Volume 2, Issue 11 — November 22, 2016
|Why Google’s JamBoard Could Actually Be a Disruptive Game-Changer|
By Gary Kayye
Yes, it’s only 55″ but, don’t discount it as a potential game-changer in our market.
Every single PR firm in the commercial AV market has used the term “game-changer” or “disruptive” to describe a client’s new product or service. But most of the time, that’s just hype or hyperbole.
However, even though Google (and their PR firm) never mention either the words game changer or disruptive in their product announcement, the $6,000, 55” JamBoard may, in fact, be just that — or, both.
Nope, it’s not because it’s a 55” 4K interactive touchscreen monitor or because it’s only $6,000. It’s all about the software. Google isn’t in the hardware business — they want to sell software.
And, the JamBoard’s big push, over and over again, is all about how it integrates Google’s G Suite software package — that’s their branding for their pre-packaged set of software solutions that include Gmail, Google Docs, Google Sheets, Google Slides, Google Drive and Calendar for Business.
So, why should we care?
Again, because, Google is in this to sell software. Thus, you will see the JamBoard software ultimately licensed to anyone and everyone who wants it — sort of like Android is for phones, you will see JamBoard software for Sharp, for InFocus, for Samsung, for LG, for Sony, for (insert touch-screen manufacturers who wants to be in the interactive whiteboard market here).
This is a prelude to a deluge of of licensable software to be integrated in to any touch-screen — turning it in to a interactive whiteboard. The JamBoard’s just a test-case to prove it can be done.
Thus, their exclusive with BenQ is a way to show you how it works, how to sell it, how to integrate it and, ultimately, how to make it available to anyone, anywhere.
Now, that’s game changing — or, is it disruptive?Leave a Comment
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|The BIG Samsung Acquisition|
By Scott Tiner
Monday morning we woke up to some major news in the AV industry. Samsung had purchased Harman. When I say we, I mean us AV PEOPLE. To the rest of the world, Samsung (a South Korean chaebol) purchased a “U.S. automotive technology manufacturer,” as reported by the Wall Street Journal. Many of us in the AV world began scratching our heads. What does this mean for the major brands under the Harman umbrella? These are BIG brands in our AV world, including JBL, Crown, Martin and AMX.
To begin to put things into perspective, one first needs to truly understand Samsung. In South Korea a chaebol is equal to what we in the United States call a conglomerate. That is, they have many far fetching companies inside of the larger one. Additionally, the company is typically led by a family member who has a hand in all the decisions that the company makes. After spending some time in South Korea, I began to understand how Samsung is much more than a technology company. Samsung has major divisions in building construction and boat construction (second largest commercial boat builder in the world). Everywhere you go in Korea, buildings have the Samsung name, as that is the company that built them. Additionally, Samsung gets into finance with insurance companies and even has a public relations company under its banner.
With over $300 Billion in revenue in recent years, one can not over estimate the size of this company. In fact, its revenue represents about 17 percent of the entire South Korean GDP.
All of that is a prelude to my belief of what is going on with Samsung, and what the outcome of this merger will be. If you have not listened to it yet, listen to Gary’s Rants and Raves from Monday, 11/14 with Gary, Mark Coxon, Vin Bruno and Sara Abrons. Each participant had very thoughtful responses about the future. However, for me, it was Vin Bruno who hit the nail on the head several times during the conversation. He did this each time he mentioned STRATEGY. Strategy is the money maker in every successful company. So, what is Samsung’s strategy? Financial publications, such as the Wall Street Journal have defined this pretty well. Samsung wants in on the smart car and the connected home. They believe this is the future of their technology division. What they bought from Harman was NOT brands. In fact, about 6 billion of Harman are name brands that the consumer would never recognize. Some of it is not even branded. Rather, Samsung bought intellectual property. If you want to understand what they bought, read articles that discuss what Harman has done over the past few years. In one Wall Street Journal article Harman is described as making a transformation from a “troubled hardware maker to promising software company.” Let that sink in. The company we know as Harman, is not a hardware company. It is a software company.
So, what will they do with the Pro AV companies under the Harman umbrella? Strategically, AMX is probably the most useful to them. Certainly control is part, and will continue to be part of, the home and auto market. There is a good deal of intellectual property in AMX that they will want to mine. Unfortunately, I believe that means they will end the AMX name and use the IP elsewhere. AMX plays in a market that is simply too small to be considered part of Samsung’s strategy. From a ProAV perspective, I think the audio companies such as JBL and Crown have a better shot of being spun off. These companies don’t have the type of IP that Samsung needs or wants and therefore will be a good opportunity for them to get some cash back. Of course, the question then becomes, who buys them and what is their strategy. For sure, this merger will keep us talking for a long time to come.Leave a Comment
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|Why AI Isn’t Taking Over AV|
By Mark Coxon
It’s always interesting to hear people’s take on the future of technology. There seems to be a fanaticism built around Moore’s Law, the Turing Test, and the ability of computers to become “conscious.” It usually ends in a theory of technology not unlike the rise of Skynet’s machines in the Terminator movies.
