Wednesday’s LAVNCH WEEK 2.0 theme was New Tech LAVNCH Day: a day dedicated entirely to something we’re all desperately missing by not being able to attend conferences this year — new product launches, like those you typically see on the trade show floor. This day looked a little different from all our other LAVNCH WEEK days, like UCC Day and ProAV Day. Thus, this wrap-up story will look a little different too. Fair warning — it may be a little longer. But we’ve gotta make sure we cover all the fantastic sessions and technology launches that you need to know about from today, along with the keynote coverage in 3 … 2 … 1…
Keynote: The Future of AV Is a Lot of UCC
As I was saying, Gary Kayye, co-founder of THE rAVe Agency, delivered our keynote today. The topic: his take on why the future of AV will be a whole lot of UCC. If you’re unfamiliar with the term (though, chances are that’s unlikely), UCC stands for “unified communications and collaboration.” You’ll also hear UCC referred to as UC and UC&C. Pick your poison. While an excellent presenter even without a slide deck, Gary likes to back his points by data — the trends we reviewed today were supported by Gartner.
- 4 out of 10 meetings were virtual
- 40% RBM (room-based meetings) vs. 60% BYOM (bring your own meeting)
- 44% experienced positive video quality
- 38% experienced positive audio quality
- 24% did regular file sharing in meetings
- 82% did regular screen sharing in meetings
- 16% had interactive/collaboration boards in meetings
- 3% considered meeting spaces “immersive”
- 93% recognized wasted time in meetings
- 73% of meetings were defined as “in person” — whether in a meeting room or just in the office generally, even by the “water cooler”
- 97% said there were too many meetings
How have these stats changed as COVID-19 has grown in scale? How will the stats continue to progress as we come out of COVID-19 after a vaccine? Here’s a look at a few points that have surfaced in just the few months since the pandemic came about.
Present & Post-COVID-19
As COVID-19 has evolved, the data shows that (probably obvious to you) 9.7 out of 10 meetings are now virtual. Some additional stats: 68% are using Zoom versus 14% using Microsoft Teams (18% other); 68% have purchased WFA (work from anywhere) gear — cameras, microphones, monitors, what have you; 28% intend to WFA as long as possible. That’s all good and well. But one of the problems so far is we’ve successfully provided the video platform (Zoom, Teams, Webex) but not the collaboration platform. Good news: there are software-based collaboration platforms that exist for this — take Bluescape, for example. Don’t know them? Don’t worry. We’ll get to their feature later.
Here’s Gary’s POV — AV integrators, pay attention: with all the realities this pandemic has created (social distancing, etc.), there are obvious mechanical and UX factors that now affect our workplaces. The audiovisual industry, Gary argues, is THE industry equipped to solve the UX problem that COVID-19 created. Integrators can be the people to helps customers find ways to collaborate, securely, on collaboration platforms. But it’s not just about the hardware.
Here are the opportunity areas he points out:
- More collaboration boards in ad-hoc meeting spaces and at home. But the boards will get smaller, like 50 inches and smaller, as huddle spaces shift
- BYOM may quickly take over RBM. Yes, while RBM environments have done great to figure out the interoperability part, that’s still only possible in the dedicated rooms — not on our personal devices at home. So, BYOM
- Making static monitors and TVs more interactive (mind you, with an increased demand for voice- and gesture-based controls) with devices that can react to you with AI tech embedded
- MUCH better audio will be needed. Like, now
- Room booking solutions will explode
- Room-based analytics (IoT) solutions could skyrocket. These are not just platform-based analytics; this is about how many people were in the room, how often the technology was utilized, how air levels affected output, how engaged room attendees (and remote attendees) were, etc. These kinds of analytics can be driven by AV integrators in facilities
- All-in-one WFA (work from anywhere) kits. This is not just hardware — it’s connecting the software-collaboration tools too. Once people see how much better collaboration can be with these tools, people are going to want to upgrade
- Software > hardware. Software will be more important than hardware
- AVaaS. A continued drive toward AV-as-a-Service
- VR-based meetings. Remember that stat above: only 3% of people currently feel like their meetings are immersive. We will see a movement from companies like Google, Facebook, Amazon and even AV companies building VR-based meeting applications
- XR-based meetings. XR-based meetings (like Almo’s new holographic technology offering, which we recapped right below) will raise the level of what you’re offering the customer. If you don’t tell a customer this exists, they won’t buy it from you.
