AV Into Outer Space(s)
By Greg Bronson, CTS-D
Here in the AV Club, we spend much of our time fussing over how to make AV the most engaging it can be for educational spaces. These spaces, generically called classrooms, actually come in many different shapes and sizes. Leave a Comment
For starters — and certainly the most common — there is the flat classroom. These traditional spaces have a presentation wall (room front), instructor area (table/podium) and student seating (typified by tablet arm desks). Seating may range in the 20 to 40 students range. For the most part the communications (info exchange) is from room front to back. From an AV perspective, the goal is to ensure all students can see and hear at an equally high quality level. This may include instructor voice reinforcement and reproduction of both video and audio of instructional material content.
Over time educational institutions found that instruction could be enhanced with specially built spaces. For example seminar, demonstration lab and moot court room types evolved with unique layouts designed to enhance specific aspects of learning. And over time AV best practices also emerged for each. Seminar rooms may have audio mix minus systems that enhance intelligible voice reinforcement for all participants while providing a feed to an archival recording. Demo labs can use strategically placed cameras for demonstration table image magnification. And moot court might have considerable integrated control to not only automate the AV, but also to facilitate the flow of mock legal proceedings.
But in this new millennium, there is more to AV in educational spaces than meets the eye. The thing is, AV is now expected to also span outside the individual physical classroom space. This “virtual AV” is part of what is generically called distance learning. In these cases, references to (and concern for) the space is plural — meaning a whole new magnitude of fussing over AV is required, bound only by the number of spaces and the technology that interconnects them. This is not even to mention that with online learning advances, some folks have started to wonder if the end of the physical classroom is near.
But before we go there, let’s go back to our special use case examples of applied AV above. The seminar room audio may now need to connect into an audio conference bridge. This minimally requires echo cancellation and a connection to the PSTN (phone line). The demo lab may now need to connect into a video streaming system. This minimally requires video capture, storage and an IP network optimized for video. Lastly, the moot court may now need to allow students to remotely respond interactively via an audience response system. This minimally requires a computer running the audience response application that is connected to the wide area network as well as the room control system.
While specialized educational spaces are the minority within any given institution, it’s hard to imagine one that doesn’t need to have its specialized use AV also extend to other remote spaces. This may be audio, video and/or control. It may be “live” or time delayed. And with the shear quantity, efficiency and cultural embedding of the good old flat classroom, its fair to say many of these also will need to be as engaging remotely as they are in person. So as we think through AV projects in today’s age, we need to also be thinking how we can also take that room’s AV into outer space. Doing so will allow it to remain relevant to the educational mission.
The views expressed in this column do not necessarily reflect the views of the authors’ employer(s), past or present.
Greg Bronson, CTS-D, applies AV technologies in the development of innovative learning spaces for higher education. Greg spent the first 10 years of his career as AV technician and service manager, with the past 12+ years as an AV system designer and project manager. Bronson currently works for Cornell University and has also worked for two SUNY (State University of New York) campuses as well as a regional secondary education service depot. Bronson is the originator of concept for InfoComm’s Dashboard for Controls and has had completed projects featured in industry publications. You can reach Greg at email@example.com
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Observations from InfoComm 2011
By Gary Kayye, CTS
Today marks the beginning of our post-InfoComm coverage. I say “begins” as we’re covering this year’s show in three issues due to the sheer number of new products launched at this year’s mega AV show. In fact, we shot more than 1000 videos on new products at the show.
If you want to watch them all, simple go here: http://ravepubs.com/rave2011/index.php?option=com_ravevideo&view=single&Itemid=325
But, if you don’t have time, we’re picking and choosing our favorites in this week’s issue of rAVe Pro as well as next week’s issue. Then, we’ll end July with our BEST OF InfoComm awards issue.
But, in the meantime, here are some of my personal observations of the show:
Unlike past years where you left InfoComm with one CLEAR trend, the 2011 version of InfoComm had more than one — I’d say three. Leave a Comment
1. 3D Sucks: If InfoComm 2010 was the year of 3D hype (which we declared during last year’s show when more than 50 booths focused on 3D applications), 2011 seems to have been the year that 3D, well, died. Although there were plenty of 3D displays, they were LITERALLY relegated to the back of the booths. Practically no one was bragging about 3D projectors, 3D AV processing or even 3D applications. And, the scuttlebutt on the show floor was that 3D is way overrated.
2. IP’d AV: Finally!!! For years, six to be exact, I’ve been begging and pleading the routing and switching companies to embrace the network way of doing it — put it all on a network and route it via IP. And 2011 will forever be remembered as the year that Extron, AMX, Crestron, Biamp, Kramer and ClearOne all had AV over IP using HDBaseT or AVB technology. What’s that mean? Well, it means you can now take a DVD players output and switch it over a network along with a VGA source, a video source, HDMI sources and anything else AV — send it via the network and, in the future, feed it directly into a networkable display as Ethernet and “play” it or, for now, use a “decoder” on the other end that strips whatever you want off the network and puts it back as AV to connect it to ANY display technology. Ultimately, we’re likely less than three years away from the end of RGBHV stuff.
3. Seamless Ruled: As my buddy George Walter at DPI put it, it was the year of “blending.” What the heck does that mean? Well, remember the days when you needed a $20,000 box to do edge-blending and seamless projection of multiple images across one screen? Well, those days are gone as InfoComm brought us a couple of companies doing it via software and a web cam. The most impressive was a company in the back of the hall called Scalable Display Technologies – the system was simple and astounding. Check it out here: http://ravepubs.com/rave2011/index.php?option=com_ravevideo&ravevideo_id=4792&view=ravevideo
4. Touch Screens: Everyone was showing touch screen everything. Touch screen virtual walls, projectors, LCDs and even tables. You’ll see them all over the videos we shot, but the popularity of the interactive SmartPhone is quickly spilling over to the large-screen display world. I wonder how long it will be before touch screen functionality will be a standard in projectors in much the same way as the zoom lens technology is now?
Some other things I observed:
Bretford’s EDU 2.0 is, well, looks pretty: Two words you likely never thought you’d hear in the same sentence are Bretford and pretty as they’ve historically had some of the ugliest carts ever. But they worked and lasted a long, long, long time. But, you’ve got to check out the company’s EDU 2.0 line as it’s the best-looking, most well thought out thing they’ve ever made. It will definitely be a hit: http://neocon.bretford.com/
I suspect the InfoComm folks are basking in the glory of this year’s show since they set an east-coast attendance record with more than 33,000 attendees – barely a thousand short of an all-time record.
So, what are some of the other exciting new products of InfoComm 2011. Well, here are the ones I personally think you should care about (all are accompanied with videos we shot):
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2011 rAVe Best of InfoComm Awards
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We just released our 2011 Best of InfoComm Awards. Below we're listing the six education-related products that we gave awards. If you're interested in seeing all of the rAVe 2011 Best of InfoComm Awards, click here.
Best New Classroom Projector: NEC’s U310W. There were a lot of short-throw projectors at InfoComm and we saw pretty much all of them. But the one that stood out the most to us was the new 3100 lumen DLP-based U310W from NEC. Here’s the video rAVe NOW shot of it at InfoComm 2011.
|Best Classroom Audio Product: Listen Technologies M1 Wireless Media Interface. The Listen LPT-M1 ListenPoint Microphone/Media Interface Kit (M1) provides the ability to interface external audio sources wirelessly such as laptops, iPads, MP3 players or to be used as a microphone with the ListenPoint audio system. The M1 uses an advanced lithium ion rechargeable battery. Here’s the rAVe NOW video we shot of it at InfoComm.|
|Best New Product for K-12 Education Market: (tie) |
- NEC Display’s Image Express iPad App: This is more than an access App, this is actually a teacher’s dream in that whatever you are projecting on the screen appears on the iPad AND you can annotate right on top of the displayed image. This turns the iPad into an interactive whiteboard in any room with any projected image – while not restraining the teacher and forcing them to stand at the screen. Here’s a video from rAVe NOW at InfoComm 2011.
- Epson’s BrightLink Interactive Projector: We shot two videos for this product – one of it projecting on a table (making the table becomes interactive) and one where the projector becomes a giant Angry Birds game. Check them out here:
• The Interactive Table
• The Wall-Mounted Angry Birds Application
Best New Product for Higher Education Market: (tie)
- Crestron's CAPTURE-HD: SonicFoundry better be worried about Crestron's CAPTURE-HD as it's simpler to use and does what they do, albeit in a different way. This captures VGA video, audio, the presenters slides as well as cameras in a meeting and/or lecture capture and is simple enough for the entire faculty to use, and affordable enough for wide-scale deployment. If you sell SonicFoundry or have considered it, check this out too.
- Visix WayPoint Digital Signage Software: Aimed at schools, WayPoint is perfect for interactive communications and wayfinding applications with Google Maps for a school wanting to implement digital signage. It also incorporates Twitter feeds, AccuWeather and whatever else a campus DS network would need or want. Here’s the rAVe NOW video we shot of it at InfoComm.
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Samsung's Latest Document Camera Is 1080p
Samsung’s Techwin division has recently announced another document camera aimed at the education market. Although the SDP-960’s default display resolution is SXGA, it can be changed to WXGA, 720P, 1080P, UXGA and even XGA. This document camera also comes with a built-in preview monitor, digital image rotation, a mask function, and a stored profile of only 2.6” in height. Equipped with Samsung’s so-called “proprietary ISP chipset” and 2D/3D dual noise reduction technology, Samsung claims the SDP-960 provides crystal-clear, noise-free results even in the darkest rooms. Leave a Comment
With a 48x combined zoom — 6x optical plus 8x digital — the SDP-960 also has an auto focus lens, can display 3D objects as well as documents up to 11"x17" (the size of the platform), has both USB thumb drives (up to 16GB) and SDHC memory cards (up to 32GB), and can not only save still images, but also record movies with audio up to 640×480 at 30fps.
Want more details? Go here: http://www.samsungpresenterusa.com/Portal.aspx
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Crestron Announces Wireless Mic System for K-12
At InfoComm Crestron announced a product called FreeSpeech, a budget wireless microphone system so teachers in a K-12 classroom can move around and still be heard by students in the room. Launched in response to Extron’s VoiceLift system, FreeSpeech is designed for adding amplified speech audio reinforcement by clipping the wireless mic to a lapel, hanging it around the neck or placed in a tabletop stand. The system includes a built-in 30-watt stereo amplifier. Leave a Comment
Want to learn more? Click here.
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SANYO Launches 3800 Lumen Projector Aimed at ED Market
The new 16:10 aspect ratio Sanyo PLC-WU3800 is a 1280×800 resolution (WXGA) 3LCD projector that claims a 10,000-hour lamp and 3800-lumen brightness, plus includes picture in picture and picture by picture modes, 1.6X zoom lens, and an auto-set-up button for people that don’t know how to set up projectors themselves. Initial shipments of the PLC-WU3800 are scheduled for July with a suggested retail price of $1,995.00. Leave a Comment
The new PLC-WU3800 isn’t on the SANYO website yet, but when it is, it’ll be here: http://us.sanyo.com/Projectors-by-Market-Education
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Extron Intros H.264 Streaming Media Encoder
At InfoComm, Extron introduced the SME 100, a live H.264 encoder for streaming audio, video, and computer-video signals. The SME 100 employs standards-based H.264 / MPEG-4 AVC encoding, and outputs an IP stream that can easily be decoded and viewed on desktop or laptop PCs. It is designed specifically to address the input requirements common to ProAV applications and supports RGB or DVI input signals up to 1920×1200 as well as standard definition and high definition video up to 1080p/60. Leave a Comment
The SME 100 also features an integrated three-input switcher with audio and buffered loop-through connections to simplify integration and offers a range of compression and bit rate controls. High performance Extron signal processing scales and optimizes video input signals for the intended viewing application. Encoding controls also provide adjustments for bit rate and quality. By extending AV signals over networks, the SME 100 significantly expands AV system capability.
Here are all the specs: http://www.extron.com/company/article.aspx?id=sme100ad
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Panasonic Debuts New Low-Cost Plasma
Panasonic just announced the PH30 Series, the newest addition to its family of HD Professional Plasma Displays. The displays are available in two models, the 42-inch TH-42PH30 and the 50-inch TH-50PH30.
The PH30 Series is aimed at bars and restaurants looking for wide-angle viewing and high contrast ratio (the company claims it to be at 2,000,000:1). Built in the company’s Amagasaki Plant in Japan, which Panasonic says was designed to be environmentally responsible, the PH30 Series’ energy efficiency has increased by approximately 35 percent compared to its predecessor, the PH20 Series. This reduction in power consumption places the PH30 Series in line with comparable LCD professional displays without sacrificing picture quality. Like all Panasonic professional plasma displays, the PH30 Series is both lead and mercury-free.
Additionally, the PH30 Series plasmas offer a 100,000-hour service life compared to the 60,000-hour average of competitive LCD professional displays. The new display also features a front glass panel that they claim is approximately 10 times as strong as that of an LCD.
The TH-42PH30 and TH-50PH30 are available now at $880 and $1200, respectively and can be found here: http://www.panasonic.com/business/plasma/plasmas.asp Leave a Comment
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NEC Upgrades DS Product Line
NEC Display added three new models to its commercial-grade V Series large-screen display product line: the 46-inch V462 will replace the V461, while the 46-inch V462-AVT and 65-inch V651-AVT with integrated tuners are new to the product line. All three are squarely aimed at the digital signage market.
Designed for commercial applications, the V Series includes full 1080p high-definition resolution, built-in low-profile 10-watt speakers, brightness of 450 cd/m², a contrast ratio of 3000:1, DisplayPort, HDMI and DVI inputs and a built-in expansion slot that allows for seamless integration of NEC accessories, third-party components and Open Pluggable Specification (OPS) products. In addition, the company’s added a DVI loop-through option that allows customers to pass a digital signal from one device to the next, thereby eliminating the need for additional hardware, such as a DVI daisy chain module.
The V462, V462-AVT and V651-AVT also include NEC’s TileMatrixT technology for building video walls up to 100 displays, a real-time scheduler to power on/off the display at a specific time, and remote diagnostics to monitor and control the display from an off-site location.
The V462, V462-AVT and V651-AVT will be available in July 2011 at a minimum advertised price of $1,149, $1,249 and $5,399, respectively and details can be found here: http://www.necdisplay.com/category/large-screen-displays Leave a Comment
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Black Box Debuts Digital Signage Module for NEC Displays
Black Box’s Modular HD View NEC Integrated Receivers allow you to use ordinary CATx wiring to distribute HD multimedia signals to remote digital signage — without installing any external AV hardware at the screens.
The receivers get their signal over non-networked CAT5 cabling from any Black Box HD View VGA Transmitter linked to a digital signage player. Two versions are available: standard range, for extensions up to 360 feet (109.7 m) and long range, for transmitting signals as far as 1000 feet (304.8 m). Because the receivers slide into the screen, no external AV cabling is required.
Get more details here: http://www.blackbox.com/Store/Detail.aspx/HD-View-NEC-Integrated-Receiver-Standard/AC3003A%C4%82NEC Leave a Comment
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VISIX Debuts Wayfinding Solution for Campuses
VISIX has introduced a new product called WayPoint — an interactive wayfinding and communications solution for corporate and college campuses, healthcare facilities, government buildings and other institutions.
WayPoint is a bundled solution, combining selected content modules in layouts designed with the client’s logo, colors and branding. Content modules can include digital signage message playlists, auto-updating news, weather and RSS feeds, and Google maps showing places of interest like admissions, dining halls and bookstores with customized icons.
Custom wayfinding can be substituted for Google Maps, and WayPoint also allows alert notices to be triggered by CAP messages. Matching message templates, data subscriptions, licenses and training are all included in the bundle price.
You can read all about it and see specs here: http://www.visix.com/waypoint.html
Or, you can see the video we shot of the product at InfoComm here: http://ravepubs.com/rave2011/index.php?option=com_ravevideo&ravevideo_id=4290&view=ravevideo Leave a Comment
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Well, that's it for this edition of rAVe! Thank you for spending time with us as we muse the industry's happenings. To continue getting my newsletter, or to sign up a friend, click the link below. To send feedback, don't reply to this newsletter – instead, write to Contributing Editor Greg Bronson at firstname.lastname@example.org, Publisher Gary Kayye at email@example.com or Editor-in-Chief Sara Abrons at firstname.lastname@example.org
A little about Gary Kayye, CTS, founder of rAVe and Kayye Consulting. Gary Kayye, an audiovisual veteran and columnist, began the widely-read KNews, a premier industry newsletter, in the late 1990s, and created the model for and was co-founder of AV Avenue – which later became InfoComm IQ. Kayye Consulting is a company that is committed to furthering the interests and success of dealers, manufacturers, and other companies within the professional audiovisual industry.
rAVe Pro Edition launched in February 2003. rAVe Home Edition, co-sponsored by CEDIA, launched in February 2004. rAVe Rental [and Staging] launched in November 2007. rAVe Ed [Education] began publication in May 2008.
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