If you’re not familiar with all the talk around these issues, ask Google about them and see what you find.
For brevity’s sake, I’ll include a couple definitions below.
Moore’s Law is the observation that the number of transistors in an integrated circuit doubles every two years, thereby doubling computer processing.
The Turing Test is a test for intelligence in a computer, requiring that a human being should be unable to distinguish the machine from another human being by using the replies to questions put to both.
Now I’ve talked a little about Moore’s Law before — I’m not disputing the accuracy of the transistor assertion, but more questioning the fact that merely doubling transistors makes things faster but doesn’t directly birth innovation.
As I stated before,
I can put one engineer with little creativity in a room and he will produce nothing new or innovative. I can then add three more engineers with little creativity into that same room, effectively quadrupling the “computing power” and still get nothing new. Just because the computing power quadruples, innovation isn’t spawned automatically. There needs to be a creative spark, typically spurred by asking a question in a new and unique way.
As for the Turing Test, a chatbot created in 2014 named Eugene supposedly passed it in 2014 by tricking people into believing human responses were computer generated while the computer responses were uniquely human. On the surface this may seem like an AI victory, that a machine was perceived as more human than actual humans, but if you dig a little you’ll notice that the Turing Tet has many skeptics, partly because the interactions are timed.
Why does a time limit affect the end result? Well, the main argument against it revolves around something called the mannequin effect. One mat very well bump up against a mannequin in a store believing it is a human and quickly apologize based on the brief interaction and a quick glance. However, the longer that interaction continues, the more apparent the nature of the mannequin becomes. The Turing Test times out that interaction, which favors the machine.
So as good as Alexa and Siri have become, and despite their first names and constant companionship, a conversation of any length will quickly reveal their bits and bytes. Even IBM’s Watson, arguably the most powerful and advanced AI engine around today, suffers from this same fate.
There is something unique to being “human.” Something beyond a simple accumulation of the data that we consume with our eyes and ears. I’m not arguing the metaphysical here, just the uniqueness.
I was in a chat room with some SMPTE engineers once discussing digital video and active vs. passive 3D, (yes, I need help) and one of those engineers made an eloquent statement that I wish I would’ve done a screen capture on. To paraphrase, they said that,
“Somewhere in the back of the human mind, where neurons are firing to process all of those projected or backlit pixels 60 times a second, the brain perceives a difference between that digital stimulation and the actual reflection of light back to our cones and rods in a physical, naturally lit environment.”
That comment immediately rang true to me and has always been in the back of my mind when people say that VR the real world will someday be indistinguishable from one another. No matter how deep the rabbit hole gets, I think that the brain, will on some level, always know that it’s in the Matrix, just like it discerns the difference between dreams and consciousness.
I also remember an experience that I had as an integrator when the firm I worked for was doing a job for an air and space museum centered around Robonaut 1 and the robotic DARPA arm, named Robbie. Part of our contract involved recording content consisting of interviews with the scientists working on these cutting edge technologies. I sat in the office with the man who was editing the content, so I heard countless hours of the content. The common theme was that it was impossible to teach robots “how to think.” They could create all sorts of logical problem programs and data analysis that utilized machine learning, but were nowhere close to critical thinking let alone consciousness.
There was an example of telling the robot to get a pencil. You can code the possible locations: desk, drawer, cabinet; you can scan multiple images of the pencil into the computer and give the robot a camera as an eye. But that simple task, go get a pencil, may still be very difficult for the robot to achieve. A person on the other hand can see a pile of papers and know that something may be hiding beneath or notice a laptop bag at the end of the desk and look inside the zippered pocket to reveal the prize.
For set tasks, technology with some machine learning and AI may very well be good enough, but for critical thinking it’s just not close yet. Machines and systems using AI need highly intelligent humans to write the if then loops they so desperately depend upon as well as to monitor them in case situations arise that just aren’t in that data base yet.
Alexa may be a great way to control your home, but in reality you’re doing nothing greater technologically than pressing the button you used to push on your control panel. “Alexa, turn the heat up to 75” is an easy thing to program. Data relating outside temperature to inside temperature may also be helpful for the machine to learn when you turn on the AC vs. the heat and at what temperatures you usually set to come up with a program for the Nest. On the flip side, getting Alexa to realize that when a user exercises in the morning, she should turn the AC down, and that when there’s a new baby she should turn the heat up is a different thing altogether, but an observing human understands those correlations immediately.
AI is great. Data is amazing. Machine learning is an incredible feat.
But there is still a human factor to interacting with the world that eludes them all.
I was on a podcast about the Samsung and Harman acquisition where an industry stalwart again promoted his platform that states people don’t want a rack full of hardware, they prefer simplified and unified devices.
I don’t necessarily agree or disagree. I believe people actually don’t care what the hardware is as long as it solves the problem. It could be a rack of gear or an app. It doesn’t matter either way. The customer isn’t buying either, they are buying the answer to their problem, regardless of the methodology used to provide it.
My issue was more with his assessment that because of this trend that integrators are overconfident in their value to the end customer.
Sure, the hardware may no longer need a lot of “integration” as four boxes have now been integrated into one, but the user experience itself as a direct result is not automatically good. The software may be advanced; the system may mic the room, play test tones and calibrate itself; the control software may learn how different users utilize the space.
That’s all well and good, but a computer doesn’t know what sounds “tinny” or that the CEO has a slight hearing loss that needs to be accounted for in certain frequencies. Systems with ambient noise mics that automatically adjust volume levels to achieve better signal to noise ratios only work to a degree. STI is still only measured by achieving even coverage and by evaluating RT60.
The point is that the science can be sound (no pun intended) but the user experience trumps all. The numbers all may add up in the GPU of a deep learning electronic brain, but the experience may still lack something.
Science says that a highly directional hypersonic speaker playing two separate sounds out of phase to create a net frequency within the range of human hearing should work. Reality says that it does work in generating the sound, but that the listener has an adverse reaction on a physiological level to hypersonic waves that gives them a feeling of uneasiness if left listening to them for too long. The computer and the human hear the same sound, but the human feels differently than when listening to a traditional speaker at that same frequency.
My point is that although our systems may get less complex, utilize more software and less hardware, and become easier to control and program, as well as “learn” how to be more efficient and relevant over time, they will never understand the human experience. There will always be value in the presence of a real person, trained in the technology, who knows how to address these issues and how to make sure that the AV environments we create are optimized to the actual users themselves with their unique and subjective experiences of the technology.
In order to fulfill the promise of exceptional experiences, we must be able to actually experience the effects of the systems we create. A machine cannot “experience” anything and I’m uncertain that they ever will be able to. The value of the integrator in the equation is not in connecting boxes or writing code, it is in their humanness, in their ability to experience the system once installed and in being able to empathize with the end-user to create something worth more than the out of the box solution.
I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments section below.Leave a Comment
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|$299 WAVE Turns Any TV or Monitor Into an Interactive TouchScreen DisplayYes, you read that right. For $299 (well, $249 for a limited time), a company called TouchJet out of Singapore (with an office in San Francisco) has invented (and is shipping) a product they are calling WAVE. WAVE is a small camera you place at the top of a display and it has an extension with an IR lens that is calibrated to size (20″ to 65″) of monitor you are using. It connects to the display via an HDMI port and turns any monitor out TV into a touch-screen. And, it actually works!
The WAVE is a bit more than just a camera — I over-simplified it above. It’s like a small set-top box that contains a 2.0GHz Quad-Core ARM Cortex-A9 chip, a built-in optical touch sensor, support four simultaneous touch points (or you can use the included stylus if you’d prefer not to use your fingers) and uses an Android 4.4 OS. Set-up takes less than 10 minutes and it connects via Wi-Fi to any network.
It’s targeted towards the consumer market for people who want to turn their TV’s into touch-screens but, schools are already spec’ing the product as a cheap way to turn anything in to a touch-screen. And, for $299, you can understand why.
The hitch? you have to use the built-in Android player (yes, the WAVE is like a giant Android tablet) so you can’t use your own computer. But, the Android App store (aka Google Play store) has over 2.2 million apps so that includes Skype, PowerPoint, Maps, Word, Excel, etc.
Here are more details.Leave a Comment
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|BenQ Gets Distribution Deal with Google’s Collaboration Panel, JamboardBenQ America today announced it will exclusively bring to market Jamboard, a 4K Ultra High Definition (UHD) touch-enabled device aimed at enhancing collaboration in the enterprise workplace.
Headlining BenQ’s portfolio of interactive flat panels (IFPs), the 55-inch Jamboard is part of Google’s collaboration line of products called G Suite — designed for conference room or huddle spaces or with a remote team via the integrated videoconferencing features. Basically, it’s a product that’s designed to compete with Microsoft’s Surface Hub, Smart Technologies’ SmartBoards as well as Sharp’s AQUOS BOARD line.
The fully integrated Jamboard will retail at a very competitive price point under $6,000 across the U.S. and Canada and will be available from select BenQ partners in Q1 2017. More information about Jamboard is available here or here.Leave a Comment
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|Vivitek Upgrades NovoDS to V2.1|
Vivitek’s NovoDS is a digital signage content player that can incorporate text, photos, audio, video and web content in fully customizable configurations for a variety of settings – including wirelessly.
Vivitek just released a software and firmware upgrade to V2.1.1 with new features and improved functionalities including more templates for content design, serial port (RS 232) control of multiple displays, Full 1080p HD content storage and playback and an enhanced simulator mode.
Details on the free upgrade are here.Leave a Comment
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|NEC Europe Launches Another WUXGA Native But 4K-Capable, Laser Installation Projector|
NEC Display Solutions Europe today launched the PX1004UL laser phosphor projector. Offering maintenance-free operation for up to 20,000 hours and spec’d at up to 10,000 ANSI lumens brightness, the PX1004UL completes NEC’s Solid State Light (SSL) source line-up of projectors with 5,000, 6,000, 8,000, 10,000 and 12,000 ANSI lumens.
Using Digital Light Processing (DLP) technology and native WUXGA resolution (1920 x 1200), the projector has the capability to process 4K input signals – but converts them to WUXGA. In addition, the laser projector utilizes a filter-less design technology and is essentially dust proof, removing the need for filter cleaning or replacement. These features combined with low overall power consumption provide exceptional reliability and virtually zero maintenance. The PX1004UL projector is therefore an attractive option in scenarios where total cost of ownership is crucial and maintenance access is limited.
The projector offers easy and flexible installation options with support for third party lenses. This enables the PX1004UL to be used as a drop-in replacement without any reprogramming. The free landscape and portrait orientation function of the projector makes it suitable for use at any angle, while the geometric control function makes the projector perfect for projection onto curved surfaces. Furthermore, the projector supports automatic camera-based stacking and blending. This gives users quick and easy multi-screen setup capabilities, plus support for large presentation pictures.
Go here for all the detailed specs.Leave a Comment
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|Nureva Launches Mobile HD Collaboration CartNureva Inc just launched the new Nureva Span MC306i visual collaboration system, a full HD mobile cart. The MC306i is purpose-built for Span software, which supports ideation, design, planning and other activities by groups that need to be immersed in visual information. The mobile Span system integrates a full HD 1080p solid-state, interactive projector and a customer-supplied PC to transform almost any wall into a 6′ 2″ (1.88 m) wide interactive workspace. Two or three carts can be linked together using Span software to produce 12′ 4″ and 18′ 6″ (3.76 m and 5.64 m) interactive digital workspaces.
For groups that need the flexibility to meet anywhere, the MC306i offers access to an expansive cloud-based canvas for creative collaboration. With Span software, users can create, share and edit ideas and information on their own personal devices as well as contribute and interact with content directly on the wall. By drawing upon familiar tools, including sticky notes, sketches, images and flip charts, teams can make the shift from a paper to digital collaboration experience without compromising their proven processes. The MC306i addresses a growing need for organizations to re-imagine how groups innovate and create together, allowing them to make better use of open or underused areas, like corners, huddle rooms, large common spaces and even hallways. It can also be used in multiple meeting spaces, providing cost-conscious organizations with a way to share their technology investments.
The mobile Span system includes a full HD 1080p ultra-short-throw solid-state projector with:
- 25,000 hours of expected life (similar to flat-panel displays), carefree maintenance and high resistance to dust
- An energy efficient optical engine, which consumes 80% less power than lamp-based projectors and 30% less power than an 84″ (2.13 meters) flat-panel display
- The cart can be moved around an office and then started up quickly:
- A fold-down handle and durable casters allow the cart to be easily rolled up to and used with nearly any flat or smooth surface
- Near-instant on/off lets groups get started immediately
- Two infrared pens provide accurate interactivity through auto-calibration and are easily stored on a magnetic pen tray when not in use.
Availability and pricing
The Nureva Span MC306i visual collaboration system is available immediately through a network of value-added dealers and distributors globally. The list price in the United States is $6,999. More information is here.Leave a Comment
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|Epson Debuts New PowerLite 2000-Series Portable ProjectorsEpson today announced the new Epson PowerLite 2000-Series. The series features nine projectors that are designed for business meetings, large boardrooms, lecture halls, classrooms, and houses of worship. The PowerLite 2000-Series includes up to 5,500 lumens of color brightness and 5,500 lumens of white brightness, in addition to full HD 1080p support and comes equipped with built-in enterprise level Wi-Fi security, and features a full interface for multiple connections and installation flexibility.
The PowerLite 2000-Series leverages HDMI connectivity but also includes USB ports for images from a USB drive stored as PDF, JPEG, BMP, GIF, or PNG files without having to connect to a PC. In addition, leveraging a wireless LAN module, the PowerLite 2000-Series projectors offer security features such as WEP, WPA-PSK, WPA-EAP, WPA2-EAP wireless encryption to help prevent information leakage in an enterprise environment.
The series also features Faroudja DCDi Cinema video enhancement technology delivering exceptional image quality without introducing artifacts. In addition, the DICOM Simulation Mode (Digital Imaging and Communications in Medicine) provides the ability to reproduce images with an advanced grayscale level that simulates DICOM Part 14, designed for viewing grayscale medical images, such as X-rays, for training and educational environments. Wireless screen mirroring with Miracast allows PowerLite 2000-Series users to stream Full HD movies, videos, photos, and music from a smartphone, tablet, laptop or PC directly to the projector.
The flagship models – PowerLite 2265U and PowerLite 2165W – include HDBaseT connectivity for easy installation, in addition to support for Multi-PC projection, which allows up to four individual PC screens to be displayed simultaneously over the network with up to 32 connected to the same projector. The projectors include Screen Fit, an auto-sensing feature that adjusts the image size to fit within a frame, whether it’s a screen or a board, with the push of a button. The PowerLite 2265U and PowerLite 2165W projectors can be used with the Epson iProjection App to display content from an iOS or Android mobile devices with wireless or network capabilities4.
Here are all the specs.
The different models can be compared here:
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|GPO’s Touch Tables Are the Real DealThis may be the simplest way to sell turnkey touch table bundles. GPO Display, a Fremont, Calif.-based manufacturer of 4K and 1080p commercial displays, recently began shipping some really unique turnkey touch table bundles. There are three Table Bundles that are designed bring multi-screen interactivity to presentations and meetings, museum exhibits, corporate lobbies, car dealerships and wide range of other settings. Lima software, by Touchtech, allows InteracTable (this is what GPO brands as its touch surface technology) users to resize, rotate, clone and annotate on a wide range of file types and web pages for an immersive table experience. The Table Bundle takes this experience even further by allowing users swipe content from the InteracTable up to one of three extended desktop options: a 55” 2×2 video wall (110” diag.) on floor stands, a wall-mounted 49” 3×3 video wall (147” diagonal) or a 70” Commercial LCD monitor. When a piece of content is swiped, a “clone” auto-snaps to fill the extended desktop while the main file remains on the InteracTable surface, allowing users to annotate and draw on the content. This annotation/drawing is reproduced on the content shown on the extended desktop. It’s a pretty cool, simple way to move content — check out this video here and note that, at the 0:46 mark, the user “swipes” the content towards the wall and it moves from the table display to the wall.
Each of these bundles immediately brings a new dimension to sales environments such as furniture or interior design show rooms, car dealerships, architectural sales, etc. Salespeople can bring up examples of items that may not be present on the show floor or examples of products in use, all while using the drawing/annotation tool to highlight aspects of a particular photo or video. While all of this can be done on table alone, the swiping of content to a large extended desktop gives users a more life-sized impression of the content that is being reviewed.
The cost of lending touch interactivity to a video wall can be significant- much higher than the addition of an interactive table in many cases. The “Anywhere” and “Impact” Bundles allow you to integrate touch into your video wall experience without the added cost of applying a touch overlay and protective glass to a video wall array. Moreover, the height of a touch video wall must be taken into account, making a package like the “Impact” Bundle all the more attractive.”
There are three different packages and you can see all the details here.Leave a Comment
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|Audinate Announces Dante Via and Dante Virtual Soundcard Bundle for $59.95
Audinate has announced the availability of its Dante Software “Combo Pack,” combining licenses for Dante Via and Dante Virtual Soundcard for only $59.95. This bundle apparently represents a 25 percent savings over purchasing the software separately. The Dante Software Combo Pack provides the ultimate in computer-based audio flexibility and creativity, including:
- Record up to 64 channels of audio using your favorite tools with Dante Virtual Soundcard
- Share audio from applications and USB devices with Dante Via
- Create computer-only audio networks, or connect to any Dante system
Dante Via connects all your computer-based audio, including USB, Thunderbolt and PCIe devices as well as audio applications, to any Dante audio network. Audio applications, connected devices and Dante network endpoints are automatically discovered and displayed in an intuitive drag-and-drop interface. Dante Via supports up to 16×16 channels of audio for each application and up to 32×32 for each connected device.
Dante Virtual Soundcard claims to turn your computer into a high performance Dante-powered recording workstation. Users can instantly connect to record, process and play out up to 64×64 channels using any audio application and any combination of Dante-enabled devices and software. Like Dante Via, Dante Virtual Soundcard uses the Ethernet port you already have —no snakes, no converters, no special cables or connectors.
To learn more about the Dante Software Combo Pack, go here.Leave a Comment
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|Optoma Launches Redesigned Line of Projectors Built for Small Business, Education and Corporate Markets|Optoma today announced 10 new and redesigned projectors aimed at education, small business and corporate markets. The new projectors are:
- Optoma S321 is an entry-level SVGA projector designed for small classrooms and meeting rooms. It has 3,200 lumens of brightness and a 22,000:1 contrast ratio, weighs four pounds, has a VGA input, and costs $289.
- Optoma X345 and Optoma X355 are XGA projectors for classrooms, small businesses and training labs. Both models feature a 22,000:1 contrast ratio, a 10,000-hour lamp, 3,200 lumens and 3,500 lumens, respectively, and $449 and $499.
- Optoma W345 and Optoma W355 are both 22,000:1 contrast ratio and 10,000 lamp life and are native 1280×800 projectors aimed at classroom, small business or training labs, too. The W345 and W355 are spec’d at 3,300 and 3,600 lumens respectively, and list for $549 and $699.
- Optoma EH331 is a 1080p projector with 3,300 lumens, a 22,000:1 contrast ratio for $599.
- Optoma EH345 is aimed at corporate professionals and educators looking for a 1080p projector that is 3,200 lumens, 22,000:1 contrast ratio and 1.3x zoom for flexible installations. With a 10,000-hour lamp life, 10-watt speaker and MHL 1.2 support, the EH345 is $649.
- Optoma X416 is an XGA projector aimed at mid-size venues including corporate, house of worship and higher education environments with a 20,000:1 contrast ratio, 4,300 lumens and a 1.36x zoom. It also offers Wall Color Adjustment, allowing it to adjusted to project on non-white surfaces and it lists for $749.
- Optoma W416 is an WXGA projector for corporate, house of worship and higher education but this one is 4,500 lumens with a 1.6x zoom and 20,000:1 contrast ratio. The W416 lists for $799.
- Optoma DU380 is a WUXGA projector at 3,800 lumens, a 15,000:1 contrast ratio and a 1.6x zoom. DU380 is $799.
All the models mentioned above, except for the S321 and EH331, offer installation flexibility and variable throw distances. Here are all the details.Leave a Comment
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|Crestron Says It’s Sped Up the Response of Touch Screens With the New TSW Series|
Crestron is now shipping the new generation of TSW touch screens, which the company says has faster touch response. The TSW-560, TSW-760 and TSW 1060 are available at the same pricing as the prior generation.
New TSW touch screen features include a faster processor, a higher level of network security (enterprise-grade) including 802.1X, TLS, FIPS-140-2, SSH and SFTP, they use backlit capacitive buttons as well as an ambient light sensor and they have a built-in PinPoint proximity beacon. In upgrading such an important and popular product line, Crestron says they took special care not to make any changes that disrupt how integrators install and commission TSWs. The styling and colors remain the same, as does power via PoE and easy mounting options.
Here are the specifics.Leave a Comment
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|Planar Systems Acquires NaturalPoint|
Planar Systems, a Leyard company, announced today that they have entered into a definitive merger agreement to acquire NaturalPoint, a company that’s in the optical tracking and motion capture solutions markets, for $125 million in an all-cash transaction.
The acquisition brings Planar closer to strategic opportunities in augmented and virtual reality and in other market segments like CAVEs, drone tracking, movement sciences, sports performance, computer visualization and animation.
NaturalPoint, makers of OptiTrack, TrackIR and SmartNav branded products, is headquartered two hours south of the Planar campus in Oregon, employs a team of 60 in North America, and has a 25,000 square foot facility for its optical tracking business. The close physical proximity of the two companies will facilitate opportunities to better serve their growing customer bases, work with valued suppliers, and collaborate with industry partners to support these two businesses.
Zach Zhang, the Chairman of Planar, said, “We believe these two companies will complement each other and create significant opportunities for growth. This acquisition demonstrates our ongoing commitment to building capabilities in engineering, manufacturing, marketing, and sales in North America and internationally.”
Jim Richardson, chief executive officer of NaturalPoint, said, “NaturalPoint has grown to be the leader in precision optical tracking and this acquisition recognizes the ecosystem relationship that exists between tracking and display technology. This acquisition is all about leveraging our strengths with the Planar team and continuing to build the world’s best tracking products for our existing customers and for new markets.”
The acquisition is subject to customary closing conditions, and is expected to finalize in the fourth calendar quarter of 2016 or early in the first calendar quarter of 2017. NaturalPoint will remain a separate business with its own executive team, customers, and market initiatives.
Planar is here.Leave a Comment
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|Embed Signage Launches User Groups for Digital SignageEmbed Signage just added ‘Advanced User Groups’ to its cloud based Digital Signage software. This feature allows users to completely segment their account into multiple groups, each with their own roles and permissions. Custom rules can then be applied to these groups to include or exclude items within embed signage.
Advanced User Group enables admins to:
- Create user roles such as — Admin, Creative and IT whom only have access to his/her chosen areas.
- Create an unlimited amount of users with individual logins.
- Segment users into groups such as ‘London Office’.
- Tag items such as folders, media, layouts and playlists to assign them to groups.
- Sharing items throughout a digital signage network has never been easier. If selected, departmental or by branch, groups can share items by simply adding another groups chosen tags to an item. It will then automatically show up in that group’s account.
Find the full guide here.Leave a Comment
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|Stream TV and Signagelive Announce a Strategic Alliance|
Stream TV Networks just announced its strategic partnership with Signagelive, the cloud-based digital signage technology. The companies have teamed up to make Stream TV’s Ultra-D glasses-free 3D displays accessible to an expanded commercial market, and earlier this week Signagelive launched support for the Ultra-D format which is available to all customers who want to add the glasses-free 3D screens to their existing networks.
The announcement and launch follow months of development and integration efforts by Signagelive in collaboration with the engineering team at IAdea, manufacturer of the XMP-7300 4K media player which is now Ultra-D compatible.
The companies plan to jointly showcase the glasses-free 3D signage solution at the Consumer Electronics Show next January in Las Vegas and the Integrated Systems Europe expo next February in Amsterdam. Signagelive is here.Leave a Comment
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|Sony Adds 4K Camera to BRC Series PTZ Camera Lineup|
Sony Electronics is expanding its BRC series of robotic PTZ cameras with the addition of its first 4K model – the BRC-X1000.
The BRC-X1000 is designed for small-to-midsize production companies as a primary camera for local broadcast affiliates, cable TV operations, education, hospital and government applications, as well as live event recording for houses of worship or weddings. It can also serve as a key production element in large, advanced media production facilities requiring the proven efficiencies BRC remote-operated cameras bring to a production workflow.
Sony says a full HD version, the BRC-H800, with a single Exmor R CMOS sensor will also be available.
The BRC-X1000 and BRC-H800 share much of what has made Sony’s HD BRC-H900 one of the most effective production tools available today. The ability to deliver extraordinary image quality and sensitivity that matches traditional manually-operated studio cameras is just the starting point. The heart of these new cameras is Sony’s 1.0 type back illuminated Exmor R CMOS sensor and image processing engine coupled with a 12x optical zoom Zeiss Vario-Sonnar T* lens. Clear Image Zoom capabilities to 24x in HD and 18x in 4K allow users to enlarge an image while retaining its original quality.
The cameras’ high speed 60p HD mode can capture fast-paced subjects, useful when shooting live sports. Future support for 24P (planned for 2017) will give professionals added flexibility to use the cameras as a creative tool with a beautiful bokeh for dramatic depth-of-field effects.
The new easy-to-use BRC cameras combine imaging excellence with advanced intelligent capabilities, enabling a single camera operator to manage a multi-camera production. The BRC-X1000 and BRC-H800 presently support up to 16 position presets (with additional presets planned for Spring 2017) making it easy for an operator to transition seamlessly between multiple speakers presenting on a dais or smoothly track a presenter walking mark-to-mark. More complex camera movements (gliding up, down and across from close-up to wide shots) can be pre-programmed with new control features such as Trace Memory and PTZ Motion Sync for added flexibility (planned for Spring 2017). In addition, the zoom speed is adjustable manually.
The BRC-X1000 and BRC-H800 include key features to ease integration for installers and broadcast engineers. These include:
- PoE+ Support (less cables)
- Genlock Support
- LAN – VISCA over IP Control
- RS422 Serial VISCA Support
- Dual link 3G-SDI x4 (BRC-X1000); 3G-SDI x2 (BRC-H800)
The BRC-X1000 and BRC-H800 cameras are scheduled for release in December 2016 and list for $11,499 and $8,999, respectively. Here are the details.Leave a Comment
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|Attero Tech Ships Bluetooth Audio Networked Solutions|
Attero Tech is shipping two new Bluetooth audio interfaces. Not to be confused with consumer Bluetooth interfaces, the Attero Tech unBT2A and unD6IO-BT are the first Bluetooth-enabled audio devices designed specifically for use with commercially installed AV systems. Attero Tech also released its new unDNEMO-BT, the world’s first Bluetooth-enabled, Dante network audio monitor.
Both Attero Tech Bluetooth audio interfaces employ a simple, consistent, one-button pairing and connect process that avoids the frustration often associated with pairing consumer Bluetooth products. The pairing button is defeatable for restricted-use applications with third-party control systems, that wish to remotely manage the Bluetooth interface and pairing process. A front panel LED indicates connection status. Each unBT2A or unD6IO-BT interface, as well as the unDNEMO-BT, can be assigned a customizable, Bluetooth-friendly name for applications with multiple co-located interfaces to minimize errant connections. The interfaces are compatible with most smartphones, iPads, and Android tablets.
Attero Tech’s unBT2A is an in-wall interface in a single-gang, Decora form factor that adds Bluetooth audio connectivity to installed audio systems. The unBT2A provides balanced analog audio outputs, so it’s universally compatible with any installed audio system. It’s an excellent choice for hotel ballrooms, conference centers, restaurants and bars, sports facilities, spas, and convention centers. The unit’s mini-B USB port provides a bus-powered connection for initial product setup at installation and for firmware updates. The unBT2A is compatible with Attero Tech’s unIFY GUI for Windows for simple system commissioning.
Included with the unBT2A, Attero Tech’s unBT2A EXP expander unit provides balanced mono or stereo analog audio output on three-pin depluggable connectors, enabling easy connection to the audio system. The outputs are software switchable between -10 dBV (consumer) and +4 dBu (professional) nominal output levels. The unBT2A EXP sports an RS-232 port for third-party control and customization, using a simple serial protocol.
The first audio interface to offer Bluetooth connectivity to a Dante network with professional-class control, the unD6IO-BT Multi-I/O Dante Audio Interface is a dual-gang wall box offering both consumer-style, wired audio I/O and stereo Bluetooth wireless audio input. This combination enables easy connection of a wide range of devices to a Dante network.
The unD6IO-BT’s front panel provides line-level audio input on two RCA connectors, along with a stereo, line-level, 3.5 mm TRS audio input. The inputs can be selected via software, individually or in combination, as an audio flow. The front panel is equipped with a TRS stereo line level output on 3.5mm driven from the Dante network. The outputs also support remote volume control.
Featuring 802.3af-compliant PoE (Power over Ethernet), the unD6IO-BT works with any compliant PoE network switch. The interface is recommended for installs in venues such as hotel ballrooms, conferencing applications, convention centers, restaurants and bars, and sports, spas and fitness facilities.
Attero Tech’s unDNEMO-BT Dante 64-channel Network Monitor is an audio monitoring system with an internal monitor speaker and built-in microphone that provides end users with a simple solution for selection and monitoring of up to 64 Dante audio channels. Equipped with full-duplex USB audio capabilities, it can stream audio to and from a Windows PC and serve as a hands-free USB soft-conferencing device. Full-duplex Bluetooth audio connectivity enables wireless listening with Bluetooth headsets. You also get a rear-panel 3.5 mm TRS auxiliary line input that can be routed back to the Dante network.
The front panel sports Volume, Channel, Source Select and Mute buttons. An easy-to-read OLED display presents channel names, volume settings, and configuration information.
Two network connections allow Dante daisy-chaining of multiple unDNEMO-BTs and other Attero Tech daisy-chain-enabled devices over a single home run to the Ethernet switch. Attero Tech’s unIFY GUI for Windows is available for system setup and enables integrators to select names for the audio flows to replace the native Dante flow names. The unDNEMO-BT can be powered by an external +24 VDC supply or can be PoE powered with any 802.3af-compliant PoE network switch or mid-span injector.
The unDNEMO-BT is recommended for a variety of applications, including command and control rooms to provide easy and private access to multiple Dante audio feeds, legislative applications to allow staff to listen in on floor debates or hearing room discussions, and simultaneous interpretation and delegate systems. Stock brokerage offices can use it to monitor audio from network and cable financial channels. It’s also a great choice for sports bars and restaurants to allow each table to listen to audio form any of the video screens.
Attero Tech’s unBT2A and unD610-BT Bluetooth audio interfaces and unDNEMO-BT Dante network monitor will be available November 2016. More information on the unBT2A is here, the unD610-BT here and the unDNEMO-BT is here.Leave a Comment
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|Zoom Announces 215 Percent YoY Usage GrowthAre you Zoom-ing yet? If not, you will be soon. Zoom just announced 215 percent Y0Y (year-over-year) growth in usage and some major new features for their Zoom Rooms conference room system.
So what does “215 percent YoY growth in usage” mean? Rough translation: Zoom is on track to hit 15 billion (that’s billion with a B!) annual meeting minutes! Their president, David Berman, commented: “Zoom’s innovative solution is disrupting the traditional web and video conferencing markets. Our tremendous momentum is driven by the platform’s quality, reliability, and ease of use. With Zoom, organizations are simplifying their collaboration stacks for video conference rooms, executive offices, desktops, mobile devices and multiple use cases.”
He’s right. Unlike Skype, it’s a closed-system so it has a higher up-time and connectivity is simplified through their cloud-based codec and SaaS model.
Zoom also announced major enhancements to the Zoom Rooms conference room solution.
- Intelligent Proximity with One-Click Share: Zoom Rooms will automatically detect your device, and with a single click you can share your content.
- Automatic Audio Feedback Elimination: Noise canceling with proximity detection avoids meeting disruptions by automatically adjusting your computer audio when you’re in a Zoom Room.
- Direct Sharing: Share the content from your computer screen directly over your local network to the room display. This saves on bandwidth and provides higher quality video.
- Remote Room Management: Allows IT to save time by controlling peripherals and managing Zoom Rooms remotely.
- IP PBX Call-in Support: Every Zoom Room can have its own phone number and accept incoming calls.
- This makes Zoom Rooms perfect for executive offices and conference rooms.
- Accessibility Support: Expanded accessibility features include closed captioning to display meeting text on conference room screens.
Here are all the specifics.Leave a Comment
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For all you REGULAR readers of rAVe AVBuyers.Club out there, hopefully you enjoyed another opinion-packed issue!
For those of you NEW to rAVe, you just read how we are — we are 100 percent opinionated. We not only report the news and new product stories of the ProAV and HomeAV industries, but we stuff the articles full of our opinions. That may include (but is not limited to) whether or not the product is even worth looking at, challenging the manufacturers on their specifications, calling a marketing-spec bluff and suggesting ways integrators market their products better. But, one thing is for sure, we are NOT a trade publication that gets paid for running editorial or product stories. Traditional trade publications get paid to run product stories — that’s why you see what you see in most of the pubs out there. We are different: we run what we want to run and NO ONE is going to pay us to write or say anything good (or bad).
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