To Gary’s point, in both business and education, these changes can be driven by the AV industry. We are the industry that can solve the technology problem that COVID-19 created. Whether you’re a restaurant, bank, school — we need to make our environments (like classrooms, for instance) better collaboration spaces.
Almo Pro A/V Debuts ARHT Media Inc. Holographic Telepresence Tech for UCC Market
Product/service: Holographic Telepresence by ARHT Media, distributed by Almo
What is it? Holographic telepresence technology for live events; a virtual stage for UCC meetings
Why does it matter? Almo Pro A/V (as the distributor) and ARHT Media (as the developer) teamed up via an exclusive partnership to deliver ARHT’s holographic telepresence technology. So, naturally, Gary Kayye and Sam Taylor of Almo came to you live, today, as “holograms.” But in “lifesize” proportions, much bigger than Princess Leia when she was projected from R2’s lens (though, note, these technology applications are different, as Mark Coxon explains — we still don’t actually have a way to do that Leia-style hologram today). This is beyond what your customer even knows exists in UCC. This steps up the quality and experience of the meeting tremendously — and though it may not be not for everyone in the organization (at least, for now), imagine this for your C-suite, giving you that window in. Almo, as the distributor, could come in and help you build these rooms comprised of a few pieces of technology — like a camera, lighting, a green-screen and a special server with no-latency transmission.
TierPM’s AVInsite Allows Integrators to Make Money Proactively Managing AV and UCC Rooms
Product/service: AVInsite Reseller Program
What is it? An AV and UCC dashboard solution for managing and monitoring rooms, technology and meeting data from one centralized location
Why does it matter? One of the big themes of this week and something we’ve all been pondering is the interesting relationship between AV and IT. TierPM is all about bridging that gap with its AVInsite solution, which does exactly what the subhead we wrote above says it does — it helps integrators make money proactively as they manage AV and UCC rooms for their customers.
Aurora TAURI Is the Perfect Post-COVID-19 AV Integrator Gateway Product
Product/service: Aurora Multimedia TAURI Temperature-Check Tablets
What is it? A true digital signage network that also has thermal scanning; the fully customizable solution allows users to adjust the share-settings for the display depending on the space where the tablet is being used and what questions are asked of the participant, after their temperature is checked. There are multiple options within the interface, including customizable views for the end user and the operator.
Why does it matter? As Paul Harris of Aurora explained today with the integration of Aurora’s ReAX control technology into TAURI, this product is more than a thermal scanner. ReAX (control) allows full, customizable screens locally on the screen — and remotely on any web-based device, even mobile. TAURI is great for all digital signage, whether in use or not.
Nummax Introduces the LED Pro Poster
Product/service: Nummax LED PRO Poster
What is it? Dynamic LED digital signage designed for storefronts
Why does it matter? In a COVID-19 world, we need messages displayed inside, outside and, really, everywhere. And we need them now. Nummax’s LED poster is affordable, versatile and something that Nummax (pronounced “new-max”) is looking to sell through integrators. This is not just an LED system; it’s a full communication solution for businesses that need signage, be it in full sunlight or shade.
Colorbeam Presents Its Low-Voltage Lighting System
Product/service: Colorbeam lighting system
What is it? Colorbeam’s patent-pending GATEway processor drives the tunability, color, ease of third-party control integration and dimming of its lighting system (with proprietary low-voltage technology)
Why does it matter? Not every room needs AV, but how often do you walk into a room that doesn’t have a light? Never. As Colorbeam says, “If you’re going to control it, you may as well sell it.” We’re talking about margin and representation for integrators. Lighting is becoming more and more relevant to specifiers — and the best integrators offering lighting solutions are now being brought in by the specifiers way earlier in the project.
Teleportivity Provides Video Support from Anywhere in the World
What is it? A two-fold solution that makes every space, place and object a portal to help. Teleportivity is both: 1) A remote field-servicing product for AV integrators to provide remote assistance and 2) A video solution for AV integrators needing to offer remote help solutions like a video helpdesk, remote concierge, etc. This is not a collaboration product like Zoom; it’s a deployment product. It’s about connecting people to the right remote help through Teleportivity’s technology.
Why does it matter? The technology allows you to scale, push and pull staff where they’re required. As it happens, we’ve done a live demo with Teleportivity. Go see it here. Teleportivity is an opportunity for integrators to sell up a service or sell a service they didn’t have before; also, since we last spoke to Adam Gotlib of Teleportivity, the product has been upgraded — you don’t need touch devices to get the same experience, as the solution has now integrated facial recognition and voice activation if you’re within the vicinity of the screen.
