrally manage the flow of information with a high degree of security. The perfect solution to this is digital signage.
There are numerous examples of digital signage areas where the educational community has been at the forefront for some time. First, the emergency notification networks that are mandated by nearly every state. There must be a way to get emergency warnings throughout the campus. This must be managed in a central location, but with the ability to access it at other predetermined spots (with proper security and administrative approval levels). Second is wayfinding: Think about how complex many campuses are, with all the facilities we mentioned earlier that need to be included as part of finding a path to a location, room or a service in a building. Third on our list is interactivity. Things like accessibility and ADA compliance need to be considered, as does the security of the interactive display itself against theft and vandalism. Environmental concerns are also part of the equation on most campuses, from outdoor to indoor with temperature extremes both cold and hot, as well as dirt and debris that might affect the operation of the network, and addressing the impact of high ambient light and the ability to read a display.
We can wrap up the hardware side of this by mentioning two recent applications of digital signage. As we all know, the financial well-being of educational institutions is critical, and most depend on donors to make charitable contributions to fund projects of all types. The inclusion of what is known as “honor walls” is a trend at many campuses. This grouping of displays gives credit to those who step up to donate or provide leadership in other significant ways. When one department gets theirs, it is only a matter of time for the next one to demand time in the limelight for their VIPs. The second and most significant wave of technology adoption is the inclusion of portable devices connected wirelessly to the digital signage networks on campus. Whether it is near field communications (NFC) or some other wireless form of connectivity such as beacons, students, administrators, faculty, and visitors can get information on their personal devices instantaneously no matter where they are. On the software side of things, the education community is now leading as well. Once again it is the diversity of applications within higher education institutions that stretches the envelope. From the ability to segment by applications, departments, locations or even functions, all the way to dayparting information in an area, it is the ability to control, distribute and manage information that is making innovation a reality. Add to this central management the ability to set administrative approval levels for the appropriate people to be in control, and you have a network capability that is profound in what it can do.
Most of what we have spoken about involves a combination of hardware, operational software, and networks. This is the raw material of the next phase of technological evolution in education. What’s next you might ask? Our crystal ball tells us that the next phase is using the tools that exist to their best advantage to create what some are calling smart schools. We will see an expansion of the use of personal devices like smartphones and tablets connected to educational networks. Interactivity will become commonplace, with real-time annotations on screens. Online learning will supplement what takes place within the “confines” of a traditional classroom. We are entering the era of big data and increased and expanding access to the collective knowledge of the world, and a keyword is a collaboration.
Colleges and universities are leading the way in digital signage for a basic reason: More than most other institutions they have a wide range of applications under one environmental envelope with the requirement to communicate with people both on and off campus, and do so in real time with the best security that can be brought to bear. The challenge is how to solve the problems of reaching people with such diversity of needs for information and content and manage it all effectively and efficiently. The education communities’ answer to these needs ends up incorporating digital signage in more diverse ways, spanning the classroom to the campus and beyond. Perhaps some of this experimentation and development in digital signage is an unintended consequence, but we can look to colleges and universities to continue to lead the way in communicating the information viewers need as they go about their daily lives. Evolution? Nope, a revolution in education where it should be.
This column was reposted with permission and originally appeared here.Leave a Comment
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|Vaddio Finally Ships OneLINK Bridge|
Vaddio is now shipping the OneLINK Bridge AV Interface, its camera and HDBaseT extension solutions. OneLINK Bridge is a crossover appliance that combines a camera extension system with an audio mixer, creating a USB bridge that connects professional AV sources to PCs – all in a single device. It allows end users to convert an audio/video source from any PTZ camera or AV switcher into a USB 3.0 media stream and easily use applications like Skype for Business, Google Hangouts, WebEx and Zoom.
OneLINK Bridge uses HDBaseT technology to extend power, control and video from Vaddio RoboSHOT Cameras, third party PTZ cameras, and compatible HDBaseT A/V switchers up to 100 meters (328 feet) over a single HDBaseT Cat-5e/6 cable. It includes HDMI and HD-SDI outputs, two mic line inputs with echo cancellation, two line outputs and associated digital audio channels. It also provides a composite USB stream with 1080p/60 video and stereo 48kHz audio to ensure optimal quality of content.
OneLINK Bridge’s flexible design works in multiple applications such as unified communications and collaboration, recording and lecture capture.
OneLINK Bridge works with Vaddio RoboSHOT HDBT Cameras and the RoboSHOT 20 UHD Camera, and is available in kits optimized for use with Cisco, Polycom, Sony, Panasonic and Vaddio PTZ Cameras. OneLINK Bridge can also be used as a stand-alone HDBaseT receiver to get USB 3.0 (video and audio), HDMI and HD-SDI to the table from HDBaseT AV switchers from Crestron, AMX and Kramer. What? Why not Extron?
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|NEC Launches New P Series Projectors Aimed at EducationNEC Display Solutions Europe has today launched three new projectors — P554U, P554W and P603X — in its P Series range to further enhance corporate meeting rooms and learning environments. These projectors deliver brightness levels of up to 6,000 ANSI lumen and brilliantly vivid colors thanks to its LCD technology ensuring presentations are clear and visible, with high contrast levels.
Education institutions and companies have high expectations for projectors to offer vast performance and reliability. Not only does the audience need to be presented with incredible image quality, but organizations also expect their equipment to have long life and low maintenance.
With the patented LCD panel dust protection and long lamp life the new P Series is designed to address these needs. A wide zoom and horizontal / vertical lens shift make it easy to adjust the projection to existing screen, while the latest interface technology makes it the ideal solution for customers looking for flexible, future proof connectivity.
Here are details on the P554U and P554W and the P603X.Leave a Comment
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|Extron Ships VoiceLift Pro Wireless Classroom Microphone System|
Extron has announced the immediate availability of the new VoiceLift Pro Microphone, an update to the company’s classroom sound field solutions. Using RF wireless technology. VoiceLift Pro utilizes digital transmission and pairing in a dedicated spectrum to provide superior performance over traditional systems. Benefits include higher sound quality, increased reliability, and greater range, with reduced interference. VoiceLift Pro integrates seamlessly with any PlenumVault, WallVault or PoleVault installation, providing a complete classroom AV and voice amplification solution.
The VoiceLift Pro Microphone is based on an industry standard radio frequency technology operating in a spectrum reserved exclusively for voice communications. This RF technology is not susceptible to environmental factors, such as windows, sunlight and fluorescent lighting, which can create problems for infrared systems. It also does not suffer from the licensing restrictions and proximity issues of traditional RF microphones. The VLM 3001 system includes a pendant microphone, receiver and charging station, as well as cables necessary for connecting to an Extron Classroom AV System. The VLM 3002 adds a second pendant microphone while the VLM 3002H adds a handheld microphone.
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|InfoComm International Changes Name to AVIXAIn a surprise announcement today, InfoComm International (the organization) changed its name to the Audiovisual and Integrated Experience Association (AVIXA). For now, InfoComm the trade show will keep its name (both the trade show in the U.S. every June, as well as the international versions such as InfoComm China). They will just be operated by AVIXA instead of InfoComm International.
In the past year, we’ve heard — well, the organization formerly known as InfoComm International talk a lot about the technology experience, or integrated experience, which we’ve heard at shows and in marketing materials. It turns out this was laying the groundwork for a complete rebrand of the organization.
The rebrand evolved out of the strategic plan that the InfoComm board and executive team has been working on for the past two years. At a press event today, David Labuskes, executive and CEO of InfoComm International/AVIXA, said the team did not come to the decision to rebrand lightly. He said, “You shouldn’t change your name. If you can do anything else, you shouldn’t change your name… But [after much thought and discussion], none of the other options worked or were authentic.” He also said, “It’s about the survival of our current members. We evolve or we die.”
AVIXA wants to expand its membership, and based on what we heard today, much of this growth will be through end users, with the goal of enticing content creators and so-called experience directors to the organization. An example of an “experience director” might be someone at a Fortune 500 company who decides what level of collaboration technology she wants her team to use, or an advertising executive who utilizes creative technology in campaigns. AVIXA says it will be changing, or expanding, its membership structure as well, which will include individual memberships that in some cases will have no charge.
AVIXA also said it decided to announce the change now, rather than at the InfoComm show in June, because they didn’t want the announcement to overshadow or in any way take away from the announcements the exhibitors were themselves making.
There will be much more information to come on this big change in the days and weeks to come. Please leave your thoughts in the comments — we want to know what you think. The full statement from AVIXA is below.
InfoComm International has changed its name to the Audiovisual and Integrated Experience Association (AVIXA). The change reflects AVIXA’s broadening mission to be an industry hub, while also acting as a catalyst for market growth beyond what has been considered traditionally as professional AV.
AVIXA’s trade shows worldwide, including the North America show, June 2-8 in Las Vegas, will continue to operate under the InfoComm name.
“This is an exciting time for our industry and for the advancement of audiovisual solutions across a wide range of customer experiences,” said David Labuskes, CTS, CAE, RCDD, Executive Director and CEO of AVIXA. “Thanks to the innovative, creative efforts of so many members, partners, and their customers, we have collectively grown far beyond what InfoComm International could do to promote AV around the world. AV experiences have become so ubiquitous, and they’ve come to include so many more technologies, and touch so many more personal and professional lives, that we felt compelled to embrace a new identity that more accurately reflects this industry’s excitement and welcomes a far more diverse community of professionals.”
In recent years, AVIXA’s members have evolved to offer much more than audiovisual products and systems. Their innovation and attention to customer requirements has led to an industry of solution providers that use audiovisual technology to create outcomes. AVIXA membership has grown to include experiential designers, content creators, IT companies, and users of AV solutions across a growing cross section of markets. AVIXA’s 2017 InfoComm show in Orlando last June attracted a greater share of AV customers than in any other year.
By adopting the name AVIXA, the industry association, which operates as a trade organization representing companies and a professional society representing individuals, aims to reflect both what its members do (AV) and what they create for customers, which are integrated experiences (IX).
“The AVIXA Board of Directors has set out an ambitious plan to grow the association, increase awareness of AV experiences, and reinvent our brand in order to propel this industry into the future,” said Gary Hall, CTS-D, CTS-I, President of the AVIXA Board, and Federal Strategy, Planning and Operations Leader at Cisco Systems. “With new and different people and technologies coming into this space, we are thrilled that AVIXA will be home to all of them.”
AVIXA was founded in 1939 as the National Association of Visual Education Dealers. In 1949, NAVED merged with the Allied Non-Theatrical Film Association to form the National Audio-Visual Association. NAVA changed its name to the International Communications Industries Association in 1983, which became InfoComm International in 2005.
“Organizations evolve,” said Labuskes. “AVIXA’s core programs remains the same—training, certification, standards, community, market intelligence, tradeshows—but the industry has changed in exciting ways, and the opportunity to grow the market for audiovisual experience is so vast, it was important that the AV industry’s leading association change with it.”
AVIXA is here.
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|AVI-SPL Acquires Sharp’s Audio Visual in Canada|
AVI-SPL today announced the acquisition of Canadian integration firm Sharp’s Audio Visual (aka: Sharp’s), becoming the first national provider of AV and collaboration technology solutions in Canada. With the addition of Sharp’s to its existing operation in Canada, AVI-SPL will significantly enhance and expand its ability to design, build, manage, and support collaboration technology deployments for organizations throughout Canada and around the world.
Headquartered in Calgary, Alberta, Sharp’s has eight locations across six provinces in Canada. Founded in 1923, the company is a trusted technology solutions partner for many of today’s most recognizable organizations worldwide. Sharp’s 94-year history of success is linked to its dedication and track-record of innovation, and commitment to its customer’s needs. Together as one, AVI-SPL and Sharp’s will optimize these values to provide transformative technology that creates meaningful experiences and brand value for its clients across Canada and around the world.
Following the merger announcement, current Sharp’s’ customers will be provided 24/7 Global Help Desk support and new remote monitoring and management capabilities via AVI-SPL’s Unify ME Symphony platform to proactively assess the health and usage of their collaborative environments worldwide. The companies’ unification will form the industry’s most certified team of engineers and technicians in Canada and worldwide, a valuable offering that intrigued each firm from the beginning.
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|Electro-Voice Intros EVID-S Commercial Loudspeakers for Indoor and Outdoor UseThe EVID-S series, from Electro-Voice, is the latest member of the EVID (EV Innovative Design) family of commercial loudspeakers for installed applications. Every aspect of the EVID-S series has been designed from the ground up, they say, to ensure efficient installation for the contractor. The series includes 4-inch, 5.25-inch and 8-inch 2-way models with matching dual-10-inch and single 12-inch subwoofers, making it easy to select a suitable model a specific space – a new go-to solution for distributed sound systems.
All EVID-S models offer Electro-Voice-engineered components for sound quality, low-profile looks and reliability for a wide range of indoor and outdoor applications. These include retail environments, hospitality settings such as bars, lounges, patios, pool areas and restaurants, conference and meeting rooms, fitness clubs, performing arts and sports venues and houses of worship. The series offers true weatherproof construction for outdoor spaces, confirmed by extensive and rigorous testing above and beyond industry norms. All models are paintable and IP54 certified for weather resistance. An IP65 weatherproof version is available for the 5.25-inch loudspeaker cabinet and the 10-inch subwoofer models.
The new wall-mount system makes installation quicker and easier than ever before: Attach the wall-mount (a built-in bubble level saves time) and terminate the cables inside, apply the paint cover to protect the wall-mount until construction is completed (when the cover can be removed), and then simply slide the pre-wired speaker with adjustable arm onto the wall-mount and lock into place.
The products include:
- EVID-S4.2 (4” two-way cabinet)
- EVID-S5.2 (5” two-way cabinet)
- EVID-S8.2 (8” two-way cabinet)
- EVID-S10.2 (dual 10” subwoofer)
- EVID-S12.2 (single 12” subwoofer
- B, W – black, white color
- T – output transformer
- X – waterproof IP65 rating (5.25-inch versions only)
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|ZeeVee Shows 4K Compressed AV-Over-IP 1G Ethernet Switch with ZyPerUHDZeeVee announced the expansion of its ZyPer IP based distribution platform with the launch of the new ZyPerUHD. ZeeVee now offers both compressed and uncompressed options for delivering 4K over a standard Ethernet switch (4K @ 60Hz 4:2:0).
The new ZyperUHD encoders and decoders provide ultra-low latency (less than two frames), compressed video up to Ultra-HD/4K resolution using an off-the-shelf 1Gb Ethernet switch. This makes it possible for businesses to deploy UHD throughout their facility and even interconnect campuses while leveraging their existing IP infrastructure. ZeeVee is the first company to offer a full line of AV over IP and AV over RF solutions.
ZyPerUHD is capable of supporting HDR. It can address video walls up to 5×5 and is HDCP 2.2 compliant. It is compatible with ZeeVee’s MaestroZ Management Platform making configuration simple and rapid. The management platform allows for ZyPerUHD to network to a nearly unlimited number of sources and displays and offers an intuitive graphical user interface (GUI) which allows for switching sources, and creating video walls. The ZyPerUHD follows ZeeVee’s core belief that software applications driven over standards based Ethernet networks are the future of AV distribution, and offer far more capability and flexibility than proprietary and matrix switched hardware.
The ZyPerUHD features HDMI input with HDMI loop-out and balanced audio input/output ports for managing audio. USB connectivity is provided for integration with touch panels and KVM. Source and display control is facilitated through RS232, IR and USB ports. Using industry standard IP networking technology, ZeeVee is the most scalable and easily controlled way for sending HD, UHD or 4K video to any display, enterprise, building or stadium without using expensive, proprietary AV Matrix switchers.
With the expansion of ZeeVee’s IP offering, the ZyPer product suite can support almost every video distribution requirement – from compressed HD with ZyPerHD; compressed 4K with ZyPerUHD; and uncompressed, zero-latency UHD/4K video with ZyPer4K.
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|Matrox Ships Maevex 6150 Quad 4K Enterprise Encoder|
Matrox Graphics announced the immediate public availability of their latest product, the Matrox Maevex 6150 quad 4K enterprise encoder.
The Maevex 6150 dramatically increases the potential encoding density for a stand-alone appliance, delivering quad 4K input capture and encode, supporting a total of four concurrent 4K streams and recordings. This makes Maevex 6150 ideal for simultaneously streaming on premises, streaming to the cloud or recording for distribution later.
The 6150 quad 4K enterprise encoder appliance that claims to provide system independence and eliminates the need for additional equipment. Integrating seamlessly with standard 1 Gigabit Ethernet networks, Maevex 6150 includes a zero-latency pass-through for real-time output of audio/video content on all four 4K inputs (4K@60Hz 10-bit).
Built on the open-standard H.264 codec, Maevex 6150 is compatible with all computers, devices, and networks, including the full range of Maevex Series products as well as third-party technologies. Multi-Chroma sub-sampling delivers 4:4:4, 4:2:2, 4:2:0 and 4:0:0 options to best balance quality and bandwidth demands of different encoding environments and markets.
In terms of management, the Maevex PowerStream Plus AV-over-IP management application provides control over the entire Maevex network—including Maevex 6150 appliances and the Maevex 6100 PCIe quad 4K encoder cards, as well as Maevex 5100 Series Full HD encoders and decoders. For those looking for customized control, the PowerStream Plus API grants integrators and developers command-level access to build their own Maevex control application or to integrate Maevex functionality in third-party applications.
The Maevex 6150 quad 4K encoder appliance delivers an unlimited number of streams through third-party technologies like streaming media servers, and content delivery networks (CDNs).
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|New Storage Solutions Ship from Chief|
Chief is now shipping new storage solutions including the PAC527 Extra-Large In-Wall Storage Box, the CSPR Component Storage Panel, and the CSPH Under-Table Component Storage Panel.
The PAC527 Extra-Large In-Wall Storage Box simplifies flat panel installation by providing an organized, recessed space for routing excess cables and AV components.
A multi-level, multi-sectioned backplane with universal mounting slots makes it easier to arrange components and maximize the space available in all three dimensions. This helps installers be more flexible with difficult port locations on AV equipment. As with Chief’s other in-wall boxes, the PAC527 features break away edges that make it compatible with both standard 3.5” studs and 2.5” studs so installers can easily accommodate any stud depth on site. Knockouts for single gang outlets and 1.25, 1 and 0.5” conduit are built in.
Bundles are available with box, flange and cover combinations. The PAC527 can be ordered with isolated ground four or six receptacle outlets featuring multi-stage filtration and surge protection to improve reliability and functionality of connected equipment.
The CSPH Under-Table Component Storage Panel provides storage while eliminating the mess of components and cables underneath conference room tables and desks. With over 350 square inches (2258 square centimeters) of secure attachment area, it’s for ensuring efficient and consistent component placement over large rollouts. Once installed, the CSPH pivots 90° to allow easier access in vertical position.
- Enclosure UL 2416 Listed
- Backplane ships in two sections and can be broken down into a total of four smaller sections
- Printable backplane template for planning purposes
- Provides a larger, easy-to-organize space to accommodate AV equipment – 22″ (559 millimeters) tall
- Pre- and post-construction installation options
Another new organization option from Chief – the CSPR Component Storage Panel – provides over 160 square inches (1032 square centimeters) of secure attachment area for AV equipment independent of display mounts. A handle provides easier access while securing equipment or installing behind the display. Technicians can remove the CSPR to service equipment without removing the display. This solution is ideal for standardizing the deployment of AV component configuration across large projects.
- 1/3 and 2/3 breakaways in case less space is required
- Brackets available separately to use extra breakaway space elsewhere
- Shipped with template to ensure accurate mounting of brackets
- Security locking screws
- Handle for ease of transport, install and maneuvering of panel
- Installs behind or along any wall mount or display
- Removable for component service without moving the display
- Security locking mechanism
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|Barco and wePresent Upgrade Wireless Presentation System|
Barco announced an upgrade of the wePresent WiPG-1600 wireless presentation and collaboration system. This newer model now accommodates both wired and wireless connections thus users can switch between different networking solutions (wired LAN, wireless LAN, wired LAN + wireless LAN) to meet different facility needs.
Extra networking solutions are not the only bonus. The new WiPG-1600 also added on-screen annotation tools and virtual whiteboard and 1-to-many distribution makes it possible for the same content to be displayed on up to four separate screens simultaneously.
The USB document viewer/media player facilitates users to present without any PC/Mac/mobile devices, and power over Ethernet (POE) allows for more flexible device placement as no power adapter is required. Barco says that video streaming avoids frozen screens and thus ensures seamless sharing.
These new features, together with enhanced wireless security and the existing strong cross- platform capability (Windows, MacOS, Chrome OS, Android, iOS as well as Air-Play support), are an interesting development as Barco starts to shift wePresent from a separate company to a brand of Barco, themselves.
You can learn all about the WiPG-1600 here.
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|AV Over IP Sales Up Over 130 in 2017AV over IP is poised to eventually revolutionize the low-latency Pro AV market, according to a newly-released industry report from Futuresource Consulting. Moving from a position of relative obscurity, AV over IP encoder/decoder ports will enjoy a year-on-year increase of over 130 percent.|
AV over IP describes the distribution of video over an IP network within an enterprise, hospital or campus at low latencies. Traditionally, the distribution of video from multiple sources to multiple endpoints such as displays, projectors and monitors has required a matrix switcher; a large and costly piece of hardware.
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Although we agree with most of what Futuresource is saying here below, we believe it will be a slower transition to acceptance. And, until both Extron
have a complete line of AV-over-IP products, most of the ProAV integration community will go slowly adopting this new way of signal routing. Don’t underestimate this impact. But, once you see both of those companies out with a FAMILY or products — not just one line — then you’ll see rapid adoption.
“This is a game changer for the industry and its impact cannot be overstated,” says Anthony Brennan, research analyst at Futuresource Consulting. “We’re seeing the beginnings of a trend that will shake up the industry, with our forecasts pointing to a volume CAGR of nearly 50 percent during the next five years. Make no mistake, AV over IP will transform the way the Pro AV market interacts with and controls AV systems.”
Until recently, AV over IP solutions were considered unrealistic in low-latency Pro AV applications, but they are now competing directly with established technologies and forcing the global matrix switcher market into a period of decline.
“The matrix switcher market is well established,” says Brennan, “and with high barriers to entry it has been monopolized by a handful of large companies. The low barriers associated with AV over IP are allowing smaller companies to compete directly with these large enterprises, merging the worlds of IT and AV, placing software solutions at the heart of the AV industry and fostering innovation and competition. For savvy vendors equipped with the right market information, the scale of the opportunity is enormous.”
From signal distribution brands to IT software and infrastructure players and the wider Pro AV community, the effects of this transition are far-reaching. Furthermore, the threat to established vendors is being amplified by their investments in AV over IP.
“The major signal distribution and control players have tough decisions to make,” adds Brennan. “They must risk cannibalizing their own core businesses by wholesale investment in AV over IP or fall by the wayside as the new Pro AV land grab takes hold.”
Futuresource expects AV over IP solutions to see rapid adoption across most industry verticals, including corporate, education, government, and leisure and hospitality with varying adoption levels in healthcare and residential markets. Short-term, entertainment and higher education applications are forecast to see the highest levels of penetration.
“We’re hearing from vendors that their conversations with users have shifted to the benefits of individual products and competitive advantage,” comments Brennan. “They no longer need to convince users that IP technology is a viable option for low latency signal distribution. This represents a significant shift in mindset for the wider AV world.
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|New Larger HDMI Switchers for 4K Video|
Extron has introduced two larger models to the SW HD 4K Series of switchers for HDMI signals. The SW6 HD 4K and SW8 HD 4K provide six or eight HDMI inputs. Both switchers support video signals at resolutions up to 4K, as well as data rates up to 10.2 Gbps, 3D, Lip Sync, and HD lossless audio formats. They feature Extron EDID Minder technology, which maintains continuous EDID communication with connected devices and ensures that the HDMI sources power up properly and maintain correct video output.
The SW HD 4K Series switchers provide automatic input cable equalization up to 50 feet when used with Extron HDMI Pro Series cable, automatic color bit depth management, indicators for monitoring and troubleshooting, as well as peripheral device power on the HDMI output. The SW HD 4K Series switchers offer front panel, RS232, IR, contact closure and auto-input switching control options for integration into a wide variety of environments.
Here are the details.Leave a Comment
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|Extron Adds to Huddle Room Line With New HC 404 Meeting Space Collaboration SystemExtron just introduced the HC 404, marketing it as an easy-to-use AV system solution for small collaboration environments. This switching transmitter and scaling receiver work together to extend video, audio, and power up to 230 feet over a single CATx cable. The HC 404 features two HDMI and one VGA input at the transmitter, and one HDMI input at the receiver. Built-in control capabilities facilitate automatic source switching, display control, and integration with occupancy sensors.
An Extron ShareLink wireless collaboration gateway can be integrated to support BYOD – Bring Your Own Device environments, enabling users to share content from a wide variety of personal mobile devices for effective collaboration. The HC 404 provides high quality extension of video and audio signals for maximum performance and reliability. Ethernet connectivity facilitates management, monitoring, and control of AV devices over a standard network infrastructure, while built-in control functionality eliminates the need for additional equipment. Designed for professional integration, the low-profile HC 404 transmitter and receiver enclosures are ideal for discreet placement in lecterns, beneath tables, behind a display or wherever the application requires.
Here are all the tech specs.Leave a Comment
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|A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Software Revolution|
By Leonard Suskin
Pixel and Ink-Stained Wretch
I’ve written time and again about the rise of software as opposed to dedicated hardware. About AV as a Service (AVaaS). About how all of those black and grey boxes we’ve come to know and love will soon disappear, to be replaced by services running on virtual machines. It isn’t just a rule about audiovisual, but a broad principle: Software eats hardware. So the boxes can go away.
Goodbye Barco Clickshare, hello Mersive Solstice app.
Goodbye Crestron control, hello Utelogy.
Goodbye hardware, hello software.
Goodbye Capital expenditures, hello operational expenditures.
A funny thing happened on the way to the software revolution — nothing.
Not only are boxes not disappearing, but they also aren’t the first choice when either option is available. Given the choice of the Mersive Solstice Pod and the Mersive host software on a PC, for example, clients most often choose the little box.
Why? And does that mean that we were wrong?
As always, the answer is that “it depends.”
For one example, let’s look at a software-based huddle room.
The huddle room seems a natural place to replace a hardware-based system with software. Logitech has even created all-in-one conferencing kits for small rooms consisting of a camera, remote and small form-factor PC to hide behind a display. It’s inexpensive. It’s elegant.
It’s also a difficult solution that only fits some enterprise environments. There are benefits, but also issues recurring issues which might not be ours to solve.
The first issue — and this will become an issue later when we talk about the Mersive Solstice application — is login management. If one is using a large conference room for a scheduled meeting, that room might be built into Outlook as a shared resource and booked for a planned meeting. Huddle spaces are more often used for ad-hoc meetings, and therefore less likely to be scheduled in advance. This leaves the user with a choice of having to log into the machine themselves (easy enough to do with domain logins for those within the organization and useless for those outside of it) or having the room rather than the individual make a call. It also means needing to clutter a small conference table with a wireless keyboard/mouse and making certain that that keyboard mouse is not misplaced or carried to a different room. It ALSO means that each huddle room houses one more PC for an IT department to maintain.
It might also mean having to make an exception to IT policies on acceptable and supported PC builds. Most organizations have standards, and those standards are more likely to be tower-configurations or laptops than the kind of small form-factor machine which fits behind a display. Not only are we giving the IT group something extra to support, we’re giving them something that might not fit their overall technology plan. There are also obvious issues with invited guest speakers. Do guest logins need to be created for guests to present content? Do they need someone else to login for them? These present operational and potentially security concerns.
Suddenly the elegant and simple solution is revealed to have more costs than we might expect, and not one that fits every organization. There are, of course, some organizations which are very much PC-centric. For those, an in-room computer is probably an excellent solution that fits their operation quite well. We need to remember that this isn’t everyone, and it’s hard to change how an organization works simply for the sake of saving capital expenses on their AV systems.
So wireless collaboration software is replaced with hardware, the system works as an AV system.
Can we build a software-based huddle room as described above, with a PC and a webcam and not depend on user laptops and other AV hardware? Not only can we, but for some environments we absolutely should. What it means — and the bigger discussion regarding InfoComm’s rebranding to AVIXA is wrapped up in this — is that our first questions should not be about display sizes and content-sharing platforms and technological infrastructure. Our first questions need to be about workflow.
How does the organization work? Collaborate in real-time? Save things to a central server and share via PCs? Do employees who spend half of their time out of the office exclusively use laptops, or do they remotely log-in to central machines? Those are the questions we need to ask if we are to focus on experiences.Leave a Comment
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|New AmpliVox Digital Audio Travel Partner Plus PA System Debuts|
AmpliVox Sound Systems has introduced an upgraded version of its all-in-one PA system, adding a better battery and better sound quality for large venues. The SW925 Digital Audio Travel Partner Plus can support wireless microphones, stream music from Bluetooth-equipped devices and pair with supplementary speakers to provide customized sound coverage for audiences up to 7500 people or areas up to 15,000 square feet. This all-in-one PA system accommodates up to four wireless microphones on its own, or up to seven when paired with a second wireless receiver like the AmpliVox S9190 Quad Wireless Receiver System.
The 250-watt SW925 PA can project spoken presentations from wireless or wired-in microphones, or amplify music from the unit’s built-in Media Player for Bluetooth streaming or MP3 play with USB or SD card inputs. Convenient switches for Voice Priority, Voice Enhancement, and Volume Control allow for easy customization of presentations. A built-in 16 channel UHF receiver ensures clear sound with no frequency interference.
AmpliVox designed its SW925 to be portable and extremely durable, for use in a wide variety of indoor and outdoor settings. The entire unit is housed in a specially tooled and molded plastic enclosure that travels easily with a luggage-style handle and heavy duty industrial casters. The unit can be mounted on an optional tripod, providing clear increased sound coverage. Its rechargeable battery runs for up to ten hours.
The details are here.Leave a Comment
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|Eiki Announces EK-815U 8500 Lumen Laser ProjectorEiki International has announced the new EK-815U WUXGA (1920×1200) laser projector. Spec’d at 8,500 lumens, a 100,000:1 contrast ratio and using both blue and red lasers, the EK-815U is IP6X Dust Ingress Test rating for long-term reliability. It’s aimed at both rental and install applications.
Compared to more traditional laser-based projection systems that incorporate a blue laser only, the addition of the red laser results in what Eiki claims is greater brightness (8,500 lumens with a 16:10 aspect ratio), a higher red color ratio without diminishing either blue or green performance and increased Gamut Area Ratio performance.
The new Eiki EK-815U includes content connection via LAN, HDBaseT, HDMI, VGA and USB.
Eiki’s EK-815U has both horizontal and vertical lens shift and keystone correction, edge blending and a warping engine. There are six optional lenses available for use with these systems, encompassing throw/width ratios from 0.36-15.24.
The EIKI EK-815U lists for $15,995 without a lens. More information is here.Leave a Comment
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|Altia Systems Just Blew Us Away By Adding HDR to 180° Panoramic-4K USB Video Camera System|
Altia Systems, creators of PanaCast 2 180° 4K Plug-and-Play video camera system, today launched PanaCast Vivid, a newly-developed real-time HDR (high dynamic range) technology being delivered as a fully integrated high performance engine running in the PanaCast Video Processor within the PanaCast 2 camera system, which automatically and continuously improves video quality under varying light conditions to enhance participants’ collaboration experience.
PanaCast Vivid is built with a patented biomimetic signal processing algorithm which enables the camera system to mimic how the human eye handles the vast changes in luminance in the real world by autonomously optimizing video quality in any lighting condition. It is particularly useful in environments with a high variation or dynamic range in luminance, as it automatically adjusts it to deliver an optimized video stream for any video conferencing environment. Vivid autonomously enhances contrast, displays realistic colors, shows details even in dark areas and delivers a video stream that mimics how the eye naturally perceives light.
PanaCast Vivid is now available here for a one-time $149 license per PanCast 2 device.
And details on the PanaCast Vivid license and features are here.Leave a Comment
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|tvONE Ships IP Video Streaming Solution for CORIOmaster Video Processing SystemstvONE has announced the shipping of its Video Over IP solution for CORIOmaster video processing systems. The IP video encoder, Magenta Encoder-100 announced earlier this year, will begin shipping as well as the new 128 GB Streaming Media & 4K Playback Module. Along with these two new hardware additions, tvONE has also upgraded its system design software, CORIOgrapher, to version 2.5.
The new 128 GB Streaming Media & 4K Playback Input Module provides greater internal storage than the 16GB option, in addition to 2 network streams up to 1080p 60 at 25Mbps into the system, as well as provide for local playback of 4K UHD or 2x 1080p60 video files via USB3.0 and 128 GB high-speed internal Solid State Drive. The CORIOgrapher software update combines with the new Module, creating a self-contained creative video content ecosystem. Video systems powered by CORIOmaster can now utilize source material from nearly every possible source including video, IP streams and high resolution still images. 40 Mbs of total bandwidth allows this module to provide high-quality content to any video wall and projector edge-blend.
The Magenta Encoder-100 automatically pairs with CORIOmaster and the streaming media and 4K playback input module on IP networks using CORIOdiscover and CORIOgrapher v2.5. Manage all of your Encoder-100’s from your CORIOmaster and CORIOgrapher.
Here are the details.Leave a Comment
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|NEC Launches New C SeriesNEC Display Solutions of America today announced that it has launched its new, fully commercial C Series displays, offering customers a slim profile and sleek design at an economical price point.
The new C Series includes three models — the 43″ C431, 50″ C501 and 55″ C551 — all of which have a mechanical depth of only 45mm. This slender profile allows for a lighter design as well as unobtrusive mounting and easier accessibility in situations where ADA compliance is of importance.
These models provide many commercial-grade features, including full bidirectional external control through both the LAN and RS232 interfaces, which enables easier integration into control systems. They can also be installed in both landscape and portrait orientation, expanding the ways in which users can deploy them.
The C Series models are ideally suited as digital signage displays for informational and advertising purposes as well as presentation devices for smaller conference rooms or huddle spaces. They contain anti-glare screens that scatter incidental light and allow customers maximum visibility of the content being displayed on the screen, which is of utmost importance for digital signage applications. Each C Series display will also have an optional IR touch overlay that will allow users to easily turn each display into a touchscreen for wayfinding and other interactive uses.
The C Series were all here.Leave a Comment
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