Draper Introduces Acumen Series and the Foundation LED Mount System
Product/service: Acumen Series & Foundation Mount System
What is it? Projection screen series (Acumen) and LED mount system (Foundation)
Why does it matter? The definition of acumen, by nature, meant smart and perceptive. It’s “keenness and depth of perception” — which is exactly what you’d want and need in your projection screens. The new Acumen series of projection screens from Draper is engineered to address virtually any projection environment and complements any room design. Foundation, Draper’s LED mount system, is that sweet spot of simplicity (i.e., less headaches and better organization), as the system can accommodate for multiple scenarios in the field when specifying LED. Draper has already worked with key partners like Barco, Unilumin, Absen and Planar on this product to address integrators’ core set of needs in LED mounting.
Finally, an AV-over-IP Standard; It Comes From the AIMS Alliance
Product/service: AIMS Alliance
What is it? The Alliance for IP Media Solutions (AIMS), is a non-profit trade alliance that fosters the adoption of one set of common, ubiquitous, standards-based protocols for interoperability over IP in the media and entertainment, and professional audio/video industries.
Why does it matter? AIMS is an alliance — the only alliance — with a proposed standard for AV-over-IP. All of you who are doing AV-over-IP have, I’m sure, at some point, wished for an AV-over-IP standard. Well, guess what? The AIMS Alliance was created specifically to introduce a proposed standard to AV-over-IP called IPMX. It’s based on the SEMPTE 2110 standard used in broadcast. If you truly want a standard, it’s up to you to get involved — or else this industry is going to remain fragmented.
Absen Debuts the Venus and Acclaim Pro LED Series
Product/service: Venus and Acclaim Pro LED Series
What is it? Series of light LED cabinets for rental and staging (Venus) and LED for permanent indoor setups (Acclaim Pro)
Why does it matter? The need for LED continues to grow as costs come down and brightness goes up. And it’ll only grow from here. Absen’s Acclaim series has been beautifully updated for the LED rental/staging markets it serves. The brand-new Venus series is an excellent fit for permanent LED needs in hotels, casinos, retail and more.
A Virtual Work Platform for Your Enterprise from Bluescape
What is it? A software-based collaboration and virtual work platform for enterprise. “Secure, scalable, collaborative workspaces enable work in real-time across any application, file, or device—anywhere in the world.”
Why does it matter? Bluescape is the only software-based collaboration platform we know of not being sold by enterprise-level software and SPECIFIC to the AV industry. According to MT Robertson, chief revenue officer of Bluescape, “Secure, scalable, collaborative workspaces enable work in real-time across any application, file or device — anywhere in the world.” MT took us on Bluescape’s journey today and explained why the changes in UCC have all been great — but teams are seeking, and desperately needing, not just a video platform but a collaboration platform. Gary’s take? He agrees. We should be leading with the software, like Bluescape, instead of the hardware. You’ll be seeing a lot more from Bluescape.
UC Workspace Introduces the New UCCentral Platform
What is it? Platform to control and monitor your workspaces while giving you the insight required to drive efficiency and productivity.
Why does it matter? Zombie meetings (eyes are glazed over) and ghost meetings (where you just don’t show up) be damned. Today, Gary Kayye and Angela Hlavka discussed the features of the new UCCentral platform that allows you to deploy, manage and provide analytics on your products all from one dashboard. The value of UCCentral to AV integrators is, among the obvious, being able to upsell the data/analytics element to their collaboration spaces.
Equip Your Meeting Spaces for the New Reality with Nureva Audio
Product/service: Nureva audioconferencing solutions
What is it? Audio system for meeting spaces, conferencing rooms, classrooms and more
Why does it matter? The coolest thing about Nureva is its patented Microphone Mist technology, which leaps past beamforming systems, filling the space with thousands of virtual (invisible!) microphones. As Nureva explained today, no, it’s not some kind of force field. But it does auto-calibrate, regardless of room configuration or where you are in the room — no more clustering around the mic. And automatic firmware updates mean the product is always improving.
Wrap It Up.
We’ll keep this wrap-up short, unlike the rest of the article.
Check out all our LAVNCH WEEK 2.0 coverage — like these summaries and all the product videos/feature videos from our supporters — here. Then catch the next LAVNCH WEEK 2.0 story: